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.

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
June 22 - 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
May 28 - 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