Exhibitions Not to Miss Across the US This June

From a group show of funky ceramics at The Museum of Arts and Design, New York, to Richard Mosse at Altman Siegel and Minnesota Street Project Foundation, San Francisco

BY frieze in Critic's Guides , US Reviews | 09 JUN 23

‘Funk you too! Humor and Irreverence in Ceramic Sculpture’

Museum of Arts and Design, New York

18 March – 27 August

An installation image: three pedestals in primary colors with anthropomorphic vessels atop them
‘Funk You Too! Humor and Irreverence in Ceramic Sculpture’, 2023, installation view. Courtesy: The Museum of Arts and Design; photograph: Jenna Bascom

Was funk art a bona fide movement, or is ‘funky’ just a fragrant adjective? Even in 1960s San Francisco, funk wasn’t exactly a collective effort. Its attitude, as curator Peter Selz described in the essay accompanying his 1967 show ‘FUNK’ at Berkeley Art Museum, spanned artists who explored garish hues, unwieldy shapes, pop-cultural imagery and vulgarity’s limits. Selz called funk an ‘anti-form’ that rejected New York’s cool minimalism for a ‘scatological’, Freud-inflected style – but jokey, so Herr Doktor’s theories became larks. Artists Selz showed – among them Joan Brown, Bruce Conner and Peter Voulkos – disputed his claims. But it wasn’t these established practitioners who needed what funk proffered: instead, Selz gave permission to the bawdy searchers, while offering their art at least the appearance of an intellectual context. And none felt more enabled than Robert Arneson who, with fellow ceramicists Howard Kottler and Maija Peeples-Bright, took funk as a foundation for chimerical, playful and sometimes wilfully amateur work. – Daniel Felsenthal

Richard Mosse

Altman Siegel and Minnesota Street Project Foundation, San Francisco

11 May – 30 June

A cobalt blue expanse of water dotted with neon orange that looks almost like Impressionist dabs of paint
Richard Mosse, Broken Spectre, 2018–22, film still. Courtesy: © Richard Mosse; Altman Siegel, San Francisco; and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York

It’s difficult to deny the good intentions of Richard Mosse’s multi-channel, feature-length film Broken Spectre (2018–22): it seeks to represent the complex, dire situation playing out in the Amazon, where massive industrial extraction has destroyed vast swathes of environmental habitats. There is also no denying the film’s overwhelming post-production choices, which create a media tour-de-force that immerses viewers in highly wrought images, both seductive and disturbing. Projected in the dark, cavernous former warehouse of Minnesota Street Project Foundation, Broken Spectre is delivered with an intensively tooled soundtrack by Ben Frost at viscera-trembling volume. – Brian Karl

Chrysanne Sthathacos


10 May – 10 June

Yellow, black and red and rose petals in the shape of a tree
Chrysanne Stathacos, Rose Blood Tree, 1992, printed roses (oil based) on portrait linen, 2 × 1.3 m. Courtesy: the artist and Anonymous, New York

‘The Re-Turn’, Chrysanne Stathacos’s first New York solo show in five years, is a fitting homecoming to an underrecognized former figure of the downtown scene. Displayed in Anonymous’s meditative subterranean gallery, the artist’s paintings and prints speak to a cerebral, Buddhist-inflected enlightenment about the coexistence of past, present and future and to the profundity of loss experienced by Stathacos and her community during the AIDS crisis in the 1990s. ‘The Re-Turn’ reminds us that, though widely derided at the time, Stathacos’s ethos of care and community-building was trailblazing. – Adam Smith-Perez

Mark Bradford

Hauser & Wirth, New York

13 April – 28 July

A triptych with a dark brown ground; yellow highlights and almost figurative colourful shapes over
Mark Bradford, Fire Fire, 2021, mixed media on canvas, 346 × 688 × 6 cm. Courtesy: © Mark Bradford and Hauser & Wirth; photograph: Sarah Muehlbauer

In Mark Bradford’s swirling, disquieting Fire Fire (2021), danger is braided with childish whimsy: flames mingle with verdant, vibrant life. The scene is alight with thick, gold paint, which ripples against passages of smouldering black. Layered above this inferno, however, is a pastel landscape bountiful with flora and fauna. The title, an echo, calls out across the gallery to its visual counterpart, Jungle Jungle (2021), which responds with a frenzy of saturated, bold colour dripping tendrils of gold paint. These twin works are displayed alongside four related paintings on the first floor of ‘You Don’t Have to Tell Me Twice’. Sprawling across the entire building, Bradford’s eloquent abstractions, alongside sculpture and video work, negotiates the artist’s personal history as well as broader histories of race, migration and land. – Zoë Hopkins

Main image: Richard Mosse, Broken Spectre, 2018–22, film still. Courtesy: © Richard Mosse; Altman Siegel, San Francisco; and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York

Contemporary Art and Culture