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.
An archive initially composed of the by-products of artists’ research and projects, the Arab Image Foundation (AIF) was established in Lebanon in 1997 by Fouad Elkoury, Samer Mohdad, Walid Raad, and Akram Zaatari, and has grown to include a staggering number and variety of photographic materials and subjects from the Middle East, North Africa, and the Arab diaspora. Consistent with the original intention of the archive, as simultaneously critical historical record and fund for creative work, Zaatari will select materials from the AIF’s twenty years to explore the photograph’s many purposes and its materialist and aesthetic histories, and to produce unprecedented narratives by cutting across synchronous frameworks and typological fieldsan effect to be deepened, and no doubt inflected, by the inclusion of new artists’ projects. The AIF now permits potentially infinite permutations of inferred meanings, relations, and causalities. An accompanying catalogue presents texts by Zaatari, Mark Westmoreland, and Kaelen Wilson-Goldie.
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.
Will polyglot Europe (Eastern, Western, Mittel) fragment into a thousand shards, or will it be dreamed anew as a collective hallucination of syncretic secularity? This question may seem removed from a Marina Abramović retrospective, but one could argue that the grandiose, anything-goes performances from this visionary/celebrity artist propose such issues as personal, mystical choices. This exhibition, which includes sketches, archival materials, and some ninety-five works made between 1960 and 2017, places renewed focus on Abramović’s origins in then-Communist Yugoslavia (this is especially true in the accompanying catalogue). Probing “loss, memory, pain, endurance, and trust,” the curators situate the artist’s works as provocations to participation, which is the axis around which our political imaginaries must also arrange themselves. Travels to Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebćk, Denmark, June 17–Oct. 22; Bundeskunsthalle, Bonn, Apr. 20–Aug. 12, 2018.
If Woody Allen were to rewrite Zelig and set the story in the art world, his inevitable first pick for the starring role would be the enigmatic Italian artist Roberto Cuoghi. Like Allen’s “human chameleon” character, Cuoghi demonstrates total fluency in any situation, deploying a range of techniques to weave a sprawling, nonhierarchical and atemporal web of drawing, painting, photography, performance, digital animation, comic-book illustration, archaeological research, and musical composition. Yet his total immersion in his subject matter is what really distinguishes Cuoghi’s oeuvre from those of his peers. This retrospective promises to examine the gripping twists and turns of the artist’s obsessive production in more than seventy works, ranging from his assumption of his father’s identity in the late 1990s to more recent creations from last year, and will be accompanied by a scholarly catalogue. Travels to the Museo MADRE, Naples, May 15–Sept.11; Kölnischer Kunstverein, Cologne, Oct.–Dec.
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.
Though it is tempting to call Marcel Odenbach a pioneer, this designation might imply that his work is done. Born in 1953, he is not only a forefather of video art and a cofounder, with Ulrike Rosenbach and Klaus vom Bruch, of the 1970s producer group ATV, he is alsostilla protagonist of political art. For his generation in West Germany, addressing the political through art meant working through the complex process of dealing with the country’s Nazi past. More recently, Odenbach, who now lives in Ghana part-time, has begun to focus on colonialism in Africa. At the Kunsthalle Wien, he will show videos (including a new one about Fritz Cremer’s 1958 memorial at the Buchenwald concentration camp) alongside his equally complex works on paper. The exhibition promises to illuminate new facets of Odenbach’s investigations into the exploitation of history in contemporary ideological battles, which remains as pressing as ever in the era of Trump and populist right-wing movements looming all over Europe.