• Jackson Pollock

    MoMA - The Museum of Modern Art
    11 West 53rd Street
    November 1, 1998–February 2, 1999

    Could the last Pollock retrospective in the States really have been in 1967? Even the French and Germans had one more recently (1981). At MoMA, where Kirk Varnedoe, assisted by Pepe Karmel, will present about 200 works, Americans will have to start from scratch. Does the real action only begin in 1947, or will we now be just as fascinated by Pollock’s first act, anchored by the huge Peggy Guggenheim mural of 1943? And maybe we’ll discover an equally fresh finale, 1950–56, centered on the offbeat accents of Blue Poles. This three-part drama promises to confirm both the spine-tingling reality of the textbook classics and to resurrect an unfamiliar artist who could paint as well as he poured. Nov. 1, 1998–Feb 2, 1999; travels to the Tate Gallery, London, Mar. 4–May 31, 1999.

  • Bob Thompson

    Whitney Museum of American Art
    99 Gansevoort Street
    September 25, 1998–January 3, 1999

    Suppose that Basquiat had been a smash and Hollywood wanted a follow-up. There’d be Bob Thompson the movie. And they wouldn’t have to make up a thing: young black hipster painter pals with legendary jazz musicians, lives high, wanders through Europe, shows with legendary New York gallery (Martha Jackson), lives high, dies horribly early, at twenty-nine, in 1966. If he hadn’t existed, as was said of Pollock, Time-Life would have had to invent him. Given the mythifying circumstances, we’re way overdue another look at Thompson’s actual work, to which Meyer Schapiro, no less, ascribed a “rhapsodical hotness.” And how many artists get written about by both Schapiro and Jackie McLean?

  • Edgar Degas, Photographer

    The Metropolitan Museum of Art
    1000 Fifth Avenue
    October 14, 1998–January 3, 1999

    In his up-to-the-minute enthusiasm for photography, Edgar Degas was the first artist to know how not to abuse the medium in his work; he understood what to digest and what to leave aside. Late in life he himself went behind the camera; most of his extant photographs, of nearly all of his family and of friends such as Renoir and Mallarme, date from a single year, 1895. This spare but powerful oeuvre (along with related paintings and works on paper) is being shown in full for the first time, with an accompanying catalogue by Malcolm Daniel, Eugenia Parry, and Theodore Reff. Oct. 14, 1998–Jan. 3, 1999; travels to J. Paul Getty Museum, Feb. 2–Mar. 28, 1999; Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris, May 11–July 31, 1999.

  • Inside Out: New Chinese Art

    Asia Society and Museum
    725 Park Avenue
    September 15, 1998–January 3, 1999

    Also on view at P.S. 1

    Curated by art historian Gao Minglu, “Inside Out” surveys some eighty-plus works (in a range of media) by artists from the Mainland, Taiwan, and Hong Kong, as well as by several expatriates. The “one-China” approach may touch a nerve, mirroring as it does the policy of Beijing. Still, the works on view should help answer the question, What is the role of art in this climate? Does it assume a position of moral authority (read: pro-democracy)? Reflect a consumer class waiting out the “transitional period” in anticipation of the market triumph over ideology? Or is international recognition the leading desire? Sept. 15, 1998–Jan. 3, 1999; travels to SF MoMA and Asian Art Museum, San Francisco, Feb. 26–June 1, 1999; and additional venues.

  • “Premises: Invested Spaces in Visual Arts, Architecture, and Design from France, 1958–98”

    Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum | New York
    1071 Fifth Avenue
    October 14, 1998–January 1, 1999

    Over the past couple of decades, French art seems to have missed the boat. British art stole the show in the ’90s; the Germans ruled the ’80s. All else is ancient history, right? Mais non! “Premises” casts four decades of French work through the lens of Paris’ flourishing postwar avant-garde. The show promises also to explore the relation of visual work to architecture and design, intellectual theory, soixante-huitard politics, and New Wave cinema. Of course, one only hopes that, amid all these cultural achievements, the visual art holds its own.

  • “Dancing at the Louvre: Faith Ringgold's French Collection and Other Story Quilts”

    New Museum
    235 Bowery
    October 1, 1998–January 3, 1999

    The sophisticated populism of Faith Ringgold’s art allows it to glide across cultural and generational boundaries, like those separating children’s storybooks from mature meditations on history and identity. Organized by Dan Cameron, this first museum exhibition devoted to her narrative quilt-paintings features two series: “The French Collection,” which tells of an African-American artist in ’20s Paris, and “The American Collection,” in which the subject’s daughter becomes an artist in postwar America. Oct. 1, 1998–Jan. 3, 1999; travels to Baltimore Museum of Art and additional venues.