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.

Aleksandr Rodchenko, Radio Station Tower, 1929, gelatin silver print, 8 7/8 × 5 5/8". From “Adventures of the Black Square: Abstract Art and Society 1915–2015.” © Estate of Alexander Rodchenko/RAO, Moscow/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY.

“Adventures of the Black Square: Abstract Art and Society 1915–2015”

WHITECHAPEL GALLERY
LONDON
Through April 6
Curated by Iwona Blazwick and Magnus af Petersens

Marking the centenary of Kazimir Malevich’s iconic (in both senses of the word) Suprematist painting, this ambitious exhibition will examine abstraction as an international phenomenon, considering its relationship to politics, its potential as a catalyst for social change, and its imbrication with design. Taking a broad chronological and geographic approach, and with a particular focus on geometric abstraction, the survey will encompass painting, sculpture, film, and photography by one hundred artists as diverse as Carl Andre, Hélio Oiticica, Aleksandr Rodchenko, and Andrea Zittel. Accompanied by a catalogue with essays by the curators and by scholars such as Briony Fer and Tom McDonough, the exhibition will apparently aim at nothing less than reinventing abstraction.

Nicholas Cullinan

“Andrea Büttner: 2”

MUSEUM LUDWIG
COLOGNE
Through March 15
Curated by Julia Friedrich

When Andrea Büttner takes on the soulfully self-conscious themes of shame, asceticism, and faith and realizes them in clay, glass, and woodcuts, an educated pathos results. The central piece for this solo exhibition is as straightforward as it is nigh unimaginable: Based on the images that Kant mentions as examples and metaphors, she has illustrated his Critique of Judgment, thus allowing venerable philosophical concepts to turn sensual and contemporary. In the show’s other production, expanding on her performance-based work Piano Destructions, 2014, Büttner continues to explore classical instruments as engaged by Fluxus artists, who were nearly infatuated with detourning the device while freeing the player of evaluation. Rather than a catalogue, there will be Büttner’s illustrated edition of Kant’s Kritik, published by none other than Felix Meiner Verlag—the German-speaking world’s quintessential philosophy press. The exhibition’s numerical title, meanwhile, refers not only to the count of works presented but also to “judgment” shorthanded as the creation of two distinct fields.

Lars Bang Larsen

“Hassan Khan: Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said”

MUSEUM FÜR MODERNE KUNST (MMK)
FRANKFURT
Through April 12
Curated by Klaus Görner and Philippe Pirotte

A crucial tension in Hassan Khan’s heteroclite practice arises from his dual exploration of popular meaning and semiotic inscrutability. Khan’s engagement with everyday social interactions manifests in an aesthetics of recondite things. Recently, shows of his work in Cairo and São Paulo featured mediations of this tension via narrative twists on portraiture: Texts told of men named Mahmoud El Ansari and Marcelo de Andrade, each lost in an ornate melodrama of self-presentation. At the Museum für Moderne Kunst, Khan’s solo exhibition will feature a small selection of pieces new and old, offering a fresh opportunity to assess his work’s power to dissociate—rather than represent—social reality. Expect modular glass sculpture, structuralist video portraits, and a sound composition involving clapping. Never quite indexical, such works keep the human referent at a distance while demanding close identification.

Anneka Lenssen

Adjaye Associates and Olafur Eliasson, Your Black Horizon, 2005, LEDs, control unit, aluminum, acrylic, wood. Installation view, Lopud, Croatia, 2010. Photo: Rob Cheatley/Flickr.

“David Adjaye: Form, Heft, Material”

HAUS DER KUNST
MUNICH
Through June 28
Curated by Okwui Enwezor with Zoë Ryan

Educated at the Royal College of Art, London, in the early 1990s, David Adjaye came of age with a generation of major British artists (and erstwhile YBAs). His ongoing exchange with contemporary art has been perhaps the most organic, dynamic, and fruitful of any architect working today. Many of his early projects, including a 2002 house for Sue Webster and Tim Noble, were for artist friends; Adjaye has also developed a series of collaborative projects with artists such as Doug Aitken and Olafur Eliasson that explore shared material sensibilities and common interests in perceptual effects. This survey of thirty-some projects documents a moment of transition, as the rapid expansion of Adjaye’s international practice forces him to confront more intrinsically architectural challenges, ranging from determining local civic identities in an increasingly globalized world to creating public spaces inclusive of the diverse spectrum of inhabitants who constitute the contemporary city. Travels to the Art Institute of Chicago, Sept. 19, 2015–Jan. 3, 2016.

Julian Rose

“Sonia Delaunay: The Colors of Abstraction”

MUSÉE D'ART MODERNE DE LA VILLE DE PARIS (MAM)
PARIS
Through February 22
Curated by Anne Montfort and Cécile Godefroy

Russian-born Sonia Delaunay-Terk traced her aesthetic breakthrough specifically to 1911, when she created a patchwork quilt for her infant son, “nowadays shown in art galleries as one of the first abstract paintings,” she boasted in 1962. That the sewing of a baby blanket could become the foundation for launching a lifelong career—as an abstract Simultanist painter alongside her husband, Robert Delaunay and, later, an impresario of related fabric and fashion businesses—vividly demonstrates the prototypically twentieth-century possibilities—aesthetic, familial, commercial—she both exploited and helped to introduce. This comprehensive retrospective will include some four hundred examples of her vibrant paintings, murals, graphics, furniture, and textiles, providing a welcome opportunity to view Delaunay-Terk’s superb designs (which paid the family bills) alongside extensive evidence of her equal investment in and talent for the fine art of painting. Travels to Tate Modern, London, Apr. 15–Aug. 9, 2015.

Emmelyn Butterfield-Rosen

Joan Jonas, Volcano Saga, 1989, video, color, sound, 28 minutes.

“Joan Jonas: Light Times Tales”

HANGARBICOCCA
MILAN
Through February 1
Curated by Andrea Lissoni

Since the early 1970s, Joan Jonas has been producing complexly atavistic, lyrical installations, often using video light as a fifth element and animating force in her cosmologies. Dogs, cones, stones, chalk lines, and landscapes figure large in the American artist’s lexicon of images and gestures as all flow smoothly through narrative and its fracturing, appearing and reappearing as drawings, sculpture, performative actions, and video. For this solo presentation, Jonas has chosen to darken the vast 43,000-square-foot hangar, removing all dividing walls, to present seven major installations and single-channel works, all viewable both front and back: Each piece, while occupying its own space, will recombine sonically and visually with the others. The story, however, will not end here in Milan. Preceding the upcoming Venice Biennale, where Jonas will be representing the US, this exhibition promises to confirm our sense that Jonas’s light shines brilliantly ahead of its time.

Tony Oursler