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.
A stated theme of the Ninth Berlin Biennale is paradox, and paradoxically, the curatorsfour Americans collectively called DISare much better known for founding an online magazine, a stock images service, and a pop-up artist store hosted by a $6.5-billion-per-annum energy drink corporation than for helming institutionally sanctioned international exhibitions. With more than forty artists, including Ei Arakawa, GCC, Isa Genzken, Camille Henrot, Josh Kline, and Hito Steyerl, we can assume that what unfolds across a menagerie of venues chosen for their “paradessence” (paradox + essence) will attempt to prove that deterministic interpretations of anything that can be seen, said, or sold are antediluvian.The biennial will be anticipated by the website, and followed by the catalogue, the store, the album, and more, TBD.
Considering the political and social climate of Europe and the Middle East, there couldn’t be a better time for a European museum to host an exhibition by a Turkish artist who, for decades, has devoted her work to addressing such issues as politically induced migration, otherness, gender, and collective histories. Gülsün Karamustafa’s work in painting, sculpture, installation, and video traces historical and sociopolitical tensions while encouraging multiple readingssee, for example, her 1998 frieze made of illustrations from Islamic, Christian, and Jewish manuscripts. Approximately 110 works in various media dating from the 1970s to the presentincluding one new piece engaging the concept of monumentsshould offer a rich meditation on pluralism and difference, hopefully lending insight into our current moment. Surely the catalogue, featuring contributions from the curator, Marion von Osten, Turkish sociologist Meltem Ahıska, and the artist will take on these very issues.
Paul Klee’s complex oeuvre, in all its disparate media, inspires continual reassessment. Using Friedrich Schlegel’s notion of romantic irony as an organizational device, Lampe traverses Klee’s careerfrom his rarely considered early reversed glass paintings to his iconic Angelus Novus, which will be displayed on this occasion for the first time in France, to his later work made in the shadow of Nazi Germany. At each step, Klee’s aesthetic whimsy is shown to be entwined with a self-consciously quixotic effort to reveal the transcendental realm beyond the visible world. With nearly 250 paintings, works on paper, and sculptures on display, the exhibition and catalogue invite us to reconsider one of the most individualistic artists of the twentieth century.
Following its huge success last year at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Copenhagen, the new iteration of this expansive exhibition will include 135 paintings and drawings from 1900 to 1907, a period that encompasses Modersohn-Becker’s several sojourns in Paris. The show, according to Garimorth, has been “adapted to the French public.” Among the French authors contributing to the catalogue are historian and critic Elisabeth Lebovici and novelist Marie Darrieussecq, winner of the 2013 Prix Médicis. Darrieussecq’s Etre ici est une splendeur: Vie de Paula M. Becker, which relates the writer’s encounter with the works of the artist, will be published by POL Editeur in to coincide with this show.
A dead poet no longer writes, which is why it’s important to stay alive. This simple working hypothesis was set out in Michel Houellebecq’s early essay “Rester vivant” (Stay Alive, 1991), and in a career that has made him more than just a writer, this volcanic figure has flirted with the negation of the claim again and again. He’s disappeared in real life, been kidnapped on the screen, and rubbed himself out in the 2010 novel The Map and the Territory. But he has also often threatened to disappear into other guisesfilmmaker, photographer, poet. In “Rester vivant”a kind of sequel to Palais shows dedicated to Raymond Roussel and John GiornoHouellebecq now assumes the role of curator, organizing a large-scale exhibition comprising his own films, sound pieces, and more than one hundred photographs. A few Houellebecquian associates (including the painter Robert Combas) are on hand, but the spotlight is on the unique mindscape of Houellebecqa fascinating, terrifying, and, yes, funny place to be.
Focusing on Paris as a port of call for members of the essentially nomadic Beat movement, curators Michaud, Singh, and Fluxus artist Lebel will map the productions of the dispersed pantheon of doomed drifters across the French capital, New York, San Francisco, Mexico, and Tangier, Morocco. Set to offer a balanced view of a milieu that was chauvinistic even by the standards of midcentury bohemianism, the show will notably include a host of Beat women, including Joanne Kyger and Diane di Prima, along with the alpha males. “Beat Generation” will not entirely depart from our posthumanist zeitgeist. The show will take a media-archaeological approach, arguingvia some four hundred rare books, manuscripts, photographs, paintings, films, and audio recordings by about fifty artists and writersthat Beat artistic production involved systematic use of such analog technologies as tape recorders, records, radio, and the telephone as a historical first. Truman Capote already noted this inclination toward new media in 1959 when he condemned Jack Kerouac’s On the Road as mere “typing.”