• Sarah Morris, Mandalay Bay (Las Vegas), 1999, household paint on canvas, 84 x 84".

    Sarah Morris, Mandalay Bay (Las Vegas), 1999, household paint on canvas, 84 x 84".

    “The Shapes of Space”

    Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum | New York
    1071 Fifth Avenue
    April 14–September 5, 2007

    Frank Lloyd Wright’s spiral structure has long embodied the polemics of museological space. Quintessentially linear narrative of modernism, or field of radical visual connections across ramp and rotunda? Curated by Kevin Lotery, Ted Mann, Nancy Spector, and Nat Trotman, “The Shapes of Space” promises to amplify these issues as the show is progressively unveiled in four stages, from ground floor to top level. Spanning the early twentieth century through the present, the exhibition offers approximately eighty sculptures, paintings, installations (several gallery-size), videos, and photographs by more than fifty artists. From László Moholy-Nagy’s modulations of geometric space to Rirkrit Tiravanija’s sites of social exchange, the show traffics between the physical spaces of institutions and dematerialized networks of communication and control—echoing the Guggenheim’s own heady international sprawl. Part I currently on view; Part II opens May 26; Part III opens June 23; Part IV opens July 13.

  • Lincoln Kirstein, Anatomical Painting, 1946, oil on canvas, 56 x 46".

    Lincoln Kirstein, Anatomical Painting, 1946, oil on canvas, 56 x 46".

    Lincoln Kirstein

    Whitney Museum of American Art
    99 Gansevoort Street
    April 25–August 26, 2007

    Sometimes, in the world of art, friendships are what define a person’s legacy—or so this exhibition, which celebrates the social circle of the late Lincoln Kirstein on the centenary of his birth, would have it. A cultural ringleader, a writer, a tastemaker, and a ballet devotee, Kirstein brought Russian choreographer George Balanchine to the United States in 1933, and fifteen years later the two founded the New York City Ballet. Kirstein also built up the careers of many artist friends, like sensationalist painter Paul Cadmus; photographer Walker Evans, whose first show at MoMA Kirstein curated in 1938; sculptor Elie Nadelman; and Russian Surrealist Pavel Tchelitchew. Kirstein’s relationships with these four figures are the focus of this presentation of some forty works made in the first half of the twentieth century. The art enthusiast’s writings serve as wall text—a spot-on curatorial move by Carter Foster, Elisabeth Sussman, and Jerry L. Thompson, since Kirstein always got the last word.

  • Adjoeman, 2004, stainless steel and carbon fiber, 17' 10“ x 17' 2” x 5' 4".

    Adjoeman, 2004, stainless steel and carbon fiber, 17' 10“ x 17' 2” x 5' 4".

    “Frank Stella: Painting into Architecture”

    The Metropolitan Museum of Art
    1000 Fifth Avenue
    May 1–July 29, 2007

    This exhibition promises yet another round of what Michael Fried famously called the struggle for Frank Stella’s soul—formalist flatness or Minimalist objecthood?—now played out in strange fusions of pictorial composition and large-scale, often computer-generated structures. Anne L. Strauss and Gary Tinterow present twenty-five models, drawings, and paintings that illustrate Stella’s interest in architecture over the past decade, including a Gehry-esque model for his unrealized Kunsthalle Dresden, 1991, and three sculptures in stainless steel and carbon fiber on the museum’s rooftop (through October 28). Together, these pieces may not suggest a straight artistic trajectory (from early, shaped canvases to wall reliefs, sculpture, and finally architecture), as this show argues, but an ongoing contest between illusionism, gesture, and literalism.

  • John Miller, Imaginary Friend, 1999, artificial flowers, Styrofoam sphere, monofilament, sand, and mirror, 36 x 36 x 36".

    John Miller, Imaginary Friend, 1999, artificial flowers, Styrofoam sphere, monofilament, sand, and mirror, 36 x 36 x 36".

    “The Happiness of Objects”

    44-19 Purves Street
    April 29–July 29, 2007

    Jumping off from art historian W. J. T. Mitchell's 2005 book, What Do Pictures Want?, this exhibition, organized by new SculptureCenter curator Sarina Basta, proposes that artworks exert agency and explores how this capacity affects the relationships among them and with viewers. An open-ended document titled “The Object's Bill of Rights” frames the show conceptually, proposing, for example, that “The Object has the right to acknowledge its history of production” and “The Object has the right to be silent.” Approximately forty-five works from t he past four decades by Sylvie Fleury, Philippe Decrauzat, Olivier Mosset, Jutta Koether, Sol LeWitt (whose 1969 “Sentences on Conceptual Art” arguably informs the show as well), and seventeen others make their assertions in the galleries. Following the center's sly 2006 exhibition “Grey Flags,” the show promises yet more fruitful curatorial experimentation at this Queens outpost.

  • Paul Poiret

    The Metropolitan Museum of Art
    1000 Fifth Avenue
    May 9–August 5, 2007

    Curated by Andrew Bolton and Harold Koda

    To understand the radicality of Paul Poiret’s designs, you have to compare his “look” to the starchy, buxom, Edwardian silhouette that preceded it. True, the “Pasha of Paris,” as he was known, released women from their corsets only to encrust them in a kind of Orientalist carapace. But he also implied that a woman’s allure lay not in the shape of her torso but in her gestures, attitude, and presence—a step in the right direction that blazed the trail for Chanel’s protofeminist modernism. Featuring fifty Poiret ensembles dating from 1903 to 1928, Art Deco illustrations by Georges Lepape and Paul Iribe, furniture by Poiret’s atelier, and a coffeetable-worthy catalogue, this show returns the pasha to his rightful place.

  • Louise Nevelson

    The Jewish Museum
    1109 Fifth Avenue
    May 5–September 16, 2007

    Curated by Brooke Kamin Rapaport

    The Jewish Museum is now staging Louise Nevelson’s first US survey since 1967, an exhibition both long overdue and somehow of the moment, given the swarm of young artists quoting her distinct formal vocabulary. Guest curator Kamin Rapaport positions sixty-six sculptures and installations—antihierarchical juxtapositions of appropriated materials, such as ornamental molding, fabric, and discarded timber—and works on paper, all made between 1928 and 1988 (the year of the artist’s death), against an archival backdrop in which Nevelson’s struggles as a Russian Jew growing up in WASP-y Rockland, Maine, figure prominently. The show and catalogue—with essays by the curator, critic Arthur C. Danto, and others—promise a reevaluation of a sculptor for whom life’s bric-a-brac, collected and alchemically recombined, offered a kind of a grace. Travels to the De Young Museum, San Francisco, Oct. 27, 2007–Jan. 13, 2008.

  • Linder Sterling

    P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center
    22-25 Jackson Avenue at 46th Avenue
    May 24–September 10, 2007

    Curated by Neville Wakefield

    Despite a penchant for knives, Linder Sterling has never been one for staying in the kitchen. In the late 1970s and early ’80s, she was the singer in the lively post-punk band Ludus; in 1991, she took photographs of fellow Mancunian and close friend Morrissey during his world tour. Often calling herself simply Linder, the feminist collagist and performance artist has also participated in numerous exhibitions, including last year’s Tate Triennial. Picking up where Martha Rosler’s X-Acto left off, Linder’s collages—the most famous of which is on the cover of the Buzzcocks’ 1977 single Orgasm Addict—layer images from pornographic and “women’s” magazines, cutting through the surfaces of consumer culture in ways that expose its sexist selling strategies. This exhibition—centered around thirty collages from the past three decades—is Linder’s first solo show in the United States, whose long history of equating women with consumer goods should add extra bite to her critiques.

  • Peter Young

    P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center
    22-25 Jackson Avenue at 46th Avenue
    June 24–September 10, 2007

    Curated by David Deutsch and Alanna Heiss

    In 1969, Peter Young was a New York painter with a Whitney Annual and a Guggenheim Theodoran Award to his credit. But he took off for Costa Rica, blowing off his opening at Leo Castelli, and he later moved to Arizona, where he still lives. What goes around, however, has come around. Young participated in “High Times, Hard Times: New York Painting 1967–1975,” the traveling survey of overlooked post-Minimal abstraction organized by Independent Curators International, which closed last month at New York’s National Academy Museum, and P.S. 1 now presents this retrospective of some twenty-five works made between 1963 and 1980. Accompanied by a catalogue with new essays by Heiss and Klaus Kertess, and a reprinted 1971 Artforum cover article by Ellen H. Johnson, the show felicitously returns Young’s visual vocabulary (mandalas, Rorschach-esque blots, allover fields of hot, postpointillist dots) to New York.