BURNAWAY’s Best: 2018 Preview

We wanted to know what our contributors are looking forward to in 2018. Here’s who and what you should keep an eye on this year.

Check out our Best of 2017 series: Best ExhibitionsCultural ExperiencesNews StoriesMovers and Shakers, and Favorite Reads.


William Downs, artist, Atlanta 

Krista Clark! She’s included in the Studio Museum’s exhibition “Fictions” [through Jan. 15], and had a great show with Lauren Peterson at Kibbee in the fall [read the review here], and another installation at Poem 88 that just closed.


The Gregg Museum of Art & Design at North Carolina State, with an expansion designed by Perkins & Will.
The Gregg Museum of Art & Design at North Carolina State University, with a new addition designed by Perkins & Will.

Chris Vitiello, critic, Durham 

I’m looking forward to new arts initiatives and facilities at Duke University and UNC-Chapel Hill, as well as the just-reopened Gregg Museum of Art & Design at NC State. I’m hoping that area artists will recover from their apolitical malaise and disrupt a too-comfortable public a lot more. It seems like artists in theater, dance, and literature are being pulled toward performance art, site-specificity, and installation, while visual artists are retreating into the personal since the political is so frustrating. I’m looking forward to seeing how all that’s going to play out, and to hopefully playing some role in that.


Paul Stephen Benjamin's 64-monitor, 3-channel video installation God Bless America was shown at {Poem 88} in 2016.
Paul Stephen Benjamin’s 64-monitor, 3-channel video installation God Bless America was shown at {Poem 88} in Atlanta in 2016.

Rachel Reese, associate curator of modern and contemporary art at Telfair Museums, Savannah

I’m looking forward to opening Paul Stephen Benjamin’s solo exhibition “Reinterpreting the Sound of Blackness” on January 26 at the Jepson Center! Also, I’m hoping to catch Kara Walker’s performance of her new work Karavan, for Prospect’s closing weekend in February. I also think we’ll expect to see continued awareness of and expanded platforms for diversity, equality, and social justice in exhibition programming.

Ooh, and if we’re lucky, an impeachment.


John Akomfrah's installation Precarity, currently on view in Prospect.4, will travel to the Nasher Museum at Duke University, March 29-August 26.
John Akomfrah’s installation Precarity, currently on view in Prospect.4, will travel to the Nasher Museum at Duke University, March 29-August 26.

Jordan Amirkhani, writer and professor at UT-Chattanooga

So many things! I am sure this list will continue to grow, but at the moment, I am looking forward to seeing “In the Fields of Empty Days: The Intersection of Past and Present in Iranian Art” that will open at LACMA in May, the Tania Bruguera retrospective at MOMA, the first retrospective of David Wojnarowicz’s work at the Whitney, the presentation of “John Akomfrah: Precarity” at the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University in March, the opening of Mississippi-born artist and filmmaker Arthur Jafa’s exhibition “Love is the Message, the Message is Death” at the ICA-Boston, and I cannot wait to see Prospect.4 and “Queer Tropics” at Pelican Bomb in New Orleans when I am visiting family in January. I am also thrilled that Atlanta-based artist Michi Meko will be our Diane Marek Visiting Artist at the Cress Gallery of Art at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga this upcoming spring.    


Artist Fabian Williams at work on his Hosea Williams mural on the Studioplex parking deck, visible from Edgewood Street.
Artist Fabian Williams at work on his Hosea Williams mural on the Studioplex parking deck, visible from Edgewood Street. (Photo: Terry Kearns)

Anne Lambert Tracht, art consultant, Atlanta 

I am looking forward to seeing what happens with the ongoing public art ordinance fight in 2018. Atlanta has become known internationally for its street art scene while city officials keep trying to legislate it. It’s exciting to see artists stand their ground against the city.


Architectural rendering of Artspace.
Architectural rendering of Artspace.

Dwayne Butcher, critic, Memphis

ArtSpace Lofts Opening: A warehouse located in historic South Main is being transformed into a mixed-use arts facility with 58 affordable live/work units for artists and their families. The space will also have affordable studios and creative spaces for exhibitions, performances, and a storefront. There have been mixed feelings about ArtSpace promising affordable spaces for artists and families. ArtSpace has done several of these types of projects around the county, and they’ve done their best to introduce themselves to the city, but Memphis is a unique place and suspect of most things. I hope they can get good creative tenants to try to help stop some of the cultural bleed happening in Memphis while at the same time bringing in new, young creative blood to this city.


David Levinthal, untitled work from the series "Wild West," 1988. A show of his Polaroids will be on view January 8 - March 10.
David Levinthal, untitled work from the series “Wild West,” 1988. A show of his Polaroids will be on view January 8 – March 10 at the Abroms-Engel Institute for the Visual Arts.

Brett Levine, critic, Birmingham

The Birmingham year kicks off with an incredible exhibition of David Levinthal Polaroids at the Abroms-Engel Institute for the Visual Arts, and hopefully goes from strength to strength from there. With small-scale projects like The Fuel and Lumber Company cementing its well-deserved reputation, and emerging spaces cropping up across town, 2018 may be the year of the resurgence of an alternative gallery system that had almost vanished over the last several years.


The artist-run space C for Courtside under construction.
The artist-run space C for Courtside under construction.

Brian Jobe, cofounder of Locate Arts, Nashville

There are bits of news coming out every month about Knoxville’s soon to open artist-run curatorial space C for Courtside. It’s the project of four artists and professors, Lynne Ghenov, Rubens Ghenov, John Douglas Powers, and Joshua Bienko. I’m very excited for their programming to begin. Also, I really love the energy and initiatives of The CLTV in Memphis. Be sure to follow them!


American artist Sondra Perry will have a solo show at the Serpentine Gallery in London, March 6 - May 20.
American artist Sondra Perry will have a solo show at the Serpentine Gallery in London, March 6 – May 20.

Haynes Riley, artist and director of Good Weather Gallery, Little Rock

Condo in Mexico City. Danielle Dean joined the ranks at Cranbrook Academy of Art as Artist-in-Residence of the Photography Department. Sondra Perry and Ian Cheng solo shows at Serpentine. Visiting Laura Owens midcareer survey at the Whitney and “Trigger: Gender as a Tool and a Weapon” at the New Museum in New York before they close on February 4 and January 21 respectively.

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