previews

  • “Isa Genzken: Retrospective”

    MoMA - The Museum of Modern Art
    11 West 53rd Street
    November 23 - March 10

    Curated by Sabine Breitwieser, Laura Hoptman, Michael Darling, and Jeffrey Grove

    From the retro-Futurist Ellipsoids of her first solo show in 1976, when she was still a student at the Arts Academy in Düsseldorf, to her newest expansive, mannequin-filled installation Schauspieler (Actors), 2013, German artist Isa Genzken has reanimated sculpture in strikingly revisionist ways. Genzken quickly departed from her early negotiations of Minimalism and post-Minimalism to hybridize the languages of modernist abstraction and the crass materialism of vernacular culture, exemplified by the aptly titled series of sculptural-architectural models “Fuck the Bauhaus,” 2000. The artist’s first US retrospective, encompassing forty years of her multifarious work, will explore the evolution of a practice that broke open the category of sculpture to include paintings, photographs, artists’ books, drawing, and film—a trajectory to be further charted in the exhibition catalogue.

    Travels to the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, Apr. 12– Aug. 3, 2014; Dallas Museum of Art, Sept. 14, 2014–Jan. 4, 2015.

  • Christopher Wool

    Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum | New York
    1071 Fifth Avenue
    October 25 - January 22

    Curated by Katherine Brinson

    When the Whitney Museum of American Art boldly leaped a decade and honored Wade Guyton with an early, if well-deserved, survey last year, even this late-to-the-game Christopher Wool fan felt a pang of sympathy for the elder artist, widely acknowledged as a precursor to Guyton and his generation. For this reason, the Guggenheim’s timely retrospective feels that much more so. This full-rotunda roundup—the most comprehensive showing of Wool’s output to date—will bring together roughly ninety paintings, photographs, and works on paper made since the mid-1980s. Accompanied by a catalogue with essays by Brinson, Suzanne Hudson, James Rondeau, and fellow artist Richard Prince, this exhibition should afford ample perspective on Wool’s germinal role in the already-venerable tradition of painting in the age of (post)mechanical reproduction.

    Travels to the Art Institute of Chicago, Feb. 23–May 11, 2014.

  • Robert Indiana, The Sweet Mystery, 1960–62, oil on canvas, 72 x 60".

    “Robert Indiana: Beyond Love”

    Whitney Museum of American Art
    99 Gansevoort Street
    September 26 - January 5

    Curated by Barbara Haskell

    Even if you don’t love Love, there’s no denying the status of Robert Indiana’s mid-1960s icon as one of its era’s most widely disseminated images, its laconic form having since been emblazoned on T-shirts, stamps, and posters across the globe. Haskell’s retrospective thus poses the question: What can we find with a look at the artist’s oeuvre beyond the blinding light of this single trademark? Focusing on Indiana’s prolific ’60s production but spanning nearly five decades of work in all (including paintings, sculpture, and assemblage), the exhibition aims to broaden our understanding of his exploration of American history, geography, and everyday life—from the Love and Eat works to his tributes to Herman Melville and the Brooklyn Bridge. Now that the “American Century” has passed, what can we discover anew in the work of this most American of artists?

    Travels to the McNay Art Museum, San Antonio, Feb. 5–May 25, 2014.

  • Chris Burden, The Big Wheel, 1979, cast-iron flywheel, wood, steel, motorcycle, 9' 4“ x 14' 7” x 11' 11".

    “Chris Burden: Extreme Measures”

    New Museum
    235 Bowery
    October 2 - January 12

    Curated by Lisa Phillips, Massimiliano Gioni, and Jenny Moore

    Chris Burden’s breakthrough performance pieces, such as Shoot and Prelude to 220, or 110, both 1971, still unsettle our complacent acceptance of the status quo—a jolt that can make us overlook the delicate balance of elements at play in his work. The New Museum’s building-wide retrospective will offer a great opportunity to contemplate an impressive cross section of this influential artist’s oeuvre. Burden turns a sharp visual eye on the broader social context of the artwork to simultaneously dissect and upend the figure-ground relationship that society idealizes even at the basic level of law and order, thereby bringing the backdrop of our conventions to the very fore. Looking at a great sculpture such as The Big Wheel, 1979, and nervously considering the physical implications of something going amiss, one realizes that what actually holds it all together is that Burden has shown us that something was already amiss in the bigger picture, in our aesthetics and unquestioned social structures.

  • Balthus, Thérèse Dreaming, 1938, oil on canvas, 59 x 51".

    “Balthus: Cats and Girls—Paintings and Provocations”

    The Metropolitan Museum of Art
    1000 Fifth Avenue
    September 25 - January 12

    Curated by Sabine Rewald

    As always, Balthus finds himself in a strange position: His work, long regarded as retrograde from a modernist point of view, now also comes off as unredeemed post-pomo. Even so, many people—sophisticated people too, like me—really dig Balthus. The wrongness of him bubbles up as compensatory rightness; screw modernism, and screw political correctness, à la même heure. Emphasizing the French artist’s recurrent depictions of the jeune fille and the feline, “Balthus: Cats and Girls—Paintings and Provocations” includes more than thirty paintings made between the mid-1930s and the ’50s, as well as a set of early drawings that was published by Rainer Maria Rilke as Mitsou: Histoire d’un chat in 1921. This show comes at the height of the cat meme—something that either inflames the passions of pet lovers the world over or makes you think that cats, though they may persist as living things, are o-v-e-r. Whichever camp you’re in, this show won’t disappoint!

  • “Iran Modern”

    Asia Society and Museum
    725 Park Avenue
    September 6 - January 5

    Curated by Fereshteh Daftari and Layla S. Diba

    Comprising more than one hundred artworks—paintings, sculptures, works on paper, and photographs—made by twenty-six artists, “Iran Modern” will be the first significant exhibition in the US to engage Iran’s modern art traditions. Focusing on the 1950s through the ’70s—that is, before the massive political and cultural realignments precipitated by the 1979 Islamic Revolution and during a time when Iranian artists were linked to international networks—the Asia Society’s show (and accompanying catalogue) will establish a trajectory that recognizes a globally interdependent history, attempting to rescue artists such as Parviz Tanavoli and Charles Hossein Zenderoudi from persistent prejudice and simplifications that characterize them as either “modern traditionalists” or as imitators of a canonical modernism. Above all, one hopes that this exhibition will be a productive step forward in a larger project of archival recovery, so that the complete history of this period in Iran can someday be written.

  • Mariko Mori, Sun Pillar, 2011, layered
    acrylic, 13' 1 1/2“ x approx. 2' 6” x approx. 2' 6". Installation view, Miyako Island, Japan. Photo: Richard Learoyd.

    “Rebirth: Recent Work By Mariko Mori”

    Japan Society
    333 East 47th Street
    October 11 - January 12

    Curated by Miwako Tezuka

    Like a celestial body making its auspicious return, Mariko Mori circles back to New York this October for her first major US museum exhibition in ten years. The Japan Society show— an expansion of Mori’s recent exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts in London—will host thirty-five installations, sculptures, drawings, and videos made by the artist between 2001 and 2013. One common thread throughout Mori’s oeuvre is a fascination with technology, and over the past decade she has deployed it extravagantly, albeit to Minimalist ends, making interactive monuments that hum with light and sound. In the 1990s, Mori experienced a meteoric rise to fame; and, in true superstar fashion, she subsequently turned inward to explore esoterica, spirituality, and humanity’s bond with nature. While a sense of peace and stillness will likely prevail, “Rebirth” nevertheless promises to be a real spectacle.

  • “Peter Schumann: The Shatterer”

    Queens Museum
    New York City Building Flushing Meadows
    October 13 - March 9

    Curated by Jonathan Berger and Larissa Harris

    Since 1963, the Bread and Puppet Theater has been a visible part of protest culture in the US, with its large-scale handmade puppets enlivening demonstrations against everything from the Vietnam War to the World Trade Organization. “The Shatterer” is the first one-person show dedicated to the group’s founder and director, German émigré Peter Schumann; it also marks the fiftieth anniversary of the Vermont-based collective and will inaugurate the new expansion of the Queens Museum. The exhibition will delve into Schumann’s little-known individual practice, featuring drawings and paintings, an immersive site-specific mural, and a series of live events performed in a papier-mâché chapel. Coupled with a residency by Bread and Puppet members, this unprecedented gathering of Schumann’s work could reveal that his output as a solo artist has been just as pivotal as his role as an impresario of collaboration.