The weather is getting colder, but these artists are red-hot this month.
For her traveling retrospective—first brought together under the auspices of the Museum of Contemporary Art Houston—the celebrated photographer Marilyn Minter has brought together a stunning array of videos, paintings, and photographs spanning the major movements of her career. The artist casts a critical yet desirous eye upon the representation and commodification of femininity, both seductive and grotesque; she zooms in a little too closely to revel and reveal the imperfections of a pimple above an eye reproduced with enamel on metal, from a photo-shopped hybridization of corporate beauty and imperfection. What is the true value of aesthetic stimulation? Is the manipulated image beautiful, pornographic, or both? Let Minter, who has worked with everyone from Madonna to the MoMa, be our mentor.
Who is a better reminder of the impetuous fraudulence of Nixon than Trump? As our country’s political climate fractures, now is an opportune moment to visit the full cycle of satirical and uncanny works concerning our 37th president, Richard Nixon, made by the 20th century master Philip Guston. The drawings and paintings, exhibited together here for the first time, have clear origins in the hostile political climate of the 1970’s and the artist’s friendship to writer Philip Roth, who produced his own singular menagerie of Nixon commentary. This body of work was made after Guston’s full-fledged rejection of Ab Ex and completed five years prior to his death. Guston’s work perpetually argues for freedom and against injustice; in his youth he was acquaintance to political and artistic Mexican Muralist luminaries Rivera and Siquerios, the latter of whom was quoted in Time Magazine in the 30’s as viewing the artist as one of “"the most promising [of] painters in either the US or Mexico.” A final note to Donald: Philip G. himself was an immigrant from Ukraine. Laughter in the Dark was co-curated by Guston’s daughter and runs through January.
MoMa, November 21-March 19, 2017
A foundational Modernist always on the avant-guard in his sensibility and actions, Francis Picabia’s oeuvre will be fully surveyed for the first time in the U.S. in his show “Our Heads Are Round so Our Thoughts Can Change Direction” at MoMA. The breadth of his endeavors are intimidating; Picabia (French, 1879–1953) dabbled in everything from painting to poetry, film to typography, magazine print to performance. He worked with, knew intimately, and influenced many of the pillars of modernity—Duchamp, the Delaunays, Apollinaire, and Section d'Or, Stieglitz, and Gallery 291. Picabia’s artistic development, traced through the exhibit's 200 works, will show his amoeba-like and chimerical persuasion. His work proved integral to the development of Dada, but he was also an impressionist, a pointillist, a cubist, a surrealist, and a realist-photographer. In contemporary America, where to find monetary success as an artist can often mean the repetition of subject and content, this will be a particularly refreshing reminder to the unbounded quality of an earlier approach to art.
JULIO LE PARC
Pérez Art Museum Miami, November 18 - March 19, 2017
Fundamental contingencies—artist as magician and scientist, light as primary medium for creation—are all illuminated and questioned in the work of Julio Le Parc, the Argentinian modernist whose compendium of kinetic, transitory, optical, digital, political, participatory, sculptural, and immersive works further validate his status as a forward-thinking, seminal modernist as well as earnestly engaged post-modernist. This month, the Perez Art Museum in Miami will present an extensive survey of his work, including public participation through various installations. Le Parc was a founding member of the Groupe de Recherche d'Art Visuel in 1960’s France, a small group of collaborators influenced by Victor Vasarely’s ideas on the importance of the collective maker and the transposition of the act of “work” in art from the author to the audience. Elements of his practice predated, influenced, and predicted optical and kinetic art, and, at 88 years old, he remains at the forefront of this aesthetic investigation today.
Dominique Levy, November 9 - January 28, 2017
The earliest artists (think the Caves of Lascaux) were not immersed in commerce, nor were they (in all likelihood) creating for profit or esteem; painting’s origins were tied to the ritual, to the spells of metaphysics, mysticism, action, and the unseen. The American artist Pat Steir remains faithful to paint and this belief in its material magic. Though her catalogue metamorphosed from symbol-bound and cerebral art (she was cohorts of Sol LeWitt and many other early conceptualists) toward the abstract expressionist gesture (which still yields to a phenomenological referential-ism) a strong belief in the ritual of painting is still evident throughout her repertoire. This exhibition features a selection of her “Waterfall” canvases made between 1990 and 2011—the first time the artist has shown in London in nearly three decades.
MARVIN GAYE CHETWYND
Bergen Kunsthall, October 29 - December 18
As part of PRAXE’S meticulous investigative series into the performances of Marvin Gaye Chetwynd (previously Spartacus Chetwynd), the first performance-based nominee for the Turner Prize, Bergen Assembly presents an event and exhibition chronicling the return of one of the artist’s seminal characters, Jabba the Hutt, alongside an instructional series for collectors and conservators on how to recreate previously enacted works. Chetwynd’s production is fueled by pop-culture, classical and canonical literature, politics, history, subversive activism, irreverence, and excitement for immediate making, and a sort of tribalistic intuition. She’s an artist who always manages to surprise—if you find yourself in Norway this month, don’t miss out on this one.
Night Gallery, November 19 -December 22 2016
Originating in Baltimore and relocating to Berlin, sculptor, performer and collagist Kandis Williams makes work that strongly bears the stamp of location and transience. Within it is a nightmarish geometry, a monochromatic panopticon, a mythos (classical and catholic), a literature (the gothic, Virginia Woolf), an intertextuality (with Kitaj, Lissitzky, and Bacon, and many others), and a cinema (German Expressionist Dziga Vertov, and Cinéma vérité). The filament holding together such a broad range of content is the familial and the political. All of this is immensely impactful in our current time of poignantly exaggerated racism and sexism masked as nationalism. The anxiety of William’s imagery taps into a zeitgeist the marginalized have had no choice but to see through, a reality gaining further foothold in the consciousness of the majority thanks to strong work like this that provides an emotive window.
Castello di Rivoli Museum of Contemporary Art, November 3- February 5
History is a lesson in human perspective; as the U.S. continues to inflame and provoke the chasm of historical and religious wounds in the Middle East through imperialism, war, and conflict, now seems a particularly apt time for Wael Shawky’s retrospective of his video cycle, the Cabaret Crusades. The artist uses 200-year-old marionettes and ceramic and glass puppets to re-enact the campaigns of the crusades through an Arab perspective, drawing attention to fallacies and mistruths generally unquestioned by European history. The videos were first seen in completion in January at MoMA PS1, but Shawky has created a site specific installation at Castello di Rivoli for an immersive presentation. The marionettes themselves along with high-relief sculpture will also be on view.
The multi-disciplinarian and prescient futurist Thomas Baryle will have his work exhibited in his first major American museum survey at ICA Miami, where the German artist will be constructing his largest sculptural work to date. With a macrocosmic eye on the constructions and developments of human civilization, Bayrle’s work regularly contains compartmentalized, cell-like sub-divisions that conglomerate into what could be termed mega-structures. With a body of work spanning 50 years, the artist continues to exude a piercing relevance in a time of pressing over-population, consumerism, the anthropocenean mass extinction, and further species-self endangerment.