Damien Hirst Sympathy in White Major – Absolution II 2006 Detail © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All rights reserved DACS 2012 / photo Prudence Cuming Associates
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World Wide: International Art in April



Damien Hirst at Tate Modern in London, April 4 to September 9

This is a career-spanning survey by the British artist/entrepreneur who reinvented the British art scene in the late 1980s and 1990s. Hirst is synonymous with the art of the YBAs—Young British Artists—and created waves a few years ago when an auction devoted to his work brought $200 million in sales in the midst of the 2008 market collapse. It would be hard to live up to such a track record at the best of times, and early press on the show has been fiercely negative. We now have five months to go and see for ourselves if Hirst really is the most disappointing artist in recent memory or if collectors made smart decisions when they flocked to his work.

La Triennale at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris, April 20 to August 26

They work quickly in Paris. Last fall, the Palais de Tokyo looked mostly closed for business. The rambling art deco pavilion across the river from the Eiffel Tower was waiting on a new director, Jean de Loisy, and big expansion plans. Now, six months later, it’s about to open “Intense Proximity,” the latest Paris Triennale, led by former Documenta artistic director Okwui Enwezor. Featuring more than 130 contributors, the show looks at many topics, including the 20th-century legacy of ethnography and contemporary art’s explorations of ethnographic poetics. The show also expands off site to other venues around Paris.

Gerwald Rockenschaub and Gustav Klimt at the Secession in Vienna, to November 4

Gustav Klimt’s Beethoven Frieze, in the lower level of Vienna’s Secession building, is one of the most sublime works of 20th-century art. It has long been displayed as, well, a frieze: aloft and tracing a border along its spare room’s walls. Now, artist Gerwald Rockenschaub lifts viewers to eye level in an installation entitled Plattform—a bright yellow walkway that traverses the frieze and, true to Rockenschaub’s interest in reorienting the gallery-viewing experience, allows for it to be seen close up, in a new and exciting light. (Elsewhere at the Secession, a show of Michael Snow’s recent works continues until April 15.)

Urs Fischer at the Palazzo Grassi in Venice, April 15 to July 15

Petulant postmodern sculptor Urs Fischer has been selected as the first living artist to have a solo exhibition at Venice’s Palazzo Grassi, continuing the institution’s initiative of casting fresh perspectives on its François Pinault Collection. The show, co-arranged by Fischer and Caroline Bourgeois, comes from Pinault’s holdings as well as other international collections, and it is the biggest retrospective of the artist to date, with film screenings, student workshops, special docents, talks and other activities. It’s a perfect opportunity to see the Swiss artist in his city of favour: he’s been included in many Palazzo shows since its reopening in 2006, and also participated in the 2003, 2005, 2007 and 2011 Venice Biennales.

Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller at the Haus der Kunst in Munich, April 13 to July 8

Canadians Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller show eight of their renowned installations in Munich this spring, including their 2001 Venice Biennale work The Paradise Institute and the more recent The Killing Machine, exhibited last year at Berlin’s Akademie der Künste in honour of their 2011 Käthe Kollwitz Prize win. The artistic director of dOCUMENTA (13), Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, speaks with the artists on April 12.

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