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.

Mark Bradford, Pickett’s Charge (detail), 2017, mixed media on eight canvases, overall 12 × 400'.

“MARK BRADFORD: PICKETT’S CHARGE”

HIRSHHORN MUSEUM AND SCULPTURE GARDEN
WASHINGTON, DC
Through November 12, 2018
Curated by Evelyn Hankins and Stéphane Aquin

Bradford’s work revels in the material and metaphoric properties of paper. One sheet can be shredded, but if you layer it and soak it with water, the stuff becomes as durable as rebar: We are indeed stronger together. If paper and printing were once essential to the democratic project, it’s telling that Bradford’s focus has been less on printing than on erasure. The textured, puckered, and scarred contours of his canvases evince a low hum of wounding, a palimpsest of the daily microaggressions endured by those not considered to be straight white dudes by the culture at large. That his mutilated abstract fields are often ravishing speaks volumes about his work’s capacity for complexity. For this exhibition, Bradford presents a four-hundred-foot-long panoramic installation in the iconic circular galleries of the Hirshhorn. Referencing numerous American struggles, from the AIDS epidemic to race riots, and taking the Battle of Gettysburg as its starting point, the piece will surely show us that democracy is also an affair of the heart.

Helen Molesworth

Jibade-Khalil Huffman, Yesterday (Our Love Went into a Coma) (detail), 2011–, still from the 4-minute, color, silent, digital-video component of a mixed-media installation with CRT monitor and microphone. From “Sonic Rebellion: Music as Resistance.”

“SONIC REBELLION: MUSIC AS RESISTANCE”

MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART DETROIT (MOCAD)
DETROIT
Through January 7, 2018
Curated by Jens Hoffmann

The appeals black music makes to the future, to borrow from theorist Kodwo Eshun, are most powerful when black folk are having difficulty imagining any future at all. Few such moments have generated as many forward-looking sounds as the 1967 Detroit riot, a season of unrest set off when the local PD broke up a party and arrested eighty-two black citizens one hot July night. MoCAD’s “Sonic Rebellion” images and re-images the relationship between music and resistance in the intervening fifty years; the show presents a trove of ephemera and documentary materials on Motown, jazz, early punk, and techno alongside a sprawling selection of recent works by more than forty-five artists, including Jibade-Khalil Huffman, Juliana Huxtable, and Glenn Ligon. Accompanied by a catalogue recounting Detroit’s musical history, the show plans to spill out of the museum for a series of screenings, talks, and concerts—meaning that, like any good riot, a full accounting will require some time in the streets.

Gary Dauphin

Mona Hatoum, Cells (detail), 2014, zinc-plated steel, glass, 54 × 48 × 25".

“MONA HATOUM: TERRA INFIRMA”

THE MENIL COLLECTION
HOUSTON
Through February 25, 2018
Curated by Michelle White

Mona Hatoum has spent her nearly forty-year career sharpening the edges of the everyday. The London- and Berlin-based artist was a signal figure in the turn toward a conception of both the bodily and the domestic as sites of political complexity and psychic menace that stretched across the 1980s and 1990s; this exhibition will be her first major museum survey in the US in two decades, showcasing some thirty sculptures and installations, including such signature works as the electrified household space of Homebound, 2000. In recognition of the often uncanny estrangements produced by Hatoum’s work, the show will be accompanied by a concurrent exhibition of objects, selected in consultation with the artist, from the Menil’s important collection of Surrealist work. A catalogue featuring essays by White, Anna Chave, Adania Shibli, and Rebecca Solnit will be published. Travels to the Pulitzer Arts Foundation, Saint Louis, Apr. 6–Aug. 11, 2018. 

Jeffrey Kastner

Digital rendering of Theaster Gates’s sculpture Black Vessel for a Saint, 2017, as it will be installed in the Walker Art Center/Minneapolis Sculpture Garden.

MINNEAPOLIS SCULPTURE GARDEN

WALKER ART CENTER
MINNEAPOLIS
Curated by Olga Viso

After a year of extensive renovation, a transformed Minneapolis Sculpture Garden opens in June with the aim of tying the garden, built by Edward Larrabee Barnes in 1971, to the Walker Art Center via a new plaza, entrance, and expanded lobby, all designed by HGA Architects and Engineers. While Barnes based his garden on extant European examples, HGA has instead emphasized the flora of the region, employing native plants and trees and using environmentally sustainable materials and building practices.Beloved fixtures of the original garden, such as Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen’s Spoonbridge and Cherry, 1985–88, will keep company with more recently acquired pieces by American and European artists, including a spectacular new iteration of Katharina Fritsch’s Hahn/Cock, 2013/ 2016, originally commissioned for the Fourth Plinth in London’s Trafalgar Square.

Anne M. Wagner

“LAURE PROUVOST: THEY ARE WAITING FOR YOU”

WALKER ART CENTER
MINNEAPOLIS
Through February 11, 2018
Curated by Victoria Sung with Gwyneth Shanks

The great seduction of Laure Prouvost’s work is rooted in the slippage of language, amid the perils and joys of communication and misunderstanding. Her lush and bewildering films distort conventional narrative to such a degree that they can be hard to follow, but the intensity of her voice-overs and the wit of her directives compel us to keep trying. Take the fictional story of the French artist’s grandfather––an overlooked Conceptual artist and close friend of Kurt Schwitters’s––that has proved to be a golden thread from which she has spun a number of engrossing films and installations, including the Turner Prize–winning Wantee, 2013. Yet though Prouvost has shown extensively in Europe, American audiences have had far fewer occasions to see her work. Details about the film installation and performance piece to debut at the Walker are scant, but that is part of the artist’s charm: She almost always leaves us guessing and restless for more.

Rachel Churner

“SPEECH/ACTS”

ICA - INSTITUTE OF CONTEMPORARY ART, PHILADELPHIA
PHILADELPHIA
Through December 23
Curated by Meg Onli

Joining a number of recent exhibitions seeking to define the discursive black radical tradition, “Speech/Acts” reflects on the legacy of the Black Arts Movement, which centered poetry, literature, and performance in its engagement with political discourses and everyday life following the civil rights movement. The exhibition situates an emerging generation of conceptualists alongside contemporary experimental poets and theorists such as Claudia Rankine and Fred Moten, demonstrating the elasticity of language as it circulates as text, image, or utterance—delivered in person, on a page, or on-screen. Accompanied by a reading room and a publication, the show features new works by Jibade-Khalil Huffman (his piece is inspired by Rankine’s critically acclaimed Citizen: An American Lyric [2014]) and Tiona McClodden (whose video and curatorial work often delves into queer and black creative genealogies), as well as recent videos, installations, and drawings by Steffani Jemison, Kameelah Janan Rasheed, Martine Syms, and Tony Lewis.

Jamillah James