Lynne Cooke is senior curator for special projects at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC. She is currently at work on “Woven Histories,” a planned 2023 exhibition that will explore affiliations and interchanges between abstract artists and textile designers and producers.
ZOE LEONARD (MUSÉE D’ART MODERNE DE LA VILLE DE PARIS; CURATED BY JESSICA CASTEX AND OLIVIA GAULTIER-JEANROY WITH MARGOT KOUTSOMITIS)
The Rio Grande/Rio Bravo, which serves as the international border between the United States and Mexico, is the focus of Leonard’s epic, deeply moving photographic project. The centuries-long agricultural and ranching ways, trade, and culture centered on this natural watercourse are now subject to fractious destructive political intervention that divides communities and devastates the environment. In counterpoint to the quiet beauties of the natural world, its birds and farm animals, are the monstrous horrors of a built environment of border fences, fortified bridges, and crossing stations—markers of relentless governmental policing and surveillance.
On view through January 29, 2023. Co-organized with Mudam Luxembourg–Musée d’Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean, Paris Musées, and the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia.
HEW LOCKE (TATE BRITAIN, LONDON; CURATED BY ELENA CRIPPA AND CLARRIE WALLIS WITH BILAL AKKOUCHE, HANNAH MARSH, AND DANA MORENO)
A parade? A funeral? A demonstration? A pageant? Locke’s spectacular installation in the Tate Britain’s imposing atrium is all these and more. Whatever galvanized this umbrella coalition of disparate players seems to have burgeoned from an intricate nexus of politics, race, and colonial history. Veiled or masked, each fantastical figure is vividly realized, improvised from commonplace materials—cardboard, fabric, secondhand clothing, paint, and plaster.
On view through January 22, 2023.
CRISTINA IGLESIAS (MADISON SQUARE PARK CONSERVANCY, NEW YORK; CURATED BY BROOKE KAMIN RAPAPORT, TOM REIDY, AND TRUTH MURRAY-COLE)
A strip of unruly grass meanders across the carefully tended lawn. Only when approached does the outgrowth reveal through fissures an underground stream coursing among its buried roots, the cause of its lush exuberance. To those who habitually flock to the downtown oasis, glimpses of the network of underground waterways become a source of wonder—an antidote to the snarling traffic circling its perimeter.
On view through December 4.
BARBARA KRUGER (MUSEUM OF MODERN ART, NEW YORK; CURATED BY PETER ELEEY AND LANKA TATTERSALL)
Blistering, in your face, undeniable: Kruger amps up her signature rhetoric not just because MoMA’s monumental atrium demands working at scale but because the times compel escalation. Critiques declaimed decades ago resound ever more urgently today. Could this public forum be galvanized more brilliantly, more trenchantly?
On view through January 2, 2023. Co-organized with the Art Institute of Chicago (by James Rondeau and Robyn Farrell) and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (by Michael Govan and Rebecca Morse).
MAYFIELD BROOKS, SENSORIA: AN OPERA STRANGE (DANSPACE PROJECT, NEW YORK)
Its stained-glass windows aflame with the light of the setting sun, St. Mark’s Church-in-the-Bowery became an eloquent agent in brooks’s unforgettable opera. In tones oscillating between a whisper and a wail, the artist gave voice to pain, grief, and mourning in an immersive fusion of revolutionary songs, laments, watery reverberations, and whale calls. The charged soundscape, amplified by video projection, aligned Black life with the endangered mammal: As the dead creature falls to the seafloor, the ocean waters and marine populace are nourished by its disintegrating carcass.
TERESA LANCETA (MUSEU D’ART CONTEMPORANI DE BARCELONA; CURATED BY NURIA ENGUITA AND LAURA VALLÉS VÍLCHEZ)
As the show’s title (“Weaving as Open Source”) suggests, sharing, dialogue, and collaboration are key to this conceptually driven artist’s practice and to the structure and content of her revelatory retrospective. Highlights include a series of weavings featuring the motif of the rhombus, based on sustained exchanges over decades between Lanceta and Berber women from the Middle Atlas. Long formative in Spain’s tapestry heritage, their rich textile traditions underpin the remarkable work they continue to produce.
Co-organized with the Institut Valencià d’Art Modern, Spain, where it is on view through February 12, 2023.
“JUST ABOVE MIDTOWN: CHANGING SPACES” (MUSEUM OF MODERN ART, NEW YORK; CURATED BY THOMAS [T.] JEAN LAX WITH LILIA ROCIO TABOADA IN COLLABORATION WITH LINDA GOODE BRYANT AND MARIELLE INGRAM)
A self-defined laboratory and gallery promoting debate and showcasing Black art in New York City from 1974 to 1986, the legendary Just Above Midtown has become more referenced than duly recognized in recent decades. Lax’s signature brio and acumen are the perfect alloy for their collaborators, allowing JAM founder Goode-Bryant to interpolate her visionary project into MoMA’s august galleries.
On view through February 18, 2023.
IGSHAAN ADAMS (ART INSTITUTE OF CHICAGO; CURATED BY HENDRIK FOLKERTS)
Adams braided personal and familial stories drawn from his time as a young queer Muslim in Bonteheuwel, a formerly segregated suburb of Cape Town, with collective histories tracing the traumatic racial politics that fueled South African apartheid. Fragments of worn linoleum flooring sourced from the homes of friends and family, their patterns abraded and disrupted by loss, provided templates for his signature wall hangings. A medley of unorthodox materials, including rope, telephone cable, linen, and glass beads and necklaces, provided the warp and weft of sumptuous tapestries whose more distant ancestors are the great Islamic decorative carpets.
RUTH ASAWA (OXFORD ART MUSEUM; CURATED BY EMMA RIDGWAY AND VIBECE SALTHE)
Elegantly and spaciously installed, this enlightening retrospective was shaped by a holistic reading of Asawa’s cross-disciplinary practice and principles. Drawing on granular archival research, the show interlaced her commitment to gardening, cooking, family, and hospitality with community activism, art teaching in schools, and a sculptural practice that encompassed figurative public works in tandem with her celebrated looped-wire pendulous orbs. With Buckminster Fuller as her lifelong mentor, Asawa was never destined to be conventional.
On view through January 22, 2023, at the Stavanger Art Museum, Norway.
“REVERSING THE EYE: ARTE POVERA AND BEYOND, 1960–75: PHOTOGRAPHY, FILM, VIDEO” (JEU DE PAUME, PARIS; CURATED BY QUENTIN BAJAC, DIANE DUFOUR, GIULIANO SERGIO, AND LORENZA BRAVETTA)
Illuminating and fresh, this expanded take on Arte Povera and concurrent Italian vanguardists cracks open the calcified understanding of a movement that was more opportunistic than ideologically coherent. Focused on the camera-based media of photography, film, and, later, video, the show deftly aligns artistic practices that explored the apparatus as a vehicle to record; to capture and distill process; and to analyze, deconstruct, and reconstruct—in short, to take the measure of the world, literally and metaphorically. As Ugo Mulas, the show’s cynosure, morphs from documentarian to Conceptualist, he traces a path constitutive of the interwoven visions of these disparate cadres and coteries.
On view through January 29, 2023.