Los Angeles-based artist and 2017 MacArthur Genius Fellow Njideka Akunyili Crosby draws upon her experience of moving from Nigeria to the United States while maintaining ties to her family in Africa and building relationships in America. Layers of paint, fabric, and photographic transfers not only energize the interiors and figures depicted in the artist’s works but serve as a metaphor for the complex merging of cultural backgrounds that contribute to Akunyili Crosby’s sense of self.
Known for his collaborations with pop icons and fashion house Louis Vuitton, and for vibrant anime-inspired characters, Japanese artist Takashi Murakami (b. 1962) has blurred the boundaries throughout his career between high and low culture, ancient and modern, East and West. Organized by the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, the exhibition is a major retrospective of his paintings, featuring fifty works that span three decades of his career, from the artist’s earliest mature works to his recent, monumentally scaled paintings.
In 2007, the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth hosted Ron Mueck, featuring the artist's figures that are extraordinarily realistic, except in scale - they are always depicted much smaller or larger than life. The exhibition broke attendance records for the Museum as Mueck's stunning works became a must-see for visitors from across the region. Now a decade later, Ron Mueck returns to the Modern from February 16 to May 6, 2018, for a special project showcasing six major sculptures created between 2008 and 2018, including two sculptures making their North American debut.
Nina Chanel Abney's paintings are visually frenetic, reflecting the fast-paced energy of life today. Her imagery refers to such diverse subjects as pop culture, world events, and art history in compositions with flattened, simplified forms. Abney's works commonly incorporate snippets of text, disembodied figures and silhouettes, and geometric abstract shapes. Themes that relate to American society, including celebrity culture, race, sexuality, and police brutality, are broached in her paintings.
Figures from the Collection offers various artists’ perspectives on people and their surroundings. The works’ subject matter ranges from autobiographical and inclusive of friends and acquaintances to historical or completely fictional. Taken entirely from the Modern’s permanent collection, the exhibition includes paintings, photographs, videos, prints, and drawings.
Katherine Bradford is known for her vibrant palette and eccentric compositions. Often built up over months and sometimes years, Bradford’s paintings are textured, semi-transparent coats of acrylic paint, with hints of pentimenti exposed in the finished surface. Her recent works revisit several of her favored motifs, such as ships and swimmers—traditional and enduring subjects seen throughout art history. Bradford’s canvases, however, are more ominous, and often improbable in comparison to the relative calm of James McNeill Whistler’s paintings or Paul Cézanne’s portraits of bathers.
Thirteen themed haunted houses across America make up the imagery for Misty Keasler’s Haunt, 2015–2017. A driving force behind this series, which depicts interior rooms and exterior scenes, is that the subject matter takes photography to the edge of where it fails as a medium. “Photographs,” Keasler explains, “are often used to document an experience, yet the experience of walking through a haunted house is completely lost in each of the still images.
Doug Aitken: Electric Earth is the first survey to comprehensively examine Aitken’s experimentations across mediums and disciplines, and it is organized as a full collaboration and dialogue with the artist and his studio.
Katherine Bernhardt’s vibrant and youthful paintings hover between abstraction and figuration. Recently, she has been working on paintings in which she juxtaposes everyday objects, such as those in Windex cigarettes basketball, 2016, that float flatly atop lushly painted, solid grounds of color. Her subjects abound in popular and consumer culture and are depicted in a simplified, flat, gestural style that approaches a cartoonish quality.