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.

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
January 29 - 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

“Yuki Kimura: Inhuman Transformation of New Year’s Decoration, Obsolete Conception or 2”

CCA WATTIS INSTITUTE FOR CONTEMPORARY ART
SAN FRANCISCO
Through February 25
Curated by Jeanne Gerrity and Leila Grothe

This commissioned installation manifests Japanese artist Yuki Kimura’s subtle activation of subjective and multilayered encounters with the photographic. With Table Stella, 2016, Kimura presents two very similar found photographs printed on the surfaces of three pairs of tabletop-like Dibond supports laden with ashtrays. In a world of e-cigarettes and immaterial image-data files, her use of outmoded objects directs our attention away from the items’ original functions to suggest new, more playful operations determined by their very materiality. A pair of large, almost identical wall-mounted photographs with accompanying twin mirrors implicates us further in dualities of meaning and the coexistence of past and present.

Charlotte Cotton

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”

NATIONAL GALLERY OF ART, WASHINGTON, DC
WASHINGTON, DC
Through January 29
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

Agnieszka Polska, I Am the Mouth II, 2014, HD video, color, sound, 5 minutes 45 seconds. From “Suspended Animation.”

“Suspended Animation”

HIRSHHORN MUSEUM AND SCULPTURE GARDEN
WASHINGTON, DC
Through March 12
Curated by Gianni Jetzer

Animated film has come a long way since J. Stuart Blackton’s pioneering Humorous Phases of Funny Faces (1906), with its crude sequences of goofy chalkboard drawings. An evolving palette of digital animation technologies—motion capture, ever more detailed 3-D visualization—shapes not only mainstream culture but, increasingly, the work of artists (and the oft-unsung technicians to whom they outsource their production). “Suspended Animation” brings together Ed Atkins, Antoine Catala, Ian Cheng, Josh Kline, Helen Marten, and Agnieszka Polska, an international hexad whose practices are differentiated enough to suggest not only computer animation’s pervasiveness but also its flexibility—witness Atkins’s emotive avatars adrift in an uncanny valley, Cheng’s simulations mutating in real time, Polska’s fluent digital-psychedelic effects, and Marten’s loquacious skeuomorphic crossbreeds. In spite of these individual approaches, expect a shared responsiveness to the digital age’s manifold crises, from the specter of surveillance to the collapse of distinctions between virtual and physical realities.

Martin Herbert