Shows to See in the US This November

From Jasper Johns survey across two major museums to Erna Rosenstein's oneiric tableaux at Hauser & Wirth, these are the must-see show in the US

BY frieze in Exhibition Reviews , US Reviews | 12 NOV 21

Woody De Othello, 'Looking In', 2021, exhibtion view, Jessica Silverman, San Francisco. Courtesy: the artist and Jessica Silverman; photography Philip Maisel
Woody De Othello, 'Looking In', 2021, exhibition view, Jessica Silverman, San Francisco. Courtesy: the artist and Jessica Silverman; photograph: Philip Maisel

Woody De Othello

Jessica Silverman, San Francisco

2 October – 13 November

During the COVID-19 lockdown, Bay Area-based artist Woody De Othello created work that celebrates life, time and interiority. ‘Looking In’, Othello’s latest outing at Jessica Silverman in San Francisco, is as ludic and funky as his past exhibitions while further investigating elasticity and mutability in everyday forms. In this show, the artist’s recurring motifs of plants, flowers, mirrors, phones, light switches, clocks and body parts – depicted in ceramic sculptures, works on paper and paintings – deliver an experience akin to noticing the minutia of our daily lives while stuck at home during shelter-in-place orders for the better part of a year. Natasha Boas

Tryptyk ciszy i ognia (Silence and Fire Triptych) Erna Rosenstein 1974 Oil on canvas with hinged wooden frame 100.5 x 159.7 x 0.7 cm / 39 5/8 x 62 7/8 x 1/4 in (overall)
Erna Rosenstein, Tryptyk ciszy i ognia (Silence and Fire Triptych), 1974, oil on canvas with hinged wooden frame 100 × 160  × 1 cm  (overall). © The Estate of Erna Rosenstein / Adam Sandauer. Courtesy: Hauser & Wirth and Foksal Gallery Foundation; photography: Marek Gardulski

Erna Rosenstein

Hauser & Wirth, New York

30 September – 23 December

Erna Rosenstein was by no means an outsider artist, but her contribution to the aesthetic discourse of postwar Europe is virtually unknown outside of Poland – the country where she lived and worked until her death in 2004. In fact, Rosenstein’s life placed her amid the atrocities, ideological struggles and artistic movements that shaped European history in the 20th century. Besides being a highly trained artist immersed in the avant-garde circles of her time, she was a Jewish woman who survived the Holocaust and was a committed leftist who lived through the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe. The impact of Rosenstein’s work, however, extends far beyond the extraordinarily turbulent and traumatic circumstances of her life. Her artistic output demonstrates a playful inventiveness that feels relevant and necessary today – a testament to the vital role of the imagination in personal and political struggles. — Peter Brock

Elyse Pignolet, He Was Pretty Much Fed Up, 2021 Ceramic with glazes. 13.5 x 16.25 x 1.25 inches Signed and dated on back.
Elyse Pignolet, He Was Pretty Much Fed Up, 2021, ceramic with glazes. 34 × 41 × 2.5 cm. Courtesy: the artist and Track 16, Los Angeles

Elyse Pignolet

Track 16, Los Angeles 

24 September – 20 November

An elaborate, Chinoiserie-style wallpaper adorns the entrance to Elyse Pignolet’s solo exhibition, ‘I’m Not Like the Other Girls’, at Track 16 in Los Angeles. Rendered in a traditional blue and white palette and appropriating stock orientalist elements (pagodas, weeping willows, swooping birds) from 18th-century British ‘willow’ pattern ceramics, the opening salvo of the LA-based, Filipino-American artist’s show would seem to suggest a critique of the imperialist visual practices that shaped the history of the decorative arts in the West. But the presence of the words ‘Gold Spa’ in bubble lettering across the top eave of every tranquil pagoda – a damning allusion to the three massage parlours where six women of Asian descent were shot and killed by a white man in Atlanta in March of 2021 – reveals the artist’s concern with more contemporary issues of subjugation and domination.

— Amber Power

Jasper Johns, Three Flags, 1958. Encaustic on canvas (three panels), 30 7/8 × 45 3/4 in. (78.4 × 116.2 cm) overall. Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; purchase, with funds from the Gilman Foundation, Inc., The Lauder Foundation A. Alfred Taubam, Laura-Lee Whittier Woods, Howard Lipman, and Ed Downe in honor of the Museum's 50th Anniversary 80.32. © 2021 Jasper Johns / Licensed by VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY
Jasper Johns, Three Flags, 1958, encaustic on canvas (three panels), 78 × 116 cm overall. © 2021 Jasper Johns / Licensed by VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY. Courtesy: the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York

Jasper Johns

The Whitney Museum of American Art & Philadelphia Museum of Art

9 September 2021 – 13 February 2022

In ‘Jasper Johns: Mind / Mirror’, two major museums – the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Philadelphia Museum of Art (PMA) – decline to offer fully individual perspectives on the consecrated painter, opting instead to mirror their installations with variations riffing on themes in Johns’s work. A gallery at the Whitney focuses on dreams, while a corresponding gallery at the PMA focuses on nightmares; the Whitney discusses the American South’s influence on Johns, the PMA Japan’s; and so on. In a New York Times profile of Johns, published as a lead-up to the exhibition, the artist’s biographer, Deborah Solomon, stressed the conflict that arose from competing curatorial visions but, ultimately, the differences a general audience will perceive between both presentations are minor, and likely to be insignificant given the lapse they’ll experience between visiting both venues. Why, then, dedicate so much real estate at two world-class museums to an artist already known for his repetition and self-quotations? — Will Fenstermaker 

Main image: Ugo Mulas, Jasper Johns (detail), 1964, vintage gelatin silver print, 25 × 37 cm. Ugo Mulas Archive, Milan. Photograph © Ugo Mulas Heirs


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