It's worth remembering that the new Whitney isn't the only art museum in New York City. With so many museum shows to choose from, it's not easy to see everything. We've put together a short list of exhibitions that are closing soon at art museums in New York City. The shows can be compelling, thought-provoking, controversial or reveal rarely-seen works.
The list has a distinctly international take with differing cultural perspectives being manifested through art. All are being discussed among museum goers. Our suggestion? Catch at least some of them before they're gone.
“The Hugo Boss Prize 2014: Paul Chan, Nonprojections for New Lovers”
March 6 - May 13, 2015
Paul Chan was selected as the winner of the 2014 Hugo Boss Prize, a biennial award honoring artists who have made a visionary contribution to the field of contemporary art. Recognized for his multifaceted and often experimental body of work that includes animated projections, community-based performances, conceptual typefaces, and digital and print publishing.
“The Hugo Boss Prize 2014: Paul Chan, Nonprojections for New Lovers” features the first U.S. presentation of Chan’s recent series Nonprojections (2013–), a body of work comprised of video projectors and jury-rigged, power-conducting shoes that are connected by specially designed cords. Although the projectors’ lenses flicker and strobe as if outputting videos, there is no corresponding surface on which imagery might appear.
Holding their contents within, these would-be projections remain illegible phantoms, replacing a passive experience of moving images with one that Chan characterizes as “inner-directed, like the ghostly visual impressions that one conjures up in one’s mind when reading a good (or bad) book,” according to the museum.
The Guggenheim is located at 1071 5th Ave, New York, NY 10128. www.guggenheim.org.
“Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian: Infinite Possibility. Mirror Works and Drawings”
March 13 – June 3, 2015
This is the first U.S. museum exhibition of mirror works and drawings by Iranian artist Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian (b. Qazvin, Iran, 1924). Considered in relation to the Guggenheim’s historical attention to abstraction, the show examines the artist’s body of work in its own right and as part of a transnational perspective on artistic production and its reception.
After formative years in New York from 1945 to 1957, during which she met artists Milton Avery, Willem de Kooning, Joan Mitchell, Louise Nevelson, Barnett Newman, and, later, Andy Warhol, among others, Monir returned to Iran. There, she further developed her artistic sensibility through encounters with traditional craftsmanship, indigenous art forms such as Turkoman jewelry and clothing, coffee house paintings and the technique of reverse-glass painting, resulting in a period of artistic discovery that culminated in commissions in Iran and exhibitions in Europe and the United States.
The Islamic Revolution in 1979 marked the beginning of Monir’s 26-year exile in New York, during which she focused on drawing, collage, commissions, and carpet and textile design. In 2004, when she finally returned to Iran, she reestablished her studio there and resumed working with some of the same craftsmen she had collaborated with in the 1970s.
This presentation includes plaster and mirror reliefs, large-scale mirror sculptures the artist refers to as “geometric families,” and works on paper, revealing the central role drawing has played in Monir’s practice and focusing on a sculptural and graphic oeuvre developed over more than 40 years. Her use of geometry as form allows for, in the artist’s words, “infinite possibility.”
The Guggenheim is located at 1071 5th Ave, New York, NY 10128. www.guggenheim.org.
The Frick Collection
“Coypel’s Don Quixote Tapestries: Illustrating a Spanish Novel in Eighteenth-Century France”
February 25 - May 17, 2015
A masterpiece of comic fiction, Cervantes’s Don Quixote enjoyed great popularity from the moment it was published, in two volumes, in 1605 and 1615. Reprints and translations spread across Europe, captivating the continental imagination with the escapades of the knight Don Quixote and his companion, Sancho Panza. The novel’s most celebrated episodes inspired a multitude of paintings, prints, and interiors. Most notably, Charles Coypel (1694−1752), painter to Louis XV, created a series of twenty-eight paintings (also called cartoons) to be woven into tapestries by the Gobelins manufactory in Paris.
The exhibition will include five of Coypel's original paintings, never before seen in New York, on loan from the Palais Impérial de Compiègne and the Musée Jacquemart-André, Paris. These will be joined by three Gobelins tapestry panels from the J. Paul Getty Museum and two Flemish tapestries inspired by Coypel from The Frick Collection, which have not been on view in more than ten years. The series is completed by eighteen prints and books from the Hispanic Society of America, New York.
The Frick Collection is located at 1 E 70th St, New York, NY 10021. www.frick.org.
“Kehinde Wiley: A New Republic”
February 20 - May 24, 2015
"Kehinde Wiley: A New Republic" raises questions about race, gender, and the politics of representation by portraying contemporary African American men and women using the conventions of traditional European portraiture. The exhibition includes an overview of the artist’s 14-year career and features 60 paintings and sculptures.
Wiley's portraits depicting "everyday men and women" riff on specific paintings by Old Masters by replacing the European aristocrats depicted with contemporary black subjects, drawing attention to the absence of African Americans from historical and cultural narratives.
Don't be surprised to find the new "Old Masters" clad in sneakers, hoodies, baseball caps or gear associated with hip-hop culture. Each is set to a backdrop of ornate decoration that evokes earlier eras and a range of cultures. Wiley's subjects are often strangers he spies on the street that are invited to sit for a portrait. The model chooses the reproduction of a painting he or she will be cast into and agrees to reenact the pose in the historic image.
The Brooklyn Museum is located at 200 Eastern Pkwy, Brooklyn, NY 11238. www.brooklynmuseum.org.
“2015 Triennial: Surround Audience”
February 25 - May 24, 2015
A signature initiative of the New Museum, the Triennial is the only recurring international exhibition in New York City devoted to early career artists from around the world. For the third Triennial, “Surround Audience” features 51 artists and artist collectives from over 25 countries. For many exhibitors, this is their first inclusion in a museum exhibition in the United States.
"Surround Audience" provides a platform for an emergent generation of artists that is shaping the discourse of contemporary art, according to the museum. Whether you like it or hate it, the Triennial is a show worth seeing.
Exhibition curator Lauren Cornell describes “Surround Audience,” as something that “vividly manifests a world in which the effects of technology and late capitalism have been absorbed into our bodies and altered our vision of the world.” A tension between newfound freedoms and threats of today’s society animates and anchors this exhibition. The show explores how artists are currently depicting subjectivity, unpacking complex systems of power, and claiming sites of artistic agency.
Expect to find a variety of artistic practices, including sound, dance, comedy, poetry, installation, sculpture, painting, video, and one online talk show. Together, the works demonstrate the elasticity and variety in the mediums that constitute contemporary art.
The New Museum is located at 235 Bowery, New York, NY 10002. www.newmuseum.org.
Museum of Modern Art
March 8 - June 7, 2015
This may well be the one of the most controversial show in NYC. MoMA went bold and presents a retrospective of the multifaceted work of composer, musician, and the singer Björk. The exhibition draws from more than 20 years of the artist’s daring and innovative projects and her eight full-length albums to chronicle her career through sound, film, visuals, instruments, objects, and costumes.
The show is installed museum wide and kicks off in the museum lobby with instruments used on Biophilia (2011)—a gameleste, pipe organ, gravity harp, and Tesla coil—play songs from the album at different points throughout the day. On the second floor, in the Marron Atrium, two spaces have been constructed. One area is dedicated to a new sound and video installation, commissioned by MoMA, “Black Lake,” a song from Björk’s new album Vulnicura (2015). The second space is a cinema room that screens a retrospective in music videos, from Debut (1993) to Biophilia.
On the third floor, Songlines presents an interactive, location-based audio experience through Björk’s albums, with a biographical narrative that is both personal and poetic, written by the acclaimed Icelandic writer Sjón, along with many visuals, objects, and costumes, including the robots designed by Chris Cunningham for the “All Is Full of Love” music video, Marjan Pejoski’s Swan Dress (2001), and Iris van Herpen’s Biophilia tour dress (2013), among many others.
MoMA is located at 11 West 53 Street, New York, NY 10019. www.moma.org.
The Bronx Museum
March 19 - June 21, 2015
The new re-engagement policy between the United States and Cuba has many wondering what the future of Cuba will be. "Cuba Libre!"suggests that contemporary Cuban artists have already been engaged in this discussion and have created though-provoking art for viewers to ponder on the diversity and rich historical legacy in Cuba.
The exhibition features a selection of works from the Shelley and Donald Rubin Private Collection. Works include collaborations between Ricardo G. Elias and José Angel Toirac (from the series Peregrinaje); assemblages by Eduardo Ponjuan; lithographs by Humberto Castro; as well as works by Tonel, Adonis Flores, Tommas Esson, Carlos Garaicoa, Sandra Ramos, and others.
The Bronx Museum is located at 1040 Grand Concourse, Bronx, NY 10456. www.bronxmuseum.org.
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