• Gillian Wearing, 2 into 1, 1997, still from a color video. 4 minutes 3 seconds.

    Gillian Wearing, 2 into 1, 1997, still from a color video. 4 minutes 3 seconds.

    Gillian Wearing

    New Museum
    235 Bowery
    October 19, 2002–January 19, 2003

    Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania
    University of Pennsylvania 118 South 36th Street
    September 1–December 14, 2003

    Curated by Dominic Molon

    Gillian Wearing’s best-known image is probably still the photo from 1992–93 of a businessman holding a self-penned sign that says I’M DESPERATE. Her first American retrospective, though, examines what came after—beginning with Sixty Minute Silence, 1996, which shows a group of police officers trying to freeze in a portrait pose as an hour ticks by, and ending with Broad Street, 2001, which documents an evening in a Birmingham nightclub. Wearing’s interest in local human dramas sets her apart from many of her YBA peers; says curator Dominic Molon, “I’m interested in her read of British culture—her work is so focused on Britain—and there’s an alternation of tragic stories and these sweet aspects of human behavior.”

  • Carroll Dunham, First Invisible Killer, 2000.

    Carroll Dunham, First Invisible Killer, 2000.

    Carroll Dunham

    New Museum
    235 Bowery
    October 31–February 2, 2002

    Curated by Dan Cameron

    Carroll Dunham’s canvases of the past several years make a neat mess of the still-fruitful territory between abstraction and figuration. Blobs of paint morphed into puffy creatures, and more recently into phallic-nosed alpha males impotently shooting at one another. This fall we’re caught in the cross fire at a two-decade survey of Dunham’s work, organized by New Museum director Lisa Phillips and senior curator Dan Cameron (the latter joins novelist A.M. Homes, critics Sanford Schwartz and Klaus Kertess, and artist Matthew Richie in the accompanying catalogue). The exhibition includes over forty paintings and drawings, revealing the full breadth of Dunham’s references, from Surrealism and ’60s-era Eccentric Abstraction to cartoons and wood veneer.

  • Jacob Israel Avedon, father of Richard Avedon, Sarasota Florida, 1971.

    Jacob Israel Avedon, father of Richard Avedon, Sarasota Florida, 1971.

    Richard Avedon

    January 1–January 1

    The Metropolitan Museum of Art
    1000 Fifth Avenue
    September 26, 2002–January 5, 2003

    Curated by Laura Hoptman

    Richard Avedon’s life as a portrait photographer began in the ’40s when he was assigned to take mug shots in the merchant marines. “I must have taken pictures of maybe 100,000 baffled faces before it ever occurred to me I was becoming a photographer,” he said. That experience may explain why Avedon’s style is so stringent. The 180 pictures in “Richard Avedon: Portraits,” curated by Maria Morris Hambourg, run from the ’40s to the present. But the focus is Avedon’s gift to the Metropolitan Museum of the 115 photographs from his landmark 1975 show at the Marlborough Gallery: images of writers, actors, artists, criminals, psychiatrists, philosophers, and lawyers, as well as three mural-size group portraits of the Chicago Seven, the Mission Council, and Andy Warhol’s Factory.

  • Duet (detail), 2000.

    Duet (detail), 2000.

    Lorna Simpson

    Whitney Museum of American Art
    99 Gansevoort Street
    October 11, 2002–January 26, 2003

    Curated by Sylvia Wolf

    In this fall’s look at the art of Lorna Simpson, the Whitney offers not one but two tightly focused exhibitions. On the second floor, the recently completed film installation 31, which premiered at Documenta11, is accompanied by screenings of three earlier works—Call Waiting, 1997; Recollection, 1998; and Duet, 2000—which, according to Whitney film and video curator Chrissie Iles, articulate Simpson’s investment in the tradition of auteurs like Jean-Luc Godard and Chantal Akerman. Meanwhile, a group of new photo-based works selected by Whitney curator of photography Sylvia Wolf extend Simpson’s signature explorations of portraiture and language, focusing her examination of the semiotics of gender and race.

  • Criss-Crossed Conveyors, Ford Plant, 1927.

    Criss-Crossed Conveyors, Ford Plant, 1927.

    The Photography of Charles Sheeler

    Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
    465 Huntington Avenue
    October 23, 2002–February 2, 2003

    Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)
    5905 Wilshire Boulevard
    January 1–January 1, 2002

    The Metropolitan Museum of Art
    1000 Fifth Avenue
    January 1–January 1, 2002

    Curated by Theodore E. Stebbins Jr. and Gilles Mora

    Photography by no means played second fiddle to Charles Sheeler’s work as a Precisionist painter. He was a true professional, earning his living from commissions (for Vanity Fair and Vogue, for example), and memorably recorded many disappearing aspects of American rural life as well as contemporary industrial architecture. This ambitious exhibition of more than 120 photographs (selected by Harvard University Art Museums curator Theodore E. Stebbins Jr. and French critic Gilles Mora) confirms his reputation as a master of the medium, a standing that may even eclipse his renown as a painter.

  • Laura Owens, Untitled, 2000.

    Laura Owens, Untitled, 2000.

    Drawing Now: Eight Propositions

    MoMA QNS - Museum of Modern Art
    4520 33rd Street
    October 17, 2002–January 6, 2003

    Curated by Maria Morris Hambourg

    “Drawing is a verb,” Richard Serra’s bluntly provocative formulation, was the keynote back in 1976, when MoMA organized its first “Drawing Now” survey. For the third go-round, curator Laura Hoptman turns the tables: “Drawing is a noun again,” she notes wryly. But her show does more than highlight a shift toward unapologetic objectmaking. The “Eight Propositions” of her title are essentially professional fields (animation, fashion, architecture, etc.) from which artists like Kara Walker, John Currin, Chris Ofili, and Takashi Murakami have adapted their often intricate and implicitly narrative iconographies. Whether or not “Drawing Now” succeeds in crystallizing the rhetorical temperament of so much recent art, it ends up as a pictorialist’s banquet.

  • Still from the video Manus Spleen 4, 2002.

    Still from the video Manus Spleen 4, 2002.

    Rosemarie Trockel

    Dia Center for the Arts
    542 West 22nd Street
    October 16, 2002–June 15, 2003

    Curated by Lynne Cooke

    Rosemarie Trockel emerged in the ’80s as a sculptor, making sardonically elegant and enigmatically feminist objects like a triple-handled janitor’s push broom and a knit “painting” incorporating the Kantian cogito in spidery script. Recently, however, she has concentrated on video—no less elegantly sardonic and enigmatic, but now with a goofy insouciance thrown into the mix. For Trockel’s first major American museum show since 1991, curator Lynne Cooke puts together a suite of new video projections unified by a structure of cantilevered aluminum walls and ambient light, all investigating the artist’s ongoing interest in confinement, comfort, habitat, and habit.

  • Vase of Flowers, 1927.

    Vase of Flowers, 1927.

    Jean Fautrier

    Harvard Art Museums
    32 Quincy Street
    July 16, 2013–July 20, 2003

    Haggerty Museum of Art
    1234 W Tory Hill St Marquette University
    September 19–December 29, 2002

    Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Art Gallery, Columbia University
    615 W. 129th Street 6th Floor
    January 28–March 29, 2003

    Curated by Curtis L. Carter and Karen Butler

    Jean Fautrier’s art has always been a matter of taste, and his often seemed pretty bad, down to the snakeskin shoes he famously wore to the opening of his war-inspired “Hostage” series. Some critics argue that the later paintings’ flirtation with kitsch is deliberate. Now we have a chance to judge for ourselves with this long-overdue first US retrospective. Organized by Haggerty Museum director Curtis L. Carter and Karen Butler of Columbia University, the exhibition surveys Fautrier’s forty-year career and is accompanied by a catalogue with contributions by the curators, along with Yve-Alain Bois, Benjamin H.D. Buchloh, and Rachel Perry.