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.
Pulled toward electromagnets yet restrained by wires, the suspended metal cones and needles of Takis’s “Télésculptures” seem to quiver with absurd and frustrated desire.The Greek artist settled in France in 1954 and, with sculptures involving magnetism, light, and sound, became a leading figure in the kinetic art movement of the 1950s and ’60s. Now, twenty-two years after his last major retrospective, the Palais de Tokyo offers a welcome opportunity to reassess Takis’s work at a moment when contemporaries such as Lygia Clark and the German postwar group Zero are receiving high-profile surveys. With approximately sixty works dating from 1960 to the present, the galleries will surely hum with what William S. Burroughs described as Takis’s “cold blue mineral music of thinking metal.”
Born in Haiti but active in France for most of his career, Hervé Télémaque has for five decades made works that parse the pictorial vocabularies of consumer culture and that are inflected by transatlantic dialects of race and power. Stenciled letters and cartoonish figures may make a painting like My Darling Clementine, 1963, legibly Pop, but the artist’s ferocious dissections of forms and bodies, as well as his references to loaded stereotypes (a rubber mammy doll is installed next to this canvas), describe American consumerism in a language far more confrontational than that offered by most New York Pop of the early ’60s. The Pompidou’s exhibition will showcase this and more than seventy other works, including paintings, collages, drawings, assemblages, and sculptural objects by this bold and underappreciated artist. Travels to Le Musée Cantini de Marseilles, June 19–Sept. 20.
A central figure in Spanish Net art, Daniel García Andújar deploys proposals for imaginary technologies to critique what Gilles Deleuze famously termed “societies of control” and the smoke screens that sustain them. In particular, he takes up the bogus techno-evangelism that suggests information not only wants to be free but will free us, too. Founded in 1994, Technologies to the People, Andújar’s irony-laced pseudo-company, has mooted speculative productsrepresented by websites, flyers, and postersthat would turn digital have-nots into haves. The iSAM™ (short for Internet Street Access Machine) of 1996, for example, allows beggars to accept credit-card payments. This and other projects will be showcased in this sizable survey featuring twenty-five installations, about half of them new, spanning 1992 to 2014.
As a student at the Bauhaus from 1924 until 1929, Xanti Schawinsky studied theater, but he learned lessons from the school’s other famed workshops as well. In addition to painting, he also staged mechanical mise-en-scènes combining modern dance, jazz, and jarring lighting. Later, while teaching at Black Mountain College in the 1930s, he developed his series of Spectodramas, surreal experiments in total theater. For this, Schawinksy’s first proper retrospective in three decades, curator Raphael Gygax will seek to fit all this activity into a museum, with a display of some 117 objects from every stage of the artist’s career, which also included spells of abstract painting and graphic design. Active until his death in 1979, Schawinsky charted a particular kind of avant-garde practice: He was a multitasker in an age of multimedia.
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, whichmore than providing simple guidelines for holding sovereign powerpresented 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.
For a quarter century, Pierre Bismuth has inventively corrupted Conceptualism’s systems thinking with chance, worldliness, and witsee Things I remember I’ve done, but don’t remember why I did them, 1998, the collection of drawings, objects, films, and photographs he exhibited after he had finally forgotten the rationale behind them, or his series of scribbly abstractions derived from the movement of actresses’ hands throughout a movie, “Following the right hand of,” 2009–. It’s not entirely surprising, then, to find the droll and mercurial French artist tickling the retrospective format. Alongside one new workfor which Bismuth, who shares his name with a chemical element, designed a molecular structure, though whether this hypothetical polymer will ever materialize is as yet uncertainhe’s invited the titular curator, lawyer, and psychoanalyst to each select approximately ten pieces from his oeuvre since 1988 and write captions explaining their choices. The catalogue will feature these captions, plus an essay by Dessislava Dimova and a conversation between Bismuth and the curator.