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.

“Slavs and Tartars: Mirrors for Princes”

Through November 9
Curated by Beatrix Ruf

For their upcoming exhibition, Slavs and Tatars will cap their yearlong residency at Kunsthalle Zürich by claiming an entire floor of the institution, expanding on their project “Mirrors for Princes.”The theme is borrowed from the eponymous genre of advice literature for rulers, popular in the Middle Ages and Renaissance in Christian and Muslim countries alike, which—more than providing simple guidelines for holding sovereign power—presented intricate systems of rhetorical reflection and refraction. Engagement with this subtle and strategically crafted material is loaded with critical potential. Yet if misread with the kind of naive vitalism and ornamental rhetoric that have become so prevalent among Eurasian-focused practices in recent years, the subject matter may serve only to reinforce the crude, outdated dichotomy between rational West and mystical East. In any event, the exhibition should prove an excellent chance to consider whether what we value is a true engagement with the political or only a veiled evasion thereof.

Anastasiya Osipova

Tony Conrad

Through March 1
Curated by Gareth Long

Tony Conrad’s work has always engaged with regimes of power and the subject’s place within them, whether in the phenomenologically demanding acoustic environments created by the Theatre of Eternal Music or the cognitively scrambling optical impacts of his 1965 stroboscopic film The Flicker. In the early 1980s, Conrad began to make such thematizations of power explicit in pieces like Beholden to Victory, an “army film” that implicates its audiences in the dynamics of surly officers and shiftless, insubordinate privates. Conrad’s sequel, a women-in-prison epic known as the “jail movie” and shot with Mike Kelley, Tony Oursler, and others, long remained unfinished, until its installation at New York’s Greene Naftali Gallery in 2013 as WiP, complete with full-size jail cells and enigmatic glass “paintings.” For this exhibition, Conrad will reconfigure his prison project, adding a new series of diagrammatic works on canvas, effectively projecting the disciplinary penal institution through the kunsthalle’s architectural and institutional context.

Branden W. Joseph

“A Year at the Stedelijk: Tino Sehgal”

Through December 31
Curated by Beatrix Ruf and Martijn van Nieuwenhuyzen

Extending his durational approach to the exhibition of choreographed situations, Tino Sehgal has conceived with the curators a retrospective that will unfold over the course of one calendar year. Twelve of the artist’s pieces that were designed for the museum context, rather than the fair or theater, will be presented in succession; one work will be performed each month in a different gallery. Demanding a substantial commitment from viewers who want to see the entire retrospective, this show nevertheless promises a richer engagement with each work than might a conventional survey. The plan is to begin with Instead of allowing some thing to rise up to your face dancing bruce and dan and other things, 2000, a work from the Stedelijk’s collection, and thence the institution will maintain a discussion with the artist regarding the show’s unfurling shape.

Catherine Wood

Akram Zaatari

Through February 15
Curated by November Paynter

Known for his diverse photographic and video-based projects, Akram Zaatari has spent the last decade mining the charged archival materials of Lebanon’s civil wars as well as investigating the gendered cultural narratives of the Middle East. Most recently, these efforts have led the Beirut-based artist to create pieces such as Letter to a Refusing Pilot, 2013, a video- missive addressing an Israeli fighter pilot who, during a 1982 operation in Lebanon, disobeyed his chain of command, rejecting orders to bomb a school. This work plus nine others—including 28 Nights and a Poem, 2006–14, and On Photography, People, and Modern Times, 2010—will be presented across three full floors of SALT’s Beyoğlu space, offering a great opportunity to consider the interconnections within this artist’s substantial oeuvre. The show will also include a new piece emerging from Zaatari’s visits to Istanbul during 2014

T. J. Demos

Mehmet Güleryüz

Through June 28
Curated by Levent Çalıkoğlu

This retrospective promises to crystallize the links between Mehmet Güleryüz’s works, presenting an oeuvre that addresses and questions Turkey’s sociopolitical issues and conflicts from the 1960s to the present. An aggressively sensitive painter, sculptor, and actor, the Istanbul-born Güleryüz appears influenced by modernist theater, bringing a touch of Brechtian detachment to his nevertheless moving depictions of grotesque figures, caged gorillas, and rabid dogs. This exhibition will present approximately two hundred works made between the ’60s and 2014, including numerous sketches and multimedia presentations, as well as archival material from the artist’s 1979 installation The Museum of Oddities and from his years in Istanbul, Paris, and New York.

Mine Haydaroğlu

“Chen Shun-Chu: Coral Stone Mountain”

Through April 26
Curated by Mei-ching Fang

Coral stone, or laokushih, is commonly used in the architecture of the Penghu Islands, where the late Taiwanese artist Chen Shun-Chu (1963–2014) grew up. The title of Chen’s first major retrospective in Taiwan references this porous oceanic rock to draw out the concepts of home, family, and memory that haunt his cool abstractions of domestic spaces, architecture, and sprawling landscapes. Tracing his career chronologically, this exhibition of approximately two hundred works made between the 1980s and 2010 will explore the artist’s engagement with these themes and his deft deployment of photography, installation, and video.

Venus Lau