The New Season: Museums

Today, and in weeks to come, we’re previewing THE NEW SEASON. To begin, our Ben Tracy is seeing what’s up in the world of art:

If you’ve ever left your heart in San Francisco, the city’s just re-opened Museum of Modern Art might provide a very good reason to come back.

It’s been closed for three years while undergoing a $300 million renovation. It cost a lot, but it’s now a lot bigger … nearly three times bigger.

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“German Art After 1960,” at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

Iwan Baan/SFMOMA

Compared to other museums in the country, SFMOMA is now “one of the largest museums of art in the country and at the moment, the largest museum in terms of gallery square footage of any modern museum in the country,” said Neal Benezra, the museum’s director.

And size matters?  “Oh, it matters!” Benezra laughed. “I have not met a museum director yet who did not want a bigger building. A bigger building allows you to have more programs, more educational opportunities, welcome more visitors, and of course show more art.”

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“Triple Elvis [Ferus type]” by Andy Warhol, 1963.

Doris and Donald Fisher Collection at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art/© The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Which means the museum can now dedicate its bigger galleries to big-name artists such as Ellsworth Kelly, Chuck Close, Frank Stella, Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol.  Rest assured, Elvis has not left the building.

Tracy asked, “How radical of a transformation is this?”

“A much better building, a much better and larger collection, but at the same time we feel very much like a start-up,” Benezra said. “Everything is new and exciting for us. We are reinventing ourselves.”

“You feel like you’re starting over?”

“We are starting over. Absolutely.”

But if you can’t make it here to San Francisco, don’t worry: There’s plenty of art to see across the country.

Three states over, in Colorado, the Denver Art Museum explores Japanese fashion design in its latest exhibit, “Shock Wave.”

And at the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth, Texas, “Monet: The Early Years.”

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Left: “On the Bank of the Seine, Bennecourt,” from the show “Monet: The Early Years” at the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth. Right: “Self-Portrait on the Border Line between Mexico and the United States” by Frida Kahlo, at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Art Institute of Chicago; © Banco de México Diego Rivera Frida Kahlo Museums Trust, Mexico, D. F. Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

On the East Coast, the Philadelphia Museum of Art looks South, with “Paint the Revolution: Mexican Modernism,” which explores the forces shaping Mexico and the future of modern art.

And then, there’s New York City, where two highly-anticipated exhibits opened this weekend. At the Whitney, a retrospective of works from 101-year-old abstract artist Carmen Herrera.

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Left: “Iberic” by Carmen Herrera, 1949, at the Whitney Museum of American Art. Right: Maurizio Cattelan’s “America” at the Guggenheim Museum in New York City.

© Carmen Herrera/Lisson Gallery; Guggenheim Museum

Uptown at the Guggenheim, the art is more interactive. An 18-carat golden toilet. And yes, you can use it!  It’s artist Maurizio Cattelan’s commentary on economic disparity, but also our common humanity. It’s perhaps one toilet truly worthy of being called a throne. 

More exhibits to watch for:

Boston:

“Christian Marclay: The Clock” at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (through January 29, 2017)

“UH-OH: Frances Stark 1991-2015”​ at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (through January 29, 2017)

New York City:

“Diane Arbus: In the Beginning,”​ at the Met Breuer, New York City (through November 27)

“Mierle Laderman Ukeles: Maintenance Art”​ at the Queens Museum (September 18, 2016-February 19, 2017)

“Projects 104: Nástio Mosquito”​ at the Museum of Modern Art (September 23-October 30)

“Agnes Martin,”​ at the Guggenheim Museum (October 7, 2016-January 11, 2017)

“Valentin de Boulogne: Beyond Caravaggio”​ at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (October 7, 2016-January 16, 2017)

“Françoise Grossen Selects”​ at the Museum of Arts and Design, New York City (October 18, 2016-March 15, 2017)

“Pipilotti Rist: Pixel Forest”​ at New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York City (October 26, 2016-January 15, 2017)

Philadelphia:

“World War I and American Art”​ at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia (November 4, 2016-April 9, 2017)

Baltimore:

“Front Room: Guerrilla Girls”​ at the Baltimore Museum of Art (September 25, 2016-March 12, 2017)

“Matisse/Diebenkorn”​ at the Baltimore Museum of Art (October 23, 2016-January 29, 2017)

Washington, D.C.

“Los Angeles to New York: Dwan Gallery, 1959-1971,”​ at the National Gallery of Art (September 30, 2016-January 29, 2017)

Indianapolis:

“Beyond Spaceship Earth”​ at the Children Museum of Indianapolis

New Orleans:

“George Dunbar”​ at New Orleans Museum of Art (November 3, 2016-February 19, 2017)

Minneapolis:

“Martin Luther: Art and the Reformation”​ at Minneapolis Institute of Art (October 30, 2016-January 15, 2017)

Los Angeles:

“Toba Khedoori”​ at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (September 25, 2016-March 19, 2017)

“John McLaughlin Paintings: Total Abstraction”​ at LACMA (November 13, 2016-April 16, 2017)

“Picasso and Rivera: Conversations Across Time”​ at LACMA (December 4, 2016-April 30, 2017)

Oakland:

“All Power to the People: Black Panthers at 50”​ at the Oakland Museum of California (October 8, 2016-February 12, 2017)

Denver:

“Glory of Venice: Masterworks of the Renaissance”​ at the Denver Art Museum (October 2, 2016-February 12, 2017)

“Star Wars and the Power of Costume”​ at the Denver Museum of Art (November 13, 2016- April 2, 2017)

Seattle:

“Yves Saint Laurent: The Perfection of Style”​ at the Seattle Art Museum (October 11, 2016-January 8, 2017)

        
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