Emmanuelle Walker

Must-see exhibitions of summer 2018: The USA — and Brazil

While Klimt and Schiele are dazzling New York, the Pre-Raphaelites are making a splash in San Francisco — here’s our roundup of these and the other major exhibitions from Chicago to São Paulo that you won’t want to miss this summer

A Chicago native, Charles White was part of a flourishing of black artists in the 1930s who employed art to protest their struggles and desires for social change. He stuck fast to his figurative style during his four-decade long career — even in the face of fashionable Abstraction — while engaging with civil liberty issues, and became an accomplished and celebrated artist who addressed themes that still resonate in America today.

Charles White, Sound of Silence, 1978. Printed by David Panosh, published by Hand Graphics, Ltd. The Art Institute of Chicago, Margaret Fisher Fund © The Charles White Archives Inc

Charles White, Sound of Silence, 1978. Printed by David Panosh, published by Hand Graphics, Ltd. The Art Institute of Chicago, Margaret Fisher Fund © The Charles White Archives Inc

As a teacher at  Otis Art Institute in Los Angeles between 1965 and 1979, his pupils included David Hammons and Kerry James Marshall. This is the first major retrospective of White’s prints, drawings and paintings to be mounted in 35 years, and the show will travel to MoMA and LACMA until 2019.

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  • Made in L.A. 2018 Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, until 2 September

The cream of contemporary art talent will be on display at Made in L.A. 2018, the Hammer Museum’s fourth biennial exhibition. Curated by Anne Ellegood and Erin Christovale, it features work by more than 32 artists active in the greater Los Angeles area, with a strong emphasis on emerging figures. 

Aaron Fowler, El Comino Wagon, 2017, Photo Courtesy the artist. On show at Made in L.A. 2018  at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, until 2 September 2018

Aaron Fowler, El Comino Wagon, 2017, Photo: Courtesy the artist. On show at Made in L.A. 2018  at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, until 2 September 2018

Although it’s very diverse, certain themes emerge: the history and culture of the city, the political situation today, personal explorations of the body, the role of ritual, and climate change.

Find out more about the must-see exhibitions in Europe for summer 2018

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  • Fabergé Rediscovered Hillwood Museum, Washington, D.C., until 13 January 2019

Marjorie Merriweather Post’s biggest claim to fame today is as the General Foods heiress who originally owned the Mar-a-Lago estate since bought by Donald Trump. But this brilliant figure — a shrewd businesswoman, thrower of parties that rivalled a queen’s, and generous philanthropist — was also a discriminating collector of decorative art. As luck would have it, she and her third husband Joseph E. Davies were in the Soviet Union, where he served as ambassador, when Stalin started to sell off the tsarist collection at knock-down prices to raise money to fund armament and industrialisation programmes.

Catherine the Great Easter Egg by Fabergé. Hillwood Estate, Museum & Gardens. Photographed by Alex Braun

Catherine the Great Easter Egg by Fabergé. Hillwood Estate, Museum & Gardens. Photographed by Alex Braun

She had already amassed a stunning collection of French decorative art and bought her first Fabergé egg; now she had the opportunity to build up the best collection of Russian decorative pieces outside the USSR. All these are on display at Hillwood, her former estate outside Washington, D.C. And her holdings of work by Carl Fabergé, jeweller of genius, are now the subject of a special exhibition. Marjorie Merriweather Post died in 1973 at the age of 86, and this is a wonderful opportunity to assess her legacy.

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  • Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele: 1918 Centenary Neue Galerie, New York, until 3 September

The world is full of exhibitions to mark the 100th anniversary of the deaths of two of the greatest Austrian artists of the 20th century. But this show at the Neue Galerie looks set to be one of the best, because the gallery owns so many of their key works. 

Both men defined and exemplified the ‘joyous apocalypse’ of the last days of Habsburg rule, which came to an end with the First World War, coinciding with their deaths. Both master and protégé died from the consequences of the influenza epidemic sweeping Europe at the time, Klimt at 55, Schiele at 28.

Gustav Klimt (1862-1918), The Black Feathered Hat, 1910. Oil on canvas. Private Collection

Gustav Klimt (1862-1918), The Black Feathered Hat, 1910. Oil on canvas. Private Collection

But although their lives were so tightly bound together, they are vastly contrasting artists: Klimt’s eroticism is lush and beautiful, Schiele’s tortured and expressionistic. This show offers a wonderful opportunity to compare them, as it includes works such as Klimt’s Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I  (1907), The Black Feathered Hat  (1910), above, and The Dancer  (1916-17), while Schiele is represented by Portrait of the Painter Karl Zakovšek  (1910), Self-Portrait with Arm Twisted above Head  (1910) and Friendship  (1913).

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  • Truth and Beauty: The Pre-Raphaelites and the Old Masters Legion of Honor, San Francisco, until 30 September

This is the first major exhibition to set the works of the 19th-century Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood alongside the pieces that inspired them. It includes Fra Angelico, Pietro Perugino and Jan van Eyck as well as Holman Hunt, John Everett Millais and Dante Gabriel Rossetti, and traces the circle’s ‘rediscovery’ of Botticelli. It is nothing short of a feast for the eyes and the brain.

John Everett Millais (1829-1896) Mariana, 1851. Tate, London, Accepted by HM Government in lieu of tax and allocated to the Tate Gallery, 1999, T07553 Image courtesy of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco

John Everett Millais (1829-1896) Mariana, 1851. Tate, London, Accepted by HM Government in lieu of tax and allocated to the Tate Gallery, 1999, T07553 Image courtesy of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco

This is the first major monographic presentation in more than a decade of one of the most significant figures in the art of 1980s America. Largely self-taught, David Wojnarowicz was a radical and important painter, photographer, film-maker, writer and campaigner, who originally showed his works in storefronts and on the street, making stencils on the sides of buildings in New York’s East Village.

David Wojnarowicz, Untitled, 1988-89. Gelatin silver print, 16 x 20 in (40.6 x 50.8 cm). Collection of Steve Johnson and Walter Sudol, courtesy Second Ward Foundation. Image courtesy of The Estate of David Wojnarowicz and P.P.O.W., New York

David Wojnarowicz, Untitled, 1988-89. Gelatin silver print, 16 x 20 in (40.6 x 50.8 cm). Collection of Steve Johnson and Walter Sudol, courtesy Second Ward Foundation. Image courtesy of The Estate of David Wojnarowicz and P.P.O.W., New York

After the death in 1987 of his partner and mentor, the photographer Peter Hujar, and his own diagnosis as HIV positive, Wojnarowicz became a powerful political campaigner against perceived injustices of the time. He died in 1992 and, as this major exhibition will reveal, his work was always impassioned and sophisticated.

Find out more about the must-see exhibitions across the rest of the world for summer 2018


In collaboration with the Fondation Giacometti in Paris, this show examines anew the artistic vocabulary of Alberto Giacometti. Greatly inspired by African, Cycladic, Egyptian and Oceanic art, Giacometti spent his life working in Montparnasse, in a 15 by 16-foot studio, along with the aide of his brother Diego. His vulnerable striding men and elongated figures resonated with audiences grappling with alienation and anxiety in the wake of the Second World War.

Installation view Giacometti, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum.Photo David Heald © Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, 2018

Installation view: Giacometti, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum.Photo: David Heald © Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, 2018

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Foundation has a long history with Giacometti — in 1955 the Swiss artist’s first museum show was presented in New York at the institution’s temporary quarters on Fifth Avenue. This is the first presentation dedicated to the artist in the United States in more than 15 years.

The São Paulo Biennial highlights the continuing prosperity of Brazil’s contemporary art scene. Gabriel Pérez-Barreiro, head curator of the Biennial's 33rd edition, has rethought the traditional biennial model by selecting seven artists to curate their own shows which will be presented alongside 12 solo shows he has curated himself. 

Alejandro Cesarco, view of the installation Song, at The Renaissance Society of the University of Chicago, 2017. Image courtesy Alejandro Cesarco and Tanya Leighton Gallery. Photo Useful Art Services

Alejandro Cesarco, view of the installation Song, at The Renaissance Society of the University of Chicago, 2017. Image courtesy Alejandro Cesarco and Tanya Leighton Gallery. Photo: Useful Art Services

The result will be seven exhibitions by Alejandro Cesarco, Antonio Ballester Moreno, Claudia Fontes, Karin Mamma Andersson, Sofia Borges, Waltercio Caldas, and Wura-Natasha Ogunji, unified with Pérez-Barreiro's 12 projects under the theme of ‘Affective Affinities’, all housed in an Oscar Niemeyer designed pavilion in the city’s Parque do Ibirapuera.

There is something rather poetic about seeing one of Jeff Koons’ monumental Play-Doh  sculptures in the vast Los Angeles villa built by J. Paul Getty — but which he never visited — for the purpose of advancing studies of the ancient world. It’s housed as part of an illuminating show that also features works by Michelangelo Pistoletto, Paul McCarthy, Joseph Kosuth, Paul Chan and Rachel Harrison, focusing on artistic responses to Plato’s philosophies.

Jeff Koons, Play-Doh, 1994-2014. Polychromed aluminium. Collection of the artist © Jeff Koons

Jeff Koons, Play-Doh, 1994-2014. Polychromed aluminium. Collection of the artist © Jeff Koons

Plato’s impact on the understanding of the human condition — and the ultimate Platonic experience: contemplation — is explored through neon signs, resin-cast caves and polished mirrors made by some of the 20th century’s foremost names in art.

Rachel Rose is an artist to watch. Her video Lake Valley  was one of the best things in the Central Pavilion at last year’s Venice Biennale. Mixing collage and found footage, it took images from 19th-century children’s books and combined them with hand-drawn animation, to magical effect.

Rachel Rose (b.1986), Still from Wil-o-Wisp (Moiré Installation) 2018. Image © 2018 Rachel Rose

Rachel Rose (b.1986), Still from Wil-o-Wisp (Moiré Installation) 2018. Image © 2018 Rachel Rose

Now, as the recipient of the Future Fields Commission in Time-Based Media, Rose has been commissioned by the Philadelphia Museum of Art to create a new installation. The 31-year-old New Yorker has set her live-action video, Wil-o-Wisp, which explores the relationship between reality and perception, history and coincidence, in 16th-century agrarian England, where a woman’s fate becomes bound up with moments of upheaval, suspicion and persecution.