12 Must-See Exhibitions This Week, from San Francisco to Paris and Beyond

Justin Matherly's contorted sculptures, Doug Wheeler's deep dives into light and space, Madeline Hollander’s luminous Bortolami debut, and more.

Color Diaries

When: Jan. 8–Feb. 22

Where: Demisch Danant, New York

What: In the 1960s and ‘70s, French design took a turn toward rounded forms, saturated colors, and a medley of textures that designers such as Pierre Paulin and Olivier Mourgue playfully employed to soften the severity of modern architecture. “Color Diaries” riffs on this humanization by presenting a curated color field in three-dimensional soft forms, encouraging visitors to engage in color play guided by none other than their own personal associations.—Ryan Waddoups


Madeline Hollander: Heads/Tails

When: Jan. 10–Feb. 22

Where: Bortolami, New York

What: Over the past few years, Madeline Hollander has choreographed bewitching, systems-based dance pieces that have established her as one of the most whip-smart artists in town, and also one of the most thrilling. (A memorable 2018 piece had four performers enacting intricate, athletics-inspired moves until they raised the heat in the room enough to activate air conditioners. When the temperature dropped sufficiently, they went at it again.) For her Bortolami debut, Hollander is working with objects instead of humans, programming scores of car headlights and taillights to respond to the traffic light at the nearby intersection. When that light goes red, the taillights come alive in a sea of disparate sequences that she has conceived, imagining drivers stuck in traffic. Transposing peoples’ everyday actions into a symphonic light work, the piece is uncanny and oddly moving. It seems likely to become even more so. Once the driverless car competition is won, the wildly blinking field will be a memorial to one more form of human control that has been replaced by machines.—Andrew Russeth


Paul Mpagi Sepuya at Modern Art

When: Jan. 11–Feb. 15

Where: Modern Art, London

What: The interlocking figures that populate Paul Mpagi Sepuya’s photographs are his close companions: friends, lovers, or fellow queer artists interlocking with fragments of his own body. For the artist’s first solo exhibition in the U.K., presented in collaboration with New York–based Team Gallery, a series of recent visuals range from close-up mirror portraits of tangled limbs to self-reflexive collages, conveying his sensitivity and skill in capturing bodies on camera.—Ryan Waddoups


Tiril Hasselknippe: Braut

When: Jan. 12–Feb. 23

Where: Magenta Plains, New York

What: Growing up in Arendal, Norway, about three hours southwest of Oslo by car, the artist Tiril Hasselknippe watched a lot of nature documentaries. One program, focused on a volcano whose eruption was 100 years overdue, convinced her that the end was near, and she has held onto that apocalyptic worldview. “That’s just how I’m wired,” the 35-year-old says, sitting in the Magenta Plains gallery in New York, where her latest solo show just went on view. Much of her work, which has appeared in the 2018 New Museum Triennial and shows at kunsthalles across Europe, could be seen as attempts to stave off or mitigate such disaster—they’re scrappy, hand-fashioned solutions to potential catastrophes.—Tiffany Jow


Bari Ziperstein at The Future Perfect

When: Jan. 16–Feb. 15

Where: The Future Perfect, San Francisco

What: As FOG Design+Art kicks off in San Francisco, the Los Angeles–based ceramist Bari Ziperstein is presenting her Tube collection, a line of new and exclusive ceramic pieces, in her first solo exhibition at The Future Perfect’s Bay Area outpost. The work on view riffs on an industrial tube, curving, cutting, and combining different versions of the cylindrical shape in artful, unexpected ways.—Tiffany Jow


Erwin Wurm: Yes Biological

When: Jan. 16–Feb. 22

Where: Lehmann Maupin, New York

What: Erwin Wurm’s “One Minute Sculptures” are everyday objects accompanied by instructions that tell viewers how to interact with them (usually in ways that are playful and absurd). The artist, who’s been experimenting with video, performance, installation, and other mediums for more than three decades, will present a series of new sculptures in this exhibition. One piece, “One Minute forever (hands/fruits)” (2019), consists of a concrete cast hand with oranges pushed onto its fingertips—an act that prolongs Wurm’s participatory project for eternity.—Tiffany Jow


DRIFT: About Nature, Technology, and Humankind

When: Jan. 17–April 30

Where: Carpenters Workshop Gallery, San Francisco

What: The Dutch design duo known for ambitious projects and asking really big questions scales things up even more with “About Nature, Technology, and Humankind,” which marks the largest installations to date of their seminal works Flylight and Fragile Future III in the United States. Both works, which showcase how artists utilize cutting-edge technology to mimic existing natural phenomena such as the flight patterns of birds and longevity of dandelions, are presented during a time of dire environmental turmoil that beckons new scrutiny of the sustainability of human progress.—Ryan Waddoups


Cameron Jamie

When: Jan. 22–March 7

Where: Gladstone Gallery, Brussels

What: One of the standout participants in the central show of the 2019 Venice Biennale, the Paris-based artist Cameron Jamie makes figures and masks in a panoply of mediums (glazed stoneware, most famously) that are fearsome, inventive, and often discomfitingly familiar; they suggest dark emotions and unsettled states of mind. For his first exhibition at Gladstone’s stately Brussels branch, Jamie is presenting what the enterprise is terming a “rogues’ gallery of ceramic masks.” Some are faced away from the viewer, a signature move that the artist seems to use to invite viewers to venture into the alternate states that he conjures, or simply to embody the hidden ones that he recognizes in us all.—Andrew Russeth


Arabesque by Rayyane Tabet

When: Jan. 23–April 18

Where: Storefront for Art and Architecture, New York

What: Julia Morgan (1872–1957) was the first female architecture student at the Paris in École des Beaux-Arts and later became a proponent of the American Arts and Crafts movement. Jules Bourgoin (1838–1908) was a Paris-born professor at the institution who spent time exploring the Middle East and North Africa, intricately documenting the ornate structures he encountered. While Bourgoin’s exact impact on his student’s is not known, the Beirut-based artist Rayyane Tabet juxtaposes their work in this exhibition, prompting viewers to consider notions of appropriation and context. —Tiffany Jow


Doug Wheeler at David Zwirner

When: Jan. 24–March 21

Where: David Zwirner, New York

What: Though he began his career as a painter, Doug Wheeler quickly became fascinated with light, incorporating actual bulbs into his wall-mounted artworks and then a light environment inside his Venice Beach studio in 1967. Since then, the American artist has realized ethereal luminous environments at the Guggenheim, Hirshhorn, and Stedelijk museums, which fellow artist Daniel Buren has likened to “experiencing a spatial event, entering into light.” Wheeler’s latest exhibition, which takes over David Zwirner’s 19th Street gallery, continues his lifelong study of light’s atmospheric and perceptual effects. —Ryan Waddoups


Justin Matherly: Pathos the Pathetic

Jan. 25–March 14

Galerie Eva Presenhuber, Zurich

American artist Justin Matherly uses Greek and Roman antiquity as a jumping-off point for his weird, contorted sculptures. This exhibition presents new work that showcases his interest in statues, columns, and reliefs as well as his production process, in which forms are first carved out of XPS insulation foam then cast in concrete, gypsum, or fiberglass resin. —Tiffany Jow

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