9 Must-See Art and Design Exhibitions, From New York to Berlin

R & Company shows sculptor Wendell Castle venturing into furniture, the Future Perfect plots a three-city affair, Max Hetzler toasts the category-busting Willian N. Copley, and more.

Wendell Castle and the “Quiet Revolution”

Jan. 13–Feb. 26

R & Company, New York

“It had never occurred to me that furniture could be anything so personal and powerful as sculpture,” the sculptor Wendell Castle wrote of craftsman-artist Wharton Esherick in 1970, when Castle was exploring how to apply his skills to functional objects. Along with Esherick, he was influenced by Isamu Noguchi, Jean Arp, and George Sugarman, whose work will be presented here alongside Castle’s initial innovations, including his branch-like “Music Rack” (1980) and stack-laminated “Baker” armchair (1967). A scrapbook compiled by Castle’s wife offers further insight on his foray into furniture: hostile reviews of early local exhibitions throw into contrast the faith that he had in his experiments. –Tiffany Jow


Holly Hendry: The Dump is Full of Images

Through April 19

The Weston Gallery at Yorkshire Sculpture Park, United Kingdom

Since graduating from the Royal College of Art in 2016, London-based artist Holly Hendry has made a name for herself with her distinctive interpretation of human anatomy. Her sculptures mix blobby pieces of plaster and marble with unconventional materials—lipstick, soap, eyeshadow, ash, and turmeric among them—to create objects that evoke a slice of someone’s insides, super-sized and rendered in pastel. Her first kinetic sculpture, on view here, continuously feeds a conveyor belt of silicone “skin,” printed with internal organs, food, and detritus, through steel rollers. Let the state of your digestion determine the machine’s message. –TJ


Comfort: Curated by Omar Sosa

Through Feb. 15

Friedman Benda, New York

“Comfort is often something that we think is innate but actually it only exists once we experience it,” says Omar Sosa, co-founder of Apartamento magazine and curator of “Comfort,” Friedman Benda’s sixth annual guest-organized exhibition. Through a medley of artworks and utilitarian objects, such as Nicola L’s monumental Canapé Homme Geant and Andrea Branzi’s rare Pigiama Armchair, Sosa assembles a visual landscape that dives into comfort’s relationship to aesthetics and the tension that occurs when an object can be physically comfortable but visually or psychologically uncomfortable. –Ryan Waddoups


February Light: Estate of Josep Grau-Garriga

Jan. 9–Feb. 29

Salon 94 Bowery, New York

The crown jewel of Salon 94’s presentation of work by Catalan artist Josep Grau-Garriga (1929–2011) is “Llum de Febrer,” a weaving he completed in 1981 that spans more than 20 feet and incorporates the colors of a desert sunrise. It’s an example of how, in an attempt to free himself from traditional tapestry-making, Grau-Garriga incorporated other materials into his work, including rope, jute, copper, wool, and silk, resulting in a tactile feast for the eyes. —TJ


William N. Copley: The Ballad of William N. Copley

Jan. 17–March 7

Galerie Max Hetzler, Berlin

Over the course of his 77 years, William N. Copley was a newspaper reporter, a prodigious art collector, the proprietor of an adventurous (and short-lived) gallery, a friend to Surrealists and Dadaists, a lively writer, and a sui generis artist, whose cartoon-style paintings and drawings ooze ribald humor and fraught psychological states. (His signature motifs included nude women and men in full suits and bowler caps.) This exhibition, the first of Copley’s work at Hetzler, will present a survey of more than three decades of his output, which exercises a powerful influence on free-thinking figurative painters of the present moment. —Andrew Russeth


Alex Israel: Always on My Mind

Jan. 16–March 14

Gagosian London, Grosvenor Hill

It was a whirlwind 2019 for Alex Israel, with the release of the second season of “As It Lays,” the captivating and discomfiting celebrity interview show that he hosts; a doubleheader of exhibitions at Reena Spaulings and Greene Naftali in New York; and a luggage collaboration with RIMOWA. As the new decade begins, he will alight at powerhouse Gagosian with a show devoted to the paintings that he makes in the shape of the silhouette of his head, with images of his beloved Los Angeles floating inside them. Is Israel, who is precisely attuned to the rhythms of social media and celebrity, our Warhol? The suggestion drives his critics mad. Meanwhile, he just keeps on chugging. —AR


Turning Still: Historical and Contemporary Ceramics

Jan. 9–Feb. 23

Patrick Parrish Gallery, New York

Ian McDonald, the New York–based artist known for his vessels, and Maija Grotell, the Finnish potter who served as head of the Cranbrook Academy of Art’s ceramics department from 1938 to 1966, never met each other (she died two years before he was born), but this exhibition suggests they may have had a fruitful conversation. In it, new pieces by McDonald sit among eleven Grotell creations, on loan from the Cranbrook Art Museum’s permanent collection. —TJ


Ruth Asawa: A Line Can Go Anywhere

Through Feb. 22

David Zwirner, London

In the late 1940s, Ruth Asawa (1926–2013) began creating her signature hanging wire sculpture, which “challenge conventional notions of sculpture through their emphasis on lightness and transparency,” as David Zwirner gallery puts it in a press statement for this show, which looks at the interplay between those famed pieces and her works on paper. Its title comes from Asawa. “If I was going to make these forms, which interlock and interweave,” she once said, “it can only be done with a line because a line can go anywhere.” —RW


The Future Perfect: Mess

Through Jan. 15

The Future Perfect New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco

A tripartite exhibition across the Future Perfect’s three locations, “Mess” highlights the unabashed creativity that has underpinned the recent vanguard of ceramic artists. The landmark show unites unconventional works by 32 international artists, including the likes of Ben Medansky, Kristin Victoria Barron, and newcomer Magnus Maxine, each defined by rule-breaking approaches to clay and playful experimentation. “I think of ceramics as a gateway drug—it opens people’s minds toward collecting and investing,” says gallery director Laura Young, who co-curated the show with London-based author Tom Morris. “We cast a wide net and diversified our artist pool, which always brings an exhilaration to the gallery, this dynamic conversation about relationships old and new.” —RW

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