BURNAWAY’s Best of 2016: Exhibitions

Left to right, Kerry James Marshall, Cosmo Whyte from ATLBNL, Benjamin Britton, and "Africa Forecast."
Left to right, Kerry James Marshall, Cosmo Whyte from ATLBNL, Benjamin Britton, and “Africa Forecast.”

We kick off our Best of 2016 series with a roundup of favorite exhibitions from around the South. We asked a host of curators, artists, collectors and critics to share with us up to five of their favorite shows where they live and where they traveled.

Among the most talked-about shows are “Kerry James Marshall: Mastry” at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (now at Met Breuer in New York through Jan. 29, 2017), “David Hammons: Five Decades” at Mnuchin Gallery, New York, “Southern Accent: Seeking the American South in Contemporary Art” at the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, “Africa Forecast: Fashioning Contemporary Life” at Spelman College Museum of Art, ATLBNL at Atlanta Contemporary, “Masud Olufani: Poetics of the Disembodied” at MOCA GA, and “Basquiat: The Unknown Notebooks” at the High Museum. We also liked hearing about some of the smaller, overlooked exhibitions that our contributors selected.

Come back to BURNAWAY all week as we publish the Best of 2016 people, news, and books!

FAVORITE EXHIBITIONS IN THE SOUTH

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Sarah HigginsSarah Higgins, Curator of Zuckerman Museum of Art, Kennesaw State University

Fever Within: The Art of Ronald Lockett” at the High Museum of Art, Atlanta

This exhibition was deeply moving. I was not familiar with Lockett’s work so I was unprepared for the sublime beauty of his use of materials and a rich symbolic language to capture complex expressions of vulnerability and resilience. Every artwork in the exhibition felt like a revelation, but particularly those from the “Traps” series, which really just floored me. Since it’s still up through January 8, I highly recommend a visit.

Ronald Lockett, A Place in Time
Ronald Lockett, A Place in Time, 1989; wood, cloth, net, tin, industrial sealing compound, oil, and enamel on wood. Collection of Souls Grown Deep Foundation.

Michi MekoMichi Meko, Atlanta artist

This year the standouts for me were:

Basquiat: The Unknown Notebooks” at the High Museum of Art

Fever Within: The Art of Ronald Lockett” at the High Museum of Art

Africa Forecast: Fashioning Contemporary Life at the Spelman College Museum of Art

Call and Response by William Downs and Michael Reese is high on my tip top list of firsts

“TORN (Sketches of War and Triumph)” solo exhibition by Brandon Sadler at Notch 8 Gallery

God Bless America by Paul Stephen Benjamin at {Poem 88} Gallery

On Going” by Lauren Michelle Peterson at Mint Gallery at the Flatiron Building

Michael Reese, Quartre Femmes (for Nina)
Michael Reese, Quatre Femmes (for Nina), in “Call and Response” at Sandler Hudson.

Yanique Norman

Yanique Norman, Atlanta artist

Masud Olufani: Poetics of the Disembodied“at MOCA GA

Africa Forecast: Fashioning Contemporary Lifeat Spelman College Museum of Art

This Beautiful Tangleat Dalton Gallery at Agnes Scott College

ATLBNL at Atlanta Contemporary

Call and Responsefeaturing works by William Downs & Michael Reese at Sandler Hudson Gallery.

Work by Masud Olufani at the Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia.
Work by Masud Olufani at the Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia.

cosmo-whyte-thumbnailCosmo Whyte, artist, Hudgens Prize Finalist

Benjamin Britton: The Incandescent Sub-Present” at Marcia Wood Gallery  

Marcus Kenney: Babble” at Marcia Wood Gallery

A View Beyond the Trees at Zuckerman Museum of Art at Kennesaw State University

Black Chronicles II at Spelman College Museum of Art

Paul Stephen Benjamin: Black is the Color installation at the High Museum

Masud Olufani: Poetics of the Disembodied” at the Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia

Special mentions: “A Beautiful Tangle” at Dalton Gallery at Agnes Scott and ATLBNL at Atlanta Contemporary. (Sorry I just couldn’t stick to just 5).

Installation view of Paul Stephen Benjamin's Black is the color at the High Museum.
Installation view of Paul Stephen Benjamin’s Black is the color at the High Museum.

Megan MosholderMegan C. Mosholder, Atlanta artist

Basquiat: The Unknown Notebooks” at the High Museum of Art

Basquiat's notebooks, the subject of an exhibition at the High Museum (organized by the Brooklyn Museum) are a visual record his active mind and creativity.
Basquiat’s notebooks, the subject of an exhibition at the High Museum (organized by the Brooklyn Museum) are a visual record his active mind and creativity.

screen-shot-2016-12-19-at-7-48-17-pmEric Mack, Atlanta artist

Basquiat: The Unknown Notebooks” at the High Museum

Transforming Fashion: Iris Van Herpen” at the High Museum

Benjamin Britton: The Incandescent Sub-Present” at Marcia Wood Gallery

The fantastical designs of Iris van Herpen were on view at the High Museum.
The fantastical creations of Dutch designer Iris van Herpen were on view at the High Museum.

Bojana GinnBojana Ginn, Atlanta artist

Sarah Emerson’s exhibition, Unbearable Flatness Of Being, at MOCA GA, presents visually intriguing insights into the nature of time, space, and our reckoning with the meaning of life. She is able to flatten the beginning and end of time into deliciously designed rectangles whose colors can initially trick us into believing that everything is just fine. Upon deeper examination, her work vacuums you into the wrestling between life and death, good and evil, relatable and incomprehensible. Emerson’s treatment of time, her capability to conceal it, to stretch it, to make it flat, and to make it still as it flows, is tantalizing!

Sarah Emerson, As Above So Below (IV), 2015; acrylic on canvas, 72 by 76 inches.
Sarah Emerson, As Above So Below (IV), 2015; acrylic on canvas, 72 by 76 inches.

Krista ClarkKrista Clark, artist, instructor at Georgia State University

Africa Forecast: Fashioning Contemporary Life” at the Spelman College Museum of Art.

Fabiola Jean-Louis, Amina, 2016; archival pigment print; 29 by 28 inches.
Fabiola Jean-Louis, Amina, 2016; archival pigment print; 29 by 28 inches.

Logan LocknerLogan Lockner, BURNAWAY Assistant Editor

Though responses to it were divisive, I found myself returning to the Contemporary again and again to spend time with ATLBNL. Bearing slogans like “Black revolution means justice for all,” Adler Guerrier’s black mixed-media signs feel like they belong as much on the streets as they do in the gallery. I also loved Erin Jane Nelson’s photo-quilt Became Ocean, which serves as both environmental prophecy and interspecies playtime. To briefly name a few other favorite moments: Christina West’s strange and tender statuary, Sharon Norwood’s digital collages and the accompanying hair-washing sink, Kalup Linzy’s family tree, and the striking pairing of Stacy Lynn Waddell’s gold leaf pieces with the installation by Cosmo Whyte.

Installation view of ATLBNL, on view at Atlanta Contemporary through Dec. 18. The show features 32 artists and collectives from the South.

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Didi Dunphy Didi Dunphy, artist, Athens, GA

Pushing the Press, Printmaking in the South featured a stellar lineup of works by printmakers investigating technique and the expansive idea of multiples, from Ann Stewart’s 3D-printed pieces to Kristen Casaletto’s Debutante series, etchings on an iron and a canned ham. This was a partnership with the Lyndon House Arts Center and the Georgia Museum of Art that I curated.

Loved all of the shows at the Hotel Indigo’s GlassCube: Aurora by Jamie Grimes, and the current installation, Satisfaction Systems, by Garrett Hayes. The GlassCube is a site-specific 24/7 art space that provides artist honorariums. Also at the gallery is the show “Chain Reaction,” seven artists invite seven artists who invite seven artists—a show of 21 works in trios from the Atlanta and Athens area.

Jiha Moons prints were included in "Printmaking in the South" at the Lyndon House and Georgia Museum of Art.
Prints by Jiha Moon were included in “Printmaking in the South” at the Lyndon House and Georgia Museum of Art.

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Jim Sokol and Lydia Cheney ©Jean Allsopp / Garden Gun Magazine)
Jim Sokol and Lydia Cheney (© Jean Allsopp / Garden & Gun Magazine)

Lydia Cheney and Jim Sokol, Collectors

Our favorite exhibit in 2016 was “Enrique Martínez Celaya: Small Paintings, 1974-2015” in January at the Abroms Engel Institute for Visual Arts (AEIVA) at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. It was simply superb.

Enrique Martínez Celaya, The House (from the Sea), 2015; oil and wax on canvas, 19½ by 15½ by 1½ inches.
Enrique Martínez Celaya, The House (from the Sea), 2015; oil and wax on canvas, 19½ by 15½ by 1½ inches.

Pete SchultePete Schulte, artist / co-founder of The Fuel & Lumber Company, Assistant Professor at University of Alabama

Shift: A Temporary Platform For Social Exchange, was an off-site initiative presented by the Birmingham Museum of Art. For the first five months of 2016, this innovative initiative, spearheaded by Wassan Al-Khudhairi (curator of modern and contemporary art) and Lindsey Reynolds (BMA art librarian), operated outside of the confines of the museum walls in the vacant lobby of a downtown Birmingham office building. For each successive month, two area artists/creatives were invited to “occupy” the space, programming an array of mini-exhibitions, events, discussions, and performances. While the outcome of these collaborations was scattershot—ranging from confused to exhilarating—there was the undeniable feeling that something fresh was in the air and that Al-Khudhairi is fast becoming a transformative force in the region and beyond.

Artists Darius Hill and Roscoe Hall collaborated on an exhibition for the Shift series.
Artists Darius Hill and Roscoe Hall collaborated on an exhibition for the Shift series.

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screen-shot-2016-12-19-at-8-09-58-pmMegan Murdie, art writer
Since opening its doors in January, The Southern has established itself as a force to be reckoned with among Charleston galleries, and in the Southeast at large. Their inaugural exhibition, “(it was) A Wet, Hot, Southern Summer,” set the tone for the gallery’s mission—promoting contemporary artists who are, in one way or another, connected to the South. Featuring nine artists, the show provided new perspectives on age old issues like race, violence, and Southern mythology.  The show kicked off a year of thought-provoking and thoughtful exhibitions in Charleston. Having just wrapped a successful and well received exhibition at the 2016 Satellite Art Show in Miami, the future looks bright for The Southern.

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Jordan Amirkhani

Jordan Amirkhani, Assistant Professor of Art History, University of Tennessee-Chattanooga

Here,” at the Cress Gallery of Art at the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga

The gallery was fortunate enough to have the Brooklyn-based painter Sangram Majumdar as our visiting artist for the fall 2016 semester. Majumdar’s exhibition of paintings and ephemera, titled “here,” presented the artist’s expansive range of painterly interests and approaches, and ignited new conversations about painting and process with UTC students.

Sangram Majumdar, desert interior, 2014; oil on linen, 84 by 70 inches.
Sangram Majumdar, desert interior, 2014; oil on linen, 84 by 70 inches.

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Jaime de SimoneJaime DeSimone, Curator, MOCA Jacksonville

Coincidentally, the two art museums in Jacksonville mounted timely exhibitions, both of which opened in June 2016. MOCA Jacksonville featured “Confronting the Canvas: Women of Abstraction,” a cutting-edge survey of contemporary female painters who revisit and advance action painting. The Cummer Museum opened “LIFT: Contemporary Expressions of the African American Experience that explores the city’s rich artistic African American heritage. At their core, both exhibitions promote and advance otherwise quieted stories in the arts.

Princess Simpson Rashid, Stanton Lines
Princess Simpson Rashid, Stanton Lines, acrylic and paper on board, 48 by 40 inches; at the Cummer Museum.

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Miranda Lash

Miranda Lash, Contemporary Art Curator, Speed Art Museum

The Future is Female,” a group show curated by Alice Gray Stites at 21c Museum Hotel.

Sislej Xhafa: Millimeter Sentiments,” curated by Chris Reitz, Cressman Center for Visual Arts, Hite Art Institute.

In Constant Flux: Recent Work by Adrienne Miller,” curated by Matthew Loeser, at the Green Building Gallery.

“Fallen Fruit: The Practices of Everyday Life,” curated by Alice Gray Stites, 21c Museum Hotel Louisville, featuring artists David Burns and Austin Young.

I feel I must mention “Kentucky Renaissance: The Lexington Camera Club and Its Community, 1954-1974,” curated by Brian Sholis at the Cincinnati Art Museum. It is outside Louisville but deals with a vital part of Kentucky’s history. An incredibly well researched and thoughtfully presented show, well worth the visit.

Robert C. May, Untitled [Fence, lanterns, and figures], 1968; gelatin silver print, 6 by 6 inches. Included in "Kentucky Renaissance" at the Cincinnati Art Museum.
Robert C. May, Untitled [Fence, lanterns, and figures], 1968; gelatin silver print, 6 by 6 inches. Included in “Kentucky Renaissance” at the Cincinnati Art Museum.

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Joe Nolan thumbnailJoe Nolan, critic, columnist, and intermedia artist

This was an important year for East Nashville, where the gallery scene advanced and retreated all at once. Two of the highest points were reached at Red Arrow. I really loved Lindsy Davis’s “Negative Spaceexhibition of minimalist abstract drawings that embraced Op art trickery to offer up insightful commentary about the way viewers perceived it. Daniel Holland’s “Slow Violence” was an exhibition of abstract paintings that captured alike the dynamic tension of painterly aesthetics and the volcanic landscape of Iceland.

Daniel Holland's War and Violence, from his show "Slow Violence" at the Red Arrow Gallery in East Nashville.
Daniel Holland’s painting War and Weather, from his show “Slow Violence” at the Red Arrow Gallery in East Nashville.

Mary Addison HackettMary Addison Hackett, artist

Ragnar Kjartansson, The Visitors at the Frist Center for the Visual Arts.

The Thing Itself,” a group show of still-lifes at Coop Gallery, Nashville.

Scene from Ragnar Kjartannson's video installation The Visitors.
Scene from Ragnar Kjartansson’s video installation The Visitors.

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Rebecca Lee ReynoldsRebecca Lee Reynolds, Assistant Professor, Department of Fine Arts, University of New Orleans

Self-Taught Genius: Treasures from the American Folk Art Museum,” New Orleans Museum of Art

A traveling show from the American Folk Art Museum, this exhibition was a visual delight. Worth it just to see Marino Auriti’s sculpture Encyclopedic Palace. But the show resonates particularly for New Orleans, a city that has a long history of appreciating and collecting self-taught artists.

Vera Lutter: Inverted Worlds,” New Orleans Museum of Art

Co-organized by NOMA and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, this exhibition brought together 12 large-scale prints by Lutter, each one made with a giant pinhole camera and sometimes requiring exposures that were many weeks long. St. Mark’s Square in Venice, flooded; Times Square and the skyscrapers of New York City; ghostly landscapes that looked covered in snow due to the negative print; and industrial landscapes—the chance to see all of these subjects together in the intimate rooms of the photography galleries enriched my understanding of her work.

Something in the Way: A Brief History of Photography and Obstruction,” New Orleans Museum of Art.

I love these “brief history” shows that Russell Lord curates for NOMA. Each one offers a thematic entry point to the museum’s stunning and deep photography collection. This one managed to contextualize boring snapshots that mistakenly capture an obstruction, installed in special panels next to well-known photographers intentionally playing with the same idea.

10,000 RPM’s,” Generic Art Solutions at UNO St. Claude

Deadpan is the word you need for this. “StreetFighter: Ninjas” was performed in the courtyard with Vis and Campbell facing off from either end of a motorcycle sculpture that was more like conjoined twins. One shared wheel meant that their revving up was all for naught, creating quite a display of smoke and undercutting hypermasculinity at the same time. A video inside the gallery offered a virtual experience for those who missed the opening night performance.

Sad Tropics,” by Cristina Molina and Jonathan Traviesa at The Front

Right when we all needed a break from the heat of the campaign and the heat of the summer, Molina and Traviesa showed up with beautiful photographs of the kitsch and banal landmarks of Florida, a hilarious video about true crime in Florida, tropical wallpaper, and even a tourist photo stand where you could inhabit cutouts of their faces. They took over the whole building to show us the Florida that they’re from, and it was fun.

Generic Art Solutions, Ninja street fighter
Generic Art Solutions performed StreetFighter Ninja at UNO St. Claude.

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imag3294Amy White, artist and writer

Southern Accent: Seeking the American South in Contemporary Art at the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University features 60 national and international artists, including Hank Willis Thomas, Radcliffe Bailey, Catherine Opie, William Cordova, Kara Walker, Jeff Whetstone, Stacy Lynn Waddell, William Eggleston, and George Jenne. This comprehensive and affecting exhibition simultaneously displays and disrupts stereotypical associations to its theme, making a strong case for its premise in an expansive way—a heady distillation of myriad recognizable themes, the cumulative effect of which verges on the hallucinatory. The exhibition’s inevitable laying bare of the region’s history and mythology, with regard to the broader American legacy of racism and racial injustice is bracingly timely. (The show is on view through January 8, 2017, and travels to the Speed Art Museum in Louisville, April 29-August 20.)

Jina Valentine’s “Aporia” at the historic Horace Williams House in Chapel Hill featured texts culled from newspaper articles reporting the murder of African-American men by police, printed on handmade paper in handmade gall ink. Inherently corrosive, Valentine’s gall ink is imbued with agency, which posits the works as performative objects that engage in acts of self-immolation. The work is a meditation on the impossibility of processing the information that is delivered to us through the news media about unfathomable acts of aggression—framing the limits of human cognition and the visual/linguistic process of sense-making in the face of senseless violence—the grafting of order onto psychic chaos.

At certain key junctures of upheaval (whether personal, social, or global), the long view – the mega-long view of geological time – can provide perspective. “The Future We Remember” at the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art (SECCA) elucidated tendencies toward such a view in contemporary art practice, surveying works of art that reflect upon or in some way respond to the notion of the Anthropocene. This is a descriptor of the current era, in which the human imprint on the planet has begun to manifest in fundamentally irreversible ways.  The exhibition included works by Vija Celmins, Emil Lukas, Iman Person and Dario Robleto.

Kelly Jazvac,Plastiglomerate Sample, 2013; Found object. Photo credit: Jeff Elstone.
Kelly Jazvac, Plastiglomerate Sample, in “Remembering the Future.”

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Lauren Ross, Curator, Virginia Commonwealth University

Jasper Johns and Edvard Munch: Love, Loss, and the Cycle of Life,” currently on view at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, is a revelation. Former VMFA curator John Ravenal employs good old fashioned scholarship in his thorough and thoughtful dissection of Munch’s influence on Johns, concluding with unique readings of the American master. The exhibition is an unprecedented assembly of prints, drawings, and paintings by both artists that unveils multiple parallels—not only in their artwork, but in their lives and times.

I also have to praise the VMFA for being the only U.S. venue for the stunning exhibition “Rodin: Evolution of a Genius” earlier this year. It can be challenging to present such a familiar artist in a way that is refreshing, and this exhibition was not only visually exquisite, it unpacked the artist’s process in fascinating ways.

On the opposite end of the spectrum from those two very polished presentations, my other favorite exhibition in Richmond came from first year MFA students in VCU’s Sculpture department. These spring “candidate shows” are not held on campus, so the onus is on the students to find their own spaces. These students located an empty storefront that once served as retail shop-cum-recording studio. Playing off the oddball, jerry-rigged architecture of the site, they filled every room with sculpture, installation, and performance that was raw, funky, and fantastic.

Similarities in the work of Jasper Johns and Edvard Munch are revealed in an exhibition at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.
Similarities in the work of Jasper Johns and Edvard Munch are revealed in an exhibition at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.

FAVORITE EXHIBITIONS ANYWHERE


Jordan Amirkhani, Assistant Professor of Art History, University of Tennessee-Chattanooga

I am consistently proud of the work that curator Andrea Barnwell Brownlee is accomplishing at the Spelman College Museum of Fine Art. Superman’s fall exhibition, “AFRICA FORECAST: Fashioning Contemporary Life” (co-curated by Brownlee and Erika Dalya Massaquoi), was a beautiful and thoughtful presentation of a diverse range of female contemporary makers of the African diaspora working with textiles in new ways. I came away from the exhibition with new ideas and questions about the history and legacy of craft in the hands of female artists.

Spelman College's African Forest
Work from Spelman College Museum of Art’s “Africa Forecast.”

Jaime DeSimone, Curator, MOCA Jacksonville

I was able to make it out to Los Angeles to see the Broad Museum’s inaugural exhibition of their permanent collection, which was off the charts. It featured Johns, Warhol, Twombly … the list goes on and on. But, how can you compete with Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirrored Room (also at the Broad), 45 seconds alone in one of her mirror-lined chambers?

Installation view of Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirrored Room at the Broad Museum, Los Angeles, CA.
Installation view of Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirrored Room at the Broad Museum, Los Angeles, CA.

In March 2016, MOCA Jacksonville exhibited the site-specific piece, Quickening by Shinique Smith, as part of its Project Atrium series, so when an opportunity to see Revolution in the Making: Abstract Sculpture by Women, 1947 – 2016 at Hauser Wirth & Schimmel arose, I took it and got lost in the worlds of Lee Bontecou, Louise Bourgeois, Louise Nevelson, Sheila Hicks, Ursula von Rydingsvard, Liz Larner, and, of course, Shinique Smith.


Bojana Ginn, artist, Atlanta

I want art to surprise me, to blow my mind. This happened at the 2016 Venice Architectural Biennale upon entering the Irish pavilion. The installation hit all my sensitive spots; it’s art, it’s biology, it’s technology. Losing Myself is created by Niall McLaughlin and Yeoryia Manolopoulou. Socially driven, the work addresses the spatial needs of people with Alzheimer’s and the role of design in the care of dementia. The installation is a large, time-space drawing whose lines and surfaces are in a perfect marriage of function and aesthetics. The grid of 16 projectors is supported by tall wooden easels, and projects images onto the floor, while the bright coils of exposed wires connect the projectors to the ceiling. Evocative of neural structures, these suspended projectors with yellow axons and wooden dendrites project their ideas onto the floor. Projections are monochromatic brain scans interposed with intricate architectural plans, flashing into various arrangements, as if searching for solutions.

Niall McLaughlin and Yeoryia Manolopoulou, Losing Myself, Venice Biennall, Irish Pavilion, 2016; Location: 15th International Architecture Exhibition, Venice; Commissioner: Culture Ireland; In Collaboration with Niall McLaughlin Architects.
Niall McLaughlin and Yeoryia Manolopoulou, Losing Myself, Venice Architecture Bienale, Irish Pavilion, 2016.

Annie Lapin’s Watchers and Winks, an exhibition of paintings at Honor Fraser Gallery, Los Angeles, displays work of mind-blowing eloquence. As I observe her paintings, thousands of years of art zoom through my mind: from cave drawings in the South of France, to Greek and classical body renderings, to the green vegetation of impressionism and the poetry of expressionism, to cubism that in her work becomes liquid, to digital-like cutouts of her painted surfaces that look eerily unnatural and very contemporary. Annie’s paintings make me believe that I understand complexities which are impossible to understand and that being a human is a pretty fabulous thing, and that being an artist is a wild, communal experience beyond time.


Sarah Higgins, Curator of Zuckerman Museum of Art, Kennesaw State University

David Hammons: Five Decades at Mnuchin Gallery, NY

Exhibitions of David Hammons’s work are notoriously rare, and attending this one felt like a pilgrimage. The retrospective included legendary works, such as his 1993 In The Hood—the roughly cut hood of a worn black hoodie nailed unceremoniously to the wall, which also appeared on the cover of Claudia Rankine’s 2015 Citizen. Powerfully prescient, this work in particular has re-emerged with heightened significance in the wake of the murder of Trayvon Martin. Every inclusion in the exhibition was a highlight. Hammons’s works, and particularly those selected for this retrospective, always hit me hard. They’re like crystalline expressions: deceptively simple gestures that contain worlds of complexity, power, and purpose. It was an honor to stand among them.

David Hammonds installation view of "Five Decades" at Mnuchin Gallery, NY.
David Hammonds installation view of “Five Decades” at Mnuchin Gallery.

Miranda Lash, Contemporary Art Curator, Speed Art Museum, Louisville

“Kerry James Marshall: Mastry” at the MCA Chicago. Simply breathtaking.

Installation view of "Kerry James Marshall: Majestic" at the Chicago MCA.
Installation view of “Kerry James Marshall: Mastry” at the Chicago MCA.

 


Logan Lockner, BURNAWAY Assistant Editor

I had been following the 2015-16 artists-in-residence at the Studio Museum in Harlem—Jordan Casteel, EJ Hill, and Khalil-Jibade Huffman—for a half the year without any idea I would be able to see “Tenses,” the incredible group show of their work organized by the museum’s assistant curator (and former BURNAWAY art writing mentor!) Amanda Hunt. I spent a Sunday morning in late July with a couple of friends seeing Casteel’s paintings, Huffman’s mixed-media installation, and Hill’s performance—for which he rested silently in the gallery for 108 days over the course of the show’s run—and I couldn’t have asked for a better few hours with art in 2016.

Jordan Casteel, Kevin the Kiteman, 2016.
Jordan Casteel, Kevin the Kiteman, 2016.

Eric Mack, artist, Atlanta

Timekeeper, Sarah Sze, at Brandeis University, Massachusetts. The environments that Sze constructs with found objects, light, layers, and dimension are mystifying.

Frank Stella: A Retrospective” at the Whitney Museum of American Art, NYC

Picasso Sculpture,” Museum of Modern Art, NYC

Sarah Sze, Timekeeper
Detail of Sara Sze’s installation Timekeeper at the Rose Art Museum at Brandeis University.

Joe Nolan, critic, columnist, and intermedia artist, Nashville

The most devastating show I’ve seen in a long time was Regina José Galindo’s Comunidad at Space 204 in the E. Bronson Ingram Studio Arts Center at Vanderbilt University. Other shows were more thought-provoking or more formally attractive, but I can’t praise anything higher than this battering ram of a video installation examining the horrors of the Guatemalan Civil War.

Stills from video documentation of La Verdad (The Truth), performed in 2013 at El Centro Cultural de España en Guatemala.
Stills from video documentation of La Verdad (The Truth), performed in 2013 at El Centro Cultural de España en Guatemala.

Yanique Norman, artist, Atlanta

Kerry James Marshall: Mastryat the Museum of Contemporary Art of Chicago

Kerry James Marshall, Campfire Girls, 1995; acrylic and collage on canvas, 103 by 114 inches. Collection of Dick and Gloria Anderson.
Kerry James Marshall, Campfire Girls, 1995; acrylic and collage on canvas, 103 by 114 inches. Collection of Dick and Gloria Anderson.

Lauren Ross, Curator, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond

Southern Accent: Seeking the American South in Contemporary Art” at the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University. While the stellar artist list assured me that it would be worth the visit, I must confess I journeyed to the opening of this exhibition with a touch of skepticism. How can one exhibition capture the complexity of the “South” (defined broadly) in works made over multiple decades?  Of course they could not be comprehensive, but curators Trevor Schoonmaker and Miranda Lash assembled a highly compelling collection of works that range from subtle to spectacular. They managed to avoid the stale notion of “regionalism,” instead invoking the fresher sense of “place,” although don’t ask me to define the difference for you.  Look for this exhibition at the Speed Art Museum in 2017.

Hank Willis Thomas, Black Righteous Space (Southern Edition), 2012/2016; DVD (playlist and video installation), microphone, and Mac Mini; run time continuous.
Hank Willis Thomas, Black Righteous Space (Southern Edition), 2012/2016; DVD (playlist and video installation), microphone, and Mac Mini; run time continuous.

Pete Schulte, artist / co-founder of The Fuel & Lumber Company, Assistant Professor at University of Alabama, Birmingham

I spent a good deal of time in New York this year, so my list is admittedly empire-centric. In museums, it is hard to imagine that I will ever see a show as moving as the compulsively quiet and stunning survey of Giorgio Morandi’s work at the Center for Italian Modern Art, but Agnes Martin (Guggenheim), Carmen Herrera (Whitney), and Kerry James Marshall (Met Breuer) certainly came close, as did the memorable room of Hilma af-Klint Paintings and Carol Bove sculptures in “The Keeper” at the New Museum.

Installation view of “Carmen Herrera: Lines of Sight” on view through Jan. 2, 2017, at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. (Photo: Ronald Amstutz)

Memories of gallery shows tend to run together in a blur, but there are a few that shine bright as diamonds; Sara VanDerBeek at Metro Pictures, Loie Hollowell at Feuer Mesler, Trenton Doyle Hancock at James Cohan, Aubry/Broquard at Nathalie Karg, and John Dilg at Taymour Grahne.


Amy White, artist and writer, Carrboro NC

A few standout exhibitions on the West Coast this year included Tom Sachs’s Space Program: Europa at the Yerba Buena Center in San Francisco, and in Los Angeles,”The Art of Alchemy” and “London Calling” at the Getty Center; “Made in LA” at the Hammer Museum, and “Wallace Berman: American Aleph” at Kohn Gallery.

"London Calling," Francis Bacon, Triptych August, 1972; oil on three canvases. Tate: Purchased 1980. Photo © Tate, London 2016. Artwork © The Estate of Francis Bacon. All rights reserved. / DACS, London / ARS, NY 2016
“London Calling” included this work by Francis Bacon, Triptych August, 1972; oil on three canvases. © Tate, London 2016. Artwork © The Estate of Francis Bacon. All rights reserved. / DACS, London / ARS, NY 2016.

Cosmo Whyte, artist, Hudgens Prize finalist, Atlanta

Kerry James Marshall, Mastry at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago.

The Propeller Group at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago.

David Hammons at Mnuchin Gallery NYC.

The Propeller Group, still from The Living Need Light, The Dead Need Music, 2014. © The Propeller Group Courtesy of James Cohan, New York
The Propeller Group, still from The Living Need Light, The Dead Need Music, 2014.

Rebecca Lee Reynolds, Assistant Professor at University of New Orleans

Christian Marclay, The Clock, presented by Prospect New Orleans at the Contemporary Arts Center
The first presentation of this landmark piece in the South did not disappoint. Yes, you can get the gist in only a few minutes, but after about 8 hours, my understanding of it completely changed. I took it in on multiple days, usually 3 or 4 hours at a time, and logged 20 of the 24 hours of the piece.

Mona Hatoum at Tate Modern, London
I saw this on a trip to London, and it was a treat to see large installation works in person that I had known previously only through photographs. Revisiting Hatoum’s abject feminism now, at a slight remove from the 90s, proved that her work is still compelling.

Mona Hatoum, Performance Still 1985, 1995. Tate, London.
Mona Hatoum, Performance Still, 1985/1995. Tate, London.

Didi Dunphy, artist and curator, Athens

Just saw Kerry James Marshall, Mastry at the Met Breuer in NYC.

Moholy-Nagy, “Future Present” at the Art Institute of Chicago

Doug Aitken, Electric Earth at the Temporary, MOCA in Los Angeles

Kerry James Marshall, Untitled (Studio), 2014. Acrylic on PVC panel; 83 1/2 × 118 7/8 in. (211.9 × 301.8 cm). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Purchase, The Jacques and Natasha Gelman Foundation Gift, Acquisitions Fund and The Metropolitan Museum of Art Multicultural Audience Development Initiative Gift, 2015 (2015.366) © Kerry James Marshall
Kerry James Marshall, Untitled (Studio), 2014; acrylic on PVC panel, 83½ by 119 inches. The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Krista Clark, artist, Instructor Georgia State University, Atlanta

Cecily Brown, Combing the Hair (Beach), 2015.; watercolor, pastel, ink, and oil on paper; 79 by 51.5 inches.
Cecily Brown, Combing the Hair (Beach), 2015.; watercolor, pastel, ink, and oil on paper; 79 by 51.5 inches.

Agnes Martin, Retrospective, LACMA

Cecily Brown, Rehearsal, at the Drawing Center, NYC.

Kerry James Marshall, Chicago MCA.


Lydia Cheney and Jim Sokol, collectors, Birmingham 

Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. Incredible!

Walker Art Center exterior
The Walker Art Center in Minneapolis is a favorite for its collection and programming, as well as its building, designed by Herzog & de Meuron.

Megan C Mosholder, artist, Atlanta
Carolee Schneeman photograph, Eye Body, by Erro
Carolee Schneemann, Eye Body (From 36 Transformative Actions for Camera), 1963/1985, photograph, 20 by 16 inches. Photographer: Erro.

Coming to Power: 25 Years of Sexually X-Plicit Art by Women” at Maccarone in New York.

The 11th IBUg Art Festival in Limbach-Oberfrohna


Michi Meko,  artist, Atlanta

Although I didn’t travel to see these two, the reviews and images are hot:

Henry Taylor at Blum & Poe in Los Angeles

David Hammons at Mnuchin Gallery NYC

Henry Taylor, with a New Film by Kahlil Joseph Installation view, 2016; Blum & Poe, Los Angeles, Photo: Joshua White/JWPictures.com
Installation view of “Henry Taylor, with a New Film by Kahlil Joseph” at Blum & Poe, Los Angeles. (Photo: Joshua White/JWPictures.com)

Mary Addison Hackett, artist, Nashville

Ragnar Kjartansson, The Visitors at the Frist. It’s an immersive exhibit. I highly recommend setting aside 64 minutes for the entire viewing, but even a few minutes will change your life for the better.

Ragnar Kjartansson, The Visitors, 2012; nine-channel video projection, 64 minutes. Photo: Elísabet Davids. Courtesy of the artist, Luhring Augustine, New York, and i8 Gallery, Reykjavik
Still from Ragnar Kjartansson, The Visitors, 2012; nine-channel video projection, 64 minutes.
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