previews

  • Eadweard Muybridge, Cannonballs and San Francisco Bay, Alcatraz Island, 1869, stereoscopic black-and-white photographs on studio card, 3 3/8 x 7".

    “Helios: Eadweard Muybridge in a Time of Change”

    Tate Britain
    Millbank
    September 13–January 16

    San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA)
    151 Third Street
    February 26–June 7

    Corcoran Gallery of Art
    500 17th Street, NW
    April 10–July 18

    Curated by Philip Brookman

    Eadweard Muybridge’s fame rests largely on the 1887 publication and popular dissemination of Animal Locomotion, in which marvelously matter-of-fact images of men, women, children, horses, elephants, birds, and anything else he could wrangle into his studio are arranged in 781 sequential grids like frames in a film. That project has nearly eclipsed a career of experimentation and innovation that began in San Francisco twenty years earlier and involved virtually every sort of photographic subject, process, and format. This retrospective, the first devoted to the full range of Muybridge’s work, focuses new attention on his pioneering western landscapes, including unusually large-scale views of Yosemite and detailed panoramas of San Francisco, as well as the devices Muybridge invented to capture and project motion.

  • Alice Neel, Victoria and the Cat, 1980, oil on canvas, 39 3/4 x 25 1/2".

    Alice Neel: Painted Truths

    Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
    1001 Bissonnet
    May 21–June 13

    Whitechapel Gallery
    77 - 82 Whitechapel High Street
    July 8–August 17

    Moderna Museet | Stockholm
    Skeppsholmen
    October 10–January 2

    Curated by Jeremy Lewison and Barry Walker

    Though Alice Neel (1900–1984) could sometimes appear matronly (she played a bishop’s mother in the 1959 Beat film Pull My Daisy), she was a political radical and a bohemian whose portraits questioned social and artistic categories with enduring acumen. While she mastered the figural distortions developed by modernists before her (limbs like pulled taffy, faces with not-quite-level eyes, oversize heads heavy with psychic burdens), she rendered her subjects with a sincerity that modernists typically feared. The MFA’s sixty-eight-work retrospective spans more than fifty years of painting and includes subjects that range from a nursing woman to a family in Spanish Harlem, from a cowlicked Robert Smithson and a toothy Frank O’Hara to a man named Joe Gould sporting an impressive three penises.

  • Theo van Doesburg, Simultaneous Counter-Composition, 1929–1930, oil on canvas, 19 3/4 x 19 5/8".

    “Van Doesburg and the International Avant-Garde”

    Tate Modern
    Bankside
    February 4–May 16

    Curated by Vicente Todolí, Gladys Fabre, and Doris Wintgens Hötte

    A chief exponent of De Stijl, Theo van Doesburg was anything but doctrinaire. Like the elemental shapes that logically expanded from his canvases to the world itself, his activities reached out to involve such seemingly antithetical developments as the early Bauhaus and Dada. Organized in collaboration with the Stedelijk Museum De Lakenhal in Leiden, the Netherlands (where the show is on view through January 3), this exhibition comprises more than three hundred pieces by van Doesburg and some eighty of the artists he affected, from Mondrian to Schwitters. The curators have gathered works of painting, sculpture, typography, poetry, music, film, furniture, interior design, and architecture—including model reconstructions of the collaboratively designed Café Aubette in Strasbourg, France—making visible the range of van Doesburg’s influential practice.

  • Chris Ofili, The Raising of Lazarus, 2007, 
oil and charcoal on linen, 
109 3/4 x 78 7/8".

    Chris Ofili

    Tate Britain
    Millbank
    January 27–May 16

    Curated by Judith Nesbitt

    It takes guts to shed your clothes in public, but this, in effect, is what Chris Ofili has done in his paintings over the past five years. Layer by layer, he has peeled away the resin, glitter, and signature fecal excrescences that once made his canvases such dense and enthralling objects, laying bare the sinewy contours and flat fields of color that long served as hidden armatures. This shift makes all the more timely Ofili’s Tate retrospective of forty-five paintings (some never previously exhibited) and a selection of works on paper. Spanning from the mid-’90s until today, the show should illuminate the continuities and ruptures between Ofili’s recent and earlier output, as well as between media like drawing and painting, the former of which has gained new clarity and prominence in the latter’s domain.