Spring Arts Guide: Donald Judd, Reassembled

Plus Kara Walker, Gustav Metzger, and other spring art picks

Jaume Plensa: ‘Echo’
May 5–August 14
A temporary NYC bookend to his massive Millennium Park fountain in Chicago, Jaume Plensa’s 44-foot-tall sculpture of a young girl’s head joins outdoor contemplation to Great Sphinx monumentality. A white fiberglass resin colossus sited at the Madison Park’s oval lawn, Echo makes use of Greek myth (the title evokes a nymph who could not speak but reflected the thoughts of others) and everyday life (it’s based on an acquaintance’s daughter). According to the artist, the monolith is intended as “a mirror in which people can see themselves.” Madison Square Park, madisonsquarepark.org

‘Francis Alÿs: A Story of Deception’
May 8–August 1
Drawing on MOMA’s never-before-seen holdings of this Belgian-Mexican art dandy, the show juggles Alÿs’s usual grab bag of media—performance, video installations, paintings, drawings, collages, photographs, and newspaper clippings. Organized by MOMA honcho Klaus Biesenbach and assistant curator Cara Starke, this long-overdue exhibition features a figure whose investigation of art as social action remains, despite his global festivalist popularity, woefully underexplored in Gotham. In one work on view, When Faith Moves Mountains (2002), Alÿs and 500 volunteers shifted an entire dune in Lima, Peru, two inches. New York could use some of that magic. Museum of Modern Art, 11 West 53rd Street, moma.org, MOMA P.S.1, 22-25 Jackson Avenue, Long Island City, ps1.org

Gustav Metzger: ‘Historic Photographs’
May 19–July 3
Quite easily the most important show of the season, this first U.S. solo museum outing for 86-year-old Gustav Metzger highlights precisely what is basic and radical about his art—his long engagement with historical trauma and representation. A Holocaust survivor and provocateur, Metzger’s firsthand experience of suffering and destruction led him to produce works with limited life spans that “re-enact the obsession with destruction, the pummeling to which individuals and masses are subjected.” Photo-sculptures and self-destructive art from a figure who may be the next great artistic touchstone. The New Museum, 235 Bowery, newmuseum.org

‘The Hugo Boss Prize 2010: Hans Peter Feldmann’
May 20–September 5
The eighth artist to win the Hugo Boss Prize—it carries a hefty $100,000 award and includes a solo exhibition at the Guggenheim—70-year-old German Hans-Peter Feldmann is without a doubt its most reticent and ambiguous recipient. An artist who displays pictures of others, his claim to fame lies in his rejection of originality in art (at least in his). Because Feldmann rarely gives interviews (he once answered a reporter’s questions with a set of photographs), his play with the casual pornography of contemporary images has gelled into (received?) wisdom. Guggenheim Museum, 1071 Fifth Avenue, guggenheim.org

Cory Arcangel: ‘Pro-Tools’
May 26–September 11
A comedown in the serious-subject-matter category for major museum shows this spring, Cory Arcangel’s computer programming and gaming prowess will be on view in this display of hacked Nintendo game cartridges and reappropriated American leisure time. Clever—though often merely clever—examinations of technology’s quicksilver obsolescence today, this survey could help strip the ’tude from art that regularly appears on the verge of saying something. On the other hand, this show boasts an interactive video golf game—30 is so totally the new 15! The Whitney Museum, 945 Madison Avenue, whitney.org

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