The following guide to museum shows currently on view is compiled from Artforum’s three-times-yearly exhibition preview. Subscribe now to begin a year of Artforum—the world’s leading magazine of contemporary art. You’ll get all three big preview issues, featuring Artforum’s comprehensive advance roundups of the shows to see each season around the globe.
The work of Pedro Paiva and João Maria Gusmão has generated a lot of interest since the early 2000s (among other high-profile global exhibitions, the two have participated in the Gwangju Biennale, Manifesta, and the Bienal de São Paulo, as well as in the Venice Biennale, twice), yet no comprehensive consideration of their practice has been undertaken. Former Tate Modern director Todolí takes steps toward amending that with this exhibition. Though the show includes film-based pieces only, it surveys the artists’ production over the past ten years. And indeed it is film that has served as the core of Paiva and Gusmão’s unique undertakings, in which they blend absurdist humor, pseudoscience, and existential philosophy to create the wry, often-obscure pieces for which they have become best known.
To hear sound is to be unmoored, to let go. Unlike seeing, hearing occurs from all directions simultaneously, however uneven or sporadic the din. “Art or Sound” gathers all those things that have embraced such spatial release: more than 170machines, musical instruments, sound sculptures, and sundry other devices that spill over with sound, exceeding the limits of their material source. Eighteenth-century automata, singing clocks, synaesthetic color organs, and Futurist noisemaking intonarumori will join the aural experiments of the postwar neo-avant-gardes, including Robert Rauschenberg’s Oracle, 1962–65, which combines massive air ducts, running water, and a network of radios into a kinetic field of acoustic, liquid, and electromagnetic flows. In works like these, sound becomes a way to stave off the reification or stillness of the inert art object. Celant’s humming, reverberant exhibition will doubtless do the same. The accompanying catalogue features essays by Celant and more than twenty musicologists, composers, artists, musicians, and scholars.
Polish architect Oskar Hansen was an artist and educator perhaps best known for his “Open Form” theory, a conceptconnected to the work of the Team 10 architectsthat promoted the social utility of sculpture and architecture and countered long-favored Corbusian ideals. “Open Form” soon evolved into a brave plan for urban decentralization that Hansen, during his tenure at the Academy of Fine Arts, Warsaw, passed along to generations of students, encouraging them to pursue art practices beyond traditional disciplines. Now MACBA, in collaboration with Warsaw’s Museum of Modern Art, is showcasing the architect’s original designs, photographs, and didactic materials alongside works realized by his studentsmaterials that, though at one time internationally recognized, have rarely circulated outside Poland.
Travels to the Museu de Arte Contemporânea de Serralves, Porto, Portugal, Jan.–May 2015.
A luminous pavilion of glass and steel opened in 1887, Madrid’s technologically advanced Palacio de Cristal was capable of simulating equatorial climate conditions and was intended to showcase the exotic flora of the Philippines, a Spanish colony until 1898. In short, the structurenow owned by the Reina Sofíaalready sounds like a work by Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, so it is no surprise that the French artist was drawn to the site. In characteristic form, she is offering few details in advance of her show, a site-specific intervention. But given that the Palacio, with its evocative architecture and its history redolent of tropical modernity’s light-infused melancholy, itself crystallizes the atmospheric qualities fans (myself included) associate with her art, perhaps she will start from the premise that less is more.
The Beninese artist Georges Adéagbo brings to bear on his work the sensibilities of a sociologist, an archivist, an art dealer and collector, an explorer, an entrepreneur, a storyteller, a philosopher, and, if one could imagine it, a postcolonial Dadaist. The result is his brand of site-specific installation art, in which quirkily arranged text, paintings by other Beninese artists, tourist-quality “African” sculptures, and found objects from local flea markets proliferate in immersive, sensorially taxing environments. In this epically titled solo show, “The Birth of Stockholm,” an antechamber of the artist’s projected handwritten meditations on art and on the Swedish capital and an array of Beninese-made figural sculptures will lead into a room-sizeor rather, house-likeinstallation.
From his early performative pieces, in which the LA-based artist incorporated his own body, to the psychologically charged modulations of scale and perceptually disorienting flirtations with Minimalism in his most iconic works, Charles Ray has proved to be an artist of remarkable range. This survey of monochromatic sculptures and reliefs fittingly picks up where his last major retrospective left offwith Unpainted Sculpture,1997, a ghostly cast of a crashed car that prompted Ray’s prescient quip to curator Paul Schimmel: “It’s like looking at Titanic. Is it real or computer-generated?” That tension has only become more pronounced in later aluminum, fiberglass, porcelain, stainless-steel, and wood figures, which increasingly are the result of 3-D scanning and CNC machining as well as of traditional carving techniques, via all of which representational form and sculptural content are melded into one seamless surface.
Travels to the Art Institute of Chicago, May 24–Oct. 4, 2015.