previews

  • 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.

  • Henri Matisse, Reclining Nude I (Aurore), circa 1907-1908, bronze.

    “Matisse: Painter as Sculptor”

    Baltimore Museum of Art
    10 Art Museum Drive
    October 7–January 13

    Dallas Museum of Art
    1717 North Harwood
    January 21–April 29

    San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA)
    151 Third Street
    June 10–September 2

    Curated by Jay Fisher, Dorothy Kosinski, and Steven Nash

    The sculpture of Henri Matisse has not been subject to a full-scale US exhibition since the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth staged a major survey in 1984. But now, this show—curated by Jay Fisher, Dorothy Kosinski, and Steven Nash and co-organized by the DMA, the Nasher, and the Baltimore Museum of Art—will explore the symbiosis between Matisse’s sculpture and painting. Dozens of his paintings and drawings accompany more than forty sculptures, including the four bronze “Backs” (1909–30). Works by Auguste Rodin and others add context. Computer-generated models reveal intimate details of technique, and the catalogue includes recent conservation research. Much has changed since 1984. Expect a cogent, much-needed reassessment. Travels to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, June 10–Sept. 2; Baltimore Museum of Art, Oct. 7, 2007–Jan. 13, 2008.

  • Henry Wessel, San Francisco, 1972, black-and-white photograph, 24 x 20".

    Henry Wessel

    San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA)
    151 Third Street
    January 27–April 22

    Curated by Corey Keller

    Based in the Bay Area for the past three decades, Henry Wessel is a highly regarded, influential photographer and educator whose early photographs were championed alongside the work of contemporaries Lee Friedlander and Garry Winogrand for their deadpan, flat portrayal of everyday American life experienced under searing California light. Such practices helped maneuver highbrow photography from the monumental to the ephemeral and descriptive. Paying close attention to West Coast vernacular through complex compositional means, Wessel’s pictures—some eighty of which are on view in this retrospective (curated by Corey Keller), spanning his career from 1967 to 2003—articulate subtle, and droll, social nuance and an affection for the idiosyncrasy of the late twentieth century by describing a landscape that toggles between absence and clutter, futility and significance.

  • R. Crumb, Tina Lockwood, 1998, ink and Wite-Out on paper.

    R. Crumb

    Yerba Buena Center for the Arts
    701 Mission Street
    March 17–July 1

    Curated by Todd Hignite

    Although R. Crumb and his wife and collaborator, Aline Kominsky-Crumb, have resided in France for about fifteen years, his work in the lively “underground comix” movement zapped into focus in the late 1960s and early ’70s in San Francisco. This thematically organized retrospective takes the artist back to his home turf. Curated by Todd Hignite, founding editor of Comic Art magazine, the show features approximately two hundred works in all their inimitable bawdy, politicized, satirical abjectness—from sculptures to original comic-book covers—and frames Crumb as a maker of thinly veiled autobiography that reveals as much about his pervy obsessions and neuroses as the antiestablishment social, political, and art contexts in which he has worked. Showing up on everything from acid tabs to the cover of the New Yorker, Crumb’s cartoons are nothing if not extensive in appeal.

  • Gilbert & George, England, 1980, 118 1/2 x 118 1/2".

    Gilbert & George

    Tate Modern
    Bankside
    February 15–May 7

    Haus der Kunst
    Prinzregentenstrasse 1
    June 9–September 16

    de Young Museum
    50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive
    February 1–May 1

    Castello di Rivoli
    Piazza Mafalda di Savoia
    October 8–January 6

    Curated by Jan Debbaut

    Gilbert & George claim that “Most people who saw our last retrospective [in the UK] are dead,” but their influence on several generations of younger British artists is clear. The duo apparently lobbied Tate Modern for a retrospective, and the museum is now presenting the largest exhibition of their work to date (curated by Jan Debbaut), spanning the artists’ transgressive-conceptualist history from the early “living sculptures” to the present, including their postcard pieces, all forty-five “Pictures” series, and new works. Here, in Britain’s powerhouse of cultural tourism, G&G’s arch (in both senses) conservative performance of “life as art” and their obsession with identity will be refracted through their post-YBA role as national art icons. Travels to Haus der Kunst, Munich, June 9–Sept. 16; Castello di Rivoli, Turin, Italy, Oct. 8, 2007–Jan. 6, 2008; De Young Museum, San Francisco, Feb.–May 2008; and other venues.