February 2018

A new chapel of art opened in Austin, Texas this month. The University of Texas at Austin’s Blanton Museum of Art opened the doors to Austin, the largest and last work by artist Ellsworth Kelly, who died in 2015 at 92. An American painter, sculptor, and printmaker, Kelly is known for his abstract compositions of geometric forms in bright colors and patterns. Often associated with the Color Field movement, his work explores form, color, line, and shape.

Now at Kavi Gupta’s Chicago venue, Beverly Fishman’s Chemical Sublime uses vibrant colors and iconic pharmaceutical shapes to explore how technology alters our perception and reality. Using cast resin, mirrored Plexiglass, powder-coated metal and phosphorescent pigments, Fishman has created visually stunning work. Her polychrome reliefs and paintings mimic commonly prescribed medications as well as medical imaging technologies such as EEG and EKG machines.

Iconic conceptual artist Marcel Duchamp wanted art to challenge expectations and make people think. A pioneer of Dada and the father of Conceptual Art, Duchamp was a French-American painter, sculptor, chess player and writer. On view publically for the first time, Marcel Duchamp: Boîte-en-valise runs through May 6, 2018, at the Cincinnati Art Museum.

This month, the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago presents What Remains to Be Seen, the first major traveling museum survey of Howardena Pindell. Covering five decades of Pindell’s paintings, collages, writings, drawings, and videos, the exhibition also documents her activist projects and includes work from the last two years. Her groundbreaking, multidisciplinary art explores texture, color, and structure. Pindell uses bright colors and unconventional materials such as string, glitter, colored paper and sequins in her work.

Opening at Sean Kelly, New York this month, ‘Marina Abramović Early Works’ displays a historical record of the early, groundbreaking performances by the “Grandmother of Performance Art.” The 12 photos represent performances from the 1970's, including her Rhythm series, Lips of Thomas (star on stomach), Art Must Be Beautiful, Artist Must Be Beautiful, and others.

According to the introductory exhibition text, sculptor Bob Trotman’s Business as Usual aims to examine “the confluence of power, privilege, greed, and pretense that often characterizes the world of corporate capitalism.” The show emphasizes the dehumanizing nature of corporate America. But because they respond to the visitor’s approach via motion activation, there is a surprisingly intimate and playful relation between these objects and the spectator.

Showing now at the Denver Art Museum, its only American venue, Degas: A Passion for Perfection includes over 100 masterpieces by the French artist. Following its debut at the Fitzwilliam Museum, University of Cambridge, the DAM exhibition runs Feb. 11‒May 20, 2018. Edgar Degas’ paintings, drawings, etchings, pastels, monotypes, and bronze sculptures are on view, as well as additional pieces by J.A.D. Ingres, Eugène Delacroix and Paul Cézanne.

Former President Barack Obama and Former First Lady Michelle Obama attended the unveiling of their official portraits at the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC this morning. The Obamas stood with the artists, Kehinde Wiley and Amy Sherald, respectively, as the larger-than-life canvasses were revealed.

Born and educated in Poland, London-based artist and designer Marcin Rusak blends the natural and industrial worlds in his dramatic objects for the home.

Rusak casts flowers and exotic plant life in poured resin, preserving their ephemeral beauty forever in tables, lamps, screens, and more. Rusak’s works are visually striking: the smoothness of his surfaces and the natural beauty of the plants embedded in them draw the viewer in. But what makes his works truly memorable are the contrasts they embody.

In the Minneapolis Institute of Art’s collaboration with renowned avant-garde theater artist Robert Wilson, theater and art combine in a phenomenal experience. For Power and Beauty, Wilson creates an immersive environment, using light, staging and sound to envelop visitors in the mystery and splendor of China’s Qing (pronounced “ch’ing”) dynasty. Each room examines an aspect of life within China’s imperial palace during that over 250 year artistic golden age, which ended in 1911.