November 25, 2013 - art-agenda - Reviews: Willie Doherty, Performa 13, Jimmie Durham, Opening of Museo Jumex, and more
November 25, 2013

Reviews: Willie Doherty, Performa 13, Jimmie Durham, Opening of Museo Jumex, and more

Willie Doherty, The Other Side, 1988. Black and white photograph with text, 61 x 152 cm. Image courtesy of Alexander and Bonin, New York; Kerlin Gallery, Dublin; Galerie Peter Kilchmann, Zurich; Matt’s Gallery, London; and Galeria Moises Perez de Albeniz, Madrid.

October-November Round up


Titillated or appalled (or a bit of both) by the new record set at Christie’s in mid-November for the priciest piece of art ever sold at auction (142.4 million USD for Francis Bacon’s Three Studies of Lucian Freud, 1969)? That sale came in the middle of a fall season in which discussions about private wealth and public access (and bringing contemporary art to the people) seemed to be springing up everywhere in connection with the cultural capital of art. Drawing the line between serious engagement, philanthropy, populist rhetoric, and slick marketing talk can at times feel like an exercise in vertigo. Recent art-agenda reviews on these topics cover some of this ground.

Can a costly new private museum offer a corner of civic space in Mexico City? Start with Kevin McGarry‘s dispatch from the lavish opening of Museo Jumex, the sleek David Chipperfield-designed home for the contemporary art collection of Mexican collector and heir to a juice fortune Eugenio López. How to understand the retrospective of a critical native son as the crown jewel in a “City of Culture” rebranding campaign? Read Aileen Burns and Johan Lundh‘s layered consideration of Derry native Willie Doherty’s exhibition “Unseen,” in which the artist’s decades-long engagement with the politics of Northern Ireland is placed alongside “a new narrative of ‘from Troubles to tourism’.” What about a major art fair as key organizer of public art in one of Europe’s biggest capitals? Consider Mara Hoberman‘s report on how the “Hors les Murs” program of Paris’s FIAC presented a significant offering of art in public space beyond the art fair’s Grand Palais selling floor. Can—or should?—this attempt to “introduce the general public to unexpected contemporary art” feel the need to mask its commercial raison d’être?

On the horizon: the release of Dossier #2 with a special artist’s project by Keren Cytter connected to her seven-part work Vengeance (2012–13) and a new text by Melissa Gronlund, writer and co-editor of Afterall. Available shortly on the art-agenda app and website

Recently on art-agenda

Ad Reinhardt at David Zwirner, New York
November 7–December 18, 2013
Curated by Robert Storr, this exhibition presents a large cache of Ad Reinhardt’s “black” paintings alongside little-known cartoons and drawings from the 1940s. Alan Gilbert finds that this pairing reveals Reinhardt as an “abstract artist with deep roots not only in figuration and illustration, but in New Deal-era progressive politics as well.”

Dispatch: Opening of Museo Jumex, Mexico City
November 19, 2013
Kevin McGarry joins hundreds of international guests for the opening of this significant new museum to house the Colección Jumex, but concludes that if this “first show can be read as any kind of charter, the institution seems to be leveraging its sizeable, international holdings not to break the status quo, but to bulwark it.”

Dianna Molzan’s “La Jennifer” at Overduin and Kite, Los Angeles
November 10–December 21, 2013
“None of these have titles. I’d like to christen them instead with shifty poems…” So opens Andrew Berardini‘s lyrical consideration of Dianna Molzan’s exhibition, in which each painting in this ensemble cast of characters is “quietly extraordinary.” 

Willie Doherty’s “Unseen” at City Factory Gallery, Derry
September 27–January 4, 2013
Willie Doherty’s long overdue retrospective in the artist’s hometown takes place on the occasion of Derry being named the first official “City of Culture” in the UK this year. As Aileen Burns and Johan Lundh explain, it’s a fraught context for an artist who “has spent forty years of his life unsettling official and media representations of the city, undermining didacticism and spectacularization with ambiguity and paradoxes.”

Adrian Ghenie and Navid Nuur’s “On the Road to … Tarascon” at Galeria Plan B, Berlin
“On the Road to … Tarascon” brings together an unlikely collaboration between Romanian painter Adrian Ghenie and Dutch-Iranian artist Navid Nuur. “In the collision of their practices,” Judith Vrancken writes, audiences encounter an “unforeseen intimacy and vulnerability” between two artists. 

Performa 13, New York
November 1–24, 2013
With each subsequent edition, New York’s Performa biennial seems “closer to an expanding, ephemeral archive than a definitive curatorial statement,” writes Media Farzin. Its thirteenth iteration—with highlights by Cally Spooner and Ryan McNamara, among others—”may be a museum without walls, but it’s a highly inclusive one.”

Artissima, Turin
November 8–10, 2013
Stefan Heidenreich visits Artissima in Turin, an art fair that “numbers among the more engaging events within the minor league—less pressure, local flair, more time for talks, and more attention to art.” A particular highlight this year, he writes, is the “Back to the Future” section: twenty-five galleries showcasing historical, and often less recognized work.

Jimmie Durham’s “Works of Science and Yellowness” at Galerie Michel Rein, Brussels
October 10–December 7, 2013
“Works of Science and Yellowness” marks the inauguration of Paris’s Galerie Michel Rein’s new space in Brussels. In this concise presentation, Nav Haq writes that Durham’s ambiguous appropriation of objects redefines “their status and the reason for their existence in personal, idiosyncratic terms.”

João Maria Gusmão & Pedro Paiva’s “Onça Geométrica” at Galleria Zero, Milan
October 9–November 11, 2013
In an age of post-internet art, Portuguese duo João Maria Gusmão and Pedro Paiva use “nearly obsolete, analog media to reflect on the paradoxes of our perception of the material world” and “the difficulty of decoding flows of visual information.” Barbara Casavecchia traces the “semantic ambiguity and linguistic acrobatics” at play in the exhibition.

Hannah Sawtell’s “RE PETITIONER IN ZERO TIME” at Vilma Gold, London
Positioning the idea of repetition and circularity as a rejection of capital, Hannah Sawtell’s solo exhibition centers around a single looped, computer-generated video: “the aftermath of a world brought to its end in some final implosion of capitalist over-accumulation—or just some video game of it,” writes JJ Charlesworth

Henrik Olesen’s “Hysterical Men” at Galerie Buchholz, Berlin
September 20–November 23, 2013
Organized around a dogma of six different categories of sex, “Hysterical Men” incorporates image, text, and spatial interventions. Kirsty Bell considers the exhibition’s “uncompromising questions about sexual identity, authority, and the machinations of power” that the artist problematizes “through a strictly controlled strategy of refusal.” 

FIAC, Paris
October 24–27, 2013
Mara Hoberman takes in the fortieth edition of FIAC, finding this year’s “Hors les Murs” program “expanded and notably strong.” Coupled with complimentary offerings from local galleries and institutions timed to coincide with the fair, the combined effect is a “buzz-worthy ‘only-in-Paris’ art moment,” with action happening both within and outside the fair.

Heidi Bucher’s “Water, Houses” at freymond-guth Fine Arts, Zürich
October 5–November 16, 2013
Indicative of a new resurgence of interest in late Swiss artist Heidi Bucher, this solo exhibition “offers a critical reassessment of the artist’s later work that is broader and more balanced than the psychological and biographical readings that have dominated its reception since her death in 1993,” writes Aoife Rosenmeyer

“The New Morals” at Galeria Stereo, Warsaw
September 27–October 31, 2013
Titled after a line from a 1972 John Ashbery poem, this group show at Galeria Stereo (recently relocated from Poznań to Warsaw) brings together work by Nina Beier, Piotr Łakomy, Gizela Mickiewicz, and Michael E. Smith. Agata Pietrasik finds it a compact and elegant study of how “the purposeful distortion of the object brings about a shared melancholia.”

Frieze Art Fair, London
October 17–21, 2013
“The ecosystem of Frieze Art Fair in London keeps growing,” writes Lorena Muñoz-Alonso, “like a healthy family of good-looking siblings.” Here, she considers the 2013 edition of the main fair and the second Frieze Masters, as well as an ever-increasing number of side projects and parallel programs.

Damián Ortega at Gladstone Gallery, New York
September 13–October 26, 2013
Arnaud Gerspracher visits the most recent solo exhibition of “consummate bricoleur” Damián Ortega. A collection of works whose “appearance straddles the line between objects of human techné and organic shapes resulting from nonhuman forces,” the exhibition explores the intricate relations between materiality, language, and meaning-making.

Coming soon: reviews of “Remember Everything: 40 Years Galerie Max Hetzler,” Berlin; Michael E. Smith at Clifton Benevento, New York; a report from Art Basel Miami; a text on the concurrent Pierre Huyghe and Philippe Parreno exhibitions in Paris by Vivian Sky Rehberg; and many more. Plus the release of Dossier #2: Keren Cytter. 

Art-agenda’s exhibition announcement service distributes press information on select international exhibitions of contemporary art. 

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