previews

  • Karla Black

    ICA - Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania
    University of Pennsylvania 118 South 36th Street
    April 24–July 28

    Curated by Kate Kraczon

    Experimenting with the fragility of materials such as cellophane, powder, lipstick, and eye shadow, Karla Black creates visceral sculptures that convey vulnerability and uncertainty yet remain stalwartly poised on the verge of something extraordinary. The Glasgow-based artist’s first solo museum exhibition in the US will consist of a massive, site-specific work, Practically in Shadow, 2013. Black’s largest hanging polyethylene form to date will be suspended from the ICA’s thirty-foot ceiling and bathed in natural light from the surrounding skylights. On the floor below, nearly seven thousand pounds of powdered plaster and paint will be arranged under a crown-like cellophane covering. Chalk dust, Sellotape, thread, bath bombs, and nail polish, all in pastel shades, will complete the palette. The tensions between these materials—of density and lightness, formlessness and structure—will surely strike the dramatic balance for which Black’s compositions are so well known.

  • “Jennifer Bartlett: History of the Universe—Works 1970–2011”

    The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts Museum
    118-128 North Broad Street
    June 27–October 13

    Curated by Klaus Ottmann

    When the Museum of Modern Art in New York exhibited Jennifer Bartlett’s epic Rhapsody, 1975–76, in its atrium in 2011, the piece’s 153 feet of 987 baked enamel steel plates more than held the space. Rhapsody is a joyful declaration of painterly concerns that cites almost every movement and method under MoMA’s roof. It’s also a diary of one year of work. A shared sense of monumental history and daily life pervades this four-decade survey (organized by the Parrish Art Museum), as well as its catalogue, which features an essay by Ottmann, an interview with the artist by Terrie Sultan, and an excerpt from Bartlett’s 1985 novel, History of the Universe. The twenty-two works on view include gridded land- and seascapes, expressive oil paintings, and recent language-based works. Above all, the exhibition promises to foreground Bartlett’s quiet dynamism: the way her marks breach their formalist structures to keep making.

    Travels to the Parrish Art Museum, Southampton, NY, Apr. 27–July 13, 2014.