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.

François Morellet, Répartition aléatoire de 40.000 carrés suivant les chiffres pairs et impairs et d’un annuaire de téléphone (50% bleu nuit, 50% noir) (Random Distribution of 40,000 Squares Using the Odd and Even Numbers of a Telephone Directory [50% Night Blue, 50% Black]), 1961, silk screen on wood, 31 1/2 × 31 1/2". © Artist Rights Society (ARS), New York/ADAGP, Paris.

FRANÇOIS MORELLET

DIA ART FOUNDATION
NEW YORK
October 28 - June 2, 2018
Curated by Béatrice Gross with Megan Holly Witko

Consigned in the 1960s to that most damning of dustbins—the seemingly exhausted history of “European painting”—the expansive, endlessly experimental oeuvre of François Morellet (who died last year at the age of ninety) has received relatively little attention in the US. This focused presentation, the French artist’s first full-career survey on American shores, could prove a game changer. Bringing together nearly fifty works spanning seven decades, the show places a particular emphasis on Morellet’s abstract geometric paintings of the ’50s and early ’60s, when he developed his earliest rule-based systems and helped to found the legendary Groupe de Recherche d’Art Visuel (GRAV). Installed at Dia’s spaces in both Chelsea and Beacon, the show also selectively tracks the artist’s later series and installations incorporating neon tubes, adhesive tape, and other nontraditional materials. A full-color volume of scholarship accompanies the exhibition.

Molly Warnock

“MARK DION: MISADVENTURES OF A 21ST-CENTURY NATURALIST”

ICA - INSTITUTE OF CONTEMPORARY ART, BOSTON
BOSTON
October 4 - January 1, 2018
Curated by Ruth Erickson with Jessica Hong and Kathrinne Duffy

Although the title of Dion’s first major US museum survey might imply a certain waywardness, in fact few artists can match the concentrated single-mindedness of his intrepid, polymorphously curious three-decade-long practice. Yes, Dion’s hands-on critiques of the protocols of cultural institutions—assays of the ideologies that shape collection and display, just as they shape our larger senses of history, value, and meaning—are often framed within a wry mode of address that would seem to subordinate the artist to the eclecticisms of his “specimens.” But Dion’s default mode is a sense of wonder at the realms of both nature and culture, and any “misadventures” onto which his works might lead are carefully designed to emphasize the wild variety of the world’s often overlooked astonishments. In addition to a new interactive sculpture-cum-salon titled The Time Chamber, this exhibition presents a wide range of Dion’s sculptures, installations, photographs, drawings, and ephemera and is accompanied by an extensive catalogue.

Jeffrey Kastner

Tarsila do Amaral, Abaporu (The Man Who Eats Man), 1928, oil on canvas, 33 1/2 × 28 1/2". © Tarsila do Amaral Licenciamentos.

“TARSILA DO AMARAL: INVENTING MODERN ART IN BRAZIL”

THE ART INSTITUTE OF CHICAGO
CHICAGO
October 8 - January 7, 2018
Curated by James Rondeau, Stephanie D’Allesandro, and Luis Pérez-Oramas

Designed to introduce North American audiences to Tarsila do Amaral, a leading Brazilian post-Cubist painter, this show features Abaporu, 1928, a sweeping, Picassoesque depiction of a man seated beside a cactus, which helped spark Brazil’s influential Anthropophagist movement. Inspired by Amaral’s work, Oswald de Andrade penned the “Manifesto Antropófago” (Cannibalist Manifesto) that same year, invoking the indigenous ritual of eating the enemy’s flesh as a metaphor for the country’s transformative appropriation of Euro-American culture. (In the Tupi-Guarani language, abaporu means “the man who eats man.”) In addition to a thorough exploration of Amaral’s contributions to this key national-cultural project, the exhibition and its catalogue are poised to reveal other aspects of the artist’s practice, from her early work in Paris to her bracing depictions of the working class. Travels to the Museum of Modern Art, New York, Feb. 6–June 3, 2018

Kaira M. Cabañas

“MICHAEL RAKOWITZ: BACKSTROKE OF THE WEST”

MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART, CHICAGO (MCA CHICAGO)
CHICAGO
Through March 4, 2018
Curated by Omar Kholeif

It seems almost inconceivable that Michael Rakowitz is only now receiving his first major museum show in the United States. Born in New York, based in Chicago, and obsessively drawn to the complexities of his own ancestry as the grandson of Iraqi Jews pushed out of Baghdad in the 1940s, Rakowitz has worked with remarkable clarity and consistency for more than twenty years. Named for a botched translation on a pirated Chinese copy of a Star Wars film, “Backstroke of the West” includes roughly a dozen projects dating from the late ’90s to the present, including drawings, sculptures, and documentation of Rakowitz’s many long-term projects marked by heartbreakingly beautiful gestures of replica and return. With a catalogue featuring texts by curator Omar Kholeif, writer Shumon Basar, and scholar Ella Shohat, the show offers a critical record of the artist’s compassion as he navigates across numerous lines of conflict.  

Kaelen Wilson-Goldie

Jorge Pedro Núñez, El sueño de una casa (Mari-Mari Rosado) (The Dream of a House [Mari-Mari Rosado]), 2011, collage on paper, 13 3/4 × 11 7/8". From “Home—So Different, So Appealing: Art from the Americas Since 1957.”

“HOME—SO DIFFERENT, SO APPEALING: ART FROM THE AMERICAS SINCE 1957”

LOS ANGELES COUNTY MUSEUM OF ART (LACMA)
LOS ANGELES
Through October 15
Curated by Pilar Tompkins Rivas, Chon A. Noriega, and Mari Carmen Ramírez

Organized in collaboration with the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, this expansive exhibition will gather more than ninety works spanning seven decades by forty Latino and Latin American artists working in the US and abroad. The notion of home as a spatial—rather than sociological—parameter provides the curatorial premise for a show unconstrained by temporal boundaries, revealing the complexity of both the term and the experiences it frames. The exhibition and attendant catalogue encompass myriad reflections on domesticity, identity construction, and displacement and promise a wide range of perspectives to match the diversity of backgrounds of the represented artists, for whom home is both a lived reality and an idealized projection. Travels to the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Nov. 19, 2017–Feb. 4, 2018.

Catalina Lozano

Dara Friedman, Government Cut Freestyle, 1998, 16 mm transferred to digital video, color, silent, 9 minutes 20 seconds.

“DARA FRIEDMAN: PERFECT STRANGER”

PÉREZ ART MUSEUM MIAMI
MIAMI
November 3 - March 4, 2018
Curated by René Morales

In one of her earliest films, Friedman slowly and systematically trashes a room, shattering plates, smashing chairs, and stomping dresser drawers. The Super 8 footage of Total, 1997, was printed in reverse, however, so what we see instead is a lurching, mystical return to order. As in many of the films to follow, from the two-channel 16-mm Bim Bam, 1999, to the cacophonous multiscreen Dichter (Poet, 2017), Friedman uses structural film techniques—looping, flicker effects, color fields, and asynchronicity of image and sound—to highly emotive ends. Though her films have gotten bigger and bolder—fifty-five singers perform in the forty-eight-minute-long Musical, 2007–2008, and sixty-six in Dancer, 2011, for example—her interests in intimacy, affection, and magic have remained. With two dozen works and an accompanying catalogue, the first midcareer survey of this Miami-based artist offers a welcome chance to track the movements of her evocative, empathic oeuvre over the past twenty years. 

Rachel Churner