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.
“Now’s the Time” derives its title from the inscription on one of Jean-Michel Basquiat’s boldest paintings, a large, roughly cut plywood disk, depicting a 45 of Charlie Parker’s eponymous bebop composition. This stark painting, which abstains from the expressionist fury associated with the artist, is nevertheless one of his most poignant works. Now is the time for a deeper analysis of Basquiat’s stridently political ouevre, and this thematically curated retrospective of eighty-plus works will address such subjects as racism, power, and social hypocrisy; sampling and scratching; and the TV cartoons the artist studied for figurative inspiration. Characterized by his distinctive, assured hand and by an innovative inner logic, Basquiat’s works reference Burroughs’s cut-up technique and No Wave’s cacophonous rhythms. Buchhart even posits that Basquiat’s remixing abilities prefigured the current Internet-driven perceptual model. The accompanying catalogue includes contributions by Franklin Sirmans, Olivier Berggruen, and Glenn O’Brien, among others.
Marking the centenary of Kazimir Malevich’s iconic (in both senses of the word) Suprematist painting, this ambitious exhibition will examine abstraction as an international phenomenon, considering its relationship to politics, its potential as a catalyst for social change, and its imbrication with design. Taking a broad chronological and geographic approach, and with a particular focus on geometric abstraction, the survey will encompass painting, sculpture, film, and photography by one hundred artists as diverse as Carl Andre, Hélio Oiticica, Aleksandr Rodchenko, and Andrea Zittel. Accompanied by a catalogue with essays by the curators and by scholars such as Briony Fer and Tom McDonough, the exhibition will apparently aim at nothing less than reinventing abstraction.
Straddling the realms of art and fashion, Kenya–raised Dutch photographer Viviane Sassen has spent much of her career in Africa, abstracting its natural splendor with her signature use of shadow play and color fields. For the works in this solo exhibition, Sassen’s lens traveled across the Atlantic to Suriname, a former Dutch colony in South America, expanding her scope to the global African diaspora. Shot mostly in black and white, this body of work from 2013 documents the community and jungle flora of Pikin Slee, the second-largest village along the Upper Suriname River. Sassen’s postcolonial gaze foregrounds the beauty of this little-known locale and its people as much as it raises questions about race, regional bias, and complex political histories. Travels to Kunsthaus CentrePasquArt, Biel, Switzerland, July–Sept.
When Andrea Büttner takes on the soulfully self-conscious themes of shame, asceticism, and faith and realizes them in clay, glass, and woodcuts, an educated pathos results. The central piece for this solo exhibition is as straightforward as it is nigh unimaginable: Based on the images that Kant mentions as examples and metaphors, she has illustrated his Critique of Judgment, thus allowing venerable philosophical concepts to turn sensual and contemporary. In the show’s other production, expanding on her performance-based work Piano Destructions, 2014, Büttner continues to explore classical instruments as engaged by Fluxus artists, who were nearly infatuated with detourning the device while freeing the player of evaluation. Rather than a catalogue, there will be Büttner’s illustrated edition of Kant’s Kritik, published by none other than Felix Meiner Verlagthe German-speaking world’s quintessential philosophy press. The exhibition’s numerical title, meanwhile, refers not only to the count of works presented but also to “judgment” shorthanded as the creation of two distinct fields.
A crucial tension in Hassan Khan’s heteroclite practice arises from his dual exploration of popular meaning and semiotic inscrutability. Khan’s engagement with everyday social interactions manifests in an aesthetics of recondite things. Recently, shows of his work in Cairo and São Paulo featured mediations of this tension via narrative twists on portraiture: Texts told of men named Mahmoud El Ansari and Marcelo de Andrade, each lost in an ornate melodrama of self-presentation. At the Museum für Moderne Kunst, Khan’s solo exhibition will feature a small selection of pieces new and old, offering a fresh opportunity to assess his work’s power to dissociaterather than representsocial reality. Expect modular glass sculpture, structuralist video portraits, and a sound composition involving clapping. Never quite indexical, such works keep the human referent at a distance while demanding close identification.
Educated at the Royal College of Art, London, in the early 1990s, David Adjaye came of age with a generation of major British artists (and erstwhile YBAs). His ongoing exchange with contemporary art has been perhaps the most organic, dynamic, and fruitful of any architect working today. Many of his early projects, including a 2002 house for Sue Webster and Tim Noble, were for artist friends; Adjaye has also developed a series of collaborative projects with artists such as Doug Aitken and Olafur Eliasson that explore shared material sensibilities and common interests in perceptual effects. This survey of thirty-some projects documents a moment of transition, as the rapid expansion of Adjaye’s international practice forces him to confront more intrinsically architectural challenges, ranging from determining local civic identities in an increasingly globalized world to creating public spaces inclusive of the diverse spectrum of inhabitants who constitute the contemporary city. Travels to the Art Institute of Chicago, Sept. 19, 2015–Jan. 3, 2016.