previews

  • Mary Cassatt: Modern Woman

    The Art Institute of Chicago
    111 South Michigan Avenue
    October 13, 1998–January 10, 1999

    More often than not, the Mary Cassatt that springs to mind is an abridged edition—Impressionist painter of mothers and children. This first retrospective of the artist’s work in three decades undermines such fashioning. Curated by the Art Institute’s Judith A. Barter, the exhibition opens in Chicago with ninety paintings, pastels, and prints. Together with a catalogue of scholarly essays, Barter’s show will frame Cassatt’s scenes of domestic and public life in relation to her upper-middle-class world, her Modernist style, and the issues of her day: neo-natalism, spiritualism, the Dreyfus affair, and suffrage. Oct. 13, 1998–Jan. 10, 1999; travels to Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Feb. 14–May 9, 1999; National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, June 6–Sept. 6, 1999.

  • Jana Sterbak

    Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (MCA Chicago)
    220 East Chicago Avenue
    October 10, 1998–February 21, 1999

    As this midcareer survey, curated by the MCA’s Amada Cruz, will undoubtedly make clear, Jana Sterbak’s work packs a punch—included is a re-creation of her infamous chair made of fresh flank steak. But her art doesn’t end there. In more conservative, and conservable, media—photographs, videos, installation, and mechanical sculptures—Sterbak images states of abjection; drawing on a formal vocabulary and idioms that originate in feminist practice, she comments on the fragility of identity without falling prey to sentimentality. And there’s enough edge and voyeuristic appeal to make the horror seductive.

  • Julia Margaret Cameron's Women

    The Art Institute of Chicago
    111 South Michigan Avenue
    September 19, 1998–January 10, 1999

    There are plenty of nineteenth-century photographs of women; few, though, were actually made by women. Of those that were, Julia Margaret Cameron’s stand out, as much for their self-conscious dramatization of identity (think ’80s tableau photography) as for their Pre-Raphaelite sensibility. According to Art Institute curator Sylvia Wolf, who selected the sixty prints on view, the aim is to demonstrate “what it meant to be a Victorian woman making pictures of women.” Another point that’s hard to miss is Cameron’s importance in establishing an art of photography beyond the bounds of pure documentation. Sept. 19, 1998–Jan. 10, 1999; travels to Museum of Modern Art, New York; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.