previews

  • “Simon Starling: Metamorphology”

    Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (MCA Chicago)
    220 East Chicago Avenue
    June 7–November 2, 2014

    Curated by Dieter Roelstraete and Janine Mileaf

    Metamorphology, a term borrowed from Goethe’s protoevolutionary theory, is a persuasive catchall for Simon Starling’s practice, which is postmedium—and multimedia—yet full of research-heavy, labor-intensive, material transformations. This first major museum survey in the US will include, among eleven ambitious works from the past decade, a propped two-ton slab of Romanian steel titled after Brancusi’s 1923 Bird in Space, which Duchamp had likewise shepherded through US customs, duty-free, some eighty years earlier—but only after a protracted court case over its aesthetic status. Another modernist giant hovers over Project for a Masquerade (Hiroshima), 2010, an installation marshaling complex cross-cultural narratives linking Henry Moore, early atomic research, and the provenance of materials. The catalogue includes contributions by Mark Godfrey, the curators, and Starling himself.

    Travels to the Musée d’Art Contemporain de Montréal, Feb.–Apr. 2015.

  • “Josef Koudelka: Nationality Doubtful”

    The Art Institute of Chicago
    111 South Michigan Avenue
    June 7–September 14, 2014

    Curated by Matthew Witkovsky

    Josef Koudelka is often called a “street photographer,” a designation that, in light of his variform lifetime production, suggests the limitations and, perhaps, the final exhaustion of the old categories of photographic criticism. The 162 photos in this show, which will include many “vintage” exhibition and work prints, range from 1958 through the present and are drawn primarily from Koudelka’s personal archive. The images encompass several examples of the Czech-born French photographer’s important early work documenting the Prague theater scene, Gypsy encampments, and the Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968. Among the selections are pictures taken for projects that resulted in one or another of Koudelka’s many books, including Exiles (1988), The Black Triangle (1994), Chaos (1999),and the recently published Wall (2013), consisting of panoramic landscape photographs depicting the barrier separating Israelis from Palestinians.

    Travels to the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, Nov. 11, 2014–Mar. 29, 2015; Fundación Mapfre, Madrid, Sept.–Nov. 2015.