New and Now In Art & Performance
Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama has worked for decades in kaleidoscopic paintings, performances, sculptures, and room-size installations covered with mirrors. The ICA Boston acquired one of the largest of these Infinity Rooms, titled LOVE IS CALLING, which is packed with inflatable soft sculptures that are adorned with polka dots and extend from the floor and ceiling like buoyant tentacles. It debuts this fall at the museum, and the psychedelic environment is supported by the exhibition Beyond Infinity: Contemporary Art After Kusama, which delves deeper into her practice and features contextualizing art by her contemporaries and fellow experiential creators such as Nick Cave, Louise Bourgeois, Tara Donovan, and Ana Mendieta.
Despite her long career creating innovative assemblages that respond to race and gender, Betye Saar has yet to have a major survey in her home state. This exhibition at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art helps rectify that, highlighting the progression between her sketchbooks, which she’s carried while traveling the world, and her completed art. This includes I’ll Bend But I Will Not Break, involving an ironing board augmented with a British slave-ship diagram and white sheets marked with the letters “KKK.” The tableau of domestic objects evokes the intersection of slavery, women’s labor, and modern racism. lacma.org
The playfully strange works by Scandinavian duo Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset (together known as Elmgreen & Dragset) include the perpetually closed Prada store in Marfa and the 2016 Van Gogh’s Ear, which stood upright in a swimming pool at Rockefeller Center in New York. This presentation at the Nasher Sculpture Center will concentrate on their sculptural objects, and how they involve elements of the figurative tradition in their surreal narratives, which often invoke timely issues like the privatization of public space or gay rights. Expect curious sights like a sinking art gallery and idealized male bodies sculpted in silver, all reflecting a long-term relationship with humor to subvert the totems of the modern world. nashersculpturecenter.org
In 2017, Theaster Gates unveiled a twenty-foot-tall circular temple in the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden at the Walker Art Center, with visitors entering to encounter a salvaged statue of Saint Laurence, known as the patron saint of libraries. This solo show will reflect the expansive aspects of his socially engaged practice, which ranges from rehabilitating libraries and other buildings on Chicago’s South Side to installations using chalkboards and found objects. The interior galleries will become a Gesamtkunstwerk—or a whole work of art—bringing Gates’ distinct studio practice into this museum space. walkerart.org
This exhibition on the nature of light brings together around 250 objects manifesting some artistic response to physical or metaphorical illumination. Some involve actual radiance, like Fred Wilson’s The Way the Moon’s in Love with the Dark, a 6.5-foot-tall chandelier inspired by Ottoman and Venetian traditions, with Murano glass and mosque lights, and the immersive Corridor #2 mirror structure by Lucas Samaras. Other pieces react to the spiritual or divine, evoked through ancient sculptures and textiles, while many represent art’s ongoing attempt to capture the elusive qualities of light, such as work by Impressionist Childe Hassam. All offer a luminous new perspective on the museum’s impressive encyclopedic art collection. denverartmuseum.org
For the next five years, on the night of the full moon, the grasslands east of Marfa will come alive with sound and light. Stone circle by Haroon Mirza—recognized for his mystical experiments with technology—is Ballroom Marfa’s biggest public commission since Elmgreen & Dragset built their perpetually closed Prada store in 2005. The circle of black boulders is inspired by megalith contractions like Stonehenge, with embedded LEDs and speakers powered by solar patterns and the adjacent “mother stone” responding during the full moon. A series of events are planned at the installation, drawing visitors out to the futuristic experience with ancient ritual. ballroommarfa.org
MissivesCommunication of the Moment