PRINT May 2001

US Shorts

Emily Erikson and Richard Shone

IF IT’S SUMMERTIME, THE ART MUST be easy, right? Not judging by a host of upcoming exhibitions that could set a policy wonk’s cold heart on fire. At the Aldrich Museum in Ridgefield, Connecticut, “Art at the Edge of the Law” (June 3–Sept. 9) aims to explore “art’s function in helping to define a truly free society.” Organized by assistant director Richard Klein and curator Jessica Hough and including Mark Lombardi, Tom Sachs, and Fred Tomaselli, the show finds artists taking on such big topics as drug use, the bearing of firearms, international money laundering, and other contested pursuits. A related sense of engagement animates the work of Torolab, a Tijuana-based collective that has focused for the past half decade on living conditions in the border region. The group’s first solo show in the US will demonstrate its agenda with utopic art, architecture, fashion, and design (San Diego Museum of Contemporary Art, July 1–Sept. 25). On the other coast, Tacita Dean’s contribution to the Hirshhorn’s Directions series will focus on a different set of border conflicts. Her Fernsehturm, one of two films to be shown at the Washington, DC, venue, offers a revolving view taken from the top of the famous television tower in Alexanderplatz, Berlin, a prominent symbol of the late GDR.

The Andy Warhol Museum’s “Popular CultureS” (June 8–Sept. 2), doesn’t leave off the last “s” for savings. With that big “S,” the emphasis is on multiplicity, and the works—Michael Parekowhai’s guitars, Ravinder Reddy’s gilded goddesses, and Yinka Shonibare’s Victorian clothing with African patterns—should demonstrate how regional cultures and traditions appropriate mass artifacts for their own purposes. A different collision between the pop and the mass takes place in Navin Rawanchaikul’s New York City project. The Thai artist is distributing free taxi-themed comic books in cabs throughout the city this summer. Organized by P.S. 1 deputy director Tom Finkelpearl with the Public Art Fund, this inaugural installment of the Public Art Studio series opens May 20.

Pop art proper (with just a touch of the post-Minimal) makes its influence known in a pair of related solo shows at Bard’s Center for Curatorial Studies this summer. Recycler extraordinaire Tony Feher will fill the CCS’s galleries with a site-specific project incorporating new and earlier work; and midair assembler Sarah Sze will construct her first large-scale outdoor project. Director Amada Cruz promises a Sze installation that “winks at the bunkerlike feel of the [CCS] building” (June 24–Sept. 9). And, for Pop classic, the Neuberger Museum of Art, Purchase, New York, will present twenty-five works by Marisol, dating back to the ’50s (June 17–Sept. 2).

The darker side of the creative impulse takes the spotlight in “Metamorphosis and Cloning,” at the Musée d’Art Contemporain, Montreal, where eleven artists, including Xavier Veilhan, Vanessa Beecroft, and Spencer Tunick (who plans to orchestrate one of his signature massive nude lie-ins on the Place des Arts), will participate in an effort to investigate the effects of bio-technological advances (May 25–Sept. 2). In a lighter vein, Paul Henry Ramirez will continue to explore what he calls “the comedy of our bodily functions” in “Elevations Transcendsualistic,” an installation of paintings at the Cincinnati Contemporary Arts Center (June 23–Aug. 26). And at the Metropolitan Museum, five residually figurative bronze-and-aluminum Joel Shapiro sculptures (two of them brand new) will be on view in the celebrated Cantor Roof Garden from May 1 to late fall (weather permitting).

Emily Erikson



Race in Digital Space” (MIT List Visual Arts Center, Apr. 26-July 1) is also a race to digital space. Who will set the standard operating procedure for information exchange in this new field? Independent curator Erika Muhammad, formerly of the Whitney and the American Museum of the Moving Image, draws on the long history of creative interface with technology in DJ culture and jazz fusion to focus on the dialogic and performative (rather than commercial) aspects of Internet technologies. The digital salon, soundscapes, and thirty-year film and video retrospective will include works by Keith Piper, Sanford Biggers, Paul Pfeiffer, and over forty others.

Emily Erikson



Yet another single-aspect show of Picasso’s work. Guest curator Michael FitzGerald, whose 1995 book Making Modernism explored the master’s relations with his dealers and market, shifts attention from the gallery to a more elusive space in “Picasso: The Artist’s Studio,” a career-spanning selection of portraits, still lifes, and interiors. Judging from the lineup of paintings and drawings, the definition of “studio” is loose but becomes much more profitable during Picasso’s last twenty years in the south of France, represented here by more focused loans. A comprehensive catalogue completes the project. (Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford, CT, June 9–Sept. 23; Cleveland Museum of Art, Oct. 21–Jan. 6, 2002.)

Richard Shone