SITE Santa Fe, a nonprofit contemporary art museum in New Mexico, presents “Bruce Nauman: His Mark” through September 11. Since the 1960s, Nauman has used his body conceptually and performatively as a primary material to explore the relationship between language and meaning. His conceptual approach to the body has influenced contemporary and later artists internationally, and he is considered one of the most important living American artists.
The show is Nauman’s first solo exhibition in New Mexico and unveils his new work, including 3D videos, for the first time. Featured works are ‘His Mark (3D multichannel video, 2021),’ ‘Practice (single-channel video, 2022),’ ‘Spider (3D single-channel video, 2021),’ and ‘Self Portrait at 80 (3D single-channel video, 2022).’
Except for ‘Self Portrait at 80,’ the three works repeatedly show Nauman’s hand making an X with his fingers. While the hand gesture is a reminder of the U.S. government’s history of legally appropriating land from indigenous peoples, the somber, repetitive gesture of hands also evokes personal and subtle emotions. ‘Self-Portrait at 80’ shows the artist walking upright in the studio, a perennial subject for Nauman, recalling his seminal works, while the artist uses 3D effects to once again invert the concept of video and space explored in earlier works.
The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (MCA) presents “Public Enemy,” a solo exhibition of American conceptual artist Gary Simmons (b. 1964), on view through October 1. This is the most comprehensive solo show of Simmons’ work to date, featuring more than 70 works representing the artist’s 30-year career.
Since the late 1980s, Simmons has been at the center of contemporary artistic discourse, analyzing the history of racism in American visual culture and questioning race, class, and gender identity. He exposes the history and traces of racism in sports, film, literature, music, architecture, and urbanism while bringing the sources of his works from popular genres such as hip-hop, horror, and science fiction.
Simmons gained international recognition when he participated in the controversial 1993 Whitney Biennial, where his technique of smearing contours with a quick erasing gesture became his signature. The smudged white lines of chalk or paint give his images a ghostly presence, urging viewers to confront the reality and history of racism. At the center of the exhibition is the ‘1964’ project, which celebrates 1964, a pivotal year in the civil rights movement and the year Simmons was born. The project features three large, monumental, wall-sized drawings in the primary colors of red, green, and blue, with Simmons’ signature smudged white outlines and references to American visual culture.
The Walker Art Center in Minneapolis presents “Fish Story,” a solo exhibition by American photographer and photographic theorist Allan Sekula (1951-2013), through January 2024. Sekula is known for his essays and photographs that merge realism with emotional narrative. He is acclaimed for offering an incisive critique of labor and capital from a Marxist perspective.
The exhibition features Sekula’s seminal work ‘Fish Story (1988-1995),’ which he photographed for seven years in international ports and coastal cities. Beginning in Los Angeles and traveling to Korea, Scotland, and Poland, Sekula documented the prosperity and poverty created by the globalized shipping industry, the political power that governs places, and the marginalization of labor. ‘Fish Story’ is celebrated for its outstanding achievement in the history of documentary photography, also as a prominent image-based research project of the late 20th century.
‘Fish Story’ was first published as a photobook in 1995. The Walker Collection now owns the photographs from ‘Fish Story,’ and this exhibition is a rare opportunity to see the entire body of work in one place.