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.

Hassan Sharif, Jumping No. 1, 1983, seven C-prints on cardboard, 38 5/8 × 28 7/8".


Through February 3
Curated by Hoor Al Qasimi

International attention came late in life for Sharif, who was born in Iran, studied in London, established numerous community arts organizations in Sharjah and Dubai, and passed away last fall at sixty-five. He is routinely celebrated as the godfather of Conceptual art in the Gulf—a region the art-historical mainstream rarely recognizes as a place of formal innovation, critical thinking, or noncommercial gestures. But most recent shows of Sharif’s work (including his current showcase in Christine Macel’s Venice Biennale) have largely elided his early dematerialized practice—which included performances, urban archaeology projects, and works on paper described as “semi-systems”—and instead emphasized his vast, accumulative bundles of stuff, which he began to produce in the 1980s. This retrospective promises to correct those omissions and also to pay adequate attention to his role as teacher, critic, and translator.  

Kaelen Wilson-Goldie

Mona Saudi, The Seed, 2007, marble, 9 7/8 × 8 7/8 × 8 7/8".

Mona Saudi

February 3 - May 3
Curated by Sheikha Hoor Al Qasimi

International attention came somewhat late in life for Jordanian-born sculptor Mona Saudi, who defied family wishes when she left for Beirut in 1963 at age seventeen. One year later, she used money from works sold at a café to study at the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris. Saudi occupies a central place among the pioneering modernist artists of her region’s generation, not only due to the quality of her work, but also because she is one of the few female sculptors to emerge from the Arab world. Featuring rocks from her travels, Saudi’s sculptures—which evoke those of Barbara Hepworth or a more restrained Lee Bontecou—deploy movement, geometry, and abstraction to probe questions about nature and growth. Characterized by exuberant color and austere morphology, the pieces inhabit a space of formal innovation in a region that the art-historical mainstream seldom acknowledges as a site of progress. This survey promises to correct an omission in a conversation about sculpture, modernism, and the Middle East.

Yasmine El Rashidi

Research image for Lin Yilin’s contribution to the 7th Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism\Architecture.


Through March 15
Curated by Hou Hanru, Liu Xiaodu, and Meng Yan

The seventh edition of the Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism\Architecture, organized by Hou Hanru and two founding partners of the local architectural collective urbanus, has chosen as its main venue a unique enclave in the city: Nantou, a historical town that is gradually transforming into one of the city’s so-called urban villages. A side effect of Shenzhen’s rapid economic development, these sprawling villages-in-the-city lack central planning and enjoy limited access to city services, often providing a home for migrant populations. This biennial—through a series of exhibitions, workshops, and symposia—will explore the chaotic yet creative social life of these sites and test their potential as a means to model strategies of resistance in the Global South. This context may in turn shed new light on the artists on view, many of whom—including Lin Yilin and Cao Fei—are originally from or currently based in the Pearl River Delta region.

Du Keke