Art Beat: 6 Exhibitions to See in February

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SIXTY’s resident art writer Rob Goyanes is on the search for the best of what’s going in L.A., Miami, and NYC this month. Whether you’re enjoying the mild airs of the West Coast, the sunny clime of South Florida, or looking for escape from a wintry NYC, ’tis the season for an aesthetic experience. Herewith, your guide to the best art exhibitions in February.


Kernel, Water Sleeps, Servers Sing, 2017. Courtesy of the artist.

NEW YORK CITY: New Museum Triennial

While many art biennials, biennales, and other recurring art exhibitions look to stock their halls with well-known artists, the New Museum Triennial is hoping to expose audiences to international artists they’ve never heard of—and indeed, many of these artists are showing in the U.S. for the very first time.

Opening February 13, this fourth edition of the Triennial, held at the renowned New Museum, which was founded in 1977, includes artists from Athens, Greece to Harare, Zimbabwe. Kernel, an art collective founded in 2009 in Greece, organizes hybridic projects and creates video essays that explore interdisciplinary research. Gresham Tapiwa Nyaude, hailing from Harare’s notorious ghetto of Mbare, creates sweeping paintings that bound between abstraction and figuration, exploring the tension between brutality and poetry.

It’s heartening to see artists from places that are under-discussed, but also to see that many on the list are young. Lydia Ourahmane, born in 1992 in Saϊda, Algeria, creates works and performances that engage the digital bureaucracy of contemporary life—integrating processes such as emails and clearance waivers—but also the means of resistance to these life-sucking things.

Whatever these artists may bring to the exhibition, it will be fresh and necessary. Through May 27, 2018.

brad killam

Brad Killam, Stump, 2015. Courtesy of the artist and Geary Contemporary.

NEW YORK CITY: Brad Killam at Geary Contemporary

Artist Brad Killam makes a simple kind of art that hovers between landscape and abstract design. So the title of his next solo show, Paintings + Sculpture, opening February 8 at Geary Contemporary, is befitting. These are works not loaded with meaning or overflowing with information. After moving from Chicago to Wisconsin, Killam gained a newfound sense of solitude, and the works followed suit, reflecting the artist’s process of working en plein air next to a river.

But the works are not mere renditions of landscape. Killam’s paintings evoke the idea of a place or subject, and may slightly resemble a flower bed or kaleidoscope of butterflies, but they’re replete with abstract marks, leaving viewers to fill in the blanks, or soak in the ambiguity. And the sculptures are similarly in-between.

Killam’s wood assemblages have an unfinished appearance, signifying the transition from unbuilt to built, or the state of demolition. But these works are not messy; they have a sculptural elegance that relates to design, taking on a certain character of their own. Killam, who is the founder and co-director of the artist-run space The Suburban, is an artist’s artist. Through March 17, 2018.


Courtesy of ArtCenter/South Florida

MIAMI: ‘Intertidal’ at ArtCenter/ South Florida

What will Miami look and feel like after the oceans have risen? The interdisciplinary group A.S.T.—Alliance of the Southern Triangle—is plotting the possibilities in a new show at ArtCenter/ South Florida. Titled Intertidal, the exhibition includes video, audio, and wall installations to explore the future of the city, which is intimately related to the future of all coastal cities.

Intertidal, the word referring to the zone of land that’s flooded at high tide and dry at low, poses questions about how Miami is grappling with the effects of sea level rise. Not only in the real-world sense—infrastructure and architecture is pondered—but also in the metaphysical sense: How are we dealing with the changes that are here and quickly multiplying? And what will the residents of the future—if they remain—think about our current efforts?

Using a mix of research, design, graphical display, and video, the exhibition illustrates the Alliance’s unique position at the edge of climate change thinking. Composed of artists, architects, and a curator, the group probes questions of culture, economy, and ecology. Through April 2, 2018.


Courtesy of Lowe Art Museum.

MIAMI: ‘Antillean Visions’ at Lowe Art Museum

Maps don’t only orient you in a given space and give you direction: they help to shape entire identities and histories. Antillean Visions: Maps and the Making of the Caribbean, opening February 2 at the Lowe Art Museum, includes 200 maps that chart this tropical region, including 500-year-old colonial cartographies, when maps were hand-drawn works of art.

Though lovely and ornate, these maps also reveal the brutal, commercial vision of colonial powers, who were busy exploiting the region and turning it into a factory for agriculture and settlement. They also expose the limited geographical knowledge of the mapmakers, who were building fairly impressive charts despite not having Google Earth.

The maps on view show the development of the cartographic imagination as new tools developed. Not only this, but the exhibit also presents maps by oppressed groups—including participatory maps made by indigenous groups of today—illuminating the fact that there are many ways of looking at and representing the Caribbean, and the world. Through May, 27, 2018.


The Pain of Others, installation view, 2018. Courtesy of Ghebaly Gallery.

LOS ANGELES: ‘The Pain of Others’ at Ghebaly Gallery

Is it possible to truly know the pain of another being? Borrowing its title from an esteemed essay by Susan Sontag, The Pain of Others at Ghebaly Gallery explores the contours of aching experience—not only the difficult physicality and spirituality of pain, but the thing that makes it possible to connect with another who’s going through it: empathy.

Curated by Myriam Ben Salah, a writer/editor who also worked at the renowned Palais de Tokyo, the show includes a panoply of emerging young artists from diverse backgrounds. Aria Dean makes symbolically-charged, deeply-considered paintings and sculptures. Diamond Stingily is a poet and artist whose minimalist, performative works address race and her own personal history.

Along with the eight other artists, the show will prove to be a thoughtful contemplation on the ability of art to represent the suffering—physical and social—of people, and how we can better understand the pain they endure. Through March 3, 2018.


Rollin Leonard, Kissing Underwater, 2016-2017. Courtesy of the artist and Gas gallery.

LOS ANGELES: ‘Liquid Love’ at Gas

A bevy of new art spaces have been proliferating in L.A., especially in the last couple years, and one of the newest is Gas, a gallery found inside a delivery truck. This gallery will be crawling around town, stationed outside of host institutions and offering a micro, mobile exhibition space. Besides the physical mobility, the gallery also places emphasis on the itinerant nature of the internet.

Founded by independent curator, researcher and writer Ceci Moss, Gas not only embraces the agility of the automobile and digital network, but also an explicit political program. The first show, held last year was titled Fuck the Patriarchy and contained works by artists responding to the newly-inflamed (but forever-simmering) grievances against male domination. The new exhibition, Liquid Love, explores the nature of affection and desire in today’s highly networked love landscape.

The artists in the show address the questions that arise when considering dating apps, social media, and the thousands of other ways that romance is now mediated, liquified, and, at times, liquidated. Like any time in history, love is complicated, but this exhibition will show why our contemporary moment is particularly fluid—for better, for worse. Through April 14, 2018.

Rob Goyanes

Rob Goyanes

Rob Goyanes is a writer from Miami, Florida, now living in New York City. He has work forthcoming in the Paris Review Daily and Interview Mag.