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.
The work of Edward and Nancy Reddin Kienholz is by now so deeply ingrained in the contemporary art world’s collective consciousness that it’s easy to forget just how profoundly strange and unrelentingly thorny it is. Riotous, excoriating, and often brutally blunt, the Kienholzes’ oeuvrecomprising everything from scabrous riffs on racism, sexism, and militarism to more subdued takes on loneliness and ennuiremains surprisingly, and lamentably, as relevant to American culture today as it did at the time of its initial conception.This show will bring more than two dozen of the artists’ installations, drawings, and assemblages made between the late 1950s and early 1990s to foreign shores when it opens this spring at three locations within the Fondazione Prada’s Milan complex.
For more than sixty years, the Los Angeles–based artist Betye Saar has steadily produced mixed-media works that recombine diverse cultural forms, spiritual traditions, and everyday icons. Whether Saar is invoking diasporic ritual practices in her talismanic Black Girl’s Window, 1969, or formally undoing the logic of racist kitsch through her ongoing work with mammy figures and figurines, her practice occupies a vital place within histories of assemblage. “Uneasy Dancer,” the artist’s first retrospective in Italy, will feature more than ninety of her assemblages, collages, and installations from the 1960s through the present, focusing on Saar’s contributions to black feminist thought and transnationalist aesthetics. The exhibition will be curated by Elvira Dyangani Ose, whose sophisticated reframing of Carrie Mae Weems’s work in 2010 at the Centro Andaluz de Arte Contemporáneo in Seville bodes well for viewers hoping to gain a nuanced understanding of Saar’s positioning within an expanded cultural field.
In his first European solo show, Kishio Suga, best known as one of the leading figures of the Japanese art movement Mono-ha, will be celebrated in his own right with a retrospective of twenty-three installations and sculptures from 1969 through the present. At HangarBicocca, Suga will activate objects as dynamic parts of a total structure: Viewers will find themselves immersed in an environment of wooden configurations, paraffin-wax structures, floor works composed of both organic and manufactured materials, and ephemeral outdoor interventions. The exhibition will thus bring together multiple “situations” to produce a landscape of contrastsnatural and industrial, light and heavy, hollow and solidcontinuing Suga’s tendency to subvert our expectations surrounding the nature of phenomena and to emphasize spatial interstices. Accompanied by a sizable catalogue, the show will contextualize the artist within an international art scene that includes Italy’s Arte Povera and Land art in the US.
Turin is a fitting setting for the work of Ed Atkins. While his tragicomic videos of HD avatars express the alienation that permeates contemporary (white hetero cis-male) life, they alsolike the famous Shroud of Turin before themrender the body strange, as the mutable object of endless mediations. Just as the shroud’s configuration of marks is either an ancient hoax or the indexical trace of the body of Christ, the artist’s representations may or may not register the existence of an entity that hovers somewhere between presence and ghostly evanescenceonly in Atkins’s case, that radically ambiguous entity is the embodied subject of today. More than half a dozen projects will be presented at the Castello di Rivoli; notable among the works that will take up residence in the former Savoy soldier barracks are Ribbons and Happy Birthday!!!, both 2014. Another video installation, Safe Conduct, 2016, will be on display at the Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo.
A seminal figure in both the New Basque Sculpture movement of the 1980s and the internationalization of Spanish art toward the end of that decade, over the past thirty years Txomin Badiola has developed a prolific body of work that utilizes a diverse array of media and references to engage his viewers in a manner that is more dialogic than expressive. For his upcoming retrospective at the Palacio de Velázquez, the artist has invited a group of his peersAna Laura Aláez, Ángel Bados, Jon Mikel Euba, Pello Irazu, Asier Mendizabal, Itziar Okariz, and Sergio Pregoto help select some of the sculptures, drawings, photographs, and multimedia installations that will be on view. Interviews in which the seven cocurators discuss their decision-making process will be filmed, and an edited transcript of these conversations will appear in the exhibition catalogue.
In 1971, Július Koller (1933–2007) envisioned a gallery atop a mountain in Slovakia’s High Tatras. This private, fictive spacethe UFO Gallery Ganek, as it came to be knownwas a liberating alternative to the official institutions of the Soviet state, a refuge where thought could flow freely and information had no limits. Though Koller’s gallery was imaginary, it was nevertheless a frame for the creation of real works, including drawings, photographs, “anti-paintings,” and cards made with a children’s printing set. This monumental retrospective, and its extensive catalogue, will put the full breadth of the artist’s production on view, placing unprecedented emphasis on Koller’s archive of printed matter: a massive collection of postcards and cheap brochures, newspaper clippings, comic strips, and other such pulp culled from everyday life.