Richard Artschwager is available for online reading from April 19 through May 18 as part of the From the Library series. This book was published on the occasion of Richard Artschwager at Gagosian, Rome. It focuses on seventeen works from a key period in the artist’s varied career, 1964 to 1987, which demonstrate his ability to rearrange the structures of perception, bringing the deceptive pictorial world of images into direct confrontation with the concretely human world of objects. The bilingual publication (English/Italian) features a new essay by curator Dieter Schwarz.
Richard Artschwager (New York: Gagosian, 2021)
Theaster Gates, Adrienne Brown, Jacqueline Stewart
Thursday, April 22, 2021, 8pm EDT
To celebrate the tenth anniversary of Arts + Public Life, program directors Theaster Gates, Adrienne Brown, and Jacqueline Stewart will reflect on a decade of neighborhood-based arts production that has catalyzed ambitious physical transformations and intentional programmatic expansion on Chicago’s South Side. The conversation will be moderated by Tracie Hall, executive director of the American Library Association. Arts + Public Life is an initiative of University of Chicago Arts that provides platforms for artists and arts programming through residencies, arts education, creative entrepreneurship, artist-led programs, and exhibitions to promote a robust, collaborative, and evolving relationship between the University of Chicago and the South Side’s vibrant civic, cultural, and artistic communities. To attend the event, register at uchicago.zoom.us.
Theaster Gates. Photo: Julian Salinas
Race to Justice
Thursday, April 29, 2021, 8pm EDT
Theaster Gates will speak as part of the University of California Santa Barbara’s lecture series Race to Justice, in which leading activists, creatives, and thinkers confront racism in America with the aim of guiding the country toward racial equality. Gates will draw on his work as an artist, musician, and cultural planner to guide the discussion. The presentation will be followed by a question-and-answer session moderated by UCSB professor of Black studies Jeffrey Stewart. To attend the event, purchase tickets at artsandlectures.ucsb.edu.
Horace D. Ballard
Tuesday, April 20, 2021, 1pm EDT
Join the American Folk Art Museum for a conversation between Gagosian director Antwaun Sargent and curator and art historian Horace D. Ballard about the rich histories and contemporary practices of emerging and established self-taught Black photographers. Looking in particular at the genre of portrait photography, Sargent and Ballard will examine notions of gender, power, position, gaze, and representation, as well as questions of legacy and influence. This talk is organized in conjunction with the museum’s exhibition PHOTO | BRUT: Collection Bruno Decharme & Compagnie. To attend the event, register at eventbrite.com.
Left: Antwaun Sargent. Photo: Darius Garvin. Right: Horace D. Ballard. Photo: Jessica Smolinski
Richard Armstrong and John Torreano on Richard Artschwager
Thursday, April 22, 2021, 1:30pm edt
On the occasion of Richard Artschwager at Gagosian in Rome, join us for a conversation about the artist with Richard Armstrong, director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Foundation, and artist John Torreano, longtime friends of Artschwager’s. Alongside contemporaries such as Robert Rauschenberg and Cy Twombly, Artschwager was a key figure in twentieth-century American art, forging a maverick path by confounding the traditional limits of art and reconfiguring the visual comprehension of space. The pair will discuss the genre-defying and often cerebral work of the late artist, whose varied career demonstrates his ability to rearrange the structures of perception. To join, register at eventbrite.com.
Richard Artschwager, Tract Home, 1964 © 2021 The Estate of Richard Artschwager/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Julien Grémaud
with Anselm Kiefer and Emanuele Coccia
Thursday, April 15, 2021, 2pm edt
Sarah Sze will discuss her recent exhibition catalogue De nuit en jour/Night into Day—featuring contributions by Bruno Latour, Jean Nouvel, and Leanne Sacramone—with Anselm Kiefer and philosopher Emanuele Coccia, as part of the Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain’s Art Book Series. Sze will join from her studio in New York, while Kiefer and Coccia will speak from inside the exhibition Night into Day at Foundation Cartier. The trio will talk about Twice Twilight and Tracing Fallen Sky (both 2020), two works Sze created specifically for the Paris exhibition, and about Kiefer’s recently installed work at the Panthéon in Paris. To attend the online event, visit www.fondationcartier.com.
Sarah Sze, Tracing Fallen Sky, 2020 (detail), installation view, Sarah Sze: Night into Day, Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, Paris © Sarah Sze
Albert Oehlen has created a playlist of fourteen tracks on Spotify ranging in genres from free jazz to techno. Featuring musicians such as Steamboat Switzerland and Colin Stetson, the playlist shares the title of his upcoming exhibition at Gagosian, Beverly Hills, in which he interprets and transforms John Graham’s painting Tramonto Spaventoso (Terrifying Sunset) (1940–49). The artist discovered the work by the Russian-born American modernist painter in the 1990s and has been fascinated with it ever since.
Albert Oehlen in his studio, Ispaster, Spain, 2020. Artwork © Albert Oehlen. Photo: Esther Freund
Virtual Studio Visits
Klaus Biesenbach in Conversation with Sarah Sze
In the Virtual Studio Visits series from the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, director Klaus Biesenbach digitally connects with artists around the world. Here, he speaks with Sarah Sze in her studio in New York. The pair discuss the development of Sze’s career as an artist, her commitment to public works projects, and her exhibition Night into Day at the Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, Paris, which is on view through May 30, 2021.
Still from “Virtual Studio Visits: Klaus Biesenbach in Conversation with Sarah Sze”
Artists On Writers | Writers On Artists
Ed Ruscha and Rachel Kushner
In the third episode of Artists On Writers | Writers On Artists, novelist Rachel Kushner and Ed Ruscha share memories of Kathy Acker and Walter Hopps, talk about their love of vintage cars, and enjoy a good pun. Rachel Kushner’s The Hard Crowd: Essays, 2000–2010 will be released on April 6 and Ed Ruscha: OKLA, the artist’s first solo exhibition in his home state, is on view at the Oklahoma Contemporary through July 5. Artists On Writers | Writers On Artists brings together luminaries in the fields of art and literature to have the conversations they themselves wish to have. This biweekly web series is a joint production of Artforum and Bookforum, and is sponsored by the Morgan Library & Museum, New York.
Still from “Artists On Writers | Writers On Artists: Ed Ruscha and Rachel Kushner”
In the Absence of Light
Premiering February 9 on HBO, Black Art: In the Absence of Light provides an illuminating introduction to some of the foremost Black visual artists working today. Directed by Sam Pollard, the documentary shines a light on the extraordinary impact of David Driskell’s landmark 1976 exhibition, Two Centuries of Black American Art, at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Interweaving insights and context from curators and art historians, as well as interviews with a new generation of Black artists—including Theaster Gates, Kerry James Marshall, Faith Ringgold, Amy Sherald, and Carrie Mae Weems—the film offers a look at the contributions of Black American artists in today’s contemporary art world.
Theaster Gates in Black Art: In the Absence of Light (2021), directed by Sam Pollard. Photo: courtesy HBO
Jenny Saville and twenty-three other leading figures in the arts, education, communications, and law were photographed wearing masks for Masked, a portrait series by Joanna Vestey. The limited-edition prints are being sold through March 31, 2021, to raise funds for AT The Bus, a charity that provides art therapy programs to school-age children in Oxfordshire and London out of a refitted double-decker bus. To purchase a print, visit www.atthebus.org.uk.
Joanna Vestey, Jenny Saville RA, December 2020, 2020 © Joanna Vestey
Night Vision 20/20
Sarah Sze has created Night Vision 20/20, an immersive mobile app that uses augmented reality to take users, wherever they may be, into a nocturnal dream world. It was developed by the digital agency Cher Ami in conjunction with the artist’s exhibition Night into Day at Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain in Paris. The visual elements, composed of videos drawn from Sze’s installations, transform the users’ perception of reality through their smartphone screen. Night Vision 20/20 also features a sound piece created by Sze, bringing the user into the artist’s universe and opening the door to a personal and playful exploration of her art. To download the free app, visit the App Store or Google Play Store.
View with Sarah Sze’s augmented reality app Night Vision 20/20
The Sense of Things
April 23–May 24, 2021
William Forsythe’s The Sense of Things is the first artistic intervention in the Kunsthaus Zürich’s new museum building, designed by David Chipperfield. In Forsythe’s acoustic work, deconsecrated church bells of different sizes, pitches, and timbres are activated in a contrapuntal composition that emanates across the new extension, encouraging visitors to build a direct relationship with the architecture by observing how the sounds change as they move through the space.
William Forsythe, The Sense of Things, 2021 (detail) © William Forsythe. Photo: © Franca Candrian, Kunsthaus Zürich
Closing this Week
Urs Fischer in
Nature of Robotics: An Expanded Field
Through April 25, 2021
ArtLab, École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland
Offering an unconventional look at the rapidly expanding field of robotics, Nature of Robotics aims to instigate a thought process on the emerging perspectives and scenarios situated at the frontier between science and the visual arts. By presenting speculative creatures, drawings, diagrams, and videos made by contemporary artists alongside scientific projects, the exhibition invites reflection on the place of artificial agents in our natural and social ecosystems. Work by Urs Fischer is included.
Urs Fischer, Maybe, 2019 © Urs Fischer. Photo: Stefan Altenburger
An American Index
Through May 30, 2021
Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebaek, Denmark
The Louisiana Museum of Modern Art is presenting the entirety of Taryn Simon’s photographic series An American Index of the Hidden and Unfamiliar (2007), recently acquired for its collection. Documenting in photography and text objects, sites, and spaces that remain inaccessible or unknown to the American public, this incisive body of work offers a unique and unsettling portrait of the United States through the lenses of science, religion, medicine, entertainment, security, and politics.
Taryn Simon, Republic of Texas, Interim Government, Capitol Building, Overton, Texas, 2007, from the series An American Index of the Hidden and Unfamiliar, 2007 © Taryn Simon
Through September 5, 2021
SITE Santa Fe, New Mexico
Over the past three decades, Mary Weatherford has developed a rich and diverse painting practice, from her early-1990s target paintings based on operatic heroines to her expansive, gestural canvases overlaid with neon glass tubing. This exhibition presents a survey of Weatherford’s career, drawing from several distinct bodies of work made between 1989 and 2017. Showing the artist experimenting with color, scale, and materials, these works together reveal the continuity of Weatherford’s interest in memory and experience, both personal and historical. The exhibition has traveled from the Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, New York.
Mary Weatherford, Georgia, 2010 © Mary Weatherford. Photo: Fredrik Nilsen Studio
Through May 2, 2021
Aspen Art Museum, Colorado
This exhibition examines pivotal pieces from the last decade of Mary Weatherford’s work, with a particular focus on her neon paintings. The artist began to incorporate neon tubing into her work in 2012 after driving around the California city of Bakersfield, where she was struck by the neon signage—both illuminated and burnt out—on bars, shops, and old factories. Weatherford’s neons arc over thin veils of color, illuminating her canvases even as they act as their own expressive marks.
Mary Weatherford, Chinese Wedding, 2018 © Mary Weatherford. Photo: Fredrik Nilsen Studio
Chris Burden in
Climate Changing: On Artists, Institutions, and the Social Environment
Through May 9, 2021
Wexner Center for the Arts, Ohio State University, Columbus
Climate Changing foregrounds contemporary artists’ engagement with social issues and shaping institutions—an engagement that has become all the more critical during the entwined crises of systemic racism and COVID-19. Together the works in the exhibition encourage a collective reimagining of our social environment. In addition to presenting nine commissioned works, the exhibition restages a work commissioned for the Center’s inaugural year: Chris Burden’s Wexner Castle (1990). By adding battlements to the brick sections of the building’s deconstructivist design (a reference to the Armory that once stood on its site), the late artist’s work encourages visitors to reflect on the role museums play in today’s society.
Chris Burden, Wexner Castle, 1990/2020 © Chris Burden/Licensed by The Chris Burden Estate and Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Writing the Future
Basquiat and the Hip-Hop Generation
Through May 16, 2021
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
The post-graffiti moment in 1980s New York City marked the transition of street art from city walls and subway trains onto canvas and into the art world. Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960–1988) became the frontrunner of this transformational movement in contemporary American art, which resulted in an unprecedented fusion of creative energies that defied long-standing racial divisions. This exhibition features Basquiat’s works in painting, sculpture, drawing, video, music, and fashion, alongside works by his contemporaries, such as Fab 5 Freddy, Futura, Keith Haring, and Rammellzee. Throughout the 1980s, these artists fueled new directions in fine art, design, and music, driving the now-global popularity of hip-hop culture.
Jean-Michel Basquiat, Anthony Clarke, 1985 © Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat. Licensed by Artestar, New York
Through May 16, 2021
Pérez Art Museum Miami
Theaster Gates’s Breathing (2010) is a video work inspired by the artist’s avid interest in Eastern Buddhism as well as his lifelong personal relationship with traditional gospel music, which constituted a formative aspect of his Baptist upbringing. The singers who appear in the video belong to an experimental choir known as the Black Monks (formerly the Black Monks of Mississippi), which Gates has directed since 2008. The Black Monks merge Black Southern gospel and blues music with the monastic chant traditions of Buddhism. The soothing, beautiful melodies that result from this unique hybrid testify to the potency of Black spiritual musical legacies while alluding to a communal experience that transcends geographic, cultural, and linguistic boundaries.
Theaster Gates, Breathing, 2010 (still) © Theaster Gates
Late Works, 1990–2003
Through May 23, 2021
New Britain Museum of American Art, Connecticut
Marking the first museum presentation dedicated to the late work of Helen Frankenthaler, this exhibition features twenty-two works on paper dating from 1990 to 2003, some measuring more than six feet. Through her invention of the soak-stain technique, Frankenthaler expanded the possibilities of abstract painting while referencing figuration and landscape in unique ways. In later years, her practice continued to evolve through her use of diverse media and processes, as she shifted from painting canvas on the floor to using larger sheets of paper that were laid out on the floor or on tabletops for easier accessibility. The continuity, in terms of content and execution, between the late work (post-1990) and what came before is striking. Graced with memorable encounters, a vast art historical image bank, and technical prowess, the aging artist moved in whatever direction suited her mood and imagination.
Helen Frankenthaler, Solar Imp, 1995, Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, New York © 2021 Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, Inc./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Roz Akin
Theaster Gates and Cauleen Smith
October 17, 2020–May 23, 2021
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
Bringing together the work of two interdisciplinary artists, this presentation centers on video projections that each take archival magazine photography as a departure point. Theaster Gates’s Do you hear me calling? Mama Mamama or What Is Black Power? (2018) pays homage to the power of women by exploring the idea of the Black Madonna through a reworking of three decades of images drawn from the archives of the Chicago-based Johnson Publishing Company, publisher of Jet and Ebony magazines. Smith’s Sojourner (2018) culminates with a feminist reimagining of an unpublished photograph taken for Life magazine in 1966.
Theaster Gates, Do you hear me calling? Mama Mamama or What Is Black Power?, 2018 (still) © Theaster Gates
Through May 23, 2021
Prada Rong Zhai, Shanghai
Theaster Gates: China Cabinet explores the links that exist between Gates’s activity as a ceramist and his work as a visual artist, performer, professor, urban planner, and community activist. Organized with support of Fondazione Prada, the exhibition is conceived as a narrative in three chapters that unfolds across multiple staged settings in which the artist’s role evolves from guest to ghost to host. Following tableaux suggesting an antique Chinese porcelain boutique and a reconstruction of Gates’s potter’s workshop, the story culminates with the artist’s complete occupation of Prada Rong Zhai with artworks displayed as they would be in a private home.
Installation view, Theaster Gates: China Cabinet, Prada Rong Zhai, Shanghai, March 11–May 23, 2021. Artwork © Theaster Gates. Photo: Alessandro Wang
Tatiana Trouvé in
Io dico Io – I say I
Through May 23, 2021
Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea, Rome
This exhibition is loosely based on the writings of Italian art critic and feminist activist Carla Lonzi (1931–1982) and insists on the necessity of taking the floor and speaking for oneself in order to assert one’s subjectivity, by creating a single multitude, a multiplicity of “I” that resonates with consonances and dissonances. The show brings together a constellation of visions by Italian female artists of different generations, who, in diverse historical and social contexts, have expressed their own authentic ways of inhabiting the world. Work by Tatiana Trouvé is included.
Tatiana Trouvé, Les indéfinis, 2017–18 © Tatiana Trouvé