previews

  • Loretta Lux, Study of a Boy 1, 2002, ilfochrome print, 11 3/4 x 11 3/4".

    “Global Feminisms”

    Brooklyn Museum
    200 Eastern Parkway
    March 23–July 1

    Curated by Linda Nochlin and Maura Reilly

    On both coasts of the nation this March, there is to be a revival of the category of feminist art. At the Geffen Contemporary at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles there will be an exhibition titled “Wack! Art and the Feminist Revolution,” organized by Connie Butler (formerly a curator at MoCA and now with the Museum of Modern Art in New York). At the Brooklyn Museum, timed to coincide with the institution’s inauguration of the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art, there will be an international survey of contemporary art called “Global Feminisms,” curated by the Sackler’s Maura Reilly and art historian Linda Nochlin. Both exhibitions are large and global in their outlooks; both identify what is on view with the feminist revolution. Both look back to the beginnings of the feminist art movement. MoCA achieves this by focusing on the period between 1965 and 1980, while the Brooklyn Museum does so by implication, having slated its presentation of “Global Feminisms” on the thirtieth anniversary of its landmark show “Women Artists: 1550-–1950” and in tandem with a permanent reinstallation of Judy Chicago’s Dinner Party, 1974–79. Both exhibitions emphasize the plural nature of feminist art: art made all over the world by women of all different nationalities, classes, and cultural and racial affiliations, and presumably identified with both the “essentialist” and the “constructionist” brands of feminist theory and politics, not to mention the many strategies of feminist art, from craft work to political exposé to canon-busting to the deconstruction of gender mythologies to body-centered investigations. Finally, though neither show speaks to the fact that it focuses on women’s art, both of them seem to do just that, thus eliding the distinction between the categories “feminist” and “woman.”

    The revival of the category “feminist art,” but with a global twist and with an emphasis on pluralism, is a good thing. These exhibitions stand to bring the lessons of feminism out of storage and out of the closet, displaying underrepresented work and broadening the purview of the category beyond the local and the orthodox. But the equation, indirectly expressed in the surveys’ preliminary press materials, between feminist and women’s art is not so good. Many women’s studies programs, which like feminist art took hold during the ’70s, have shifted away from the category of women to those of gender, sexuality, and/or feminism in order to express the fact that the category “woman,” like that of “man,” is a function of a larger structure rather than a natural class of person, and in order to desegregate the study of sex and gender. While it is obviously too early to tell, these shows might not follow suit. I applaud their focus on art by women and recognize that the MoCA show’s self-prescribed targeting of “second wave” feminism is historically justified in this regard. But I am leery of a correspondence that may be set up between women’s art and feminist art, for it suggests, first, that only women can be feminists, and second, that women artists must be concerned with feminist themes, which must in turn be women’s themes. That would be a double disservice to both women and feminists, a proclamation that feminism is only of interest to women and that women are a class apart from the human. Surely the feminist revolution has shown us the fallacy of both ideas. So it is to be hoped that “Wack!” and “Global Feminisms” will provide openings toward a future in which male artists may be feminists and female artists may concern themselves with whatever engages them.

  • Armando Reverón, Muñeca con tutú y peluca amarilla (Doll with Tutu and Yellow Wig), ca. 1940s, synthetic fiber, textile, wire, cotton fiber, printed paper, jute, and pigment, 62 5/8 x 19 11/16".

    Armando Reverón

    MoMA - The Museum of Modern Art
    11 West 53rd Street
    February 11–April 16

    Curated by John Elderfield

    That Armando Reverón, a “belated Impressionist” from the periphery, is receiving a full-scale MoMA retrospective—some one hundred paintings, drawings, and sculptures made between 1920 and 1951—speaks volumes about the quality of his work. Best known for his nearly all-white landscapes of the Venezuelan coast painted in the 1920s, Reverón was a poet of the blinding effects of tropical light. The minimalistic results of Reverón’s recoding of the landscape genre belie the ritualistic excess that lay at the core of his practice. (His later work involved an almost fetishistic fabrication and depiction of dolls.) Reverón scholar Luis Pérez-Oramas and curator John Elderfield contribute essays to what will surely prove a groundbreaking catalogue.

  • Jeff Wall, A view from an apartment, 2004-2005, transparency in light box, 65 3/4 x 96 1/8".

    Jeff Wall

    The Art Institute of Chicago
    111 South Michigan Avenue
    June 20–September 23

    MoMA - The Museum of Modern Art
    11 West 53rd Street
    February 25–May 14

    San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA)
    151 Third Street
    October 21–January 27

    Curated by Neal Benezra and Peter Galassi

    Given viewers’ tendency to cluster around the two Jeff Wall works on view at MoMA in the hang for its 2004 reopening (Milk, 1984, and After “Invisible Man” by Ralph Ellison, The Prologue, 2001), this retrospective of forty-one works, curated by Neal Benezra and Peter Galassi and co-organized by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, will likely be a smash. Coming fast on the heels of the European Wall survey organized by the Schaulager and Tate Modern, the show gives US museumgoers an opportunity to consider the artist’s development over the past three decades—and the timing and venue couldn’t be more apt: Wall’s light boxes engage issues of corporatism, which have bedeviled the Modern of late, while his art-historical reconfigurings sponsor another take on the modernism this museum helped define. Travels to the Art Institute of Chicago, June 20–Sept. 23; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Oct. 21, 2007–Jan. 27, 2008.

  • Gordon Matta-Clark,Conical Intersect, 1975, black-and-white photograph, 42 x 42". © Estate of Gordon Matta-Clark.

    Gordon Matta-Clark

    Whitney Museum of American Art
    99 Gansevoort Street
    February 22–June 3

    Curated by Elisabeth Sussman

    Using his mind like a chainsaw to cut through the surface of ideas and things in order to expose their essential structures, Gordon Matta-Clark produced a body of work whose generative conceptual clarity has only grown in influence since his untimely death in 1978 at age thirty-five. Matta-Clark was an effortlessly sophisticated, joyfully indefatigable creative force with the mind of an architect, the heart of an activist, and the soul of a poet. Long overdue, this exhibition—curated by Elisabeth Sussman—will be the first US retrospective of the influential artist’s work since the 1985 survey at Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art. Featuring some 150 works—from notebooks to the famous building cuts—the show will provide an opportunity for viewers to fully contextualize the complex, interlocking elements of one of postwar art’s most exceptional careers. Travels to the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, dates TBA.

  • Catherine Yass, Wall, 2004, still from a color video, 32 minutes 50 seconds.

    “Dateline Israel: New Photography and Video Art”

    The Jewish Museum
    1109 Fifth Avenue
    March 9–August 5

    Curated by Susan Tumarkin Goodman

    The twenty-three artists in this exhibition substitute everyday-life detail for the maps-and-graphs abstraction of news coverage of Israel. Their politically charged images—lingering evidence of military conflict; sweeping expanses of contested land, frequently barricaded—beg viewers to look far beyond the headlines. Curated by Susan Tumarkin Goodman and accompanied by a catalogue with essays by critic Andy Grundberg and others, this exhibition comprises forty-nine works—from Amit Goren’s multichannel video installation touching on displacement to Barry Frydlender’s wide-angle photograph of men on religious holiday; from Ori Gersht’s poetic, haunted landscapes to Catherine Yass’s documentation of newly constructed dividing walls; from Guy Raz’s deserted beach scene to Rineke Dijkstra’s time-lapse documentation of teenage military conscripts—portraying contemporary Israeli life in all its complexity.

  • Brian O’Doherty/Patrick Ireland, Portrait of Marcel Duchamp: Mounted Cardiogram 4/4/66, 1966, ink on paper, 11 x 8 1/2".

    Brian O’Doherty/Patrick Ireland

    Grey Art Gallery
    100 Washington Square East New York University
    April 17–July 14

    Curated by Barbara Dawson and Christina Kennedy

    Adopting, over the years, a string of aliases—of which Patrick Ireland is the longest-lived—Irish-born polymath Brian O’Doherty moved from Boston (where he studied public health at Harvard) to New York in 1961, subsequently working as an art critic for the New York Times. A pioneering Conceptualist, O’Doherty also penned, for these pages in 1976, the three essays that would become Inside the White Cube: The Ideology of the Gallery Space. Traveling from the Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane, this retrospective of the artist’s visual work—curated by Barbara Dawson and Christina Kenedy—comprises approximately seventy-five paintings, sculptures, installations, and drawings that span the past four decades, interrogating perception, language, and the definition of art with a Duchampian wit usefully augmented by the artist’s literary-political heritage. The catalogue includes lively essays by, among others, Hans Belting and Thomas McEvilley.

  • Rudolf Stingel, Untitled, 2000. Styrofoam, 120 x 96 x 2".

    Rudolf Stingel

    Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (MCA Chicago)
    220 East Chicago Avenue
    January 27–May 27

    Whitney Museum of American Art
    99 Gansevoort Street
    June 28–October 14

    Curated by Francesco Bonami

    In recent years, Rudolf Stingel has consistently pushed the concerns of painting beyond the canvas into architecture and into the interactive domain of audience participation. His installations of silver insulation panels are enormously elegant when they first appear—so elegant, in fact, that the public goes berserk. Leaving marks, wildly ripping down huge sections—at the artist’s invitation, of course—visitors participate to create new environments that radiate a kind of tragic splendor. The artist’s first retrospective in the US spans the past three decades with thirty-one sculptures and paintings, including a few silver panels and a recent series of large Photorealistic self-portraits. The catalogue, the first major study of Stingel’s work, features essays by curator Francesco Bonami, Chrissie Iles, and Reiner Zettl. Travels to the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, June 28–Oct. 14.

  • Kara Walker, Darkytown Rebellion, 2001, projection, cut paper and adhesive on wall, 14 x 37".

    Kara Walker

    Hammer Museum
    10899 Wilshire Boulevard
    February 17–May 11

    Walker Art Center
    725 Vineland Place
    February 17–May 13

    Whitney Museum of American Art
    99 Gansevoort Street
    November 11–February 3

    Curated by Yasmil Raymond and Philippe Vergne

    Kara Walker won a MacArthur Award in 1997, and her art—for all its consistent comedy and fury—has seen radical formal experiment since then. Despite her epic history, this show will be the first attempt in the United States to mount a full-scale survey of her work. Arcing a loose narrative from antebellum antics to Hollywood nightmares, the exhibition—curated by Yasmil Raymond and Philippe Vergne—promises some one hundred installations, murals, videos, and works on paper made between 1993 and 2005. The catalogue brims with essays by Vergne and art historians Thomas McEvilley and Robert Storr, among others, as well as an “illustrated lexicon” of Walkeresque themes and a sixteen-page insert by the artist herself. Travels to the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, Nov. 11, 2007–Feb. 3, 2008; UCLA Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, Feb. 17–May 11, 2008.

  • Gaetano Previati, La danza delle ore (The Dance of the Hours), ca. 1899, tempera on canvas, 52 3/8 x 78 3/8".

    “Divisionism/Neo-Impressionism: Arcadia and Anarchy”

    PalaisPopulaire
    Unter den Linden 5
    January 27–April 15

    Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum | New York
    1071 Fifth Avenue
    April 27–August 6

    Curated by Vivian Greene

    Long overshadowed by their French predecessors (which is not to say progenitors), who also exploited color theory and were similarly involved in leftist politics, the Italian Divisionists finally get their due with this tightly focused exhibition—curated by Vivien Greene—of some forty paintings produced between the early 1880s and the first years of the 1900s by artists including Giovanni Segantini, Angelo Morbelli, Giuseppe Pellizza da Volpedo, Emilio Longoni, and Gaetano Previati. Their works will be shown together with paintings by the likes of Georges Seurat, Paul Signac, Camille Pissarro, and Henri-Edmond Cross, bringing out the differences between the French and the Italian artists, whose emphasis on movement and modeled form prepared the ground for their successors’ easy slide into Futurism. Travels to the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, Apr. 27–Aug. 6.