Armchair Traveler: Looking Back With Barbara Kruger and John Giorno

Hiram Maristany, Children in the funeral march of Julio Roldán, 1970, photograph. Image courtesy the artist.

Is the art world getting too global for you? Each month, Interview highlights in pictures the shows you’d want to see—if you could jetset from one international hub to the next. This month, we’re looking to the past with a number of retrospectives of artists both celebrated and under-acknowledged.


Barbara Kruger, Untitled (Brain), 2007. Private collection, Delaware. Courtesy of Art Finance Partners, LLC. Photo courtesy of Mary Boone Gallery, New York


The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago

September 19, 2021 – January 24, 2022

For more than four decades, Barbara Kruger has been a critical observer, and documenter‚ of the ways that images circulate through our culture. By mixing mass media iconography with provocative language, Kruger uses direct address—mixed with humor, urgency, and empathy—to expose the power dynamics that are inherent in contemporary desire and consumerism. As our shrinking attention spans collide with the voyeurism and narcissism that are central to modern life, Kruger invites us to reconsider how we connect with one another. The Art Institute’s exhibition encompasses the full breadth of the artist‘s career—from early and rarely seen “pasteups” to digital productions from the last two decades.


Yuji Agematsu, zip: 01.01.20 . . . 12.31.20, 2020, Mixed media in cigarette pack cellophane wrappers on wood backed acrylic shelf, latex paint, installation dimensions variable. Image courtesy the artist and Miguel Abreu Gallery, New York. Photo: Stephen Faught.

Greater New York 2021

MoMA PS1, New York

October 7, 2021 – April 18, 2022

Greater New York is MoMA PS1’s signature survey of artists living and working in the New York area. Now in its fifth iteration, the exhibition features the work of 47 artists and collectives such as Yuji Agematsu, Kristi Cavataro, Raque Ford and Hiram Maristany, and opens up geographic and historical boundaries by pinpointing narratives of the local in a city that provokes a multitude of perspectives. The exhibition considers the ways that artists work to record social and personal experiences around belonging and estrangement.


Oliviero Toscani, Spring/Summer 1989 Collection Photograph by Oliviero Toscani, Image courtesy of the Philadelphia Museum of Art / © 2020 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / SIAE, Rome

Patrick Kelly: Runway of Love

de Young Museum, San Francisco

October 23, 2021 – April 24, 2022

Runway of Love celebrates the career and legacy of Black fashion designer Patrick Kelly (1954–1990). Kelly was active in the 1980s, and his heady, inventive, and often-subversive creations stood out on the streets, in nightclubs, and on the runway. His aesthetic developed out of his African American and Southern roots and knowledge of fashion and art history, as well as from the club and gay cultural scenes in New York and Paris. Kelly’s work pushed racial and cultural boundaries and his playful looks were inspired by his muse, Josephine Baker, and his admiration for Coco Chanel, Elsa Schiaparelli, and Yves Saint Laurent, among others.


John Giorno, GARDENIA SWEETEN THE AIR SEDUCINGLY SLY, 2017, Acrylic on canvas, 40 x 40 in. © John Giorno – Courtesy of Almine Rech. Photo: Dan Bradica.

John Giorno

Almine Rech, London

October 12 – November 13, 2021

John Giorno is recognized as one of the most innovative poets and artists of the twentieth century. His kaleidoscopic work fused poetry, visual art and activism, pushing text off the printed page and into the social realm. The artist’s first posthumous solo exhibition in the U.K. will premiere two bodies of work entitled Rainbow and Perfect Flowers which the artist produced late in his career. The eighteen Perfect Flowers paintings reflect on cycles of life and transcendence while the texts employed in the Rainbow paintings were sourced from poetry that Giorno wrote.