previews

  • Manfred Pernice, Sonderausstellung: Wishy-washy, 2009, wood and paint.

    Manfred Pernice

    Dundee Contemporary Arts
    152 Nethergate
    March 1–May 1, 2011

    Belgium

    September 1–November 1, 2011

    Modern Art Oxford
    30 Pembroke Street
    October 1–November 21, 2010

    Curated by Michael Stanley

    Constructed of common building materials such as Masonite, concrete, and particleboard, Manfred Pernice’s unfussy sculptural objects resemble maquettes—stand-ins for vacated plinths or scaled-down socialist housing projects. Grouped together, often with video, photographs, and found objects, these works further suggest urban sprawl and allude to the unfulfilled utopian promise of modernity. For his first major exhibition in the UK, the German artist is shifting focus inward—toward furniture, food packaging, and other dross of contemporary domestic interiority. Employing his recent concept of Sonderausstellung, or “special exhibition,” Pernice has crafted a large vessel to house five smaller works made during the past three years. When the show travels to Dundee Contemporary Arts, UK, this spring, the structure will be reconfigured, as it will for its final iteration at SMAK in Ghent, Belgium, next fall.

  • James Ensor, Death and the Masks, 1897, oil on canvas, 30 x 39".

    James Ensor

    Belgium

    October 31, 2010–February 27, 2011

    Curated by Ronald van de Sompel

    Long considered a marginal eccentric, beloved on a need-to-know basis, James Ensor is being recategorized. His relevance for artists today was noted at the time of MoMA’s underwhelming 2008 retrospective, and the exhibition at SMAK (organized with Ghent’s Museum of Fine Art) explores this connection, juxtaposing Ensor’s work with that of a varied group of artists ranging from Cindy Sherman to Jonathan Meese. It seems a terrible burden to hold Ensor accountable for anyone’s video or performance art, but perhaps interesting resonances are contained here. In Brussels, a survey opening October 7 at the ING Cultural Centre (organized by the Royal Museum of Fine Arts Antwerp and the Centre for Fine Arts, Brussels) will explore Ensor’s working methods through a substantial selection of paintings, drawings, and ephemera. A unique opportunity to consider this fascinating weirdo’s work in the country he barely left.