• Christian Jankowski, Puppet Conference, 2003, still from a color video, 26 minutes.

    Christian Jankowski, Puppet Conference, 2003, still from a color video, 26 minutes.

    “The Puppet Show”

    Honolulu Museum of Art Spalding House
    2411 Makiki Heights Drive
    September 5–November 23, 2008

    ICA - Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles
    Bergamot Station G1 2525 Michigan Avenue
    May 16–August 9, 2008

    Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania
    University of Pennsylvania 118 South 36th Street
    January 18–March 30, 2008

    Curated by Carin Kuoni and Ingrid Schaffner

    Close on the heels of Team America and Avenue Q, an unlikely puppet-art zeitgeist seemed to be dawning a few years back when marionettes, dolls, and dummies made star turns in works by Christian Jankowski, Philippe Parreno and Rirkrit Tiravanija, and Pierre Huyghe (who cast this writer as a bobblehead manikin). Each of these projects makes a command performance in this show of some forty works made since 1973, alongside contributions by Nathalie Djurberg, Kara Walker, and twenty-one others. Citing Alfred Jarry's 1896 play Ubu Roi as their touchstone, curators Carin Kuoni and Ingrid Schaffner look beyond the use of actual puppets to related artworks exploring themes of the alter ego, miniaturization, and control. Travels to the Santa Monica Museum of Art, CA, May 16–Aug.9; Contemporary Museum, Honolulu, Sept. 5–Nov. 23; and other venues.

  • Michael Asher

    ICA - Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles
    Bergamot Station G1 2525 Michigan Avenue
    January 26–April 12, 2008

    Curated by Elsa Longhauser

    Since the late 1960s, Michael Asher has created a great number of brilliant installations and interventions that pushed the paradigms of Minimalism into social space and taught us much about the conditions and contexts of art. His upcoming installation at the Santa Monica Museum of art, which will involve reinstalling every temporary wall ever built in the museum's current building, promises to be another triumph of the method of site-specific intervention he pioneered. What has made Asher one of the most important and influential artists of the past thirty-five years has as much to do with his position as with his material output, or rather, with what he has refused to produce: products, commodities that may be bought and sold and reassembled. This exhibition, curated by Elsa Longhauser, is also significant for what it is not: a retrospective of such works.

  • “Phantom Sightings: Art After the Chicano Movement”

    Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)
    5905 Wilshire Boulevard
    April 6–September 1, 2008

    Curated by Howard N. Fox, Rita Gonzalez, and Chon A. Noriega

    The paranoid border patrol of the so-called Minutemen is probably one reason for this show’s title, as is the anemic response of the culture industry to the rising Mexican and, more broadly, Latin American demographics, but the “phantoms” here are as much internally as externally generated. What constitutes the artistic legacy of the Chicano movement in the era of globalization? This exhibition of more than one hundred works by some thirty artists traces a move away from traditional materials and methods of object making toward increasingly diffuse and contingent ones (involving performances, interventions, time-based media), as the idea of ethnic identity itself is uprooted. Christina Fernandez, Ruben Ochoa, and Mario Ybarra Jr. are just a few representatives of this very promising cross-disciplinary and cross-cultural mash-up.

  • California Video

    The Getty Center
    1200 Getty Center Drive
    March 15–June 8, 2008

    Curated by Glenn Phillips

    In 2006, the Getty Research Institute acquired the important Long Beach Museum of Art Video Archive, suddenly (and quietly) incorporating one of the largest institutional collections of video art into its own holdings. Bringing selections from the newly combined collection together with special loans, this exhibition, which spans nearly the past four decades, will be the first major survey of video art produced in the Golden State. More than seventy single-channel videos and installations will be contributed by Eleanor Antin, Chris Burden, Paul McCarthy, Diana Thater, and fifty-four others, some of whom—like David Askevold and Tony Labat—will show never-before-exhibited works. There should be ample opportunity to evaluate the central role video played in the development of art in California, where, in the shadow of the culture industry, artists bent the means of mass communication to their own ends.

  • R. B. Kitaj

    Skirball Cultural Center

    January 11–March 30, 2008

    Curated by Tal Gozani

    “‘Jewish painters shd never calm down,’ said God!” R. B. Kitaj wrote in his 2007 book, The Second Diasporist Manifesto. And everything this controversial, strong-willed, brilliantly intelligent, and deservedly influential artist produced shows that he took God’s advice. Kitaj was a Jewish artist in the strongest sense of the term: Jewishness and Judaism were central not only to his life, but also, after 1970, to his work. Put together from his personal collection, this exhibition, which was organized in cooperation with the artist before his death last October, attests to his deepest concerns. The show features thirty-three works dating from 1969 to 2006, including his never-before-exhibited “Passion (1940–45),” paintings, which depict the Holocaust as a Jewish passion play, as well as significant archival material (more of which will be displayed in a concurrent show at UCLA, opening January 7).