previews

  • Diana Thater

    Dia Center for the Arts
    542 West 22nd Street
    January 24–January 1

    Diana Thater has spent her career larking the call of the wild, video-taping exotic animals like wolves, zebrasa, and Andalusian stallions. This isn’t Discovery Channel fare, though. Thater’s colorful, complex video installations investigate nature as a fluid concept, created by us and for us as a construct against which to locate our own identities. At Dia, monitors on the floor and projections on the walls and ceiling will fill the cavernous third floor in this, the artist’s largest American commission to date. Her subject is the honeybee and its systems of communicating and mapping space—an apiarian analogue, perhaps, for the spirit of the hive as evidenced in our own attempts to map and navigate our wired universe.

  • Andreas Gursky

    MoMA - The Museum of Modern Art
    11 West 53rd Street
    February 28–May 15

    Andreas Gursky distinguished himself in the ’80s with panoramic landscapes bearing the telltale signs of the postindustrial world. In the ’90s, his focus expanded to include frenetic scenes of late capitalist life, with richly colored, often digitally manipulated images of stock exchanges, hotel lobbies, and raves. “Gursky’s photographs just knock your socks off,” comments the show’s curator, Peter Galassi. “He sustains a competition with painting. His is the same art world as Gerhard Richter’s, influenced by German Romanticism, American abstraction from Pollock to Minimalism, Pop and Conceptual art.” Comprising some forty works, Gursky’s fist major US retrospective promises several pictures never before publicly exhibited (see articles, p. 104).

  • The Architect's Other Passion: Frank Lloyd Wright and the Art of Japan

    Japan Society
    333 East 47th Street
    March 28–July 15

    America’s foremost rogue-genius architect had many passions, and right up there with his adoration of landscape, his lust for women, and his vaunted narcissism was his love of Japan. Wright’s first encounter with Eastern architecture, at the Columbian Exposition in Chicago, had lasting effects on his work. He made several extended visits to Japan between 1917 and 1922, returning to Spring Green with a trove of ukiyo-e and surimono prints and becoming one of the first Americans to deal in Japanese art. This exhibition documents Wright’s unapologetic enthusiasm, juxtaposing photographs, models, and prototypes of his buildings and furniture with pieces from his personal collection.

  • BitStreams

    Whitney Museum of American Art
    99 Gansevoort Street
    March 22–June 10

    “Exploring the reverberations of digital technology in contemporary art and culture” is like counting the fish in the Mississippi: pointless unless there’s an insightful a priori focus to the project. Thus “BitStreams” is likely to be of interest as much for indicating the tastes of Lawrence Rinder, the new curator from Berkeley who came to the museum via his participation in the most recent Biennial, as for showing us what “new creative tools” artists are using these days. Rinder is considered a multimedia maven. He’s also been known to write rhymed verse for public consumption. We can’t wait to see if the bard is as big as his byte.

  • Committed to the Image: Contemporary Black Photographers

    Brooklyn Museum
    200 Eastern Parkway
    February 16–April 29

    Organized by a team of four led by BMA curator of photography Barbara Head Millstein, this selection of more than ninety photographers (from established figures like Carrie Mae Weems and Gordon Parks to newcomers Fern Logan and Accra Shepp), represented by two works apiece, should nicely map the terrain. Restricted to currently practicing photographers, “Committed to the Image” nonetheless promises a historical scope. To be included: iconic civil rights images and portraits of cultural figures, as well as recent work addressing the political and social struggles of today and the emergence of the black middle class. Two years in the making, this ambitious show should prove worth the wait.