With summer just around the corner, it’s time to start looking forward to the season’s museum shows and biennials. Below is a guide to upcoming offerings, from Documenta 14 to Skulptur Projekte Münster, and from Bill Viola and Markus Lüpertz retrospectives to major new commissions by Martine Syms, Yan Xing, and more.
German Neo-Expressionist painter, sculptor, writer, teacher, and jazz pianist Markus Lüpertz is the subject of these two simultaneous exhibitions. The 75-year-old flamboyant, tattoo-emblazoned artist’s intense painterly output appears in the Hirshhorn show, curated by Evelyn Hankins, which concentrates on Lüpertz’s formative years, from 1962 to 1975, when he reflected the turmoil of postwar Germany with a series of semi-figurative military paintings. At the Phillips Collection, a survey curated by the museum’s director, Dorothy Kosinski, traces his entire career from the 1960s through the present. —Barbara A. MacAdam
Museum of Modern Art, New York
May 27–July 16
Martine Syms has had a relatively short career so far, but she’s already produced a classic—her 2015 video Notes on Gesture, in which a woman acts out various movements, all of which are repeated several times over, like GIFs. That work was about how we’re always performing in an age of constant surveillance. For the Los Angeles–based artist’s MoMA exhibition, part of the museum’s ongoing “Projects” series, Syms will continue exploring that theme with Incense, Sweaters, and Ice, a feature-length film that follows three characters who see, and get seen by, each other. Alongside the film will be a metal sculpture based on the Great Migration. —Alex Greenberger
“Takashi Murakami: The Octopus Eats Its Own Leg”
Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago
June 6–September 24
Takashi Murakami has to be one of the world’s most visible artists—between his near-constant shows at outposts of Galerie Perrotin, Gagosian, and Blum & Poe, his loud appearances at various art happenings around the globe, and his wildly popular fashion collaborations, the always-peppy Japanese mischief-maker seems to be everywhere. Despite all this frenzied activity, Murakami hasn’t had a museum show in the United States since “©MURAKAMI” came to the Brooklyn Museum in 2008. That dry spell will end when “The Octopus Eats Its Own Leg” opens at the MCA Chicago this summer, bringing to the Windy City an exhibition that ranges from early works never before shown in the United States to outsize newer paintings that match the artist’s humongous personality. —Nate Freeman
Whitney Museum, New York
June 9–October 16
This show’s spin at the Whitney will include, according to the museum, “early motor-driven abstractions, sound-generating Gongs, and standing and hanging mobiles.” Organized by Whitney curator Jay Sanders with Greta Hartenstein, senior curatorial assistant, and Melinda Lang, curatorial assistant, “Hypermobility” includes a maquette, set in motion, of Dancers and Sphere (1936) from the 1939 New York World’s Fair. Calder’s inspiration came from many sources, not least a childhood boat trip during which he saw “a fiery red sunrise on one side and the moon looking like a silver coin on the other,” and a trip to Mondrian’s studio, where he suggested the Dutch artist motorize his works. Mondrian didn’t; Calder did. —B.A.M.
“Home—So Different, So Appealing”
Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles
June 11–October 15
Titled after British Pop artist Richard Hamilton’s iconic collage and organized for Pacific Standard Time, this exhibition will use the idea of “home,” taken broadly, to bring together work by U.S. Latino and Latin American artists from the 1950s to the present. In the spirit of Hamilton’s politically inflected Pop, the show will present an alternative, and likely provocative, history of art of the past seventy years through works by artists like “anarchitect” Gordon Matta-Clark, destruction artist Raphael Montañez Ortiz, and emerging installation artist Carmen Argote. —Anne Doran
“Frank Lloyd Wright: Unpacking the Archive”
Museum of Modern Art, New York
June 12–October 1
It’s Frank Lloyd Wright’s 150th birthday, and the architect seems as vigorous and pugnacious as ever. For the occasion, MoMA is breaking into his jam-packed archives and showing some 450 works of unimaginable variety from the 1890s to the 1950s. According to the museum, there will be “architectural drawings, models, building fragments, films, television broadcasts, print media, furniture, tableware, textiles, paintings, photographs, and scrapbooks,” and more. At least at MoMA, unlike the Guggenheim, you can view them on flat terrain. —B.A.M.
Cuban artist Tania Bruguera makes artworks that challenge systems of power. Typically, these social practice projects involve Bruguera collaborating with groups and individuals to mess with existing power structures. As part of her often controversial practice, which includes running for president of Cuba in 2018, Bruguera will be set up a temporary school for this survey. The Escuela de Arte Útil, or the School of Useful Art, will see Bruguera and her fellow artist-educators delivering weekly classes about power to YCBA fellows and members of the public. —R.S.
You may have assumed the work of Edvard Munch, a legendary purveyor of angst, was all somber and fraught with lamentation. However, the 45 works in this show tell a more nuanced story. Focusing on the latter part of the Norwegian artist’s career, it includes 12 lesser-known self-portraits that feature bright colors against a white ground. They recall Henri Matisse’s interiors and patterning, and look ahead to Jasper Johns with their hatch mark and geometric composition, suggesting Munch was a more modern artist than many think. —B.A.M.
Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston
July 26–November 26
In the Brooklyn-based painter’s impressive 2015 exhibition at Petzel gallery in New York, she showed paintings that were more abstract, and more intricate, than her previous works. That show’s standout was a painting of a crowded elevator—legs and hands and heads appear to be flying in every direction—reportedly inspired by the infamous tussle between Solange Knowles and Jay Z. That painting marks a transition in Schutz’s work, making it a perfect time for a museum like the ICA Boston to showcase her recent paintings. —Andrew Russeth
“Playing with Fire: Paintings by Carlos Almaraz”
Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles
August 6–December 3
The Getty Foundation’s “Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA” initiative may just be the most hotly anticipated art event of the year, bringing together roughly 70 art institutions from around Southern California to stage exhibitions that look at the influences that Latin American and Latinx artists have had on Los Angeles. One of the earliest shows to open—most will open in mid-September and early October—“Playing with Fire” is the first major survey of Chicano artist Carlos Almaraz. His relationship with LACMA is complex, as it was the first museum to show Chicano art, with an exhibition in 1974 of art collective “Los Four,” of which Almaraz was a cofounder. (That exhibition came only after another Chicano collective, ASCO, spray-painted the exterior of the museum to protest a LACMA curator’s saying that Chicanos “don’t make art.” The museum would not engage with work by Chicano artists for another 15 years, when it hosted the traveling exhibition “Hispanic Art in the United States.”) LACMA did a solo show of works by Almaraz from the museum’s collection in 1992, three years after he died from AIDS-related complications. “Playing With Fire,” curated by Howard Fox, will look at Almaraz’s large-scale expressionistic canvases, showcasing his fascination with car crashes on LA’s freeways and dreamlike scenes of Echo Park. —Maximilíano Durón
“Mexican Graphic Art”
Kunsthaus Zurich, Zurich
May 19–August 27
Using the rhetorical question “Who said the Kunsthaus only holds Swiss art?” as a jumping-off point, this exhibition will draw from the 350 works donated by Swiss photographer Armin Haab in the 1980s. The works, produced using a variety of printmaking techniques between the late 19th century (prior to the country’s 1910 revolution) and the 1970s, will look at various overarching themes, including poverty and wealth, love, and everyday life. The show will feature work by Diego Rivera, David Alfaro Siqueiros, Rufino Tamayo, and José Guadalupe Posada, perhaps the country’s most influential artist working in the graphic arts. —M.D.
Before he made his mark on art history as a Minimalist sculptor, Richard Serra produced films and videos. Not unlike his sculptures, they are dry and repetitive—and also weirdly sublime—studies of power and the passage of time. Consider, for example, Hand Catching Lead (1968), a three-minute film of the artist repeatedly performing the title’s action. This exhibition will be the first-ever survey to assemble all of Serra’s moving-image works, which include collaborations with artists Joan Jonas and Babette Mangolte, who would later provide the cinematography for Chantal Akerman’s early films. —A.G.
Is there anything that this Brussels-based artist cannot render on canvas in a manner that is at once ingenious and strange? She has painted portraits tinged with inimitable humor, spectral monsters, Whitney Houston alongside the Whitney Museum’s former Marcel Breuer–designed home, a hulking mug of beer, and gargantuan power sockets. Just 35 this year, she is a leader in her medium, her insouciant sensibilities suggesting a creative drive utterly uninterested in those who have, and would, declare her medium dead. —A.R.
“Kerstin Brätsch: Innovation”
Museum Brandhorst, Munich
May 25–September 17
A partner in the artist duos DAS INSTITUT (with Adele Rödera) and KAYA (with Debo Eilers), the protean painter and performance artist Kertin Brätsch is an indefatigable collaborator. On her own and with others, she has produced a bewildering variety of work in the past decade, from her own paintings evoking early modernist abstraction (and often presented as performers in a space rather than well-behaved artworks) to KAYA’s dense amalgamations of paint, plastic, and hardware. This, the first survey of Brätsch’s work, promises to reveal the method behind her wide-ranging approach to art. —A.D.
Despite perhaps being one of today’s most influential artists, Peter Saul remains one of the unsung heroes of the Pop movement. Maybe it’s because his material tended to be darker, though no less funny, than that of his acolytes. Rather than focusing on celebrity culture and advertising, politics interested Saul, whose chaotic paintings are filled with inhumanly pink Ronald Reagans and caricatured Richard Nixons. Combining the unabashed weirdness of Surrealism and the formal refinement of Abstract Expressionism, the San Francisco–based artist has, for the past six decades, meditated on the absurdities of being an American. This show will be his first major retrospective in Europe. —A.G.
Kunsthalle Basel, Basel
June 2–August 27
Last year, Yan Xing had 37 high school students attempt to hide in the Stedelijk Museum’s galleries. Everyone knows that concealing oneself in an exhibition space is virtually impossible, and so these students were, of course, found by audience members. The students relayed deeply personal stories, but it was hard to tell if what they were saying was true—this was, after all, a performance. Through glossy black-and-white photographs and performance, the young Chinese-born artist has reflected on the past, arguing that every history, whether visual or otherwise, is constructed for consumption. With this show, titled “Dangerous Afternoon,” Yan will fabricate a curator persona, and then create a installation that involves photography, performance, and film dedicated to his backstory. —A.G.
Various venues, Aarhus, Denmark
June 3–July 30
In a post-industrial city about three hours northwest of Copenhagen, the ARoS Triennial takes nature as its theme and expands on notions of what nature could even mean in the past, present, and future. A centuries-spanning exhibition opened at the ARoS Aarhus Art Museum in April, but a two-month addendum in June and July sprawls across the cityscape to venture into urban spaces as well outposts in a forest and along the coastline. Artists enlisted in service of the theme, “The Garden—End of Times; Beginning of Times,” include Katarina Grosse, Fujiko Nakaya, Meg Webster, Rirkrit Tiravanija, Edvard Munch, Max Ernst, Robert Smithson, Olafur Eliasson, Mark Dion, and many more. —Andy Battaglia
“The Most Popular Art Exhibition Ever!” boldly proclaims the title of Grayson Perry’s show of new work at Serpentine Gallery. Perry, who won the Turner Prize in 2003, describes contemporary art as a “communication business.” And so he goes about this business, depicting quotidian scenes on a variety of mediums, including ceramics, cast iron, printmaking, and tapestry. By drawing on his own experiences as a cross-dresser, as well as by focusing on marginalized groups, Perry explores how contemporary audiences relate to centuries-old styles and subjects. —Robin Scher
Various venues, Kassel, Germany
June 10–September 17
For “Learning from Athens,” the 14th edition of this quinquennial, artistic director Adam Szymczyk has added an Athens, Greece, outpost that opened in April, a full two months before the usual show at the Fridericianum (and other venues) in Kassel, Germany. (Szymczyk’s use of Athens and Kassel’s divergent socioeconomic circumstances as a jumping-off point for the show has already sparked controversy.) To pull it all off, Szymczyk assembled a team of 14 co-curators, and together they have amassed a list of more than 150 artists, including Synnøve Persen, Samson Young, Postcommodity, Hiwa K, Roee Rosen, Rosalind Nashashibi, Nasan Tur, Romuald Karmakar, Nandita Raman, Angelo Plessas, Andreas Angelidakis, Maria Hassabi, Banu Cennetoglu, Bouchra Khalili, Apostolos Georgiou, Irena Haiduk, Tracey Rose, Nairy Baghramian, Marta Minujín, Stanley Whitney, Jonas Mekas, and Pope.L. —Sarah Douglas
Skulptur Projekte Münster
Various venues, Münster, Germany
June 10–October 1
Thirty years ago, controversy stirred by George Rickey’s installation of one of his large kinetic sculptures in the city of Münster, Germany, led Westfälisches Landesmuseum director Klaus Bussmann and Museum Ludwig curator Kasper König to launch the first edition of the Münster Sculpture Project. Since then, the festival has taken place every ten years, with each artist choosing his or her own site, and with certain works inevitably coming to define each edition. In 1997, for instance, it was Ilya Kabakov’s Looking Up, Reading the Words, an antenna that spells out a poetic text, installed in a park, while 2007 is memorable for Bruce Nauman’s Square Depression, an inverted pyramid installed in front of the University of Münster’s Department of Nuclear Physics. As artistic director, König put together the 2017 edition with co-curators Britta Peters and Marianne Wagner. This year, the classic Münster questions—what will they make, and where will they place it—are especially intriguing with regard to Ei Arakawa, Jeremy Deller, Nicole Eisenman, Pierre Huyghe, Mika Rottenberg, Gregor Schneider, and Hito Steyerl. —S.D.
Nick Mauss’s work is rooted in drawing but has taken many forms throughout his accomplished career. His forthcoming exhibition at Serralves Museum in Porto will exist broadly in the spirit of recent projects, which have focused on indeterminacy and chaos. Taking place in the institution’s villa, Mauss will fuse painting, dance, and performance to create a singular whole, incorporating all three into a larger piece that resembles a stage. —John Chiaverina
“Portraying a Nation: Germany 1919–1933”
Tate Liverpool, Liverpool
June 23–October 15
This two-person exhibition focuses on Neue Sachlichkeit painter Otto Dix and photographer August Sander. The focus, for both artists, was a Weimar Republic undergoing rapid changes between two world wars. Dix depicted the wealth and glamor of cabaret culture alongside the misery and brutality of warfare, while Sanders’ focus was everyday Germans, who he captured most vividly in his “People of the Twentieth Century” series. The show will include over 300 paintings, drawings, prints, and photographs. —Robin Scher
“It took a lot of integrity and a lot of courage for an African American artist to be an abstractionist in the 1950s, ’60s, ’70s even,” gallerist Michael Rosenfeld told ARTnews in 2014. Abstractionists like Frank Bowling, Jack Whitten, Howardena Pindell, and Al Loving, who were political but resisted making explicitly sociopolitical art, have long been underappreciated. For the past decade, however, interest in work by these painters has grown apace. This overview of Guyanese-born Bowling’s canvases will be anchored by the large-scale “map paintings” he made between 1967 and 1971, in which liminal geographies painted on color field–like backgrounds conjure journeys he took and ones he imagined. —Anne Doran
Michael E. Smith’s sculptures defamiliarize the everyday, relying on industrial and just plain strange objects used in ways both pithy and morose. The Providence-based artist’s 2015 sculpture Fish, for example, consists of a whitewashed door balanced end-to-end on top of a can of whipped cream, while Sleep (2013) features the head of a taxidermy chicken stuffed into the end of an exhaust pipe. Smith also works in video, using found footage to a similarly bizarre effect. —Malaya Sadler
Guggenheim Bilbao, Bilbao, Spain
June 30–November 9
As one of the first artists to work with video, in the early ’70s, Bill Viola worked with subjects very different from those of his colleagues, subjects like faith, transcendence, and renewal, all of which he approached without a smattering of irony. Since then, his videos have become grander and more complex—references to Renaissance painting and multi-screen allegories about the cycle of life and death abound—but they have lost none of their earnestness. The Guggenheim Bilbao’s retrospective will include everything from his early experiments to Tristan’s Ascension (2005), a reversed extreme-slow-motion long take of a man falling onto a plinth as water rains down. —A.G.
“Sunshower: Contemporary Art from Southeast Asia, 1980s to Now”
National Art Center and Mori Art Museum, Tokyo
July 5-October 23
For the first exhibition held jointly between Tokyo’s National Art Center and the Mori Art Museum, the two institutions will present a survey of almost 30 years of Southeast Asian art, covering approximately 180 works from 85 artists spread over ten countries in the region. Korakrit Arunanondchai, Jompet Kuswidananto and Heri Dono are among the artists showcasing work in an exhibition that is sure to make a strong argument for the vitality of the Southeast Asian art scene. —J.C.
Da Corte’s triumphal 2016 exhibition “Free Roses” filled the expansive galleries of the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art floor to ceiling and wall to wall with psychedelic color; such oddities as a pond filled with motorized plastic swans shared space with darker visions, including an early video starring cheap, readymade objects and set to Leonard Cohen’s song “Chelsea Hotel #2.” With his show at the Secession, the Philadelphia-based artist will bring new work and his intuitive understanding of the horrors and ecstasies of existence in late capitalist society to a city once famous for conspicuous consumption. —A.D.
“Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power”
Tate Modern, London
July 12–October 22
The pages of American art history are finally being rewritten to include the work of women, people of color, and other marginalized artists, thanks to superb books like, say, Darby English’s 1971: A Year in the Life of Color and exhibitions like this one, that examines debates around the notion of “Black Art” over a 20-year period, from 1963, the year that African American artists like Romare Bearden and Hale Woodruff came together to form the Spiral group in New York, to 1983. Giants firmly ensconced in the canon, including Norman Lewis and Betye Saar, will hang alongside artists who are now making their way into it, such as the octogenarian painters Wadsworth Jarrell and Frank Bowling. —Andrew Russeth
Various venues, Yokohama, Japan
August 4–November 5
The sixth edition of this triennial, staged in the port city of Yokohama, just south of Tokyo, is called “Islands, Constellations and Galapagos.” The exhibition will “reexamine the state of global connectivity and isolation from various angles,” particularly looking at it from the point of view of archipelago regions and “the world that is generally growing conservative,” according to the show’s press release. The year 2017 also marks the 150th anniversary of Taisei Hōkan, which would eventually return power to the emperor of Japan, away from the feudal shogunates and toward Japan’s eventual modernization. Among the artists included in this year’s triennial are Ai Weiwei, Jenny Holzer, Wael Shawky, and the Propeller Group. —M.D.
Kuntshalle Zurich, Zurich
August 26-November 19
This show is the first extensive European exhibition of work by the American artist Cheryl Donegan, who is perhaps best known for her videos, one being 1994’s iconic Kiss My Royal Irish Ass (K.M.R.I.A.). In that piece, the artist produces paintings of shamrocks by inserting her posterior into green paint and then applying it to paper. This video and others—including Head, in which Donegan catches milk in her mouth as it squirts from a container and then spitting it back into the receptacle—provide a poignant and at times humorous critique of the female body’s place in pop culture and art history. —J.C.