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.

Jenny Watson, Rock Star (detail), 2014, oil, synthetic polymer paint, and Japanese pigment on damask, found toy, dimensions variable.

“JENNY WATSON: THE FABRIC OF FANTASY”

MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART, AUSTRALIA
SYDNEY
Through October 2
Curated by Anna Davis

With a career spanning five decades, Jenny Watson is one of Australia’s most acclaimed painters in the expressionist idiom. Her signature large canvases often combine spidery text, sketchy images, and collage, and recall the self-conscious naïveté and coloristic virtuosity of works by Paul Klee and Marc Chagall. Watson’s expressionism is deeply informed by autobiographical themes from her youth, and is shaped by a whimsical, feminist perspective. This major survey, which is accompanied by a catalogue, includes work from the late 1970s to the present, encompassing the artist’s early experiments in Photorealism and ’80s-era neo-Pop, and her canvases populated by horses, ballerinas, little girls, modish young women, cats, birds, and punk musicians. Although her constellations of imagery are always intensely personal, Watson nevertheless manages to speak to universal concerns.  

Toni Ross

Yee I-Lann, Fluid World, 2010, ink-jet print, acid dye, indigo dye, and batik crackle on silk twill, 51 × 111 3/4". From “Sunshower: Contemporary Art from Southeast Asia, 1980s to Now.”

“SUNSHOWER: CONTEMPORARY ART FROM SOUTHEAST ASIA, 1980S TO NOW”

NATIONAL ART CENTER/MORI ART MUSEUM
TOKYO
Through October 23
Curated by Merv Espina, Mami Kataoka, Vera Mey, Jo-Lene Ong, Grace Samboh, and Naoki Yoneda

At a time when Western alliances such as NATO and the EU are under unprecedented threat, other international post–World War II consortia have taken on renewed significance.“Sunshower” marks the fifty-year anniversary of ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations), a ten-country trade partnership founded in 1967, with a major presentation of eighty-five artists from the member nations. Hoping to sidestep the often-reductive frameworks of large-scale, geography-based surveys, the fourteen-person curatorial team (of which the core group numbers six) has adopted a rubric of nine subthemes: cartography, conflict, identity, history, archiving, spirituality, indigenous culture, social practice, and the quotidian. Through such groupings, the show, which spans two Tokyo venues, promises a diverse picture of a region, room for digression, and, perhaps, an alternative approach to thinking about international relations. Travels to the Fukuoka Asian Art Museum, Japan, Nov. 3–Dec. 25.

Jyoti Dhar

“PAN YULIANG: A JOURNEY TO SILENCE”

GUANGDONG TIMES MUSEUM | 广东时代美术馆
GUANGZHOU
August 19 - October 8
Curated by Nikita Yingqian Cai

Among the few female painters of the Republican era in China, Pan Yuliang (1895–1977) may be the most well known. Her captivating life story, fraught with controversy and intrigue, has been told and retold in various movies, TV dramas, and novels. Yet her artistic legacy and its position in the broader project of China’s modernization remain largely unexplored. The two-part survey “A Portrait of Pan Yuliang”—split between a research platform hosted by Villa Vassilieff in Paris from May 20 to June 24 and an exhibition at Guangdong Times Museum—will be a welcome corrective. The show, which combines extensive archival research with a polyphonic series of field trips, publications, and conversations, promises to tease out resonances between the artist’s practice and contemporary discourses on art, gender, and nation building. 

Du Keke

“Aldo Tambellini: Black Matters”

ZKM | CENTER FOR ART AND MEDIA
KARLSRUHE, GERMANY
Through August 6
Curated by Giulio Bursi and Pia Bolognesi

Bringing together painting, handpainted slides, film, video, poetry, and sound, Aldo Tambellini created pulsating dark spaces centered on a multidimensional concept of “blackness.” At once a negation of light and visibility in art, an evocation of racial violence and civil rights struggles, and an imagination of the nonhuman sphere of astrophysics, the artist’s work plunges you into a realm where politics is as much a matter of sensation and affect as perception and knowledge. This career retrospective—featuring eighty-six works made between 1950 and 1980 alongside a commissioned installation—offers a unique opportunity to experience an exceptionally timely oeuvre that has too long been obscured from public view.

Ina Blom

Julije Knifer, TU-L, 1973, acrylic on canvas, 29 3/4 × 41 3/4". From “The Gorgona Group.”

“THE GORGONA GROUP”

KUNSTMUSEUM LIECHTENSTEIN
VADUZ, LIECHTENSTEIN
Through September 3
Curated by Friedemann Malsch

Outside of small gallery shows, there have been few opportunities in recent years to see the extraordinary work of this Zagreb, Croatia–based postwar collective. In MoMA’s cacophonous 2015 exhibition “Transmissions,” the austere yet elegant installation of work by Josip Vaništa, Julije Knifer, and the brainy curator-critic Mangelos was a welcome reprieve. But it turns out that this was only an hors d’oeuvre. This summer in Liechtenstein, we will see more fully how the group’s identity—part Malevich, part Manzoni—developed as a result of its members having worked in anti-Soviet, semi-capitalist, and (temporarily) antinationalist Yugoslavia. Their creative output, including a stunning journal, a prescient use of correspondence and collaboration in the making of art, and some of the first monochromes of postwar Europe, gives us a glimpse of what art looked like with the Iron Curtain half-drawn.

Paul Galvez