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.

“CANDY JERNIGAN: A COUPLE OF PENCILS AND SOME PAPER”

CCA WATTIS INSTITUTE FOR CONTEMPORARY ART
SAN FRANCISCO
Through July 29
Curated by Anthony Huberman

Candy Jernigan indexed tiny found things—including Cheez Doodles, crack vials, and chewing gum—in her drawings and assemblages, the faux dispassion of her intimate illustrational style (which extended even to her found-object collage work) somehow imbuing familiar, throwaway items with pathos and personality. This category-defying artist, who deserves far greater recognition than she has received to date, died of cancer at age thirty-nine in 1991, leaving behind a singular body of work documenting her short life, as well as the accumulation of drug paraphernalia and bodega inventory that littered her East Village neighborhood. For this exhibition, curator Anthony Huberman will assemble roughly eighty works from the 1980s and ’90s, including works on paper made with pencil, pastel, and rubber stamps. The show’s must-see centerpiece will be the collected final works Jernigan produced before her death, “Untitled (vessels),” ca. 1990–91, a series of delicate bowls and jugs on watercolor-washed grounds that has only been exhibited once before.

Johanna Fateman

Markus Lüpertz, Arkadien—Der hohe Berg (Arcadia—The High Mountain), 2013, acrylic on canvas, 51 1/4 × 63 3/4".

MARKUS LÜPERTZ

HIRSHHORN MUSEUM AND SCULPTURE GARDEN/PHILLIPS COLLECTION
WASHINGTON, DC
Through September 10
Curated by Evelyn Hankins and Dorothy Kosinski, respectively

America’s capital is the place to be this summer for aficionados of postwar German art as yet unfamiliar with the extraordinary and provocative oeuvre of Markus Lüpertz. After more than five decades slugging it out in the studio daily, the artist, now age seventy-five, is finally being accorded his first retrospective in America—and in two major museums to boot! While the Phillips will present a full-scale overview of his work made between the early 1960s and the present, the Hirshhorn will put on display dozens of the artist’s seminal early paintings from 1962 to 1975. Marking the first collaboration between the two institutions, these exhibitions share a common aim: to reveal just how deeply intertwined Lüpertz’s work is with German history, particularly the nightmare years between 1933 and 1945. Together the two shows are bound to be not just explosive but enlightening. 

Pamela Kort

“99 CENTS OR LESS”

MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART DETROIT (MOCAD)
DETROIT
Through August 6
Curated by Jens Hoffmann

The largest municipal default in US history occurred when the city of Detroit, roughly $20 billion in the hole, filed for bankruptcy in the summer of 2013. In the years before and after the municipal wipeout, a deflated real estate market made the metropolis a low-cost Shangri-la for artists and artisans looking for space on the cheap. This socioeconomic background provides the context for MoCAD’s sprawling group show, which proceeds from the idea of giving ninety-nine American artists $99 each to spend at 99-cent stores to create new works, which will then be sold for $999 apiece to support the museum. It’s a conceit that has a welcome whiff of candid transparency to it, and one that invites consideration of subjects such as the commodification of artistic labor and the relationship of the museum to the art market. A catalogue and an extensive series of public events on these and related issues will accompany the exhibition.

Jeffrey Kastner

Two self-adhesive name tags from Paul Ramírez Jonas’s Hello I Am, Hello I Was (detail), 2012.

“Paul Ramírez Jonas: Atlas, Plural, Monumental”

CONTEMPORARY ARTS MUSEUM HOUSTON
HOUSTON
Through August 6
Curated by Dean Daderko

An artist for whom audience participation is at the very conceptual—and ethical—core of his practice, Paul Ramírez Jonas creates work that is not simply for civic spaces but also interrogates how such spaces and the publics they serve are constituted. Over the past decade, the artist’s engagement with the mechanics of sociospatial interaction has become increasingly physicalized—whether involving the distribution of keys that offer individuals access to (alternately) a single tiny park or a city’s worth of museums and other culturally notable sites, or the creation of sculptures that formally mimic grand monuments but whose true function is broadly egalitarian, intended to support conversation. This midcareer retrospective features a selection of Ramírez Jonas’s work from the past twenty-five years, including site-specific interventions here represented by artifacts and didactic materials, and is accompanied by a catalogue with essays by the artist, Daderko, Bill Arning, Claire Barliant, and Shannon Jackson.

Jeffrey Kastner

Agnes Martin, The Book, 1959, gouache and ink on paper mounted on canvas, 24 × 17 7/8". From “Between Land and Sea: Artists of the Coenties Slip.” © Agnes Martin/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

“Between Land and Sea: Artists of the Coenties Slip”

THE MENIL COLLECTION
HOUSTON
Through August 6
Curated by Michelle White

The ghosts of Herman Melville and Walt Whitman haunt Coenties Slip, an inlet near the Brooklyn Bridge in Lower Manhattan, where for a period of time in the 1950s and ’60s a community of artists, filmmakers, and writers lived—sometimes illegally, without heat or water—and worked in ramshackle warehouses (Ellsworth Kelly would drop in on Agnes Martin to eat her homemade muffins and talk art). The Menil’s compact exhibition of twenty-seven works by Chryssa, Robert Indiana, Kelly, Martin, Lenore Tawney, and Jack Youngerman will reflect the artists’ range—from Martin’s pared-down abstractions to a large-scale linen-and-silk weaving by Tawney—and rapport. While these renowned figures have enjoyed numerous solo exhibitions, the last show that focused on the group as a whole was at Pace Gallery in New York in 1993. Martin spoke of the slip as existing somehow outside the city, in nature. “Between Land and Sea” celebrates this place apart—a fertile if humble ground for modernism.

Prudence Peiffer

Annabeth Rosen, Talley, 2011, ceramic, wire, steel, casters, 46 1/2 × 29 × 22".

“ANNABETH ROSEN: FIRED, BROKEN, GATHERED, HEAPED”

CONTEMPORARY ARTS MUSEUM HOUSTON
HOUSTON
August 19 - November 26
Curated by Valerie Cassel Oliver

CAMH brings together more than two decades’ worth of Annabeth Rosen’s work in the prolific ceramicist’s first major survey. Eighty-some sculptures will be accompanied by forty works on paper, all reiterating the artist’s longtime method of composition: aggregating discrete forms to produce a cohesive whole. While the two-dimensional ground in her flat works unites myriad small shapes, Rosen’s three-dimensional pieces evidence a pragmatic engagement with the dynamics of gravity. Her small clay pieces are bound with wire or pressed together prior to firing, allowing the finished works to stand unsupported. Rosen has exhibited widely over the past thirty years, yet her work has never received the attention bestowed on peers such as Arlene Shechet. “Fired, Broken, Gathered, Heaped” and its attendant catalogue (featuring essays by critic Nancy Princenthal and scholar Jenni Sorkin) should do much to remedy the oversight.

Cat Kron