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.

“MOHAMED BOUROUISSA: URBAN RIDERS”

THE BARNES FOUNDATION
PHILADELPHIA
Through October 2
Curated by Sylvie Patry

In 2014, the Algerian-born, Paris-based artist Mohamed Bourouissa began a long-term project about black cowboys in northern Philadelphia, producing a slew of videos, photographs, drawings, and sculptures. He spent the better part of a year with the young men of the Fletcher Street Urban Riding Club, not only capturing a world that belies the mythology of the white western cowboy but also earning the trust of the riders—to the extent that he and they were able to create new works together, such as ritualized costume competitions and “horse-tuning” events, which borrow from the style and attitude of showing off tricked-out cars. Bourouissa’s first major solo show in the US promises to be both concise and expansive, focusing solely on the Fletcher Street project, displayed in its entirety—comprising more than fifty works, including new ones—for the first time in the city where it was made. The accompanying catalogue, which sets “Urban Riders” in the wider context of Bourouissa’s practice, is the first publication on the artist’s work in English.

Kaelen Wilson-Goldie

Ydessa Hendeles, From her wooden sleep . . . (Crypt) (detail), 2016, antique oak display case, antique wooden artist’s mannequins, antique rosary, dimensions variable.

“YDESSA HENDELES: THE MILLINER’S DAUGHTER”

THE POWER PLANT
TORONTO
Through September 4
Curated by Gaëtane Verna

In 1988, Ydessa Hendeles opened a private foundation (shuttered in 2012) to support Canadian and internationally based artists:There, she orchestrated uncanny exhibitions combining contemporary art, historical artifacts, and found objects, at times interweaving her own projects with those of the artists she championed. The Power Plant’s exhibition marks the first time the entire venue has been devoted to the work of a female artist, and ample space will be provided for a number of Hendeles’s complex works from the past decade, including From her wooden sleep . . . , 2013, and “THE BIRD THAT MADE THE BREEZE TO BLOW,” 2012. Hendeles was born in Germany in 1948 and immigrated to Canada with her parents, both Auschwitz survivors, in 1951—meaning that she spent her childhood in the wake of European fascism and came of age during the cultural upheaval of the 1960s. It should come as little surprise, then, that the politics of power and identity underpin Hendeles’s work, which performs a kind of psychoanalysis of the past, via its images and objects, proffering a new lens through which to view the present. 

Kathy Noble

Peter Fischli and David Weiss, Flowers and Mushrooms (detail), 1997–98/2006, projection of 162 digital slides.

“WADE GUYTON PETER FISCHLI DAVID WEISS”

ASPEN ART MUSEUM
ASPEN, COLORADO
Through November 26
Curated by Heidi Zuckerman

Niklas Luhmann, the influential German sociologist and a pioneer in the field of systems theory, asked us to think of normalcy as implausible. A comparable postulate is at work in the respective practices of American artist Wade Guyton and the storied Swiss duo Peter Fischli and David Weiss, the latter of whom died in 2012. No wonder, then, that the Aspen Art Museum thought to bring the artists together. Fischli and Weiss’s oeuvre celebrates normality as a deception that can be productively mined. Guyton’s art is an odd ode to the normality of art. Both practices employ distance in the service of annoyingly beautiful artworks. This summer, visitors to the museum’s über-normal hometown in the Rockies will have the chance to ponder how they do so, and thus what is at stake. 

Daniel Baumann

“UGO RONDINONE: THE WORLD JUST MAKES ME LAUGH”

BERKELEY ART MUSEUM AND PACIFIC FILM ARCHIVE (BAMPFA)
BERKELEY, CALIFORNIA
Curated by Lawrence Rinder

Over the past three decades, the Swiss artist Ugo Rondinone, an Alpine mystic of sorts, has gained international attention for a dizzying array of works in nearly every medium imaginable, bound by a humanist undercurrent. “The world just makes me laugh,” the artist’s first major show in the Bay Area, is the penultimate stop of a five-part “serial exhibition” that had previous iterations in Rotterdam, Rome, and Cincinnati, each installation featuring its own catalogue. This latest  manifestation will feature both iconic Rondinone works and more recent ones—figurative sculptures of clowns in blissful repose, thousands of rainbow drawings made by children over the course of the traveling exhibition—no doubt offering a spirited reprieve from our pessimistic moment. Travels to the Bass, Miami, fall 2017.

Beau Rutland

Trong Gia Nguyen, Enid, Pine Street (1975–2014), 2015, wooden frame, ink-jet print, oil pastel on canvas, 25 × 37". From the 2nd California-Pacific Triennial: “Building as Ever.”

2ND CALIFORNIA-PACIFIC TRIENNIAL: “BUILDING AS EVER”

ORANGE COUNTY MUSEUM OF ART
NEWPORT BEACH, CALIFORNIA
Through September 3
Curated by Cassandra Coblentz

“Building as Ever,” OCMA’s second California-Pacific Triennial, is a timely reminder of how globalization shapes our experience of place and community. Ninety works by twenty-five participants in a range of media—including drawing, photography, installation, and performance—engage with issues of dwelling, mobility, and impermanence on a diversity of scales, from that of the domestic object to those of architectural structures. The “making do” ethos popularized in the 1960s informs the participants’ use of the mundane materials that constitute our landscape—plywood, tile, drywall, and reclaimed and found objects. By creating alternative communal experiences, these works illuminate the tension, signaled by the triennial’s title, between building as thing and building as activity. 

Erica Allen-Kim

Louise Bourgeois, Nature Study (Velvet Eyes), 1984, marble, steel, 26 × 33 × 27". © The Easton Foundation; VAGA, NY.

LOUISE BOURGEOIS

MASSACHUSETTS MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART (MASS MOCA)
NORTH ADAMS, MASSACHUSETTS
Through May 28, 2027
Curated by Susan Cross

An event of singular importance is scheduled this spring at MASS MoCA—a decade-long installation of three monumental marbles by Louise Bourgeois, each weighing several tons and occupying a sprawling measure of floor space reinforced by steel supports, with an additional aluminum sculpture on five-year loan. One of the colossi on display, Untitled, 1991, comprises two marble slabs wedged together. The work incarnates a team of mythic personages, their heads rising above a stylized frieze of the sea, whose curling waves seemingly allude to Poseidon and riff on the Pergamon Altar, which depicts the battle of the giants against the Olympian deities. For Bourgeois, an artist who was uniquely committed to the psychoanalytic origins of her art, such figures dwell within both the realm of the gods and that of the unconscious. Might Untitled not be read as a parable of the battle Bourgeois herself fought against the Greenbergian Cubism-onward-to-abstraction paradigm of modernist art? Here, again, Bourgeois is seen sculpting the great contrarian alternative to that repressive, patriarchal sequence.

Robert Pincus-Witten