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.

Robert Grosvenor

THE RENAISSANCE SOCIETY
CHICAGO
Through April 9
Curated by Solveig Øvstebø

At the Renaissance Society, veteran sculptor Robert Grosvenor will show a large, makeshift work from 1989–90. Made from banal materials—stacked concrete blocks, Plexiglas, and painted steel—the austere Untitled has a pronounced interior volume, a space that, because of its low top, cannot be entered. Appreciate this ungainly work from a distance or else feel thwarted because it cannot be breached. Visitors to Grosvenor’s shows never know whether they are going to find something graceful, massive, off-putting, or witty; a sculpture hung from the ceiling, spreading horizontally across the floor, or with parts perched on poles. During his more than five-decade-long career, the artist has never adopted a signature style, just a mantra: Expect the unexpected.

Phyllis Tuchman

Tania Pérez Córdova, Person A (detail), 2014, SIM card on ceramic, 17 3/4 × 15 1/8 × 1 1/2".

“Tania Pérez Córdova: Smoke, Nearby”

MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART, CHICAGO (MCA CHICAGO)
CHICAGO
April 15 - August 20
Curated by José Esparza Chong Cuy

Mexican artist Tania Pérez Córdova’s first major museum show will occupy the entire south side of the MCA’s main-floor galleries and will feature work developed for the occasion in a “rephrasing” of previous works—a strategy in line with her sensitivity to the specificity of space. Pérez Córdova’s work explores the different durations embedded in an object over time, as well as the social or economic relations enacted in a sculptural form. Her works exist both in the gallery space and beyond it, and she grants her objects a parallel existence in their partial absence or in their incompleteness evinced, for example, by an earring hanging from a bronze frame, whose twin lives a separate life with its owner, or by six pairs of colored contact lenses (placed on a marble slab) identical to those worn by six of the artist’s friends. “Smoke, Nearby” promises to lend new visual readings to these intimately personal yet contextually contingent works.

Catalina Lozano

Diego Rivera, Creation of the Universe [Illustration for Popol Vuh], 1931, watercolor on paper, 12 1/4 × 18 7/8". From the series “Popol Vuh,” 1931. © D.F./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

“Picasso and Rivera: Conversations Across Time”

LOS ANGELES COUNTY MUSEUM OF ART (LACMA)
LOS ANGELES
Through May 7
Curated by Diana Magaloni, Michael Govan, Juan Coronel Rivera, James Oles, Jennifer Stager

Accompanied by a dense and lushly illustrated catalogue, this exhibition uncovers Picasso’s and Rivera’s parallel interests in antiquity—Mediterranean and pre-Columbian, respectively. A dozen great paintings from the teens suggest that, as a Cubist, Rivera possessed a sensibility that was as close to Juan Gris’s as to Picasso’s. But paintings are not the only attraction here: The show is notable for its wide range of media and epochs. Plaster casts that the two studied in school (and drawings by both artists of identical replicas) rub shoulders with bronze mirrors, classical vases, pre-Columbian carvings, and other artifacts, allowing us to see how Pablo and Diego drew, and drew from, the distant past. Another intriguing comparison is between Picasso’s etchings of the 1930s on Ovidian themes and Rivera’s 1931 watercolor illustrations of the Popol Vuh creation myth, which could not be more different. As for who gets the prize, let’s just say that being paired with Picasso is no picnic. Travels to Museo del Palacio de Bellas Artes, Mexico City, June 14–Sept. 17.

Harry Cooper

Jimmie Durham, Tlunh Datsi, 1984, puma skull, shells, turquoise, turkey feathers, metal, sheep’s wool, deer fur, pine, acrylic, 40 1/2 × 35 3/4 × 31 3/4".

“Jimmie Durham: At the Center of the World”

HAMMER MUSEUM
LOS ANGELES
Through May 7
Curated by Anne Ellegood with MacKenzie Stevens

The first American retrospective of the work of Cherokee sculptor, performance artist, poet, and political activist Jimmie Durham presents nearly two hundred objects from the 1970s to the present. Notoriously ambivalent toward the United States after his departure from the American Indian Movement in 1980, Durham considers his itinerancy abroad to be a political gesture. His works wryly question the Western world’s fantasies about indigenous Americans. Although Durham claims that art happens “away from language,” his sculptural constructions—which employ disparate materials including bone, stone, and wood, as well as text, photographs, and drawings—are always in parley with wider discourses. Thinking away from formats and embracing the peripatetic and even the chaotic, Durham’s sculptures short-circuit normative tendencies in (Western) art and infuse its discourse with a fair dose of esprit. Travels to the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, June 22–Oct. 8; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, Nov. 3, 2017–Jan. 28, 2018; Remai Modern, Saskatoon, Canada, Mar. 23–Aug. 5, 2018.

Philippe Pirotte

Sarah Oppenheimer, Rotation Study: S-281913, 2016, digital video, black-and-white, silent, 15 seconds.

“Sarah Oppenheimer: S-281913”

PÉREZ ART MUSEUM MIAMI
MIAMI
Through April 30
Curated by René Morales

The complex interplay between movement and perception has long been the crux of Sarah Oppenheimer’s work. Interrogating the ways in which architecture inflects our movement and thereby frames the horizon of our experience, her astonishingly precise interventions into institutional spaces—which often take the form of apertures cut in walls, floors, and ceilings—produce sudden shifts, expansions, and occlusions in our visual field as we pass around and through them. Her upcoming installation S-281913 is an audacious extension of this logic: Oppenheimer proposes to animate her work itself by introducing two large rotating glass panels that will alternate between transparency and reflection depending on their position and that of the viewer. Situated within Herzog & de Meuron’s concrete-and-wood galleries (rather than in the white cube that is Oppenheimer’s typical milieu), the work’s mix of active viewer, kinetic sculpture, and assertive architecture promises to be an unusually catalytic combination.

Julian Rose

Gwenneth Boelens, Liar’s cloth (guileless note) (detail), 2015, diptych, C-print on aluminum, each panel 92 3/8 × 72".

“Gwenneth Boelens: At Odds”

MIT LIST VISUAL ARTS CENTER
CAMBRIDGE, MA
Through April 16
Curated by Henriette Huldisch

This winter, the List presents the first solo museum exhibition of Dutch artist Gwenneth Boelens. The ten pieces on display—largely photograms the artist made in the past two years using chromogenic materials—range from the small and delicate to the large and unwieldy, creating a series of encounters in which photography is experienced as the result of the artist’s actions. Also present are sculptural elements in the form of an umbrella frame, yellow acoustic fabric wrapped around an aluminum rod, and a textile work adapted from a book about West African weaving. Like all of her work from the past fifteen years, this installation speaks to the contemporary idea of photography as a translation of subjects and memories into fragmentary compressions. Boelens’s practice is a timely statement on the possibilities of reanimating protophotographic impulses to trace, indent, and impress, and on the currencies of translation, versioning, and rendering.

Charlotte Cotton