With winter just weeks away, it is time to preview the season’s most notable museum exhibitions and biennials. Below is a guide to upcoming offerings, from a 700-work survey of Raymond Pettibon’s drawings at the New Museum in New York to the first major show of Zaha Hadid’s work since her death earlier this year, at the Serpentine in London.
“A Revolutionary Impulse: The Rise of the Russian Avant-Garde”
Museum of Modern Art, New York
December 3–March 12
This show captures a period of excitement and innovation between 1912 and 1934, when a creative spell was broken by the onslaught of Stalinism and its insistence on Socialist Realism. Constructivism and Suprematism, with their full roster of influential figures, such as Natalia Goncharova, El Lissitzky, and Kazimir Malevich, show their artistic and political might here, where not only the fine arts but also poetry, film, and photography are in the mix. But what remains most impressive is the forever-modern and revolutionary nature of the work. —Barbara A. MacAdam
Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston
December 9–January 1, 2018
In our youth-obsessed culture, hats off to Gillian Wearing for having the courage to age herself. Last year, the British artist completed her photographic series “Rock ’n’ Roll 70,” for which she used digital technology to create self-portraits as a septuagenarian. She turned those photos into wallpaper, a backdrop for a current unenhanced photo (she’s in her early 50s), a photo of her digitally progressed to age 70, and an empty frame awaiting a photo of her when she actually turns 70. Wearing has made a career out of exploring personal histories through the use of photography and video. This well-deserved survey at the ICA will include the Boston debut of “Rock ’n’ Roll 70.” —John Chiaverina
Yuki Kimura’s photographs do more than depict space—they also occupy space. Cold and removed, yet also visually seductive, the Japanese artist’s work looks at what happens when photography moves into the third dimension, becoming an architectural element or even, in one surprising case, a tabletop. For this exhibition, Kimura will show new and recent photographs about the way time transforms objects. Two blown-up photographs depict rice cakes, which, in Japan, are eaten to celebrate the New Year—a period when people and objects change. —Alex Greenberger
MIT List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge, Massachusetts
January 10–February 19
Despite having received her BFA just last year, Andrea Crespo has already made a splash with her dreamy videos, many of which feature a pair of conjoined twins. Poetic and empathic, the New York–based artist’s work focuses on how people learn about their bodies through digital technology. Her MIT show will feature drawings and a new video titled [intensifies], 2016, which follows a young autistic man who comes to understand his condition through internet memes and mainstream media. —A.G.
Contemporary Art Museum, St. Louis
January 20–April 16
The Brooklyn-based Lawson is one of today’s most thrilling emerging photographers. Born in 1979 in Rochester, New York, she creates portraits that are at once tough and tender. Men and women of color pose nude or partially dressed in domestic environments, proudly meeting the eyes of viewers—sometimes staring them down outright. This show brings together some older pieces (like 2010’s Assemblage, a sprawling web of reprinted found photos, from the personal to the historical) with several new, never-before-seen ones documenting her travels throughout the African diaspora. —Andrew Russeth
When Marisa Merz won the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement at the 2013 Venice Biennale, it was a significant step toward her attaining the kind of name recognition long accorded her late husband, Mario Merz. Both were considered Arte Povera artists in the ’60s—Merz being the only woman in the group—and she has been making work ever since. As such, her pieces employ humble materials: her 1966 installation Untitled (Living Sculpture) comprises warped tubes made from strips of aluminum. This exhibition at the Met Breuer, a career survey that will show everything from her early installations to her 1980s work with clay heads and more recent paintings, will increase her visibility even more. —J.C.
International Center of Photography, New York
January 27–May 7
The proliferation of photographs on social media and smartphones has affected every facet of society. ICP curators Carol Squiers and Cynthia Young, working with assistant curators Susan Carlson and Claartje van Dijk and adjunct curators Joanna Lehan and Kalia Brooks, will prove that by showing how ISIS media campaigns have changed the nature of terrorism, how things like GoPro have changed the nature of sports viewing, and much, much more. —Robin Scher
“Lisa Oppenheim: Spine”
Museum of Contemporary Art, Cleveland
January 27–May 14
Having become famous in 2006 for plucking images of sunsets posted to Flickr by soldiers in Iraq, printing them, and photographing herself holding those pictures in front of similar sunsets in New York, Lisa Oppenheim continues to experiment with photographs and their shifting contexts. What changes, for example, when a thin layer of Poplar wood is placed on top of light-sensitive paper, creating a cameraless image from a tree, rather than simply showing a forest? By printing textiles depicting photographs, instead of the other way around, can photography become design? These are the questions that occupy two recent bodies of work—“Landscape Portraits” and “Jacquard Weavings,” respectively—both of which will be on view at this show, alongside her pictures of textile workers. —A.G.
Cercle d’Art des Travailleurs des Plantation Congolaise
SculptureCenter, New York
January 28–March 27
SculptureCenter curator Ruba Katrib has organized a provocative, not quite mouth-watering show devoted to the Cercle d’Art des Travailleurs de Plantation Congolaise (CATPC), an art collective in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The artists here are also plantation workers who harvest cacao for use by international companies that produce such commodities as palm oil. However, in their capacity as artists, they use the popular bean as the raw material to create cacao-based figures representing ancestors as well as contemporary personages. Redressing global inequities, the workers’ creative endeavors situate them in a space “normally reserved for middle-class artists,” according to the press release. Profits from sales are reinvested in “new, self-owned, and regulated agricultural production.” —B.A.M.
“Jimmie Durham: At the Center of the World”
Hammer Museum, Los Angeles
January 29–May 7
Many people came back from the 2015 Venice Biennale as impressed by American activist artist Jimmie Durham’s show at the Fondazione Querini Stampalia as they were by the Biennale itself. Durham, who came up in New York in the 1980s, has worn many hats, among them performer, poet, and essayist. Exhibitions of his work have been few, and so this one, his first major North American retrospective, is an event. It will bring together two hundred of Durham’s sculptural assemblages, made up of disparate found materials such as text, bones, wood, and manufactured objects. Together, these works serve as interrogations of America’s prevailing historical narratives. —R.S.
“Raymond Pettibon: A Pen of All Work”
New Museum, New York
February 8–April 16
Finally. After more than 30 wildly prolific years making enigmatic and alluring drawings on paper, in zines, and on walls of everything from Gumby to locomotives, the storied artist, Twitter fiend, and inventor of the logo for the hardcore band Black Flag will have a major survey in New York. Pettibon’s work charts the mad, churning, little-explored corners of American history—essential viewing at a topsy-turvy moment in the country’s history. —A.R.
“Merce Cunningham: Common Time”
Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis
February 11–April 30; February 8–September 10
Merce Cunningham believed in the idea of “common time”—the concept that dance, music, and art could coexist. By today’s standards, with young performance artists like Ryan McNamara offering works that make use of “common time” and then some, that’s hardly revolutionary. When Cunningham began expanding dance beyond the confines of the theater in the ’50s, however, it practically changed art as we know it. This two-part retrospective places Cunningham’s immersive installations alongside works by Nam June Paik, Andy Warhol, Yvonne Rainer, Charles Atlas, and others. To show just how influential Cunningham has been, the Walker Art Center has even commissioned young artists like Maria Hassabi to create new performances for the show. —A.G.
Hirshhorn Musuem and Sculpture Garden
February 23–May 14
In the course of her 65-year career, Yayoi Kusama, now in her eighties and for the past 40 years a voluntary resident of a Tokyo mental institution, has worked in a range of media, including performance art, sculpture, installation, video, film, and painting. This survey will feature six of the artist’s crowd-pleasing “Infinity Rooms” (1965–2013)—immersive mirrored environments, the earliest of which now seem to have anticipated digital space. Luckily, it will also include Kusama’s reticulated “Infinity Net” paintings of the 1950s, her 1960s “Accumulations” (soft sculptures in the form of domestic object, each bristling with stuffed fabric phalluses) and her outsiderish paintings of recent years. —Anne Doran
Serpentine Galleries, London
December 8–February 12
The influential Iraqi-born British architect died this past March—too young, at 65—but her buildings and designs live on. From the beginning of her career, Hadid was ahead of her time, adopting computer-based methods long before they became standard. Organized with Hadid before her death, this show focuses on the paintings and drawings she made before the Vitra Fire Station in Weil-am-Rhein, Germany, the angular 1993 building that made her famous; it will be a valuable opportunity to reassess her Suprematism-inspired work. —A.G.
21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa, Japan
December 10–March 12
It’s hard to believe that Thomas Ruff, the German photographer whose work is so central to how we understand the medium today, has never had a large-scale museum exhibition in Japan. This show will rectify that, putting on view a range of the conceptual images he has been making for more than three decades, from his early seven-by-five-foot portraits to his nudes (pornographic images he found on the internet and zeroed in on to the point of abstraction) to more recent work made with 3-D imaging software. Ruff will show a recent series here called “press++,” which uses archival press photographs and related text as its core material. —J.C.
Various venues, Kochi, India
December 12–March 29
“What does it mean to be together in time—to be contemporary?” That is the question curator Sudarshan Shetty will address with work by 94 artists from 30 countries in the third edition of the exhibition. The artists he has chosen for the Kochi-Muziris Biennale—the largest contemporary-art biennial in Southeast Asia—include Aki Sasamoto, Alicja Kwade, Stan Douglas, Camille Norment, and Dia Mehta Bhupal. —R.S.
Moderna Museet, Stockholm
December 18–May 21
It may have been a mistake for Marina Abramović to write an autobiography. Published this year and largely panned, the book reveals the egocentric impulses behind the 69-year-old, Serbian-born artist’s ritualistic performances. Abramović catapulted from art-world celebrity to pop stardom by her 2010 marathon staring contest with visitors at the Museum of Modern Art became a mainstream hit. Yet her early performance art of the 1970s—some of it created in collaboration with Ulay, her romantic partner at the time—still shocks. (Consider Rhythm 0, a 1974 performance in which audience members were invited to do with the artist’s body whatever they wished, using objects, including razor blades and a loaded gun, that she provided.) This show, her first European retrospective, is your chance to decide whether Abramović is an exhibitionist or an experimenter, or both. —A.D.
James Welling’s photographic work runs the gamut from Photoshop-manipulated images of dancers to pictures of crushed fabric that appear as total abstractions. At times, it can feel as though there is little that holds his many series together, but that may be part of the Los Angeles–based artist’s point: photography is a more complex medium than many take it to be. Welling’s work, which addresses the difficulty of capturing an evolving world in still images, is better known in the United States than it is elsewhere; this touring survey will offer European audiences a crash course. —A.G.
“All watched over by machines of loving grace”
Palais de Toyko, Paris
February 3–May 8
This show, which takes its name from a Richard Brautigan poem, looks at the way technology plays with our emotions, often turning them into data that then gets used by advertising companies. It’s a dark subject indeed, but the exhibition has a promising artist list that includes obscure artists from years past, like Marjorie Keller, who made experimental films about memory at a time when her field was dominated by men, alongside up-and-comers like Lee Kit, who will here produce an installation that ineracts with the Palais de Tokyo’s architecture. —A.G.
“Ulises Carrión: Dear reader. Don’t read”
Museo Jumex, Mexico City
February 9–May 7
Ah, you’re still reading. This retrospective, which takes its name from a 1975 diptych of the same name, looks at the work of Mexican conceptual artist Ulises Carrión, who is best known for his involvement in the mail art movement. The 350-work exhibition looks at Carrión’s influential but short career (he died at 49 in Amsterdam, his home for over 15 years), specifically focusing on the role of books and language in his work. The works on display here run the gamut from books and magazines to films and performances to his work as a curator, writer, linguist, and theorist, and owner of the pioneering Other Books and So bookstore, which helped cement the role of artists books in contemporary art. In a time when it seems that more artists are writing than ever before, Carrión’s enormous, though often under-recognized, impact continues to loom large. —Maximilíano Durón
Tate Britain, London
February 9–May 29
Hockney has been living in L.A. for the past half century, and his many images of swimming pools have yoked him to SoCal culture, but it is perhaps fitting that his most comprehensive retrospective to date should be in his native Britain, where he made such classic early paintings as The Third Love Painting (1960), an abstract work that slyly makes fun of its medium. Comprising six decades of paintings, drawings, prints, and photographs, the Tate exhibition features some 170 works. —J.C.
“Sadie Benning: Shared Eye”
Kunsthalle Basel, Basel
February 10–April 30
How do we see? Is it even possible to construct meaning from what’s before our eyes? Sadie Benning explores the nature of vision in her mixed-media installation Shared Eye, which features 40 panels, each composed of bits and pieces of paper and objects, and video material cut up and recomposed as sculpture. Based in part on Blinky Palermo’s 1976 painting To the People of New York City, the visual sequences form and reconfigure dreams, narratives, and moods, and continually challenge us to consider our relation to the rhythm of the work and the space containing it. —B.A.M.
The Jeu de Paume’s Peter Campus survey will cover the septuagenarian’s career from his pioneering videos and installations of the 1970s and his photographic work of the 1980s, to his latest time-based digital work. With poetry and intellectual heft, Campus’s structuralist work explores the relationship between the viewer and artwork, the self and image. In the 1980s, Campus turned to photography before returning to video in the 1990s, all the while maintaining a balance between his imagist leanings and his interest in the properties of film. Campus’s first solo exhibition in France is sure to underscore the coherence of his project. —A.D.
Tate Modern, London
February 15–June 11
As he nears 50, the globe-trotting German-born artist is busier than ever, collaborating with the R&B phenom Frank Ocean on a formidable anti-Brexit campaign, performing with his new band, Fragile, and oh yes, continuing to put on a handful of art exhibitions each year. His photographs, which range from intimate shots of his friends, his travels, and his clubbing adventures to bewitching abstractions, consistently break hearts and aesthetic ground. This survey, in the town he calls home (along with Berlin and New York), focuses on work he has done since his 2013 exhibition at Tate Britain. —A.R.
“Teresa Margolles: Mundos”
Musée d’Art Contemporain de Montréal, Montreal
February 16–May 14
For three decades, Teresa Margolles has been mining the violent history of her home country, Mexico, creating minimalist sculptures and photographs that evoke the aftermath of war—the blood-soaked rags, filthy battlefields, smudged sidewalks. With works like Flag 1 (2009), a piece of fabric dirtied with earth and blood, she captures the way tragedy lingers on long past the skirmish. Margolles’s first solo exhibition in Canada brings together recent pieces like La Promesa (The Promise, 2012), a room-length rectangular sculpture made of the remains of a demolished house. —A.G.
Richard Hamilton made what may be the most famous piece of early Pop art, but Eduardo Paolozzi (1924–2005) got there first—his 1947 collage I Was a Rich Man’s Plaything, containing the word “Pop,” gave the movement its name. Like Hamilton, Paolozzi was a member of the British proto-Pop Independent Group, whose writings, lectures and exhibitions celebrated the influence of technology and mass culture on contemporary life and art. Though his collages featuring sunny images from magazine ads are better known, Paolozzi’s graphic work and his sculptures of man-machine hybrids are also notable. Paolozzi’s work has long been eclipsed by that of later Pop artists; this retrospective, the first in 40 years, will give him his due. —A.D.
A version of this story originally appeared in the Winter 2017 issue of ARTnews on page 26 under the title “Editors’ Picks.”