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.

Rodney Graham, Halcion Sleep, 1994, video, black-and-white, silent, 26 minutes.

RODNEY GRAHAM

IRISH MUSEUM OF MODERN ART
DUBLIN
Curated by Seán Kissane

Rodney Graham has long repudiated endings in favor of reverie-like ingresses to the past; this midcareer sampling of his work, dating from 1993 to 2017, will be a dream, almost. In the video Halcion Sleep, 1994, while drugged in the back of a car, the artist revisits both childhood memories of somnolent travel and Warhol’s Sleep. In Rheinmetall/Victoria 8, 2003, a 1961 Italian projector screens artificial snow falling on a pristine 1930s German typewriter—defunct technologies pairing to fabricate ethereality. Since 2007, in scrupulously mocked-up, hugely appealing light-box mise-en-scènes, Graham has guised himself, inter alia, as a well-heeled amateur artist perpetuating Morris Louis’s stylistics after his final show, and an old-school jazz drummer thoughtful over a steak supper. One of his own albums is titled Why Look for Good Times?, but assuredly Graham is an optimist. His oneiric fakeries always come barnacled with enigma and open-endedness, rewinding to move forward—or at least to move.

Martin Herbert

Rita McBride, Way Out West Wagon Wheel, 2010, laminate on wood, 59 × 59 × 12 5/8".

“RITA McBRIDE: EXPLORER”

WIELS CONTEMPORARY ART CENTRE
BRUSSELS
Through January 7, 2018
Curated by Zoë Gray

At the beginning of their career, Bernd and Hilla Becher referred to the industrial structures in their photographs as “anonymous sculptures,” but eventually they dropped the phrase, worried that it sounded too arty. McBride’s artworks, which often take the form of quasi-architectural features such as vents and stadium seating, similarly wrestle with their relationship to sculpture, while simultaneously expanding its possibilities. Though the artist’s work might appear unassuming at first, its weight and power grow on the viewer, gradually revealing a subtle, pointed engagement with the mechanisms of social control. Visitors to this midcareer survey—which includes the debut of Guide Rails, a structure that accompanies viewers through the exhibition—will have an opportunity to feel the slow burn of McBride’s practice in real time.  

Alex Kitnick

TAKASHI MURAKAMI

GARAGE MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART
MOSCOW
Through February 4, 2018
Curated by Katya Inozemtseva

Fresh on the heels of his retrospective at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Takashi Murakami is set to conquer Moscow. The first major solo exhibition of the Japanese artist’s work in Russia, the show includes a broad selection of works made between the early 1990s and the present, and focuses specifically on Murakami’s singularly gleeful, Pop-centric engagement with the culture of his home country. The show’s first section situates Murakami within the tradition of Japanese art history, while the second revisits “Little Boy”—the controversial  exhibition he curated in 2005 for the Japan Society in New York. The third section explores the aesthetic of kawaii—a driving force behind the globalization of Japan’s “cute” culture—and the fourth reconstructs a part of the artist’s large-scale “factory.” Lastly, Murakami emphasizes his decades-long interest in his art’s commercial valences, presenting a profusion of his playful patterns on the museum’s café and bookshop walls.

Hiroko Ikegami

Helen Escobedo supervising the construction of Centro del Espacio Escultórico at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Mexico City, ca. 1979–80.

“EXPANDING ART SPACES: HELEN ESCOBEDO AT UNAM (1961–1979)”

MUSEO UNIVERSITARIO ARTE CONTEMPORANEO (MUAC)
MEXICO CITY
Through October 29
Curated by Clara Bolívar and Elva Peniche

Though she is perhaps best known for her quasi- architectural public sculpture, Helen Escobedo has also had a career as a leader of art institutions in Mexico City, with important tenures at galleries of the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, including the Museo Universitario de Ciencias y Arte and the long-gone Galería Universitaria Aristos. In these roles, she developed a reputation for supporting experimental local practices in close dialogue with international developments, at a time when independent artistic initiatives received little support. This exhibition, curated by Bolívar and Peniche from the UNAM archival collections, and its accompanying publication will address this overlooked aspect of Escobedo’s career, contributing a rich and revealing chapter to a global history of institutions that is still being written.

Magalí Arriola

Chto Delat, It Did Not Happen with Us Yet. Safe Haven, 2017, two-channel HD video, color, sound, 42 minutes.

“CHTO DELAT: WHEN WE THOUGHT WE HAD ALL THE ANSWERS, LIFE CHANGED THE QUESTIONS”

MUSEO UNIVERSITARIO ARTE CONTEMPORANEO (MUAC)
MEXICO CITY
November 11 - April 22, 2018
Curated by Cuauhtémoc Medina and Alejandra Labastida

Chto Delat is a group of writers, philosophers, and artists that takes its name, which translates to “What is to be done?” from the title of an 1863 novel by the political revolutionary Nikolay Chernyshevsky (a title lifted by Lenin for his own 1902 tract). Since its founding in 2003, the Saint Petersburg–based collective has applied the eponymous query to both the specific situation in Russia and the larger systems of global capitalism. For its first solo presentation in Mexico, Chto Delat tests what value a self-organized collective holds today—a question made all the more pressing in the wake of the Russian government’s increasing restriction of freedom of assembly. Accompanied by a catalogue compiling the group’s key texts in both Spanish and English, the survey centers around a new film that looks to the Zapatistas for an alternative model of civil resistance.  

Kate Sutton

“MÉXICO MODERNO: VANGUARDIA Y REVOLUCIÓN”

MUSEO DE ARTE LATINOAMERICANO DE BUENOS AIRES (MALBA)
BUENOS AIRES
November 3 - February 19, 2018
Curated by Sharon Jazzan, Ariadna Patiño Guadarrama, and Victoria Giraudo

Newly resurgent under the directorship of Agustín Pérez Rubio (who took the helm of the institution in 2014), MALBA presents “México Moderno: Vanguardia y Revolución,” a sweeping survey of artistic production in Mexico during the early twentieth century. Presenting more than 120 artworks (many of them loans), the exhibition focuses specifically on the ways in which artists—including many women—used visual expression as a means to codify a uniquely Mexican identity. The show will track the influence of four key forces: the emergence of early modernism in academies and via the European avant-garde; the dynamism of metropolitan life; the rise of popular politics, including indigenous movements; and the arrival of Mexican Surrealism. Expect to see masterpieces by such renowned artists as Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo alongside lesser-known works by the Stridentists and practitioners of magical realism.  

Sofía Hernández Chong Cuy