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.

Jorge Pedro Núñez, El sueño de una casa (Mari-Mari Rosado) (The Dream of a House [Mari-Mari Rosado]), 2011, collage on paper, 13 3/4 × 11 7/8". From “Home—So Different, So Appealing: Art from the Americas Since 1957.”


Through October 15
Curated by Pilar Tompkins Rivas, Chon A. Noriega, and Mari Carmen Ramírez

Organized in collaboration with the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, this expansive exhibition will gather more than ninety works spanning seven decades by forty Latino and Latin American artists working in the US and abroad. The notion of home as a spatial—rather than sociological—parameter provides the curatorial premise for a show unconstrained by temporal boundaries, revealing the complexity of both the term and the experiences it frames. The exhibition and attendant catalogue encompass myriad reflections on domesticity, identity construction, and displacement and promise a wide range of perspectives to match the diversity of backgrounds of the represented artists, for whom home is both a lived reality and an idealized projection. Travels to the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Nov. 19, 2017–Feb. 4, 2018.

Catalina Lozano

Dara Friedman, Government Cut Freestyle, 1998, 16 mm transferred to digital video, color, silent, 9 minutes 20 seconds.


November 3 - March 4, 2018
Curated by René Morales

In one of her earliest films, Friedman slowly and systematically trashes a room, shattering plates, smashing chairs, and stomping dresser drawers. The Super 8 footage of Total, 1997, was printed in reverse, however, so what we see instead is a lurching, mystical return to order. As in many of the films to follow, from the two-channel 16-mm Bim Bam, 1999, to the cacophonous multiscreen Dichter (Poet, 2017), Friedman uses structural film techniques—looping, flicker effects, color fields, and asynchronicity of image and sound—to highly emotive ends. Though her films have gotten bigger and bolder—fifty-five singers perform in the forty-eight-minute-long Musical, 2007–2008, and sixty-six in Dancer, 2011, for example—her interests in intimacy, affection, and magic have remained. With two dozen works and an accompanying catalogue, the first midcareer survey of this Miami-based artist offers a welcome chance to track the movements of her evocative, empathic oeuvre over the past twenty years. 

Rachel Churner

Pascale Marthine Tayou, Masque délavé (Faded Mask) (detail), 2015, mixed media on twenty-five wooden masks, dimensions variable.


October 8 - April 2, 2018
Curated by Silvia Karman Cubiñá and Leilani Lynch

Tayou possesses one of the quirkiest and most irreverent artistic sensibilities around: Having abandoned the study of law for art, he revels in contradiction, mysticism, and delphic aphorism, all of which he cloaks in riotous color and sparkly lights. In this show—organized in close collaboration with the artist himself—Tayou will present a range of assemblages from the past decade, including his signature crystal doll sculptures, “Poupées Pascale,” 2007–17, and his chalk mosaics, “Fresques de craies,” 2015–16. He will ruffle the permanent collection and build a wall of neon WELCOME signs in more than seventy languages. They will all be “beautiful,” even as—and because—they participate in Tayou’s genteel efforts to decolonize the museum. Is this “welcome” a nod to the colonial encounter that produced modernism and its museums? And by beautiful does Tayou (following philosopher and critic Elaine Scarry) also mean fair, as in just? You decide, remembering that Tayou’s tongue is happiest in his cheek.

Leora Maltz-Leca

Jay DeFeo, untitled, 1987, Xerox, 11 × 73⁄8". From “Mechanisms.”


October 12 - February 24, 2018
Curated by Anthony Huberman

“Mechanisms” situates itself in a tradition of machinic shows, most famously Pontus Hultén’s 1968–69 encyclopedic presentation “The Machine as Seen at the End of the Mechanical Age.” But where Hultén filled MoMA's galleries with hardware—ranging from a race car to Robert Rauschenberg’s metal assemblage Oracle, 1962–65—and emphasized the items’ autonomy as objects, the roughly one hundred sculptures, photographs, videos, paintings, and site-specific installations Huberman has selected for “Mechanisms,” by artists including Aaron Flint Jamison and Park McArthur, demonstrate how all sorts of things, from animal traps to data-analysis software, structure their environments. For Huberman, mechanisms still take command, but indirectly. While Hultén’s catalogue had a tin-and-steel cover fabricated by a Swedish beer-can manufacturer, one can’t help but wonder whether the “Mechanisms” monograph, which features an essay by Huberman, will reach a wider audience on paper or somewhere up in the cloud. Travels to the Secession, Vienna, summer 2018. 

Alex Kitnick

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


November 8 - 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. Centering on the often-forgotten female voices of the civil rights movement, 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.”


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