Every month, Canadianart.ca posts a list of international shows to watch. Here are our picks for March.
“Istanbul Modern” at Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, March 10 to June 10
The Netherlands and Turkey have had diplomatic relations for 400 years, and in celebration of that continental exchange, two museums based in the major port cities in those countries are calling on the ambassadorial services of contemporary art to keep the ball rolling. Since mid-February, an exhibition entitled “La La La Human Steps” has been on view at the Istanbul Museum of Modern Art with works from the collection of the Museum Boijmans van Beuningen that look at the human condition. Rotterdam now plays host to the Turkish counterpart, “Istanbul Modern,” which is a show aimed at introducing the best of contemporary Turkish art to Europe. From the looks of it, Canadians might want to check with their travel agents.
Whitney Biennial (March 1 to May 27) / New Museum Triennial (To April 22) / The Armory Show (March 8 to 11) / Volta NY (March 8 to 11) / Scope (March 7 to 11) / The Art Show (March 7 to 11)
New York in March is always an art lollapalooza. This year, in addition to the four early-month art fairs, there is the Whitney Biennial and, in its second outing, the New Museum Triennial. The Whitney’s event, which includes Canadian photographer Moyra Davey, is film-heavy in 2012: directors Kelly Reichardt, Vincent Gallo, Nathaniel Dorsky, George Kuchar, Werner Herzog and more are on the artist list, and the film program is, for the first time, curated outside the institution by Thomas Beard and Ed Halter of the Brooklyn–based multimedia space Light Industry. The New Museum’s international and more up-and-coming triennial is called “The Ungovernables,” and features work by Adrián Villar Rojas, Kemang Wa Lehulere, Hassan Khan and Canadian Julia Dault.
“Resisting the Present” at Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, March 9 to July 8
This group exhibition, curated by Angeline Scherf and Ángeles Alonso Espinosa, opened last fall at the Museo Amparo in Puebla, Mexico, before its move to Paris this March. The exhibition tracks the notable effluence of creativity and art dialogues in Mexico over the past decade; many artists included are born after 1975, such as Arturo Hernández Alcázar and Adriana Lara. The Paris-Puebla connection also permits a curatorial underscoring of connections between French and Mexican art cultures, particularly around surrealism.
Claude Cahun (To June 3) and Jindř ich Heisler (March 31 to July 1) at the Art Institute of Chicago
While New York is abuzz about Cindy Sherman, what with the recent opening of her MoMA retrospective, Chicago’s got Claude Cahun, Sherman’s uncanny progenitor. The Art Institute’s show comes from Paris’ Jeu de Paume, and is the first North American survey of Cahun’s visionary body of work from the 1920s and 1930s, which is within the surrealist mode, but, with its relentless play with gender and sexuality (Cahun was her own protean subject), seems as fresh as ever. In complement, another unsung surrealist photographer, the Czech Jindř ich Heisler, opens at the institute at the end of the month.
Alighiero Boetti at Tate Modern, February 28 to May 27
The Guardian was clever in its headline coverage of this show when it opened earlier this week, calling Boetti “Signor Lazybones”—a sassy reference to the artist’s relaxed and extended working methods. Nonetheless, the show honours perhaps the first true nomad in contemporary art. Boetti took his conceptual practice from Arte Povera Turin to Ethiopia, Guatemala and Afghanistan, where he opened a small hotel as an artist project in pre–Soviet invasion days. There he produced his most famous work—a map of the world embroidered by local craftswomen. The Guardian’s critic Adrian Searle notes that some of the women added their own commentary—like “The Afghan women with patience are creating the world’s picture”—in the borders. The Tate show helps us remember that Boetti put the world picture in motion, not only for the work, but also for contemporary art.
“Louise Bourgeois: The Return of the Repressed” at Freud Museum London, March 8 to May 27
This is a show of psychoanalytic writings, drawings and sculptures in a unique venue that Bourgeois discussed before her death last year. The museum, the exile home of the father of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud, is a charged and appropriate fit for the memory-laden personal drama of Bourgeois’ art.
“Turner Inspired: In the Light of Claude” at the National Gallery, March 14 to June 5
It’s time to bliss out on this one. For those who know the Turner story, he was haunted by the work of the 17th-century French painter who reimagined the classical past in terms of light as much as myth and legend. Turner took the lesson and turned it on the present, capturing lambent atmospheres that spoke to enticing beginnings and dramatic ends for a society in the midst of an industrial revolution.