• The Private Collection of Edgar Degas

    The Metropolitan Museum of Art
    1000 Fifth Avenue
    October 1, 1997–January 11, 1998

    Without a doubt, Degas was one of the greatest artist-collectors of all time. On the heels of the 1996 show at London’s National Gallery featuring gems from the master’s trove of largely nineteenth-century French art (dispersed at auction after his death), the Met reunites the lion’s share of the remaining works. Organized by Gary Tinterow, Ann Dumas, Colta Ives, and Susan Alyson Stein, the exhibition includes works by Degas himself, retained by the artist as choice specimens for his never-realized museum, on view alongside those of Manet, Gauguin, and Cassatt, all caught at moments of perfect achievement. Drawings and paintings by Degas’ idol Ingres should whet the appetite for the Met’s upcoming show of the Neoclassicist’s portraits.

  • On the Edge: The Werner and Elaine Dannheisser Collection

    MoMA - The Museum of Modern Art
    11 West 53rd Street
    September 30, 1997–January 20, 1998

    Elaine Dannheisser—the colorful collector who butted heads with Morley Safer on the notorious 60 Minutes segment trashing contemporary art—seems an archetype of the ’80s, a decade when patrons at times eclipsed artists. Will the art she amassed with husband Werner hold its own? Kirk Varnedoe and Robert Storr’s exhibition of MoMA’s largest acquisition of work from the period (comprising such echt-’80s stars as Jeff Koons, Robert Gober, and Anselm Kiefer) should provide the answer. Though the collection also includes artists whose reputations predate the decade, Dannheisser’s selections of ’80s headliners may have a lot to do with how the museum of record writes the era into the canon.

  • Richard Serra: Torqued Ellipses

    Dia Center for the Arts
    542 West 22nd Street
    September 25, 1997–June 14, 1998

    Perhaps the most controversial living American sculptor, Richard Serra remains best known to the broad public as the creator of Tilted Arc, the government-ordered demolition of which—it was regarded as an eyesore by office workers in a neighboring building—was a dubious milestone in the history of public art. That’s a shame, since Serra’s large-scale sculptures have been among the most thrilling things seen in galleries in the last several years. Serra remarks that the three new works, rolled plates of Cor-Ten steel, exploit “a continuousness of space, revolving from the inside out. They are not discrete things; as you move they move. The steel moves like rubber.”

  • Tracey Moffatt: Badlands

    Dia Center for the Arts
    542 West 22nd Street
    October 9, 1997–June 14, 1998

    The films and photographs of Australian artist Tracey Moffatt can cut close to the bone, referencing her childhood and Aboriginal heritage, but she also travels far afield, citing such disparate influences as Japanese cinema and Life magazine. Moffatt gets her first big New York show at Dia with “Badlands,” which includes two new and somewhat contrasting commissions: a video installation, her first, featuring a surfer as a representation of contemporary Australia; and Up in the Sky, a series of twenty-five photographs taken in and around the town of Broken Hell in the Australian outback. Also on view are Night Cries: A Rural Tragedy, a 1990 film, and Guapa (Goodlooking), a 1995 photo series about women Roller Derby players.

  • Richard Diebenkorn

    Whitney Museum of American Art
    99 Gansevoort Street
    October 9, 1997–January 11, 1998

    For many years, my closest acquaintance with the work of California painter Richard Diebenkorn was at my dentist’s office, which was adorned by two poster reproductions of works from the artist’s famed “Ocean Park” series. This sense of Diebenkorn as an agreeable, too-easily-likable salon abstractionist is up for grabs now that a full-scale retrospective, curated by Jane Livingston, is in the offing; this show of more than 150 pieces, including early abstract paintings, middle-period figurative works, and a substantial selection of canvases from “Ocean Park,” should allow for a reappraisal. Oct. 9–Jan 11; travels to the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Feb. 8–Apr. 12; Phillips Collection, Washington, DC, May 9–Aug. 16; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Oct. 9, 1998–Jan. 19, 1999.

  • Fashion and Film The Warhol Look: Glamour, Style, Fashion

    Whitney Museum of American Art
    99 Gansevoort Street
    November 5, 1997–January 8, 1998

    A good deal has been written lately about the liaison between art and fashion; these two shows follow the course of that connection. Organized by Mark Francis and Margery King of the Andy Warhol Museum, “The Warhol Look” features more than 500 paintings, drawings, and re-creations of Warhol’s window displays, contextualized through the work of forty artists, photographers, and designers, including Richard Avedon, the late Gianni Versace, and Stephen Meisel. For “Fashion and Film,” assistant curator Matthew Yokobosky has brought together fifty-plus films and videos ranging from early newsreels to documentaries about the most recent generation of auteur designers.