PRINT December 2017

Wolfgang Tillmans

1 HÉLIO OITICICA (WHITNEY MUSEUM OF AMERICAN ART, NEW YORK; CURATED BY LYNN ZELEVANSKY, ELISABETH SUSSMAN, JAMES RONDEAU, AND DONNA DE SALVO WITH ANNA KATHERINE BRODBECK) Before seeing the Whitney’s retrospective I had thought that I knew a lot about Hélio Oiticica. However, this exhibition’s vibrancy took me by surprise. The galleries were brimming with the energy of a multigenerational audience taking in the different facets of the artist’s work, sensitively displayed and ranging from Concrete to Conceptual to participatory art to Happenings.

Co-organized with the Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, and the Art Institute of Chicago.

Hélio Oiticia, Tropicália, 1966–67, plants, sand, birds, poems by Roberta Camila Salgado on bricks, tiles, vinyl. Installation view, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, 2017. Photo: Wolfgang Tillmans.

2 KERRY JAMES MARSHALL (MET BREUER, NEW YORK; CURATED BY IAN ALTEVEER, HELEN MOLESWORTH, AND DIETER ROELSTRAETE) Kerry James Marshall’s application of paint—layered on, and at times encroaching on the beings in his paintings—is a perfect example of form following function. The anatomical complexity of the depiction of the deer in The Land That Time Forgot, 1992, is astounding. The painter’s translation of the physical weight of the slain animal into psychological weight is heart-wrenching.

Co-organized with the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles.

Kerry James Marshall, The Land That Time Forgot (detail), 1992, acrylic and collage on canvas, 97 × 75". Photo: Wolfgang Tillmans.

3 ALBERTO GIACOMETTI (TATE MODERN, LONDON; CURATED BY FRANCES MORRIS AND CATHERINE GRENIER WITH LENA FRITSCH, ASSISTED BY MATHILDE LECUYER) This retrospective reignited my enthusiasm for Giacometti’s work. The show was super-impressive in its depth, ambition, and comprehensiveness. The deliberate narrowing-down of an artist’s palette of forms and shapes has rarely allowed for more eloquence than in Giacometti’s case.

Co-organized with the Fondation Alberto et Annette Giacometti, Paris.

4 ALEXANDRA BIRCKEN (KUNSTVEREIN HANNOVER; CURATED BY KATHLEEN RAHN) Bircken creates an intersection between two-dimensional picture/fabric objects and uncomfortably real bodily sculptures, leaving the viewer disarmed in the best possible sense.

Co-organized with Museum Abteiberg, Mönchengladbach, Germany, and the Centre d’art contemporain d’Ivry, France, where it is on view through December 17.

Alexandra Bircken, Storm, 2013, motorcycle suit, cotton and felt stuffing, 51 5/8 × 20 1/2 × 20 7/8". Photo: Wolfgang Tillmans.

5 VIRON EROL VERT (KUNSTRAUM KREUZBERG/BETHANIEN, BERLIN) Künstlerhaus Bethanien (now Kunstraum Kreuzberg/Bethanien) has for decades been a venue known for the wide-ranging scope of its program. This summer, Viron Erol Vert created an ambitious exhibition of installations and individual works that was a proud continuation of this tradition. Drawing from a personal multicultural history, the Berlin- and Istanbul-based artist explores linguistic and cultural gestures, traditions, and differences, with a focus on the cosmopolitan capital on the Bosporus.

View of “Viron Erol Vert: Born in the Purple,” 2017, Kunstraum Kreuzberg/Bethanien, Berlin. Photo: Eric Tschernow.

6 “THE WHITE SHADOW” (PELES EMPIRE, BERLIN) Peles Empire is a nonprofit exhibition venue in London, Los Angeles, and, more recently, Berlin centered around artists Katharina Stoever and Barbara Wolff. Not shy about forging a space for their curatorial practice in the booming property markets of the aforementioned cities, Stoever and Wolff have managed to keep the spirit of a Transylvanian Eastern European gallery and faux palace alive. In this three-person exhibition, sculptural offerings were discomfitingly juxtaposed. Benedicte Gyldenstierne Sehested’s slumped figures joined Mariechen Danz’s pseudosphere in confronting two fantastical “beings” from the mind of Mark Barker. Together, these works, a group of objects made in uncertain times, created an atmosphere of unease.

View of “The White Shadow,” 2016–17, Peles Empire, Berlin. Photo: Wolfgang Tillmans.

7 THOMAS EGGERER (PETZEL, NEW YORK) For his sixth solo show in New York, Eggerer shifted his focus to a mainstay of the visual experience of urban life: the manhole. Cast-iron covers, the central motif of each of the paintings in this exhibition, are the entrances to an endless, rhizomatic underground system of tunnels and pipes. Viewers were witness to a number of fictional social encounters, presumably taking place during the summer, on the city’s pavements. Known previously for virtually two-dimensional renderings of the human body, Eggerer departed here to a nearly naturalist painting style.

Thomas Eggerer, ConEd, 2017, oil on linen, 75 × 74".

8 JAMIE HAWKESWORTH (HUIS MARSEILLE, MUSEUM VOOR FOTOGRAFIE, AMSTERDAM; CURATED BY NANDA VAN DEN BERG) In this major solo exhibition we see an eloquent documentarian’s voice emerge. The warmth of Hawkesworth’s C-prints speaks of the generosity the photographer brings to his subject matter. Far from the occasionally finger- pointing idiom of his countryman Martin Parr, and bypassing the detached gaze of some contemporary American and German photographers, Hawkesworth’s pictures feel genuinely refreshing.

On view through December 3.

Jamie Hawkesworth, untitled, 2011–15, C-print, 21 1/8 × 17 1/2".

9 “KITCHEN MIDDEN” (GRIFFIN ART PROJECTS, VANCOUVER; CURATED BY ANNE LOW AND GARETH MOORE) Group shows featuring more than fifty artists are often hard going—fun, yes, but difficult to make sense of. Located in a venue on the outskirts of Vancouver, Low and Moore’s exhibition was a stimulating overload of sculptural and pictorial objects, all dealing with the kitchen, or the idea of it. The artists were local, and the variety of voices was a reminder of the simultaneity of artistic production. It gave me a sense of how we are connected not only in time but also through our concerns.

View of “Kitchen Midden,” 2016–17, Griffin Art Projects, Vancouver. Photo: Wolfgang Tillmans.

10 BARBARA KRUGER (HIRSHHORN MUSEUM AND SCULPTURE GARDEN, WASHINGTON, DC; CURATED BY MELISSA HO) Of the many artists who emerged in the 1980s, Barbara Kruger has a particular relevance to me, largely because of her architectural text/image installations. Positioned right on the National Mall, her words are beautiful examples of her political poetry as well as a sign of the independence of the Smithsonian, which is giving a stage to voices of doubt in a time when caution and skepticism, in many parts of the world, are denounced as treason.

Barbara Kruger, Belief+Doubt, 2012, vinyl. Installation view, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC, 2017. Photo: Wolfgang Tillmans.

_Wolfgang Tillmans is an artist based in Berlin and London. In 2017, he had survey exhibitions at Fondation Beyeler, Basel, and Tate Modern, London. Forthcoming solo exhibitions include a traveling survey that will open in January 2018 at Musée National d’Art Contemporain et Multimédias, Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and tour sub-Saharan Africa.