• Ed Ruscha, France, 1961.

    Ed Ruscha, France, 1961.

    Ed Ruscha

    Whitney Museum of American Art
    99 Gansevoort Street
    June 27–September 26, 2004

    Curated by Margit Rowell; Sylvia Wolf

    Concurrent exhibitions treat aspects of Ed Ruscha’s work that remain unexamined even after two recent retrospectives. Margit Rowell’s “Cotton Puffs, Q-tips®, Smoke and Mirrors” gathers 204 works on paper in this first large survey of his drawings, from his images of LA’s iconic signs and less iconic apartment buildings to his finespun word drawings. Downstairs, Sylvia Wolf presents fifty of the artist’s vintage prints and studies, including his amateurish snapshots from Conceptual beachheads like Twentysix Gasoline Stations, to establish the discreteness of Ruscha’s photographic practice and to complicate his claim that he is “not really a photographer.”

    “Cotton Puffs” travels to MOCA, Los Angeles, Oct. 17–Jan. 17, 2005; National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, Feb. 13, 2005–May 30, 2005.

  • Frank O. Gehry and David Childs, New York Times Headquarters, New York, NY. Project, 2000.

    Frank O. Gehry and David Childs, New York Times Headquarters, New York, NY. Project, 2000.

    Tall Buildings

    MoMA QNS - Museum of Modern Art
    4520 33rd Street
    July 16–September 27, 2004

    Curated by Terence Riley and Guy Nordenson

    Often existing simply as a rearguard action against the inevitable banality of the merely immense, most office towers constructed over the last quarter century are little more than architectural one-liners. Curators Terence Riley of MoMa’s Department of Architecture and Design and Guy Nordenson, a prominent structural engineer, hope to demonstrate that the genre still has legs. This show features photographs, drawings, and models of twenty-five “tall buildings” from around the world and in various stages of completion, including built projects like Norman Foster’s Swiss Re building in London (aka the “erotic gherkin”) and more imaginative yet unrealized proposals by Rem Koolhaas and Steven Holl. But the real attraction will be the scale models—compelling works of sculpture in their own right.

  • Sheng Qi, Memories (Me), 2000.

    Sheng Qi, Memories (Me), 2000.

    Between Past and Future: New Photography and Video From China

    Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (MCA Chicago)
    220 East Chicago Avenue
    October 2, 2004–January 16, 2005

    Asia Society | New York
    725 Park Avenue
    June 11–September 5, 2004

    Seattle Art Museum
    1300 First Avenue
    February 10–May 15, 2005

    Curated by Wu Hung and Christopher Phillips

    Contemporary art from China is the latest hot ticket, so it’s hard to see how this survey of Chinese photography and video from the past decade can miss. Given that most of its fifty artists are exhibiting in the US for the first time, talent pickers should be out in force. Since Chinese art photography was subject until recently to an officially sanctioned, academic aesthetic rooted in Pictorialism (filtered through the traditions of Chinese painting), the 125 works here, which smack of postmodernist cultural critique, are sure to come as a shock to American eyes.

    Travels to the Smart Museum of Art and MCA, Chicago, Oct. 2–Jan. 16, 2005; Seattle Art Museum, Feb. 10, 2005–May 15, 2005; and other venues.

  • Amedeo Modigliani,
Portrait of Léopold Zborowski, 1919.

    Amedeo Modigliani,
    Portrait of Léopold Zborowski, 1919.

    Modigliani: Beyond the Myth

    The Jewish Museum
    1109 Fifth Avenue
    May 21–September 19, 2004

    Art Gallery of Ontario
    317 Dundas Street West
    October 23, 2004–January 23, 2005

    The Phillips Collection
    1600 21st Street NW
    February 26–May 29, 2005

    Curated by Mason Klein

    Even if he hadn’t lived the quintessential vie bohème—partaking of torrid affairs, carousing with fellow avant-gardists, succumbing to tuberculosis at thirty-five—Amedeo Modigliani would be well remembered for his instantly recognizable portraits of the stylishly gaunt. New Yorkers haven’t seen his work en masse since MoMa’s 1951 retrospective, so this exhibition of more than one hundred paintings, sculptures, and drawings offers an exceptional chance to take measure “beyond the myth.” A forthcoming indie biopic, a lusty tale of “true genius, like van Gogh and Mozart” starring Andy Garcia, should give the demythologization effort some healthy competition.

    Travels to the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, Oct. 23–Jan. 23, 2005; Phillips Collection, Washington, DC, Feb. 26, 2005–May 29, 2005.

  • Joseph Grigely,You, 2001-02.

    Joseph Grigely,You, 2001-02.


    44-19 Purves Street
    May 16–August 1, 2004

    Curated by Regine Basha

    Despite an explosion of interest in the art form over the past few years, New York hasn’t hosted a major sound-art exhibition since P.S. 1’s “Volume: Bed of Sound” extravaganza in 2000. “Treble,” organized by Regine Basha, a curator at Arthouse in Austin, Texas, brings sound-art practice up-to-date, featuring nineteen works by an intriguing selection of international artists—from pioneer Max Neuhaus and reigning audio stars Steve Roden and Stephen Vitiello to lesser-known sonic explorers such as Grady Gerbracht, Brad Tucker, and Andrea Ray—working in a variety of media: architectural installation, sculpture, video, and, interestingly, drawing. Although arranged independently from New Sound, New York, “Treble” caps off this annual citywide festival running at various venues through May 16.