previews

  • “Michael Jackson: On the Wall”

    National Portrait Gallery
    St. Martin's Place
    June 28 - October 21

    Curated by Nicholas Cullinan

    The impact Michael Jackson has had on pop culture and art in the late twentieth century is unmatched. The long-lasting echoes of his boundary-pushing music videos and out-of-this-world aesthetic choices were so successful that we tend to overlook how avant-garde they were at the time, as well as how beautiful. This exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery, which includes the work of more than forty artists, ranging from Andy Warhol to Isa Genzken, should help to explore Jackson’s artistic impact and shine a light on those influenced by the singer—who is, according to the institution, “the most depicted cultural figure in visual art.” Travels to the Grand Palais, Paris, November 2018–February 2019;  the Bundeskunsthalle, Bonn, March–July 2019; and Espoo Museum of Modern Art, Finland, August–November 2019.

  • “Shape of Light: 100 Years of Photography and Abstract Art”

    Tate Modern
    Bankside
    May 2 - October 14

    Curated by Simon Baker and Emmanuelle de l’Ecotais

    Abstraction, an enduring tendency in modern art, regularly occasions historical overviews. Earlier shows debatably posited the camera’s inbuilt verism as a prompt to painters to abandon figuration, while more recent exhibitions have included scattered works in digital media. This Tate survey encouragingly finds in photographic abstraction neither a specter nor a sideline but a motive force. With more than three hundred works in painting, photography, sculpture, and prints that date from roughly 1915 to the present, this exhibition should bring forth a range of catalysts: from patterning to politics, science to synesthesia. Attention to select mid-twentieth-century European figures—Floris Neusüss and Gottfried Jäger in Germany; Luigi Veronesi in Italy; Guy Bourdin and William Klein in France—will permit a fresh perspective on a postwar history long tilted toward painting and the United States.