previews

  • Jan De Cock, Temps Mort XII. Long Island, May 2007, ‘Lands’ End' on Browns River Road, Sayville. Neg. 063, 2007, color photograph, 15 5/8 x 22 3/8".

    Jan De Cock

    MoMA - The Museum of Modern Art
    11 West 53rd Street
    January 23 - April 14

    Curated by Roxana Marcoci

    Belgian artist Jan De Cock is best known for large-scale, site-specific structures made of fiberboard in shades like pea green and burnt sienna. But many of these projects—all titled Denkmal, the German word for “monument” or “memorial”—also have afterimages: light-box photographs of works displayed later at the same location and massive books illustrative the artist's process. So it might not come as a total surprise that De Cock's first US museum exhibition is organized by a photography curator, Roxana Marcoci. For Denkmal 11, the artist takes the museum as muse, presenting—alongside his plywood constructions—photographs of the Modern's galleries, conservation labs, movie theaters, and other spaces, digitally combined with images from the histories of art, architecture, and film. After New York, he will bring elements of the installation on a cross-country tour of America's own monuments, including Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater and the Grand Canyon.

  • Barbara Bloom, Japanese Garden, 1998, color photograph and mat board, 20 1/2 x 24 1/2".

    Barbara Bloom

    International Center of Photography Museum (ICP)
    250 Bowery
    January 18 - May 4

    Curated by Brian Wallis

    Though organized by ICP exhibitions director Brian Wallis, “The Collections of Barbara Bloom” sounds less like an exhibition than like an artwork sui generis—an artist's reimagining of her own history. Or, to put it as Bloom does, “It's in between a midcareer retrospective and an estate sale.” Some years back Bloom had a near-fatal accident that caused her to closely reexamine her stuff—the objects, both made and found, that make up her faintly eerie fusion of Conceptual art and informed connoisseurship. She is now readdressing those objects, reconfiguring a comprehensive selection of works from the early 1980s to the present, according to themes that fascinate her: twins and doppelgängers, blushing, naming, innuendo, things broken, and more. The project seems retrospective in the most final sense: “It's an odd job,” says Bloom, “to write your own epitaphs.”

  • Tom Burr, Next Pretty Boy, 2007, wood, hinges, painted canvas, mirror, chain, 8' x 13' 3 3/4“ x 7' 10”.

    Tom Burr

    SculptureCenter
    44-19 Purves Street
    January 13 - March 30

    Curated by Mary Ceruti

    The empty platforms and upended chairs in Tom Burr's previous sculptural tableaux made visitors feel as though they had arrived after the party was over. Such a sense of belatedness will likely also be part of the viewing experience here, given that it is the artist's first solo show in New York since 2003 and follows in the wake of two enthusiastically received Burr exhibitions in Europe. Like Burr's past work, which gave priority to Minimalist forms, characters, and discourses, the five new interrelated installations presented at SculptureCenter, and curated by Mary Ceruti, focus on moments in American art history—in this case, those involving the stateside reception of European modernism as filtered through figures like “Chick” Austin, director of the Wadsworth Atheneum from 1927 to 1944, and members of the New York School, particularly Frank O'Hara, whose poem “Addict-Love” provides the exhibition title.

  • Cai Guo-Qiang

    Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum | New York
    1071 Fifth Avenue
    February 22 - May 28

    Curated by Thomas Krens and Alexandra Munroe

    Feng shui, dragons, herbal medicine, and, most memorably, gunpowder: Fujian-born, New York–based artist Cai Guo-Qiang has been plying such traditional Chinese exports along the global biennial Silk Road, and supercharging them with shamanic bravado, since just before the Tiananmen Square uprising in 1989. Bringing together some sixty paintings, drawings, videos, and site-specific installations— accompanied by a catalogue featuring essays by, among others, David Joselit and Miwon Kwon—this retrospective, the first for a Chinese artist in Frank Lloyd Wright’s supposedly Asian-influenced coil, should be as quietly pyrotechnic as Cai’s signature, theatrically ephemeral “explosions.” Shortly after it closes, Cai moves on to an even bigger stage, directing visual and special effects for the opening and closing ceremonies of the Beijing Olympics. Pow! Travels to the Guggenheim Bilbao, Spain, Mar.–Sept. 2009.

  • “Color Chart: Reinventing Color, 1950 to Today”

    MoMA - The Museum of Modern Art
    11 West 53rd Street
    March 2 - May 12

    Curated by Ann Temkin

    For centuries, if not longer, painters have typically deployed color either as a vehicle for optical pleasure or as a marker of expressive subjectivity (and sometimes both). Marcel Duchamp offered an alternative view by assaulting these traditional retinal and expressive functions in favor of treating color itself as ready-made. A testament to this decidedly unromantic approach, Duchamp’s last painting, Tu m’, 1918, will hold court here, inaugurating a wide-ranging survey of postwar painting that explores the role of color as an index of industrial production rather than of emotion. Featuring more than one hundred works by forty-four artists, each of whom will be the subject of a short essay in the catalogue, “Color Chart” will mix modern masters such as Ellsworth Kelly, Yves Klein, and Blinky Palermo with younger practitioners such as Byron Kim, Liz Deschenes, and Angela Bulloch, and promises to be a feast for the eyes, er, the mind.

  • 2008 Whitney Biennial

    Whitney Museum of American Art
    99 Gansevoort Street
    March 6 - June 1

    Curated by Henriette Huldisch and Shamim M. Momin

    These days, biennials around the world come and go with such banal frequency that one is tempted to regard them foremost as another dire way of marking the passage of time. “How many more of these fanfaronades shall I see before death?” weary international art-world power brokers and factotums might well wonder. Even so, globalism notwithstanding, two of these exhibitions retain a certain anticipatory excitement, however much they are typically despised: Venice and the Whitney. The seventy-fourth installment in the series of annual and subsequently biennial exhibitions inaugurated in 1932 by the museum’s founder, Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, consists of eighty-one artists, chosen by curators Henriette Huldisch and Shamim M. Momin, and overseen by the museum’s chief curator, Donna De Salvo, with Thelma Golden, Bill Horrigan, and Linda Norden serving as consultants. Can’t wait, can you?

  • Tomma Abts

    New Museum
    235 Bowery
    April 2 - June 29

    Curated by Laura Hoptman

    Modernism just won’t go away. Tomma Abts is perhaps the best of the many painters practicing today who still find infinite resource in the complications of image and surface, of illusion and material. Her small canvases come across as faintly historical, but nonetheless don’t look like anything but themselves. Laura Hoptman brings together fourteen paintings from the past ten years in what promises to be an exhibition of heart-stopping density. The catalogue includes Bruce Hainley and Jan Verwoert, reliably insightful writers taking a shot at the mystery that surrounds the work, despite its apparent matter-of-factness. Let the critics do their best. Travels to the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, July 27–Nov. 2.

  • “Paul Chan: The 7 Lights”

    New Museum
    235 Bowery
    April 2 - June 29

    Curated by Massimiliano Gioni

    The upward trajectory of Paul Chan’s career should hearten anyone who frets over the fate of passionate, politically committed art in these Bush-era end-times. Barely a half decade into a wildly promising practice, Chan is producing nuanced work—in film and video, animation, text, drawing, and performance—that seems to deepen with each showing. This major exhibition is anchored by the US premiere of the artist’s complete Creation-based shadow play, “The 7 Lights,” the first installment of which debuted at the ICA Boston in 2005. With its unnervingly stately pace and its evocation of a world come apart at the seams—via black figurative silhouettes floating across projected apertures like sad, glaucous apparitions—the work is a haunting of the American Dream. The show includes additional videos and works on paper, and a publication with contributions by Chan, Gioni, art historian George Baker, curator Hans-Ulrich Obrist, and others.

  • “Double Album: Daniel Guzmán and Steven Shearer”

    New Museum
    235 Bowery
    April 19 - July 6

    Curated by Richard Flood

    A recent commercial for the video game Guitar Hero III has Slash flaying his way out of the body of one player to conquer the other, as if masculine so-called heroics, rock ’n’ roll or otherwise, required some kind of intense metabolizing. I doubt that either Mexican artist Daniel Guzmán or Canadian artist Steven Shearer will step out of the other’s skin for this sprawling dual show, but it would be really interesting if one of them did. Both artists haunt and are haunted by their adolescent selves from the 1970s, when, if their devotional, Tiger Beat–style installations are any indication, they were spending a lot of time in their rooms with headphones on, or jamming in the garage. Comprising roughly fifty-eight works from the past thirteen years and accompanied by a catalogue with essays on and conversations with both artists (but oddly none between the two), the show, let’s hope, will live up to its head-banging potential.

  • “Archive Fever”

    International Center of Photography Museum (ICP)
    250 Bowery
    January 18 - May 4

    Curated by Okwui Enwezor

    Despite the almost six-year interval between the two exhibitions, it is hard not to think of Okwui Enwezor’s upcoming curatorial venture, “Archive Fever: Uses of the Document in Contemporary Art,” as a kind of coda to his groundbreaking Documenta 11, with its broad recognition and catalytic endorsement of art’s recent “documentary turn.” But like that exhibition, Enwezor’s latest show, which will include eighty-seven works incorporating archival materials, in no way proposes a naive or regressive embrace of the document’s ability to convey “objective truth.” Rather, as its nod to Derrida’s book of the same name indicates, “Archive Fever” probes the blind spots, contradictions, and blurrings of fact and fiction that the form engenders, as manifested in the work of twenty-five artists, including notable photographic practitioners Stan Douglas, Zoe Leonard, Walid Raad, and Tacita Dean.

  • “Flow”

    The Studio Museum in Harlem
    144 West 125th Street
    April 2 - June 29

    Curated by Christine Y. Kim

    In 2001, Studio Museum curator Thelma Golden scandalized the art world by characterizing the work in “Freestyle,” her survey of African-American art, as “post-black”—and consequently revitalized 1990s “identity-art” debates for the twenty-first century. Following the similarly themed 2005 “Frequency” exhibition, organized by Golden and Christine Y. Kim, “Flow” will be the museum’s third attack on rigidified issues of identity and race. Kim will assemble some seventy-five works by twenty youngish, transnational African artists, at least half of whom have never exhibited in New York. A substantial catalogue will feature essays by curators, art historians, novelist Helen Oyeyemi, and others. “Flow” promises an enlivening attentiveness to real-world politics, though it remains to be seen whether its artists, or indeed any single cohort of artists, are “capable of reshaping . . . contemporary aesthetics,” as the press release proposes.

  • Frederick Kiesler

    Drawing Center
    35 Wooster Street
    April 18 - July 24

    Curated by Dieter Bogner and João Ribas

    Over the course of the past decade, architecture has seen a rekindling of interest in organicism and biologically inspired methods. While such tendencies were never dominant in the modernist project, they found expression in the work of iconoclastic designers like Frederick Kiesler. Kiesler was affiliated with many well-known twentieth-century figures and movements—he was involved with De Stijl, was a friend of Duchamp’s, and arranged the premiere of Léger’s Ballet Mechanique, 1924—but his complex theories about the relationships among biology, environment, and architecture never dovetailed with the interests of high modernism. Nevertheless, his work has influenced a number of contemporary architects, and this exhibition of drawings and archival items from 1937 to 1965 will allow us to examine the historical underpinnings of currently popular neobiological forms.