previews

  • “WITH PLEASURE: PATTERN AND DECORATION IN AMERICAN ART 1972–1985”

    The Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA)
    250 South Grand Avenue
    October 27, 2019–May 11, 2020

    Curated by Anna Katz with Rebecca Lowery

    Pattern and Decoration is often cast as a hedonistic countercurrent to Minimalism and Conceptualism, one that eschewed cool industrial surfaces and cerebral text-based strategies for a staggering panoply of craft processes, globally sourced motifs, and vibrant colors. Deliberately heterogeneous since its inception, the movement has remained largely marginal to narratives of postwar art. Its adept manipulation of received—and historically gendered—hierarchies nonetheless looks newly fresh in the current craftivist moment. Featuring nearly one hundred objects by roughly fifty artists, this exhibition—the first comprehensive scholarly survey of the P&D tendency—takes an expansive view of its subject, contextualizing signal works by canonical practitioners such as Joyce Kozloff, Kim MacConnel, and Miriam Schapiro, among others, alongside contemporaneous investigations by figures not typically seen in these environs, including Emma Amos and Billy Al Bengston. A catalogue accompanies the exhibition. Travels to the CCS Bard Hessel Museum of Art, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY, June 20–November 29, 2020.

  • “LARI PITTMAN: DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE”

    Hammer Museum
    10899 Wilshire Boulevard
    September 29, 2019–January 5, 2020

    Curated by Connie Butler with Vanessa Arizmendi

    When Lari Pittman adopted painting as a young queer artist in the 1970s, he saw the medium as a pleasurable opportunity to “fix something up.” With this can-do attitude—and its hints of an interior decorator’s fey obsessiveness—Pittman performed an energetic pirouette around the dour discussions of painting’s death. This career retrospective (the artist’s first) includes more than eighty works and proves that painting, for Pittman, has always been an occasion for conjecture (another one of his long-espoused bonnes idées), even when references to Leonor Fini, Natalia Goncharova, Henri Matisse, or Remedios Varo are abundant. The exhibition will also features a re-creation of the artist’s Orangerie, the sensuous, atmospheric survey of works on paper he debuted in 2011. In the original staging, dozens of pieces were hung salon style atop a wall painting of a trellis—a decorative flourish suggesting that the medium of painting is not the only thing in need of fixing up. Travels to Kistefos Museum, Jevnaker, Norway, May 24–October 5, 2020.

  • “SHIRIN NESHAT: I WILL GREET THE SUN AGAIN”

    The Broad
    221 S. Grand Ave.
    October 19, 2019–February 16, 2020

    Curated by Ed Schad

    Shirin Neshat is a monument. For two and a half decades her work has graced legion exhibitions and book-length exegeses about women and artmaking in the Middle East. In her native Iran, she has inspired a million insipid copycats. In the West, she is regularly singled out as a spokesperson for the triumphs and tragedies of Muslim women. But to fixate on her monumentalization is to ignore the poetic virtues of her practice and commitment to exploring the legacies—personal and political—of revolution and exile. This exhibition, named after a poem by Forough Farrokhzad, Iran’s gloomily lusty Sylvia Plath, will bring together 150 works from the past twenty-five years, including the global debut of the artist’s newest video installation and photography series Land of Dreams. The piece spotlights a vagulous Iranian protagonist surveying a slice of the mono-cultural middle of the United States. A meditation on belonging and its opposite, it offers up a fitting fable for these times.

  • “NO WRONG HOLES: THIRTY YEARS OF NAYLAND BLAKE”

    ICA - Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles
    1717 E. 7th Street
    September 29, 2019–January 26, 2020

    Curated by Jamillah James

    In Nayland Blake’s heroic, humble work, opposites not only attract but converse, empathize, coalesce, and grow. Largely arising from the artist’s identity and experience as a biracial and queer American, Blake’s work is critically steeped in complex representations of social prejudice while remaining deeply personal, vulnerable, and compassionate. “No Wrong Holes,” which presents nearly one hundred videos, sculptures, and drawings, represents decades of healthy artistic exploration: We find cultural symbols of innocence as erotic metaphors, BDSM equipment doubling as tender sculpture, and a bunny suit that expresses the literal weight of love. A Looney Tunes portable pothole yawns open as an abyss of death, and elegant assemblages of found trash refer to the likes of Jasper Johns and Richard Tuttle. Blake is a revered educator and artist’s artist who leads by example, making for a motivating show with the radical message that, although everything is not okay, everyone is okay.