previews

  • “MICHAEL RAKOWITZ: BACKSTROKE OF THE WEST”

    Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (MCA Chicago)
    220 East Chicago Avenue
    September 16 - March 4

    Curated by Omar Kholeif

    It seems almost inconceivable that Michael Rakowitz is only now receiving his first major museum show in the United States. Born in New York, based in Chicago, and obsessively drawn to the complexities of his own ancestry as the grandson of Iraqi Jews pushed out of Baghdad in the 1940s, Rakowitz has worked with remarkable clarity and consistency for more than twenty years. Named for a botched translation on a pirated Chinese copy of a Star Wars film, “Backstroke of the West” includes roughly a dozen projects dating from the late ’90s to the present, including drawings, sculptures, and documentation of Rakowitz’s many long-term projects marked by heartbreakingly beautiful gestures of replica and return. With a catalogue featuring texts by curator Omar Kholeif, writer Shumon Basar, and scholar Ella Shohat, the show offers a critical record of the artist’s compassion as he navigates across numerous lines of conflict.  

  • Tarsila do Amaral, Abaporu (The Man Who Eats Man), 1928, oil on canvas, 33 1/2 × 28 1/2". © Tarsila do Amaral Licenciamentos.

    “TARSILA DO AMARAL: INVENTING MODERN ART IN BRAZIL”

    The Art Institute of Chicago
    111 South Michigan Avenue
    October 8 - January 7

    Curated by James Rondeau, Stephanie D’Allesandro, and Luis Pérez-Oramas

    Designed to introduce North American audiences to Tarsila do Amaral, a leading Brazilian post-Cubist painter, this show features Abaporu, 1928, a sweeping, Picassoesque depiction of a man seated beside a cactus, which helped spark Brazil’s influential Anthropophagist movement. Inspired by Amaral’s work, Oswald de Andrade penned the “Manifesto Antropófago” (Cannibalist Manifesto) that same year, invoking the indigenous ritual of eating the enemy’s flesh as a metaphor for the country’s transformative appropriation of Euro-American culture. (In the Tupi-Guarani language, abaporu means “the man who eats man.”) In addition to a thorough exploration of Amaral’s contributions to this key national-cultural project, the exhibition and its catalogue are poised to reveal other aspects of the artist’s practice, from her early work in Paris to her bracing depictions of the working class. Travels to the Museum of Modern Art, New York, Feb. 6–June 3, 2018