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.

“Be a Place, Place an Image, Imagine a Poem: Ree Morton: A Retrospective”

MUSEO NACIONAL CENTRO DE ARTE REINA SOFÍA
MADRID
Through September 28
Curated by Sabine Folie and Ilse Lafer

“BE a place, PLACE an image, and IMAGINE a poem” are lines of verse taken from one of Ree Morton’s notebooks. A repository of her thinking, the notebooks offer an unexpectedly intimate way to get close to a figure who died in 1977 at the age of forty-one, early in both life and career. A fierce, generous, and unique voice, Morton produced affectively complex, gendered engagements with post-Minimalism and Conceptualism. This survey of some 150 works, accompanied by a catalogue with essays by Manuela Ammer, João Ribas, and the curators, will feature early drawings and paintings, large-scale works on paper, and five spatial-architectural installations. It will also include information on work lost or never made, as detailed in Morton’s journals. For Morton, whose work often embodied speculation on alternate futures and distant places, these absences, however, would not be seen as a loss.

Johanna Burton

“Vincent Fecteau: You Have Did The Right Thing When You Put That Skylight In”

KUNSTHALLE BASEL
BASEL
Through August 23
Curated by Elena Filipovic

If San Francisco–based artist Vincent Fecteau is known for his meticulous approach to sculptural form, then this exhibition of some twenty pieces spanning the past fifteen years promises to highlight the broader range of his work: its engagement with architectural space, its consistent embrace of a collage aesthetic, and its wicked sense of humor. These qualities are evident in a recent series of diorama-like units—more than a dozen will be on view—that may (helpfully) torpedo the artist’s reputation as a restrained and tasteful abstract sculptor. The new efforts, collaged with brightly colored images from shelter magazines, unabashedly veer toward the decorative. A catalogue, with contributions by Filipovic and the fiercely inventive Bruce Hainley, will no doubt shed further light.

Michael Lobel

“Giorgio Griffa: A Retrospective 1968-2014”

CENTRE D'ART CONTEMPORAIN GENÈVE
GENEVA
Through August 23
Curated by Andrea Bellini

Featuring three dozen works, this exhibition forms a retrospective in nuce of an artist only belatedly receiving his institutional due. Born in Turin in 1936, Giorgio Griffa came of age when painting’s increasingly embattled status often gave rise to extrapictorial experiments. If Griffa clung doggedly to painting, he refused to stretch it into framed propriety. Instead, he developed the technique he uses to this day: Applying acrylic directly to unprimed canvas, he folds and unfolds works unceremoniously, letting creases add to the effect of his pastel strokes, which are by turns geometric and whimsical, ordered and irregular. A catalogue with contributions from Martin Clark, Suzanne Cotter, Chris Dercon, Hans Ulrich Obrist, the curator, and others promises to flesh out the spare critical literature on the artist. Travels to Bergen Kunsthall, Norway, Aug. 28–Oct. 18; Fondazione Giuliani, Rome, Feb. 2–Apr. 4, 2016; Museu de Arte Contemporânea de Serralves, Porto, Portugal, summer 2016.

Ara H. Merjian

“Slavs and Tartars: Mirrors for Princes”

KUNSTHALLE ZURICH
ZURICH
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

Vienna Biennale 2015: “Ideas for Change”

VENICE BIENNALE
VIENNA
Through October 4
Curated by Pedro Gadanho, Harald Gruendl, Maria Lind, and Peter Weibel

Christoph Thun-Hohenstein, the director of MAK, the Austrian Museum of Applied Arts in Vienna, has conceived a biennial that will engage art, architecture, and design. Pointing to premodernist Vienna’s experiments in form and reform, Thun-Hohenstein suggests the Austrian capital might be the ideal interface for fostering interdisciplinary approaches to social change in the context of “digital modernity.” Seven exhibitions will be featured in this inaugural iteration, among them a group show foregrounding contemporary practices that reveal a return to the emancipatory ideals of the Enlightenment, a presentation of design scenarios responding to the architectural challenges faced by six global megacities, and ten projects that shed light on sustainable modes of living in the “smart city.”

Translated from German by Gerrit Jackson.

Brigitte Huck

“A Year at the Stedelijk: Tino Sehgal”

STEDELIJK MUSEUM AMSTERDAM
AMSTERDAM
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