Shows to See in the US this July

These are the shows currently on our radar, from an exhibition reflecting on the history of artist-cultivated gardens at MoMA PS1 to the first show at ICA Miami to highlight its permanent collection

in Critic's Guides , Exhibition Reviews , US Reviews | 22 JUL 22

‘Laurie Anderson: The Weather’
Hirshhorn Museum
24 September 2021 - 7 August 2022

A curved museum space with white handwritten text and drawings over black walls, sculptures at the center, including a tree
Laurie Anderson, Four Talks, 2021, installation view, Hirshhorn Museum, Washington, DC. Courtesy: the artist and Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC; photograph: Ron Blunt

The strangely idiosyncratic sentence ‘I dreamed I had to take a test in a Dairy Queen on another planet’ appears twice in ‘Laurie Anderson: The Weather’, an expansive exhibition of the artist’s works across different genres and mediums: once in a text-based wall painting and, again, in an archival image, as a part of a backdrop from Anderson’s 1986 concert film Home of the Brave. The statement’s tone and implied sense of narrative illuminate many of the elements that recur across the artist’s decades of creative output, in fields that include performance art, recorded music and experimental opera. But more than anything else, perhaps, it makes clear that, regardless of the tools she employs, stories are Anderson’s primary artistic medium. - Logan Lockner

'Life Between Buildings'
2 June 2022 - 16 January 2023

The concrete walls of the PS1 courtyard, with a small sculpture of a figure sitting atop the wall at centre, skyscrapers in the background
‘Life Between Buildings’, 2022, installation view. Courtesy: MoMA PS1; photograph: Steven Paneccasio

‘Life Between Buildings’, a group show at MoMA PS1 curated by Jody Graf, unearths a genealogy of artist-cultivated gardens in New York, starting in the late 1960s and continuing into the present. In the exhibition, ‘green’ carries multiple meanings: it is the colour of the spontaneous vegetation celebrated in Cecilia Vicuña’s performance Sidewalk Forests (1981) and of the peaty topography covering Tom Burr’s dioramas of The Ramble in Central Park featuring the ‘desire lines’ repeatedly etched into the ground by cruising gay men (‘A Ramble in Central Park’, 1992). More abstractly, ‘green washing’ connotes the duplicitous environmental marketing strategies employed by the New York real-estate industry that loom throughout the exhibition’s historical narrative – as seen in Aki Onda’s installation Silence Prevails: Lower East Side Community Gardens During the Pandemic (2020), which showcases an archive of Lower East Side community garden ephemera, including a ‘Wanted’ poster for a developer who razed a downtown plot to make way for an apartment building. - Maxwell Smith-Holmes

‘Fire, Figure, Fantasy: Selections from ICA Miami’s Collection’
ICA Miami
12 May - 30 October 2022

Installation shot with two paintings in the background, one of a figure reclined against a dusk scene, the other of a vivid green trees with the feeling of a storm brewing; in the foreground, what appears to be a brass sculpture of a little girl lying down, storks standing over her
‘Fire, Figure, Fantasy’, 2022, exhibition view, ICA Miami. Courtesy: ICA Miami; photograph: Zachary Balber

Upon entering ‘Fire, Figure, Fantasy’ – ICA Miami’s first major show to highlight its permanent collection – visitors find themselves immersed in Jonathas de Andrade’s Cartazes para o Museu do Homem do Nordeste (Posters for the Museum of the Northeast Man, 2013), a large display of 77 posters and ten inkjet prints depicting Brazilian men. Some are hard at work; others, bare-chested, stare back at the viewer. All are portrayed as models for fictional advertisements for the Museum of the Northeast Man, an institution founded by Brazilian anthropologist Gilberto Freyre in 1979 in Northern Brazil. The installation, which also includes six transparent acetates of the artist’s notes about his encounters with the men, screened on an overhead projector, acts as a commentary on how museums create and reinforce monolithic cultural identities. - Salomé Gómez-Upegui

‘Kazuko Miyamoto: To perform a line’
Japan Society
29 April - 24 July, 2022

Image of an Asian-presenting woman wearing a black mask, totally naked, upside down on her shoulders, her legs kicked out;  behind her are unfinished white gridded sculptures
Kazuko Miyamoto, Stunt (181 Chrystie Street, 1981), 1982, unique photocopy made out of approximately 44 pieces of various sizes, 150 × 97 cm. Courtesy: the artist, EXILE, Vienna and Take Ninagawa, Tokyo

The photograph Stunt (181 Chrystie Street) 1981 (1982) documents Kazuko Miyamoto performing naked in her studio. She faces the camera from underneath a dark mask that covers her eyes, her body propped upside-down upon her shoulders and elbows, her legs kicked out overhead. Behind her are two Sol LeWitt grid sculptures that, in her role as his studio assistant, she was presumably in the process of fabricating, her arched back and scissored legs contrasting with their cool geometry. The photograph quite literally foregrounds the body that constructs the work, upending minimalism’s self-proclaimed aloofness from politics and personal feeling. The work is a fitting introduction to ‘Kazuko Miyamoto: To perform a line’ at the Japan Society: a show, in many ways, about artistic labour and who gets to participate in its histories. - Mariana Fernández

Main image: ‘Fire, Figure, Fantasy’, 2022, exhibition view, ICA Miami. Courtesy: ICA Miami; photograph: Zachary Balber

Exhibition reviews image: Kazuko Miyamoto with assistant creating string constructions in her studio at 181 Chrystie Street, 1970s. Courtesy: the artist and Zürcher Gallery, New York/Paris