previews

  • “Léger: Modern Art and the Metropolis”

    Philadelphia Museum of Art
    26th Street and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway
    October 14 - January 5

    Curated by Anna Vallye

    If Baudelaire’s generation first proposed metropolitan life as a fitting subject for art, it was not until the interwar years that the urban environment was codified as a graphic style. At the center of this transformation was a single canvas: Fernand Léger’s The City, 1919. In this mural-scale painting, the metropolis becomes one in substance and signifier, its essence reduced to a spectacular shorthand cribbed from the billboards and music halls of Paris’s Place de Clichy. This seminal work is the focal point of “Léger: Modern Art and the Metropolis,”which tracks Léger’s dialogue during the 1920s with a generation of artists, designers, and filmmakers, including Gerald Murphy, A. M. Cassandre, and Abel Gance. Comprising roughly 160 works and accompanied by a major scholarly catalogue, this exhibition provides a welcome occasion to rethink art’s image of—and impact on—the modern anthroposphere.

    Travels to the Museo Correr, Venice, Feb.–May 2014.

  • Jason Rhoades, The Creation Myth, 1998, mixed media. Installation view, Hauser & Wirth, Zurich.

    “Jason Rhoades, Four Roads”

    ICA - Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia
    University of Pennsylvania 118 South 36th Street
    September 18 - December 29

    Curated by Ingrid Schaffner

    Curator and critic Daniel Birnbaum once described Jason Rhoades as “perhaps the most American of contemporary American artists.” So it is somewhat surprising that the Los Angeles–based master of sprawling sculptural surplus should only now receive his first major US museum exhibition, some seven years after his untimely death at the age of forty-one. The title of the show—a wink at Rhoades’s relentless punning—corresponds to four thematic “roads” (Americana, biography, systems, and taboo) to be manifested in the four huge installations set to fill the museum and expanded upon in catalogue essays by Schaffner, Martha Buskirk, Chris Kraus, Linda Norden, and Paul Schimmel. While a complete retrospective seems practically impossible, given the superabundance of each work, this reconsideration should offer more than plenty to consume in our “austere” moment.

    Travels to the Orange County Museum of Art, Newport Beach, CA, Apr. 13–July 20, 2014.