previews

  • Roni Horn, You Are the Weather (detail), 1994–96, sixty-four color photographs and thirty-six black-and-white photographs, each 10 3/8 x 8 3/8".

    “Roni Horn aka Roni Horn”

    Collection Lambert en Avignon
    5 rue Violette
    June 21 - October 4

    Tate Modern
    Bankside
    February 25 - May 25

    Whitney Museum of American Art
    99 Gansevoort Street
    November 6 - January 24

    Curated by Mark Godfrey, Donna De Salvo, and Carter Foster

    A welcome survey of Horn’s work tracks her thirty-year engagement with post-Minimalist form as a container for affective perception. Expect selections from her cycles of “pair objects”; the complete 100-photograph installation of “You Are the Weather,” 1994–96; and—investigating the topography of Iceland as a landscape of libidinal folds and fissures—the artist’s book series “To Place,” 1990–. Newer pieces will include sculptures in glass, abstract word drawings, and a rubber-floored room. The accompanying publication promises a “Subject Index” of writings by the artist, Matthew Barney, Anne Carson, Tacita Dean, and Nancy Spector, among others, and will doubtless benefit from Horn’s long-standing interest in books as objects. Art historian Briony Fer contributes the lead essay.

  • Dan Graham, Performer/Audience/Mirror, 1977. Performance view, P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center, New York, 1977.

    Dan Graham

    MOCA Geffen Contemporary
    152 North Central Avenue
    February 15 - May 25

    Walker Art Center
    725 Vineland Place
    November 1 - January 15

    Whitney Museum of American Art
    99 Gansevoort Street
    June 25 - October 11

    Curated by Chrissie Iles and Bennett Simpson

    Since 1965, when he began producing the diagrams and photo-text magazine pieces that would become landmarks of Conceptual art, Dan Graham has made a series of swerves in his practice through video and film and performance to the architectural pavilions of the 1980s and beyond. This body of work—along with his early stint as a gallerist showing art by friends such as Carl Andre and Robert Smithson, and his energetic activities as a critic and speaker—has earned him near-legendary status. Artists today find a potent model in Graham’s integration of the conditions of exhibition and media reception into his own work; in his shape-shifting modus operandi; in his omnivorous cultural appetites. (His long-standing obsession with rock ’n’ roll, for instance, has given rise to extensive writings and the videos Minor Threat, 1983, and Rock My Religion, 1984.) And yet, due to these very qualities, institutions have had difficulty assimilating and presenting his work: MoCA’s forty-year survey is his first retrospective in the United States. Following on the heels of “Lawrence Weiner: As Far as the Eye Can see” (co-organized by MoCA and the Whitney Museum of American Art in 2007), the show thus marks another watershed in the American reception of Conceptually oriented practitioners whose projects, initiated in the ’60s, have long been influential among artists even as they were sidelined for decades on the US museum circuit.

    Tracing the evolution of Graham’s practice, the exhibition aims to loosely unite the artist’s divergent production around “the changing relationship of individual to society as mirrored through American mass media and architecture at the end of the twentieth century,” per cocurators Chrissie Iles and Bennett Simpson. The show, comprising about one hundred works, will navigate vastly different kinds of visual and perceptual experiences, from the private space of the page to screen-based and time-based works to the emphatically public pavilions. The events program will include a panel on music and collaboration featuring Graham, Kim Gordon, and Thurston Moore, in addition to other talks and screenings. The catalogue, copublished with MIT Press, boasts essays by Rhea Anastas, Beatriz Colomina, Iles, and Simpson, among others, as well as two new interviews with Graham. The volume will be a substantial addition to the growing body of critical writing on the artist.

    The show has not been unaffected by MoCA’s very public financial crisis; in a last-minute change, the museum announced in November that the retrospective would be installed in MoCA’s main Grand Avenue space, as cost-cutting moves prompted the six-month (and perhaps indefinite) closure of the Geffen Contemporary. For decades, Graham’s work has reflected on the public and institutional vicissitudes of artmaking; coming at such a fraught moment, the exhibition attests to MoCA’s own near-legendary support of critical and challenging art projects.

  • Arthur Wesley Dow, August Moon, 1905, woodcut print, 5 1/3 x 7 1/2".

    “The Third Mind: American Artists Contemplate Asia, 1860–1989”

    Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art
    4525 Oak Street
    July 19 - January 3

    Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum | New York
    1071 Fifth Avenue
    January 30 - April 19

    Curated by Alexandra Munroe

    “The Third Mind” looks to subvert the narrative of cultural influence’s one-way flow from West to East by focusing on how artists, writers, and filmmakers in the United States have consistently drawn on “Asian” (mainly Japanese, Chinese, and Indian) artistic traditions and religious practices. Curator Alexandra Munroe arranges more than 200 works into seven roughly chronological sections, beginning with pieces by Mary Cassatt and John La Farge, among others, and ending with the likes of Meredith Monk and Bill Viola. The show’s title, referencing a 1965 work by William S. Burroughs and Brion Gysin that recombined textual fragments to form new narratives, evokes the eclecticism that has characterized American appropriations of the Asian ever since Matthew C. Perry landed in Japan.

  • Richard Prince, Untitled (four single men with interchangeable backgrounds looking to the right [detail]), 1977, mixed media, 23 x 19".
     

    “The Pictures Generation, 1974–1984”

    The Metropolitan Museum of Art
    1000 Fifth Avenue
    April 21 - August 2

    Curated by Douglas Eklund

    The label “Pictures Generation” conjures a loosely affiliated group of New York–based artists—the likes of Sherrie Levine, Richard Prince, and Cindy Sherman—who exploited the slippage between categories of art and mass media to usher in the age of appropriation. With this presentation of approximately 160 works, curator Douglas Eklund seeks to expand the movement’s historical parameters, tracing its origins to the 1970s proving grounds of Hallwalls, a nonprofit art space in Buffalo, and to the classrooms of the California Institute of the Arts. While reframing well-known artists (look for very early, Prince-like advertising collages from both David Salle and James Welling), the show will also shed new light on others (such as Paul McMahon and Michael Zwack) who never quite blasted into the art-world stratosphere.

  • León Ferrari, Planet, 1979, stainless steel.

    “Tangled Alphabets: León Ferrari and Mira Schendel”

    MoMA - The Museum of Modern Art
    11 West 53rd Street
    April 5 - June 15

    Curated by Luis Pérez-Oramas

    This dual retrospective sets Argentine León Ferrari in dialogue with Brazil-based, Switzerland-born Mira Schendel and traces the full sweep of both artists’ oeuvres. Curator Luis Pérez-Oramas selects some 260 works, giving special attention to the ’60s through the ’80s, a period during which the two took language as their core subject and material—yet to divergent aesthetic effect. Ferrari’s more systematic efforts contrast with the poetic muteness of Schendel’s works, meaning that for some, the show might be more puzzling than pleasing. The exhibition’s substantial catalogue, with contributions by Pérez-Oramas and historians Andrea Giunta and Rodrigo Naves, will no doubt find significant links between the pair—and provide much-needed scholarship on bodies of work long overshadowed by concurrent yet distinctly different linguistic and conceptual experimentation in the US.

  • Jonathan Horowitz, American Gothic, 2002, sixty-four framed ink-jet prints, 90 x 70".

    Jonathan Horowitz

    MoMA PS1
    22-25 Jackson Avenue at 46th Avenue
    February 22 - September 14

    Curated by Klaus Biesenbach

    Taking artistic opportunism to its logical, tongue-in-cheek extreme, Jonathan Horowitz’s most recent show was titled “Obama ’08” and featured a kitschy, Koons-y bronze of a certain Democratic senator from New York. The artist’s first solo New York museum outing—into which curator Klaus Biesenbach corrals more than fifteen years’ worth of video, sculpture, photography, and sound installations—promises the return of that statuette, Hillary Clinton Is a Person Too, 2008, along with many other sardonic delights. Check, for example, the dubious politicization—by insertion of incendiary slogans—of his celebrity portraits’ subjects (Elizabeth Taylor, Jane Fonda), or the built-in obsolescence of Maxell, 1990, the artist’s video of a slowly degrading videocassette logo. Taking aim at a range of contemporary fools and follies, Horowitz calls foul on the strange attractors of fame, fortune, and popular media.

  • Unica Zürn, Untitled, 1962, ink on paper, 12 3/8 x 9 1/4".

    Unica Zürn

    The Drawing Center
    35 Wooster Street
    July 25 - July 23

    Curated by João Ribas

    Best known as an author who moved in Surrealist circles, Unica Zürn had a fascinating (if morbid) past: Berlin-born, she published short stories in German newspapers in the 1950s before moving to Paris with Hans Bellmer; there, her acquaintance with André Breton, Max Ernst, and Marcel Duchamp left an indelible mark; severe mental illness—which began, Zürn claimed, after a 1957 encounter with poet Henri Michaux—led to her suicide in 1970. The fifty-some ink and watercolor works on paper produced between 1953 and her death on display here—including fantastical, cartoonlike sketches, illustrated anagram poetry, and pieces inspired by automatism of the ’20s and ’30s—highlight the oft-ignored centrality of drawing to the artist’s oeuvre. A selection of photographs, Zürn’s personal correspondence, and editions of her published writings will be installed among the artworks, providing helpful context within this tightly focused survey.

  • Melanie Gilligan, Prison for Objects, 2008. Performance view, Transmission Gallery, Glasgow, 2008.
     

    “The Space of the Work and the Place of the Object”

    SculptureCenter
    44-19 Purves Street
    January 11 - March 22

    Curated by Mary Ceruti

    For SculptureCenter’s winter show, eight artists take the secondary forces of production—presentation, circulation, and market relations—as their primary interest, if not the very determinants of color, shape, and size. Karin Schneider, for example, will extend the reception desk into the space of the exhibition, encase it in Plexiglas, and claim all material passing through the structure (including press releases, phone calls, and the receptionist) as part of her piece—seeking, in effect, to diagram the institution’s flows of information. Mary Ceruti’s curatorial conceit, itself a condition of production, is a risky one: Should the show ask too much of the work, the resulting tautology could precipitate the exhibition’s conceptual collapse. Of course, were this to occur, the objects left behind would remain significant nonetheless.