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.

“Kishio Suga: Situations”

PIRELLI HANGARBICOCCA
MILAN
September 30 - January 29, 2017
Curated by Yuko Hasegawa and Vicente Todolí

In his first European solo show, Kishio Suga, best known as one of the leading figures of the Japanese art movement Mono-ha, will be celebrated in his own right with a retrospective of twenty-three installations and sculptures from 1969 through the present. At HangarBicocca, Suga will activate objects as dynamic parts of a total structure: Viewers will find themselves immersed in an environment of wooden configurations, paraffin-wax structures, floor works composed of both organic and manufactured materials, and ephemeral outdoor interventions. The exhibition will thus bring together multiple “situations” to produce a landscape of contrasts—natural and industrial, light and heavy, hollow and solid—continuing Suga’s tendency to subvert our expectations surrounding the nature of phenomena and to emphasize spatial interstices. Accompanied by a sizable catalogue, the show will contextualize the artist within an international art scene that includes Italy’s Arte Povera and Land art in the US.

Mika Yoshitake

Shahzia Sikander, SpiNN, 2003, digital video, color, silent, 6 minutes 30 seconds.

“Shahzia Sikander: Ecstasy as Sublime, Heart as Vector”

MAXXI - MUSEO NAZIONALE DELLE ARTI DEL XXI SECOLO
ROME
Through October 23
Curated by Hou Hanru and Anne Palopoli

Drawing from the Indo-Persian tradition of miniatures, Shahzia Sikander makes paintings, installations, and animations that testify to the artist’s deep faith in the power of transformation. Her work uproots political and religious iconography to dismantle cultural tropes; take, for example, the animation SpiNN, 2003, which abstracts the hairstyles of gopis (female devotees of Krishna) into a flock of small black silhouettes that swirl around the screen like a murmuration of starlings. This whirlwind reappears in the three-channel video Parallax, 2013, where the flying hairdos alternate with a swarm of severed forearms and oil pumps festooned like Christmas trees. Both works are included in Sikander’s first solo museum exhibition in Italy, alongside a new work exploring the complex conditions experienced by Muslim-American artists working in the proverbial West. A catalogue with texts by Hanru, Ayad Akhtar, Claire Brandon, and Vasif Kortun should shed light on the ways in which Sikander complicates postcolonial narratives by identifying new forms of symbolic exchange.

Kate Sutton

Kindel (Joaquín del Palacio), Alejandra de la Sota–designed village of Esquivel, Spain, 1952, gelatin silver print. From “Campo cerrado: El arte español de la posguerra.”

“Campo Cerrado: Spanish Art of the Postwar Period”

MUSEO NACIONAL CENTRO DE ARTE REINA SOFÍA
MADRID
Through October 3
Curated by María Dolores Jiménez-Blanco

Campo cerrado” (Closed Field) surveys Spanish cultural production from 1939—a date that marks not only the commencement of World War II but also the end of the Spanish Civil War and the beginning of Franco’s dictatorial rule—to the mid-1950s. Work from this period has, for the most part, been critically disregarded until recently, thanks to its conservative strain and its association with the fascist Francoist regime. This exhibition promises to shed new light on the epoch, highlighting the emergence of a modern Spanish sensibility. The show brings together painting and sculpture alongside film, documentation of theatrical productions and architectural structures, and related ephemera—all recontextualizing our aesthetic and ideological understanding of this era. The catalogue includes reproductions of these materials and a selection of contemporary and historical texts, many translated into English for the first time.

Miguel Amado

Txomin Badiola

MUSEO NACIONAL CENTRO DE ARTE REINA SOFÍA
MADRID
September 22 - February 26, 2017
Curated by João Fernandes

A seminal figure in both the New Basque Sculpture movement of the 1980s and the internationalization of Spanish art toward the end of that decade, over the past thirty years Txomin Badiola has developed a prolific body of work that utilizes a diverse array of media and references to engage his viewers in a manner that is more dialogic than expressive. For his upcoming retrospective at the Palacio de Velázquez, the artist has invited a group of his peers—Ana Laura Aláez, Ángel Bados, Jon Mikel Euba, Pello Irazu, Asier Mendizabal, Itziar Okariz, and Sergio Prego—to help select some of the sculptures, drawings, photographs, and multimedia installations that will be on view. Interviews in which the seven cocurators discuss their decision-making process will be filmed, and an edited transcript of these conversations will appear in the exhibition catalogue.

Michele Faguet

“Béton”

KUNSTHALLE WIEN
VIENNA
Through October 16
Curated by Vanessa Joan Müller and Nicolaus Schafhausen

Concrete (béton) is chic again. Its rehabilitation was officially ratified last year when a number of stark Brutalist buildings served as backdrops for fashionable figures in a Prada fall/winter ad campaign. For many years the material was considered drably utilitarian at best—the primary stuff of a postwar modernism associated with civic projects foisted on the public by town councils and other bureaucratic institutions. The irony of such a reading, however, is that many of the architects who employed concrete did so in hopes of opening up architecture to the outside. Featuring work by twenty international artists, including Tom Burr and Isa Genzken, this show should reveal the social implications registered within the dense medium. With any luck, the exhibition will move beyond reactionary readings (from Prada’s romance with ruins to neoliberalism’s gripe with public institutions) to prove that the use of concrete was driven as much by ethical concerns as it was by aesthetic ones.

Alex Kitnick

“Anish Kapoor: Archaeology, Biology”

MUSEO UNIVERSITARIO ARTE CONTEMPORANEO (MUAC)
MEXICO CITY
Through November 27
Curated by Catherine Lampert and Cecilia Delgado

Rebounding from the vandalism of his giant yoni Dirty Corner, 2015, at Versailles last September, Anish Kapoor will present twenty-three major pieces at Mexico City’s MUAC, which opened in 2008 at the country’s most prestigious university. The exhibition includes works made between 1980 and 2015, organized into four sections: “Auto-Generated Forms,” which includes the early pigment piles and the artist’s signature optical devices; “Many Kinds of Beauty,” in which soulful pristine geometries (including When I Am Pregnant, 1992) will appear with more grotesque and scatological forms; “Time,” which features the pulchritudinous red dome At the Edge of the World, 1998; and “Unpredictable Forces,” which returns to themes of self-generation and fantasies of the “autonomous expression of matter,” as demonstrated by the mechanical arm of My Red Homeland, 2003, grinding ceaselessly through mountains of oily, pigmented wax.

Caroline A. Jones