previews

  • HELEN LEVITT

    Albertina
    Albertinaplatz 1
    October 12 - January 27

    Curated by Walter Moser

    Although Helen Levitt’s photographs of people on the streets of New York are often described as “lyrical,” they’re as plainspoken and witty as she was. Asked about her work in an interview on NPR in 2009, the last year of her life, the famously terse artist said, “If it were easy to talk about, I’d be a writer. Since I’m inarticulate, I express myself with images.” More than 130 of those images, many newly released by Levitt’s estate, have been gathered for a retrospective and catalogue that will span her career, from the late 1930s through the 1980s. Emphasizing her pioneering color work and featuring a short film from 1948, the exhibition will recall Levitt’s influences and collaborators, including Henri Cartier-Bresson, Walker Evans, and James Agee. The connections will undoubtedly highlight her engaging originality.

  • “Post-Otto Wagner: From  the Postal Savings Bank  to Post-Modernism”

    MAK – Austrian Museum of Applied Arts / Contemporary Art
    Stubenring 5
    May 30 - September 30

    Curated by Sebastian Hackenschmidt

    Otto Wagner (1841–1918) was the most significant designer of the early modern movement to be most effectively suppressed by his heirs, owing largely to the eccentric pomp of his architectural vision. In his native Vienna, where his splendid, seemingly armor-clad buildings dot the cityscape, the MAK is attempting to reconnect the master with his legacy: Its exhibition will feature more than eight hundred objects, including photographs, models, furniture, and architectural plans, that demonstrate how Wagner’s oeuvre evolved along three parallel tracks—technical, formal, and urbanistic—toward a sensibility that anticipated the conceptualizations of design and urban planning in the twentieth century. Costarring such disparate figures as the reserved Rudolph Schindler and the extravagant Ettore Sottsass, the show could help retrieve Wagner from the “idiosyncratic” pigeonhole to which he was largely confined by his postwar successors, and where even his more recent “rediscoverers” have been all too happy to leave him.