While it's obviously premature to predict what form the Biennale's fifth installment will take, with Martin at its helm there can be little doubt that the exhibition's emphasis will boon globalization. Indeed, the curator; who is currently director of the Musee National des Arts d'Afrique et d'Oceanie, considers that "the West today must be able to admit that the meaning it has attached to history - and the gradual disappearance of religions in favor of reason - can't be erected as dogma. There is no superiority of Modern art under the pretext of its agnosticism and its historical consciousness." How might a more ethnographically conscious focus come into play in the planning and selection of the Lyon Biennale? The answer is hinted at in Martin's insistence that museum culture "make religious art and Western contemporary art coexist."
One way to do so, Martin suggests, is to emphasize "an anthropological approach" to the material rather than the usual art-historical focus. In the same vein, he observes that an interesting exhibition would be one that juxtaposed "objects that are the result of ritual activities or analogous functions." An example he offers as a productive comparison is that between the emblems of the Central African Ejagham people and Daniel Spoerri's late-'60s snapshots of the remnants of meals. The vertical Ejagham panels "display reliefs and the utensils of a ceremonial meal during the investiture of a member. The vestiges of the feast are all on display - the skulls of animals consumed, the drums that mark out a rhythm, and the bundles of sticks used as brooms to sweep away spirits. The whole thing is hung in the initiatory house as a permanent reminder of this intense moment. Given the importance of the Last Supper in the Christian tradition, there's no question that the rites to which Spoerri invites friends will look pagan to the anthropologists of tomorrow. Are we so far from the emblems of the Ejagham clan? Isn't this where we'll find the types of analyses that will finally allow us to stop contrasting objects - and the behaviors that establish them - and to reconcile them on something more than formal grounds?"
Daniel Soutif is director of the department of cultural development at the Centre Georges Pompidou.
Support/Surfaces Years JEU DE PAUME
Just as Johannes Itten's influential Bauhaus courses were once described as an "expressionist jam," the work of the French artists affiliated with the '70s support/surface movement could be called "conceptual jam." This bizarre hodgepodge - part formalist reflection, part Maoist discourse - covers a wide aesthetic spectrum in the work of such affiliates as Louis Cane, Daniel Dezeuze, and Claude Viallat. It's an irony of art history that, with this show of sixty- four works curated by Daniel Abadie, director of the Jeu de Paume, the support/surface sloganeering can even play into the hands of cultural guardians - in this case those of the host institution, which seems to be attempting to regild French art's coat of arms. May 18-Aug. 30; travels to ten additional venues.
Kinetic Art: Strategies of Participation LE MAGASIN
For the reluctant skeptic, kinetic art of the '60s may recall nothing so much as a splitting headache. This eighty-piece exhibition is an attempt to reframe this body of work, largely dismissed as bells-and-whistles kitsch; when all is said and done, Magasin director Yves Aupetitallot (who has curated the show) hopes to make a convincing case otherwise. The first part of the show offers viewers a chance to rediscover the works of France's Groupe de Recherche d'Art Visuel and Italy's groups N and T. In the second part, a parallel is drawn with contemporary art (such as John Tremblay's and Michael Scott's canvases) to suggest that these recent works constitute a phenomenological echo of the questions raised by kinetic art. June 6-Sept. 30.
Manifesta 2 VARIOUS VENUES
The nomadic biennial Manifesta goes up this summer in the city of Luxembourg, the smallest European capital. In a certain sense, though, the site is not so important, since one ambition of the show is to prove the irrelevance of borders to contemporary art. Curators Robert Fleck, Maria Lind, and Barbara Vanderlinden have based their show not on a particular theme but on the most compelling work they discovered in traveling to every European country - from Iceland to Albania. For more than a year they've been racking up thousands of euromiles scrutinizing local scenes and selecting the forty-seven artists who will be included in the show. The catalogue also casts a wide net, including forty authors - one for each country the curators visited. June 28-Oct.
Andy Warhol Drawings 1942-1987 KUNSTMUSEUM
Like Picasso, Warhol offers a bottomless pit for future exhibitions: it's not only the universal range of themes and the mastery of different media but also the submerged iceberg of still-unseen work. The next shuffle of the artist's legacy will offer some 230 drawings selected mostly from the thousands in his estate, a production by Warhol specialists Mark Francis and Dieter Koepplin. Although the commercial drawings of the '50s may be familiar, the later works on paper, which proliferated after the last drawing retrospective in 1976 (in Stuttgart), promise countless surprises, as do the juvenilia of the '40s. As you survey forty-five years of his compulsive and fluent draftsmanship, expect yet another Warhol to emerge. May 5-July 19; travels to five venues in Europe and the United States.
Jean-Frederic Schnyder KUNSTHALLE ZURICH
Jean-Frederic Schnyder's obsessive, single-theme paintings have been a fixture of the Swiss art scene for a good twenty years. Like a nineteenth-century landscape painter, he usually works en plein air, rendering one subject - say, a highway or some patch of Alpine countryside - over and over until, in the artist's words, "it exhausts itself" or he runs out of paint. For this exhibition, curated by Kunsthalle director Bernhard Burgi, the artist is putting together an installation of 163 canvases made over the course of a single year, all depictions of a daily occurrence - the setting of the sun - seen from various angles. The publication accompanying the exhibition will document Schnyder's installation by including the daily timetable of sunsets the painter followed to capture each image. June 6-Aug. 9.
An Unrestricted View of the Mediterranean KUNSTHAUS ZURICH
The first thing visitors will encounter at the entrance to the Kunsthaus Zurich this summer will be a view-obstructing wall of sandbags. On the other side of Fabrice Gygi's Alps of sand, curator and Parkett editor Bice Curiger will present her take on the contemporary Swiss scene, with 200-plus works on display by artists ranging from well-kept local secrets to emerging international stars (e.g., Pipilotti Rist, Sylvie Fleury, and Thomas Hirschhorn). A video lounge will focus on work from the '90s, while a "flashback room" showing art produced in the '70s should help put the exhibition in historical context. Best-in-show honors - in the form of a check for $10,000 - will go to one of the participants. June 5-Aug. 30; travels to Kunsthalle Shirn, Frankfurt, Germany.
Andreas Slominski KUNSTHALLE ZURICH
Andreas Slominski might be described as part handyman, part quixotic philosopher. His fabricated or reconfigured everyday items, like dust rags or matchsticks, force the viewer to question the interplay between seeing something and knowing it. This summer in Zurich, Slominski will exhibit a selection of his various snarelike objects - ranging from tiny mousetraps to large contraptions that are both menacing and absurd and a group of old calendar remnants that resemble minimalist drawings (the show also promises a new site-specific installation by the Hamburg-based artist). The accompanying catalogue is edited by Kunsthalle director Bernhard Burgi, who is also the show's curator. Aug. 22-Oct. 18.
Rirkrit Tiravanija MUSEUM FOR GEGENWARTSKUNST
In Rirkrit Tiravanija's exhibitions, doing is as important as looking. In this large show of his work, curated by Rein Wolfs of the Museum fur Gegenwartskunst, you will be able to sample Tiravanija's curry, enjoy a glass of beer, or jam on the guitar in the rehearsal studio set up for the visitor. The artist will also present two new installations. Visit the mechanic who will be tinkering with the artist's broken-down 1972 Opel Commodore for the two-month run of the show. Or do some grocery shopping, as Tiravanija is installing a branch of Migros, the Swiss supermarket chain that backs the museum. Sorry, no credit cards. Aug. 22-Oct. 25.
White Noise KUNSTHALLE BERN
Sonic boom? Or the sound of one hand clapping ... "White Noise" claims to be "an exhibition about waiting, expectancy, about silence before the emergence of sound ... an attempt to visualize the ... hardly perceptible substratum that precedes the meaningful statement ... the expression of a 'climate' defined by apparent silence." Nevertheless, the show's interesting group of mostly young and youngish artists - Lutz Bacher, Jaki Irvine, Liza May Post, Christian Marclay, Herve Graumann, Erik Steinbrecher, and Gillian Wearing - working in plug-in media (video being a favorite) and installation just might match the sense of promise that curator Bernhard Fibicher finds in blank sound. As for odd-painter-out Bridget Riley, her classic canvases make a visual noise all their own. May 21-June 28.
Andreas Gursky: Photographs, 1994-1998 KUNSTMUSEUM WOLFSBURG
In the States, Andreas Gursky may be considered the bronze medalist of recent German photography, behind the Towering Thomases (Ruff and Struth), but this exhibition - not to mention the larger retrospective opening this August in Dusseldorf - makes the case for a more equitable assessment. The twenty-six pictures in the show (curated by the museum's own Veit Gorner, who is also editing the catalogue) focus on such subjects as hotel atriums, museum installations, and inhabited landscapes, unified by the cool severity of their organization. Like Ruff's and Struth's best work, these large photos raise pertinent questions about the ways our civilization represents itself. May 23-Sept. 9; travels to Serpentine Gallery, London, Jan.-Feb. 1999; and three additional venues.
Jason Rhoades KUNSTHALLE NURNBERG
At least since last year's Lyon Biennale, Jason Rhoades has been one of the most sought-after young artists in Europe. Now, Eva Meyer-Hermann, director of the Kunsthalle Nurnberg, has landed the artist's first German solo show. While the installation is bringing together some of Rhoades' earlier works, the Kunsthalle's seven rooms will be crammed with artifacts prepared (or, better, collected) just for this show. In characteristic fashion, Rhoades binds his personal, hermetic obsessions and his concerns with the history of Western art and culture. It's no wonder then that the show's accompanying bilingual publication is designed like an encyclopedia and includes not just the traditional curator's essay but also several by outsiders, from an automotive historian to a neurological researcher. July 2-Sept. 20.
May '98 KUNSTHALLE KOLN
Under the auspices of the Friends of the Wallraf-Richartz Museum and the Ludwig Museum, this ambitious show (100 works by twenty-four artists) tracks the evolution of contemporary art over the last three decades. Curators Brigitte Oetker and Christiane Schneider, who adroitly put together last year's site-specific "Kunst in der Leipziger Messe," hope to show the impact of the art of the '60s and '70s on the generations that followed - with particular emphasis on the fate of social and political utopianism. Among the contemporary artists included are Cosima von Bonin, Angela Bulloch, Olafur Eliasson, Peter Fischli & David Weiss, Jorge Pardo, and Philippe Parreno. An accompanying catalogue contextualizes recent writings and interviews with historical material. May 21-July 19.
Fabrice Hybert DE APPEL FOUNDATION
For this exhibition Fabrice Hybert is working with a concept of his own creation, CITOXE, which refers to the minimum level of comfort required by a modern traveler no matter where he or she should happen to be. CITOXE is the very opposite of the "radically foreign" (read it backward and you'll get it). The show, curated by De Appel director Saskia Bos, will include the diarylike sketches Hybert produces on an ongoing basis, "living sculpture" works (i.e., palm trees), and the artist's signature TV productions. In homage to the primary colors of broadcasting, Hybert is offering three channels: blue (carrying weather forecasts), red (a knock-off Home Shopping Network), and green (focusing on telepathic phenomena), all transmitted live from Amsterdam. June 12-Aug. 16.
Voices WITTE DE WITH
In Paris a while back, Christopher Phillips had the uncomfortable experience of organizing a panel of visual artists and sonic artists - i.e., composers - only to discover that they didn't know how to talk to each other. "Voices" attempts to redress that: it deals, says Phillips, with artists who use the voice "as material to be worked with and examined." Featuring '70s and '80s pieces by Vito Acconci, Genevieve Cadieux, Gary Hill, and Jochen Gerz, recent work by Kristin Oppenheim and Pierre Huyghe, as well as commissions from Judith Barry, Janet Cardiff, and Moniek Toebosch, the show will provide plenty to see. At the same time, these works can be expected to speak loudly. June 13-Aug. 23; travels to Fondacio Joan Miro, Barcelona, Sept. 17-Nov. 1; Le Fresnoy, Tourcoing, France, Feb.-March 1999.
William Kentridge PALAIS DES BEAUX-ARTS
Although there's an entire new generation of fascinating South African artists at work today, perhaps the most remarkable recent addition to the international scene has been William Kentridge. The artist's labor-intensive drawings, which form the basis of his animated films, are so impressive that they may overshadow the fact that Kentridge produces work in a number of media. (He's even recently directed an opera, Ulysses, which made its debut last year.) In Brussels, Palais des Beaux-Arts curator Pier Coessens has gathered a wide-ranging selection of the artist's work more than forty installations, films, and drawings, much of it political in nature - from the last nine years. May 15-Aug. 23; travels to Kunstverein Munich, Aug. 28-Oct. 11; Neue Galerie Graz, Nov. 1998-Jan. 1999.
Joan Miro: Creator of New Worlds MODERNA MUSEET
It seems that whenever a museum wants a crowd pleaser, it invariably offers a Miro show - popular, colorful, unforbidding, and offering a luxurious choice of media. But Sweden has never hosted a major Miro show, and this one, with international loans, concentrates on the years between the wars, before the artist had settled into his role as the wizard of Mallorca. Paintings, sculpture, and works on paper have been selected by Ragnar von Holten, senior curator at the renovated Moderna Museet, which, under its new director, David Elliott, reopened in February. The catalogue gathers a wide range of historical writings on Miro, including essays by Andre Breton and Octavio Paz. May 9-Aug. 30; travels to Louisiana Museum, Copenhagen, Sept. 18, 1998-Jan. 10, 1999.
This Side of the Ocean KIASMA MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART
How do the finns understand themselves? That's the question posed by curator Maaretta Jaukkuri in "This Side of the Ocean," the debut show in the main galleries of Helsinki's new Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art. The exhibition presents works by a dozen Finnish artists (including photographer Esko Mannikko, filmmaker Aki Kaurismaki, and video artist Eija-Liisa Ahtila) that all, according to the organizers, convey a certain "Finnishness." (Less concerned with finish and more with process are Tommi Gronlund, Carl Michael von Hausswolff, and Petteri Nisunen, who are collaborating in a concurrent show that promises to turn the museum's Kontti Gallery into a playground of bad technology and good vibrations.) May 30-Sept. 13.
Patrick Heron TATE GALLERY
As a critic and artist, Patrick Heron has long played the role of David in his defense of postwar British abstraction against the American Goliath of AbEx. French giants such as Matisse and Braque influenced his painting early on and were the subjects of his subtlest writings on art. Since the '60s the retinal impact of pure color has been at the heart of his work. This eighty-painting retrospective should enable us to see whether David hit the target or fell wide of the mark. The catalogue features texts on the artist by the exhibition's curator, David Sylvester, and by Martin Gayford and A.S. Byatt. June 25-Sept. 6; travels to Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto.
Cornelia Parker SERPENTINE GALLERY
Does it make any difference that the actual record in the photograph used to spin on Hitler's turntable? How do the associations a given artifact carries change our perception of it? With her installations of objects that hover between the conspicuously vestigial and the anonymously exhausted - a lump of plastic not yet pressed into a record, cocaine incinerated to become worthless white powder - Cornelia Parker has long been interested in such questions. Since her previous Serpentine exhibition (a collaborative installation featuring actress Tilda Swinton asleep in a vitrine together with mundane possessions of the great and good), the artist has been short-listed for the Turner Prize, so those expecting big things from her new show, organized by curator Lisa Corrin, shouldn't be disappointed. May 12-June 14.
Peter Doig WHITECHAPEL ART GALLERY
Peter Doig's is a voice that combines painterly wisdom and poignant autobiographical incident. In this show of twelve large paintings and a handful of smaller works (which made its debut in March at the Kunsthalle zu Kiel and now travels to its organizing institution), landscapes are transformed into topographies of mood, from physical elation to anxiety born of personal memories, filtered through the lens of a Northern Romantic sensibility. A respected teacher and currently a trustee of the Tate Gallery, Doig has a loyal following that should be immeasurably increased by this substantial public showing, curated by the Whitechapel's Felicity Lunn. June 12-Aug. 16.
Young Americans 2 SAATCHI GALLERY
On the heels of the Saatchi's Alex Katz exhibition comes "Young Americans 2," a juicy slice of recent American art. The two-part show focuses first on new pieces by Jessica Stockholder, Ashley Bickerton, Carroll Dunham, David Salle, and Terry Winters. The second selection surfs the younger and, in Britain, less familiar contemporary scene, presenting the work of sixteen artists, including Elizabeth Peyton, Robin Lowe, Lisa Yuskavage, and Tom Friedman. The romp of a catalogue essay is by write-till-you-drop duo Lisa Liebmann and Brooks Adams. Apr. 30-July 12 (part 1); Sept. 10-Nov. 22 (part 2).
Yasumasa Morimura MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART
Like Cindy Sherman, Yasumasa Morimura likes to dress up in the styles of art history and the movies, but the ensuing self-portraits have their own unease. Sherman's photographs signal an ethos more than a particular image; Morimura's duplicate classic icons. The faultline shift between his face and, say, the Mona Lisa's is somehow - painful. Then there's the sexual tension and the transoceanic view of Western culture.... Speaking of which, it's a pity Morimura's first retrospective, comprising eighty of his art history- based works, won't travel to America: making our art his mirror, whom does he catch in his reflection? Apr. 25-June 7; travels to National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto, June 16-Aug. 2; Marugame Inokuma Museum of Contemporary Art, Japan, Aug. 29-Oct. 18.
L'Oeil et l'Esprit THE MUSEUM OF MODERN ART
Taking its title from the last work of Maurice Merleau-Ponty, this selection of six contemporary French artists aims not to survey the Gallic scene but to present a few strong personalities, among them the imagist painter Carole Benzaken, video-installation artist Thierry Kuntzel, and the fictional Martin Tupper, one of the personae of the duo Yoon Ja & Paul Devautour. All previously unexhibited in Japan, they've been selected by Alfred Pacquement, director of the Ecole Nationale Superieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris, and Aomi Okabe, a Japanese art historian and critic. Aug. 8-Sept. 6; travels to Iwaki City Museum of Art, Oct. 10-Nov. 15; Museum of Modern Art, Wakayama, Dec. 5-Jan. 17, 1999.
The spring/summer exhibition previews were written and compiled by Rene Atomann, Michael Archer, Carlos Basualdo, Daniel Birnbaum, Mario Codognato, Pascaline Cuvelier, Matthew DeBord, Yilmaz Dziewior, David Frankel, Andy Grundberg, William Harris, Elizabeth Janus, Libby Lumpkin, Peter Plagens, David Rimanelli, Robert Rosenblum, Barry Schwabsky, Richard Shone, Henry Urbach, Jos van den Bergh, and Herve Vanel. Translations from the French by Jeanine Herman, and from the German by David Jacobson.
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|Title Annotation:||Jean-Hubert Martin chosen to be director of Biennale de Lyon|
|Date:||May 1, 1998|
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