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.

Carol Rama, Le tagliole (The Traps), 1966, red fox hide and enamel on canvas, 23 5/8 × 19 3/4".

“CAROL RAMA: ANTIBODIES”

NEW MUSEUM
NEW YORK
Curated by Helga Christoffersen and Massimiliano Gioni

Just two months after the widely traveled European retrospective “The Passion According to Carol Rama” closed in Turin, the first New York survey of the late Italian artist’s work opened at the New Museum. While it’s a shame “The Passion” didn’t cross the Atlantic, “Antibodies”—which features 175 works and an accompanying catalogue with essays by Italian writer and curator Lea Vergine and LA-based critic Sarah Lehrer-Graiwer—more than makes up for the loss. Spanning seven decades, the exhibition covers the full range of Rama’s practice, from the frank and fantastic eroticism of her early watercolors of the 1930s and ’40s, to the abstract abjection of the ’60s “Bricolages” and latex “vulnerable organisms,” to the carnality of her late-career figuration, embodied here in, for example, the mixed-media series “La mucca pazza” (The Mad Cow), ca. 1996–2001. “Antibodies” thus offers New York audiences a comprehensive—and long-overdue—consideration of Rama’s provocative representations of sexuality, illness, and the body.

Rachel Churner

BUNNY ROGERS

WHITNEY MUSEUM OF AMERICAN ART
NEW YORK
Through September 1
Curated by Elisabeth Sherman and Margaret Kross

From the vintage virtual realm of Neopia (home to magical Neopets) to online communities of Columbiners (devotees of the 1999 Colorado high school massacre), the young multimedia artist Bunny Rogers mines the morbid, sentimental, and emboldening cybermythologies of girl culture to produce talismanic objects and sorrowful installations. Her sensibility is inimitable—she finds impossible, resonant connections between disparate images or events—and her exquisitely handmade or fabricated objects, as well as her videos, are united by a startling, mannered aesthetic. Many of her sculptural works—her dyed and beribboned mops, for example, or her melted cafeteria chairs—possess the seductive and often frightening air of having stepped out of a 3-D rendering and into our world. This is but one of the artist’s powers, though; Rogers is an innovative, confrontational poet and performer, too, and there’s no telling what she’ll do on the occasion of her first institutional exhibition, for which she’s producing an entirely new body of work.

Johanna Fateman

“REI KAWAKUBO/COMME DES GARÇONS: ART OF THE IN-BETWEEN”

COSTUME INSTITUTE, METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART
NEW YORK
Through September 4
Curated by Andrew Bolton

Rei Kawakubo remains the most rigorous of the designers who first incited deconstruction in fashion. For nearly four decades, she has intervened on every level of production and distribution, sabotaging fabric by loosening the screws of mechanical looms, deploying consistently oblique methods of advertising, radically deforming the shape of clothes, even selling absolutely abstruse ideas of what a perfume can be. This spring, she is being given the rarest honor: a monographic show at the Met, the first for a living fashion designer since Yves Saint Laurent’s in 1983. The Costume Institute’s presentation will span the entire international existence of Comme des Garçons, featuring approximately 150 womenswear pieces, going back to the label’s infamous 1981 Paris debut. Despite this conventional retrospective scope, expect the show to defy grandeur, maybe even make you feel a bit off: Kawakubo enmeshes porous global consumers in the full spectrum of their feelings—up to and including alienation.

Ken Okiishi

“We Wanted a Revolution: Black Radical Women, 1965–85”

BROOKLYN MUSEUM
NEW YORK
Through September 17
Curated by Catherine Morris with Rujeko Hockley

The title “We Wanted a Revolution” might seem to imply a wistful retrospection on the two decades that witnessed the rise of second-wave feminism and the Black Power movement in the US. Yet the 130-some puissant artworks gathered for this show promise an incisive exploration of black female radicality in variegated forms—whether the mixed-media assemblages of Betye Saar or Faith Ringgold’s silk screens of the people’s flag or a costume from Lorraine O’Grady’s 1980 performance Mlle Bourgeoise Noire. The exhibition will offer a rare opportunity to view works by Beverly Buchanan, Barbara Chase-Riboud, and Janet Henry, whose names have come to the fore in the past few years but remain lesser known than those of their heavy-hitter counterparts. The diversity of media represented—from painting to sculpture, printmaking, installation, and documentation—should guarantee a rich spectrum of praxes and an abundance of surprising juxtapositions.

Andrianna Campbell

Florine Stettheimer, Portrait of My Sister, Ettie Stettheimer, 1923, oil on canvas mounted on hardboard, 40 3/8 × 26 1/4".

“FLORINE STETTHEIMER: PAINTING POETRY”

THE JEWISH MUSEUM
NEW YORK
Through September 24
Curated by Stephen Brown and Georgiana Uhlyarik

I grew up assuming Florine Stettheimer was famous, since a large painting of hers hung at my hometown museum, the Art Institute of Chicago. But it turned out I was lucky to have regular access to a Stettheimer, because even though she hosted a well-known salon and had pals like Duchamp and Stieglitz, she remained obscure to a wider art public until half a century after her death, when, in 1995, the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York held a retrospective of her work. Working in private, she was able to forge a distinct pictorial terrain, with town and country rendered as sprawling polychromatic sprees. Stettheimer remains a relatively rare bird, but this spring the Jewish Museum will again “turn on her light” (to paraphrase a line from her undated poem “Occasionally”). More than fifty of this modern master’s paintings and drawings will be on display alongside a selection of her costume designs, stage sets, and assorted ephemera in a context befitting her life as the consummate insider-outsider of haute Jewish Manhattan. Travels to the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, Oct. 21, 2017–Jan. 28, 2018.

Amy Sillman

Frank Lloyd Wright, “Fallingwater,” House for Edgar J. Kaufmann, Bear Run, Pennsylvania, 1935, colored pencil and graphite on paper, 15 3/8 × 25 1/4". © The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation Archives.

“FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT AT 150: UNPACKING THE ARCHIVE”

MOMA - THE MUSEUM OF MODERN ART
NEW YORK
Through October 1
Curated by Barry Bergdoll with Jennifer Gray

MoMA’s exhibition on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of Frank Lloyd Wright’s birth also celebrates the institution’s 2012 joint acquisition, with Columbia University’s Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library, of Wright’s vast archive. The museum’s tenth show of Wright’s designs, “Unpacking the Archive” will be its largest, comprising some 450 pieces in various media. While visitors will find many celebrated masterpieces—such as Fallingwater (1937), the Johnson Wax Administration Building (1939), and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (1959)—rendered in glorious drawings and superbly restored models, lesser-known (and largely unbuilt) projects, critically framed within their historical contexts, will also be represented. Examples include a model farm, a school for African American children in Virginia, a country club, and a “mile-high skyscraper.” Bergdoll, Gray, and fourteen other scholars discuss select archival objects in the accompanying catalogue, addressing the care needed to preserve Wright’s legacy, questions of authorship, and the architect’s brilliant gift for self-promotion.

Dietrich Neumann