• Jenny Holzer, Yellow Looming, 2004, LED signs. Installation view, Kunsthaus Bregenz. © Jenny Holzer/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Attilio Maranzano.

    Jenny Holzer

    Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (MCA Chicago)
    220 East Chicago Avenue
    October 25, 2008–February 1, 2009

    Curated by Elizabeth Smith

    In dealing with the edgy overlap between art and language, Jenny Holzer's work connects with the Conceptual art of the 1960s and '70s, but its quality of social engagement is more explicit—it started out, in fact, as street art, a kind of enigmatic agitprop. Fairly early on, too, it moved into sculpture, installation, and elaborate experiments with computerized lighting and signage. The early '90s, according to MCA chief curator Elizabeth Smith, marked “a turning point where [Holzer] began to work more directly with issues of violence and trauma,” and this exhibition surveys the years since then—a period in which the country again went to war. Holzer's will be an important voice on that subject. The catalogue features contributions by Smith, Whitney curator-at-large Joan Simon, and an interview of the artist conducted by art historian Benjamin H. D. Buchloh.

  • “Italics: Italian Art Between Tradition and Revolution, 1968–2008”

    Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (MCA Chicago)
    220 East Chicago Avenue
    September 1–November 1, 2009

    Palazzo Grassi
    Campo San Samuele, 3231
    July 23, 2013–January 11, 2009

    Curated by Francesco Bonami

    It might have been simpler to subtitle this survey of forty years of Italian art “From Arte Povera Until Now.” After all, 1968 was hardly a turning point in Italian art, as Merz, Pistoletto, Boetti, and Co. had already produced the work that Germano Celant hailed as arte povera in his famous manifesto of the previous year. This show, then, can only be about the aftereffects of that burst of creativity, and a rich and fascinating story it is, too. Presenting nearly 250 works by more than one hundred artists may mean sacrificing depth for breadth, but it should let the clamorous vitality that continues to animate the Italian scene come through loud and clear.

  • “Heartland”

    Smart Museum of Art, University of Chicago
    5550 South Greenwood Avenue
    October 1, 2009–January 24, 2010

    Van Abbemuseum
    Bilderdijklaan 10
    July 24, 2013–January 25, 2009

    Curated by Charles Esche, Kerstin Niemann, and Stephanie Smith

    Timed to coincide with the next US presidential election—and aiming to provide an antidote to the media’s narrow focus on the candidates rather than on the culture that produced them—“Heartland” presents an array of visual culture concerned with fourteen states “roughly in the middle of the country,” mostly along the Mississippi River. Accompanied by an extensive music program at the Muziekcentrum Eindhoven, the exhibition features approximately thirty works of extant and commissioned art either from or about the region and promises to invalidate patronizing cultural clichés that, as the organizers put it in a paean to anti-elitism even Bush would love, “emanate mostly from the big urban centers of New York, Washington, DC, and Los Angeles.”