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.
Installation art’s ability to produce, or disrupt, narrative experienceto alternately conjure and complicate linearity through interventions in spatiotemporal conditionsis central to its effects on the activated, decentered spectator it proposes to produce. Taking its title from a comment made by Gertrude Stein on the state of narrative in a lecture at the University of Chicago in 1935, this exhibition represents the largest consideration of the genre’s postwar history ever mounted in Germany. The show is slated to include some forty works by artists such as Marcel Broodthaers, Joseph Beuys, Urs Fischer, Isa Genzken and Wolfgang Tillmans (as a duo), Pipilotti Rist, and Gregor Schneiderinstalled both inside and outside the Rieckhallen, the massive, low-slung former warehouse adjacent to the Neoclassical train station that serves as the museum’s main buildingand will be accompanied by a catalogue in the form of a magazine.
A monumental archaic head thrusts forward on the cover of the brochure that accompanied the Nazis’ infamous 1937 “Degenerate Art” exhibition. The bustwhich looks to the sky, chin firm as if determined to fightis Großer Kopf (Large Head), 1912, by Otto Freundlich, who died in a concentration camp in 1943. It has been difficult, however, especially for those who do not speak German, to understand Freundlich’s active role in the early-twentieth-century avant-garde. Museum Ludwig aims to change that with a retrospective, accompanied by the artist’s first fully illustrated catalogue in English. “Cosmic Communism” will do justice to Freundlich’s involvement in movements including Expressionism, Cubism, Dada, Constructivism, and 1930s abstraction, exploring his work in diverse mediafrom massive figural bronzes and black-and-white prints to sumptuously luminous abstract painting, mosaic, and glassand elucidating the relation between his art and utopian politics. Travels to the Kunstmuseum Basel, June 10–Sept. 10.
Wade Guyton is known for rendering X’s, U’s, and flames with large Epson ink-jet printers to deliver deadpan, elegant things that remind us of great American abstract art. For this comprehensive show at Museum Brandhorstwhich features thirty-three pictures on canvas, some thirteen display cases full of drawings, and, surprisingly, two videosGuyton takes his formal vocabulary in new directions: “Wade Guyton: Das New Yorker Atelier” promises a journey into the dangerous shoals of figurative images. Incorporating photographic reproductions of, among other things, people and artworks at his New York work space, the pieces in this show indulge one of Western art history’s most cherished clichés: the artist’s studio. An accompanying catalogue, with a conversation between Guyton, Achim Hochdörfer, and writer and curator Johanna Burton, will help elucidate these developments in the artist’s practice.
We may think we’re well-versed on Cy Twombly by now, but we’ve been surprised before; his work is easy to recognize yet, crucially, hard to know. This fall, the Pompidou promises a definitive retrospectivethe first since Twombly’s death in 2011 and by far the largest everthat will attend to his propensity for series. The emphasis will be on his radical, affective attenuation of history painting, with three extraordinary suites convening for the first time: Nine Discourses on Commodus, 1963; Fifty Days at Iliam, 1978; and Coronation of Sesostris, 2000. Approximately 140 works in all, in painting, drawing, sculpture, collage, and photography, will track Twombly’s career from the early 1950s to his final months. An authoritative offering, to be sure (supplemented by a lavish catalogue), and one that is perhaps big and rich enough to make the ultimate historical claim for the unfixedness that, paradoxically, defines his practice.
While Walker Evans is known today primarily for the austere formalism of his documentary-style photographs from the 1930s, this sprawling retrospectivethe first ever for Evans in Franceargues for a different view. The real significance of Evans’s photographic work, it claims, lies in how he taps into the incantatory power of old weird America, the folky vernacular culture evident in the outmoded and overlooked: handpainted signs, rural wooden churches built without architects, rotogravure news photos, penny postcards, Polaroid snapshots. A flaneur of the American byways, Evans not only photographed these subjects with attentive zeal but was also a passionate collector of commonplace cultural artifacts, dozens of which are included in the exhibition. For him, as for the Surrealists, such found objects and images were revelatory documents of everyday life, cast in opposition to successive waves of modernist sameness. Travels to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Sept. 23, 2017–Feb. 4, 2018.
Like other artists of his generation (e.g., Roni Horn, Tom Burr), Mirosław Bałka reimagines the deadpan, impersonal, quasi-anthropomorphic geometry of Minimalism as an avatar of something more straightforwardly human, whether a prompt for poetic association, a metonym for the body, or a vessel of elegiac Beuysian allegory. “CROSSOVER/S”the Polish-born artist’s most comprehensive exhibition in Italy to dateis billed as a retrospective, featuring roughly fifteen sculptures, installations, and videos made between the 1990s and today. The show includes early works derived from the artist’s private memories of his childhood home, as well as later explorations of collective trauma. To that end, Bałka’s primary subject is the Holocaust, which he repeatedly evokes via the technological figure of the concentration campa structure he embodies in stark, deceptively simple installations of plywood, soap, and steel.