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.

Thomas Struth, Bright Sunflower No. 1, Winterthur, 1991, C-print, 33 1/8 × 26".

“THOMAS STRUTH: FIGURE GROUND”

HAUS DER KUNST
MUNICH
Through September 17
Curated by Thomas Weski

Opening in early May and continuing until mid-September will be a more ambitious and comprehensive exhibition of Thomas Struth’s work than has ever been mounted. Organized by the distinguished critic-curator Thomas Weski, the show will comprise more than 120 items, representing every series of the artist’s production (“Unconscious Places,” 1976–2008; “Family Portraits,” 1985–; “Museum Photographs,” 1989–2007; “New Pictures from Paradise,” 1998–2007; “Nature & Politics,” 2007–, among others), and will also include several of the hypnotically compelling video portraits that were projected as part of his major exhibition at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2003. In addition, we are promised several never-before-shown early works, research material from his personal archive, and Nacht-Projekt, a slide projection made for the 1987 Skulptur Projekte Münster. By any standard, then, a major event.

Michael Fried

Ismaïl Bahri, Revers, 2016, ten-channel HD video projection, color, sound, 5 minutes.

ISMAÏL BAHRI

JEU DE PAUME
PARIS
Through September 24
Curated by Marta Gili and Marie Bertran

Tunisian-born Ismaïl Bahri’s’s forthcoming exhibition, titled “Instruments,” seems a logical successor to “Uprisings,” curated by Georges Didi-Huberman and on view at the Jeu de Paume this past fall. The latter included Bahri’s Film à blanc, 2012, in which a blank sheet covers most of three adjacent screens. Only the movement of air across the sheet allows glimpses of what is happening behind, which is more audible than visible. This work exemplifies Bahri’s style, often characterized by a formal homology between the material support and the image—a structural yet mobile tension that is the result of the internal limits of representation, the interaction between sound and sight, and the vagaries of perception. Devoted to Bahri’s video works, this show will testify to the coherence and equipoise with which he applies this rigorously calibrated sensibility to political conflicts and social injustices.

Nicole Brenez

Karl Fritsch, untitled, 2004, glass stones, oxidized silver, 3 1/2 × 2 × 2". From “Medusa: Jewelry and Taboos.”

“MEDUSA: JEWELRY AND TABOOS”

MUSÉE D'ART MODERNE DE LA VILLE DE PARIS
PARIS
Through November 5
Curated by Anne Dressen with Michèle Heuzé and Benjamin Lignel

This exhibition might be the most ambitious project dealing with jewelry ever conceived for a museum. The titular reference to taboos relays that while gems may be popular within institutions of applied arts, they are historically not welcome in fine-art contexts (too marginal, craft-oriented, precious, or ornamental). Transcending chronological and geographic categorizations, the curators will bring together more than four hundred pieces of jewelry to be displayed around four themes—identity, value, body, and ritual. The selection will include objects ranging from prehistorical adornments to iconic artifacts of contemporary pop culture (Michael Jackson’s glove will be on view), as well as bijoux d’artistes by everyone from Anni Albers to Danny McDonald. Visitors will rediscover design from Lalique and Tony Duquette alongside high-end jewelers like Cartier and Bucellati. A catalogue will accompany the show, with essays by historians and theoreticians Arlette Farge and Glenn Adamson, among others.

Nicolas Trembley

Alexander Kluge, . . . kommt ein Schiff gefahren ( . . . a Ship Sails This Way), 2017, various film formats transferred to digital video, color and black-and-white, silent, 15 minutes 19 seconds. From “The Boat Is Leaking. The Captain Lied.”

“THE BOAT IS LEAKING. THE CAPTAIN LIED”

FONDAZIONE PRADA | VENICE
VENICE
Through November 26
Curated by Udo Kittelmann

What do film, photography, and theater have in common? Architecture. That seems to be the straightforward but intriguing premise buried within the rhetoric of this self-styled “transmedia exhibition,” which brings together director Alexander Kluge, a pioneer of New German Cinema; photographer Thomas Demand, known for his pictures of painstakingly constructed models; and theatrical designer Anna Viebrock, whose innovative sets and costumes have appeared in stage productions around the world. Although the three are longtime friends and interlocutors, they have never collaborated directly; Kittelmann believes this dilemma is rooted in the fact that they operate in distinct creative fields. His solution offers Fondazione Prada’s Venetian outpost—a three-story eighteenth-century palazzo—as not just a shared venue but a kind of common language, inviting the three practitioners to work together to transform the building’s interior into a polyvalent environment.  

Julian Rose

“Akram Zaatari: Against Photography—An Annotated History of the Arab Image Foundation”

MUSEU D'ART CONTEMPORANI DE BARCELONA (MACBA)
BARCELONA
Through September 24
Curated by Hiuwai Chu and Bartomeu Marí

An archive initially composed of the by-products of artists’ research and projects, the Arab Image Foundation (AIF) was established in Lebanon in 1997 by Fouad Elkoury, Samer Mohdad, Walid Raad, and Akram Zaatari, and has grown to include a staggering number and variety of photographic materials and subjects from the Middle East, North Africa, and the Arab diaspora. Consistent with the original intention of the archive, as simultaneously critical historical record and fund for creative work, Zaatari will select materials from the AIF’s twenty years to explore the photograph’s many purposes and its materialist and aesthetic histories, and to produce unprecedented narratives by cutting across synchronous frameworks and typological fields—an effect to be deepened, and no doubt inflected, by the inclusion of new artists’ projects. The AIF now permits potentially infinite permutations of inferred meanings, relations, and causalities. An accompanying catalogue presents texts by Zaatari, Mark Westmoreland, and Kaelen Wilson-Goldie.

David Roxburgh

“FORENSIC ARCHITECTURE: TOWARDS AN INVESTIGATIVE AESTHETICS”

MUSEU D'ART CONTEMPORANI DE BARCELONA (MACBA)
BARCELONA
Through October 15
Curated by Anselm Frankle, Rosario Güiraldes, and Eyal Weizman

Since 2011, a multidisciplinary group of researchers based at Goldsmiths, University of London and led by the architect Eyal Weizman has been using innovative technologies to analyze damaged buildings, exhumed skeletons, landscapes, and other material objects, preparing each as corroboration to testify against war crimes and human-rights violations. But such object-witnesses do not speak for themselves. The evidence they give is interpreted, mediated, presented, and debated in human institutions—international criminal courts in particular. The term “forensic architecture” names this combination of investigative and representational practices. MACBA’s exhibition will comprehensively survey an aesthetic project that grows ever more urgent in our time of perpetual war, drone strikes, environmental destruction, refugee crises, and neofascism. 

Rosalyn Deutsche