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.

Doug Aitken, Black Mirror, 2011, still from the 13-minute-20-second three-channel color video component
of a mixed-media installation additionally comprising mirrors.

“Doug Aitken: Electric Earth”

Through January 15, 2017
Curated by Philippe Vergne and Anna Katz

“A lot of times I dance so fast that I become what’s around me,” says the protagonist of Doug Aitken’s mesmeric, immersive multichannel video installation Electric Earth, 1999, which lends its name to the artist’s first large-scale survey, appropriately debuting in his hometown. The exhibition and catalogue highlight Aitken’s wide-ranging oeuvre, including such atmospheric pieces as diamond sea, 1997, his first foray into multichannel productions, as well as slickly fabricated sculptures, photographs, collages, and documentation of architectural projects. The show will also feature live works, among them the sound installation Sonic Fountain II, 2013/2015, and a host of public programs (modeled on Aitken’s previous “happenings,” as he calls them) for which he will collaborate with writers, actors, and other artists. Aitken’s starstruck and sun-stroked romanticism is not without poetry but rarely casts a shadow. Travels to the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, May 27–Sept. 24, 2017.

Andrew Berardini

“Beatriz Santiago Muñoz: A Universe of Fragile Mirrors”

Through November 13
Curated by María Elena Ortiz

Since the early 2000s, Beatriz Santiago Muñoz has made videos that interweave social engagement and speculative fiction. The artist works with nonprofessional actors from diverse backgrounds to collectively investigate economic, ecological, and political challenges within the Caribbean. Projects such as Archivo, 2001, involve the reenactment of personal and political crises, as if history could be altered or ameliorated. Others, such as the Creative Capital–funded Verano de mujeres (Summer of Women), 2015, make imaginative use of documentary footage of marginalized women to tease out possible solutions—however outlandish—to troubling social injustices within Santiago Muñoz’s native Puerto Rico. This survey will feature approximately ten works made between 2010 and 2015, including Marché Salomon, 2015, which presents a conversation between two Haitian meat vendors that drifts between observations of their surroundings and musings about their wares’ potentially divine properties.

Daniel Quiles

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

“Sarah Oppenheimer: S-281913”

Through April 30, 2017
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

Anthony Hernandez

Through January 1, 2017
Curated by Erin O’Toole

Anthony Hernandez might be to Los Angeles what Eugène Atget is to Paris. While he has taken photographs in Rome, Baltimore, and elsewhere, Hernandez has, for more than four decades, persistently documented the oft-overlooked urban scenery of his native southern California—from the manicured storefronts and mannequinesque denizens of Beverly Hills to the remnants of homeless encampments improvised on the margins of the urban landscape. This retrospective, a first for the artist and the inaugural special exhibition in the museum’s new Pritzker Center for Photography, suggests that Hernandez, too, is worthy of a closer look. The catalogue accompanying this 160-work overview includes contributions by notable artistic peers—among them Robert Adams and Hernandez’s longtime friend Lewis Baltz—alongside reconsiderations of the photographer’s work by Hayward Gallery director Ralph Rugoff and the show’s curator.

Michael Ned Holte

Whitfield Lovell

Through January 8, 2017
Curated by Elsa Smithgall

The black men and women in Whitfield Lovell’s ongoing series “Kin”—each rendered on cream paper in velvety monochrome conté crayon and paired with gnomic found objects—seem not so much rescued from anonymity as discharged from a bureaucratic purgatory. For nearly twenty years, Lovell has worked from discarded early-twentieth-century ID cards, passports, and mug shots—from any black-and-white portrait at risk of haphazard defacement by stapler, really—and his figurative kin are frozen in time, at sites of fraught systemic and organizational intake. The resulting objects are at turns stately, heartbreaking, opaque, and lovingly intimate. At the Phillips, twenty-odd pieces from “Kin,” 2008–, will be paired with some dozen of the artist’s signature large-scale tableaux in an exhibition that crosses scales and media as well as source materials: The aspirational poses of larger works based on vintage studio photography sit opposite the visual spectrum from the “Kin” series’ institutional points of departure. A major monograph with contributions by the curator and others will accompany the show. After all, what’s a family album without something to have and to hold?

Gary Dauphin

Charles Ross, Solar Burn 1/29/77, 1977, paint on burned wood, 14 1/4 × 16 1/4". From “Los Angeles to New York: Dwan Gallery, 1959–1971.”

“Los Angeles to New York: Dwan Gallery, 1959–1971”

Through January 29, 2017
Curated by James Meyer

Virginia Dwan is the stuff of legends: prescient dealer, visionary collector, generous benefactor. She’s Leo Castelli, Count Panza, and Andrew Mellon rolled into one. Featuring some hundred paintings, sculptures, works on paper, and photographs, the National Gallery of Art will highlight the art that Dwan, still a tall beauty at eighty-five, has donated or promised to the museum. Other institutions, including MoMA, LACMA, and the Pompidou, are lending additional works shown at her galleries in LA and New York. From 1959 to 1967, her SoCal space hosted American abstractionists (Guston, Reinhardt), Nouveau Réalistes (Klein, Tinguely), and Pop artists (Oldenburg, Warhol, Rosenquist). Besides championing Minimalists (Andre, Flavin, LeWitt) and Conceptualists (Bochner, Weiner) on Fifty-Seventh Street from 1966 to 1971, the dealer-cum-philanthropist financed Heizer’s Double Negative, 1969–70; Smithson’s Spiral Jetty, 1970; and the first version of De Maria’s Lightning Field, 1977. This exhibition and its catalogue, with an essay by Meyer, will showcase Dwan’s intrepid vision. Travels to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Mar. 19–Sept. 10, 2017.

Phyllis Tuchman