ST. LOUIS Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, Washington University “Bare Life,” which inaugurated the Kemper Museum’s newly expanded and renovated galleries, operated on several levels at once. First and foremost, this dense and multifaceted exhibition was a retrospective of Ai Weiwei’s work from the past 15 years; dozens of works in an array of media addressed themes ranging from human rights to political dissent to globalism.
WASHINGTON, DC Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden A crunch on the ground, wavelets in a pool, a reflection here, a cast shadow there—the effects of ambient light, air, and sound perform integral roles in Lee Ufan’s subtle drama of stone and steel, the star being space itself. For the first time in the Hirshhorn’s 45-year history, an artist has been given the 4.3-acre outdoor plaza to explore and reinvent.
NEW YORK New Museum Daiga Grantina, a Latvian-born artist working in Paris, has produced a rare thing: a series of sculptural moments that together evoke certain structures of the natural world. Her strategically spaced, sequential pieces are effectively about their own materiality, enclosed and defined by how and from what they are fabricated.
LONDON Waddington Custot American sculptor Jedd Novatt, who works between his studios in Paris and the industrial city of Eibar in northern Spain, close to Bilbao, describes his early experience of diving as character building and an important influence on how he sees and experiences space, even on dry land.
WASHINGTON, DC von ammon co. “MENTAL”—the title alone encapsulates how many people identify the zeitgeist in this dystopian era, a crisis, in part, of individual freedom and choice that 20th-century existentialist Jean-Paul Sartre predicted in Being and Nothingness. New York-based Tabor Robak updated the theme with wily poignancy in his recent show.
WASHINGTON, DC Various locations In a city chockablock with monuments, “By the People” alternatively mounts ephemeral public art. Organized by the nonprofit organization Halcyon, which also sponsors residencies for social practice artists and social entrepreneurs, the 2019 “By the People” festival (its second installment) aimed to present “artwork that sparks dialogue and builds bridges within and across communities.”
LONDON Pippy Houldsworth DiMattio, who is based in New York, started out as a painter of monumental, boundary-pushing canvases that played with optical illusion and references to the history of art, design, and architecture. She translated this fluidity of approach to clay when she took up the medium in 2010.
RUTLAND, VERMONT 77 Gallery Using a simplicity of means, Whitney Ramage achieved a magnitude of results in her recent exhibition “DisEmbodiment.” In her masterful installation A Prayer for Every Day You’ve Been Gone, more than 1,800 white origami paper boats seemed to float across the polished wood floor of the gallery.
EDINBURGH Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Modern One Scottish artist Katie Paterson has described time as the “material” with which she creates her work. In this modest but significant survey—her first major exhibition in a public institution in Scotland—her playful, rigorously researched works tick with the passing of millennia as stars die, solar eclipses pass, and planets spin.
HELSINKI Galerie Anhava Estarriola’s dynamic grab bag of sights, sounds, and situations communicated on visual, intellectual, emotional, and physical levels, demonstrating her ability to manifest the idiosyncratic and ambiguous hunches and impressions that inform our reality in concrete terms.