previews

  • “WHEN HOME WON’T LET YOU STAY: MIGRATION THROUGH CONTEMPORARY ART”

    ICA - Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston
    25 Harbor Shore Drive
    October 23, 2019–January 26, 2020

    Curated by Ruth Erickson and Eva Respini with Ellen Tani

    The twenty artists in “When Home Won’t Let You Stay” were selected as speakers for the dead and downtrodden. Americans make for notoriously poor observers of global suffering; this show serves as a corrective. Not all self-consciously didactic exhibitions mounted for their topical value are bad. I favor the oblique work that makes documentary practice look conceptual: Beruit-born Palestinian Mona Hatoum’s suitcases connected with strands of hair (less achingly affecting, perhaps, than the pillow she once stitched with a map of Palestine using hair as thread); Yto Barrada’s elegant photos of people in transit in Tangier; Isaac Julien’s lilting shots of Mediterranean passage. There are more literal takes on the immigration crisis and related atrocities, too, like the sculptures Guillermo Galindo hewed out of border wall, and Irishman Richard Mosse’s sterile videos of frontiers, shot using the military surveillance technology of the enemy. Something for everyone.

  • ALICJA KWADE

    MIT List Visual Arts Center
    20 Ames Street E15
    October 18, 2019–January 5, 2020

    Curated by Henriette Huldisch

    Alicja Kwade’s confounding sculptures challenge perceived realities and destabilize systems of measurement and value, unsettling viewers with mirrors and sculpted facsimiles that appear to transform objects and materials before our eyes. Though compact, the List Center’s survey will be the most comprehensive exhibition yet in the US for the Polish-born, Berlin-based artist. In addition to debuting two new sculptures, it will feature roughly a dozen works from the past four years, including, in a nearby plaza, a new version of Against the Run, 2015, a twitchy street clock that appears to proceed backward yet tells accurate time. The catalogue—published with Dallas Contemporary, the host of a concurrent exhibition of Kwade’s work—will contain an essay by Jimena Canales, a historian of science and philosophy. Kwade herself draws inspiration equally from the empirical and from the speculative, making MIT a fitting venue for her probing works.