ROTTERDAM Kunstinstituut Melly Kapwani Kiwanga’s recent exhibition featured three installations and a hanging cloth work—all addressing strategies of resistance, from historical slavery to the American civil rights era, to today’s anti-racist movements and demonstrations. Botany played an unexpected, and key, role in all but one of these new works, as Kiwanga drew out the histories of various plants smuggled into America by enslaved Africans.
COACHELLA VALLEY, CALIFORNIA Desert X 2021, on view through May 16, 2021, is the third edition of a biennial site-specific sculpture exhibition “explore[ing] the desert as both a place and idea.” The arid Coachella Valley in Riverside County, southern California, includes the winter resort city of Palm Springs and several other, smaller communities.
SEATTLE MadArt Seattle-based Casey Curran creates carefully crafted kinetic sculptures and environments that question basic human drives (innovation and discovery) and assumptions (progress), along with their effects and legacies. His new exhibition at MadArt, a studio residency program in the heart of South Lake Union, Seattle’s tech quarter, echoes the mushrooming skyline of the neighborhood (with more than 60 new buildings in 10 years), but with a twist.
RIDGEFIELD, CONNECTICUT Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum “My art is about building things,” Frank Stella told Alina Cohen in an Artsy conversation about his 2019 Marianne Boesky Gallery solo show, which included Jasper’s Split Star and Nessus and Dejanira—two of the star sculptures currently on view (through May 9, 2021) at the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum.
NEW YORK Americas Society “The Spine of Music,” an intriguing, spirited exhibition of works by 90-year-old Guatemalan artist and musician Joaquín Orellana (on view through April 24, 2021), features a selection of his handmade percussive instruments—which visitors may play—as well as works by other artists acquainted with his practice.
ST IVES, CORNWALL, U.K. Tate St Ives The day I visited Tate St Ives to see “Strange Attractors” (on view through September 26, 2021), nature seemed perfectly aligned with Haegue Yang’s vision—charcoal clouds scowled across the sky as Atlantic rollers thundered deafeningly onto the beach below.
NEW YORK Venus Over Manhattan Shinichi Sawada’s dynamic, wood-fired ceramic sculptures teem with energy. In this show—the first U.S. presentation of works by the self-taught, 38-year-old artist, who is based in Shiga, Japan—a few dozen figures arranged on two long tables form a modern-day bestiary of creatures drawn from Japanese mythology and reality.
NAPLES, ITALY Thomas Dane Gallery Alexandre da Cunha works in the tradition of the readymade, creating elegant sculptures from cheap and disposable everyday objects (such as mops) that he selects as much for their formal qualities as for their references to labor.
NEW YORK The Morgan Library & Museum Each finished work in the exhibition is accompanied by pages from Saar’s working sketchbooks—these pairings open a fascinating window onto Saar’s process, illuminating what she calls “the mysterious transformation of object into art.”