Shows to See in the US This February

From an exhibition of Hugo Crosthwaite at Luis De Jesus, Los Angeles, to a survey of Deana Lawson at the High Museum of Art, Atlanta, here are the best shows to see across the US right now

BY frieze in Exhibition Reviews , US Reviews | 03 FEB 23

Hugo Crosthwaite

Luis De Jesus, Los Angeles

14 January – 4 March

A teal, orange, and pink canvas with black drawing of a figure on a cactus and superimposed white outline of the Virgin Mary
Hugo Crosthwaite, Manifest Destiny (Guadaloupana), 2023, acrylic and oil stick on canvas, 1.8 × 1.2 m, installation view. Courtesy: the artist and Luis De Jesus Los Angeles

Conceptually positioned in the borderlands between the United States and Mexico, ‘Hugo Crosthwaite: Caravan’ at Luis De Jesus deploys the languages of artistic and popular media to portray both the perils of the border and the humanity of those who must traverse it. Upon plywood pedestals, hand-painted ceramic figurines, made to resemble ancient Mayan idols, represent the many migrants traveling in caravans with whom Crosthwaite has interacted for over 20 years (‘Caravan Group’, 2022). At the centre of each five-sculpture grouping, however, is a figure with no face but only a painted skull – a stark reminder of the many lives claimed by the border. – Armando Pulido

Brad Phillips

de boer, Los Angeles

7 January – 25 February

A painting of a woman, standing up on her tippy-toes, stretching to open or close the curtains, lit seductively from behind
Brad Phillips, Cristine in the Window, 2022, oil on canvas, 61 × 51 cm. Courtesy: the artist and de boer, Los Angeles

‘I Know What I Did Last Summer’, the title of Brad Phillips’s latest exhibition, suggests the opposite. It sounds like overcompensation, as if Phillips is reassuring himself of the strength of his memory, while alluding to its unreliability and the desire we sometimes have to revisit documentation to probe for truths we missed. At de Boer gallery, many of Phillips’s realistic paintings are created from photographic source material. His photogenic wife, the artist Cristine Brache, is the subject of a number of these works, in real and imagined spaces. One painting, Cristine in the Window (all works 2022), depicts her semi-silhouetted from behind, stretching to part the curtains to reveal the verdant foliage outside. Another, Detroit Masterpiece, shows her in profile with a spotlight illuminating her face and upper torso. In their drama and lighting, the images – like the exhibition title, which references the ‘90s slasher film I Know What You Did Last Summer – recall cinema or theatre. – Gracie Hadland

Deana Lawson

High Museum of Art, Atlanta

7 October 2022 – 19 February 2023

A reprinted image of an advertisement: a Black woman with gold jewelry and coral lips
Deana Lawson, Hair Advertisement, 2005, pigment print, 76 × 97 cm. Courtesy: the artist; Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York; and David Kordansky, Los Angeles

Deana Lawson’s retrospective in Atlanta is found down in the bowels of the building. This is the way one often encounters photography at major American museums: reproducible works on paper merit the least desirable real estate. Though the institutional architecture indicates a lingering indifference to art that troubles the relationship between uniqueness and value, Lawson is an omnivorous sampler of photographic genres up and down the complicated hierarchy of critical respectability. – Lauren DeLand

‘Is It Morning for You Yet?: the 58th Carnegie International’

Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh

24 September 2022 – 2 April 2023

A large structure made of plywood and earth-dyed tarps
Dala Nasser, Tomb of King Hiram, 2022, installation view. Courtesy: the artist and Carnegie Museum of Art; photograph: Sean Eaton

‘Is it morning for you yet?’, the 58th Carnegie International, borrows its title from the Mayan Kaqchikel expression for ‘good morning’. It also reads as a plea: have we awoken from this nightmare? Foregrounding the impact of US imperialism since 1945, the exhibition reaches into pasts that occupy the present, cracking open perpetrations obscured in collective consciousness or rarely apprehended together. With such an ambitious mandate, the show inevitably has its paradoxes: namely, how to de-centre the US while the country remains the protagonist of its thesis. At the same time, such oppositions – even contradictions – are key to its methodology. It is conceptually and structurally hybrid with works that range between abstraction and figuration, sorrow and hope, the historical and the contemporary. Presented both in the larger exhibition as well as in the micro shows within it, this selection yields an assemblage resisting singular meaning. What could this much mass despair and revolutionary strength look like, except for a magnitude exceeding individual comprehension? – Margaret Kross

Main image: Hugo Crosthwaite, ‘Caravan’, 2023, installation view. Courtesy: the artist and Luis De Jesus Los Angeles

Contemporary Art and Culture