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SVACE Picks: Spring Museum Preview

Spring forward in New York’s new art shows

From Atwood to Akira, Bradbury to Blade Runner, science fiction has envisioned utopian and dystopian realities, often with chilling proximity to what is familiar — and occasionally seems to predict the future. “Mundos Alternos: Art and Science Fiction in the Americas” brings together contemporary artists from across Latin America and the United States. These artists employ science fiction to “explore the colonial enterprise that shaped the Americas,” according to the Queens Museum, “and to present alternative perspectives speculating on the past and the future.” The exhibit is organized by themes — such as Cornerstones, Time Travel, Alternate Americas, Indigenous Futurisms, Reimagining the Americas and Alien Skins — and expands beyond the Queens Museum to partnering institutions including the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art and the Museum of the Moving Image.

“Mundos Alternos: Art and Science Fiction in the Americas” opens at the Queens Museum on April 7, 2019.

“Mundos Alternos" is organized by themes — such as Cornerstones, Time Travel, Alternate Americas, Indigenous Futurisms, Reimagining the Americas and Alien Skins — and expands beyond the Queens Museum to partnering institutions including the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art and the Museum of the Moving Image.

“Mundos Alternos: Art and Science Fiction in the Americas” opens at the Queens Museum on April 7, 2019.

“Spilling Over: Painting Color in the 1960s” revisits the paradigm shift in which pop art breezed past abstract expressionism, challenging painters with new questions. This exhibition eschews the traditional categories and “isms” of 1960s painting, focusing instead on issues of perception, race, gender and space. “While contemporaneous accounts spoke in universal ways about perception,” writes the Whitney Museum team, “recent scholarship has looked to the personal, social and political conditions that impact how we understand and speak about perception.” Drawn entirely from the Whitney’s collection, the exhibition includes recent acquisitions by Emma Amos and Sam Gilliam, featured in “Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power” at the Brooklyn Museum, along with pioneering women painters like Helen Frankenthaler and Marcia Hafif.

“Spilling Over: Painting Color in the 1960s” opens on March 29, 2019, at the Whitney Museum of American Art.

Simone Leigh’s art and social practice, soon in the spotlight of the Guggenheim Museum, is centered around black women. In Artforum, Helen Molesworth wrote, “For centuries, all of culture’s agents — its makers, benefactors and audiences — have been presumed to be white men, and for centuries, Leigh’s primary audience, black women, were denied a place in this hegemonic structure.” Ms. Leigh’s New Museum project, “The Waiting Room” (2016), provided exclusive space and programming for collaboration and wellness. For her “longstanding and unwavering commitment to addressing black women as both the subject of and audience for her work,” Leigh received the Hugo Boss Prize in 2018. To commemorate this honor, the Guggenheim will present “Loophole of Retreat," a solo exhibition of Leigh’s sculptures, a sound installation, and more.

“The Hugo Boss Prize 2018: Simone Leigh, Loophole of Retreat” opens on April 19, 2019, at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum.

Multimedia artist Jeffrey Gibson will be the spring 2019 artist in residence at the New Museum’s Department of Education and Public Engagement. In “The Anthropophagic Effect,” traditional indigenous craft techniques will guide Gibson’s continued explorations through diverse materials, which have included digital prints, textiles, beadwork and mixed-media assemblage. Addressing his use of indigenous crafts, Gibson explains, “I engage materials and techniques as strategies to describe a contemporary narrative that addresses the past in order to place oneself in the present and to begin new potential trajectories for the future.”

Jeffrey Gibson’s residency and exhibition, “The Anthropophagic Effect,” are on view at the New Museum.

A version of this feature appeared in our spring 2019 issue of SVA ContinuEd, available now by visiting or calling our office. Follow our updates and stories on our Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram pages!

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