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.

Oscar Masotta, About Happenings, 1966. Performance view, Instituto Torcuato Di Tella, Buenos Aires, 1966. Re-presentation of Carolee Schneemann’s Meat Joy, 1964.

“Oscar Masotta: Theory as Action”

Through August 13
Curated by Ana Longoni

A singular combination of cultural critic, teacher, occasional artist, and unrepentant Lacanian, Oscar Masotta was the key theorist of 1960s Buenos Aires’s fervent avant-garde. Fired from his university job by the dictatorship in ’66, he led workshops on structuralism and Marshall McLuhan from his apartment, ultimately yielding a wholly informational genre—“mass media art”—that marked one of the earliest instances of Conceptualism in Latin America. This exhibition will survey Masotta’s production and influence across multiple platforms: writing, teaching, his own artworks as well as those of many others, and the explorations of Lacanian psychoanalysis that marked the final decade of his career. A comprehensive set of programs will restage two of the three Happenings that Masotta produced, screen a new series of interviews with his associates, and host an interdisciplinary conference on his legacy. The exhibition catalogue will feature essays by Longoni, Olivier Debroise, and Manuel Hernandez.

Daniel Quiles

“Anita Malfatti: 100 Years of Modern Art”

Through April 30
Curated by Regina Teixeira de Barros

Having left Brazil in 1910 to study in Berlin and New York, Anita Malfatti gained notoriety when she returned to São Paulo seven years later on account of an exhibition of her Expressionist- and Cubist-inspired paintings. Though stridently defended by Oswald de Andrade and other writers and artists later associated with the Semana de Arte Moderna festival, her paintings incited the polemical objections of such academic critics as Monteiro Lobato, who designated modern art “abnormal,” comparing it to psychopathological art. This exhibition commemorates that inaugural year for modernism in Brazil and will display works representative of Malfatti’s full artistic trajectory, from her portraits and landscapes of the teens to paintings that evoke the return to order of the 1920s, and even examples of her reliance, much later, on regional themes. The overview will provide a rare opportunity to assess Malfatti’s shifting visual language as well as her important contributions to the country’s aesthetic debates.

Kaira M. Cabañas

The National: New Australian Art

March 30 - July 16
Curated by Blair French, Lisa Havilah, Anneke Jaspers, Nina Miall, and Wayne Tunnicliffe

Since the demise of Australian Perspecta in 1999, Sydney has sadly lacked a large-scale biennial exhibition devoted solely to Australian contemporary art. The National: New Australian Art, a joint venture between three major Sydney art venues, promises a remedy. The debut edition will feature a total of forty-nine established and emerging Australian artists exhibiting recent or newly commissioned works, encompassing painting, video, sculpture, installation, animation, sound, and performance. Pieces by Erin Coates, Karen Mills, and Ronnie van Hout will appear at the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia. The Art Gallery of New South Wales is to host Bougainville-born Taloi Havini, Tiger Yaltangki, and Berlin-based Alex Martinis Roe. Works by Archie Moore, Justene Williams, and Richard Lewer will occupy Carriageworks. A substantial catalogue, produced by the MCA, will accompany the show.

Toni Ross

Song Dong, I Don’t Know the Mandate of Heaven (detail), 2016, porcelain doll, mixed media, dimensions variable.

“Song Dong: I Don’t Know the Mandate of Heaven”

Through May 21
Curated by Liu Yingjiu and Xu Tiantian

In the Analects, Confucius says that fifty is a watershed year in one’s life, a time when one becomes conscious of the “mandate of heaven,” or one’s position in the universe. This has apparently not been the case for the fifty-year-old Beijing-based artist Song Dong, who has titled his midcareer survey “I Don’t Know the Mandate of Heaven.” The exhibition presents major works made since the 1990s, including paintings, photographs, installations, ceramic sculptures, and videos, offering a chance to examine Song’s eclectic yet consistent approach to art and life. His use of quotidian items such as old furniture and domestic appliances appears by turns indifferent and sentimental, but his works’ real poetic power derives from their engagement with a core idea in Taoist philosophy—the dialectic between the individual and the world.

Du Keke

Jitish Kallat, Annexation (detail), 2009, black lead, paint, pigmented resin, steel, 72 1/8 × 59 1/8 × 51 1/4".

“Jitish Kallat: Here After Here”

Through April 1
Curated by Catherine David

Shortly before the start of World War II, Mahatma Gandhi wrote a passionate letter advocating peace over war. It began “Dear friend . . .” and was addressed to none other than Adolf Hitler himself. This historic epistle is projected on a screen of fog in Jitish Kallat’s immersive installation Covering Letter, 2012, which will feature among the roughly 140 works in this midcareer retrospective. Curated by Catherine David, “Here After Here” gathers together painting, photography, videos, and installations spanning twenty-five years. Organized nonchronologically, the exhibition promises to bring into focus the Mumbai-based artist’s long-standing investigation of speech, the self, urban life, and history—themes conveyed via burnt-adhesive alphabets, a rickshaw made of fiberglass animal bones, and images of rotis (Indian flatbreads) that seem to wax and wane like the moon.

Meera Menezes

N. S. Harsha, Come Give Us a Speech (detail), 2008, acrylic on six canvases, each 72 × 72".

“N. S. Harsha: Charming Journey”

Through June 11
Curated by Mami Kataoka

In the painting Come Give Us a Speech, 2008, rows of pastel-clad figures sit waiting. Some gaze into space, others gossip, adjust their saris, scratch. Are they expecting the arrival of a sage, a superstar—or N. S. Harsha himself? Unlike his impatient painted folk, Harsha’s fans need tarry no more: They can visit the largest assembly of the Indian artist’s work to date. Organized by Mami Kataoka, the Mori Art Museum’s chief curator, the extravaganza boasts more than seventy-five artworks from the past two decades. Visitors will meet old favorites (such as Nations, 2007, an installation of 192 sewing machines stitching the flags of various countries) and make new acquaintances (a figurative mural will be produced in situ). A catalogue accompanies the proceedings, though its contributors had yet to be revealed by press time.

Zehra Jumabhoy