Joan Kee

  • “Haegue Yang: ETA 1994–2018”

    The peripatetic Korean-born artist Haegue Yang was awarded this year’s Wolfgang Hahn Prize, whose past recipients include James Lee Byars, Isa Genzken, and Rosemarie Trockel. Yang stages metaphorical conversations between various everyday objects in her installations, which range from the uncannily anthropomorphic to the unyieldingly deadpan. Her largest exhibition to date, “ETA 1994–2018,” marks her receipt of the award and features an encyclopedic array of more than a hundred works, including photographs and videos as well as her signature installations.


    Like a world’s fair, a survey exhibition is a dinosaur—yet its appeal remains irresistible for curators and audiences alike. And the stakes are exponentially raised when the art on display inhabits the eye of a political hurricane. “Art and China After 1989”—the first major survey of contemporary Chinese art in almost two decades—seeks to ignite its own blaze with a sprawling display of more than one hundred works in the fields of film, video, painting, photography, installation, Land art, and

  • “Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors”

    Bolstered by the artist’s 2012 retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, the Kusama legend—and blue-chip brand—is poised for even greater recognition via this major chronological survey of more than sixty paintings, sculptures, and works on paper. Coinciding with a proliferation of new scholarship (and amplified by an extensive catalogue produced for the occasion), the show will include lesser-known works made after the artist’s return to Japan from New York in 1973. But as the exhibition title indicates, its main draw will surely be its

  • Taipei Biennial

    Eschewing lofty ruminations or far-future speculation, the tenth edition of the Taipei Biennial keeps things local, focusing on archive construction. Held at the Taipei Fine Arts Museum, among the most established institutions for the promotion of contemporary art in the Asia-Pacific region, the show will have a generative home base for reflecting on and critiquing practices of institutional bureaucracy. More than seventy individual artists and groups will present works of visual art, dance, performance, music, and film; these offerings will be coupled with symposia,

  • “Lee Kit: Hold Your Breath, Dance Slowly”

    Doing humble things to humble objects is at the heart of Hong Kong–born, Taiwan-based Lee Kit’s practice. Lee’s first solo museum exhibition in the United States surveys a decade of the artist’s understated investigations of the expanding contiguity between art and everyday life. Spanning a diverse range of media, from modest configurations of handpainted cardboard supports to a thirteen-channel video installation of stacked monitors depicting common household products (I can’t help falling in love, 2012), the show demonstrates Lee’s foregrounding of

  • “Digging a Hole in China”

    The accelerated pace of urbanization has long occupied the imagination of Chinese artists, particularly in the wake of the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests and during the years leading up to the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Yet surprisingly little attention has been paid to the land on which development frenetically takes place, an issue foregrounded by the perpetually contested status of private property in a Communist state. “Digging a Hole in China” explores the ways in which artists have since the mid-1990s engaged with the land and its attendant politics in practices that have

  • “The Ey Exhibition: The World Goes Pop”

    Revisionist attitudes toward Pop have emerged as an important trend in recent exhibitions. This show, an eclectic cornucopia of 160 paintings, sculptures, films, and photography-based works from roughly 1964 to 1974, is perhaps the most geographically expansive example to date. The exhibition emphasizes local contexts of production, with works by artists such as the São Paulo–based Anna Maria Maiolino and the Finnish Raimo Reinikainen, and establishes new signposts for tracing the oft-contested relationship between Pop and gender by devoting special

  • Kazuo Shiraga

    THE GUTAI GROUP may be the cicadas of postwar art—forever cycling through visibility and obscurity, suddenly bursting into view every ten years or so. Buoyed by the attentions of critic and curator Michel Tapié, the group formed in Ashiya, Japan, in 1954, and made their New York debut at the Martha Jackson Gallery just four years later, only to be summarily dismissed as latecomers to the Abstract Expressionist party. Nearly a decade later, they resurfaced in New York again, in “New Japanese Painting and Sculpture” at the Museum of Modern Art, but that too proved a short-lived spotlight,


    KEEPING TRACK was what On Kawara did best. Whether it was paintings of calendar dates or leather-bound volumes of maps and years, he elevated due diligence to high art. But while his Conceptualist contemporaries tended to vigilantly police the type and number of references in their works, Kawara named names and places in ways that made such data seem like clues to an unfathomable mystery. These snippets of information supposedly granted us access to the inner life of the famously publicity-shy artist, whose silence many regarded as an invitation to consider him an oracle.

    It would have been hard

  • “Between Action and the Unknown: The Art of Kazuo Shiraga and Sadamasa Motonaga”

    The past few years have seen the Gutai group catapult to the forefront of the ever-expanding history of postwar art. But the specificities of its members’ respective practices remain undetermined, a situation this two-person exhibition, co-organized with the Japan Foundation, Tokyo, seeks to remedy in part. For both Shiraga and Motonaga, the element of chance was central. Best known for painting exuberantly with his feet, Shiraga regarded abstraction as a form of live theater. Motonaga poured vividly hued paints, which pooled or ran in currents across

  • “Other Primary Structures”

    Hailed as a founding moment of Minimalism, the exhibition “Primary Structures,” organized by Kynaston McShine at the Jewish Museum in 1966, stressed the importance of seeing things as presented rather than as made. Less remembered is its subtitle, “Younger American and British Sculptors,” which suggested that Minimalism was a distinctly transnational movement based on shared artistic commitments. “Other Primary Structures” again foregrounds Minimalism’s internationalism—this time by including twenty-six artists from what were once considered the art world’s margins.

  • “Kimsooja: Unfolding”

    In the mid-1990s, the peripatetic Korean artist Kimsooja helped define contemporary art’s so-called global turn by exploring what it means to be materially grounded in the midst of a fragmented world. In her performances, videos, and installations featuring bottari, humble parcels or bundles that in Korean culture symbolize forced migration, Kimsooja makes a case for thinking more intently about the physical and sensorial aspects of moving between and through different cultural and geographical spaces. Such works will figure prominently among the forty pieces chosen for


    Though TSURUKO YAMAZAKI is one of the longest-standing members of the Gutai group, much of her oeuvre still remains obscure. In the following pages, Artforum presents a selection of Yamazaki’s singular works—some published here for the first time—displaying the artist’s resolute investigations into chemical and physical transformation, from her early washes of dye on tin to her Pop paintings of the 1960s and her viscous abstractions from the past several years. Scholar JOAN KEE introduces this special portfolio with a discussion of the historical context in which Yamazaki emerged, and

  • “Gutai: Splendid Playground”


    Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York

    February 15–May 8

    Curated by Ming Tiampo and Alexandra Munroe

    FOR THE GROUP that officially called itself the Gutai Art Association, being one step ahead was always something of a fine art. Founded in 1954 by Jirō Yoshihara, a painter who urged his younger colleagues to “create things that have never been done before,” the Gutai group, until its dissolution after Yoshihara’s death in 1972, produced an extraordinary range of works encompassing performances, paintings, sculptures, outdoor installations, experimental films, and even


    PLAYING EVERYONE FROM TADZIO, the adolescent blond object of desire in Luchino Visconti’s Death in Venice (1971), to Jack Nicholson’s world-weary Jake in Roman Polanski’s Chinatown (1974), Ming Wong has made a career out of reenacting scenes from canonical films. Since 2000, he has cast himself—and occasionally others—in roles from which he might otherwise be excluded by virtue of race, gender, body type, or age. This repertoire would make it tempting to regard his works as vaguely autobiographical meditations on the performativity of identity, were it not for his remarkable ability

  • “Requiem for the Sun: The Art of Mono-ha”

    Known for their canny juxtapositions of natural and industrial materials, the artists associated with Mono-ha (literally, the School of Things) have steadily gained recognition in Japan, Korea, and Europe since the group’s emergence in the late 1960s. Organized by Mika Yoshitake, assistant curator at the Hirschhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, DC, “Requiem for the Sun,” the first substantial offering of Mono-ha works in the US, expanded upon that base. Installed in a manner best described as conscientious, the exhibition offered a well-chosen sampling of some of the group’s most

  • “Lee Bul: From Me, Belongs to You Only”

    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

  • Lee Ufan

    IT HAS BEEN SOME TWENTY YEARS since the great wave of introductions to modern non-Western art, the peak of which coincided with the popularization of such terms as globalization and transnationalism in the 1990s. Now, with those introductions complete, the project of positioning non-Western modernities in an expanded art history has taken on increasing urgency, yielding a growing number of studies and exhibitions bent on historicizing such art. “Lee Ufan: Marking Infinity” was an intriguing case in point. The first US retrospective for Lee, the Korean-born artist whose writings, paintings, and

  • Lee Ufan



    June 24–September 28

    Curated by Alexandra Munroe

    LEE UFAN WAS A CHAMPION of the global long before the global turn actually came to pass. As the theoretical pillar of the Mono-ha, or Things School, the loose constellation of artists whose use of ordinary materials such as cotton, wood, rope, and even dirt significantly affected the Japanese art world in the late 1960s, and a pivotal figure in the tansaekhwa (monochromatic painting) movement—arguably the most important artistic development in twentieth-century Korea, which


    IN CONTEMPORARY ART, anything goes. Anything, that is, except for art made explicitly at the behest of the world’s most authoritarian nations. Such “official art,” to follow this line of reasoning, cannot be contemporary, since it lacks any awareness of the present beyond that defined by an all-controlling state. But the path through which official mandates become realized on canvas or in stone is hardly straightforward. The resulting works often say more about the present than might otherwise be inferred from their seemingly identical subjects or styles. That so many paintings produced outside