• Charles Ray, Unpainted Sculpture, 1997, automotive primer, fiberglass, 4' 11 7/8“ × 6' 6” × 14' 2 7/8".

    Charles Ray

    Kunstmuseum Basel, Museum für Gegenwartskunst

    CHARLES RAY’S ELEGANT EXHIBITION at the Kunstmuseum Basel and Museum für Gegenwartskunst “Sculpture, 1997–2014,” turned on one question: Is he classical? It seems strange to ask this about an artist who spent the 1980s inserting his own scruffy body into minimalist oblongs, before lending the trauma-obsessed early ’90s such key sculptures as Fall ’91, 1992, an eight-foot-tall mannequin in a poisonous-pink skirt suit. Yet certain aspects of the latter’s more modest counterpart in Basel, Aluminum Girl, 2003—her creamy skin, stern cheekbones, hairless vulva, and orb-like eyes—are undeniably

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  • Naeem Mohaiemen, Rankin Street, 1953, 2013, video, black-and-white, sound, 7 minutes 43 seconds; blueprint drawings, print on archival paper, sandstone 3-D print. Installation view.

    Naeem Mohaiemen

    Kunsthalle Basel

    For politically topical art to achieve lasting significance, it must be profoundly concrete and operate with references to a specific context. For a formidable example, consider the first European solo exhibition of the Bangladeshi artist, author, and anthropologist Naeem Mohaiemen, arranged by the kunsthalle’s departing director, Adam Szymczyk, and his assistant curator Fabian Schöneich. In a series of discrete constellations of photographs, films, and objects, Mohaiemen traces the shift from a stance of radical activism in the postcolonial conflicts of the early 1970s to the more reflective

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