previews

  • “LUBAINA HIMID: WORK FROM UNDERNEATH”

    New Museum
    235 Bowery
    June 26–September 22

    Curated by Natalie Bell

    The title of Lubaina Himid’s first solo museum show in the US—taken from the directive language of health-and-safety manuals—has a double resonance. The Tanzania-born artist, primarily a painter, has long given high-chroma form to occluded histories of black Britons and the ugly reverbs of colonialism and the slave trade; for this she won the Turner Prize in 2017, at the age of sixty-three. Unfreedom is also countered in formal terms: Himid’s codified groupings of black figures, arranged formally as in eighteenth-century English paintings (think William Hogarth), manifest both as theatrical flotillas of freestanding cutouts and as daubs on formal crockery, while her flag-like fabric works are illuminated by texts from lodestars including Audre Lorde, Essex Hemphill, and James Baldwin. In New York, where the artist will debut a new body of work, expect Himid to fold together painting, sculpture, textiles, and sound, with an emphasis on the psychological undercurrents of both language and architecture.

  • “THE LIFE AND TIMES OF ALVIN BALTROP”

    Bronx Museum of the Arts
    1040 Grand Concourse
    September 7–February 19

    Curated by Sergio Bessa

    Documenting the West Side Piers from 1975 to 1986, Alvin Baltrop’s photographs of nude sunbathing, gay sex, s/m, cruising, artmaking, crime, and death chronicle an era of deindustrialization. Bodies and buildings hide each other, dissolving the boundaries between their divergent forms. An important record of queer and trans history, the Bronx Museum’s retrospective—featuring 120 photographs, archival materials, and a catalogue with contributions from Douglas Crimp, Hilton Als, and curator Sergio Bessa—will also provide audiences an opportunity to gauge Baltrop’s acuity with 35-mm film, his chosen medium. Baltrop’s small-scale work commands us to look closely, often at figures who themselves are searching for something (or someone) amid the crumbling architecture of the piers. Their voyeurism becomes Baltrop’s, which becomes our own—a collapsed line of sight connecting past and present.

  • “LINCOLN KIRSTEIN’S MODERN”

    MoMA - The Museum of Modern Art
    11 West 53rd Street
    March 17–June 30

    Curated by Jodi Hauptman and Samantha Friedman

    Lincoln Kirstein was twenty-one when, in December 1928, he founded the Harvard Society for Contemporary Art, an essential blueprint for the Museum of Modern Art, which opened eleven months later in New York. He was twenty-five when he began to form, with George Balanchine, the School of American Ballet, the indispensable armature for American dance. If I didn’t love him, I’d hate him. Ambitious, well-connected, queer—a “Jewish Bolshevik with shocking bad manners,” as he once put it—Kirstein was a paragon of the prewar twentieth century’s fertile eclecticism. He filled the world with his passions. This show focuses on Kirstein’s contributions from the 1930s and ’40s, featuring more than two hundred works from the museum’s collection and archive, many of which have rarely been exhibited, as well as a catalogue with contributions by, among others, Lynn Garafola and Richard Meyer.

  • “ART AFTER STONEWALL”

    Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art
    26 Wooster Street
    April 21–July 21

    Curated by Jonathan Weinberg, Tyler Cann, Daniel Marcus, and Drew Sawyer

    LGBTQI advocates often credit the Stonewall riots of June 1969 as a watershed moment of the gay liberation movement—three nights of radical collective response, wherein butches, queens, sex workers, homeless youth, and trans/gender-nonconforming folks fought alongside one another to protest the punitive surveillance and imprisonment that was a given for those who dared congregate openly as queers. To commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of this uprising, the Leslie-Lohman Museum, in collaboration with NYU’s Grey Art Gallery, will present more than 150 pieces of art and ephemera from the LGBTQI canon, including works by Vaginal Davis, Holly Hughes, JEB, and Catherine Opie. Additionally, audiences will be asked to consider the practices of such queer-adjacent contemporaries as Lynda Benglis, Karen Finley, and Alice Neel. The show’s lineup suggests queerness as an umbrella of ever-growing dimensions, evoking the spirit of coalition that marks this moment’s latest rendition of the Stonewall story.

  • “NEO RAUCH: AUS DEM BODEN/ FROM THE FLOOR”

    The Drawing Center
    35 Wooster Street
    April 12–July 28

    Curated by Brett Littman and Jeff Fleming with Amber Harper

    Speaking about his studio, Neo Rauch has commented that “it is necessary to enter this place in a state of psychological and physical ventilation.” One might adopt the same mindset when approaching his paintings, entangled as they can be in the dank and heavy meshes of inexpressible histories. One aerated mode of entry might be through his drawings, here granted their first extensive American exhibition, in collaboration with the Des Moines Art Center. The 179 items on view, dating from 1994 to 2017, should give a clear idea of what Brett Littman calls the artist’s “somewhat adversarial and complicated relationship” to the medium of drawing, and in doing so shed fresh light (and air) on the painter from Leipzig.