U.S. Museum Exhibitions

The following guide to museum shows currently on view is compiled from Artforum’s three-times-yearly exhibition preview. Subscribe now to begin a year of Artforum—the world’s leading magazine of contemporary art. You’ll get all three big preview issues, featuring Artforum’s comprehensive advance roundups of the shows to see each season around the globe.

Carol Rama, Le tagliole (The Traps), 1966, red fox hide and enamel on canvas, 23 5/8 × 19 3/4".

“CAROL RAMA: ANTIBODIES”

NEW MUSEUM
NEW YORK
Curated by Helga Christoffersen and Massimiliano Gioni

Just two months after the widely traveled European retrospective “The Passion According to Carol Rama” closed in Turin, the first New York survey of the late Italian artist’s work opened at the New Museum. While it’s a shame “The Passion” didn’t cross the Atlantic, “Antibodies”—which features 175 works and an accompanying catalogue with essays by Italian writer and curator Lea Vergine and LA-based critic Sarah Lehrer-Graiwer—more than makes up for the loss. Spanning seven decades, the exhibition covers the full range of Rama’s practice, from the frank and fantastic eroticism of her early watercolors of the 1930s and ’40s, to the abstract abjection of the ’60s “Bricolages” and latex “vulnerable organisms,” to the carnality of her late-career figuration, embodied here in, for example, the mixed-media series “La mucca pazza” (The Mad Cow), ca. 1996–2001. “Antibodies” thus offers New York audiences a comprehensive—and long-overdue—consideration of Rama’s provocative representations of sexuality, illness, and the body.

Rachel Churner

Aliza Nisenbaum, La Talaverita, Sunday Morning NY Times, 2016, oil on linen, 68 × 88". From the Whitney Biennial.

Whitney Biennial 2017

WHITNEY MUSEUM OF AMERICAN ART
NEW YORK
Through June 11
Curated by Christopher Y. Lew and Mia Locks

Following a three-year hiatus to accommodate the museum’s move downtown, the Whitney Biennial makes its Gansevoort Street debut this March. As the republic falls before our very eyes, one hopes that this divisive survey of American art will react against, and not just reflect, the current state of affairs. This year’s roster of sixty-three artists and collectives is thankfully diverse in perspectives and refreshingly full of emerging and underrecognized voices—absent are the many elder statesmen often gratuitously included in these affairs. The catalogue will include a conversation with, as well as essays by, the curators; supplementary texts by Negar Azimi and Gean Moreno; and an edited transcript of a filmmaker roundtable moderated by Aily Nash. With its key themes—“the formation of self and the individual’s place in a turbulent society”—this latest iteration of the Whitney’s signature show will, one hopes, be taking some pages from Elisabeth Sussman’s playbook for the storied 1993 Biennial. The timing couldn’t be better.

Beau Rutland

Louise Lawler, Arranged by Donald Marron, Susan Brundage, Cheryl Bishop at Paine Webber, Inc. NYC (adjusted to fit), 1982/2016, adhesive vinyl, dimensions variable.

“Louise Lawler: Why Pictures Now”

MOMA - THE MUSEUM OF MODERN ART
NEW YORK
Through July 30
Curated by Roxana Marcoci with Kelly Sidley

The success of Louise Lawler’s highly anticipated first New York museum survey hangs on the question of how this immensely influential artist will negotiate the demands of a retrospective, which all but necessitates the repackaging of the artist’s work into an “authoritative” reading. For principled refusal fuels every aspect of Lawler’s exacting practice, which is marked by the artist’s reservation with respect to doing what’s deemed proper for a successful career, and reticence, if masked by nonchalance, in response to the demand for a signature artistic identity. Yet another, more pressing question emerges: In what fraught ambiguities will the dark thread that has run through her practice of recent years, centered on the imbricated triad of patriarchy, capitalism, and war, manifest today? Lawler’s re-presentation of a multifarious oeuvre, stretching over some four decades, contains the potential to reshape the discourse that will govern its reception in our increasingly fraught times. Douglas Crimp, Rosalyn Deutsche, Diedrich Diederichsen, and five additional essayists contribute to a comprehensive catalogue.

Lynne Cooke

Teresa Burga, Mano mal dibujada (Poorly Drawn Hand), 2015, steel, varnish, 16 1/2 × 14 1/8 × 3 3/8".

“TERESA BURGA: MANO MAL DIBUJADA”

SCULPTURECENTER
NEW YORK
Through July 31
Curated by Ruba Katrib

The work of Teresa Burga, a Peruvian Conceptualist and founding member of the late 1960s Grupo Arte Nuevo, is being showcased at SculptureCenter in the artist’s first US solo museum exhibition, which will present approximately ten pieces that span her entire, ongoing career. Prominent among these will be Burga’s 1968 “Prisma” sculptures, multicolored plywood polyhedrons covered in painted symbols—from schematic faces to abstract geometries to traffic signs—that evoke the artist’s distinct Pop sensibility and reflect her interest in information systems. The compositional inventiveness of these works is carried through to more recent drawings for which Burga copied children’s art; the originals and her reinterpretations are displayed together as diptychs. Catalogue essays by curator Katrib and writer and curator Miguel A. López shed light on the artist’s singular marrying of the feminist and the childlike, as evinced in her sculpture series “Mano mal dibujada” (Poorly Drawn Hand), 2015, steel-frame constructions of the titular appendage topped with ruby-red-varnished nails.

Kaira M. Cabañas

BUNNY ROGERS

WHITNEY MUSEUM OF AMERICAN ART
NEW YORK
July 1 - September 1
Curated by Elisabeth Sherman and Margaret Kross

From the vintage virtual realm of Neopia (home to magical Neopets) to online communities of Columbiners (devotees of the 1999 Colorado high school massacre), the young multimedia artist Bunny Rogers mines the morbid, sentimental, and emboldening cybermythologies of girl culture to produce talismanic objects and sorrowful installations. Her sensibility is inimitable—she finds impossible, resonant connections between disparate images or events—and her exquisitely handmade or fabricated objects, as well as her videos, are united by a startling, mannered aesthetic. Many of her sculptural works—her dyed and beribboned mops, for example, or her melted cafeteria chairs—possess the seductive and often frightening air of having stepped out of a 3-D rendering and into our world. This is but one of the artist’s powers, though; Rogers is an innovative, confrontational poet and performer, too, and there’s no telling what she’ll do on the occasion of her first institutional exhibition, for which she’s producing an entirely new body of work.

Johanna Fateman

“REI KAWAKUBO/COMME DES GARÇONS: ART OF THE IN-BETWEEN”

COSTUME INSTITUTE, METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART
NEW YORK
Through September 4
Curated by Andrew Bolton

Rei Kawakubo remains the most rigorous of the designers who first incited deconstruction in fashion. For nearly four decades, she has intervened on every level of production and distribution, sabotaging fabric by loosening the screws of mechanical looms, deploying consistently oblique methods of advertising, radically deforming the shape of clothes, even selling absolutely abstruse ideas of what a perfume can be. This spring, she is being given the rarest honor: a monographic show at the Met, the first for a living fashion designer since Yves Saint Laurent’s in 1983. The Costume Institute’s presentation will span the entire international existence of Comme des Garçons, featuring approximately 150 womenswear pieces, going back to the label’s infamous 1981 Paris debut. Despite this conventional retrospective scope, expect the show to defy grandeur, maybe even make you feel a bit off: Kawakubo enmeshes porous global consumers in the full spectrum of their feelings—up to and including alienation.

Ken Okiishi