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.

“Akram Zaatari: Against Photography—An Annotated History of the Arab Image Foundation”

MUSEU D'ART CONTEMPORANI DE BARCELONA (MACBA)
BARCELONA
Through September 24
Curated by Hiuwai Chu and Bartomeu Marí

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 fields—an 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.

David Roxburgh

“FORENSIC ARCHITECTURE: TOWARDS AN INVESTIGATIVE AESTHETICS”

MUSEU D'ART CONTEMPORANI DE BARCELONA (MACBA)
BARCELONA
Through October 15
Curated by Anselm Frankle, Rosario Güiraldes, and Eyal Weizman

Since 2011, a multidisciplinary group of researchers based at Goldsmiths, University of London and led by the architect Eyal Weizman has been using innovative technologies to analyze damaged buildings, exhumed skeletons, landscapes, and other material objects, preparing each as corroboration to testify against war crimes and human-rights violations. But such object-witnesses do not speak for themselves. The evidence they give is interpreted, mediated, presented, and debated in human institutions—international criminal courts in particular. The term “forensic architecture” names this combination of investigative and representational practices. MACBA’s exhibition will comprehensively survey an aesthetic project that grows ever more urgent in our time of perpetual war, drone strikes, environmental destruction, refugee crises, and neofascism. 

Rosalyn Deutsche

Lee Lozano, No Title, 1962, oil on canvas, 13 1/4 × 15 1/4".

LEE LOZANO

MUSEO NACIONAL CENTRO DE ARTE REINA SOFÍA
MADRID
Through September 25
Curated by Manuel J. Borja-Villel and Teresa Velázquez

Forty-five years after Lee Lozano notoriously separated herself from the mainstream art world (with Dropout Piece, ca. 1970), her stature within it only continues to rise. Once viewed almost solely as an adjunct to Conceptualism—despite the fact that Lucy Lippard would retrospectively dub her “the major female figure” of the movement—Lozano is now also widely recognized as a formidable painter whose work intersected with both the Pop and Minimalist tendencies of the 1960s and early ’70s. Approaching her often highly sexualized early imagery via the liberatory theories of Herbert Marcuse and her later production by way of a professed interest in science, this exhibition will encompass the full range of her production, including her masterful 1967–70 series of “Wave” paintings.

Branden W. Joseph

Marie-Louise Ekman, At Home with a Lady, 1973, oil and faux fur on canvas, 19 3/4 × 23 5/8".

MARIE-LOUISE EKMAN

MODERNA MUSEET | STOCKHOLM
STOCKHOLM
Through September 17
Curated by Jo Widoff

To enter painter and filmmaker Marie-Louise Ekman’s world is to find oneself in a version of the Swedish sexual revolution that is at once decadent, poetic, stylish, biting, and funny. Ekman’s 1977 film Mamma, pappa, barn (Mother, Father, Child) presents a nuclear family weighed down by visual chaos that would do any installation artist proud; in the middle of it all, the titular young child fights for her freedom. The artist’s crisp, cartoonlike paintings in sugary colors, long ignored by critics, deftly question social relations as if from the inside of designs appropriated from Mondrian, Picasso, Dalí, and Disney. Theatricality is everywhere in her work, and no wonder: Ekman’s long career reached new heights with her 2009 appointment as director of the Royal Dramatic Theatre in Stockholm. With this summer’s presentation of more than two hundred works dating from the 1960s to the present, accompanied by an extensive catalogue, curator Jo Widoff promises to revisit the entire oeuvre of this multitalented artist, surely one of the most extraordinary voices of modern Sweden. 

Ina Blom

Wolfgang Tillmans, Gedser, 2004, ink-jet print on paper, 81 7/8 × 54 3/8".

WOLFGANG TILLMANS

FONDATION BEYELER
BASEL
Through October 1
Curated by Theodora Vischer

Few artists working today illuminate the politics of everyday life with the subtle insight and devastating versatility of photographer Wolfgang Tillmans. He turns seemingly casual observations of simple subjects, like friends or flowers, into potent symbols of youth, community, mortality, and hope. The implicit social engagement of Tillmans’s work pervades the vast but carefully chosen survey now at Tate Modern. But a second exhibition, opening this month at the Fondation Beyeler, offers a more introspective view. This show, focusing on the artist’s studio-based work, will include portraits, still lifes, and staged shots, plus films and music. Look for Tillmans—an ingenious installation artist and quiet provocateur—to activate the complicated meanings in his own work, slyly tweaking the foundation’s patriarchal canon of blue-chip modernist masters.

Brian Wallis

“MICHAEL RIEDEL: CV”

KUNSTHALLE ZURICH
ZURICH
Through August 13
Curated by Daniel Baumann

Frankfurt-based Michael Riedel is the creator of a parallel universe replete with artworks, artifacts, and cultural situations that look just like their counterparts in our own reality, only subtly distorted. Taking the résumé as both material and structure, “CV” will cover the period from 1994 to 2017 and will include barely known early works that anticipate the artist’s more visible artistic projects involving publishing, recordings, gastronomy (the Freitagsküche in Frankfurt, for example), and the restless activities in the studio/performance space Oskar-von-Miller-Straße 16. Having lived for a decade in the same German city as Riedel, I’ve been continuously drawn into his world of echoes and replicas, and will be surprised if I don’t detect inverted and displaced versions of artworks, exhibitions, and texts by friends (or myself) in his upcoming show. There’s no telling what will become part of Riedel’s puzzling and expansive curriculum vitae. 

Daniel Birnbaum