Urgent Museum Notice

Art Fix Friday: September 24, 2021

Blog Category:  Art Fix Friday
A black-and-white photograph of a light-skinned adult woman holding a newspaper with news about World War II. She wears a coat and her short, curly hair is caught in the wind.

At the Art Institute of Chicago, the largest comprehensive exhibition of Barbara Kruger’s work in more than 20 years is now open. THINKING OF YOU. I MEAN ME. I MEAN YOU. encompasses the full breadth of the artist’s career—rethinking, remaking, and replaying her work over the decades for the present. On the prescience of her work, Kruger recently stated, “I am vigilant about the machinations of power and trolling, fear, grievance and how they’ve played out over centuries. Certainly fears based on genders, race, and class are stalking us as never before.”

A rendering of a museum entryway features shiny, stark white floors and a low bench in the middle of the passage. On all of the walls, large black-and-white photos of a hand, mid-reach, are overlaid with busy collages of unknown photos that are marked with red. At the very back wall the phrase "I shop therefore I am" is prominently displayed in white text on a red square background atop one of the hands.
Barbara Kruger’s rendering of exhibition entryway at the Art Institute of Chicago, 2011/2020; Digital image courtesy of the artist, source photo courtesy of the Art Institute of Chicago

The exhibition transcends the traditional galleries into the museum’s public spaces and the city beyond, as Kruger will create work for billboards, the Chicago Transit Authority, and Art on theMART. On view through January 24, 2022, after which it will travel to the L.A. County Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art.

Front-Page Femmes:

Writer, director, and actress Michaela Coel has become the first Black woman to take home the Emmy award for Outstanding Writing for a Limited or Anthology Series or Movie for I May Destroy You.

Frida Kahlo’s final self-portrait “bust,” Diego y yo (1949), will head to auction at Sotheby’s in November, where it may become the priciest work by a female artist ever sold.

Nairy Baghramian has won the 2022 Nasher Prize, considered to be the world’s most prestigious sculpture honor.

For Art in America, Cyrée Jarelle Johnson considers themes of privacy and healing for Black women in Simone Leigh’s social practice works.

The Guardian profiles Betye Saar at age 95, celebrating her pioneering works that “reversed and radicalized racist stereotypes.”

An older light-skinned African American woman sits at a table in an art studio, filled with papers hanging on the wall, craft materials, and cards and personal treasures. She stares at the camera, unsmiling but pleasant, and her white and grey hair is styled in a neat, cropped afro
Betye Saar in her studio; Photo by Bethany Mollenkof for the Guardian

Artist and documentary filmmaker Hito Steyerl has declined one of Germany’s most prestigious civilian honors, citing the government’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic as the reason for her rejection.

Artnet profiles artist Tracey Emin, who, after a battle with cancer, has returned to her Margate, England, hometown to build a museum and write her legacy.

Art in America examines Gee’s Bend quilter Mary Lee Bendolph’s current exhibition at Nicelle Beauchene Gallery.

The New York Times profiles Harvard scholar Maria Tatar, whose new book centers the stories of heroines.

Artnet interviews artist Sarah Slappey, whose newest works are currently on view at Sargent’s Daughters in New York

Shows We Want to See:

At San Francisco’s Fraenkel Gallery, Carrie Mae Weems: Witness surveys over four decades of the artist’s career as she explores history, identity, and structures of power in photographs and video. The exhibition traces an arc through Weems’s most influential series. Artnet profiled the show. On view through November 13.

A self-portrait painting features a light-skinned woman with rosy cheeks staring directly at the camera, as if turned from the side. Her ear-length brown hair is pulled back plainly and she wears a shirt with a prominent white collar. The painting calls attention to her almond-shaped brown eyes and her plump upper lip. The background is an earthy yellow/brown.
Lotte Laserstein, Self-portrait, 1923; ProLitteris, Zurich; Photo credit: Lotte-Laserstein-Archiv Krausse, Berlin/Dietmar Katz, Berlin

At Fondation Beyeler in Basel, Switzerland, Close-Up considers how women artists view their portrait subjects. The show presents 100 portraits and self-portraits by nine women from 1870 until today, including Berthe Morisot, Mary Cassatt, Paula Modersohn-Becker, Lotte Laserstein, Frida Kahlo, Alice Neel, Marlene Dumas, Cindy Sherman, and Elizabeth Peyton. The New York Times reviewed the show, noting it is “art history as seen through the eyes of women artists.” On view through January 2, 2022.

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