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.
Titled “The Grand Balcony” after Jean Genet’s iconic 1956 play, this year’s Biennale de Montréal aspires to join the ranks of such prestigious biennials as those of Istanbul, São Paulo, and Sydney in showcasing a prodigious number of artists and commissioned works. The Musée d’Art Contemporain de Montréal and various downtown spaces will serve as a stage for a dynamic program of lectures, performances, concerts, and screenings. In addition to premiering several films, such as Eric Baudelaire’s AKA Jihadi, which traces the journey of a now-imprisoned ISIS militant, the exhibition will debut the third act of Anne Imhof’s “Angst,” 2016, a multipart opera that combines sculptural forms, an abstract musical composition, and choreographic elements. Other noteworthy projects include an anthology of writings by multimedia artist Hassan Khan and a sound piece by New York–based Marina Rosenfeld.
Despite Walther’s studies at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf in the early 1960s, a hotbed of European artistic talent that bred classmates such as Gerhard Richter; despite his subsequent four-year immersion in New York City, similar to stays that propelled fellow Germans such as Hanne Darboven to statewide institutional recognition; and despite his participation in seminal shows, including the Museum of Modern Art’s “Spaces” in 1969 and Harald Szeemann’s Documenta 5 in 1972, North America has still been slow to recognize Walther’s significance for the expansion of painting, for the convergence of art and design, and for time-, performance-, and (especially) participation-based art. This surveywhich follows Walther’s presentation at Dia:Beacon six years ago and will include historic video documentation of the activation of his sculpturesmay prove a game changer, at last.
Six sprawling symbolic “houses” inspired by those of black gay ball culture, including one dedicated to house music legend Frankie Knuckles and one to Muddy Waters; reprinted archival materials from the 1900 Paris Expo’s “Exhibit of American Negroes” in a two-step with correspondence from contemporary figures of note; new works from the artist himself, including a DJ booth, a shrine, and the video House Heads Liberation Training, 2016. With all of the above, Gates heads northeast from his home base on Chicago’s South Side to mount a show that extends his investigations into the ways in which black creativity might occupy physical and institutional space. Spanning an entire floor of the AGO, the installation updates the Paris Expo’s rigid proofs of African American humanityblack-crafted patents, black-authored books, dignified portraiture of and by black figuresusing more kinetic and acoustic evidence. Its riskier enterprise, though, beyond contemporizing a bygone world’s fair, may be its attempt to gauge the distance between free black asses and minds, working from Gates’s Chicago musical icons to larger, enduring issues of self-determination and survival.
In the 1980s, underground stylist, designer, and art director Judy Blame collaborated with icons of the London club scenes from Leigh Bowery to Boy George, contributing to their queering of heteronormative identities and playing a key role in a subculture that expanded punk’s attack on Thatcherism into a broader subversion. It will be interesting to see how the works in the ICA’s survey of Blame’s oeuvreDIY jewelry designs, neo-Dada collages, editorials, sketches, and clothing, all documented in an accompanying limited-edition zinewill resonate in today’s climate of neoliberal crisis, which has intensified significantly since the ’80s. The exhibition title, “Never Again”which could be read as nostalgic, defiant, cynical, or outright nihilisticleaves the possibilities wide-open.
In the 1981 self-portrait from which Bhupen Khakhar’s retrospective takes its title, we see the artist standing nude at a balcony and gazing out over a town in which various scenes from an Aesop fable are taking place. Shortly after its execution, the artist acknowledged that the work represented his coming out as gay. At this show, more than seventy of Khakhar’s paintings, ceramics, and works on paper will present honest appraisals of self and society: Portraits of down-at-heel tradesmen from the ’70s will jostle with the artist’s uncompromising representations of sexuality in a time and place where it was deemed taboo, while late self-portraits will document Khakhar’s battle with cancer, which ended with his death in 2003. You can’t please all, but Tate Modern’s tributewhose catalogue will feature an essay by veteran art historian Geeta Kapurwill show how this artist made a virtue of not even trying. Travels to the Deutsche Bank KunstHalle, Berlin, Nov. 18–Mar. 5, 2017.
Stretching time. Unwinding it. Reminding us how we all dance against the drumbeat of our ticking hearts. William Kentridge has claimed for the past three decades that his work is “all about time.” This exhibition, named for the Bakhtinian processes the artist uses to describe the viscous temporalities of his studio, plumbs the depths of Kentridgean time. His clock is, of course, set to the willful time of southern Africaits peculiar dilations and coagulations, its leaps and surges, its refusals of Greenwich’s imperial cadence. A rich lineup of voices (Homi K. Bhabha, Achille Mbembe, and more) will provide meditations around the exhibition’s six landmark works, all made between 2003 and 2015, including O Sentimental Machine, which stars Leon Trotsky, exiled in Istanbul, spouting endless messages to the “masses” he perceived (with fateful narrowness) as sentimental machines. Travels to the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebæk, Denmark, Feb. 16–June 18, 2017; Museum der Moderne Salzburg Mönchsberg, Austria, July 22–Nov. 5, 2017; Whitworth, Manchester, UK, 2018.