A notable destination on the art world map since its founding in 1995, the Gwangju Biennale in South Korea has taken “soft and weak like water” as the title for its 14th edition, organized by Tate Modern senior curator Sook Kyung-Lee. Since its opening in April, the Biennale has already awarded its inaugural $100,000 Park Seo-bo Award—named after the painter whose foundation endowed it—to the Seoul-based artist Oum Jeongsoon. The winning work: Elephant Without Trunk, an installation that engages notions of elephants via experiences of people with visual impairments.
Through July 9
Brian Belott, Sound Scribbles
A painter and sculptor who ventures into wide-ranging varieties of performance and other art, Brian Belott also conducts experiments using his mouth and ramshackle recording equipment. Sound Scribbles gathers sounds that many listeners might hesitate to classify as music, some with melodies and beats but most veering toward sound poetry and the glorious legacy of nonsense sounds proffered by touchpoint artists ranging from Kurt Schwitters and Hugo Ball to Ernie Kovacs and Jerry Lewis. Sample song titles: “We Found the Woop,” “Beal Jubjeb,” “Shrimp Tickles Ballyhoo,” and “Pranking the Art Dealer.”
On sale April 14
Ordinary Notes by Christina Sharpe
Christina Sharpe’s 2016 book, In the Wake: On Blackness and Being, influenced countless artists who see their work in the light of Sharpe’s “wake work,” which she has said is “a way for me to think about the persistence of Black death—what Saidiya Hartman calls the ‘afterlife of slavery’—and the persistence of Black life, the ways in which Black people nonetheless make spaces of joy.” Such work involves “keeping watch with the dead” and “practicing a kind of care.” Sharpe’s new book takes the form of 248 notes, some deeply personal, in which she pays homage to her mother and forges a collective “Dictionary of Untranslatable Blackness.”
On sale April 25
Simone Leigh at ICA Boston
When Simone Leigh represented the United States at the Venice Biennale last year—the first Black woman to do so, as well as the winner of the event’s highest honor, the Golden Lion—ICA Boston was the commissioning institution. Now the ICA has brought the Venice pieces back home for this must-see touring exhibition, Leigh’s first museum survey.
Through Sept. 4
Counterpublic St. Louis
The headliner at the second edition of this triennial is an earthwork by architect David Adjaye installed outside the Griot Museum of Black History (above), at a reported cost of $1 million. The event includes 30 commissioned installations, four of them, like Adjaye’s, site-specific and permanent, placed along six miles of St. Louis’s main thoroughfare, Jefferson Avenue. Other notable artists include Torkwase Dyson, Steffani Jemison, and Ralph Lemon. Guest curators include Allison Glenn, formerly of the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Arkansas. The theme, per its organizers, is “public memory and reparative futures.”
Through July 15
Pacita Abad at the Walker Art Center
If fiber really is the new painting, as Wendy Vogel argues in a feature story in Art in America‘s Summer 2023 issue, the trend owes a great deal to Pacita Abad, whose best-known pieces over her 32-year career are her monumental quilted paintings, or trapuntos. Abad, who died in 2004, fled to the US from the Philippines in 1970 to escape the Marcos regime, and dedicated much of her work to depicting the immigrant experience. Walker associate curator Victoria Sung organized this long-overdue touring retrospective, along with curatorial fellow Matthew Villar Miranda.
Through Sept. 15
The Melt Goes on Forever: The Art & Times of David Hammons
In 1983 the elusive artist David Hammons stood on a sidewalk in downtown New York selling snowballs. That legendary performance, Bliz-aard Ball Sale, is just one aspect of Hammons’s dizzyingly varied practice, in which he uses found objects to create artworks—a rock covered with human hair, paintings overlaid with trash bags, basketball hoops dripping with crystals, a ripped American flag in pan-African colors, a half-moon sculpture of Night Train Express wine empties emerging from a pile of coal—that speak to the Black experience in America. Nearly a decade in the making, this documentary, directed by filmmaker and investigative journalist Harold Crooks and veteran art journalist Judd Tully, is opening at the beloved arthouse theater Film Forum in Greenwich Village.
Opening May 5
“Carl Craig: Party/After-Party” at MOCA LA
After a resonant run as a prescient pandemic-period masterpiece at Dia Beacon in Upstate New York (above), Carl Craig’s sound-and-light installation Party/After-Party takes up a West Coast station in Los Angeles. With flashing lights and sounds that range from drony ambient tones to antic rhythmic throbs, the piece evokes music from the kind of warehouse techno parties where Craig made his name in Detroit, where moments of ecstasy and anguish commune in the night. A series of performances in the space will have Craig accompanied by electronic-music peers
such as Moritz von Oswald, Moodymann, and others.
Through July 23
“Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Beauty” at the Metropolitan Museum of Art
“He is the King of Fashion, though he would prefer to be called its eternal Prince,” Vanessa Grigoriadis wrote of Karl Lagerfeld in New York magazine in 2006. Although he died in 2018, the designer, who is associated mainly with Chanel and Fendi, remains fashion royalty. This exhibition, kicked off by the Met Costume Institute’s star-studded gala, will likely draw lines to rival the Alexander McQueen survey in 2011.
May 5–July 16
“Shahryar Nashat: It’s all just stories” at the Renaissance Society
“Dead bodies, fake bodies, real bodies, strong bodies, weak bodies.” The words from the soundtrack to Shahryar Nashat’s video piece shown at the Kunsthalle Basel in 2017 are as good a description as any of his overall project: the human body in all its manifestations, in the digital age. The Swiss-born, Los Angeles–based artist, who is in his 40s, makes work across sculpture, video, installation, and performance that defies categorization; that work has been shown extensively in Europe, but is not as well-known in the States. This exhibition in Chicago coincides with a project at the Art Institute of Chicago that runs into the fall.
May 6–July 2
“Vija Celmins | Gerhard Richter: Double Vision” at Hamburger Kunsthalle
These two artists share an interest in the nature of representation as well as histories that intersect in Nazi Germany. Born in Latvia, Celmins fled as a two-year-old to Germany with her family during the Soviet Occupation; they were placed in a refugee camp after the war, and she grew up in the American Midwest. Born and raised in Germany, Richter narrowly avoided conscription into the Hitler Youth and remains in his homeland to this day. Both had early photorealist periods, but ultimately went in different directions: Celmins, now based in New York, makes small-scale work that deals largely with nature (waves, spider webs, the night sky), while Richter is known for large abstract paintings. This exhibition in Hamburg, Germany, promises to be illuminating.
May 12–Aug. 27
Trinh T. Minh-ha, The Twofold Commitment
Since the 1980s, Trinh T. Minh-ha has been working at the intersection of art, film, and academia. Her documentary What About China? was in last year’s Whitney Biennial; she’s been a jury member for the Oscars; and she’s a professor at the University of California, Berkeley. This book, published by Primary Information, centers on her 2015 film, Forgetting Vietnam, which commemorated the death of her father and the 40th anniversary of the war’s end.
On sale May 9
“Yayoi Kusama: I Spend Each Day Embracing Flowers” at David Zwirner
The artist’s latest New York solo show includes a brand-new “Infinity Room.”
Expect lines—and selfies.
Opens May 12
Doris Salcedo at Fondation Beyeler
Many artists treat a commission from Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall as an opportunity to go monumental. Salcedo defied expectations in 2007 by carving into the floor a football-field-size crack, saying it “represents borders, the experience of immigrants, the experience of segregation, the experience of racial hatred … the experience of a Third World person coming into the heart of Europe.” Salcedo has referred to herself as “a Third World artist” (she is Colombian) with the “perspective of the victim … the defeated people.” For her show in Basel, Switzerland, Salcedo is unlikely to slice through the Fondation Beyeler’s floor; instead, expect a 40-year survey of her work, primarily sculpture that incorporates found objects like furniture and clothing.
May 21–Sept. 17
“Keith Haring: Art Is for Everybody” at the Broad
Keith Haring’s pop work is synonymous with New York in the 1980s, so it is perhaps not surprising that the late artist has never had a museum show in Los Angeles. Eli Broad, the mega-collector who died in 2021, was a fan of Haring’s work, and this exhibition, organized by Broad curator and exhibition manager Sarah Loyer, will feature more than 120 artworks and archival materials. It promises to pack the museum, which draws big crowds on an average day, and we’re guessing there will be top-notch merch.
May 27–Oct. 8
Correction: An earlier version of this article misstated the year of Eli Broad’s death.
"New Photography 2023" at the Museum of Modern Art
This annual show has been a hotly anticipated event on the art world calendar since it started in 1985, because it brings to the world’s premier contemporary art institution the work of artists who have never shown there before. This time around, there’s even more at stake, since it is the first edition organized by recently hired MoMA photography curator Oluremi C. Onabanjo, and the first to focus on a specific art scene: that of Lagos, Nigeria. The seven featured artists represent a range of generations from Akinbode Akinbiyi (born in 1946) to Amanda Iheme (born in 1992).
May 28–Sept. 16
“Lisa Alvarado / MATRIX 192” at the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art
The patterns in Lisa Alvarado’s paintings, which explore abstraction’s very early origins in things like Mesoamerican weavings, seem to vibrate; in fact, the Chicago-based, San Antonio–born artist often refers to her works as “vibrations.” Her practice expands beyond painting’s traditional borders to include sound art and sculpture. In her first museum show, Alvarado, who is also a musician, will play harmonium in (and create stage sets for) the band Natural Information Society when it performs at the Wadsworth in Hartford, Connecticut.
June 2–Sept. 3
“Frank Stewart’s Nexus: An American Photographer’s Journey” at the Phillips Collection
Over his 60-year career, Frank Stewart became known as the premier documentarian of New York’s jazz scene—he was senior photographer for Jazz at Lincoln Center—but his craft took him far afield, to the studio of painter Romare Bearden and to Africa. His legacy could not be better served curatorially for this show in Washington, D.C., which is organized by Ruth Fine, who curated a landmark Bearden show when she was at the National Gallery, and influential poet and theorist Fred Moten. The first monograph for Stewart accompanies it, published by Rizzoli and featuring an essay by Wynton Marsalis.
June 10–Sept. 3
“Edvard Munch: Trembling Earth” at the Clark Art Institute
If you think you’ve seen every version of Edvard Munch, guess again. The Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Massachusetts, is presenting a climate-minded survey of Munch’s work, showing how his dramatic use of landscape channeled human anxiety. Munch is a perennial draw, and so is summertime in the Berkshires, where the picturesque Clark is the first stop for a traveling show co-organized with the Museum Barberini in Potsdam, Germany, and Munchmuseet in Oslo, Norway. Buy your tickets early.
June 10–Oct. 15
Curtis Cuffie from Blank Forms
A classic character in the East Village in New York beginning in the ’80s, Curtis Cuffie made fleeting artworks by “collecting what the city provided, often sifting trash to stage on-the-spot sculptures along the Bowery and Cooper Square.” As described further by Blank Forms, the nomadic curatorial and publishing enterprise responsible for this first book focused on Cuffie’s work: “his arrangements took the form of impossibly balanced towers, delicate shrines, and unwieldy processions up to 30 feet in length installed along the walls, fences, and sidewalks of the Lower East Side.” While few of his sculptures survive, photographs will pay tribute to Cuffie, who died in 2002.
On sale June 10
Liverpool Biennial at Tate Liverpool
The 12th edition of the UK’s largest festival of contemporary art follows a formula best exemplified by curator Candice Hopkins’s Toronto Biennial in 2019: an investigation of place that puts emphasis on ancestral and indigenous forms of knowledge. Titled “uMoya: The Sacred Return of Lost Things” after the isiZulu word for spirit, breath, air, climate, and wind, Cape Town–based independent curator Khanyisile Mbongwa organizes this year’s Liverpool Biennial. Look out for Isabel do Rosário’s large-scale textile pieces, exhibited for the first time outside Brazil, as well as work by other of-the-moment artists like Gala Porras-Kim, Guadalupe Maravilla, and Lubaina Himid.
June 10–Sept. 17
The king of modern and contemporary art fairs, based in Basel, Switzerland, is known for high-value pieces by blue-chip artists; at last year’s fair, Hauser & Wirth gallery brought (and sold) a $40 million, 22-foot-wide Louise Bourgeois spider sculpture from 1996. The 53rd edition, and the second in-person fair in the bucolic Swiss canton since the pandemic, is the first for new Art Basel CEO Noah Horowitz. Newcomers among the 285 presenting galleries from 36 countries and territories include blank projects of Cape Town, Empty Gallery from Hong Kong, and Offer Waterman from London. Don’t miss the live concerts and performances to be presented as part of Swiss artist Latifa Echakhch’s installation on the Messeplatz.
Carrie Mae Weems at the Barbican Centre
In March, Weems became the first Black woman to win the Hasselblad Award, one of the photography world’s most prestigious honors. Weems has been working in photography for four decades, using the medium to depict Black life present and past. In the “Kitchen Table Series” that put her on the map in the ’90s, she took photographs of herself as various characters, providing a new kind of visibility to the Black home. She has incorporated historical photographs into her work (including daguerrotypes of slaves) and has had students play roles in re-creating them. While Weems has a rich exhibition history in the US, this London exhibition is her first major show in the UK.
June 21–Sept. 3
“Gala Porras-Kim: The resurrection of a past life before history” at the Fowler Museum at UCLA
Three years ago, Gala Porras-Kim scoured the collection of Harvard’s Peabody Museum for religious artifacts stolen from the Mayan city of Chichén Itzá, made drawings of them, and put them in an exhibition along with documentation describing how they got to the US. Porras-Kim has since become influential for younger artists working with issues related to decolonization and repatriation, as well as to institutions now facing increasing scrutiny. The Fowler, a university museum with 600,000 archaeological objects from all over, promises to be fertile ground for Porras-Kim’s practice.
June 25–Oct. 9
“Amoako Boafo:Soul of Black Folks” at the Seattle Art Museum
For the past four years, Amoako Boafo’s thickly impastoed figurative canvases have been everywhere: the Rubell Family Museum in Miami, gallery exhibitions, art fairs, even in space, courtesy of Jeff Bezos’s rocket. Everywhere but a large public museum. That changes with this show, which includes 30 works the Ghana-born, Vienna-based painter made between 2016 and 2022. Perhaps not coincidentally, it comes on the heels of Boafo’s first show with a mega-gallery, Gagosian in New York.
July 13–Sept. 10
“Remedios Varo: Science Fictions” at the Art Institute of Chicago
The market began favoring Surrealists like René Magritte 10 years ago; recently, with figurative painting by women and people of color in the spotlight, Remedios Varo’s works have been breaking auction records. Last year, the Met’s survey show “Surrealism Beyond Borders” sealed the deal: Varo is the Surrealist du jour, influencing artists and fashion designers alike, and the perfect chaser for the Art Institute’s Dali show. In the 1930s, Varo went to Paris, the epicenter of Surrealism, from her native Spain, then fled with her husband to Mexico City after a brief incarceration during the Vichy regime. Her paintings star willowy women, many of them hybridized with insects or animals.
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