International Museum Exhibitions

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.

“Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster: Splendid Hotel”

MUSEO NACIONAL CENTRO DE ARTE REINA SOFÍA
MADRID
Through August 31
Curated by João Fernandes

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 structure—now owned by the Reina Sofía—already 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.

Daniel Birnbaum

Georges Adéagbo, study for La Naissance de Stockholm...! (The Birth of Stockholm...!) (detail), 2014, commissioned, bought, and found objects, dimensions variable. Photo: Stephan Köhler.

“Georges Adéagbo: The Birth of Stockholm”

MODERNA MUSEET | STOCKHOLM
STOCKHOLM
Through September 7
Curated by Matilda Olof-Ors and Stephan Köhler

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-size—or rather, house-like—installation.

Chika Okeke-Agulu

Charles Ray, Unpainted Sculpture, 1997, fiberglass, paint, 5' 7“ x 6' 6” x 14' 3".

“Charles Ray: Sculpture 1997–2014”

KUNSTMUSEUM BASEL
BASEL
Through September 28
Curated by Bernhard Mendes Bürgi and James Rondeau

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 off—with 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.

Benjamin Carlson

Paul Chan

SCHAULAGER
BASEL
Through October 19
Curated by Heidi Naef

After 9/11, Paul Chan distinguished himself by confronting the world-historical crises of the ensuing decade through a mesmerizing poetic dialogue with predecessors ranging from Henri Matisse to Maurice Blanchot to Martha Rosler. After carrying out a series of virtuosic projects, including Waiting for Godot in New Orleans, 2007; “The 7 Lights,” 2005–2008; and Sade for Sade’s Sake, 2009, Chan retired from the art world proper, focusing instead on his eccentric Badlands Unlimited publishing house. This April, he will mount his first exhibition since this hiatus began, a period that witnessed the democratic uprisings of 2011, the anthropogenic climate disaster of Hurricane Sandy, and the enraging verdict of the Trayvon Martin case. That this large-scale show will be held in Basel, home to various cultural smorgasbords of the 1 percent, may seem incongruous, but given the unsettling interventions and untimely meditations for which Chan is known, what better site for his reemergence than this contradictory arena?

Yates McKee

Vern Blosum, Planned Obsolescence, 1963, oil on canvas, 67 1/4 x 53 1/4".

Vern Blosum

KUNSTHALLE BERN
BERN
Through August 3
Curated by Lionel Bovier

Between 1961 and 1965, an artist using the pseudonym Vern Blosum made forty-four paintings of common objects in the style of Pop art. These attractive artifacts were sold by Leo Castelli to prestigious collections, while the abstract paintings to which the artist would devote most of his working life achieved little worldly success. This summer at Kunsthalle Bern, curator Lionel Bovier will assemble nearly the entire oeuvre of Blosum’s brief vogue. A catalogue raisonné of this work is also in preparation. However, the artist, who has lived to see the revival of interest in Blosum, will offer no further information on this occasion and thus will perpetuate his silence as to whether the project was (and continues to be) a comment on market-driven cynicism or merely a symptom of it.

William E. Jones

Teresa Margolles

MIGROS MUSEUM FÜR GEGENWARTSKUNST
ZURICH
Through August 17
Curated by Raphael Gygax

Octavio Paz once wrote that Mexicans treat death as their favorite toy, but his words preceded the drug wars that ripped his country apart. Although Mexican society has suffered more than one hundred thousand violent deaths in the past decade, few artists there have ventured to comment. Teresa Margolles stands apart, having pursued the subject of death for twenty-five years. She has turned bloody sheets used to retrieve murder victims into paintings, entombed a stillborn fetus in cement, filled galleries with steam made from water used to wash corpses, and provided coffins for families who could not afford burials in exchange for body parts from the deceased, which she then transformed into sculptures. With this exhibition, Margolles presents several new pieces that reflect her emotionally riveting, visually minimal method of making art speak of the unspeakable.

Coco Fusco