previews

  • Lee Miller

    Victoria and Albert Museum
    Cromwell Road
    September 15 - January 6

    Jeu de Paume
    1 place de la Concorde
    October 13 - January 11

    Philadelphia Museum of Art
    26th Street and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway
    January 26 - April 27

    San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA)
    151 Third Street
    July 1 - September 28

    Curated by Mark Haworth-Booth

    Child model for her amateur lensman father; Vogue cover girl; Man Ray’s Surrealist muse: It’s hard to imagine a woman of her era more photographed than Lee Miller. But as this retrospective demonstrates, Miller was also a serious imagemaker in her own right. Whether by fluke or by reaction formation, the four photographers who learned their trade in Man Ray’s atelier—Bernice Abbott, Bill Brandt, Jacques-André Boiffard, and Miller herself—all abandoned his experimental approach for straight photography. Of the 140-odd images in this exhibition, which date from the late 1920s to the early ’50s, by far the most arresting are those Miller shot as the only female photojournalist on the front during World War II—as a correspondent for British Vogue. Travels to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Jan. 26–Apr. 27, 2008; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, July 1–Sept. 21, 2008; Jeu de Paume, Paris, Oct. 13 2008–Jan. 11, 2009.

  • Martin Puryear, Ladder for Booker T. Washington, 1996, ash and maple, 36' x 22 3/4“ (narrowing to 1 1/4” at top) x 3". Photo: David Wharton.

    Martin Puryear

    Modern Art Museum | Fort Worth
    3200 Darnell Street
    February 24 - May 18

    MoMA - The Museum of Modern Art
    11 West 53rd Street
    November 4 - January 14

    San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA)
    151 Third Street
    November 1 - January 25

    National Gallery of Art
    Sixth Street and Constitution Avenue, NW
    June 22 - September 28

    Curated by John Elderfield

    Martin Puryear’s sculpture has long been celebrated for its ability to hover between Shaker-like minimalism and Surrealism. Trained in carpentry, Puryear is acutely sensitive to materials, particularly wood, crafting absurdist biomorphic constructions that are often suavely linear but at times dense and compact. Some hang breathlessly in space, as though holding a pose, even as they recline on the floor like odalisques. This retrospective of some forty-five sculptures, spanning 1977 to the present, may show that Puryear’s peculiarly warm and homey oeuvre conjures afresh the uncanniness of the organic, while the objects’ openness evokes the expansiveness of American space.

  • Frida Kahlo, Self Portrait, 1930, oil on canvas, 26 x 22".

    Frida Kahlo

    Walker Art Center
    725 Vineland Place
    October 27 - January 20

    Philadelphia Museum of Art
    26th Street and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway
    February 20 - May 18

    San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA)
    151 Third Street
    June 14 - September 28

    Curated by Elizabeth Carpenter and Hayden Herrera

    Frida Kahlo has long been subject to hagiography, a propensity abetted by her revelatory self-portraiture, her film portrayal by Salma Hayek, and her frankness about her unredeemed circumstances. (She famously quipped that she had suffered two grave misfortunes: a brutal traffic accident and Diego Rivera.) Now, on the centenary of Kahlo’s birth, the Walker, in association with SF MoMA, is organizing a massive tribute that ups the ante, bringing together roughly fifty canvases from 1926 to 1952, two years before her death, and 150 family snapshots and unseen photographs of the Mexican painter by artists including Manuel Alvarez Bravo, Gisele Freund, and Tina Modotti. What remains to be seen is whether this ambitious presentation can transcend the cult of personality. Travels to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Feb. 20–May 18, 2008; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, June 14–Sept. 28, 2008.

  • Olafur Eliasson, Beauty, 1993, mixed media, installation view, AROS, Aarhus Kunstmuseum, Aarhus, Denmark, 2004. Photo: Poul Perdersen. © Olafur Eliasson 2007 / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York, NY / COPY-DAN.

    Olafur Eliasson

    Dallas Museum of Art
    1717 North Harwood
    November 9 - March 15

    MoMA - The Museum of Modern Art
    11 West 53rd Street
    April 13 - June 30

    San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA)
    151 Third Street
    September 8 - February 24

    Curated by Madeleine Grynsztejn

    Few artists produce work as conceptually rigorous and simultaneously crowd-pleasing as Olafur Eliasson, who makes art in which capital-P Phenomenology traffics freely in fun-house aesthetics. His 2003 Weather Project illuminated nearly two million visitors at Tate Modern with a spectacular artificial sun, but US museumgoers have had precious few opportunities to experience firsthand the viewer involvement so central to Eliasson’s practice. Now, this midcareer retrospective—twenty-two of the artist’s sculptures, photographs, and installations made since 1993—promises to make up for lost time. The catalogue features essays by curator Madeleine Grynsztejn, Daniel Birnbaum, Pamela M. Lee, and others, as well as a conversation between Eliasson and Robert Irwin. Travels to the Museum of Modern Art and P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center, New York, Apr. 13–June 30, 2008; Dallas Museum of Art, Nov. 9, 2008–Mar. 15, 3009.

  • Douglas Gordon, Pretty much every film and video work from about 1992 until now. To be seen on monitors, some with headphones, others run silently, and all simultaneously, 1992–. Installation view, National Galleries of Scotland, Royal Scottish Academy Building, Edinburgh, 2007. Photo: Antonia Reeve.

    Douglas Gordon

    San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA)
    151 Third Street
    October 27 - February 24

    Curated by Rudolf Frieling

    Transparent WYSIWYG titles are one powerful layer of Douglas Gordon’s deceptively straight-faced, open-ended practice. His 24 Hour Psycho, 1993, is just that: the Hitchcock film extended to the length of a day. A wonderfully imposing work that wrestles with cinema, memory, and madness, it is impossible to watch fully, owing to its time-based extreme. Ditto for his ongoing, self-reflective metawork Pretty much every film and video work from about 1992 until now. To be seen on monitors, some with headphones, others run silently, and all simultaneously. For this compact fifteen-year retrospective, making its US debut, curator Rudolf Frieling marshals nearly fifty of Gordon’s films and videos—including Monster, 1996; Play Dead; Real Time, 2003; and Trigger Finger, 1994—on as many monitors, into a single gallery. Think of it as an onslaught, a Gordon crash course, or a glorious exercise in mind-altering media overload. It’s all and none of the above.

  • Tino Sehgal

    The Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts
    360 Kansas Street
    September 5 - July 5

    Curated by Jens Hoffmann

    Jens Hoffmann recently relocated to San Francisco from London’s Institute of Contemporary Arts, where he intrepidly devoted three solo exhibitions to Tino Sehgal. No prizes for guessing what opens this month at the CCA Wattis—a Tino Sehgal show. This “permanent,” gradually unfolding retrospective will include every piece made by the German Conceptualist since 2000, when he began hiring nonprofessional actors to aid in the creation of dematerialized situations, such as one in which an invigilator falls to the floor and burbles an exhibition’s press release (This Exhibition, 2004). His first US solo outing (the second opens in December at the Walker Art Center) will provide an opportunity to catch up with a precocious artist whose work demands firsthand experience and invariably prompts a love/hate relationship. The question is whether an indefinite display of Sehgal’s oeuvre, one piece at a time, will produce overkill or apotheosis.

  • Anna Halprin, Parades and Changes, 1965. Performance view, Centre Pompidou, 2004. Photo: Rick Chapman.

    “Pioneers”

    The Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts
    360 Kansas Street
    September 5 - November 10

    Curated by Jens Hoffmann

    Among the first crop of major shows at the CCA Wattis organized by new director Jens Hoffmann, “Pioneers” will mix thirty artifacts—culled from the collection of the Society of California Pioneers—related to San Francisco’s Gold Rush–era founding, with fifty works made in the past century by nineteen artists working in the city, to chart how its pioneer spirit morphed from one of geographic expansion to that of social and cultural liberation. Those inextricably linked with the Bay Area (Robert Bechtle, Jay DeFeo, Jess, Dorothea Lange) will be presented alongside surprises such as Diego Rivera. Hoffmann, long resident in Europe, continues his autodidacticism with a series of individual exhibitions, likewise mixing art and cultural history, about America’s fifty states, the first of which (on Alabama) opens the same day.