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 first American retrospective of the work of Cherokee sculptor, performance artist, poet, and political activist Jimmie Durham presents nearly two hundred objects from the 1970s to the present. Notoriously ambivalent toward the United States after his departure from the American Indian Movement in 1980, Durham considers his itinerancy abroad to be a political gesture. His works wryly question the Western world’s fantasies about indigenous Americans. Although Durham claims that art happens “away from language,” his sculptural constructionswhich employ disparate materials including bone, stone, and wood, as well as text, photographs, and drawingsare always in parley with wider discourses. Thinking away from formats and embracing the peripatetic and even the chaotic, Durham’s sculptures short-circuit normative tendencies in (Western) art and infuse its discourse with a fair dose of esprit. Travels to the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, June 22–Oct. 8; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, Nov. 3, 2017–Jan. 28, 2018; Remai Modern, Saskatoon, Canada, Mar. 23–Aug. 5, 2018.
The complex interplay between movement and perception has long been the crux of Sarah Oppenheimer’s work. Interrogating the ways in which architecture inflects our movement and thereby frames the horizon of our experience, her astonishingly precise interventions into institutional spaceswhich often take the form of apertures cut in walls, floors, and ceilingsproduce sudden shifts, expansions, and occlusions in our visual field as we pass around and through them. Her upcoming installation S-281913 is an audacious extension of this logic: Oppenheimer proposes to animate her work itself by introducing two large rotating glass panels that will alternate between transparency and reflection depending on their position and that of the viewer. Situated within Herzog & de Meuron’s concrete-and-wood galleries (rather than in the white cube that is Oppenheimer’s typical milieu), the work’s mix of active viewer, kinetic sculpture, and assertive architecture promises to be an unusually catalytic combination.
This commissioned installation manifests Japanese artist Yuki Kimura’s subtle activation of subjective and multilayered encounters with the photographic. With Table Stella, 2016, Kimura presents two very similar found photographs printed on the surfaces of three pairs of tabletop-like Dibond supports laden with ashtrays. In a world of e-cigarettes and immaterial image-data files, her use of outmoded objects directs our attention away from the items’ original functions to suggest new, more playful operations determined by their very materiality. A pair of large, almost identical wall-mounted photographs with accompanying twin mirrors implicates us further in dualities of meaning and the coexistence of past and present.
Animated film has come a long way since J. Stuart Blackton’s pioneering Humorous Phases of Funny Faces (1906), with its crude sequences of goofy chalkboard drawings. An evolving palette of digital animation technologiesmotion capture, ever more detailed 3-D visualizationshapes not only mainstream culture but, increasingly, the work of artists (and the oft-unsung technicians to whom they outsource their production). “Suspended Animation” brings together Ed Atkins, Antoine Catala, Ian Cheng, Josh Kline, Helen Marten, and Agnieszka Polska, an international hexad whose practices are differentiated enough to suggest not only computer animation’s pervasiveness but also its flexibilitywitness Atkins’s emotive avatars adrift in an uncanny valley, Cheng’s simulations mutating in real time, Polska’s fluent digital-psychedelic effects, and Marten’s loquacious skeuomorphic crossbreeds. In spite of these individual approaches, expect a shared responsiveness to the digital age’s manifold crises, from the specter of surveillance to the collapse of distinctions between virtual and physical realities.
This winter, the List presents the first solo museum exhibition of Dutch artist Gwenneth Boelens. The ten pieces on displaylargely photograms the artist made in the past two years using chromogenic materialsrange from the small and delicate to the large and unwieldy, creating a series of encounters in which photography is experienced as the result of the artist’s actions. Also present are sculptural elements in the form of an umbrella frame, yellow acoustic fabric wrapped around an aluminum rod, and a textile work adapted from a book about West African weaving. Like all of her work from the past fifteen years, this installation speaks to the contemporary idea of photography as a translation of subjects and memories into fragmentary compressions. Boelens’s practice is a timely statement on the possibilities of reanimating protophotographic impulses to trace, indent, and impress, and on the currencies of translation, versioning, and rendering.
An artist for whom audience participation is at the very conceptualand ethicalcore of his practice, Paul Ramírez Jonas creates work that is not simply for civic spaces but also interrogates how such spaces and the publics they serve are constituted. Over the past decade, the artist’s engagement with the mechanics of sociospatial interaction has become increasingly physicalizedwhether involving the distribution of keys that offer individuals access to (alternately) a single tiny park or a city’s worth of museums and other culturally notable sites, or the creation of sculptures that formally mimic grand monuments but whose true function is broadly egalitarian, intended to support conversation. This midcareer retrospective features a selection of Ramírez Jonas’s work from the past twenty-five years, including site-specific interventions here represented by artifacts and didactic materials, and is accompanied by a catalogue with essays by the artist, Daderko, Bill Arning, Claire Barliant, and Shannon Jackson.