The best museum exhibitions this summer, from MoMA to The Broad


“Cauleen Smith: We Already Have What We Need” at the Houston Museum of Contemporary Art. Courtesy Cauleen Smith

Welcome to Observer’s 2021 Summer Arts & Entertainment Preview, Your complete guide to the best the warmer months have to offer. The best television, cinema, dance, opera, streaming theater, visual arts and literature await you this season.

In the previous year, museum services were largely withheld from the public as facilities were closed, educational programs were curtailed, and art became something that could only be accessed with a laptop and smartphone. Now that the world is opening up again, people are crying out for museum exhibits that will make them feel refreshed, invigorated and challenged after many months of death and turmoil. Some of these shows stare right at the divide caused by the pandemic; others in the spirit of transcendence or fascination with heaven have little to do with the present chaos of life on earth. Regardless, the museums are back and they hope you still have time to visit them.

“Gregg Bordowitz: I want to be healthy” in MoMA PS1. MoMA PS1

“Gregg Bordowitz: I Wanna Be Well” at MoMA PS1, New York (May 13th)

When the pandemic first hit the world and shocked almost everyone to the core, some activists and artists were quick to point out that the crisis had a lot in common the emergence of AIDS, which just a few decades ago decimated an entire generation of queer elders. This summer, MoMA PS1 is hosting a survey examining 30 years of work by artist Gregg Bordowitz, who has lived with HIV for more than half his adult life. Bordowitz devoted much of his work to resisting government inaction in the face of AIDS, producing exceptionally intimate portraits of people suffering from the disease; he also worked extensively with ACT UP in hopes of improving the life of his community.

“Cauleen Smith: We Already Have What We Need” at the Houston Museum of Contemporary Art, Houston (July 15)

In 1998 the artist Cauleen Smith released a feature film debut called Drylongso which examined the social hostilities black men were exposed to. In the years since then, Smith has used many different media to convey the transformative forces imagination, as well as black cultural stories that deserve more attention than they received. We already have what we need uses a kaleidoscope of various forms – film, sculpture, textiles, drawing, etc. – to illustrate both the urgency of Smith’s call for change and the myriad of as yet unexplored realities to which we might have access.

“Dave McKenzie: The Story I Tell Myself” at the Whitney. Whitney Museum of American Art

“Dave McKenzie: The Story I Tell Myself at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (May 1)

Through video and text, but above all performance, Dave McKenzie excels at opening small cracks in daily life through which the glitter of new behavior can be recognized. For the performance commissioned by Whitney Disturb the viewMcKenzie choreographed a kind of dance around the museum facade in which he disappears and reappears; sometimes windows are covered, sometimes not. The story that I tell myself is a compiled presentation of the artist’s filmed performances and public experiments, paired with works by the artists who influenced his work: Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Bruce Nauman and Pope.L are among them.

“Invisible Sun” by Julie Mehretu. Julie Mehretu

“Invisible Sun” at The Broad, Los Angeles (May 26)

The question arises as to how best to react to the Covid-19 catastrophe on the scale of a museum exhibition: Which individual compilation of works of art could roughly encompass the range of suffering that has gripped the world in recent years? To the endless praise of The Broad, they are attempting just such a project Invisible sun, a group exhibition with a combination of works from the collection and new acquisitions. Jenny Holzers Under a rock allows guests to sit on 10 granite benches and look at an LED sign; Julie Mehretus congress offers an escape in the form of abstraction. By casting a wide network, the institution seems to prioritize the creation of a rich bouquet over cohesion.

“Rayyane Tabet: Deep Blues” at the Walker Art Center. Rayyane Tabet

“Rayyane Tabet: Deep Blues” at Walker Art Center, Minneapolis (June 12)

Rayyane Tabet is a Beirut-based artist whose architecture-related work often involves repetitions, historical research and a reverence for untold stories about civilizations of the past. Deep blues, Tabet’s first US museum assignment, began with the artist visiting a former IBM manufacturing facility in Rochester, Minnesota; From there, Tabet followed the building’s architect until he discovered a network of other connections that shaped the multi-part sculptural installation he then produced. At Tabet, the visual barreness is always characterized by a deeply personal appropriation of text.

James Turrell’s new Skyspace in the MASS MoCA. DIMENSIONS MoCA

“James Turrell: CAVU” at MASS MoCA, North Adams (May 29)

Every time James Turrell does something new, it’s always an event: Kanye Wests Jesus is king The IMAX film was shot in the artist’s Roden-Krater installation, and Turrell’s newest Skyscape This installation will be carved into the foothills of Pikes Peak in Colorado this summer. If you can’t make it all the way west, however, consider taking the time to debut the artist’s largest freestanding circular skyspace to date. Entitled CAVU, the Skyspace has been converted into a new one on the MASS MoCA campus water Tank, and its oculus will open at certain times of the day to let in the natural light of the sky.

Shaun Leonardo’s “You walk…” in the MASS MoCA. DIMENSIONS MoCA

“Shaun Leonardo: You walk …” at MASS MoCA, North Adams (May 29)

In 2020 the exhibition by the artist Shaun Leonardo The breath of empty spaceConsisting of Leonardo’s drawings depicting state-sanctioned violence and trauma inflicted on blacks, indigenous peoples and people of color, was revived at the MASS MoCA. The exhibition was originally supposed to be at MoCA Cleveland, but it was canceled without further ado without any intervention from the artist. Leonardo is now starting a new, interactive exhibition in the newly established community engagement area of ​​the MASS MoCA. You go… uses visual prompts such as two-way mirrors and false views of installed windows to evoke memories of temporary experiences in the viewer. In this way, Leonardo wants you to reevaluate how you interact with other people.

“Brie Ruais: Movement on the Edge of the Country.” Brie Ruais

“Brie Ruais: Movement on the Edge of the Country” at the Moody Center for the Arts, Houston (June 5)

Five years ago, Brooklyn-based artist Brie Ruais headed west looking for new inspiration and a complete change. you found a home in the Great Basin Desert of Nevada and began to leave marks on the earth with her body. Movement on the edge of the country, the artist’s upcoming exhibition at the Moody Center for the Arts, runs parallel to these themes: Ruais uses her own physical features and body to create clay sculptures that create a visceral connection with both the land and, hopefully, ourselves.

A watercolor by Cézanne. MoMA

“Cézanne Drawing” at MoMA, New York (June 6th)

What can we say about Cézanne that has not yet been said? The painter, who celebrated for the bridge between Impressionism and Cubism, was as good at making still lifes as he was at conjuring bathing communities, and now the Museum of Modern Art is showing his lesser-known watercolor and pencil works. “Drawing is just the configuration of what you see,” Cézanne once wrote. plain. It is clear that by developing a keen and sophisticated eyesight, the artist was able to embellish and work out his visions to please the rest of the world.

The 9 must-see museum exhibitions of summer 2021

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