New Museum: 2016 Spring Exhibitions

Words by Carla Ingrasciotta
May 3, 2016

The spring program at New Museum New York:

Andra Ursuţa: Alps
April 27–June 19, 2016
Fourth floor

Andra Ursuţa’s (b. 1979) sculptures and installations thrive on paradox and engage a visual language that weaves art history with a homespun, anarchic sensibility. From early in her career, Ursuţa has used a fatalistic dark humor to expose power dynamics, to probe the vulnerability of the human body, and to examine modes of desire. The Romanian-born, New York–based artist immigrated to the United States in the late 1990s, but many of the narrative facets of her upbringing—from occult folk traditions to blundering nationalist propaganda—resonate throughout her work. This is Ursuţa’s first New York museum exhibition and marks the debut of her new sculptural installation Alps (2016), which is being presented in dialogue with the artist’s recent sculptures, including her series “Whites” (2015), which is having its United States premiere. The exhibition is curated by Natalie Bell, Assistant Curator, and Massimiliano Gioni, Artistic Director.

Friday, May 20, 1:15pm: Curatorial walk-through of Andra Ursuţa: Alps with Natalie Bell

Nicole Eisenman: Al-ugh-ories
May 4–June 26, 2016
Third floor

One of the most important painters of her generation, Nicole Eisenman (b. 1965, Verdun, France) has developed a distinct figurative language that combines the imaginative with the lucid, the absurd with the banal, and the stereotypical with the countercultural and queer. This exhibition marks the first New York museum survey of Eisenman’s work and provides an in-depth look at the symbolic nature of the artist’s most striking depictions of individuals and groups—from intimate portraits to more complex narrative scenes. It highlights how allegory permeates Eisenman’s oeuvre and how she fluidly ties the fictional to the autobiographical and the past to the present. Eisenman’s preoccupation with the figure and the complexity of its gestures and forms has resulted in mesmerizing portraits of an array of characters who range from friends and fellow New Yorkers to imagined heroines and tragic losers. In addition to paintings, the exhibition includes one of the artist’s large-scale plaster figures, which she began producing in recent years, and two new sculptures made specifically for this presentation. The exhibition is curated by Helga Christoffersen, Assistant Curator, and Massimiliano Gioni, Artistic Director.

Thursday, May 12, 7pm: Nicole Eisenman in conversation with Massimiliano Gioni

Goshka Macuga: Time as Fabric

May 4–June 26, 2016
Second floor

Time as Fabric is the first New York museum exhibition of work by London-based artist Goshka Macuga (b. 1967, Warsaw, Poland). Macuga’s practice typically applies in-depth historical and archival research to an interest in the evolving relationships among artists, institutions, politics, and communities. Her works investigate how art can be used to voice current concerns, rouse public debate, and inspire social change. Within her images and installations, she unearths associations between different actors (people, objects, and sites) that, in many cases, problematize the ways in which different organizations engage their publics and are shaped by socioeconomic and cultural developments in society. The exhibition brings together a selection of Macuga’s recent projects, including five of her tapestries and a theatrical environment. Over the past five years, Macuga has created a series of large-scale tapestries that “weave” people together in their reimagining of demonstrations, public assemblies, and meetings of minds. Often panoramic and vast, her tapestries transform architectural spaces and surround viewers—making us both spectators of and participants in the actions depicted and enveloping us in narratives that expand and collapse the notion of time. The exhibition is curated by Margot Norton, Associate Curator, and Massimiliano Gioni, Artistic Director.

Thursday, May 5, 7pm: Goshka Macuga in conversation with Margot Norton

Cally Spooner: On False Tears and Outsourcing

April 27–June 19, 2016
Lobby gallery

For her first solo museum presentation in the United States, Cally Spooner (b. 1983, Ascot, UK) has produced a new site-specific installation for the Lobby Gallery. It comprises a series of architectural additions to the gallery space and the presence of a group of dancers who respond to conflicting choreographic instructions: to stay intimately bound together while remaining fiercely separate. Trained by rugby players and a movie director, and following the logic of a “stand-up scrum,” the dancers have learned a set of techniques taken from contact sports, management strategies, and on-screen romance. Through attempts to seduce, defend, and self-organize, the group has devised a sequence of movements in response to simple tasks set by Spooner. On False Tears and Outsourcing is part of Spooner’s new long-term project of the same name in which she considers the production of affect, the contradictions faced by hired bodies, and the dynamics of using or being used as a human resource, and stages situations in which a heightened demand for communication drives the outsourcing of personal investment to ready-made gestures and protocols. The exhibition is curated by Helga Christoffersen, Assistant Curator.

Wednesday, May 25, 7pm: Cally Spooner special performance and talk-back with Helga Christoffersen

Beatriz Santiago Muñoz: Song, Strategy, Sign

April 20–June 12, 2016
Fifth floor

In her recent film and video work, Beatriz Santiago Muñoz (b. 1972, San Juan, Puerto Rico) has documented the lives of individuals—political dissidents, teachers, and farmers—who are deeply invested in political transformation. The subjects of her films and videos reveal their close physical connections to their environments, sites marked by legacies of colonial trade and military occupation in the artist’s homeland of Puerto Rico, by recounting stories and engaging natural materials as well as inherited or handmade objects. For her first solo museum exhibition in New York, Santiago Muñoz premieres a new body of work produced during her New Museum residency: a three-channel video that is loosely inspired by Monique Wittig’s 1969 novel Les Guérillères, which describes a world where the patriarchy has fallen after a bloody war between the sexes; a silent 16mm film, which weaves together portraits of friends living in Vieques, Puerto Rico, the site of a bombing range used by the US Navy for 60 years; and a set of commissioned masks that will be activated in a series of new films and videos produced this spring. The masks will also be featured in a performance by Macha Colón (the stage name of Gisela Rosario Ramos, a queer performer in the underground music scene in Puerto Rico). Presented as part of the Education and Public Engagement Department’s spring R&D Season: LEGACY, this exhibition is co-curated by Johanna Burton, Keith Haring Director and Curator of Education and Public Engagement; Lauren Cornell, Curator and Associate Director, Technology Initiatives; and Sara O’Keeffe, Assistant Curator.

Thursday, June 2, 7pm: Performance by Macha Colón

Eva Papamargariti: Fictitious Imprints
May 4–June 19, 2016

As part of the New Museum’s ongoing Stowaway Series, Eva Papamargariti premieres a special project comprising a video work and five printed banners in the Shaft Space, located between the Third and Fourth Floors.

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