previews

  • Swingin' Red King and Silver Queen, 1960-61.

    Swingin' Red King and Silver Queen, 1960-61.

    H.C. Westermann

    New Museum
    235 Bowery
    June 30–September 23, 2001

    Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden
    Independence Avenue at Seventh Street, SW
    February 14–May 12, 2002

    H.C. (“Cliff”) Westermann had everything a real artist needs: a taste of the dark side (as a marine in World War II and Korea), technical skills (carpentry, woodcarving, stone masonry), art-historical grounding (Surrealism), and an engaging, original style—think R. Crumb but less worked. Oh, and he had a great art-party shtick: He’d walk around—on his hands—chomping a cigar. Organized by the MCA’s own Lynne Warren and Michael Rooks, the first major Westermann show since his 1979 Whitney retrospective brings together 131 sculptures from the ’50s until the artist’s death in 1981.

  • Giovanni Anselmo, Untitled, 1968, granite, lettuce, and wire, ca. 659/16 x 91/16 x 149/16".

    Giovanni Anselmo, Untitled, 1968, granite, lettuce, and wire, ca. 659/16 x 91/16 x 149/16".

    Zero to Infinity: Arte Povera 1962-1972

    Tate Modern
    Bankside
    May 31–August 19, 2001

    New Museum
    235 Bowery
    March 10–August 11, 2002

    Walker Art Center
    725 Vineland Place
    October 13, 2001–January 13, 2002

    The development of arte povera in Italy coincided with the rise of Minimal and Conceptual art in the United States, but while the sensibilities overlap, arte povera is distinguished by its embrace of the cultural and natural worlds and its tactile sense of materials. Cocurators Frances Morris, of Tate Modern, and Richard Flood, of the Walker Art Center, have assembled some 140 works—many of them last exhibited in the early ’60s—that provide a view of the movement from its genesis. Arte povera “became international very quickly,” says Morris. “The surprise is how Italian it is if you concentrate on the history, geography, politics, mythology.”

  • Eric Wesley, Kicking Ass, 2000. Installation view, China Art Objects, Los Angeles.

    Eric Wesley, Kicking Ass, 2000. Installation view, China Art Objects, Los Angeles.

    Freestyle

    The Studio Museum in Harlem
    429 West 127th St
    April 28–June 24, 2001

    “Freestyle” is former Whitney curator Thelma Golden’s first major contemporary exhibition since she landed at the Studio Museum as deputy director early last year, and it promises to breathe new life into that venerable Harlem institution by looking back—that is, by reviving its old mandate to showcase the latest from African-American artists. This means you’ll see work by Laylah Ali, Kojo Griffin, Rico Gatson, Eric Wesley, Kira Lynn Harris, Dave McKenzie, and Julie Mehretu, among others, in an aptly titled show that cuts across media and reflects influences and concerns ranging from hip-hop to the debates around multiculturalism. The magazine-format catalogue includes a text on each of the twenty-eight young and mostly (as yet) unrepresented artists.

  • Marc Chagall, View from the Window, on the Olcha, 1915, oil and gouache on cardboard, 391/2 x 315/8".

    Marc Chagall, View from the Window, on the Olcha, 1915, oil and gouache on cardboard, 391/2 x 315/8".

    Marc Chagall: Early Works from Russian Collections

    The Jewish Museum
    1109 Fifth Avenue
    April 29–October 14, 2001

    Although Chagall’s name now draws mostly polite disdain from art-world cognoscenti, he was once counted a major exponent of modernism. Anyone wondering why should look at his early work, with its ecstatic evocations of peasant life, a world suddenly seen as the crucible of an entirely new visual language. The Jewish Museum’s senior curator-at-large Susan Tumarkin Goodman brings together fifty-six early Chagalls, including paintings, drawings, and murals (as well as thirteen canvases by his teacher Yehuda Pen), few of which have ever been shown in the West, giving skeptics an unprecedented opportunity to see this unfashionable artist with fresh eyes.

  • Frank Gehry, Vitra Design Museum 1987-89, Weil am Rhein, Germany.

    Frank Gehry, Vitra Design Museum 1987-89, Weil am Rhein, Germany.

    Frank Gehry, Architect

    Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum | New York
    1071 Fifth Avenue
    May 18–August 26, 2001

    Frank Gehry, as we all know, is the guy who designed the absolutely fantabufuckingamazabulous Guggenheim Bilbao. The Gugg Bilbao, as we all know, is the fantabufuckingamazabulous melty building that instantly buried the pomo mall pastiche that buried the oppressive modernist steel-and-glass box. End of story? Not quite. While some feel Gehry’s sci-fi rococo will prove as lasting as ’59 Cadillac tail fins, his fans insist he’s just gotten started—witness the proposal for a new Guggenheim at the tip of Manhattan that’ll make Bilbao look like a Fotomat kiosk. To buttress the case for Gehry’s greatness, the Uptown Gugg is honoring the architect with his second New York retrospective.

  • Beat Streuli, New York 2000, 2001, c-print in plexibox frame.

    Beat Streuli, New York 2000, 2001, c-print in plexibox frame.

    Open City

    Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao

    January 21–April 28, 2002

    The Lowry

    October 20, 2001–January 7, 2002

    MoMA - The Museum of Modern Art
    11 West 53rd Street
    May 6–July 15, 2001

    If architect and urbanist Richard Rogers’s 1997 figures still hold, the world’s cities are growing by a quarter of a million people a day. Charting photography’s response to the attendant rise of the street as “natural” landscape, Hirshhorn chief curator (and former MoMA Oxford director) Kerry Brougher and UCLA Hammer Museum chief curator Russell Ferguson contrast the covert snap of the ’50s and ’60s with the elaborate productions of the late twentieth century. Artists include Robert Frank, Nobuyoshi Araki, Jeff Wall, Catherine Opie, Turner Prize-winner Wolfgang Tillmans, and Beat Streuli, who has scouted Oxford’s streets for a project devised for the occasion.

  • Edward Weston, Surf, Point Lobos, 1938, black-and-white photograph, 192/5 x 242/5".

    Edward Weston, Surf, Point Lobos, 1938, black-and-white photograph, 192/5 x 242/5".

    Edward Weston: The Last Years in Carmel

    The Art Institute of Chicago
    111 South Michigan Avenue
    June 2–September 16, 2001

    MoMA - The Museum of Modern Art
    11 West 53rd Street
    March 2–July 9, 2002

    Edward Weston is best known for the clinical precision with which he crystallized the sensuous stuff of the natural world into quintessentially modernist form. But in his later years—marked by a failing marriage, the departure of his sons for military service, and the onset of Parkinson’s disease—Weston abandoned a strictly formalist approach. His photographs from the late ’30s and ’40s eschew objectifying distance in what Art Institute curator David Travis considers a quest for deeper psychological engagement. “The Last Years in Carmel” brings together seventy-six of these rarely seen late works—family portraits, domestic interiors, and craggy views of Point Lobos, CA.

  • Ansel Adams, Yosemite, 1948, black-and-white photograph, 91/4 x 75/16".

    Ansel Adams, Yosemite, 1948, black-and-white photograph, 91/4 x 75/16".

    Ansel Adams at 100

    The Art Institute of Chicago
    111 South Michigan Avenue
    February 20–June 2, 2001

    The Art Institute of Chicago
    111 South Michigan Avenue
    February 23–June 2, 2002

    MoMA - The Museum of Modern Art
    11 West 53rd Street
    August 4, 2001–January 13, 2002

    Though Ansel Adams seemed a largely historical, irredeemably old-school character long before his death in 1984, the centennial of his birth occasions the rigorous reevaluation of one of the twentieth century’s most popular and influential photographers. Curator John Szarkowski, director emeritus of the photo department at New York’s moma, promises to focus on Adams’s early contributions to a distinctly American brand of modernism. Trust Szarkowski to get past the magnificent clichés to a new appreciation of what he calls Adams’s “profound and mystical experience of the natural world.”