Freaky Fetishes at the Guggenheim, but—Fear Not—Free Therapy at the Whitney

Parisian-born sculptor Louise Bourgeois’ life and career have been remarkable. Born in 1911, four years after Picasso painted Les Demoiselles D’Avignon, Bourgeois came of age during a time when “avant-garde” had yet to become the empty boast of PR men. Influenced by the murkier tangents of Surrealism, Ms. Bourgeois, who studied at the École du Louvre and was Fernand Léger’s assistant before coming to the United States in 1938, pursues a fetishistic form of sculpture that touches upon childhood fantasy and bodily decrepitude. A couple of Ms. Bourgeois’ towering bronze spiders are sure to scurry up the ramp during her retrospective at the Guggenheim. (June 27-Sept. 28)

New Yorkers can look forward to a double dose of retro-Pop and unapologetic capitalism. Takashi Murakami, whose paintings and sculptures will be at the Brooklyn Museum in “© Murakami,” is a proud exponent of corporate art: His sickly sweet variations on anime and manga are factory-made commodities produced on a scale Andy Warhol couldn’t have imagined. (April 5-July 13)

Then there’s the redoubtable Jeff Koons, whose sculptures will be on the Met’s rooftop garden. Mr. Koons will likely offer unctuous monuments to kitsch culture. They’ll have to contend with sweeping views of Central Park. Wonder what museum visitors will spend most of their time looking at. (April 29-Oct. 26)

“Superheroes: Fashion and Fantasy,” another show at the Met, will explore how superheroes are “the ultimate metaphor for fashion and its ability to transform the human body.” The exhibition will center on superhero costumes and how they intersect with haute couture and sportswear. (May 7-Sept. 1)

Should your therapist not provide enough insight, pseudo-shaman Bert Gordon might pick up the slack. Register now for sessions with Mr. Gordon—held in a Minimalist white cube, no less—where he’ll record your confessions and then “discreetly” broadcast them. Mr. Gordon is one of around 80 artists included in the perpetually maligned Whitney Biennial. (March 6-June 1)

Further uptown, the Studio Museum in Harlem is mounting a retrospective of paintings by Charles Ethan Porter (c. 1847-1923). A proponent of luminism and student of the Barbizon school, Porter was esteemed by peers for his still lifes, landscapes and portraits. How 19th-century paintings will relate—or clash—with the “global perspective” offered by “Flow,” a concurrent overview of contemporary African art, will be interesting and maybe instructive. (April 2-June 29)

MoMA is touting “Geometry of Motion 1920s/1970s” as an exercise in “the social potential of visual agency.” How this will be borne out by an exhibition dedicated to, among others, Dadaist godhead Marcel Duchamp and Robert Smithson is an open question. Something about static images and light projections. Let’s hope the exhibition lives down its highfalutin publicity (March 19-June 23)

After his much-talked-about exhibition at the Venice Biennale, abstract painter Thomas Nozkowski has become the least-best-kept secret in the art world. Long esteemed by fellow painters, Mr. Nozkowski’s enigmatic amalgamations of biomorphic blips, geometric structures and occluded biographical oddments won’t stay below the radar for long now that powerhouse gallery Pace-Wildenstein represents him. (April 4-May 3)

R. B. Kitaj, best known as an American expatriate living in London, was an undeniably virtuosic draftsman and an aggravatingly erratic painter. Both are likely to be on view in an exhibition at Marlborough Gallery, the first since the artist’s death last year at the age of 75. Kitaj melded memory, Pop, history and culture both high and low into brightly colored, slapdash, sometimes spectacular and always combative narratives. (April 10-May 3)

Helen Miranda Wilson’s turnabout from meticulously articulated realist to meticulously articulated abstractionist has been altogether happy. Employing geometric scaffolding for meditative ends, Ms. Wilson is a miniaturist whose paintings bear close scrutiny: There isn’t a pat of paint that she hasn’t invested with diligence and love. Ms. Wilson’s recent paintings at DC Moore will likely elaborate on her sumptuous surfaces, luminous palette and softly stated rhythms. (March 26-April 26)

Freaky Fetishes at the Guggenheim, but—Fear Not—Free Therapy at the Whitney