Put Art on the Summer Agenda with These 5 Amazing Exhibits
From Masks in Seattle to History in Miami, Works Evoke Powerful Emotions
As summer temperatures settle in, museums around the country are heating up with exhilarating exhibitions.
For a cool and artistic escape, here are five exceptional art exhibitions to see this summer.
1. Albert Oehlen: Home and Garden
New Museum, New York City, through September 13
In the first New York museum show of his 30-year career, German painter Albert Oehlen's exhibition offers an in-depth look at his important — if occasionally overlooked — art. From early self-portraits to recent paintings that merge abstraction and appropriated images, Oehlen transforms traditional painting genres into his own dynamic and unmistakable aesthetic. Instead of a more conventional chronologically organized exhibition, the show traces Oehlen's career thematically, allowing visitors to discover his longtime artistic interests and observe his continued influence on today's contemporary art scene.
2. Charles Ray: Sculpture, 1997-2014
Art Institute of Chicago, through October 4
From his examination of family, American pop culture and the classical figure to his unrivaled mastery of materials, Charles Ray has revolutionized contemporary sculpture since the early 1980s. Showing 19 of his more recent sculptures, including four entirely new works debuting at the museum, the Art Institute (pictured above) notably and remarkably dedicates the entire second floor of its Modern Wing and its South Garden to the exhibition. “This is truly a once-in-a-generation deinstallation of the Art Institute's contemporary collection alongside the subsequent removal of all the interior architecture on the second floor of the Modern Wing," said the exhibition's curator, James Rondeau. "We're thrilled to present Charles Ray's great work this way, and honored to be part of what the artist considers to be the show of his lifetime."
3. Poetics of Relation
Pérez Art Museum Miami, through October 18
As a vibrant multicultural city with a rich history, Miami is the ideal place to highlight six artists whose work addresses the fraught intergenerational legacies of colonialism, immigration and multiple cultural identities. “Poetics of Relation takes its inspiration from Miami as a diasporic city, a city where much of the population comes from other parts of the world and is constantly negotiating the idea of place and home as relational, existing between here and elsewhere," explains PAMM Chief Curator Tobias Ostrander. “This exhibition places those dynamics of Miami in dialogue with artists working in very distinct contexts such as Morocco, Kenya, India, London, New York and the Dominican Republic." From Dominican artist Tony Capellan's barbed wire-wrapped flip-flops to a powerful film by Zarina Bhimji on the history of the “Lunatic Line," a railroad in Kenya built by Indian workers, Poetics of Relation places the cultural history of South Florida in dialogue with global political issues.
4. Dear Nemesis: Nicole Eisenman, 1993-2013
Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, La Jolla, through September 6
Poignant, humorous and slyly subversive, artist Nicole Eisenman's massive mid-career survey presents over 120 of her critically lauded paintings, drawings and prints. Tackling issues of sexuality, identity and feminism, Eisenman's imaginative works reveal both a deep knowledge of art history and an incisive political critique. “Nicole Eisenman's works evoke the angst and exultations of living in the 21st Century," said Kathryn Kanjo, the museum's deputy director of art & programs. "Always figurative, the canvases highlight the individual's relationship to and within society — its politics, pre-occupations, and mores. While her canvases depict scenes that are emphatically of our time, formally, they recall past art historical styles, whether Ash Can realism, German Expressionism or Cubism. In this way, they feel both of-the-moment and enduring."
5. Disguise: Masks & Global African Art
Seattle Art Museum, through September 7
With an inventive interactive installation, as well as a spectacular roster of emerging and established artists, the Seattle Art Museum highlights contemporary artists from Africa or of African descent who explore the use of masks in their work. Curated by Curator of African and Oceanic Art Pamela McClusky and Consultant Curator Erika Dalya Massaquoi, the exhibition engages with the ongoing cultural legacy and various historical functions of masks whether as a means of concealing identity, a prop for performance or a form of surreal and fantastical myth-making. Disguise presents immersive experiential installations and performances created by artists primarily within the past year, enlivening the historical African masks often shown in isolation in museums.
If art is in your plans, learn more about the Chase Private Client Arts & Culture program, which provides exclusive access to some of these museums. Talk to a Private Client Banker at your local Chase branch.
Photo: iStock Emily Colucci is an art writer, independent curator and blogger. She has contributed to VICE, POZ Magazine, ArtVoices Magazine, Salon, Los Angeles Review of Books, Art Papers, New York Magazine's Bedford and Bowery, and other publications.