Get Well: Rx for this Covid World

By Peggy Roalf   Thursday September 22, 2022

The most clicked art world story this week has to be a piece reported by the Guardian and picked up by Hyperallergic, ArtNet, and The Smithsonian among others. People in Brussels suffering from depression, stress or anxiety are now eligible for “museum prescriptions”,  free visits with a few friends or family members to discover one or more of Brussels’ cultural institutions. Above: Museum of Fashion and Lace, Brussels

Delphine Houba, a Brussels deputy mayor in charge of culture, told the Observer. “I want everybody back in our cultural institutions… but we know that, even before Covid, for some people it [was] not easy to open the door of a museum, they don’t feel at ease, they don’t think that it’s for them. And I really want to show that cultural venues are for everybody.”

“Anything could have therapeutic value if it helps people get a good feeling and get in touch with themselves,” said Dr Johan Newell, a psychiatrist at Brugmann University Hospital, which is taking part in the pilot scheme.  “It’s just one extra tool that could help people get out of the house: to resocialise, reconnect with society.”

If the pilot is successful, the scheme could be opened to include other museums, cinemas, hospitals and groups of patients. People recovering from brain injuries, as well as older people and children, could also benefit, suggested Newell.

Think what this would matter to a family of four wanting to visit MoMA: The chance to see the Wolfgang Tillmans show while saving $100. But whatever your state of mind, consider celebrating the first gusty fall weekend at some museums. A few suggestions follow.


Opening Friday, September 22: Umar Rashid | Ancien Regime Chang at MoMA PS1

Through his multidisciplinary practice—including paintings, drawings, textiles, and a new multimedia sculpture being created for this exhibition—Umar Rashid draws on both history and fantasy to create epic narratives that examine how political and cultural power is established and might be undone.

Rashid’s first solo museum exhibition in New York City features over 30 new works that mark the final chapters of his ongoing series, Ancien Regime Change. The series looks back to the 18th century and its colonial regimes, exploring a critical period of global upheaval and modern transformation through extensive research. For the new works featured in the exhibition, Rashid draws specifically on the history of New York. Above: Umar Rashid,  The gods are indifferent but occasionally rapture the souls of humanity to hold for later judgment. Naval siege of the Fort Zeelandia expansion project by indigenous, and Frenglish raiders. The primary target escapes in a Ferrari whilst condemning everyone else to bombardment. Or, mooning in a canoe while Black and White Jesus look on in awe and terror. 2022.

Using a range of sources, Rashid’s work spans real and fictional empires, as well as figures from antiquity to popular culture. In his compositions, Rashid traverses periods, geographies, and cultures, citing sources including 18th century European manuscripts, bybu (Japanese screen painting), Persian miniatures, Yoruba deities, ancient Egyptian cosmologies, and American rappers. Rashid’s research-based process frees historical events from dominant narratives, and instead proposes counternarratives and critical fabulations.. Within his practice, many positions and references collide to reveal multiplicities across places and times, breaking free from a static past into one that is continuously being reshaped in the present.

Through March 13, 2023 at MoMA PS1, 22-25 Jackson Avenue, Long Island City, NY info



Thursday, September 22, 6:30 pm: El Anatsui | The Reinvention of Sculpture book launch at the New Museum 

Take part in the launch of this highly anticipated book by Chika Okeke-Agulu and the late Okwui Enwezor (Damiani, 2022). Massimiliano Gioni, Edlis Neeson Artistic Director, will moderate a panel discussion featuring co-author Okeke-Agulu, Jason Farago of The New York Times, and Julian Lucas of The New Yorker. The esteemed panelists will discuss the artistic practice and life of world-renowned, Ghanaian-born sculptor El Anatsui, who will be in attendance. Copies of the book will be available for purchase in the New Museum Store. Students can reserve complimentary tickets for public programs by following the general admissions ticketing link below. Student tickets require valid identification onsite. Above: El Anatsui at an opening event in London, 2005

The New Museum, 235 Bowery, New York, NY Reserve Tickets



Saturday, September 24, 1-4 pm: Explore This! Latin American Artists at MoMA

Discover the artwork of contemporary artists from Brazil, Colombia, and El Salvador through drawing, movement activities, and games. Choose the artworks and activities that interest your family and move at your own pace. Activity prompts are available in English and Spanish. Recommended for kids ages six and up. Participants sit on the floor in front of artworks during this program. Folding stools without backs are available for seating upon request. Free with advance registration Floor 2, galleries 205, 206, 212, and 214
Museum of Modern Art, 11 West 53rd Street, New York, NY Register



Continuing: The African Origins of Civilization at the Met

Scholars today recognize Africa as the source of our common ancestry. But in 1974, Senegalese scholar and humanist Cheikh Anta Diop shocked and challenged historians by asserting the influence of ancient African civilizations in his groundbreaking book The African Origin of Civilization: Myth or Reality. This exhibition pays homage to Diop by presenting masterpieces from the Museum’s collections from west and central Africa alongside art from ancient Egypt for the first time in The Met’s history.

New York Times critic Holland Cotter wrote, “Through acquisition dates on labels, you can trace what objects, early and late, came into the Met’s collections when, and thereby trace the progress of the museum’s investment in presenting and promoting the art of Africa. [The] curators have embedded this history in an old-style ‘masterpiece show,’ composed of a greatest-hits selection from the separate African collections they’re in charge of….And what a selection it is! Shoulder-to-shoulder astonishments, presented in compare-and-contrast pairs. Wherever you turn, in the close-quarters treasure-chest installation, you’re zapped.” Read the entire article here

Through September 28 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1000 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY Info



Closing October 9: Art and Race Matters | The Career of Robert Colescott at The New Museum

The bold and richly rendered works of Robert Colescott (1925–2009) plumb art history to discover issues of race, beauty, and American culture that are rife for satire. Often ahead of his time, Colescott explored the ways in which personal and cultural identities are constructed and enacted through the language of Western art.

Colescott is perhaps best known for works made during the 1970s in which he reimagined iconic artworks to examine the absence of Black men and women as protagonists in dominant cultural and social narratives. Works like George Washington Carver Crossing the Delaware: Page from an American History Textbook (1975, above) offer irreverent parodies of familiar masterpieces, while incisively critiquing America’s often brutally discriminatory past and present. 

In its complex interplay of high art and vernacular traditions, his work has opened new possibilities for chronicling the history of America while ridiculing its grandiosity and biases. This groundbreaking exhibition highlights Colescott’s legacy as a standard bearer for figuration in the 1970s, a forerunner of the appropriation strategies of the 1980s, an overlooked contributor to debates around identity politics in the 1990s, and a pioneer in addressing some of the most challenging issues in global culture today.

Through October 9 at The New Museum, 235 Bowery, New York, NY Info



Through December 17: Tropical is Political at Americas Society

Americas Society presents Tropical is Political: Caribbean Art Under The Visitor Economy Regime, curated by Marina Reyes Franco. The show investigates the ideas of natural and fiscal paradise, and the geographical coincidence of these concepts within the Caribbean region, where tourism and finance form the “visitor economy regime.” Tropical is Political features works by 19 contemporary artists from the Caribbean and its diasporas, including Allora & Calzadilla, Sofía Gallisá Muriente, Gwladys Gambie, Abigail Hadeed, Joiri Minaya, José Morbán, Dave Smith, Yiyo Tirado, Oneika Russell, among others. Through video, installation, painting, and sculpture, the exhibition will underline the effects of tourism and finance on subjects including economic policy, self-image, and artistic production.

Americas Society, 680 Park Avenue, New York, NY Info View gallery and visitors information here.



Through January 8: New York: 1962-1964 at the Jewish Museum

This exhibition explores a pivotal three-year period in the history of art and culture in New York City, examining how artists living and working in New York responded to their rapidly changing world. The show presents more than 150 works of art—all made or seen in New York between 1962-1964—including painting, sculpture, photography, and film, alongside fashion, design, dance, poetry, and ephemera. 

New York: 1962-1964 aligns with the years of Alan Solomon’s tenure as the Jewish Museum’s influential director. Solomon organized ambitious exhibitions that were dedicated to what he called the “New Art,” transforming the Jewish Museum into one of the most important cultural centers in New York. In addition to daring surveys of cutting-edge painting and sculpture, he also organized the first-ever museum retrospectives of both Robert Rauschenberg (1963) and Jasper Johns (1964).

Writing in the Brooklyn Rail, Norman L. Kleeblatt, a longtime principal at the museum, says, “Solomon served as its director from July 1962 to July 1964, a mere two years. Yet the exhibitions he curated and the programs he created were heralded in a world in process of major artistic and commercial transformations—in New York, in the United States, and internationally.”

The design of the exhibition by Selldorf Architects will feature material from popular culture, including newspapers, magazines, television clips, popular music, consumer products, furniture, and fashion, as well as vernacular objects salvaged from the city.
The exhibition will be accompanied by 350-page catalogue edited by Germano Celant, designed by 2x4, and co-published by the Jewish Museum and Skira Editore. Above: Marisol (Marisol Escobar); Self-Portrait, 1961-62. Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Chicago, IL. Copyright © 2022 Estate of Marisol / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

New York: 1962 – 1964. July 22, 2022-January 8, 2023 at the Jewish Museum, 1109 Fifth Avenue at 92nd Street, New York, NY Info