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    Freud, Hockney, Pigeons, and Pubs. Step Inside the Eccentric New London Art Show Curated by Designer Jonathan Anderson

    As evidenced by the viral, plasticine hoodies and shorts debuted at London Fashion Week on Saturday, the fashion brand J. W. Anderson never shies from eccentricity and experimentation. At the heart of creative director Jonathan Anderson’s myriad projects is a love for and deep knowledge of art – and it shows. His runways are just as much about ideas as they are about clothes, and the same spirit carries through to a new exhibition curated by Anderson at London’s Offer Waterman gallery.
    “On Foot” opened today and runs through October 28. An ode to his beloved London, the show’s mix of modern British and contemporary art and ceramics has been arranged by Anderson to invoke the experience of walking around town. “It is just a little snapshot into the things that I love, the people that I love, and the city that I love,” Anderson said last week when we met for a walkthrough of the show. He was dressed casually, but not uncharacteristically, in a grey hoodie and blue jeans.
    Exemplary works by David Hockney, Lucien Freud, and Frank Auerbach are interspersed with some of Anderson’s more outré and arty designs. While the idea that a sequestered suite of galleries in Mayfair could convincingly take on the character of bustling streets between Shoreditch and Soho is a bit of a stretch, the conceit allows for some effective and often humorous touches.
    J.W. Anderson, Look 14, AW 2020 and Look 6, SS 2023. Courtesy of J. W. Anderson
    “Since Brexit, I fell out of love with London,” Anderson said and elaborated on the frustrations of traveling back and forth from Paris, where he lives part-time to fulfil his duties as creative director of Loewe (the Spanish luxury house has been at the forefront of fashion since Anderson took the reigns in 2013). “This was about being humble, refinding the love of a city that I became used to, and looking at how its subconsciously inspired me.” In locating and rekindling this passion for London, Anderson makes a point of reveling in the city’s more unseemly elements. He insists that these have informed his creative vision just as much as the more rarified influence of fine art.
    The first room, the show’s most serious, offers a somewhat abstracted take on the urban populous, whether as the hazily swarming mass in Leon Kossoff’s Outside Kilburn Underground March (1985) or a remote cluster of silhouettes elegantly evoked by Akiko Hirai’s “Morandi” bottles. The formal affinities between a 2017 ceramic by Magdalene Odundo—”a very dear friend”—and two bulbous, layered dresses from J.W. Anderson’s AW20 women’s collection provide a clear curatorial throughline.
    Ditto, a 1940 drawing by Henry Moore that hangs opposite Barbara Hepworth’s Elegy (1945). “I have always loved her philosophy that through touching sculpture you get to know sculpture,” Anderson said, and hovered before the piece in rapture. “There’s such a physicality to it. I always find her work strong in its conviction, very different from Moore. Moore can be way more romantic, whereas with Hepworth, there is something more psychological and poignant.”
    Installation view of “On Foot” with ceramics by Shawanda Corbett, featuring David Hockney’s Mo in Carennac (1971), Florian Krewer’s Flamboyant (2020), and look 06 from J.W. Anderson’s SS23 men’s collection. Photography by Thomas Adank, courtesy of Offer Waterman.
    A much more colorful celebration of contemporary youth culture follows. “I like this idea that when you go to a park most people are on their phones,” he said, gesturing to a typically eclectic canvas by Richard Hawkins in which one man is texting a nude pic. “Popular culture has become part of our phone and has become part of what you see now,” he added, raising his palm in front of his face.
    The art is echoed by semi-sculptural pieces from the recent J.W. Anderson men’s SS23 collection such as a blue sweater pierced by a fragmented skateboard and a Breton jersey tied around an actual BMX handlebar. These surrealist additions refer to “how youth culture has become broken through the idea of naivety, non-naivety, growing up too quickly,” according to Anderson.
    Attentive viewers will spot evidence of Anderson’s exacting eye for detail. One example is the pairing of a 2020 painting of two young men play-fighting by Florian Krewer with a typically nondescript, uniform group of marching figures by L.S. Lowry. “What is interesting about Lowry is he cuts down into the face,” Anderson explained, “so you get this relief and the head becomes sunken as he scrapes back the oil paint. In Krewer’s work you have a similar technique.”
    J.W. Anderson pigeon clutch in print by Anthea Hamilton. Photography by Thomas Adank, courtesy of Offer Waterman.
    Tucked around a corner is an array of J.W. Anderson’s pigeon clutches, some “camouflaged” in a new design by Anthea Hamilton. “Obviously the pigeon became synonymous with the brand, somehow, by mistake,” said Anderson, referring obliquely to the bag’s viral appeal after Carrie Bradshaw was seen sporting the accessory on HBO’s And Just Like That in 2022. “Pigeons have been used in art for time immemorial. They featured in Renaissance paintings but somehow they’ve become a pest and we’ve demoted them.”
    The works have been paired with new drawings by another of Anderson’s past collaborators Pol Anglada, in which pigeons swoop over basking male torsos. “I liked the idea that this becomes a peep show and a coop,” Anderson said. “They’re all looking at you.”
    Where do so many walks through London end? As visitors arrive to Anderson’s pub, they are met first with a series of plant paintings by Christopher Wood, Cedric Morris, and Eliot Hodgkin beside garish anthurium flowers from Loewe’s SS23 collection. “For many, many years I’ve had an obsession with curated flowers,” Anderson explained. “In Britain, we like to arrange flowers in bizarre ways or cover pubs in grotesque plants.”
    David Hockney, Mo in Carennac (1971). Courtesy of Offer Waterman.
    Once inside, the pub is conjured by a circular space closed off by red screens and lined with portraits by the likes of Lucian Freud, David Hockney, Walter Sickert, and Lynette Yiadom-Boakye. These faces float over vessels by Jennifer Lee, scattered in a manner familiar to anyone whose enjoyed a pint or two too many. The gathering gives new meaning to the classic art speak cliché of putting works “in conversation.”
    “Pubs should be one of the most protected things,” said Anderson, lamenting their slow backslide into cultural irrelevance since the rise of wellness trends. “I don’t think you could tell the history of British art without the pub. The pub creates debate, the pub creates characters,” he added with a grin, citing Freud, Frank Auerbach, Francis Bacon, and Maggi Hambling.
    “For me, the whole thing about the show was a very simplistic look at the mundane, that we sometimes forget but is actually so important to be able to be creative,” he adds, suddenly getting to the heart of the matter. What connects Anderson’s interest in pigeons, “grotesque” plant boxes, and everyday pubs is an unusual aesthetic curiosity that feels almost daringly indiscriminate and comically unpretentious.
    Installation view of “On Foot” at Offer Waterman gallery, featuring ceramics by Jennifer Lee, Frank Auerbach’s Portrait of Debbie Ratcliff (1983-84), Lynette Yiadom-Boakye’s Wounds at the Bases (2020), and Stanislava Kovalcikova’s Endangered Species (2021). Photography by Thomas Adank, courtesy of Offer Waterman.
    This instinct surely powers the originality of Anderson’s collections, as well as his cultivation of a close coterie of longterm artistic collaborators and friends, among them Anthea Hamilton, Lynda Benglis, and Gilbert & George, and the estates of Tom of Finland and David Wojnarowicz. The thoughtful intentionality behind their designs and campaigns for J.W. Anderson and Loewe has set these heartfelt projects apart from the glitzy gimmicks that are more often expected when luxury brands dabble in contemporary art.
    It is not surprising, therefore, that Anderson primary achievement with “On Foot” is layering his great appreciation for London’s grittier past—”I don’t think I would be the designer I am without those legacies” – with an uplifting and relevant reflection of the city as it is today, thanks to a lively array of contemporary names.
    Frank Auerbach, Park Village East (1994). Courtesy of Offer Waterman.
    “I think sometimes we forget how multifaceted Britain is,” he said. “This is why I find the whole immigration policy so ridiculous. Britain is built upon immigration and that’s why some of the most exciting things have happened.” It is a point Anderson, who grew up in Northern Ireland, demonstrates repeatedly, placing works by early innovators like Lucie Rie, who fled Nazi Austria, and Bavarian-born Walter Sickert alongside those by London’s living artists, including Akiko Hirai from Japan and ex-New Yorker Shawanda Corbett.
    “This is why I wanted all these characters in the pub,” he added, gazing at the unlikely encounters that surrounded him. “I wanted the debate. I’m fed up of non-debates. A tiny bit of alcohol can help debates to let go. They shouldn’t be filtered, they should be uncensored so that there can be solutions.”
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    How Medieval Art, Music, and Memory Interplay in Diana Al-Hadid’s Sculptural New Works Centered on Her Heritage

    Syrian-born artist Diana Al-Hadid is known for her sculptures and two-dimensional artworks that transform the industrial materials of bronze, steel, fiberglass, and wood into evocative visions drawn from cosmology, cartography, folklore, and antiquity. The artist, who has lived and worked in Brooklyn for the past 16 years, has been a witness to the borough’s transformation over those years, and in many ways, her works are about time, its passage, and how that manifests in mark-making.
    Today, Al-Hadid divides her time between the city and Upstate New York, where she purchased a home in 2019. Currently, she is also in the process of building a studio for that property. Al-Hadid is prolific. Currently, she is taking part in an ongoing residency with Brooklyn’s Dieu Donné, a non-profit cultural institution devoted to furthering hand papermaking processes in contemporary art. This November, the artist will present her anticipated debut exhibition “Women, Bronze, and Dangerous Things” at Kasmin Gallery in New York, showcasing a body of work over five years in the making. The exhibition, which will run from November 2 to December 22, 2023, promises to offer a selection of new work including a series of painterly wall-hanging pieces and totem-like sculptures that rise up in the same way they are planted down. Coinciding with the Kasmin exhibition, Al-Hadid will also be featured at the NGV Triennial, which opens on December 3.
    Ahead of these exhibitions, we visited Al-Hadid’s Brooklyn studio, a space awash with splashed pigments, sculptural detritus, and myriad other materials, and spoke to the artist about the throughlines in her practice and the ideas and experiences at play in her newest body of work. 
    Diana Al-Hadid, The Long Defeat (2017–23). Courtesy of the Artist and Kasmin Gallery. © Diana Al-Hadid. All Rights Reserved.
    Your work has been aesthetically consistent over the years, capturing your hand and mark-making over time. Can you talk about your interests and practice?I often think about the glacial pace that my work has—or the long arch of materials that I’ve been working with since grad school. There are basic constructions that coincide with our contemporary world in raw form. In some ways, I think there are some formal or maybe subconscious compulsions that have remained consistent [in my practice]. I work a lot with line and plane, pours, or drips, and things that happen over time. There are metaphorical concepts that I’m interested in, that we live with as a society.
    What do you mean when you say you’re interested in metaphorical concepts that we live with as a society?
    There are ways that we move, shape, and mold the world. We use wood, metal, steel, and contemporary materials, yet the processes are ancient in many ways. All my work looks back at art histories, narrative histories, and common tropes—ascensions, overground and underground. We sometimes understand metaphorical concepts as a cultural construct and sometimes as a body or cognitive construct. They are all cognitive. The show’s title is “Women, Bronze, and Dangerous Things,” which is inspired by a book first published in 1987, similarly titled Women, Fire, and Dangerous Things by George Lakoff (b. 1941), an American philosopher and cognitive linguist. The book title comes from an Aboriginal dialect in Australia and is a reference to a word that describes women, fire, water, certain animals, and dangerous things. It offers an incredible shift in thinking regarding how we see the world and the language we use is intrinsically related and reinforced over and over. One of the metaphorical concepts that Lakoff explores is the notion that the unknown is up and the known is down. In the English language we might say, “What’s up?” or “It’s up in the air.” Language plays a role in how we experience our living bodies and how our society makes associations.

    Diana Al-Hadid, The Outside In (2023) at the Planting Fields, New York. Photography by Diego Flores. Courtesy of Kasmin Gallery and Diana Al-Hadid. © Diana Al-Hadid. All Rights Reserved.
    Something I’ve been thinking a lot about recently is the different visual experiences that people have linguistically based on their native language and other written languages that they may or may not know. For example, even saying, “What’s up?” when translated into another language, may not carry the intended meaning. These lapses in understanding can also happen when talking about spirituality. 
    You are hitting all of my notes. This show has some elements of religion in it, and the reason that this book resonated so deeply in my bones is because of these irregularities between cultures and minds. We always want to try and make contact, to come close to something, to understand it. I was born in Syria, my mother tongue is Arabic, and I grew up in Ohio, a very Christian, white…but loving and wonderful place. I often look at works from the Middle Ages, both Islamic and Christian. I look towards the 1550s for many of my references and keep ending up there. At this moment, post-2020, I have a kid, I’m not an emerging artist anymore, and these are facts about me. Moving upstate [at this stage of my life] I’ve learned about plants, and I’ve learned about roots, and I’ve learned about trees. I listen to Arabic music constantly. Life is such a negotiation as an immigrant; finding out how much of yourself to make public, and how much of your history to hold on to. I returned to Syria at 13 years old and I often think about what you mentioned, that approximation, that missed connection in a conversation, and how language can lend itself to poetic and cultural insights that otherwise won’t be understood. I’ve constantly been made aware of that since I didn’t grow up there, even though it is my blood. It is something I always work in reference to. 
    Thinking about roots metaphorically and literally, all seems to make sense with your work—things that are earthbound. Do you also think about the absence of space? How do materials inform your process? 
    Yes, exactly that, spaces that are immaterial. I did a stint at the Smithsonian and spent time looking at Islamic and German miniatures. They are almost like fortune-telling devices—people could read their future in them. Now I’m at Dieu Donné in an ongoing residency and working with paper pulps is a huge part of the show. I’m working with bronze and I’m working with paper. I’ve never worked with paper before, I tend to make large-scale drawings on mylar.
    A longtime New Yorker, Diana Al-Hadid recently completed a permanent installation for MTA Arts & Design, The Time Telling (2023). Photography by Diego Flores. Courtesy of Kasmin Gallery and Diana Al-Hadid. © Diana Al-Hadid. All Rights Reserved.
    Does this mean that before making a sculpture you don’t sketch it out first?The sculptures start in a very casual way. There is a work that is intended for the show that is a very small piece that will be bronze. It’s jasmine roots. Jasmine is the flower of Syria and it’s very nostalgic. All of my aunts have jasmine and I had jasmine plants that died. I took what remained in the pot, the roots, and dipped them in wax and hung it. I’ve had so many plants that are root-bound and learned about how these roots would push to the edge [of a pot] and become encased. It struck me as a metaphor for the immigrant experience, these tightly wound roots where you have to learn how to grow in a new territory, new soil. It felt so core for me. 
    That is beautiful. The roots can be confined or allowed to spread if planted in the ground. What else can we expect from the show? 
    The show pulls from so many sources, but I think there are some common historical threads, including Medusa, as inspired by Greek mythology. To return to the idea that the unknown is up and the known is down, the gallery is a cavernous, nearly underground space. A stacked and towering sculpture will be installed in the main gallery, reaching upward and another will be on the roof, an ascension of sorts, an unexplained narrative.
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    ‘Art and Confection’: Mexican Designer Bárbara Sánchez-Kane Upends New York Fashion Week With Her Sartorial Surrealism

    Bárbara Sánchez-Kane revels in the kind of artful provocation that comes from appropriating and dismantling prescribed notions of gender roles, dress codes, and beauty standards. The Mexican artist and fashion designer takes every opportunity to skewer patriarchal norms, riffing on the “collapse”—a word she often uses—of traditional gender expression in the pursuit of radical self-invention. That Sánchez-Kane prefers the pronouns ‘she’ and ‘he’—used interchangeably—is likely a provocation in itself. Why not?
    If Marcel Duchamp’s ironic readymades come to mind, or the Surrealist objects of Meret Oppenheim, or the conceptual fashion collections of Martin Margiela, or the clothing-cum-furniture of Hussein Chalayan—whom Sánchez-Kane cites as inspiration—you’re on the right track.
    Bárbara Sánchez-Kane. Courtesy of Kurimanzutto.
    Sánchez-Kane has been mining this wink-nudge terrain since at least 2016, when she founded her eponymous clothing line, which goes well beyond antiquated terms like ‘non-binary’ and ‘unisex.’ Of late, Sánchez-Kane has been moving more into the art zone, showing his sartorially based, queer-inflected artworks at Kurimanzutto gallery in Mexico City. There, whether through fashion, installation, sculpture, painting, performance, or poetry, the artist resists hegemonic masculinity and its many guises. The resulting objects invite interpretation, but conform to none. She refers to them as “art and confection.” They’re now on display in her first-ever New York solo exhibition, “New Lexicons for Embodiment,” at Kurimanzutto in Chelsea, which opens today and runs through October 21.
    Sánchez-Kane has made a name for himself as an outlier in fashion with deconstructed Catholic school uniforms, conceptualized cowboy gear, and army fatigues exposing red lingerie in the rear. Recent experiments in masculine-feminine juxtaposition include a corset made of vinyl boxing gloves; shirts made of stiff rawhide; and boot spurs with a spinning wheel of high-heeled legs (the brand’s logo), like something from a mudflap. Bjork recently performed in a blue ‘calla lily’ hat by Sánchez-Kane, crowning the singer’s head like a Mayan headdress jeujed into a mulleted bouffant.
    Silver spurs by Bárbara Sánchez-Kane. Via Instagram.
    On a gallery visit leading up to opening night of September 14, Sánchez-Kane was busily preparing for what amounts to a fashion happening—staged at a gallery, sans runway. “It’s like a reconstruction of a fashion show, with what looks like a backstage but at the front of the gallery,” he explained, looking impishly chic in a casual tux jacket and chunky silver rings. It is a staged tableau vivant intended to befuddle guests before beguiling them. “Guests outside might even wonder if they’re permitted to come inside.”
    Bárbara Sánchez-Kane, untitled (2023). Courtesy of Kurimanzutto.
    In the stateside debut—an anti-fashion show during New York Fashion Week—Sánchez-Kane offers a fresh visual vocabulary in a series of new works at the intersection of art and fashion, where functionality is rejiggered into enigmatic, irreverent forms. Deconstruction followed by reconstruction followed by more deconstruction, there is a perpetual regeneration in these works, such as solid-bronze pumps with a reclining Christ as the sole. (The artist is sure she’ll get an earful from her devout mother for the droll foray into footwear blasphemy.)
    The artist buzzed about the space amid the hum and occasional thud of construction work, darting from one sculpture to the next, most of them already installed on the gallery’s walls and plinths. At the front of the show hangs a sculpture of interlacing belts that can be pulled to form a bow—“a girl thing,” mused the artist, “but giving the materiality an active rather than a passive role.” Several amorphous aluminum sculptures—created as a reaction to dress forms, used in the industry to calculate body types—loom in the back.
    Flip flops as trowels. Courtesy of Kurimanzutto.
    Shoes are of special interest to Sánchez-Kane; several pairs turn up in the show. Loafers have been fastened at the tongue like a coin purse or adorned in the front with two real Mexican coins, slightly bent to conform to the foot’s curves. Elsewhere, metal flip flops have been fashioned out of trowels (and suitably rest upon a cinderblock). “I was an engineer before I studied fashion,” she said, explaining that she built houses in Yucatán, where she was born and raised. “All of us working on the houses were wearing flip flops because it was so hot.”
    Some objects lean into humor, even schadenfreude, such as a heavy leather suit pressed into the undulating shape of an egg carton. The artist had placed a smiling metal egg in one of the slots. Another heavy suit is partially made from clear plastic and will be worn, sans underwear, by a live model at the opening. “It’ll definitely be warm and sweaty inside,” she predicted. The exhibition will also serve as boutique where visitors can buy items from the very collection the gallery is exhibiting, ranging from accessories to full looks. It’s difficult to know where art ends and commerce begins—and that is precisely the point.
    Egg carton-shaped military uniform in green lambskin leather. Courtesy of Kurimanzutto.
    Though Sánchez-Kane has been somewhat disillusioned by the fashion industry, he hasn’t walked away from it altogether. It’s just that he no longer identifies with certain dynamics that strike him as dated or démodé, such as the standardization of body sizes, the superficiality of trends, the toxicity of fast fashion, the crassness of mass consumption. “The fashion system was not working for me,” she said, “but I’m still trying to find new ways to confront the body.”
    “New Lexicons for Embodiment” by Bárbara Sánchez-Kane runs from September 14 to October 21 at Kurimanzutto, 520 W. 20th Street, New York.
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    15 Must-See Shows This Fall in Europe, From a Major Survey of Marina Abramović to a Face Off Between Edvard Munch and Goya

    Museums are going big this fall, likely out of eagerness to get claw back some of the footfall they lost during the pandemic. From dazzling and sprawling solo exhibitions to two-person shows juxtaposing the contemporary with the pre-modern, nearly every major hub in Europe seems to be bringing forth headline-making and thought-provoking blockbusters.
    And we are here for it—our European team hand-picked what they are most excited to see this season.
    “Marina Abramović“Royal Academy, LondonSeptember 23, 2023—January 1, 2024
    Ulay/ Marina Abramović, Imponderabilia (1977). Performance; 90 minutes. Galleria Communale d’Arte Moderna, Bologna. Courtesy of the Marina Abramović Archives. ©Ulay / Marina Abramović.
    Waiting for this show—which is also, shamefully, the first solo show by a woman in the Royal Academy’s main galleries—has been something of a durational performance itself, since it was delayed multiple times (it was originally slated to run in 2020). But there’s a lot to get excited about in a show that promises to cover five decades of the 76-year-old performance artist’s career.
    The self-titled exhibition will chronicle highlights from her gruelling performances, during which she pushed her physical and mental limits, pioneering the medium. Due to some recent health problems—she suffered an embolism—Abramović herself will be unable to take part in any live performances, but some key works will be re-performed by artists trained in the Marina Abramović method. On view will be the joint piece she made with Ulay, called Imponderabilia, where visitors will be invited to squeeze through a doorway formed by two naked performers; another performer will live in the gallery for 12 days to recreate The House with the Ocean View. —Naomi Rea

    “Max Oppenheimer: Expressionist Pioneer“Leopold Museum, ViennaOctober 6, 2023—April 25, 2024
    Max Oppenheimer, Portrait of Egon Schiele (1910). Photo courtesy of Leopold Museum.
    A close friend of Egon Schiele, though Max Oppenheimer’s reputation has dwindled today he was once a pivotal member of the Austrian avant-garde before he made his mark in Berlin. The influence of Cubism is evident in early works like The Scourging (1913), with its murky palette and writhing mass of naked bodies, while later works like The Chess Match (1925/30) capture the mood of the legendary Romanisches Café, a meeting place for artists and intellectuals in the German capital. —Jo Lawson-Tancred

    “The Lost Mirror: Image of Jews and Judaism in the Middle Ages“Prado Museum, MadridOctober 10, 2023 – January 14, 2024
    Pedro Berruguete, Saint Dominic presiding over an Auto-da-fe (1491–1499). Image courtesy of Prado Museum.
    There is a fascinating canon of art that helps us understand how Jewish identity was preserved and also persecuted in the Middle Ages. Through historical paintings spanning the 13th to 15th centuries, this exhibition will delve into the history of how antisemitism was often justified, how different religious beliefs were promoted, and how Christianity was pressured onto the masses, including during the Spanish Inquisition that began in 1478.—Jo Lawson-Tancred

    Nicole Eisenman “What Happened”Whitechapel, LondonOctober, 11, 2023—January 14, 2024
    Nicole Eisenman Fishing (2000). Collection Craig Robins, Miami. Image courtesy Carnegie Museum of Art. Photo: Bryan Conley
    I had the chance to see this exhibition at its first stop at the Museum Brandhorst in Munich earlier this year, and there I was floored by the scope of topics and the range of emotions that Nicole Eisenman wades into within the space of one canvas. And that is not to mention the scale of many her paintings, some of which are so big and so populated by characters that they recall the biblical intensity of da Vinci’s The Last Supper or the societal dramas captured by Rembrandt in The Night Watch. The artist takes these references from painting history—which is in many instances problematically white, straight, and male—and transgresses their formalities by bringing in urgent themes, including gender, queer sexuality, and social alienation. “What Happened” is an overdue survey for European audiences, and it includes 100 artworks spanning her three-decade career. —Kate Brown

    Mike Kelley’s “Ghost and Spirit”The Bourse de Commerce – Pinault Collection, ParisOctober 13, 2023—February 19, 2024
    Mike Kelley, Kandors Full Set (détail), (2005-2009). Photo : Fredrik Nilsen. Pinault Collection. © Mike Kelley Foundation for the Arts. Tous droits réservés. © Adagp, Paris, 2023.
    A comprehensive exhibition will never be able to fully capture an artist as unbound by strictures as Mike Kelley, whose work is immensely complex and void of easy punchlines. With the Pinault Collection, though, I think we will get as close an attempt as any. The show brings together many of Kelley’s most important works and will touch on all the aspects of his ouevre, from his pop-infused sculptures to his enigmatic performance. The Paris institution’s coveted October slot goes to the late conceptual artist and my wager is that it will be the talk of the city this fall, but then throughout Europe. Lucky for us, this show is traveling afterwards to several preeminent including the Tate Modern, London, the K21 in Düsseldorf, and the Moderna Museet in Stockholm. —Kate Brown

    “Munch’s Goya: Modern Prophecies“Munch Museum, OsloOctober 28, 2023 – February 11, 2024
    Edvard Munch, Vampire at the “Edvard Munch. A Poem of Life, Love and Death” exhibition at the Musee d’Orsay in Paris on September 15, 2022. Photo by EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP via Getty Images.
    Though Goya and Munch could never have met, the Spanish Old master’s international reputation grew after his death, around the same time that the young Norwegian modern artist was seeking out inspiration. Focusing on the themes of war, society, faith, and superstition, this exhibitions reminds us why both artists are still remembered for their boldly fantastical visions and darkly mysterious imaginations. —Jo Lawson-Tancred

    Lotte Laserstein “A Divided Life”Moderna Museet, MalmöNovember 11, 2023—April 14, 2024
    Lotte Laserstein, Russian Girl with Compact, (1928). Photo: Albin Dahlström/Moderna Museet. ©Lotte Laserstein
    When I saw Evening over Potsdam, painted in 1930 on the outskirts of Berlin, which now hangs at the Neue Nationalgalerie in the German capital, I was reminded of the power painting can have. The picture, showing a group of friends sitting in silence, transcends language, capturing the deep anxiety that must have been felt by Jews and political opponents as Nazism was on the rise. Not long after making this work, Laserstein, who was Jewish, would flee Berlin to Sweden and she would spend the rest of her life in exile. She fell into relative obscurity, and the art world is just now rediscovering her as a key voice among the many that were snuffed out in the outbreak of World War 2.
    A new show planned for the Moderna Museet in Malmö and, later, in Stockholm, will consider the output she had in the two European countries, when war, in Laserstein’s words “broke [her] life in two.” Structured in two parts between her Berlin Weimar era years and life in Sweden, one will find in her honest portraits a transgressive and empowering commentary on womanhood, identity, and queerness. My hope is that a German institution will bring this urgent exhibition to Berlin. —Kate Brown

    “Marcel Duchamp and the Lure of the Copy“Peggy Guggenheim Collection, VeniceOctober 14, 2023 – March 18, 2024
    Marcel Duchamp, From or by Marcel Duchamp or Rrose Sélavy (Box in a Valise) (1935–41). Photo courtesy of Peggy Guggenheim Collection.
    This large-scale exhibition evidences Duchamp’s mastery in the art of reproduction and self-quotation. But it is also particularly special because it is the first that institution has done for an artist who was a dear friend and unofficial advisor of Peggy Guggenheim. After the two met in 1923, he introduced her to the many artists in his circle in Paris and offered advice when she established her first London gallery Guggenheim Jeune. The show includes some of Duchamp’s most famous Cubist-inspired paintings and found objects from museums across Europe and America are being reunited with lesser-known pieces from private collections, including, most notably, thirty works that were once owned by the Venetian art collector Attilio Codognato. —Jo Lawson-Tancred
    “Mark Rothko“Fondation Louis Vuitton, ParisOctober 18, 2023—April 2, 2024
    Mark Rothko, Self-Portrait (1936). CR82. Collection Christopher Rothko. ©1998 Kate Rothko Prizel & Christopher Rothko – Adagp, Paris, 2023.
    Coinciding with an influx of international visitors to Paris for the Paris+ fair, the Fondation Louis Vuitton is dedicating its vast galleries to a celebration of Mark Rothko. Rothko hasn’t actually had a retrospective in France since 1999, and this exhibition promises an impressive overview packed with prime examples of of his sublime and quasi-spiritual paintings.
    The institution knows how—and certainly has the means—to put on a great show, always securing impressive loans and this one is no exception, having borrowed the entirety of Tate’s Rothko Toom among the 115 works included in the show.
    The exhibition will be organized chronologically, from Rothko’s early-career figuration to the abstract expressionistic canvases for which he is famous. I’m a big fan of the latter, but particularly curious to see the early works, which include New York subway scenes and other urban landscapes, as well as this rare 1936 self-portrait inspired after viewing a Rembrandt self-portrait at the National Gallery of Art, loaned from his son Christopher’s private collection. —Naomi Rea

    “Sarah Lucas: Happy Gas“Tate Britain, LondonSeptember 28, 2023—January 14, 2024
    Sarah Lucas, SUGAR (2020). Courtesy the artist and Sadie Coles HQ, London. ©Sarah Lucas.
    Tate’s forthcoming survey of Sarah Lucas, which will bring together more than 75 works spanning the heterogenous four-decade career of the irreverent, feminist artist, is sure to be a fall highlight for the London art scene. Lucas is homegrown and she emerged alongside the YBAs in the 1990s but, like many of them, has a practice that extends well beyond that initial sensationalist grouping.
    I’m expecting to laugh, cry, and feel my own humanity in all its grungy fragility in a way that only Sarah Lucas knows how to trigger. The show promises soft and hard sculptures, legs, boobs, and a whole load of chairs, as well as ten new works that revisit old themes and evince, loudly, that Lucas is still pushing boundaries well into her career.—Naomi Rea
    “Philip Guston“Tate Modern, LondonOctober 5, 2023—February 25, 2024
    Philip Guston, The Line (1978). Promised gift of Musa Guston Mayer to The Metropolitan Museum ofArt, New York © The Estate of Philip Guston, courtesy Hauser & Wirth.
    The highly anticipated retrospective of Philip Guston, which was controversially delayed, is finally making its U.K. stop and will be the first of its kind in the U.K. in nearly two decades. It features more than 100 paintings and drawings charting the 50-year artistic trajectory of one of the most celebrated artists of the 20th century, charting different periods of his career; the show includes early political work at a young age to a subsequent switch into abstraction and then figuration. Key works on show will include a projection of protest mural The Struggle Against Terrorism (1934-35), Passage (1957-58) and other works from his first major retrospective at the Guggenheim in 1962, and Sleeping (1977). —Vivienne Chow

    “Nan Goldin: This Will Not End Well“Stedelijk, AmsterdamOctober 7, 2023 – January 28, 2024
    Nan Goldin, Brian and Nan in Kimono (1983). ©Nan Goldin.
    OG fans of Goldin and those who just learned of her when watching the Oscar-nominated biopic, All the Beauty and the Bloodshed, are in for an extraordinary exhibition in Amsterdam, on tour after debuting in Stockholm. Best known for her raw photographs, this show treats Goldin more accurately as a filmmaker, giving pride of place to six of her slideshow films collated together from her still images, which she began projecting to live audiences in clubs and underground movie theaters in the 1980s. Goldin’s work has a way of tearing the viewer apart, while offering a cathartic and empowering experience that encourages them to embrace freedom within their own lives.
    Her magnum opus, the continually changing The Ballad of Sexual Dependency (1981–2022) now comprises more than a thousand still images capturing Goldin’s circle of friends over the years, through intimate and violent episodes and seductive dances with the ecstatic, the ugly, and the fatal sides of sex and drugs. It will be joined by her homage to her trans and drag queen friends The Other Side (1992– 2021), and four other works which grapple with different elements of her life, from family trauma and suicide, to her own lifelong battle with addiction and withdrawal. —Naomi Rea
    “Anish Kapoor: Untrue Unreal“Fondazione Palazzo Strozzi, FlorenceOctober 7, 2023—February 4, 2024

    ‘Anish Kapoor: Untrue Unreal.’ Courtesy of Fondazione Palazzo Strozzi.
    Anish Kapoor is the starry headline of Florence Art Week, which runs from September 28 to October 8. On view in the historic Palazzo Strozzi will be a career-spanning show that confronts view with Kapoor’s installations and sculpture that verge on being optical illusions, a testament to the artist’s masterful way of working with bold materials. Appropriately called “Untrue Unreal.” the show will feature a large-scale in the museum’s extraorindary Renaissance courtyard. —Vivienne Chow

    “El Greco / Tino Sehgal“Centro Botín, Santander, SpainOctober 7, 2023—February 11, 2024
    El Greco, Adoración de los Pastores (1577-1579)
    What could be in common between Domḗnikos Theotokópoulos, the Greek painter, sculptor, and architect of the Spanish Renaissance better known as El Greco, and Tino Sehgal, the Berlin-based Golden Lion-winning artist best known for the performances that he defined as “constructed situations”?
    Centro Botin may have an answer. The historical and contemporary artist are going head-to-head; on view will be a new live work by Seghal titled This youiiyou, created in response to El Greco’s intriguing masterpiece Adoration of the Shepherds (1577-1579). But it is more than a dialogue between the two; it is about creating something new. Viewers will “witness what becomes real-life situation of bonding, caring, and loving,” according to the exhibition’s curator Udo Kittelmann. —Vivienne Chow

    “Lee Ufan“Hamburger Bahnhof – Nationalgalerie der Gegenwart, BerlinOctober 27, 2023–March 10, 2024
    Lee Ufan, Relatum – Mirror Road 2016/2023, Spiegel, Steine, Kiesel © Lee Ufan / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2023. Photo: Shu Nakagawa.
    For decades, the Korean-born master Lee Ufan has captivated the art world with his unique, minimalist aesthetics embodied in his diverse oeuvre that ranges from paintings to sculptures. In this exhibition, billed as the first comprehensive retrospective of the artist in Germany, will be 50 key works created over the past five decades. The exhibition will feature some of the artist’s most iconic works, including sculptures that juxtapose manmade objects and raw materials from nature, as well as his monochrome and abstract paintings that played an instrumental role in Korea’s Dansaekhwa movement. Lee’s sculpture, Relatum – The Mirror Road (2016/2023), will be installed as an artistic intervention engaging in a dialogue with Rembrandt’s 1634 masterpiece Self-Portrait with Velvet Beret, which will be on view, a major loan from the nearby Berlin Gemäldegalerie.
    –Vivienne Chow

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    An Eagle-Eyed Hilma af Klint Fan Claims That Tate Hung a Painting Upside Down. The Artist’s Foundation Has Vowed to Investigate

    A Hilma af Klint fan who visited the recent af Klint and Piet Mondrian double header exhibition at Tate Modern in London noticed something off about one of the paintings. Was it accidentally hung…upside down?
    American tourist Katie Boyle was visiting the show with her wife when the eagle-eyed pair noticed that something seemed off about The Swan no. 14. For starters, a triangle at the painting’s center was inverted, which was not the case for any of the other works in the “Black Swan” series.
    Closer comparison also revealed that the companion paintings all placed yellow tones, used by af Klint to symbolize masculine energy, and blue, to symbolize feminine energy, towards the bottom of the frame, while pink, used to represent spiritual love, generally emanated upwards from the central triangle. This was reversed for The Swan no. 14.
    “It would be unlikely for an artist known for elevating and emphasizing the spiritual above the banal to deliberately place a representation of spiritual love below such a motif’s baser masculine and feminine components,” the women wrote in a letter sent to Tate Modern and the Hilma af Klint Foundation. “Especially given the context of the series’ other thematic constants.”
    The couple’s minds were made up about the mistake when they referenced one of af Klint’s Blue Books, which was being sold in the museum’s gift shop. The Blue Books are a series of ten sketchbooks in which af Klint kept miniature, travel size versions of her designs, and they have since informed her catalogues raisonnés. This publication appeared to confirm their suspicions, showing the same work inverted, with the pinkish hues beaming upwards.
    Hand-colored reproduction of Hilma af Klint’s The Swan no. 14 in The Blue Books. Photo courtesy of Katie Boyle.
    Hilma af Klint Foundation’s CEO Jessica Höglund agrees that the evidence is compelling. “As Hilma af Klint created the Blue Books, we rely on them to show the artworks as she intended,” she told Artnet News.
    The show was dismantled last week and the painting will shortly be investigated by the foundation’s conservator for any marks on the frame that might indicate how it should be hung. “The Swan no. 14 was mounted in the stretcher almost 40 years ago to hang the way it now is presented, so we need to investigate it thoroughly before making any changes in order to not harm the artwork,” Höglund added. “This needs to be done when the artwork is back in Stockholm.”
    The work is currently traveling to the Netherlands before the exhibition opens at the Kunstmuseum Den Haag, where it will run October 7 until February 25, 2024. This means that no definitive answer about how the painting should be hung is expected before next spring.
    “There is only a period of about ten years that af Klint’s works have been so widely exhibited and the research has developed in step with the exhibitions,” said Höglund. “Hilma af Klint left over 1,000 works in the Foundation and even though she also left a large number of notebooks, there are not any notes on how the paintings should be presented. Hilma af Klint did not see her works The Paintings for the Temple as artworks as we see them today, but as a message.”
    “I am an artist whose life runs oddly parallel to Ms. af Klint’s, and I feel strongly protective of her work and legacy,” Boyle told Artnet News. “We really just hoped the discovery could help others to learn Hilma’s visual language and to take time to appreciate abstract art.”
    Boyle also alerted Tate Modern about her suspicions by email on August 28th but never heard back. Artnet News has also reached out to the museum but did not receive a response by press time.
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    From a New Mythological Play Using A.I. to Edvard Munch’s Berlin Story, Here Are 14 Shows Not to Miss During Berlin Art Week

    The annual Berlin Art Week is launching this week, running from September 12 through 16, which means that across town there are more cultural events and art openings than one could ever hope to attend.
    The Berlin art scene feels more vibrant than ever, with new directors warmed up at most of the city’s major institutions, from the Haus am Waldsee, where Nina Beier and Bob Kil will have performances, to guided tours of the newly hung collection at the Hamburger Bahnhof. There are also some entirely new spaces like the private photo-focused museum Fotografiska, which will open its doors on Thursday after a multi-year renovation of a historic Berlin arcade. As always, Berlin’s gallery scene is showing a diverse array of solo exhibitions, from Paul McCarthy at Max Hetzler to Jeremy Deller at Meyer Riegger.
    We’ve selected a few of the buzziest shows, performances, and exhibitions that you won’t want to miss.

    Perform! at Neue Nationalgalerie

    The Neue Nationalgalerie will host another edition of Perform!, a performance festival that debuted last year by activating different parts of the museum. Emerging talent Göksu Kunak is on the roster, presenting their new site-specific production “VENUS” on the terrace. A group of Berlin-based artists will perform Yoko Ono’s 1964 performance Cut Piece, one of Ono’s earliest performance works where the artist sat and allowed the audience to take turns cutting off small pieces of her clothing with scissors.
    In and around the museum all week, there will be food, readings and interventions, and there is even yoga planned, as part of the Berlin Art Week garden program. Double bonus: Isa Genzken’s exhibition is on view inside the museum, in case you have yet to visit it.
    The Neue Nationalgalerie is located at Potsdamer Str. 50, 10785 Berlin. 

    Marianna Simnett, presented by LAS Art Foundation, at the HAU
    Marianna Simnett, GORGON (2023), live performance (still from video used to train AI model). Commissioned by LAS Art Foundation. Courtesy the artist, LAS Art Foundation, and Société, Berlin.
    The Greek mythological creature of the Gorgon is a monstrous female with animalistic features; it also serves as the title and central motif in Berlin-based artist Marianna Simnett‘s new play, which will premiere at the HAU, commissioned by LAS Art Foundation.
    Simnett is known for writing, scoring, and directing surreal and unsettling films that often use animal figures and the human body as sites of conflict and transformation—she is now making a foray onto the stage. Simnett’s recent works have also been exploring A.I., and for the new play, she is working with technologist Moisés Horta Valenzuela to bring that component into the show.
    Presented by LAS Art Foundation at HAU Hebbel am Ufer HAU2. Check here for show dates and tickets.

    Berlin Atonal’s “Universal Metabolism” at Kraftwerk
    Credit: Mayra Wallraff
    The sheer size and scale of the former Berlin central-heating power station, located in the heart of Kreuzberg, is hard to fully grasp, with a seemingly endless network of rooms and old turbine halls. It’s the location again for the annual Atonal, an experimental music festival that has developed an exhibition arm to accompany its music schedule; the curated show has drawn a lot of attention in its own right in recent years.
    Called “Universal Metabolism,” it includes works by Billy Bultheel, Cyprien Gaillard, Mire Lee, Rabon Aibo, VALIE EXPORT, and Sonia Boyce. On the stages of Kraftwerk’s two night venues, the techno clubs Tresor and OHM, will be a packed program of music performances, some of which cross over with the artistic presentation.
    On view at Kraftwerk Berlin, Köpenicker Str. 70, 10179 Berlin. Check here for show dates and tickets.

    Nora Turato at Sprüth Magers  
    Nora Turato this place is sick / always something…, (2023). © Nora Turato Courtesy the artist, LambdaLambdaLambda, Galerie Gregor Staiger and Sprüth Magers
    There is an intriguing and beguiling ambivalence to the text-based works of Nora Turato, each of which distilled from the constant flow of words in everyday life. The detritus and ephemera of words cycling through the world online, in public and private forums, in advertisements, and in marketing, in news and hot takes, or just about anywhere else, become the material from which she works.
    For her new show Sprüth Magers, her first with the gallery, she will present a series of enamel works and a mural that draws on early digital graphics; despite what first seems to be starkly minimalist, Turato’s works are the result of time-intensive, analog processes, with multiple layers of paint.
    Turato will also be presenting new work at Performa in New York, which takes place November 1 through 19, 2023, and in a solo show at Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, in 2024.
    Sprüth Magers is located at Oranienburger Str. 18, 10178 Berlin.
    Gallery Weekend Festival at Studio Mondial
    Kimsooja, Meta-Painting, (2020/2023), Installation view, Kewenig Palma 2020, © Kimsooja, VG Bild-Kunst, Courtesy KEWENIG Berlin, Photo: Bruno Daureo
    After a few editions of splitting Gallery Weekend’s energy between April, where more established positions are presented, and September, a time for galleries to present more emerging positions, the stalwart Berlin gallery platform is trying something new. Gallery Weekend Festival is taking place for the first time this year at an old four-star hotel that is empty as it is being refurbished by an investor.
    Hotel Mondial has some old West Berlin charm to it—and the festival sounds like a slightly more honed and curated response to Los Angeles’s Felix Art Fair. Spread throughout its old restaurant, parking garage, and foyer, (unlike at Felix, no hotels rooms will be used) will be readings, performances, including one by Karl Holmqvist, presented by Galerie Neu; as well as video works, including Pauline Curnier Jardin, presented by ChertLüdde, and Cemile Sahin, presented by Esther Schipper. Lap-See Lam, presented by Nordenhake will be among those presenting sculptural works on view, and Berlin-based artist Raul Walch will take over the building’s facade, presented by Galerie Eigen + Art.
    Gallery Weekend Festival is taking place at Studio Mondial, Kurfürstendamm 47, 10707 Berlin.
    Coco Fusco at KW Institute for Contemporary Art
    Coco Fusco, The Eternal Night, 2022. Production still: Courtesy the artist
    The solo exhibition of Coco Fusco, called “Tomorrow, I Will Become an Island,” is the first major retrospective of Cuban-American artist in Germany; the exhibition also marks her first dedicated monograph, both of which seem overdue given the significance of Fusco as an artist who is actively involved in debates and advocacy for in the realms of post-colonialism, feminism, and politics in Cuba.
    The survey of work will span videos, photographs, texts, installations, as well as live performances that reach back to the 1990s and up to the present. One of her most acclaimed and radical pieces, Couple in a Cage, will be presented. The performance documentation dates from 1992 to 1994, when Fusco and Guillermo Gómez-Peña staged a piece called Two Undiscovered Amerindians Visit the West, where they dressed like two “undiscovered Amerindians” and lived in a cage in public space. Fusco is developing a multimedia performance to accompany the show, which will be performed in early December 2023. She will also be having a conversation with dissident artist Hamlet Lavastida in December; Fusco wrote an article for Artnet News discussing with Lavastida his politically motivated arrest in Cuba and his release.
    KW Institute for Contemporary Art is located Auguststraße 69, 10117 Berlin.

    “The Assault of the Present on the Rest of Time” at Schinkel Pavillon
    Eric Isenburger, Jula in Schweden, (1937).
    Together with the Brücke Museum, Schinkel Pavillon’s new group exhibition spans nearly a hundred years of art, considering works and artists that have chronicled state violence and repression in and around war time. The show includes works dating to the 1930s and 1940s by artists like Felix Nussbaum and Käthe Kollwitz in dialogue with contemporary artists including Simone Fattal, Nora Turato, Sung Tieu, and Lawrence Abu Hamdan.
    That there is an ongoing war in Europe will certainly serve as the psychological backdrop for this show, which is curated by Katya Inozemtseva, who was chief curator at Garage Museum in Moscow until she left Russia after the invasion in Ukraine began.
    Schinkel Pavillon is located at Oberwallstraße 32, 10117 Berlin.

    “Unbound: Performance as Rupture” at Julia Stoschek Foundation
    Pope.L, A.T.M. Piece, (1997). Courtesy of the artist and Mitchell Innes & Nash, New York.
    Since the video camera became a prevalent, artists have been incorporating it in performance art—either as collaborative tool or a means of documenting and recording the otherwise ephemeral art form.
    With works by artists including Pope L., Julien Creuzet, P. Staff, and Pipilotti Rist, “Unbound: Performance as Rupture” focuses on video art that breaks through oppressive ideology and history, with an intergenerational selection of thirty-six artists who explore how the body interacts with and refuses the camera’s colonial and violent gaze.
    Julia Stoschek Foundation is located at Leipziger Str. 60, 10117 Berlin.

    Penny Goring at Galerie Molitor
    Penny Goring Royal Blue Forever Doll, (2023).

    Almost exactly a year after the closing of the ICA’s “Penny World,” a 30-year survey show in London dedicated to Penny Goring, attention on the U.K. artist has grown tremendously; this September, Goring receives her first solo show in Berlin, at Galerie Molitor, one of the German capital’s new galleries.
    Goring’s work oscillates between emotional states with a disarming candor: there are experiences of grief, fear, loss, panic, and anxiety coursing through her small acrylic paintings and drawings, as well as her doll-like soft sculptures, which are sites for fragments of her hand-stitched poems. Often made with modest household means, Goring’s highly personal oeuvre transcends through bare honesty into the universal.
    Galerie Molitor is located at Kurfürstenstraße 143, 10785 Berlin.

    “Edward Munch: Magic of the North” at Berlinische Galerie
    Edvard Munch, The Hearse on Potsdamer Platz, (1902) Photo: © MUNCH, Oslo / Sidsel de Jong
    Though the painter Edvard Munch is certainly the star of Norwegian art history, his story crosses over with that of Berlin. The Norwegian Symbolist was a key figure of the vibrant young art scene at the turn of the century in the German capital, before the war disintegrated it and Munch landed on the list of “degenerate” artists.
    The new exhibition, called “Magic of the North,” which has been organized with the recently opened MUNCH museum in Oslo, chronicles the artist’s Berlin story, including documentation of Munch in his apartment and studio, as well as parts of acclaimed the Reinhardt and Linde frieze that he painted for a theater in the capital—the works left the country once war began to tear the city apart.
    The Berlinische Galerie is located at Alte Jakobstraße 124-128, 10969 Berlin.

    Mimosa Echard at Heidi
    Mimosa Echard, Private picture (what’s in your bag), (2023). Courtesy to the artist and Heidi, Berlin
    The Paris-based artist Mimosa Echard, who is known for her delicate and clever works that mix collected natural and synthetic materials and ephemera, was last year’s winner of the prestigious Marcel Duchamp prize in France. She is having her first solo show in Berlin at Heidi, which opened in 2021 and has been putting forward an engaging program since.
    The artist outlined her fascination with ambiguity and transformation in her work in a recent interview. “I like objects that create doubt,” she said. “In reality, they are fairly stable, but the transition through a moment of liquidity generates this vibrant, living sensation.” Echard is known for a poetic use of materials that is uncanny, but somehow harmonious in Echard’s careful layering: a poetic use of cosmetics, medicinal plants, bits of electronics, cherry pits, lichen, and snail shells, all coalesce on her canvases.
    Heidi is located at Kurfürstenstraße 145, 10785 Berlin.

    Hallen 4
    John Armleder Flash, Flash, Flash, (2004). Installation view Hallen 4, 2023. Courtesy: Mehdi Chouakri, Berlin and John Armleder, Geneva. Photo: Hallen 4, 2023
    Dealers, including Klemm’s, PSM, Mehdi Chouakri, Esther Schipper, and as well as out-of-town visiting gallerists Sies + Höke, Jan Kaps, and Max Meyer, are presenting large-scale works in the airy industrial halls of Willhelm Hallen. The Berlinische Gallery, as well as curators and collectors are also presenting artworks.
    Hallen 4 is located at Willhelm Hallen, Kopenhagenerstr. 60-68 13407 Berlin.

    The reopening of ngbk
    Artists of House of Kal Karachi at a workshop with Karachi LaJamia (Karachi Anti-University), 2021. Image courtesy Fiza Khatri
    It is no secret to say that the city’s art scene is suffering from rampant real estate speculation in Berlin, which has out-priced many artists from their studios (and homes), as well as more than a few spaces. One of them is the institution ngbk, also known as the neue Gesellschaft für bildende Kunst, which had its home in Kreuzberg for decades before it was pushed out by landlords.
    After floating for a year, the nonprofit has settled at Alexanderplatz, in a former McDonald’s branch in a 1970s building that was erected in East Berlin. It will be a silver lining to get to see nbgk grow and flourish in this new space, even though the decision to move came from such unfortunate circumstances; their opening show, called House of Kal, includes a series of community-focused radio broadcasts and workshops, as well as music, films, performances. With a central kiosk serving drinks and snacks as a meeting site for active discussion, the exhibition focuses on post-/migrant alliances between South Asia and Europe.
    Ngbk is located at Karl-Liebknecht-Str. 11/13, 10178 Berlin.

    David Douard at Konrad Fischer Galerie
    David Douard UN’FOLD (2023). Courtesy the artist and Konrad Fischer Galerie
    David Douard’s sculptures and artworks deal with aspects of high- and low-tech culture and how these facets interplay with the reality human body, and he is among an establishing set of artists who have for nearly a decade been questioning the effects of the digital sphere on human life, intelligently contrasting nature and artifice.
    With “ACHéTE LE NACRé à LEURS âMES”, the French-born artist is having first presentation at Konrad Fischer, where he is newly represented.
    Konrad Fischer Galerie is located at Neue Grünstraße 12, 10179 Berlin.

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    See How Artist Avery Singer, Who Grew Up Blocks From the Twin Towers, Recalled Memories of 9/11 for Her New Museum Show

    A tragic love story unfolds on September 11, 2001, in Avery Singer’s newest solo exhibition, “Unity Bachelor,” at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami. 
    Across a suite of densely layered paintings, three characters appear: the first, Unity Bachelor, searches for the second, their partner Priya Prasad, who has gone missing after the fall of the Twin Towers, while a third, unnamed figure—an aimless art student who bears a not-so-subtle resemblance to Singer—wanders the streets of downtown Manhattan in a drunken haze. 
    The show, on view now through October 15, marks a semi-autobiographical turn for Singer, who grew up blocks from the Twin Towers. The subjects of the paintings—a tenement building, a cop car—were largely conceived from memory. At the center of the exhibition is a recreation of the World Trade Center office where the artist’s mother worked prior to 2001. 
    “[September 11 is] a really hard story for me to tell because it’s a painful one,” Singer told the Wall Street Journal earlier this year. “I want to ground people in a narrative. Maybe I need another 10 or 20 years before I am comfortable using it as a subject. But I thought I would try to start now.”  
    Installation view: “Avery Singer: Unity Bachelor,” at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami. Apr 22 – Oct 15, 2023. Photo: Zachary Balber.
    The most recognizable images in the show are also the blackest, as if clouded by the pall of what transpired 22 years ago, or the fogged memory of it. Interspersed between these are black-and-white portraits of maquette-like figures—Singer’s signature, created in 3D-design programs and transferred to canvas—that are more abstract but no less haunting. The subject of one appears frozen in a harrowing moment of free fall.  
    But 9/11 is not the show’s only touchpoint. As with previous efforts, Singer’s paintings are larded with art-historical references. One standout example nods to Marcel Duchamp’s Nude Descending a Staircase (No. 2) (1912).  
    In Singer’s version, the young art student tumbles down a flight of stairs cluttered with empty cans. The image depicts both an instance of drunkenness and the sensation of it, but the vertiginousness of the scene—and the context of the show around it—evokes a loss of control that no amount of alcohol could match. 
    See more images from “Unity Bachelor” below. 
    Avery Singer, Free Fall (2022). © Avery Singer. Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth. Photo: Lance Brewer.
    Avery Singer, /Limelight (2023). © Avery Singer. Courtesy of the artist and Hauser & Wirth. Photo: Lance Brewer.
    Installation view: “Avery Singer: Unity Bachelor,” at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami. Apr 22 – Oct 15, 2023. Photo: Zachary Balber.
    Avery Singer, Free Fall (2022). © Avery Singer. Courtesy of the artist and Hauser & Wirth. Photo: Lance Brewer.
    Avery Singer, JUUL Smoke (2021). © Avery Singer. Courtesy of the artist and Hauser & Wirth. Photo: Lance Brewer.
    Avery Singer, Free Fall (2022). © Avery Singer. Courtesy of the artist and Hauser & Wirth. Photo: Lance Brewer.
    Avery Singer, Black Out (2022). © Avery Singer. Courtesy of the artist and Hauser & Wirth. Photo: Lance Brewer.
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    Louis Armstrong’s 1965 Tour of the Eastern Bloc Came at a Cultural Turning Point for East Germany. A New Art Show Examines This Complex History

    The year 1965 marked a turning point for art and culture in East Germany, when the ruling Socialist Unity Party decided to take a hard line against the “nihilistic“ and “pornographic“ Western influences in East German theater, music, art, and literature, effectively banning films, records, bands, books, and various artists from appearing in public.
    Jazz, however, was a tricky subject. While technically stemming from a Western capitalist country, the genre sometimes got a pass from officials behind the Iron Curtain on account of its African-American roots and the context of oppression. But it was on a case-by-case basis, with the GDR’s party line often oscillating between total rejection of the genre and tacit acceptance.
    The jazz legend Louis Armstrong’s 1965 tour of East Germany is an example of the latter—it was an event that would later prove influential for a burgeoning and youth-infused East German jazz scene. A new exhibition at Das Minsk, a privately funded museum that opened on the outskirts of Berlin last year in the former-East German city of Potsdam, takes Armstrong’s famous tour through the Eastern Bloc as a point of departure.
    How exactly the tour came about in the middle of the Cold War is a question with different answers. It later emerged, for example, that a Swiss intermediary paid Armstrong’s fee and, in turn, received antiques and 17-century firearms by the currency-poor German Democratic Republic. Handshake deals aside, the official protocol at the time stated that the jazz legend had received an invitation from the East German Artists’ Agency on account of his “activism against racism.” Armstrong’s tour dates were tightly packed, with 16 out of 17 sold-out concerts across the GDR taking place in only nine days, reaching an estimated 45,000 fans. He toured to five other socialist countries during that four-week tour of Eastern Europe, before returning to the deep social turmoil that was taking shape in the U.S.
    Louis Armstrong with his ‘All Stars’ musicians and singer June Brown in the Friedrichstadt-Palast, Berlin. Photo: ADN-Bildarchiv/ullstein bild via Getty Images
    The exhibition’s title “I Have Seen the Wall” is taken from Armstrong’s answer to a question posed during the Berlin press conference for the tour. When pressed by a West German journalist to comment on the Berlin Wall that divided Germany’s capital, Armstrong replied: “I have seen the wall, and I’m not worried about the wall; I’m worried about the audience I’m going to play to tomorrow night! When you get into the concert hall, forget about everything and concentrate on Satchmo.” He then added, however, “I can’t say what I want to say, but if you’ll accept it, forget about all that other bullshit.”
    Indeed, the political tension present at the press conference stood in stark contradiction to the moving evening of the concert at the Friedrichstadtpalast in Berlin. Jazz pianist and artist Jason Moran, who co-curated the show with Paola Malavassi, created a 22-minute work for the show that looks at the two events side-by-side. The curators have also recreated the former concert hall’s lush stage curtain. Throughout the venue are works by artists including Adrian Piper, Lorna Simpson, and Gordon Parks on view alongside pieces by German and East German artists such as artist and jazz giant Peter Brötzmann, who passed away this year, as well as artists Rosemarie Trockel and Ruth Wolf-Rehfeldt. An excerpt of Pina Bausch’s Nelken Line is also on view, in which the legendary choreographer famously uses Armstrong’s West End Blues.
    While the show does include some fascinating tour photography from the GDR Photo Archive and personal effects from Armstrong’s own collection—including a Selmer B-flat trumpet and a mouthpiece engraved with the jazz star’s nickname “Satchmo”—the curators are hoping to tackle larger questions with this show. With artworks by German and American artists, and a new commission by Los Angeles filmmaker Darol Olu Kae, the exhibition looks at the tensions between personal and political realities, individual voices within oppressive systems, and the power of music.
    Jason Moran, jazz pianist and artist, co-curated the exhibition at Das Minsk. Photo: Cameron Wittig
    “Das Minsk is a space to ask exactly those questions,” said Malavassi. “We’re interested in the ambivalence of the history of the space we’re working in. And we want to keep it complex. The questions we’re asking with this show are very relevant; they are about the production and reception of music, about racism and activism, then and now, about political statements, and the way we all participate in the political atmosphere of our time.”
    One example of how the curators chose to bring certain questions to the surface is evident in the inclusion of a room-filling installation by Glenn Ligon from 2014, called Untitled (Bruise/Blues). It is based on a 1966 composition by Steve Reich, which uses a recording of Daniel Hamm, one of a group of Black men whose detention led to the 1964 Harlem Riots, recounting his experience of being wrongfully arrested and abused in police custody. Armstrong added the song (What Did I Do to Be So) Black and Blue to his repertoire during that 1965 tour, using his music to make a statement about what was happening back home.
    View of the terrace restaurant “Minsk” in 1980. The venue is being revamped into a private museum.© Wohnungsbaukombinat, Photo: Heidemarie Milkert
    Moran, who also recently curated the permanent exhibition at the newly opened Louis Armstrong House in Corona, Queens, put Armstrong’s tour into the context of his eventual return to the U.S.: “He’s 65 years old when he’s doing this. It’s not like he’s 20—he’s seen the worst of what the world has to offer. And part of his reflection is that he gets to go home and think, I’m now back in America, I’m in Black America. And now I’m also under this ‘curtain‘. He’s still disheveled at where his placement is in the Civil Rights Movement, what it meant in East-Germany when he was there versus what it means in Queens. When he’s home, I think he’s amassing a kind of understanding of what does his music mean—and this is late in the artist’s life. I see his return home and the actions he takes as a reflection.”
    Armstrong kept meticulous audio diaries of his life—he recorded his thoughts and conversations, and always traveled with magnetic audio tapes. Granted unprecedented access to the archive of Armstrong’s audio files, the celebrated documentarian Sascha Jenkins released a new documentary in 2022, titled Louis Armstrong’s Black & Blues, which offered a revelatory reappraisal of the jazz legend’s political stance, which he rarely commented on openly despite his struggle with racism in the U.S. Some of those tapes are being shown at Das Minsk, including the self-made, artfully collaged boxes in which Armstrong kept them. The sound of Armstrong cutting paper to make a collage once he gets off the stage, caught on those tapes, is just one of the unexpected moments that the exhibition will render accessible.
    “We, musicians who travel the world often consider ourselves as exporters, and your job is to deliver something that’s maybe ‘foreign,’” said Moran. “Louis Armstrong has been delivering a kind of subversive freedom model, coded in the music itself. Jazz offers this sound of what people think freedom can be.”
    “I’ve Seen the Wall. Louis Armstrong on Tour in the GDR 1965” is on view at Das Minsk from September 16, 2023, through February 4, 2024

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