• Bernard Tschumi Architects, Zoo de Vincennes, 2014, Paris. Ed Atkins, Ribbons, 2014, three-channel HD video, color, sound, 13 minutes 18 seconds.

    Bernard Tschumi

    Centre Pompidou
    Place Georges-Pompidou
    April 30–July 28

    Curated by Frédéric Migayrou and Aurélien Lemonier

    Much of Bernard Tschumi’s prolific career has been based on the insight that architecture is above all a way of thinking, a practice as conceptual as it is material. This fundamental shift was famously signaled in his Manhattan Transcripts, 1976–81. Deploying notational techniques inspired by dance and film, Tschumi in this sequence of some fifty drawings, explores architecture’s relationship to the full range of actions and events that characterize the cultural and spatial complexity of the contemporary city. The suite is now on view, in its entirety for the first time, in the Pompidou’s encyclopedic retrospective, which also includes a treasure trove of models and archival materials as well as documentation of forty of Tschumi’s best-known built works, including Paris’s Parc de la Villette (1982–98) and the Acropolis Museum (2001–2008) in Athens. As the influence of the “iconic” building and the “starchitect” seems to linger despite the ongoing effects of global recession, this survey promises a welcome reminder of how much else architecture has to offer.

  • Morteza Momayez, poster for the 9th Shiraz-Persepolis Festival of Arts, 1975. From “Unedited History: Iran 1960–2014.”

    “Unedited History: Iran 1960–2014”

    Musée d'Art moderne de la Ville de Paris
    11 avenue du Président Wilson
    May 16–August 24

    Curated by Catherine David, Morad Montazami, Odile Burluraux, Narmine Sadeg, Vali Mahlouji

    It seems to be Iran’s modern moment. On the heels of the Asia Society’s well-received “Iran Modern” exhibition this past fall in New York, this survey brings together works from 1960—roughly the point at which the nation began a period of rapid urbanization and development—to the present. “Unedited History” is divided into four temporal blocks: 1960–70, the revolutionary period of 1979, the Iran-Iraq war (1980–88), and the years since. Together with this selection of fine arts, highlights from other aspects of the country’s rich visual culture, such as its formidable cinema history and the life of the Shiraz-Persepolis Festival of Arts, should encourage new and unconventional readings of Iran and its vexed experience of modernity—through monarchy, revolution, and theocracy. An accompanying publication and public program will extend and animate some of this exhibition’s guiding questions.

    Travels to MAXXI, National Museum of XXI Century Arts, Rome, Dec. 15, 2014–Mar. 15, 2015.

  • Ed Atkins, Ribbons, 2014, three-channel HD video, color, sound, 13 minutes 18 seconds.

    Ed Atkins

    Palais de Tokyo
    13, Avenue du Président Wilson
    June 6–September 7

    Curated by Rebecca Lamarche-Vadel/Hans Ulrich Obrist

    Few young artists so instinctively grasp the zeitgeist as does Ed Atkins. In his films, computer-rendered avatars overflow with emotional monologues, and a virtuoso digital aesthetic is undercut by a fixation on flesh—death and decay are recurrent subjects. Staging near-simultaneous shows in London and Paris, the prolific British artist is set to present new works at the Serpentine alongside Ribbons, which debuted in Zurich this spring. The three-channel installation will also be the main event at the Palais de Tokyo. And yet the work won’t appear the same way twice. Arguably, the piece is Atkins’s best yet, revolving around lost love (and intemperate drinking), with a sound track featuring melancholy songs by Randy Newman and Henry Purcell, voiced by a self-medicating CGI skinhead. If such art aims to restore a sense of jangled presentness to spectators increasingly immersed in dematerialization, the abundant air of panic Atkins offers here hints that we might already be too far gone.