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.
Relatively unknown outside Los Angeles, where he lived for the better part of his career, Robert Overby is “one of the best-kept secrets of postwar American art,” as this show’s press release claims. Even in the artist’s hometown, recognition of his works is mostly confined to the sagging rubber, latex, and concrete castings of domestic architecture that he produced between 1969 and 1973. But this exhibition is designed to consider Overby’s contribution in its totality, comprising both his sculptures, with their abject materiality, and his more painterly and graphic output, with its high-fashion sheen. His vacillation between an aesthetics of corruption and decay on the one hand, and cosmetic-prosthetic enhancement on the other, may here prove an uncanny meditation on both the art that surrounds us and the world we inhabit today. Travels to Galleria d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea, Bergamo, Italy, May 15–July 27; Bergen Kunsthall, Norway, Sept.–Nov.; Le Consortium, Dijon, France, Jan. 2015.
Franz Erhard Walther’s 1960s work with the body hasn’t received the same critical attention as that of Chris Burden or Bruce Nauman, perhaps because it never engaged issues of popular culture. What’s more, Walther himself was seldom the protagonist. Instead, he choreographed other bodies in scenarios akin to the experimental dance of Trisha Brown and Yvonne Rainer. And his sensibility is emphatically European, the photographs of these performances recalling the brooding existentialist films of Ingmar Bergman. Walther’s work eerily evokes the diametrically opposed experiences of phenomenological awareness and Foucauldian control. With his turn to creating large, static, richly colored structures in the 1970s, Walther extended the concerns of twentieth-century Neo-Plasticism, his approach surprisingly similar to those of Lygia Clark and Hélio Oiticica. The entire range of his output will be represented in this survey, which spans nearly sixty years. Travels to CAPC Musée d’Art Contemporain Bordeaux, Nov. 2014–Feb. 2015.
In 2009, Shanghai-based artist Xu Zhen founded MadeIn Company, trading his singular identity for a corporate brand. Now, for this sprawling survey, the bellicose prankster turns his given name into the moniker of a MadeIn subsidiary, staging recent installations and paintings by the company-cum-collective alongside earlier works from the artist-as-individual. Among the items on view: the disturbing Starving of Sudan, 2008featuring an animatronic vulture monitoring a live childand 8848-1.86, 2005, in which the artist, claiming to have shaved 1.86 meters off Mount Everest, presents the refrigerated peak as art. MadeIn has absorbed such actions into its corporate narrative, aiming to bend truths and disrupt hierarchies of patronage and display. In this show, look for canvases covered in thick, sugary impasto, which seems to suggest that when making art with unsettling political agendas, one can have one’s cake and eat it, too.
The rest of the world may have seen a lot of Subodh Gupta recently, but this mid- career survey is the most comprehensive to date in his hometown. Spread across two wings of the NGMA, Gupta’s solo will contain early works from the 1990s such as the cow-dung-smeared self-portrait Bihari, 1999; his more recent sculptures in brass and copper; and multiple site-specific installations. In Everything Is Inside, 2004, a black-and-yellow Ambassador taxi sinks under the burden of its bronze luggagesimulating the precious bundles carried by poor immigrants from India’s villages. This sculpture (from which the exhibition takes its name) perhaps best mirrors Gupta’s attitude toward his institutional extravaganza. Here, even the most mundane and humble items are weighty with significance. A new catalogue of the artist’s work published by Penguin will be available for consultation.
“Lee Bul: From Me, Belongs to You Only”
MORI ART MUSEUM
February 4– May 27
Curated by Mami Kataokan
As the discourse of contemporary art took a global turn in the mid-1990s, the Seoul-based artist Lee Bul rose to international prominence. Now, this front-runner of Asian contemporary art has her first midcareer survey. The exhibition will include some fifty works ranging from performances of the late 1980s and early ’90s, addressing questions of gender, to more recent installations (including several that will debut here) made using industrially manufactured glass and metal chains. Making clear the full scope of her practice to date, the show is poised to vividly demonstrate the extent to which Lee owes her artistic longevity to her visceral understanding of materials. And it will evince how her particular combinations of drastically different substances can command an emotional response no less compelling than the history and politics her works attempt to address.
After his assured handling of the Swiss pavilion in last year’s Venice Biennale, Valentin Carron will now explore Europe’s midcentury modernist vernacular in this solo exhibition, his first to feature painting exclusively. The forty-some works included will be screenprints on industrial tarpaulin stretched across austere tubular steel frames, all executed in an idiom that suggests a kind of colloquial hard-edge, with “mistakes” left ostentatiously unconcealed. The referent? The rugged, cold material aesthetic of overland truck transportan allusion, Carron claims, to his home canton of Valais in the country’s southwest. This winter in neighboring Bern, Carron adroitly poses as the native sona Sunday painter singing solfège, albeit one cued to the beat of a different drummer.