Spring Museum Preview: Part 2

Lucy Dodd is one of the artists who will be showing in the "Open Plan" series at The Whitney this spring. This is an installation view of her "Wuv Shack" at David Lewis Gallery, 2015. Courtesy the artist and David Lewis Gallery, New York. Photograph by Jenny Kim.

Part 1 of this two-part piece appeared earlier this month. It features shows at MoMA, MoMa PS1, The Met, The Frick, The Brooklyn Museum, The Bronx Museum and The Onassis Cultural Center NY. You can read it here.

This time I’ve got a roundup of exhibits current and forthcoming at The Morgan Library & Museum, Neue Galerie, Japan Society, The Guggenheim, Studio Museum Harlem, The Jewish Museum, The Whitney, and The American Museum of Natural History. Once more, mark your calendars accordingly.

The Morgan Library & Museum
Warhol by the Book
Part of my verbal preview for last year’s Morgan exhibition of book art by Matisse was that it would serve as a wonderful forerunner to this patently relevant show of book art by Warhol. What I mean by that, primarily, is that I’ve been looking forward to this one for a while, and that if you happened to see the other show, you’ll surely find some noteworthy parallels between projects by one master of the form and another. Billed as the first New York showing of exclusively this aspect of Warhol’s œuvre, Warhol by the Book is one that shouldn’t be missed. His handwriting alone exudes a kind of joy. Imagine, then, the resident mirth of his children’s books. (5 February – 15 May)

Neue Galerie
Munch and Expressionism
How might one employ line, color and composition to convey sentiments of angst, alienation and a range of similarly melancholic thematics? One way to answer that question, or to at least provide yourself with plentiful visual cues to do so, would be to take in the 80 or so works by Munch and a number of his German and Austrian contemporaries—Max Beckmann, Gabriele Münter, Emil Nolde, Oskar Kokoschka and Egon Schiele, for instance—in this exhibition curated by an Expressionist scholar and a Munch specialist. No, the painting by Munch we all know so well will not be in the show. It seems someone just stole it again. (I’m kidding, or at least I think I’m kidding.) Anyway, you won’t care that it’s not there once you feast your eyes on works of his with which you’re far less familiar. (18 February – 13 June)

The Whitney Museum
Open Plan
What would you do with 18,000 square feet of exhibition space—sorry, I meant 18,200 square feet of exhibition space, evidently the largest column-free gallery in the entire city—at your creative disposal? In a way, this is the question to which a handful of artists will be providing visual responses in the coming months. First up is Andrea Fraser, followed by Lucy Dodd, Michael Heizer, Cecil Taylor and Steve McQueen. Plan for plenty of multi-media, interdisciplinary work, lots of projections, and a fair share of audience participation. Prepare too, though, for live musical performances, polyphonic collaborations and—of course!—fermented walnuts. (Fraser opens 26 February, check website for subsequent dates.)

Shiga Lieko, Rasen kaigan (Spiral Shore) 45 ), 2012, photograph, chromogenic print. Courtesy of the artist. ©Lieko Shiga. Courtesy, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

Japan Society
In the Wake: Japanese Photographers Respond to 3/11
The greater the disaster or tragedy, the closer it gets to ineffable for those who endure it, unfathomable for those who merely observe it, and indelible for everyone whose eyes and minds it reaches. In the case of the triple disaster that devastated a huge swath of the Pacific coast of Japan on 11 March 2011—the date of a magnitude-9 undersea earthquake, which triggered tsunami waves reaching over 130 feet, which then led to nuclear meltdowns at three reactors in Fukushima—such descriptors must be particularly valid. No matter how many images and videos captured and transmitted the terrors of that day and its aftermath around the globe—whose axis was actually shifted by up to ten inches by the sheer force of the quake—those events remain all but unimaginable. Opening at the Japan Society precisely five years since that day is In the Wake: Japanese Photographers Respond to 3/11, an exhibition aimed at conveying visual verbiage of unspeakable horrors in a display of over 90 photographs by 17 photographers, alongside 800 found and restored photographs. A show about the tragedies held by history and kept in wait by the future, and about the endurance of life in their midst and all around them. (11 March – 12 June)

Jewish Museum
Isaac Mizrahi: An Unruly History
If your thing is fashion, art or design, or if you just have a weak spot for the kind of creative celebrity whose biographical backdrop and career trajectory are full of enough surprises to leave you stunned and amused, then this will be your kind of show. Born in Brooklyn, this trail-blazing creator known primarily as a fashion designer—and a relatively rambunctious, irascible, perhaps sometimes envelope-pushing one at that—has also done plenty of work in theater, film and television. Check out this show to see how far Mizrahi has come from a Yeshiva in Flatbush. (18 March – 7 August)

Isaac Mizrahi, "Spring-Heeled Heels," 2010, leather, metal, springs. Photograph © Jason Frank Rothenberg.

Studio Museum Harlem
Five new shows at once
The end of March would be a great time to get over to the Studio Museum Harlem—especially on or after the 24th, when they’re opening five new exhibitions all at once. Rodney McMillian’s Views of Main Street, Rashaad Newsome’s This Is What I Want to See, and Ebony G. Patterson’s ...when they grow up… are all solo affairs. Palatable, meanwhile, is a group exhibition pertaining—you probably guessed it—to food in contemporary art. Surface Area will be a thematic culling of works from the museum’s permanent collection. (All shows 24 March – 26 June)

Guggenheim Museum
Moholy-Nagy: Future Present
A creative agent who wore a great many hats, to say the very least, László Moholy-Nagy did a quite a lot of everything, and this historic exhibition, the first major US retrospective of the artist’s work in half a century, aims to expose viewers to every facet of his creative practice with paintings, drawings, collages, sculptures, and a number of different modes of photography and filmmaking. Also, he was a teacher at the Bauhaus. Also, he founded Chicago’s Institute of Design. Also, whatever, just go. If you don’t already know about Moholy-Nagy, this is certain to be the kind of show that introduces you to one of your new favorite artists. (27 May – 7 September)

American Museum of Natural History
Titanosaur and The Secret World Inside You
Art, sure, maybe not so much. But a cast of the skeleton of an animal is essentially a sculpture, right? Anyway, it seems impossible to not get excited about a brand new exhibition of a skeletal likeness of a recently discovered dinosaur that’s actually too big for its own britches. That is, the 122-foot long skeleton of the Titanosaur, as it is known for now—its species is of too recent discovery, in other words, to have been officially named—is so huge that it can’t even fit all the way inside the exhibition hall. Awesome. If a gargantuan beast and some relevant Late Cretaceous fossils don’t enthuse you, then maybe another current show related to the human microbiome, The Secret World Inside You, will pique your interest. Your gut reaction to that sentence, of course, is determined by the non-whimsical chemical mechanics of the trillions of bacteria in your intestines. Something like that. Get more reliable information at the museum. (Both long-term exhibitions on view now. The Secret World Inside You closes 14 August. You’ll be about four years older before Titanosaur comes down, but go now so you can make it an annual pilgrimage. Yes, of course, YOLO applies to dinosaur exhibits. Right?)

Sometimes you end up in Patagonia lying down next to a dinosaur bone that's considerably larger than you are. Big deal. Image courtesy Dr. Alejandro Otero and American Museum of Natural History.

Paul D’Agostino is @postuccio on Instagram and Twitter.

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