1) War and Pieced: The Annette Gero Collection of Quilts From Military Fabrics | American Folk Art Museum First of its kind in the United States, this exhibition highlights the vibrant quilts created exclusively by men during the nineteenth century from the British Empire. Produced by the men of war, the quilts are made of none other than their own British military uniforms and dress attire. Many are constructed from thousands of fabric pieces, all usually no larger than a 1-inch square, and showcase both decorative patterns and visual imagery. Within the context of wartime, these quilts can be seen as icons of emotional expression in the aftermath of these conflicts. Equal part beautiful and haunting, these quilts visualize the experience of honor and valor, as well as loss and despair.
Artist Unidentified, Soldier's Patchwork with Incredible Border. Image courtesy of American Folk Art Museum.
Senga Nengudi from RSVP series. Image courtesy of Hammer Museum.
2) Senga Nengudi: Improvisational Gestures | De Paul Museum An icon from the 1970s and a continued and ever relevant presence over the past 50 years, Senga Nengudi is considered one of the under-recognized artists of the past century. In this solo exhibition, the De Paul Museum explores Nengudi's famous sculptural works made with panty hose and sand that consider the body and identity. As a key player in the radical black avant-garde movement in the 1970s seen in both New York City and Los Angeles, Nengudi created the "RSVP" series, her most well known work, that combined movement (the process of her building and making the pantyhose sculpture) and the sculpture itself. These famous works will be revisited with this exhibition and will include performers re-creating the "RSVP" series.
3) Takashi Murakami: The Octopus Eats Its Own Leg | Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago In a major retrospective of his work, MCA Chicago is filling their gallery with the vibrant work of anime-inspired artist, Takashi Murakami. Known for his famous collaborations with the likes of Kanye West and Louis Vuitton, Murakami has consistently portrayed sweetness with a sour undertone. With a fluid mixture between traditional Japanese painting and anime cartoons, Murakami creates conversations about contemporary social culture and how humanity consumes it. Known for his large-scale works filled with complex dialogues and characters, Murakami has become a style that is easily recognizable. Spanning three decades of his career, the exhibition showcases fifty pieces, some never before been seen in the United States.
Installation view of The Octopus Eats Its Own Leg. Image courtesy of MCA Chicago.
Keila Alaver, Sem Titulo (Untitled), 2000. Image courtesy of Museum of Modern Art, São Paulo.
4) Past/Future/Present: Contemporary Brazilian Art From The Museum of Modern Art São Paulo | Phoenix Art Museum As the largest collection of contemporary Brazilian art in the United States, this proves to be a singular opportunity for American audiences to view the progressive Brazilian contemporary artists from the 1990s to 2010s. With a mixture of mediums, 59 artists explore 5 interconnected themes such as "The Body/The Social Body, Landscape, and Impossible Objects". The exhibition showcases the diversity and innovative nature of Brazilian artists that cannot be defined by any certain "ism", contemplating shared experiences, indigenous mythologies, and social standards. The title of the exhibition implies these narratives connect to the past and look towards the future with a wider, global perspective.
5) Unsettled | Nevada Museum of Art The Greater West (a super-region reaching from Alaska to Patagonia, and from Australia to the American West) is the landscape that inspires this exhibition. Although thousands of miles stretch across this region, its similarities (open landscapes, rich natural resources, and indigenous groups) provides a congruent blank canvas for resident artists. Although the exhibition has a specific regional focus, the timeline of the artwork spans a whopping 2,000 years, ranging from Pre-Columbian to modern and contemporary art. With such a vast and diverse spectrum, Unsettled aims to make connections through both time and space, creating a relatable conversation about the landscape and the people of this super-region.
Nicholas Galanin, Things Are Looking Native, Native’s Looking Whiter, 2012. Image courtesy of Nevada Museum of Art.