From ‘Grant Wood fever’ to Adrian Piper’s homecoming at MoMA

Frieze Week in New York offers a wealth of world-class exhibitions at the city’s institutions. Here, frieze magazine editors offer their picks.

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Grant Wood, The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere, 1931, oil on composition board, 76 × 102 cm. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Arthur Hoppock Hearn Fund, 1950. © Figge Art Museum, successors to the Estate of Nan Wood Graham/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY. Image: © The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Courtesy: Art Resource, NY

Andrew Durbin picks ‘Grant Wood:  American Gothic and Other Fables ’ at the Whitney Museum
A future generation may look back at the Grant Wood fever gripping New York with some confusion. Why was this quirky painter, who is the subject of a survey at the Whitney Museum, so captivating? They need only refer to the events of 8 November 2016 to understand why our strange times called forth such a strange artist,
 best known for American Gothic (1930). Wood dispenses with truth in favor of myth in a Midwestern mannerism that always risks implosion. Here, hearty subjects appear to ‘a tolerable degree of Tranquility’ (to borrow a phrase from George Washington) just before life’s gravity, née history, reasserts itself.

— Andrew Durbin is Senior Editor of frieze, based in New York City

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Adrian Piper. Everything #2.8. 2003, photocopied photograph on graph paper, sanded with sandpaper, overprinted with inkjet text, 21.6 x 27.9 cm. Private Collection. © Adrian Piper Research Archive Foundation, Berlin

Pablo Larios picks ‘Adrian Piper: A Synthesis of Intuitions, 1065–2016’ at MoMA

‘A Synthesis of Intuitions, 1965–2016’ devotes a whole floor of the Museum
of Modern Art to the game-changing conceptualist and post-conceptualist Adrian Piper – a first for a living artist. The retrospective also marks a sort of New York homecoming for Piper, who has been based in Berlin since 2005. The timing couldn’t be better. Through the alter ego-adopting series ‘Mythic Being’ (1973–5) onwards, Piper has unflinchingly documented cultural atavisms, disarming our default settings and blinders towards race, class, and gender. Always fiery and political, her work is also often fun, and funky too: disco and techno music make appearances alongside Kant, spiritualism, and the artist’s own biography - an excellent memoir accompanies the show. Promising much ‘food for the soul’ (to borrow the name of another early ’70s) series, this is a hugely welcome return for a mythic being (who was never really gone).

 Pablo Larios is Senior Editor of frieze, based in Berlin

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Sylvia Palacios Whitman, Passing Through, 1977, documentation of performance at Sonnabend Gallery. Photo: Babette Mangolte, 28 × 36 cm. Courtesy: Babette Mangolte © 1977 Babette Mangolte 

Amy Sherlock picks ‘Radical Women: Latin AMerican Art, 1960-1985’ at the Brooklyn Museum
Curators Cecilia Fajardo-Hill and Andrea Giunta spent seven years re- searching this exhibition, which travels to the Brooklyn Museum from the Hammer, in Los Angeles. The reason: most of the artists here  over 120, from 14 Latin American countries and the United States  are missing from the art history books. Working in very different contexts during
a period of global political and aesthetic foment, the artists here are united  like the women in the Brooklyn Museum’s equally ground-breaking recent survey “We Wanted a Revolution: Black Radical Women 1965–85’  
by their doubly marginalized position. An important show in our moment of renewed awareness of how far the struggle for equality still has to go.

— Amy Sherlock is Deputy Editor of frieze, based in London

Frieze New York 2018 runs May 3-6.

Main image: Adrian Piper, Everything #2.8. (detail), 2003, photocopied photograph on graph paper, sanded with sandpaper, overprinted with inkjet text, 21.6 x 27.9 cm. Private Collection. © Adrian Piper Research Archive Foundation, Berlin