30 Must-See Shows in 2013, From El Anatsui in Brooklyn to David Bowie at the V&A
“Eyebeam Resurfaces: The Future of the Digital Archive,” at Eyebeam, New York, January 8 – January 12
Reflecting on the game-changing effect of Hurricane Sandy on the conservation of art — from the analog to the digital — this four-day event series will include lectures, workshops, and exhibition of works saved from Eyebeam’s collection, and a screening of the documentary “Archive,” in which director Jonathan Minard examines our society’s collective reliance on digital records.
“Dorothea Tanning: Unknown but Knowable States” at Gallery Wendi Norris, San Francisco January 10 – March 2
A full year following the death of this emphatically mixed-media artist, this exhibition will bring together over 30 works of painting, sculpture, craft, and collage from the 1960s and ‘70s, during which time Tanning lived and worked in Paris with fellow artist Max Ernst.
“Alighiero Boetti a Roma,” Fondazione MAXXI, Rome, January 23 – October 6
Arte Povera devotees rejoice as 30 works by Boetti — in addition to those of fellow Conceptualists Francesco Clemente and Luigi Ontani — are included in an exhibition centered around the themes of place and identity.
“Manet: Portraying Life,” at the Royal Academy, London, January 26 – April 14
In 1865, the unveiling of Manet’s “Olympia” stunned the Paris Salon for its portrayal of a commodified female body. Of course, this wasn’t the artist’s first engagement with the human form; portraiture was a fascination of Manet’s, and as this exhibition shows, his paintings of Antonin Proust, Émile Zola and Stéphane Mallarmé are among the most endearing chronicles of Parisian life at the dawn of modernity.
“Gravity and Grace: Monumental Works by El Anatsui” at the Brooklyn Museum, February 8 – August 4
Combining elements of painting and sculpture via the appropriation of found objects, El Anatsui is globally recognized as one of the foremost contemporary artists. This exhibition — the first solo show in an American museum — includes site-specific sculptures in wood and metal, as well as 12 malleable wall and floor sculptures composed of liquor bottle caps.
The Dorothy and Herbert Vogel Collection at MOCA, Los Angeles, February 10 – March 28
Dorothy and Herbert Vogel collected over 4,000 works by contemporary artists in the second half of the 20th century. In 2008, they donated 50 works to museums in each of the 50 states as part of the Vogel 50x50 initiative. A selection of the works donated to MOCA will be on view, offering a chance to see a piece of the famed collection of these "proletarian art collectors."
“Dancing Around Duchamp” at the Barbican, London, February 14 – June 9
On the anniversary year of the 1913 Armory Show, where Marcel Duchamp scandalized the art world with "Nude Descending a Staircase, No. 2," the Barbican is hosting a massive Duchamp-centered season, including the exhibition "The Bride and the Bachelors: Duchamp with Cage, Cunningham, Rauschenberg and Johns" with around 90 pieces, some exhibited for the first time the UK, focusing on his influence on the American modern masters.
“Gutai: Splendid Playground” at the Guggenheim, New York, February 15 – May 8
One of postwar Japan’s most influential artistic movements, Gutai was an avant-garde collective that sought a response to the postatomic world in radical artistic creation. “Splendid Playground” presents over 100 works — from painting and installation to sound and light — created by members of the movement between 1954 and 1972.
“Lebbeus Woods. Architect” at the San Francisco MoMA, February 16 – June 2
There have been few architects as fearless as Lebbeus Woods, who passed away this October leaving behind a stunning legacy of architectural drawings that challenged design, structure, and gravity, and this exhibition explores his often brutal and severe approach, driven by his belief that "architecture must learn to transform the violence, even as violence knows how to transform the architecture."
“Picasso and Chicago” at the Art Institute of Chicago, February 20 – May 12
Back in 1913, the Art Institute of Chicago was the first American museum to show the work of Pablo Picasso, who was then in the midst of Cubism, and this exhibition, the first in 30 years at the museum to focus on Picasso, celebrates the 100-year anniversary with more than 250 examples of his work sourced from the museum's collections and private collections in Chicago, tracing the artist's career and the relationship between the city and modern art.
“Lichtenstein: A Retrospective” at the Tate Modern, London, February 21 – May 27
Over 100 of Lichtenstein’s immediately recognizable Pop paintings are brought together in this retrospective; the first one dedicated to the artist in over 20 years. With famed works like “Look Mickey” and “Oh, Jeff...I Love You, Too...But...” this exhibition highlights Lichtenstein’s enduring influence on 20th-century art.
“Impressionism, Fashion, and Modernity” at the Met, New York, February 26 – May 27
As Paris became the epicenter of fashion in the 1800s, Impressionist painters saw an opportunity to portray the stylish men and women of the times in their works. With works by Manet, Monet, Renoir and their contemporaries presented alongside Parisian photographs, prints, costumes, and accessories from the era, this exhibition sheds light on the influence of fashion upon Impressionist painters.
“Jay Defeo: A Retrospective” at the Whitney, New York, February 28 – June 2
This retrospective of Beat artist Jay Defeo — known for her wide experimentation with material, and the almost 2,000-pound painting, “The Rose” — presents some of her works in jewelry, photography, and collage amongst the 130 works in the show.
“The Angel of the Odd. Dark Romanticism from Füssli to Max Ernst” at Musee d'Orsay, Paris, March 5 – June 9
Beginning in the late 1700s, flourishing in the 1880s, and remaining popular throughout the 1920s, so-called Dark Romanticism has established itself both within art history and in popular culture. This exhibition presents works by Goya, Füssli, and Max Ernst in tandem with Expressionist films of the 1920s to illustrate the complexity and breadth of the genre.
Garry Winogrand at the San Francisco MoMA, March 9 – June 2
Garry Winogrand is one of his generation's most important photographers, yet much of his oeuvre remains out of the public view. This exhibition — the most comprehensive presentation of his work to date — is the culmination of extensive archival research, and offers the opportunity to see many of his lesser-known photographs of America in the 1960s.
Parallel Practices: Joan Jonas & Gina Pane at the Contemporary Art Museum Houston, March 23 – June 20
Joan Jonas and Gina Pane, born one year apart, and working on different continents (Jonas in New York and Pane in Paris), were both pioneers in the early days of performance art. This exhibition explores the similarities and differences of their practices and includes live performances of Jonas’s works.
“David Bowie Is” at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, March 23 – July 28, 2013
Keep your ‘lectric eye on the V&A to freak out in the daydream of the incomparable David Bowie, with this retrospective, sourced from the David Bowie Archive, the first to give a concentrated look at the career of the glam icon/Ziggy Stardust rocker/chameleon-of-modern-music through 300 pieces including art, video, instruments, costumes, photography, film, and other artifacts of the earthbound starman.
“In Focus: Ed Ruscha” at the Getty, Los Angeles, April 9 – September 29
Ed Ruscha is to Los Angeles what perfumes are to Paris and baile funk is to Brazil. Bringing his meditation on horizontal cityscapes and car-driven architectural photography back to the fore, this exhibition includes some of the gems of the Getty’s stash of Ruscha’s work as an art book maker, including the iconic "Every Building on the Sunset Strip" (1966).
The Reopening of the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, April 13
Following 10 years of work on its 19th-century home, the Rijksmuseum finally reopens with Rembrandt's "The Night Watch" returned to its place of honor in the stately corridors, along with a revamped presentation of galleries and gardens showcasing 800 years of Dutch art and culture.
“Claes Oldenburg: The Street and The Store” at MoMA, New York, April 14 – August 5
Claes Oldenburg’s storefront installations of sculptures of quotidian commercial objects came to redefine ideas of sculpture in the 1960s. MoMA brings together various works from this period, along with the rarely seen installation, “The Street” in an exhibition paying homage to Oldenburg’s complexity and inventiveness.
“Chagall: Modern Master” at the Tate Liverpool, June 8 – October 6
With a selection of works highlighting the formative years of Chagall’s career — from his pre-war time in Paris, to his time in Russia during the Revolution — this exhibition explores Chagall’s early influences, and traces his development into an iconic 20th-century artist.
James Turrell at the Guggenheim, New York, June 21 – September 25
Best known for his still-uncompleted “Roden Crater,” for which he intends to transform a 3-mile-wide volcanic cone into a naked-eye observatory, James Turrell will perform a similar feat of reorientation and site-specificity with this exhibition, turning his skills to transforming the Guggenheim’s immense atrium.
“Vermeer and Music: The Art of Love and Leisure” at the National Gallery London, June 26 – September 8
There are only just over 30 known paintings by Vermeer, so having three in the same place at once is a special occasion. In this case, the works all depict young ladies practicing music, and the National Gallery is celebrating with an exhibition of 17th-century music with rare instruments, songbooks, and works by contemporaries of the Dutch master of light.
Balthus: Cats and Girls at the Met, New York, September 2013 – January 2014
While some have debated the erotic nature of Balthus’s work, nobody has doubted the accuracy with which he depicts adolescent ennui. With just 35 works, this exhibition offers a selection of Balthus's finest paintings, featuring his preferred models: young girls and cats.
“Damage Control: Art and Destruction since 1950” at the Hirshhorn Museum & Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC, September (TBA) – February 16, 2014
Sometimes it seems like we're living in the age of destruction, with the brutal wars of the 20th century, the obliterating atomic age, and ongoing fear of terrorist attacks. The Hirshhorn is salvaging through the wreckage with contemporary work from around the world for the first in-depth museum exploration of the art of annihilation.
Janet Cardiff: “The Forty Part Motet” at the Cloisters, New York, September 10 – December 8
As part of the Cloister's 75th year anniversary, Janet Cardiff's "The Forty Part Motet" (2001), which breaks out each voice in Thomas Tallis's "Spem in alium numquam habui" (1573) into 40 speakers, inhabits the acoustically friendly medieval Fuentidueña Chapel for what will surely be one of the most transcendent art experiences of the year.
“The Mystery of the Ordinary, 1926–1938 Magritte” at MoMA, New York, September 22, 2013 – January 12, 2014
Dedicated exclusively to the years of Magritte’s life in which he began painting in order to “challenge the world,” this exhibition explores the most groundbreaking period of the artist’s life and traces his development as a definitive Surrealist painter.
Paul Klee at Tate Modern, London, October 15, 2013 – March 9, 2014
Curated to illustrate the relationship between Klee’s work, his personal life, and the changing political climate of Europe, this exhibition brings together works from throughout Klee’s career — from his years teaching at the Bauhaus to his forced to return to Switzerland after his work was declared “degenerate” by the Nazi regime.
Christopher Wool at the Guggenheim, New York, October 25, 2013 – January 22, 2014
Combining elements of Abstract Expressionism and Pop Art, Christopher Wool’s works continually explore the ways in which images can be conceived and experienced. Presented in the museum’s rotunda, this retrospective includes paintings, works on paper, and photographs that engage these questions in an open-ended visual dialogue.
“War Is Over! (If You Want it): Yoko Ono,” at Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, November 14, 2013 – February 23, 2014
Not enough educated people (artists even!) seem to appreciate how cool Yoko Ono was before she became Mrs. John Lennon. Borrowing the name from a work of Ono’s that first appeared in 1969, this much-warranted retrospective of one of the co-authors of Conceptual art spans five decades.