Funk, God, Jazz, and Medicine at Black Radical Brooklyn
12 September 2014 – 12 October 2014
Innovative non-profit organization Creative Time, in conjunction with Weeksville Heritage Center, presented the season’s most discussed public art project, Funk, God, Jazz, and Medicine: Black Radical Brooklyn. This month-long exhibit examined the intersection of race and space in a contemporary urban landscape. The Weeksville Heritage Center, a free community established in 1838 by black citizens 11 years after New York emancipation, provided a cornerstone upon which community-based art commissions by Xenobia Bailey, Simone Leigh, Otabenga Jones & Associates and Bradford Young are situated. Exploring the neighborhood through these projects elucidated the complicated relationships, histories and economies that define contested landscapes.
From the Margins: Lee Krasner and Norman Lewis at The Jewish Museum
12 September 2014 – 1 February 2015
Highlighting the work of two key abstract expressionists, From the Margins examined the parallel but distinct careers of Lee Krasner and Norman Lewis from the 1930s to the 1950s. Considered art world minorities as female and African American, Krasner and Lewis existed simultaneously inside and outside the New York artistic community that rose to fame before, during and after the Depression Era. Their intense use of gestural line and abstract form illustrates the widespread acceptance and exploration of abstraction as a powerful tool for communication during a tumultuous time; however, the Jewish Museum underscored how each artist developed a signature style that addresses their varying backgrounds.
The Jewish Museum, 1109 5th Avenue, New York, NY, USA +1 212 423 3200
Thread Lines at The Drawing Center
19 September 2014 – 14 December 2014
Grounding textile-based works as contemporary extensions of drawing, Thread Lines culled together a group of 16 artists who actively employ sewing, knitting and weaving into their artistic practice. Curator Joanna Kleinberg Romanow, Assistant Curator at The Drawing Center, featured pioneers such as Louise Bourgeois and Lenore Tawney as well as emerging artists like Sam Moyer and William J. O’Brien in order to elucidate how textile-based practitioners have evolved over the years. Anne Wilson’s performative sculpture transformed the building into a physical loom, further illustrating innovation in textiles. Thread Lines debuted at a time when textile-based works are gaining museum attention and momentum in contemporary criticism.
The Drawing Center, 35 Wooster Street, New York, NY, USA +1 212 219 2166
Puddle, pothole, portal at SculptureCenter
2 October 2014 – 5 January 2015
Puddle, pothole, portal was a visually-engaging exhibit that aimed to examine and understand how notions of space have transformed due to evolving technologies. Co-curated by Curator of the SculptureCenter, Ruba Katrib, and rising talent Camille Henrot, this exhibit inaugurated the institution’s recently renovated and expanded space. Using 20th century cartoons, the drawings of Saul Steinberg, and the iconic film Who Framed Roger Rabbit as a point of departure, the exhibited artists diffused barriers between physical, virtual, internal and external space in an effort to demonstrate how the contemporary psyche deals with the connection, both visible and invisible, of objects within spaces.
SculptureCenter, 44-19 Purves Street, New York, NY, USA +1 718 361 1750
Crossing Brooklyn: Art from Bushwick, Bed-Stuy, and Beyond at The Brooklyn Museum
3 October 2014 – 4 January 2015
Celebrating Brooklyn’s historical tradition as a hub where artistic innovation can flourish, Crossing Brooklyn exhibited a range of multi-generational artists who illustrate the borough’s history and future as a creative center. With 35 artists and collectives included, this exhibit reflected the diversity of Brooklyn-based practitioners while illustrating their expanded worldview. The exhibited artists attempted to engage with a public outside their studio and museum, resulting in a sprawling exhibition that goes beyond the museum into public spaces throughout the borough. Themes of history and memory, place and geography, community, nostalgia, and politics were also explored within this exhibit, which further emphasizes Brooklyn’s inherent nature as a bed for discussion, action and innovation.
Brooklyn Museum, 200 Eastern Parkway, New York, NY, USA +1 718 638 5000
Robert Gober: The Heart Is Not a Metaphor at the Museum of Modern Art
4 October 2014 – 18 January 2015
As Robert Gober’s first retrospective in an American museum, The Heart Is Not a Metaphor exploreed how the sculptor’s seemingly simple works belie a painstaking creation process and address notions of politics, sexuality, religion and domesticity among other themes. Gober initially studied painting, which will be included in the show, but flourished in three dimensions where his arresting realistic creations command an unprecedented psychological presence. This exhibit illustrates Gober’s ability to internalize and build upon minimalist aesthetics of paired-down form through physical representation of objects. Singular legs, eerily empty play pens and kitchen sinks provoked internal viewer contemplation.
Museum of Modern Art, 11 West 53rd Street, New York, NY, USA +1 212 708 9400
Egon Schiele: Portraits at Neue Galerie
9 October 2014 – 19 January 2015
Starting in October 2014, the Neue Galerie presented the first American exhibition of renowned Eastern European Modernist Egon Schiele’s portraiture. Schiele, a protégé of Gustav Klimt, is known for his unique draftsmanship style that culminates in psychoanalytically-charged images. Organized by Schiele scholar Dr. Alessandra Comini, the exhibit was split into six groups: family and academy; fellow artists; sitters and patrons; lovers, eros, and self-portraits; and allegorical self-portraits. Bringing together paintings, drawings and sculpture in order to exemplify Schiele’s personal artistic mastery of each medium, this exhibit examined his portraiture in relation to his traumatic imprisonment of 1912, which provides visitors with a fresh take on Schiele’s contentious artistic achievements.
Neue Galerie, 1048 5th Avenue, New York, NY, USA +1 212 628 6200
ZERO: Countdown to Tomorrow, 1950s-60s at the Guggenheim
10 October 2014 – 7 January 2015
Hailed as the first large-scale survey in the United States dedicated to the history of avant-garde German artists’ group Zero and their international network of like- minded artists, ZERO, this exhibition explored the prevalent trends informing artistic practices after World War II. The three core members of Group Zero – Heinz Mack, Otto Piene and Günther Uecker – anchored the show, but curator Valerie Hillings ties in their wide-spread international network that included such artists as Lucio Fontana, Yayoi Kusama, Yves Klein, Piero Manzoni, and Jesus Rafael Soto. Their shared desire to experiment with uncommon materials from life, nature and technology has instigated innovative installations and performances that paved the way for many contemporary artistic breakthroughs.
Guggenheim Museum, 1071 5th Avenue, New York, NY, USA, +1 212 423 3500
Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs at the Museum of Modern Art
12 October 2014 – 8 February 2015
Focusing on the final chapter in Henri Matisse’s prolific career, The Cut-Outs was a groundbreaking exhibit that presented the most extensive survey of Matisse’s colorful paper creations. With paper and scissors as his chief tools, Matisse explored notions of color and form through striking compositions that stand alone as unique objects, whilst recalling modern ornamental art and contemporary immersive installations. Supported by extensive conservation and curatorial research, this exhibit re-examined the cut-outs and shed new light on Matisse’s extensive career. Since breaking attendance records at the Tate Modern, Matisse: The Cut-Outs’ highly anticipated New York iteration was one of MoMA’s most popular autumn/winter events.
Museum of Modern Art, 11 West 53rd Street, New York, NY, USA +1 212 708 9400
Death Becomes Her: A Century of Mourning Attire at The Metropolitan Museum of Art
21 October 2014 – 1 February 2015
Death Becomes Her may have been predicated on a morbid notion, but this Costume Institute exhibition dazzled with dark ensembles juxtaposed against white walls. Examining the evolving funeral fashions from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries illustrated not only how rituals changed over a century but also how high-fashion standards seeped into all aspects of daily life. Featuring gowns worn by Queen Victoria and Queen Alexandra, this exhibit also displayed historic photographs, daguerreotypes and jewellery in order to provide a snapshot of funerary culture through women’s clothing and accessories.
By Kirsten Nicholas