Art Preview


Millennium Shows
This fall, the Whitney Museum of American Art will conclude its millennium extravaganza with part two of The American Century: Art & Culture 1900-2000. A look at the past 50 years, the exhibit will include approximately 600 works of painting, sculpture, photography, installation, film, and video. As in part one, the curators will stress the way in which art responds to prevailing social issues. Each decade will have “cultural sites” – the two sites for the fifties, for example, are called “The Cold War” and “The Cult of the Individual” – containing film clips, readings, posters, clothing, and other materials that establish context for the works on display. (September 26-February 13.)

To provide some perspective on the year 2000, the Montclair Art Museum is looking back one century in Paris 1900, a show that will re-create the American art installation from the Universal Exposition of that year held in Paris. At that exposition, American art began to claim its place in the sun. (September 19-January 16.) The Museum of American Folk Art will present Millennial Dreams: Vision and Prophecy in American Folk Art, an exploration of three centuries of visionary work, ranging from Shaker spirit drawings to New Mexican santos. (November 13-May 14.)

Ancient Art
The blockbuster Egyptian Art in the Age of the Pyramids at the Metropolitan Museum of Art will include about 250 important works from the formative period of ancient Egyptian culture, which is sometimes called the Old Kingdom (circa 2650-2150 B.C.). In addition to providing a survey of one of the greatest eras in art, the show will emphasize the beguiling humanity of much Egyptian work, which can seem at once abstract and disarmingly real. The curators and scholars behind the show have also reconsidered the evolution of Egyptian art, redating many pieces. (September 16-January 9.) Also at the Met is The Artist as Collector: Masterpieces of Chinese Painting from the C.C. Wang Family Collection, a show organized around works of Chinese art from one of this century’s greatest private collections. (September 3-January 9.)

Modern Art
Among exhibits of contemporary art, Sensation: Young British Artists from the Saatchi Collection at the Brooklyn Museum of Art should prove especially provocative; it riled up London and Berlin in earlier showings. Of the 44 artists represented, Damien Hirst is the best-known. He made a name for himself by exhibiting sliced-up animals – including cows and sheep – in sealed containers of formaldehyde. (October 2-January 9.) At the P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center, Children of Berlin will examine what happened to art in that city once the wall was torn down in 1989. The circumstances were extraordinary: a city piecing itself together into a new collage. (November 7-January 2.)

The work of the prolific 47-year-old Italian painter Francesco Clemente is going to fill the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum rotunda. His darkly imaginative pictures, which often include depictions of his own body, first caught the imagination of the art world in the early eighties. (October 8-January 9.) The New Museum of Contemporary Art will have an exhibition of the work of Cildo Meireles, a well-known Brazilian conceptual artist. It will include room-size installations, environments, and sculpture. (November 19-March 5.) At New York University’s Grey Art Gallery, Inverted Odysseys: Claude Cahun, Maya Deren, Cindy Sherman will compare the work of three women artists who specialize in various forms of the self-portrait. (November 16-January 29.)

Arts and Crafts
The New York Public Library is organizing Seeing is Believing: 700 Years of Scientific and Medical Illustration, a show that will include celebrated texts and images on a wide variety of subjects ranging from astronomy to biology. Many of the images of the interior of the body are fantastically strange and otherworldly. The old titles can also be wonderfully peculiar. William Beaumont called a treatise published in 1833 “Experiments and Observations on the Gastric Juice, and the Physiology of Digestion.” (October 23-February 19.) The American Craft Museum is offering (through October 10) Head, Heart, Hands: Native American Craft Traditions in a Contemporary World, a survey of the ways in which Indians today are transforming ancient tribal traditions. The Smithsonian’s George Gustav Heye Center of the National Museum of the American Indian will show Instruments of Change, a retrospective of the work of the influential Tlingit artist Jim Schoppert, who died in 1992. (October 3-February 6.) Also at the American Craft Museum is The Beaded Universe: Strands of Culture, an exhibit that looks at the use of beads in many different periods and cultures. (October 21-January 30.)

The art of drawing will, as usual, be richly represented. At the Met, 92 drawings are part of the exhibition of Ingres’s portraits. The Frick Collection is presenting Watteau and His World: French Drawings from 1700 to 1750, a show of about 65 drawings by the French master and his contemporaries. Hunter College will show Giulio Romano, Master Designer, an exhibition of about 45 drawings (including some erotic works) by the great Italian mannerist. (September 16-November 27.) Those who fell in love with the work of John Singer Sargent after seeing his retrospective (which is now in Boston) will want to see John Singer Sargent, Draughtsman: Works from the Corcoran Gallery of Art, an exhibit of more than 90 works on paper at the Grey Art Gallery of New York University. (August 31-October 30.) At the Drawing Center, Darkness Like a Dream: Nineteenth Century Sandpaper Drawings From the Collections of Randall and Tanya Holton, Matt Mullican, and Valerie Smith presents examples of an almost-forgotten folk-art tradition of drawing from the mid-nineteenth century, in which artists used charcoal on boards coated with marble dust. (September 10-October 14.)

Architectural Drawing
The Drawing Center is also presenting Another City for Another Life: Constant’s “New Babylon,” a celebration of the utopian architecture of Constant Nieuwenhuys (who was known mainly by his first name). Constant was part of a group of radical activists who between 1956 and the mid-seventies mounted a fierce critique of modern urban planning and what they considered a dehumanized environment. Constant designed an alternative city whose inhabitants would live in a kind of nomadic bliss. (November 2-December 30.) At the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, The Work of Charles and Ray Eames: A Legacy of Invention will examine the work of the American husband-and-wife team who sought to use design to make everyday life more useful, interesting, and lively (see “Architecture,” page 114). More than 500 works will be on view, including furniture, buildings, and toys created from the forties through the seventies. (October 12-January 9.)

For Kids
Among shows that should interest children as well as adults is The Great Experiment: George Washington and the American Republic at the Morgan Library, a selection of about 160 manuscripts, maps, artworks, and personal artifacts that concern the first president. A first printing of the Declaration of Independence and the letter and terms of surrender of the British general Cornwallis highlight the show. (September 16-January 9.) The New-York Historical Society is organizing $24: The Legendary Deal for Manhattan, an exhibition that will investigate the most famous real-estate steal in New York history. Did it really happen? Why is the story so appealing? (September 21-March 9.) The Heckscher Museum of Art in Huntington, Long Island, invited 21 artists, architects, and designers – among them Faith Ringgold and Milton Glaser – to create millennium time capsules. Children might be inspired to make their own. (November 20-January 30.)

Children should also take a particular interest in the return engagement of The Butterfly Conservatory at the American Museum of Natural History, which will display a colorful array of these live, fluttering dandies. They seem to enjoy landing on a child’s head. (October 9-February 27.) Children might also enjoy Body Art: Marks of Identity at the same museum, a serious but colorful examination of the practice of decorating the body that will range over thousands of years. They will be able to shiver over the practice of ancient tattooing and piercing and admire “head shaping.” However … parents might want to keep adolescents away from the show, lest they get some ideas. (November 20-May 29.)


Paintings and Works On Paper
At Deitch Projects, San Francisco artist Margaret Kilgallen will cover the gallery’s walls with a mural using her own formula of recycled house paint and pastels; she’ll also be showing smaller works on wood, which, like her mural, reflect her interest in American hobo culture and incorporate text rendered freehand in old-fashioned lettering. (76 Grand Street; September 9-October 9.)

Fans of Carroll Dunham’s psycho-animated narratives – late Philip Guston meets South Park? – can expect a thirteen-foot-long painting in which an oversize blue, shiplike building is a battleground for cartoony figures sporting bizarre headdresses and multifunctional genitalia. (Metro Pictures, 519 West 24th Street; October 23-November 26.)

No artist, Duchamp included, has tended his own mystique as shrewdly as Balthus (Balthasar Klossowksi de Rola, born in Paris in 1908), who says of himself, “Balthus is a painter of whom nothing is known”; resides in an eighteenth-century chalet in a Swiss village; has long claimed to be the Count de Rola; and is best known for his paintings of languorous girls in mysterious settings. That aside, Balthus has produced some of the more remarkable paintings of this century, some 25 of which – his stellar, painterly landscapes among them – will form his first United States retrospective in fifteen years. (Beadleston Gallery, 724 Fifth Avenue, at 56th Street; October 20-November 13.)

Everyone’s jumping on the portraiture bandwagon these days. Of the younger crowd, Till Freiwald has taken one of the fresher approaches to the genre. He first paints small watercolors of his subjects over the course of several sittings, then creates monumental-scale ones from memory. But unlike, say, Chuck Close’s early portraits, which magnify their subjects’ personalities or attitudes, Freiwald’s bland faces eerily project the artist’s own scrutinizing gaze. (Jack Shainman Gallery, 513 West 20th Street; September 9-October 9.)

At PaceWildenstein, the late Saul Steinberg will be remembered in a survey of his drawings from the fifties through the nineties, “Saul Steinberg: Drawing Into Being,” including rarely seen works with stamp marks (made with rubber stamps that the artist had especially produced bearing images from his own drawings), and parodies of still lifes by Picasso, Braque, and other Cubists. (32 East 57th Street; October 1-30.)

Sculpture and Installation
For her first New York solo show, SculptureCenter’s 1999 artist-in-residence Luisa Caldwell is transforming its gallery into an exotic interior comprising freestanding arches and theater flats papered with hand-silk-screened patterns, cast-iron carpet weights, a dreamlike video projection, and a life-size, lifelike cow. (167 East 69th Street; September 9-October 16.)

The centerpiece of Not Vital’s show of mostly hydrocal and marble sculptures is a work in glass, a relatively new medium for the Swiss artist. The Life of a Deer represents the animal’s life span – and, in keeping with much of Vital’s work, its relationship to man – through ten pairs of blown-glass deer antlers based on real ones in various states of maturity that the Swiss artist had copied by a master glassblower in Murano. (Sperone Westwater, 142 Greene Street; September 8-October 2.)

The history of the opium trade – and Westerners’ obsession with and fear of the Orient – is the subject of Opium Works, Barbara Broughel’s installation of objects (opium paraphernalia, Asia-trade imports, and more) and drawings at Frederieke Taylor/TZ’Art; brooms, domestic implements, and other Salem staples from “Requiem,” her series inspired by court transcripts of the trials of several New Englanders prosecuted for witchcraft, will also be exhibited. (470 Broome Street; September 15-October 16.)

Alison Saar’s new sculptures continue her evocation of the African-American female experience, this time in large figures carved from wood and covered with tar. In her mysterious Dark Roots, a work suspended from the ceiling, two such figures are joined at the hair, one upside down on top of the other. And in a series titled “Skillet Studies,” iron frying pans bear painted portraits of female domestic workers. (Phyllis Kind Gallery, 136 Greene Street; September 18-October 30.)

In his first show with Mary Boone Gallery, “Page Six” regular Tom Sachs probes his viewers’ relationship to mechanical devices (or, as he puts it, “cultural prosthetics”) with his elaborate aggregations of handmade toilets, sinks, and boom boxes. (745 Fifth Avenue, at 57th Street; September 10-October 23.)

Reminiscent of John Cage’s experiments with everyday objects as musical instruments, Céleste Boursier-Mougenot’s installation uses submerged microphones to amplify the haunting chimes of dishes and glasses floating in inflated, water-filled pools. (Paula Cooper Gallery, 534 West 21st Street; September 10-October 16.)

Group Shows Not to Be Missed
“Trippy World,” psychedelic visions by Mary Beyt, Minnie Evans, Yayoi Kusama, Sigmar Polke, Anne-Françoise Potterat, and others (Baron/Boisanté Editions, 50 West 57th Street; September 18-November 6); “Whichkraft?” with supernaturally inclined works by Meghan Boody, Bryan Crockett, Peter Garfield, Peggy Preheim, and others. (Trans Hudson Gallery, 416 West 13th Street; September 21-October 23.)

The ambiguous relationship of modern Japanese society to American culture has always been at the heart of Daido Morimaya’s grainy, cropped, black-and-white photographs, which go on view this fall in concurrent exhibitions at the Japan Society and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. “Daido Morimaya: Stray Dog” (Japan Society, 333 East 47th Street; September 23-January 2) features more than 130 vintage prints dating from the sixties through the nineties, whose images include a stray dog wandering the streets of Misawa City and evoke alienation, abandonment, and loss. The 40 photographs in “Daido Morimaya: Hunter” (Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1000 Fifth Avenue, at 82nd Street; September 22-January 2), mostly shot through the windows of a moving car, were inspired by Jack Kerouac’s On the Road and were originally published in his 1972 book Hunter. In addition, Laurence Miller Gallery will show a selection of vintage Morimaya prints (20 West 57th Street; September 16-October 30).

The International Center of Photography honors two masters of their respective genres this fall. “Bill Brandt: A Retrospective” (ICP Midtown, 1133 Sixth Avenue, at 43rd Street; through October 31) spans more than 50 years of the British photographer’s career, from his early work documenting social contrasts in pre-World War II Britain to his stark portraits of artists and writers (Francis Bacon, E. M. Forster, et al.) and high-contrast nudes distorted with wide-angle lenses. “James Nachtwey: A Retrospective” (ICP, 1130 Fifth Avenue, at 94th Street; October 20-February 13) gathers some 200 of the celebrated photojournalist’s poignant images of strife taken between 1981 and the present, pictures that reveal the effect of war on the individual human being.

“Of all my protégés, he was one who best understood what I meant about movement,” said the art director Alexey (“Astonish me!”) Brodovitch of Paul Himmel, who shot for Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue before giving up photography in 1969 to become a psychotherapist. Prepare then to be astonished by a new book, Paul Himmel (Assouline Editions; $75), designed by Himmel’s wife, photographer Lillian Bassman, and a retrospective exhibition. (James Danziger Gallery, 851 Madison Avenue, at 71st Street; October 23-November 27.)

Lever House, Gordon Bunshaft’s icon of modernist architecture, and an aged appliance-store window display merge in Jennifer Bolande’s ambitious Appliance House, a photo-sculpture comprising multiple points of view of both sites shot by the artist at night and combining the format of a 35-mm contact sheet with the exactly reproduced proportions of Lever House. (Alexander and Bonin, 132 Tenth Avenue; September 9-October 16.)

Fashion and Lou Reed aren’t Timothy Greenfield-Sanderss only subjects. He’s also shot some 700 art-world heavyweights over the past two decades – more than enough to fill Timothy Greenfield-Sanders Art World (December 10; Fotofolio; $39.95). Mary Boone, herself a subject, will exhibit a selection of images at her gallery. (Mary Boone Gallery, 745 Fifth Avenue, at 57th Street; October 29-December 18.)

David Seidner, who died of aids in June, will be remembered in an exhibition of his photographs for Vanity Fair, Harper’s Bazaar, The New York Times Magazine, and other publications. (Staley-Wise, 560 Broadway; September 17-November 6.)


Daguerreotypes and photograms of dresses, smoke, and shadows of flying birds by Adam Fuss (Cheim & Read, 521 West 23rd Street; September 9-October 16); images of urban street life by Mitch Epstein (Brent Sikkema, 530 West 22nd Street; September 10-October 16); landscape photographs on the theme of piles (of leaves, rocks, snow, tires, et cetera) by John Pfahl (Janet Borden, Inc., 560 Broadway, at Prince Street; September 25-October 23); male and female nudes by Alvin Booth (Yancey Richardson Gallery, 560 Broadway, at Prince Street; September 9-October 9).

Art Preview