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Rashid Johnson, The Hikers (still), 2019 © Rashid Johnson. Photo: Van Wampler
27 Jul 2019

Spotlight on American Summer Exhibitions

From the surreal color and character constructions of artists Mika Rottenberg and Richard Jackson to meditations on literature and dance found in the work of Roni Horn and Rashid Johnson, below is a selection of museum exhibitions open across America this summer.

Rashid Johnson’s works establish encounters with literature, philosophy and identity; all of which are present in his new, eponymous film ‘The Hikers’, on view at Aspen Art Museum. The film features choreographed, masked performers and is displayed alongside his ceramic and collage works. This exhibition is produced in collaboration with Museo Tamayo in Mexico City, where Johnson will also present ‘The Hikers’ and a new, monumental installation for the museum’s atrium.

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Installation view, ‘Mark Bradford. Pickett’s Charge’, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington DC, 2017 © Mark Bradford

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Installation view, ‘Roni Horn: When I Breathe, I Draw’, The Menil Collection, Houston TX, 2019 © Roni Horn. Photo: Paul Hester

An exhibition examining Roni Horn’s drawing practice is on view at The Menil Collection in Texas. ‘Roni Horn: When I Breathe, I Draw’ spans the artist’s intricate collage and drawing processes from the early 1980s to today. The complex works on paper reassemble language and images, using text from Gertrude Stein and Shakespeare. The works ‘Th Rose Prblm’ and ‘Dogs’ Chorus’ accumulate these references through dense paper layers, unpacking the semantics of each word and expanding space between the textual and visual.

Mark Bradford and Agnes Martin are paired for an exhibition at San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Bringing the artists’ work together through the lens of abstraction and memory, ‘On a Clear Day’ draws on both artists’ use of structure and the trace of the hand. Named after Bradford’s painting ‘On a Clear Day, I Can Usually See All the Way to Watts’ (2001), the show illuminates new dialogues in painting between these celebrated twentieth and twenty-first century artists. At Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, ‘Pickett’s Charge’ consists of eight large, site-specific paintings made by Bradford specifically for the unique curving architecture of the Washington DC institution. These immense works integrate reproductions of French artist Paul Philippoteaux’s nineteenth-century cyclorama, depicting the Battle of Gettysburg.

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Installation view, ‘Big Ideas: Richard Jackson’s Alleged Paintings’, Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento CA, 2019 © Richard Jackson

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Mika Rottenberg, Spaghetti Blockchain (still), 2019 © Mika Rottenberg

Richard Jackson presents a solo show in his home city of Sacramento through 25 August. ‘Big Ideas: Richard Jackson’s Alleged Paintings’ draws on work created by the artist in the past two decades and extends Jackson’s ongoing investigation into painting, as he frequently questions the status quo of the art world with humor. This process incites works by Duchamp or Barnett Newman through color composition and part-urinal-part-bear sculptures, as in ‘Pump Pee Doo’ (2004-2005), which are displayed alongside a selection of newer works.

At New York’s New Museum, Mika Rottenberg’s ‘Easypieces’ is open through 15 September. Marking the first solo museum presentation of work by the artist in her city of residence, the exhibition features a selection of the artist’s simultaneously subversive and absurd video works, such as ‘NoNoseKnows’ (2015) and ‘Cosmic Generator’ (2017). Premiering at New Museum, ‘Spaghetti Blockchain’ (2019) explores ancient and contemporary ideas about materialism. Rottenberg’s ongoing interest in the production of labor and technology, as well as the corporeal and mechanical, all run through the films, sculptures and installations inside ‘Easypieces’. 

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Lorna Simpson, ‘Corridor’ (still), 2003 © Lorna Simpson

At The Underground Museum in Los Angeles, the solo presentation ‘Summertime’ showcases two films by Lorna Simpson. ‘Easy to Remember’ (2001) and ‘Corridor’ (2003) weave together the history of Jazz, through ballads and the classical composer John Davis. Simpson interrogates narratives around race, identity and domesticity, creating a mesmerizing, if haunting, viewer experience. Thomas J. Lax says of the dual-channel video ‘Corridor’, ‘While the women’s homes, dress, and technological access reveal a century’s worth of creature-comfort advances, the two scenes emphasize the continuities of their moments over what might be the expected narrative of racial progress in the hundred years following the end of slavery.’

At the Centro de las Artes Monterrey in Mexico, the exhibition titled ‘Pop-Minimalism’ by Stefan Brüggemann includes three new works by the artist. Exploring the tension between popular culture and minimalism in a socio-political context, the exhibition features the work ‘Time’, which has taken several years to create and subsequently forms the nucleus of the exhibition. It accompanies the large-scale mirror mural ‘Timeless’, which actively disrupts a linear sense of everyday temporality. Brüggemann integrates the industrial materials of paint, mirrors and Coca-Cola into a rapid and gestural creative process.

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Stefan Brüggemann, From Life to Death in No Time, 2019 © Stefan Brüggemann

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Mark Wallinger, id Painting 12, 2015 © Mark Wallinger. Photo: Alex Delfanne

British artist Mark Wallinger has an exhibition on display at SCAD Museum of Art in Savannah, chronicling his oeuvre from 2003 to 2018. ‘Mark Wallinger’ features the artist’s early video works such as ‘Sleeper’ (2004), as well as a recent series of large-scale, black and white ‘id’ paintings, which trace the proportions of the artist’s body. Running through the selection is an exploration of identity and the subconscious, alongside Wallinger’s recognised early conceptual practice that explores power, class and authority.

Marble House in Rhode Island hosts a site-specific installation by artist Nicolas Party. On the front lawn and throughout the interiors of the ornate villa, Party melds the historical and contemporary through a selection of new sculptures and paintings. The installation reflects the artist’s own interest in Alva Vanderbilt Belmont (the original owner of Marble House), and his experience working with marble as a material.

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