Institutional Solo Debuts to Lookout for This Winter

For many established names in the art world, it can take years, even decades, before the opportunity to exhibit their work in a museum arrives. In recent times, exhibition schedules have showcased dedicated efforts to offer more accessible and inclusive programmes, with artists from all kinds of backgrounds, generations and perspectives packed into their agendas. Here’s just a few of the names who’ll be looking to take advantage of this and make a significant impression with their first solo museum show.

Bisa Butler: Portraits at The Art Institute of Chicago

Bisa Butler is an American textile artist primarily known for her large-scale quilted portraits commemorating black life, identity and culture. Much of her work portrays famous figures throughout black history - including Basquiat, Jackie Robinson and Nina Simone - yet she also crafts pieces of unknown African American subjects drawn from found photographs to help tell the story of those whom history’s spotlight never lit up. Butler uses a range of brightly coloured and patterned fabrics whilst adding texture and detail with magnificently drawn thread. Her quilts offer a sprawling historical view and engage with themes of community, legacy, family and youth. You can catch Bisa Butler: Portraits from November 16th, 2020 – April 19th, 2021.

©Claire Oliver Gallery

JEFRË: Points of Connection at the Orlando Museum of Art

Internationally renowned Filipino-American public artist JEFRË brings his transformative sculptures and installations to the Orlando Museum of Art in his first solo show. Ordinarily, you’ll find JEFRË’s work bringing community landscapes, parks and plazas to life in cities like London, Abu-Dhabi and Manila. Here, audiences are introduced to the artist’s past projects alongside studio sculptures and immersive installations across the entire museum site. Points of Connection explores JEFRË’s immigrant identity, past troubles with heart disease and our own common humanity. Book tickets online and view the monumental exhibition between October 3rd, 2020 and January 3rd, 2021.


Pat Larter: Get Arted at the Art Gallery of New South Wales

The late Australian artist and one of the leading figures of the mail art movement, Patricia Larter, gets a posthumous retrospective at the Art Gallery of New South Wales. Perhaps more widely recognized as the muse of husband and fellow artist Dick Larter, this exhibition celebrates Larter as an artist in her own right. Having worked across many mediums, including painting, collage, video, printmaking, photography and performance art, her career has spanned over 30 years. Her work presents a provocative yet joyous and comical practice that continues to challenge stereotypes surrounding female sexuality and desire as well as confronting the male gaze. See this extensive curation of her work from the 14th November 2020 onwards.

Pat Larter Pat's anger 1992 Art Gallery of New South Wales, gift of Frank Watters 2018. Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program © Estate of Pat Larter

Nikita Gale: Private Dancer at the California African American Museum

Los Angeles-based artist Nikita Gale’s work frequently focuses on common, everyday objects and prevalent consumer technologies that are put together in unique and unexpected ways to question how they’re used to define, amplify and reproduce bodies. Her latest installation stages a collapsed lighting rig in the centre of CAAM, drawing from the common experience of live music. The lights are programmed to ‘dance’ to Tina Turner’s 1984 album Private Dancer, which is inaudible in the exhibition. The separation of live performance machinery from the auditory output we’re familiar with creates an unusual scenario exploring the demands of performance, the limits of the body and silence as a political standpoint. Set to open in March, right as COVID-19 caused CAAM to temporarily close, the exhibit remains unseen. Unfortunately, it’s still unknown when audiences will get the chance to see it, but hopefully it’s soon.

©California African American Museum