Artwork: Salvador Dalí, Apparition of Face and Fruit Dish on a Beach, 1938. Oil on canvas. 114.3 x 143.8 cm. Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, CT. The Ella Gallup Sumner and Mary Catlin Sumner Collection Fund Photo © Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford / © Salvador Dali, Fundació Gala-Salvador Dalí, DACS 2016.
Fall is when everything begins, as the new season kicks into gear and people get in the swing of things. As your calendar fills up, there’s no better time to get away from it all and dip into a museum to catch an exhibition that will inspire the soul and inflame the mind. Crave spotlights five of the best new shows opening this season, each one a phenomenal collection of art and ideas.
States of America: Photography from the Civil Rights Movement to the Reagan Era
The history of the United States is a multifaceted mosaic of experiences, tiled together around a fragile center that exploded in civil war in the nation’s first hundred years. In its second century, it was rocked over and over again by peoples determined to live into the rights guaranteed under the Constitution against those who would deny them. From the 1960s through the 1980s, the nation faced some of its greatest challenges, from the Civil Rights Movement, which spawned the Women’s and Gay Liberation Movements, to the devastation of COINTELPRO and a government that willfully used illegal measures to destroy its people from within.
Looking back at what was and the promises of what might have been, Nottingham Contemporary, UK, presents States of America: Photography from the Civil Rights Movement to the Reagan Era, a collections of 250 photographs by 16 American masters, now on view through November 26, 2017. Among the artists featured are Crave faves Diane Arbus, Dawoud Bey, Mark Cohen, Bruce Davidson, Louis Draper, William Eggleston, Lee Friedlander, Jim Goldberg, Danny Lyon, Mary Ellen Mark, Stephen Shore, and Garry Winogrand.
Martin Wong: Human Instamatic
Chinese-American painter Martin Wong (1946-1999) was dubbed the “Human Instamatic” for his ability to create portraits of passerbys on the streets of Eureka, California, with the speed and precision of a photographer during the mid-1970s. In an era the Polaroid was the closest thing the world had to instant gratification. Wong took the cue and transferred the immediacy of the moment to his paintings of daily life made on New York’s Lower East Side in the 1980s and ‘90s.
In celebration, UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA) presents Martin Wong: Human Instamatic, the first museum retrospective to showcase the artist’s work. The exhibition (September 20–December 10, 2017), features works that capture life in the LES before the neighborhood was gentrified and whitewashed beyond recognition. Here, in Wong’s work, we are taken back to Old York, to a place where the streets were the center of life. Here, a tough and tender energy reveals itself in the love and lust, the dignity and despair of an education from the school of hard knocks.
The exhibition also includes works made after Wong returned home to live with his mother in San Francisco, where he spent his final years before dying of an AIDS-related illness. There poignant final paintings of cacti in the garden are surreal and space-age works that show Wong on a path to somewhere beyond the earth.
Items: Is Fashion Modern?
For the longest time, fashion was the exclusive provenance of the wealthy and the bourgeois classes, those who had money to invest in the illusion of appearances. Here, they could present themselves as they wished, whether setting the styles or following trends, able to invest large sums in hand-tailored suits and gowns. But then a revolution came and fashion took a turn, as workers clothes like denim jeans and white t-shirts were suddenly en vogue. As industry made it possible for mass production on an inexpensive scale, suddenly people from all walks of life could afford to engage in fashion as they never were before.
The Museum of Modern Art, New York, investigates this phenomenon, with an exhibitions that looks at Items and asks Is Fashion Modern? (October 1, 2017 – January 28, 2018). The exhibition presents a selection of 111 garments, footwear, and accessories that have come to define the changing idea of the nature of fashion itself. From Levi’s jeans and the bikini to the pashmina shawl and the dashiki, Items explores the ways in which items are designed, manufactured, distributed, and used.
The exhibition title reprises the question that architect and curator Bernard Rudofsky raised with his 1944 MoMA exhibition Are Clothes Modern?, which is the only other time MoMA has fully addressed this field of design. In Items, we move far past the traditions of Western dress and examine the culture and economics of fashion in a global marketplace.
In what could only be described as the height of surrealism itself, after exhuming legendary artist Salvador Dalí’s body for a paternity test, it has been determined that he is not the father of 61-year-old tarot card reader Maria Pilar Abel Martínez. Perhaps somewhere, from beyond the grave Marcel Duchamp titters at this spectacle of absurdity that rivals Dada itself. What could be more 21st century that to disturb the graves of a dead artist for a chance at wealth, fame, and lineage?
Ahh but as with so many things this century the high profile efforts were an epic fail. What remains but a return to the artists themselves? The Royal Academy of Arts, London, presents Dalí/Duchamp (October 7, 2017 – January 3, 2018), a remarkable look at the relationship between lifelong friends and colleagues. The exhibition presents Dalí’s most famous paintings and sculptures alongside Duchamp’s groundbreaking assemblages and readymades, along with lesser known photographs by Dalí, paintings by Duchamp, correspondence and collaborations between the two artists.
Can you imagine how those letters must read? In a time before digital media and memes, here are two of the greatest visual minds dialoguing with each other about a new way of envisioning and speaking to the world, willing to disregard all boundaries and break all taboos in favor of a whole new way of seeing the world.
2017 is David Hockney’s year. The celebrated British artist, who turned 80 this July, is being fêted with the largest retrospective of his career. Simply titled David Hockney, the exhibition opened at the Tate earlier this year, and now comes stateside to the fabled Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, where it will be on view from November 27, 2017, through February 25, 2018.
Over a period of six decades, Hockney has transformed the nature of picture making through his relentless questioning of conventions, always seeking to go deeper to connect with art’s very essence. The exhibition starts with the Love paintings, early work made in 1960 and ’61, in which he subverted the macho language of abstract expressionism and subverted it into a vehicle to express homoerotic ideas and experiences.
From there, the ehibition takes off, giving us a guided tour through Hockney’s singular world. He easily embraces new styles, new techniques, and new technologies in order to explore and expand his artistic vocabulary. The exhibition features his radical “joiner” assemblages of photographs, including the famed Pearlblossom Highway (1986) that created a fresh view of the California landscape.
The exhibition will continue up to the present era, where Hockney continues to produce work on his iPad, revealing the possibilities inherent in the digital realm. Forever an innovator of the visible world, Hockney lets neither age nor technology stand in the way of his quest to capture the beauty of existence through fresh eyes.
“When conventions are old, there’s quite a good reason, it’s not arbitrary,” David Hockney told Marco Livingstone in a series of interviews published in 1981 bearing the British artist’s name as his career was reaching new heights. “The way we see things is constantly changing. At the moment the way we see things has been left a lot to the camera. That shouldn’t necessarily be.”
Cheers to David Hockney, the painter of modern life.
Miss Rosen is a journalist covering art, photography, culture, and books. Her byline has appeared in L’Uomo Vogue, Vogue Online, The Undefeated, Dazed Digital, Aperture Online, and Feature Shoot. Follow her on Twitter @Miss_Rosen.