Happy New Year! Another year beckons with fantastic chances to see and experience visual art and culture both near and far. Like many of you, I've had a very relaxing holiday season spent close to home this year, but I am looking forward in 2016 to some great opportunities to travel and visit out-of-town exhibitions. It has also become something of a tradition for me to spend New Year's Day searching out many of the world's great modern and contemporary art museums to plan fantasty itineraries-- not a bad way to set the tone for a new year-- and I hope too that some of these picks inspire your own travel plans. Wishing you all a wonderful 2016 filled with many new art adventures!
Vancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver: February 20- June 12, 2016
Starting close to home, I am thrilled that this unique and massive four floor survey of modern and contemporary art and culture opening next month at the Vancouver Art Gallery coincides with my regular offering of a contemporary art history course at KPU. As I have learned through my field school experiences, there is no better way to teach students about art and art history than having them experience works first-hand, and this particular opportunity will be a once in a lifetime chance for many Vancouverites to experience a virtual survey of recent contemporary art.
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York: February 26- March 13, 2016
Visiting the brand new Whitney Museum in New York last summer was one of the highlights of our NYC/Venice Biennale field school, and I only wish I could go back and see how this particular exhibition will utilize the expansive spaces of the place. Andrea Fraser caught my eye immediately when I was scanning the Whitney's upcoming exhibitions-- she is one of my favourite performance artists, and her specific interest in institutional critique should produce a very engaging piece for the new jewel in New York's art museums crown. Her site-specific work titled Down The River involves audio recordings taken at a correctional facility and will no doubt challenge audiences to engage with the views and associated contexts beyond the Whitney's walls.
Guggenheim Museum, New York: May- September 2016
I cannot believe that this will be the very first retrospective of László Moholy-Nagy to appear in North America in over 50 years! There are so few artists whose influence in the fields of new media, technology, and multimedia are as relevant, if not even more so, today than they were in the time they were first conceived (in this case, in the early twentieth century). Of all the exhibitions on this list, this would be my top pick, and not just because I share Moholy-Nagy's Hungarian heritage (although I have spent a great deal of time studying his life and work as part of my own research). This is an artist who was a true visionary of the technological age, and this show is long long overdue.
LACMA and Getty Museum, Los Angeles: March 20- July 31, 2016
When I was a graduate student, I published a paper concerning the Robert Mapplethorpe exhibition A Perfect Moment-- a key event that became the center-point of controversy during the US culture wars of the 1980-90's. In the past several years, many art institutions have begun to revisit that difficult historical moment when censorship and other hot-button issues concerning art and culture threatened artistic freedoms in the US as never before. This exhibition of Mapplethorpe's drawings, collages, and photographic works will be accompanied by another exhibition titled Physical: Sex and the Body in the 1980s and promises to further help position the controversy surrounding this artist in a much wider social and political context. All of these examinations are also most welcome in the highly contentious US election environment set for 2016.
Somerset House, London: December 3, 2015- February 28, 2016
I am most excited to be traveling to London this February to attend and deliver a paper at a conference devoted to the critical examination of the Venice Biennale (more on that in a future post). I will also be meeting up with my dear friend Lara-- we did our PhDs together, so we share a very special bond-- who recently moved to the UK to pursue her art advising/appraising business in the new and exciting arena of the online world. What better exhibition for us to explore together than one curated on the theme of data explosion and "datafication" via the arts transforming our world. I cannot wait to get to London to check this out!
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York: February 15- May 15, 2016
The canon of art history is not very inclusive of women, especially prior to the nineteenth century, so I am thrilled to see one of the most intriguing French artists of the period leading up the French Revolution being given a retrospective. Vigée Le Brun was one of the very few women admitted to the French Art Academy and became the personal painter of Marie Antoinette and the royal family. The exhibition will no doubt cast new light on this turbulent period of France's social and cultural history, especially as it was represented via artists such as Vigée Le Brun.
Seattle Art Museum, Seattle: June 9- August 28, 2016
I adore exhibitions that focus on one form of art production, and this expansive exhibition (located not too far from home in Seattle) will be devoted to the medium of printmaking. 500 years of history with 400 objects on view, from Durer, Rembrandt, Goya, Picasso, Matisse, and Crumb, all under one curatorial umbrella-- who wouldn't want to check this out?
The French Cinematheque, Paris: October 14, 2015- February 15, 2016
This spring at long last I will be teaching a special topics class on American New Wave cinema. Prominent among the filmmakers of that period of the late 1960's to 70's is of course Martin Scorsese, and if I could wave a magic wand, I would transport the entire class on Day 1 to visit this important exhibition currently on at the French Cinematheque museum in Paris. Imagine rooms filled with Scorsese's storyboards, scripts, outtakes, and personal photographs and memorabilia. Not to mention all of the special film screenings and archival information on hand. Scorsese is deeply respected in France, and with good reason. He is as close to a living cinema auteur as we have in North America today.
Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles: February 21- September 12, 2016
Last summer at the Venice Biennale, it was very very hot, and I was fortunate enough to find the best air conditioning at the venue while visiting the basement of the German pavilion. At the time, I was not even interested in the art being shown-- cooling off was the priority-- but once I settled into one of the comfy lounge chairs and actually paid attention to the unusual video installation on the massive screen before my eyes (exactly as pictured in the picture), I was both mesmerized and drawn in. It is a very difficult piece to describe-- so do go see it if for yourself if you are in LA over the next few months-- but suffice to say that the uncanny and surreal elements of the work created by German filmmaker Hito Steyerl capture something both attractive and menacing about our current screen culture.
National Gallery of Victoria, Australia: December 11, 2015- April 24, 2016
This exhibition had me at its title-- Andy Warhol and Ai Weiwei. Are you kidding me? Who wouldn't want to check out how the curators brought such seemingly unlikely artists together. A guaranteed success I am sure. Now I just have to work on that plane ticket to Australia....