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.

“IN SEARCH OF EXPO 67”

MUSÉE D'ART CONTEMPORAIN DE MONTRÉAL
MONTREAL
Through October 8
Curated by Lesley Johnstone and Monika Kin Gagnon

On the occasion of Canada’s Sesquicentennial, the Musée d’Art Contemporain de Montréal will revisit Expo 67, the now-legendary centennial celebration launched in April 1967 in this Québécois city with the theme “Man and His World.” Recalled less for its universalizing humanist ideals than for its dramatic architectural structures and experimental cinematic and multimedia works, Expo 67 presented an optimistic world filled with megastructures, multiscreen environments, monorails, and other media-technical innovations whose technofetishism, like the political protests that accompanied the event (including some that erupted around the fair itself), resonates with our present moment. For “In Search of Expo 67,” sixteen contemporary Canadian artists have been invited to bridge the fifty-year span between the show’s first iteration and its revisitation, via new works developed using documentation of this extraordinary precedent. Beyond highlighting connections, by re-creating earlier works using new technologies the show and attendant catalogue will no doubt also speak compellingly to how things have changed for both “man” and “his world.”

Felicity Scott

Alberto Giacometti, Suspended Ball, 1930–31, plaster, metal, 23 7/8 × 14 × 14 1/4". © Alberto Giacometti Estate/Licensed by VAGA and ARS, New York.

ALBERTO GIACOMETTI

TATE MODERN
LONDON
Through September 10
Curated by Frances Morris and Catherine Grenier

The crucial place of Alberto Giacometti in the history of modern sculpture was confirmed at the Venice Biennale in 1956, where he showed six tall female bronzes called Femmes de Venise, after the city of their first exhibition. The fragile plasters for these instantly famed figures will be seen together for the first time in sixty years at Tate Modern’s immense survey of more than 250 works of sculpture, drawing, and book illustration. The Femmes de Venise were first executed in clay, then cast in plaster and further reworked with knives, brushes, and paint (often as thin red and black lines dug into the surface), leading to a further skein of structure (traceries lost in their final bronze incarnations). Still, Giacometti’s scraped and scratched graphic addenda (present in other works) were seen as a new strategy for depicting a realistic world while honoring what was then deemed most philosophically pertinent—the Existential.

Robert Pincus-Witten

Arthur Jafa, Love Is the Message, the Message Is Death, 2016, digital video, color and black-and-white, sound, 7 minutes 25 seconds. Arthur Jafa.

ARTHUR JAFA

SERPENTINE SACKLER GALLERY
LONDON
Through September 10
Curated by Amira Gad

The first London solo show of influential African American cinematographer, experimental filmmaker, and artist Arthur Jafa opens at the Serpentine Sackler Gallery and elsewhere throughout the city in June. Though Jafa is legendary as the cinematographer behind the stunning visuals of Julie Dash’s 1991 film Daughters of the Dust, he is also a formidable artist in his own right, currently working at the height of his talents. His recent output explores the contours of and potential for African American politics and creative expression in an audiovisual field saturated with sounds and images of “Blackness.” Often taking jazz and other Black musical forms as inspiration, Jafa’s work with the moving image is deeply creative and philosophical, attuned to patterns in Black expressive culture over time and to the senses of loss and plenitude they evince.

Kara Keeling

William T. Williams, Trane, 1969, acrylic on canvas, 108 × 84". From “Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power.”

“SOUL OF A NATION: ART IN THE AGE OF BLACK POWER”

TATE MODERN
LONDON
Through October 22
Curated by Mark Godfrey and Zoe Whitley

A little more than a decade ago, curators began exploring the legacy of the 1960s and ’70s Black Arts Movement in the US; in 2005, “Back to Black: Art, Cinema and the Racial Imaginary” at London’s Whitechapel Gallery linked contemporaneous African-diasporic connections between the US, the UK, and Jamaica. In 2006, Kellie Jones curated the first of three important exhibitions that unearthed key yet underacknowledged abstract and figurative artists with “Energy/Experimentation: Black Artists and Abstraction, 1964–1980” at New York’s Studio Museum in Harlem. The groundwork laid, “Soul of a Nation” will present more than 150 works by over sixty artists, grappling with the period from 1963 to 1983, during which artists responded to political enfranchisement in the US with bold aesthetic transformation. Archival materials will be showcased alongside paintings, photographs, prints, sculptures, and time-based media, including performance. This exhibition will highlight the radical tactics and growing consciousness of artists during the Black Arts and Black Power Movements, demonstrating how their voices (and those of their progeny) are so much needed today. 

Cheryl Finley

“HANNE DARBOVEN: CORRESPONDENCES”

HAMBURGER BAHNHOF
BERLIN
Through August 27
Curated by Gabriele Knapstein, Petra Lange-Berndt, and Dietmar Rübel

A room covered by Hanne Darboven’s Konstruktionen of 1968 can be a numbing experience, with row after row of framed sheets of graph paper conveying delicately drafted numbers and letters. Studied more closely, though, the works become intimate, even moving. Unlike her Minimalist pals, Darboven was never taken by the elimination of subjectivity. With her striking, idiosyncratic handwriting, Darboven literally draws attention to herself, as if to propose that subjectivity inheres in art whether Darboven wants it to or not. In particular, the old postcards and miscellanea that she increasingly incorporated onto the sheets trigger a wide range of associations—some personal, some political. What might seem clinical and conceptual can actually be highly emotional. At the Hamburger Bahnhof, the contextualization with other works from the collection, including those of Sol LeWitt, Carl Andre, and the Bechers, promises to unveil Darboven’s covert humanization of the Minimalist credo. 

Benjamin Paul

“Moving Is In Every Direction: Environments, Installations, Narrative Spaces”

HAMBURGER BANHOF—MUSEUM FÜR GEGENWART
BERLIN
Through September 3
Curated by Anna-Catharina Gebbers and Gabriele Knapstein

Installation art’s ability to produce, or disrupt, narrative experience—to alternately conjure and complicate linearity through interventions in spatiotemporal conditions—is 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 Schneider—installed 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 building—and will be accompanied by a catalogue in the form of a magazine.

Jeffrey Kastner