• Peter Fischli and David Weiss, Untitled (detail), 1994–2013, 164 hand-carved polyurethane objects, paint, dimensions variable.

    “Peter Fischli David Weiss: How to Work Better”

    Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum | New York
    1071 Fifth Avenue
    February 5–April 20, 2016

    Curated by Nancy Spector and Nat Trotman

    Los Angeles, 1981. Rat and Bear walk into a gallery speaking Schweizerdeutsch, looking for fame, money, purpose. Stumbling upon a dead body, they empty its pockets and walk off with the corpse. An unexpected opportunity arises, and they run with it. Robbing the dead and snatching bodies? It would be stupid of me to find a summation of more than thirty years’ work in this scene from Peter Fischli and the late David Weiss’s first film, The Point of Least Resistance. But the two artists have always seemed sympathetic to the uncreative thought—deploying it to brilliant effect, using forms others might have pronounced inert or worse: carved trompe l’oeil studio clutter, photos of gardens, a sculpture of a rock atop another rock. Often mistaken for being funny, their poker-faced works and laconic titles—Equilibres, Suddenly This Overview, Rock on Top of Another Rock—could be the answers to the universe or just a passing shrug. The Guggenheim’s spiraling ramp seems to have been waiting for the makers of The Way Things Go. Finally, this overview.

  • Marcel Broodthaers, General with Cigar, 1970, found oil painting, cigar, 15 3/4 × 11 7/8 × 2 3/4". © Estate of Marcel Broodthaers/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/SABAM, Brussels.

    “Marcel Broodthaers: Retrospective”

    MoMA - The Museum of Modern Art
    11 West 53rd Street
    February 14–May 15, 2016

    Curated by Christophe Cherix and Manuel Borja-Villel

    Those who thought they knew this father of institutional critique will have their heads turned by Marcel Broodthaers’s first US survey in a quarter century. Comprising some 200 works, including early egg- and mussel-shell pieces, film installations that incorporate the works’ packaging and screens, and the late décors—which combined retrospective, film set, and proto-installation art—MoMA’s exhibition builds on its acquisition of the extraordinary Daled collection and is complemented by a catalogue with essays from the curators, Benjamin H. D. Buchloh, Thierry de Duve, and Jean-François Chevrier. Rarely seen objects such as the postcard collection with which Broodthaers launched his Musée d’Art Moderne, Département des Aigles in 1968 and a darkly funny flea-market portrait of a fully decorated general punctuated with an actual cigar butt should lend acute insight into the artist’s crucial linkages between nationalism, imperialism, and the fetishism of art itself. The timing couldn’t be better. Travels to the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid, Oct. 4, 2016–Jan. 9, 2017.

  • “Laura Poitras: Astro Noise”

    Whitney Museum of American Art
    99 Gansevoort Street
    February 5–May 1, 2016

    Curated by Jay Sanders

    In 2013, filmmaker Laura Poitras became the message bearer for Edward Snowden, who contacted her to share documents revealing the NSA’s covert global-spying activities; their interaction formed the core of Poitras’s Oscar-winning documentary CITIZENFOUR. Poitras screened and discussed pre-Snowden research on US-government surveillance in the 2012 Whitney Biennial and returns this spring to mount her first solo museum exhibition, for which she will create a series of immersive spaces from a personal archive of materials related to her ongoing investigations of post-9/11 America. Poitras has long stressed the role of storytelling in her filmmaking, and this show promises a narrative experience for attendees, whose exploration of the space will be guided by distinctive architectural interventions. Not your typical exhibition catalogue, the accompanying publication, Astro Noise: A Survival Guide to Living Under Total Surveillance, will be a collection of original works from contributors including Hito Steyerl, Trevor Paglen, Ai Weiwei, Jill Magid, and Snowden himself, with a free version to be distributed at events internationally.

  • Alice Neel, James Hunter Black Draftee, 1965, oil on canvas, 60 × 40". From “Unfinished: Thoughts Left Visible.”

    “Unfinished: Thoughts Left Visible”

    Met Breuer
    New York
    March 18–September 4

    Curated by Kelly Baum, Andrea Bayer, and Nicholas Cullinan

    The unfinished exudes a special allure as attractive during the Renaissance as it is to contemporary art. The incomplete even developed its own aesthetic paradigm, the non finito, which favored the look of flux and forestalled finish. A work in progress itself, the Met Breuer is poised to open in the former Whitney Museum on Madison Avenue, which has been repurposed to house the Metropolitan’s new gallery of modern and contemporary art. What, then, could be more apt than for the Met Breuer’s inaugural exhibition to celebrate the magnetism of the unfinished since the Renaissance, linking contemporary artistic practices to the centuries-old preoccupation in a show with a historical sweep only an encyclopedic institution like the Met could muster. Indeed, Baum, Bayer, and Cullinan have assembled about 140 objects in various media drawn from every corner of the museum’s collection, complemented by a few choice loans and to be elucidated by a publication that includes both scholarly essays and interviews with contemporary artists.

  • Anri Sala, Ravel Ravel, 2013, two-channel HD video, sixteen-channel sound installation, color, 20 minutes 45 seconds.

    “Anri Sala: Answer Me”

    New Museum
    235 Bowery
    February 3–April 10, 2016

    Curated by Massimiliano Gioni

    Anyone who has followed Anri Sala’s career will have noticed the key role acoustics play in his films and installations: modernist music, free jazz, punk rock, even just the sound of a lone snare drum. Often distorted through delays and echoes, a tune might at first be indecipherable: In Tlatelolco Clash, 2011, for instance, a recognizable version of the Clash’s hit “Should I Stay or Should I Go” emerges only toward the end. As in many of Sala’s works, the fractured music seems to echo the historical and political ruptures of the site where it is performed—here, a town square in Mexico City. With a catalogue comprising essays by Gioni and assistant curator Natalie Bell, as well as Benjamin H. D. Buchloh, Tacita Dean, Mark Godfrey, Boris Groys, and Christine Macel, this major solo show—the artist’s first such outing in New York—will explore the relationship between sound and site, music and architecture, in the artist’s work.

  • “The Eccentrics”

    44-19 Purves Street
    January 24–April 4, 2016

    Curated by Ruba Katrib

    SculptureCenter’s Ruba Katrib has selected and commissioned sculpture, video, printmaking, and performance works from a strong cohort of eight artists for an exhibition whose curatorial premise is inspired by the Factory of the Eccentric Actor, founded in Petrograd in 1921. That group endeavored to employ biomechanical precision—in the way that circus clowns, magicians, and acrobats do—to court the unexpected and produce illusion. Contemporary practitioners Sanya Kantarovsky, Adriana Lara, Ieva Misevičiūtė, Eduardo Navarro, Jeanine Oleson, Georgia Sagri, Zhou Tao, and Tori Wrånes similarly defy expectations with formally and conceptually reflexive works that delight and enlighten through off-kilter explorations of physical laws, media conditions, and social roles. A catalogue and a free program of new performances by four of the artists will accompany the show.

  • Carlos Cruz-Diez, Physichromie 321–B (detail), 1964, triptych, plastic, cardboard, acrylic, wood, overall 2' × 11' 11 3/8". From “The Illusive Eye: Op Art and the Americas in the 1960s.”

    “The Illusive Eye: Op Art and the Americas in the 1960s”

    El Museo del Barrio
    1230 Fifth Avenue
    February 3–April 30, 2016

    Curated by Jorge Daniel Veneciano

    Celebrating its fiftieth anniversary, El Museo del Barrio (in partnership with the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Buenos Aires) will revisit the Museum of Modern Art’s 1965 exhibition “The Responsive Eye,” with the stated ambition of presenting the history of Op art from a Latin American perspective. The show includes some seventy paintings, sculptures, and environments produced during the 1950s, ’60s, and ’70s by some fifty artists, including Julio Le Parc, Carlos Cruz-Diez, and Jesús Rafael Soto (who refused to participate in MoMA’s show) as well as several others whose “origins” are not South American—e.g., Bridget Riley and Victor Vasarely. Yet many Latin American artists of the time strove to be universal, such that the necessity of a geographic perspective invites paradox. Surely the catalogue, with essays by the curator, MACBA director Aldo Rubino, Ariel Jimenez, Luiz Camillo Osorio, and Rocío Aranda-Alvarado, will engage this very issue.

  • Rodney McMillian

    The Studio Museum in Harlem
    429 West 127th St
    March 23–August 14, 2016

    Curated by Naima J. Keith and Anthony Elms

    For more than a decade, Rodney McMillian has employed various media to interrogate the intersections of race, class, gender, and cultural history in relation to the body. His poured paintings, stitched fabric constructions, and sculptures of postconsumer objects impart a visceral sense of disquiet, while his performances and videos explore the construction of political subjectivity through spoken language. This double-venue endeavor will provide a rich overview of McMillian’s work: The Studio Museum’s “Views of Main Street” will present some twenty pieces dating from 2003 to the present, while “The Black Show” at the ICA will focus on recent work, including a new large-scale painting, videos, and an off-site performance. A substantial catalogue will accompany the two exhibitions.