Artist to Watch

Artists to Watch This May

Artists to Watch This May
The artist Camille Henrot

New Museum, May 7 – June 29

Dubbed an "art world it girl" last week by the Wall Street Journal and adopted as a style icon in Vogue, Elle, and Vanity Fair, Camille Henrot blazed into view at the 2013 Venice Biennale, when she won the Silver Lion for a promising young artist for her video Grosse Fatigue, an utterly fresh tour de force that melded images of tribal objects, incantatory voice-over retellings of creation myths, and the cut-and-paste visuality of the Internet era. Now the Paris-born, New York-based artist will be building on the promise of that success with "The Restless Earth," a show at the New Museum that will be her first major survey in the United States, featuring her now-famous Grosse Fatigue along with earlier videos, works on paper, and an installation of books from her library transformed into ikebana flower arrangements.  

Zach Feuer, May 9 – June 14

It was only a little while ago when Mark Flood, the gregarious and omnivorously inventive artist who claims Texas as his home and a cowboy hat as a frequent sartorial flourish, was an underdog favorite of insiders for his prickly but hugely appealing artworks that carried the deep-cut currency of a band like Gun Club or Guided by Voices. It's kind of amazing how quickly that's changed: earlier this year, his gorgeous lace paintings began to suddenly vault expectations at auction, more than quadrupling estimates to fetch over $130,000. Suddenly the 57-year-old artist is being talked about as the next Oscar Murillo. It's a twist that Flood's warped sense of humor can easily accommodate, as can be seen by his pair of new shows at Zach Feuer Gallery, one called "Available Nasdaq Symbol" (he's been making amazing paintings of corporate logos recently) and another thing called the "Insider Art Fair," a putative group show that was announced with a press release written in the Internet-friendly language of cat. 

Domino Sugar Factory, May 10 – July 6

Oh, so Kara Walker has created a gigantic sphinx in New York's iconic, defunct Domino Sugar Factory that has the attributes of a naked black woman (resembling herself) with a plantation-style handkerchief around her head and a glistening patina of white sugar? And the monumental sculpture—commissioned by Creative Time—is called A Subtlety in reference to the sugar sculptures that graced the tables of Medieval banquets, and is subtitled "Homage to the unpaid and overworked Artisans who have refined our Sweet tastes from the cane fields to the Kitchens of the New World"? And the whole endeavor is an enormous stylistic leap for Walker, the most famous black artist of her generation, who has devoted her career to playing on the residual pressure points of slavery's legacy in America like a possessed concert-piano virtuoso? Oh, that sounds amazing. 

Dia: Beacon, May 5 – March 2

In the world of Minimalism, it's a maximal event: the first Carl Andre retrospective in the United States since the '70s is coming to Dia: Beacon, then launching on a European tour that will visit the Reina Sofia, the Hamburger Bahnhoff, and other highly influential venues. The exhibition, organized by Dia curator Yasmil Raymond and former Dia director (now MOCA director) Philippe Vergne, is an occasion to consider the entire sweep of Andre's oeuvre, which, together with Donald Judd and Richard Serra's work, formed the hieratic core of the Minimalist movement—with Andre's key contribution being his breaking of the fourth wall, as it were, by encouraging viewers to interact with his famous floor-tile sculptures by walking on them. Since the tragic death of his wife, the artist Ana Mendieta, and the trial that eventually acquitted him of her murder, Andre, now 78, has quietly endured a pariah status in the art world. This show is guaranteed to return his work, his influence, and his life to the spotlight, occasioning a potential reconsideration of all three.

Salon 94, May 7 – June 20 

The artist Jayson Musson is rare for being one of the few artists who uses humor in his work and is actually pretty hysterical. First attaining viral success with the YouTube "Art Thoughtz" videos he created in the persona of Hennessy Youngman, dispensing satirical hip-hop-inflected advice on such subjects as Damien Hirst, Post-Structuralism, and how to be a successful artist (be white, male, and "ambiguous"), Musson followed that up with a twisted take on a Bob Ross-like nature-painting teacher who descends into madness. Now he's having his second gallery show at Salon 94 (the first was filled with "paintings" made from Cosby-approved Corgi sweaters), and in it there will be paintings inspired by the artworks that "Nancy" illustrator Ernie Bushmiller included from time to time in his comic strip to launch attacks on what he saw as the vapid uselessness of modern art. Funny.

White Cube Hong Kong, May 14 – August 16

Timed to coincide with Art Basel Hong Kong, the British outpost of London's blue-chip White Cube gallery will be making an audacious and creative attempt to connect with Chinese collectors by debuting a new group of paintings by the Los Angeles art star Mark Bradford—but not the enormously popular map-like compositions of abraded street posters that made him famous in the United States. Instead, the McArthur "Genius Grant" recipient will have a series of paintings he made in and about Hong Kong, in which he opted to depict the dangerously overcrowded public-housing projects dotting the city, tapping into the controversial social issues surrounding its scant availability of affordable living space. With Chinese collectors gradually seeming to pivot towards collecting Western art, this show might be a compelling experiment on how they maybe best be engaged. 

Andrea Rosen Gallery, May 7 – June 14

In her first Chelsea show since joining Andrea Rosen Gallery last year, Mika Rottenberg will premiere Bowls Balls Souls Holes, her latest video charting fantastical, Rube Goldberg-like systems that employ a magical realist sense of logic to create allegories for the way things go, to borrow a phrase from Fischli/Weiss. Here, the topics of consideration, according to the gallery, are no less than "quantum entanglement, magnetic fields, global warming, and the production of luck." In a first, the show—which takes place in the midst of Rottenberg's solo show at the Rose Art Museum—is the first to also include small sculptures, which the gallery frames as "illuminat[ing] the sculptural integrity that has always been consistent with her oeuvre." They are also, inevitably, going to be more salable than the video work—making the step a canny one on the part of both the artist and the dealer.


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