• Willem de Kooning, Pink Angels, 1945, oil and charcoal on canvas, 52 x 40".

    “de Kooning: A Retrospective”

    MoMA - The Museum of Modern Art
    11 West 53rd Street
    September 12, 2011–January 9, 2012

    Curated by John Elderfield

    Whether taken to be a modernist painter pledged to sculptural volumes or an action painter enamored of old masters, Willem de Kooning has never fit comfortably within the dominant narratives of gestural abstraction. MoMA curator emeritus John Elderfield’s highly anticipated retrospective invites us to reconsider the achievement of this canonical, peerless artist in detail. Bringing together more than two hundred paintings, sculptures, drawings, and prints from all the major stages of de Kooning’s career, the show will include some rarely seen works—such as Labyrinth, 1946, the artist’s fabled theatrical backdrop—among the justly celebrated Pink Angels, 1945, Excavation, 1950, and many other milestones. An extensively researched catalogue promises to offer fresh perspectives from scholars and conservators alike.

  • Ellsworth Kelly, Ground Zero, 2003, collage on newsprint, 8 x 12 3/4".

    “September 11”

    MoMA PS1
    22-25 Jackson Avenue at 46th Avenue
    September 11, 2011–January 9, 2012

    Curated by Peter Eleey

    In 2003, the late New York Times critic Herbert Muschamp received a FedEx package from Ellsworth Kelly containing a belated proposal for Ground Zero: a green trapezoid collaged on an aerial shot of the site. “Like Piet Mondrian in the 1940s,” Muschamp wrote, Kelly had “transformed Manhattan into the musical state of mind we intuitively know it to be.” But the emotional pitch of that music, he noted, was perhaps “too high for the city to bear.” Ten years removed from the horror of the attacks, “September 11” presumes an audience prepared to look on almost forty artists’ works, including Kelly’s, that frame––or have been reframed by––that traumatic moment, from Diane Arbus’s 1956 photograph of a newspaper floating above a Manhattan street to Thomas Hirschhorn’s 1997 sidewalk shrine to Mondrian. The works in this exhibition have everything and nothing to do with 9/11, obliquely shadowing an event that remains impossible to adequately picture.

  • Maurizio Cattelan, Untitled, 2001, wax, pigment, human hair, fabric, polyester resin. Installation view, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam, 2002. Photo: Attilio Maranzano.

    “Maurizio Cattelan: All”

    Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum | New York
    1071 Fifth Avenue
    November 4, 2011–January 22, 2012

    Curated by Nancy Spector

    For his contribution to this year’s Venice Biennale, Maurizio Cattelan perched two thousand formaldehyde-preserved pigeons over the entrance and among the rafters of the Central Pavilion. A parody of the art apparatchiks who flock to the Giardini during the exhibition preview—as predictably as pigeons gather (and shit) in the Piazza San Marco—The Others, 2011, is classic Cattelan. At the Guggenheim, curator Nancy Spector has orchestrated a full onslaught of the artist’s characteristic satire, in a midcareer retrospective that brings together nearly 130 of Cattelan’s best-known and most outrageous works made since the late 1980s, including a taxidermied horse hung from the ceiling, a meteorite-stricken Pope John Paul II, and a miniature Hitler kneeling in prayer, as well as a number of peering pigeons that, like the Italian provocateur, will threaten a fecal hail on visitors to the show—or on the institution of art itself?

  • Sanja Iveković, Paper Women, 1976–77, collage on magazine page, 9 x 12 3/8".

    “Sanja Iveković: Sweet Violence”

    MoMA - The Museum of Modern Art
    11 West 53rd Street
    December 18, 2011–March 26, 2012

    Curated by Roxana Marcoci

    A central figure in Eastern Europe’s long-overlooked history of astutely political Conceptual art, Sanja Iveković is finally getting her due with “Sweet Violence,” an exhibition of more than one hundred works spanning the Croatian artist’s career since 1974. For her photomontage series “Double Life,” 1975–76, Iveković matched photographs from her personal album with clichéd poses cut from women’s magazines, using mimicry as an incisive critical strategy (and notably predating Cindy Sherman’s 1977–80 “Untitled Film Stills”). Along with many other photomontage works and a number of early single-channel videos (such as the iconic Instructions No. 1, 1976, in which the artist defaces her own complexion, drawing and then smearing a diagram meant to chart a cosmetic facial massage), the show will gather principal examples of Iveković’s sculptures, drawings, performances, and media installations, tracing her pioneering practice up through more recent work concerning postsocialist society and the inequities that have belied the capitalist dream.

  • Sherrie Levine, Crystal Skull, 2011, cast glass, 5 1/2 × 7 × 4 1/2 " © Sherrie Levine. Photograph by Davina Semo.

    “Sherrie Levine: Mayhem”

    Whitney Museum of American Art
    99 Gansevoort Street
    November 10, 2011–February 1, 2012

    Curated by Johanna Burton and Elisabeth Sussman

    When New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art staged “The Pictures Generation, 1974–1984” in the spring of 2009, New Yorker critic Peter Schjeldahl couldn’t seem to find enough words of opprobrium for the work exhibited—“menacingly cynical,” “brittle,” “pitiless,” “alien.” Sherrie Levine’s work was singled out as encapsulating the Pictures approach with “diabolical efficiency.” Indeed, Levine has, over the years, been cast as both the purest and the most heartless of the appropriation artists. The Whitney Museum’s overview of her career from the 1970s to the present, comprising more than one hundred works in a wide range of media—photographs, prints, paintings, and sculpture—will provide a welcome opportunity for reassessment. Coupled with a catalogue featuring essays by the curators as well as by Thomas Crow, David Joselit, Maria Loh, and Howard Singerman, this show will no doubt attest to the emotional resonance, historical insight, and exceptional taste that have always characterized Levine’s work.

  • Museumgoers wearing Carsten Höller’s Umkehrbrille (Upside-Down Goggles), 1994/2004, during the artist’s exhibition “Une exposition à Marseille,” Musée d’Art Contemporain, Marseille, France, 2005.

    “Carsten Höller: Experience”

    New Museum
    235 Bowery
    October 26, 2011–January 15, 2012

    Curated by Massimiliano Gioni

    Part science-fair project, part theme-park attraction, and part Oldenburgian baroque, the installations of Carsten Höller are somatic adventures. The viewer may find herself immersed in a flood of strobe lights, a sensory-deprivation tank, or an inter-species exchange with reindeer, canaries, and houseflies. Whether Höller provides spiritual hallucinations and out-of-body experiences or simply a fun-house version of contemporary art, he never fails to deliver a spectacular, crowd-pleasing presentation that derives its frisson from positioning art audiences as guinea pigs—and, by extension, turning the art exhibition into a Pavlovian experiment. For the Belgian-born artist’s first New York survey, works from the extent of Höller’s career will fill the entire New Museum, while the scientific aura of his work will be accentuated by a catalogue formatted as an encyclopedia, with entries by curator Massimiliano Gioni, Daniel Birnbaum, Lynne Cooke, Hal Foster, and others.

  • Elmgreen & Dragset, Happy Days in the Art World, 2011, performance view. Photo by Paula Court

    Performa 11

    Various Venues
    134 Bowery–272 Bowery
    November 1–November 21, 2011

    Curated by RoseLee Goldberg

    When the inaugural edition of RoseLee Goldberg’s performance art biennial was announced six years ago, few would have predicted its level of popular success, the medium having long ago settled into place on the art world’s fringes. Since then, performance art has experienced both a rise in its institutional representation and an extension into new realms—witness Marina Abramović’s MoMA performance broadcast live via webcam and Flickr feed, and LA MoCA’s promotion of James Franco’s General Hospital crossover as a performance piece. Perhaps this expansion owes something to Performa, which demonstrated the possibility for performance art, in all its guises, to engage a broader audience. Spanning more than eighty venues and featuring twelve new commissions (by Elmgreen & Dragset, Simon Fujiwara, Shirin Neshat, Frances Stark, and others) along with works selected according to the theme of “Language, Translation, and Misinformation,” Performa 11 will continue to push the medium toward center stage.

  • Nathalie Djurberg, Deceiving looks, 2011, still from digital video, 5 minutes and 58 seconds.

    Nathalie Djurberg

    Walker Art Center
    725 Vineland Place
    September 8–December 31, 2011

    New Museum
    235 Bowery
    May 11–July 8, 2012

    Yerba Buena Center for the Arts
    701 Mission Street
    October 16, 2012–January 27, 2013

    Curated by Eric Crosby and Dean Otto

    In Nathalie Djurberg’s frenzied stop-motion animations, even innocuous actions—a kiss, a lick—quickly turn violent. The crude, childlike appearance of the Swedish artist’s handmade figures and environments renders her work all the more sinister and unsettling. For “The Parade,” her largest exhibition in an American museum to date, Djurberg explores the social psychology of birds—their mating rituals, flocking patterns, and territorial displays—with eighty-five freestanding mixed-media sculptures and five films (all of which are synced to one incongruously chipper score by Hans Berg). A catalogue with essays by the two curators will supplement Djurberg’s all-new body of work. Taking these strange winged creatures as a point of departure, the artist will undoubtedly present us with a terrifying and exhilarating universe of aviary perversions.