Holidaying abroad or at home this Summer? If you’re lucky, you might ﬁnd yourself near one (or more) of these spaces. Words of encouragement: “Step inside.”
*Opinions may vary, we are currently experiencing a high volume of biennials*
1. The Devil Inside Me, The Public House of Art, Amsterdam
Andrey Kezzyn. Jesus the Big Brother. 2017. Photography. Edition of 30.
There aren’t many institutions as explicitly concerned with ‘shaking things up’ as The Public House of Art. Both in situ and online, the current exhibition is raw and raunchy. We, the viewers, are daughters and sons of Faust, the devil is in the detail; blink and you’ll miss it!
2. Jeff Koons, Gagosian Gallery, Beverly Hills, California [ - 18 Aug]
Here’s a chance to get up to date with the provocative yet elegantly vibrant and diverse artist. Koons’ work is often concerned with voyeurism, the ’gaze’, and the psyche. Featuring his recent Gazing Ball series, Celebration sculptures, and Ballerinas, this solo exhibition engages the viewer in conceptual, cultural, art historical conversation. Magnifying Ancient civilisation to the present everyday, Koons plays with scale, symbols, and colour. Challenging us to think about our visual cues and decipher his abstraction. Considering Koons “likes to think that when you leave the room, the art leaves the room”, it’s of the utmost importance for the sake of the pieces that you attend.
3. John Bock: In the Moloch of the Presence of Being, Berlinische Galerie, Berlin [ -21 Aug]
Enter, the performance artist! John Bock (b. 1965) also presents the baroque with some ordered chaos at the Berlin gallery. Described as “a freak show”, Bock challenges the viewer to be in this narrative space of installation and cinema. The exhibition takes its title from his recent installation work, created especially for the galerie. Here we have a contemporary art surgery, with all the drama of an old Victorian operating theatre. Moloch alludes to sacriﬁce, which opens up numerous questions for the viewer on this exploratory journey. Prepare for sights, sounds, and the absurd rituals of mortality.
4. 57th International Art Exhibition: VIVA ARTE VIVA, Biennale Arte, Venice [ - 30 Sep]
What’s better than an annual festival? A biannual art exhibition. Every other year, Venice blooms contemporary art. To summarise would be foolish…to celebrate, appropriate. The 57th comprises of “nine chapters”, and 120 artists from 51 countries. I am reminded of the Public House of Art’s mantra - art is for all. This sentiment is, to speak generally, what took the frames off and art out of The Salon, and grossly skipping ahead we now live in a world of large-scale, public art pieces that question, interact, and resonate with individuals and populations alike. Think on that and get on board.
5. Notes on Labour, Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Mumbai City Museum, India [ - 25 Jul]A few months ago, Tasneem Kakaria Mehta discussed ‘new curators’ on the radio. She is the director of what is acknowledged as Mumbai’s most iconic museum. Mumbai City Museum is a fresh, young member of the contemporary art world now. With Mehta’s curatorial inﬂuence, this solo artist exhibition by Praneet Soi (b. 1971) continues the series, Engaging Traditions, which re-evaluates the history of the institution formerly named the Victoria & Albert Museum. Soi is interested in “the processes of crafting extraordinary objects” by hand, empathising with the “unsung artisans”.
6. documenta 14, Athens [ - 16 Jul] and Kassel, Germany [10 Jun - 17 Sept]
This incarnation of the ﬁve-yearly documenta 14 is the work of a large collection of curators and approximately 200 participants in total. This year, there are 17 exhibition venues in both Athens and Kassel. This unique, doubling structure, extending the exhibition from its usual Kassel, was conceived by Artistic Director, Adam Szymczyk to articulate the working title Learning from Athens. documenta 2017 has been building an artistic bridge between the two cities. Reﬂecting loosely on Tim Marshall’s book, through art we do not have to be “prisoners of geography”.
7. A Handful of Dust, Whitechapel Gallery, London [7 Jun - 3 Sep]
It is hard not to get excited about such a collection of artists works: Marcel Duchamp, Man Ray, Gerhard Richter,…the list goes on. But particularly exciting is the way their material has been curated for this London show. David Campany (writer and curator) has re-imagined the history of the 20th century using its visual contemporary art, “through the imagery of dust”. Anybody? No? To get a little ‘meta’, the gallery describes the exhibition as taking its “starting point [from] the 1920 photograph taken by […] Man Ray of Marcel Duchamp’s work in progress The Large Glass”. Do not forget the Whitechapel this Summer.
8. Skulptur Projekte Münster, Germany [10 Jun - 1 Oct]
Münster occurs once every decade, meaning this is but the 5th edition. Quite frankly, this is one badass curatorial framework. The sculpture project delves deep into the meaning of ‘public’. Beautifully put, the “rhythm” of the project is highlighted as its unique perspectival quality on contemporary art development. Detailed information about the 35 artists and their hands in this decade’s Projekte are accessible online from 9 June, so watch the website.
9. Abstract Wall Painting III, 2017 de Stijl #100 Years, Transmitter, Brooklyn [ - 18 Jun]
Abstract Wall Painting III features works by Jean Frater, Rico Gatson, Jim Osman, Kristen Schiele, Karen Schifano, and Mark Sengbush. The exhibition of on-site murals was organised by the artists, as an international project to move around several spaces (including Apeldoorn and Rotterdam, NL) to celebrate the 100 year anniversary of the Dutch art movement, ‘De Stijl’. This inﬂuential movement resonates with the artists, inspired their dynamic new works in strength of “primary colours, straight lines, and right angles”. Catch it soon in New York, it will be closing soon in June.
10. Triple F Land, Perve Galeria, Lisbon Portugal [6 Jun - 15 Jul]
First the Euros, then Eurovision - Is it just me or is Lisbon suddenly the hot place to be? That and its devilish cultivating of contemporary art and identity questioning. This is a city on the move, and Perve Galleria has been in sight for a while, as an inviting, experimental space. Triple F Land focusses internally, but on a timely parody of what are known as ‘the three F’s’ from new state Portugal - “Fado, Fátima and Football”. It also contains a few more ‘F’s’ - feminine, ﬁgurative, forms… Primarily, female artists are at the fore, with works from Perve’s collection and new contributors to the gallery, Sónia Aniceto and Maryam Al Qassimi. Both of these artists’ works investigate materiality and tactility amidst this fast standardising digital age.
Written by Manchester-based Freelance Writer, Imogen Phoebe Webb for The Public House of Art