• James Ensor, Masks Mocking Death, 1888, oil on canvas, 32 x 39 1/2". © 2009 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/SABAM, Brussels.

    James Ensor

    MoMA - The Museum of Modern Art
    11 West 53rd Street
    June 28–September 21, 2009

    Musée d'Orsay
    62 rue de Lille
    October 1–February 1, 2009

    Curated by Anna Swinbourne

    James Ensor (1860–1949), the Belgian Symbolist and proto-Expressionist, is a perennial favorite among people with the right taste. One of the very tippy-top paintings in any American collection is his—Christ’s Entry into Brussels in 1889, 1888, at the Getty. Sadly, that work will not travel here, although the show does feature the Museum of Modern Art’s no less iconic Masks Mocking Death, made the same year. Skeletons, masks, and puppets are mainstays of Ensorworld iconography, and yet for all his trafficking in lurid mayhem and morbidity, Ensor nevertheless suspires an air of transcendence. So we can thank MoMA for mounting this large-scale, thematically organized exhibition of approximately ninety paintings, drawings, and prints and for publishing a hefty, scholarly catalogue. At last, the heart sings, something worth looking at.

  • Philippe Parreno, Speaking to the Penguins, 2007, infrared photograph mounted on aluminum, 52 3/8 x 78 3/4".

    Philippe Parreno

    Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA)
    Royal Hospital Military Road Kilmainham
    November 4, 2009–January 24, 2010

    November 4–January 24

    Centre Pompidou
    Place Georges-Pompidou
    June 3–September 7, 2009

    Kunsthalle Zurich
    Limmatstrasse 270
    July 17, 2013–August 16, 2009

    Curated by Beatrix Ruf

    Among Philippe Parreno’s more iconic works is an editioned DVD whose video simply disappears soon after its viewing: What better metaphor for an artist whose ideas—so often delayed and deferred in his own production—are a story hidden within the story of art during the past decade in Europe? This retrospective seems made in a similarly elusive spirit, unfolding over the next year in four installments across as many cities, each chapter with its own curator and featured works. In Zurich, Parreno will collaborate with Beatrix Ruf and Johan Olander, author of the popular children’s book Field Guide to Monsters. A catalogue features essays by Branden W. Joseph, Maria Lind, Christine Macel, and others.