• Anthony Braxton, Falling River Music (366a), 2004–, acrylic and ink on paper, 11 × 17". From “The Freedom Principle: Experiments in Art and Music, 1965 to Now.”

    “The Freedom Principle: Experiments in Art and Music, 1965 to Now”

    Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (MCA Chicago)
    220 East Chicago Avenue
    July 11–November 22, 2015

    Curated by Naomi Beckwith and Dieter Roelstraete

    Black modernity, in its many splendors, is the focus of “The Freedom Principle.” The fifty-years-young Chicago music collective AACM (Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians) grounds the exhibition in the rowdy and riotous 1960s jazz insurgency sparked by Ornette Coleman, Cecil Taylor, John Coltrane, and the AACM’s own world-renowned modernists: Muhal Richard Abrams, Anthony Braxton, Henry Threadgill, George Lewis, Wadada Leo Smith, and flagship group the Art Ensemble of Chicago. The AACM’s ethos of independence and intrepid exploration has infused the work of two subsequent generations of Afrocentric modernists and futurists. Sharing space with a plethora of artifacts, including original printed materials and photographs from the AACM archive, are works by renowned fellow travelers AfriCOBRA, as well as by more contemporary conceptualist-Maroon operatives such as Terry Adkins, Cauleen Smith, Renée Green, and Nick Cave.

  • Kris Martin, T.Y.F.F.S.H., 2011, hot-air balloon, basket, metal ring, fans. Installation view, Marc Foxx Gallery, Los Angeles. Photo: Robert Wedemeyer. From “S, M, L, XL.”

    “S, M, L, XL”

    Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (MCA Chicago)
    220 East Chicago Avenue
    May 9–October 4, 2015

    Curated by Michael Darling

    Taking its title from Rem Koolhaas’s 1995 manifesto, “S, M, L, XL” is an examination of sculpture and scale. Scale, the relative size of one thing to another, became a preoccupation of aesthetic theory with the publication, in these pages, of Robert Morris’s “Notes on Sculpture” in 1966. Fittingly, two of the four works in the show are by Morris: Portal, 1964, a post-and-lintel structure so narrow we can barely squeeze through it, and Passageway, 1961, an increasingly constricting curved corridor that funnels us to a dead end. And while Franz West’s Blue, 2006, adds a welcoming “relational” element (a seat) to Morris’s spiral, Kris Martin’s installation T.Y.F.F.S.H., 2011, an open balloon animated by fans, allows viewers to experience the immersive scale so emblematic of today’s “site-specific” sculpture.

  • Gabriel Sierra

    The Renaissance Society
    5811 South Ellis Avenue Cobb Hall, 4th floor
    May 3–June 28, 2015

    Curated by Solveig Øvstebø

    Gabriel Sierra’s first solo show in a US institution finds the Colombian artist reflecting on the life of natural and built spaces. Does the experience of walking on grass, earth, or straw change when these materials are transposed into the gallery environment? Does the exhibition space—not only its defined architecture but also the lighting and the positioning of objects—inform our perception of these materials? Do we experience differently the surfaces of synthetic substances, whose skins artificially bind their disparate innards, and those of their natural counterparts, where inside and outside are inextricably interwoven? A series of small rooms, produced for the occasion, reconsiders natural and man-made construction in art and design. The show and attendant catalogue strike up a dialogue between materials and explore the relationship between rooms we move through and those we move within.