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.
Absorption is a loaded word in art history, but Park McArthur is not an artist who shies away from the loaded. Two of the more remarkable installations in recent memory are her Posey Restraint, 2014, a straitjacket strung drolly across a doorway between galleries in MoMA PS1’s Greater New York, and her 2014 Essex Street show consisting of twenty portable ramps, via which the artist, who uses a wheelchair, had accessed various buildings from 2010 to 2013. McArthur’s solo exhibition at the Chisenhale Gallery, her first in the UK, takes absorption as its theme, and will comprise four new series of works, including one featuring polyurethane foam as its main material and another using superabsorbent polymer powder. The former is made to absorb impact and sound, the latter to soak up liquid. Do you think the result will be a dry, safe, and silent show? Somehow I doubt it.
Why do we still talk about the Internet in terms of driving a car? Networks, data, circuits: These are all non-spaces, incommensurable with the physical experience of distances or roads or freeways, yet we insist on using the most literal spatial termsremember the Infobahn?to describe them. I’m banking on “Electronic Superhighway” to rise above its Nam June Paik–derived title and kick into reverse gear, posing a new model for understanding the past fifty years of art, telecommunications, and information. The show begins with the digital present and works backward to the founding of the singular organization Experiments in Art and Technology in 1966, spanning more than seventy artists who have variously grappled with the aporias of the computational age.
The status of the photograph as an artwork, and the status of the artwork as a photograph, are today widely recognized issuesbut when James Casebere began making stage-set-like maquettes as the subjects for photographs in the mid-1970s, he was producing a new kind of fusion and a new kind of fiction. And if the related work of his contemporary Cindy Sherman opened onto yet another arena of aesthetics, in her case performance, Casebere’s pulled in architecture. Enwezor’s retrospective will include fifty works from all periods of the artist’s career, notebooks and Polaroids that should illuminate his process, and four large site-specific works made for the occasion.
Visitors to the retrospective of Wifredo Lam at the Centre Pompidou will confront many things at once: an expanded geography of Surrealism, a bid for one painter’s canonization as an exemplary “plural modernist” (a term the museum recently used to advertise a rehang of its collection), and a case for the centrality of African Creole cultures to the formation of “European” modernity. A Cuban-born painter of mixed-race ancestry, Lam thought of his practice as an act of decolonization. Catherine David’s retrospective tracks Lam’s work across five decades, from 1926 to the early 1980s, and from Havana to Madrid, Paris, Marseille, and beyond. It will encompass more than four hundred works, from paintings and drawings to photographs and rare books, including Lam’s breakthrough canvas, The Jungle, 1943. Travels to the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid, Apr. 12–Aug. 15, 2016; Tate Modern, London, Sept. 14, 2016–Jan. 8, 2017.
Goshka Macuga takes over two venues of the Fondazione Prada with an exhibition that comprises approximately forty works executed in various media by Macuga and a handpicked assembly of artists including Phyllida Barlow, Hanne Darboven, Giorgio de Chirico, Fischli & Weiss, and Dieter Roth. Contemporary pieces, juxtaposed with ancient Egyptian artifacts, reflect on the eternal dynamics of collapse and renewal, a theme that is memorably broached in the Old Testament Book of Ezekiel (“Then he said to me, ‘Son of man, eat this scroll I am giving you . . .’”), from which the show takes its title. The exhibition is accompanied by a substantial catalogue featuring essays by Macuga, philosopher Rosi Braidotti, physicists Ariane Koek and Lawrence M. Krauss, curator Dieter Roelstraete, and anthropologist Michael Taussig.
Marina Pinsky has quickly become known for material explorations that often enmesh photography and sculpture. For her first major institutional exhibition, Pinsky will train her eye on the host city itself, surveying Basel’s history as a capital of the chemical industryfrom its aniline-dye factories in the mid-nineteenth century to its current gaggle of corporate pharmaceutical residents (e.g., Roche). Sprawling across the kunsthalle’s ground floor, the show will feature newly made work, including a commissioned installation of two dozen large-scale sculptures in the form of resin blister packs, each containing ten handmade ceramic pills emblazoned with renderings of starchitect buildings commissioned by Basel’s Big Pharma. In light of the recent plague of thoughtless abstraction, such an attentive approach to culture is just what the doctor ordered.