Dorothy Iannone, The Next Great Moment In History is Ours (1970)--part of a retrospective of the 80 year old artist in one of my picks for top ten exhibitions of 2014.
Another new year, another new year of art exhibitions to look forward to. Having spent one of the quietest holidays on record close to home in some years, I have had the pleasure of hunting around for those exhibitions worthy of a visit (in case you needed an excuse to travel to any of the wonderful locales represented below). I first posted a list like this back in 2011, when my blog was at its peak of activity and engagement, so I thought it was fitting to reinvigorate and breathe some life back into my blog with this 2014 edition. Here in no particular order for your consideration and enjoyement. Happy New Year!
Douglas Coupland's Lego projects are sure to evoke nostalgia and discussion of local housing concerns in Vancouver with audiences this summer.
Vancouver Art Gallery, May 31-September 1
Starting close to home in Vancouver, it is hard to believe that Douglas Coupland—synonymous with all things merging pop and Canadiana— hasn’t yet had a major survey exhibition. This spring the Vancouver Art Gallery will finally give Coupland a long overdue show, one that will likely garner international attention from Gen Xers, art/design enthusiasts, and hipsters alike. If you live in Vancouver, you may already have heard of, or taken part in, Coupland’s Lego play as part of the build up to the exhibition.
Museum of Modern Art, November 22-May 10
Moving to New York, it is clear that architecture and urban design will be critical themes in a number of high-profile shows set to open in the city through 2014. The “Uneven Growth” exhibition as MoMA will bring together six interdisciplinary teams of researchers and practitioners to examine and develop proposals for new forms of “tactical urbanism” in six global metropolises: Hong Kong, Istanbul, Lagos, Mumbai, New York, and Rio de Janeiro. All of the proposals will be part of the much-anticipated exhibition in the latter part of this year.
The catalogue cover for the Guggenheim exhibition
Guggenheim, February 21-September 1
Futurism remains one of the most misunderstood and maligned avant-garde movements of the early twentieth century. It is also among the most fascinating and relevant to our contemporary moment. The Guggenheim will finally be presenting the first comprehensive overview of Italian Futurism in North America, presenting over 300 works spanning 1904-1944. Besides visual art, the exhibition will feature architecture, design, fashion, film, music and performance as part of the interdisciplinary exploration.
Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, March 31-July 28
It has been nearly a year since the untimely death of Mike Kelley, one of the most provocative and influential contemporary artists of the past twenty years. My first encounter with his work was as an M.A. student at UBC when Kelley and John Miller were featured in an exhibition titled “Consolation Prize” at the Belkin Art Gallery. I recall being both repulsed and seduced by his environments (a mound of dirt with crumpled up dollar bills and sex toys was the center point of the show), and over time I have come to respect and understand his keen commentary on class, youth rebellion, and American popular culture. This is one of several shows (the expansive Mike Kelley exhibition at MoMA PS1 is still running now in New York) that are set to open in the coming years, but the Los Angeles setting is special to Kelley’s legacy— the place where he attended art school and built his practice.
Museum Moderner Kunst, now through February 2, 2014
Art and the global economy go hand in hand, but the examination of that relationship is mostly obscured from the public and rarely the subject of serious critical examination within the spaces of the gallery. This group exhibition currently on in one of Vienna's most vibrant galleries (which was first initiated as a symposium on the consideration of these themes) is therefore truly unique and begins with the proposition of addressing “the matter of capital as it exists in the artwork.” No doubt many more conversations will be initiated as a result of this show.
Berlimischie Museum of Modern Art, February 20-June 20
Dorothy Iannone is one of those artists that rarely make it into contemporary art surveys. I am somewhat ashamed to admit that she only made it onto my radar after grad school, and even then it was a poet that brought her to my attention, and not an artist or art historian. Simply put, Iannone is art’s original bad girl, an artist unafraid to examine and celebrate facets of sexuality and eroticism at a time when it was certainly more difficult (she was arrested in the 1960’s for importing Henry Miller novels to the US) if not a career crusher for a female visual artist. She is today 80 years old, living in Berlin, and the focus of a much-deserved retrospective this spring at the Berlimischie Gallery.
Museum (now through February 2); Bundeskunsthalle (March 11-June 22); Tate Modern (July 17-October 26)
With all eyes on Russia this year for the Winter Olympics, I am glad to see that a traveling exhibition of Malevich and the Russian Avant-Garde will continue to remind audiences of the radicalism and major contribution of Russian modern artists to the legacy of transgression and collective forms of action in the name of art seen in the activities and output of contemporary Russian artists such as Pussy Riot. These legacies are important to keep in plain view as Russian social policy continues to spark debate globally.
Martin Gropius Bau, April 3-July 7
Berlin will be hopping this summer with its popular Biennale, and speculation about Ai Weiwei’s major solo exhibition at the Martin Gropius Bau has been building since last year. Although Ai has denied rumours that he might take political asylum in Germany to gain some freedom from constant surveillance in Beijing, it will be fascinating to see how the artist will oversee and help plan the show. It will arguably be his most high-profile exhibition since the Sunflower Seeds installation at the Tate Modern in 2010.
Museum of Contemporary Art, Australia, now through February 23
Yoko Ono, like Dorothy Iannone, is one of the original female provocateurs of the art world and also celebrated her 80th birthday this past year (hard to believe I know!). As a long time fan, I would gladly brave the 14+ hour flight to Sydney to visit the exhibition surveying her long career as an artist and activist. People forget that Ono played a significant role in Fluxus and the New York art scene long before her partnership with John Lennon. The exhibition celebrates both her legacy and the vibrancy of her current projects.
Antonin Artaud's 1947 writings about Van Gogh serve as the inspiration for this intriguing exhibition
Museum d’Orsay, March 11-July 2014
Van Gogh and Artaud—what a perfect pair—two men that experienced and made art about deep alienation. I am incredibly intrigued by the Orsay exhibition that juxtaposes the French playwright and poet Artaud’s written meditation on Van Gogh’s manufactured “madness” (along with graphic works), with a selection of some thirty Van Gogh paintings. Decades before Michel Foucaut’s writings on the subject, Artaud tackles the difficulties and power dynamics of understanding the conditions and normative claims of what constitutes “mental health.”