Chuck Close often uses photographs to lay the foundation for his hyperrealistic paintings, but many of his artworks begin and end with the camera. His medium-specific survey at the Parrish, “Chuck Close Photographs,” includes about 90 images from the 1960s to the present. Among them are some of his new Polaroid nudes, which figured prominently in a recent show at Pace Gallery in Chelsea.
Galerie Max Hetzler, May 1 - May 30
Including paintings of graffitied aliens, scrapyard sculptures, and free-associative poetry, Ida Ekblad’s body of work employs a refined street aesthetic—one that has made the young Norwegian a darling of critics and collectors alike. Her show at Berlin’s Galerie Max Hetzler finds her delving more into painting, working with combinations of different paints (spray, oil, acrylic, and puff).
The artist Hope Gangloff marries the compositional economy and telegraphic expressiveness of illustration with the je ne sais quois of fine art, yielding intimate paintings, drawings, and prints that brim with the vitality of the young bohemian social scene they depict. In her show of new work at Susan Inglett this month, she follows up her recent survey at the Broad Art Museum with an array of paintings, drawn from life, that capture the pleasures of an American summer by the sea.
Venice Biennale, Romanian Pavilion, May 9 - November 22
One of the breakout stars of the increasingly-relevant Romanian art scene, Adrian Ghenie brings the confusion and violence of the 20th century's troubled history to the fore in paintings that alternate skillful figuration with rough splattering. As Romania's representative to the 2015 Venice Biennale, Ghenie will present his Darwin’s Room series (which juxtaposes slightly abstracted studies of the famed biologist with classical motifs).
“Museums are places to hang out,” the abstract artist Mary Heilmann has said. At the new Whitney, her site-specific outdoor solo “Mary Heilmann: Sunset” issues a typically laid-back invitation to explore the building’s fifth-floor terrace. A two-panel façade installation marries a stair motif from Heilmann’s paintings to the Whitney’s stepped architecture; brightly colored chairs offer relaxed seating, the better to view Heilmann’s early video Swan Song (made in 1982 with Kembra Pfahler, and starring the Whitney’s new neighborhood).
Bortolami Gallery, May 7 – June 6
Jutta Koether's paintings are distinguished by their pulsating, irregular lines of bright red, orange, and pink, and by painted-over figures that hover at the edge of intelligibility. Her new works at Bortolami represent a slight departure for the German artist and musician, but the rough-hewn grids on view still feel true to her post-punk painterly sensibility.
Late in her career, the Japanese abstract artist Yayoi Kusama continues to reach new levels of renown. Currently, she has one traveling retrospective in Asia and another in South America. Meanwhile, she is showing new paintings and sculptures and one of her famed participatory installations— The Obliteration Room (2002), which is making its U.S. debut—in her second exhibition at Zwirner in New York. Visitors will enter an all-white domestic interior and will assist in transforming it with colorful stickers. Expect long lines, as was the case when the gallery showed one of Kusama’s “Infinity Rooms” in 2013.
Artistic polymath Robert Morris is among the most influential American artists of the 20th century, famous for his pioneering involvement with Minimalism as well as his early performance art pieces. The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago is showing two of his ‘60s Minimalist sculptures, Portal (1964) and Passageway (1961), alongside works by Franz West and Kris Marin as part of the new size-themed sculpture exhibition "S, M, L, XL."
Museum of Modern Art, May 17 – September 7
In 1971, Yoko Ono staged an unauthorized “one woman show” at the Museum of Modern Art. Consisting entirely of flies released on museum grounds, and signs that invited visitors to track the insects, it was both a classic Fluxus gesture and a pointed reminder that the museum needed more exhibitions of female artists. Decades later, Ono is getting an official MoMA solo: “Yoko Ono: One Woman Show, 1960-1971,” a survey of her early, interactive works and related ephemera.
The Dutch artist Magali Reus makes strange, difficult, and fascinating sculptures, interrupting an aesthetic of corporate neutrality with seemingly incidental bits of plastic products that grow to become central actors in her compositions. Her latest body of work, commissioned by and on view at SculptureCenter, takes surreal liberties with the common forms of the lock and the street curb.