International Museum Exhibitions

The following guide to museum shows currently on view is compiled from Artforum’s three-times-yearly exhibition preview. Subscribe now to begin a year of Artforum—the world’s leading magazine of contemporary art. You’ll get all three big preview issues, featuring Artforum’s comprehensive advance roundups of the shows to see each season around the globe.

TAKASHI MURAKAMI

GARAGE MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART
MOSCOW
Through February 4
Curated by Katya Inozemtseva

Fresh on the heels of his retrospective at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Takashi Murakami is set to conquer Moscow. The first major solo exhibition of the Japanese artist’s work in Russia, the show includes a broad selection of works made between the early 1990s and the present, and focuses specifically on Murakami’s singularly gleeful, Pop-centric engagement with the culture of his home country. The show’s first section situates Murakami within the tradition of Japanese art history, while the second revisits “Little Boy”—the controversial  exhibition he curated in 2005 for the Japan Society in New York. The third section explores the aesthetic of kawaii—a driving force behind the globalization of Japan’s “cute” culture—and the fourth reconstructs a part of the artist’s large-scale “factory.” Lastly, Murakami emphasizes his decades-long interest in his art’s commercial valences, presenting a profusion of his playful patterns on the museum’s café and bookshop walls.

Hiroko Ikegami

Vladimir R. Grib, Capitalist progress-regress in the depiction of the Lifshitsian, ca. 1925–35, ink on paper, 5 3/4 × 8 1/4". From “If our soup can could speak: Mikhail Lifshitz and the Soviet Sixties.”

“If Our Soup Can Could Speak: Mikhail Lifshitz and the Soviet Sixties”

GARAGE MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART
MOSCOW
March 7 - May 13
Curated by David Riff and Dmitry Gutov with Anastasia Mityushina

This quirky exhibition marks the fiftieth anniversary of Soviet critic Mikhail Lifshitz’s polemic The Crisis of Ugliness (1968). Lifshitz spent time at the famed Moscow art school VKhUTEMAS in the early 1920s before delving into a Marxist critique of the avant-garde. The resulting text earned him a reputation as a hard-line antimodernist, but also resonated uncannily with the contemporary insights of Guy Debord’s Society of the Spectacle (1968) and Peter Burger’s Theory of the Avant-Garde (1974). Recovering the critic’s oeuvre has been a long-term project for the curators, who also founded the Lifshitz Institute and produced an educational documentary on the topic. This latest effort combines archival materials with works from a broad range of artists, from Albrecht Dürer to Andy Warhol. Whether the project is a recovery or a reinvention remains unclear—whatever the case, this promises to be a singular show.

Kristin Romberg

“Arieh Sharon: The State’s Architect”

TEL AVIV MUSEUM OF ART
TEL AVIV
April 13 - September 1
Curated by Eran Neuman

Born in Poland in 1900 as Ludwig Kurzmann, Arieh Sharon immigrated to Palestine in his teens, and then moved to Germany to study architecture at the Bauhaus in Dessau in 1926. After working in the Berlin office of Hannes Meyer, Sharon went on to design more than six hundred projects before his death in 1984. Appointed by David Ben-Gurion to head the Department of Planning in 1948, the architect spearheaded the “Physical Plan for Israel,” commonly known as the Sharon Plan, which assimilated the thousands of Jewish immigrants arriving in the Middle East and contributed to the hegemonic groundwork of the Zionist nation-building program. Accompanied by an extensive catalogue, this first comprehensive exhibition will present more than two hundred drawings, models, photographs, sketches, and videos, spanning Sharon’s entire career and demonstrating how he earned the title of founding father of Israeli architecture.  

Nuit Banai

Chto Delat, It Did Not Happen with Us Yet. Safe Haven, 2017, two-channel HD video, color, sound, 42 minutes.

“CHTO DELAT: WHEN WE THOUGHT WE HAD ALL THE ANSWERS, LIFE CHANGED THE QUESTIONS”

MUSEO UNIVERSITARIO ARTE CONTEMPORANEO (MUAC)
MEXICO CITY
Through April 22
Curated by Cuauhtémoc Medina and Alejandra Labastida

Chto Delat is a group of writers, philosophers, and artists that takes its name, which translates to “What is to be done?” from the title of an 1863 novel by the political revolutionary Nikolay Chernyshevsky (a title lifted by Lenin for his own 1902 tract). Since its founding in 2003, the Saint Petersburg–based collective has applied the eponymous query to both the specific situation in Russia and the larger systems of global capitalism. For its first solo presentation in Mexico, Chto Delat tests what value a self-organized collective holds today—a question made all the more pressing in the wake of the Russian government’s increasing restriction of freedom of assembly. Accompanied by a catalogue compiling the group’s key texts in both Spanish and English, the survey centers around a new film that looks to the Zapatistas for an alternative model of civil resistance.  

Kate Sutton

Rometti Costales, Antonin Atónito, 2015, andesite on ink-jet print, 17 1/2 × 11 5/8 × 3 3/8". From “Artaud 1936.”

“Artaud 1936”

MUSEO TAMAYO
MEXICO CITY
February 8 - May 20
Curated by Manuel Cirauqui

“I came to Mexico to look for a new idea of man,” wrote Antonin Artaud in the summer of 1936, a few months into his year-and-a-half-long sojourn in the Americas. Financially strapped and strung out, the poète maudit had arrived from Paris on a grant; while in the country, he wrote prolifically, gave lectures, and lived for a time in the mountains with the Tarahumara, witnessing their rituals and experimenting with peyote. As was the case for so much of his short life, Artaud’s time in Mexico was framed by his search for ecstatic authenticity and revolutionary potentiality. His travels there had a profound effect on him, just as his work had a dramatic impact on those who came after him. “Artaud 1936” will explore the artist’s legacy through a wide-ranging selection of works—not only by Artaud, but also by his peers and by artists from later generations. Artifacts from the pre-Hispanic period will provide a complementary sampling of Artaud’s inspirations, and a catalogue will feature texts by scholars, artists, and poets.  

Jeffrey Kastner

“MÉXICO MODERNO: VANGUARDIA Y REVOLUCIÓN”

MUSEO DE ARTE LATINOAMERICANO DE BUENOS AIRES (MALBA)
BUENOS AIRES
Through February 19
Curated by Sharon Jazzan, Ariadna Patiño Guadarrama, and Victoria Giraudo

Newly resurgent under the directorship of Agustín Pérez Rubio (who took the helm of the institution in 2014), MALBA presents “México Moderno: Vanguardia y Revolución,” a sweeping survey of artistic production in Mexico during the early twentieth century. Presenting more than 120 artworks (many of them loans), the exhibition focuses specifically on the ways in which artists—including many women—used visual expression as a means to codify a uniquely Mexican identity. The show will track the influence of four key forces: the emergence of early modernism in academies and via the European avant-garde; the dynamism of metropolitan life; the rise of popular politics, including indigenous movements; and the arrival of Mexican Surrealism. Expect to see masterpieces by such renowned artists as Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo alongside lesser-known works by the Stridentists and practitioners of magical realism.  

Sofía Hernández Chong Cuy