This week’s 5 To See provides insight into the spectrum of transitions occurring across the globe. From monumental issues spanning terror attacks, war and surveillance, to the personal upheavals of heartbreak and loss, the events consider both universal and personal experiences.
1.Robert Frank, Art Institute of Chicago.
In 1961 the Art Institute of Chicago became the first museum to accord Robert Frank (b. 1924) a solo exhibition of the series The Americans. By depicting the landscape as a place of both real and metaphorical shadows, the images enhance the sense of hollowness at the heart of many lives – the chasm between the American dream and everyday reality. As Jack Kerouac posed in his famous introduction, “Frank sucked a sad poem out of America.” Partida (2014) continues his diaristic approach to storytelling, interweaving new and old images of family, friends, home, ordinary objects, interiors and outdoor scenes. Accompanied by pieces of conversations, short poems and thoughts in the form of printed text, the pictures are visual accounts of the people, places and experiences that hold particular meaning to the artist. Open until 20 August.
2. Boomoon, Moa Museum of Art, Shizuoka-ken, Korea.
South Korean artist Boomoon’s (b. 1955) haunting photographs embrace the majesty of vast natural landscapes, as a means of self-reflection. Open until 20 November the solo exhibition, Photography As An Attitude, focuses on images of the Kwangsun area. Embracing isolated areas, the compositions portray the wildness of the organic world when devoid of human presence and cultivation. By combining both abstract and surreal components of the elements, Waterfall (2006) and Stargazing (2010) evoke the ethereal qualities of flora. As a platform for social commentary, this body of work provokes contemplation on the ecological status of our surroundings.
3. Los Angeles to New York: Dwan Gallery, 1959–1971, Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
Presenting the storied history of the Dwan Gallery and its patron Virginia Dwan (1931), this series provides a glimpse into the increasing mobility of the art world in the 1950s. As one of the most important hubs of creativity in post-war America, the collections display a society in flux. The leading avant-garde insitution was on the cusp of defining movements and presented ground-breaking exhibitions by Edward Kienholz, Yves Klein, Franz Kline, Claes Oldenburg, Robert Rauschenberg, Ad Reinhardt and Robert Smithson, among others. A keen follower of contemporary French art, Dwan gave many of the Nouveau Réalistes their first shows in the U.S and would go on to provide the first platform for now major tendencies in the history of contemporary art, including minimal, land and conceptual art. Open until 10 September.
4. Shen Wei, Between Blossoms, Signum Fondation Gallery, Poland.
New York-based Chinese photographer Shen Wei takes a meditative journey across continents, from the United States to Europe and Asia. The vignettes capture a unifying sense of other-worldliness within changing topographies, generating a sensation of place that is, as Wei describes, “deeply connected to my inner melancholy, a dream-like state of mind.” Possessing an inner tranquillity, the pieces combine traditional themes of Chinese art and ancient philosophy, drawn from the natural environment. The interplay of positive and negative elements evoke oppositional emotional states of fear, attraction, joy and loneliness. Open until 31 July.
5. Edmund Clark, War on Terror, Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art.
Open until 28 August, Edmund Clarke’s thought-provoking exhibition, War on Terror, explores the hidden experiences of state control and surveillance. Looking at issues of security, secrecy, representation and legality, the show focuses on the measures taken by states to protect their citizens from the threat of terrorism. Several series of Clark’s work document CIA correspondence, “black sites,” detainee centres and US military interventions. As an immersive experience, the event uses sound, moving images and large multi-media installations to communicate feelings of paranoia and disorientation.
1.Robert Frank, Parade, Hoboken, New Jersey, 1995. Courtesy of Artsy.
2.Shen Wei, Table for Two, 2016, Courtesy of Flowers Gallery.
3. Boomoon, Hatje Cantz, 2014. Courtesy of Fotoblog.
4.Edmund Clark, Negative Publicity, 2016. Courtesy of Flowers Gallery.
5. Robert Rauschenberg, Photographs (1949-1962). Courtesy of Nicholas Cullinan, David White and Susan Davidson.