The top mu­seum ex­hi­bi­tions this sum­mer across the world

Muscat Daily - - FRONT PAGE -

Many mu­se­ums make use of their ex­cel­lent, of­ten un­seen per­ma­nent col­lec­tions to cre­ate quiet, highly cre­ative shows that are well worth a visit

Mu­se­ums have a rep­u­ta­tion for sav­ing their “se­ri­ous” ex­hi­bi­tions for the win­ter, spring, and fall - the Whit­ney Bi­en­nial, the Shchukin Col­lec­tion at the Fon­da­tion Louis Vuit­ton, the David Hock­ney ret­ro­spec­tive at the Tate, for in­stance. Sum­mer, when pa­trons and donors and crit­ics are on va­ca­tion, is sup­pos­edly the time for low-bud­get fol­lies. But spared the spot­light of in­ter­na­tional scru­tiny or the pres­sure of serv­ing as a ticket-of­fice bo­nanza, many mu­se­ums make use of their ex­cel­lent, of­ten un­seen per­ma­nent col­lec­tions to cre­ate quiet, highly cre­ative shows that are well worth a visit. The fol­low­ing ex­hi­bi­tions are all cases in point: They range in scope and scale and con­tent, but each, in its own way, is proof that sum­mer is still a sea­son for art.

THE HENKIN BROTH­ERS: A DIS­COV­ERY AT THE HERMITAGE, ST PETERSBURG

Rarely has an ex­hi­bi­tion made more sense, or seemed more clever, than the jux­ta­po­si­tion of pho­to­graphs by the broth­ers Evgeny and Yakov Henkin. Born in Ros­tov-on-Don, a port city in south­ern Rus­sia on the bor­der of Ukraine, in 1900 and 1903, re­spec­tively, the broth­ers split up af­ter the Oc­to­ber Revo­lu­tion, one mov­ing to Berlin, the other Moscow.

The Hermitage, a mu­seum known for its un­par­al­leled col­lec­tion of old master paint­ings, has or­gan­ised an ex­hi­bi­tion that con­trasts the tra­jec­tory (and par­al­lels) of the two broth­ers’ lives as their re­spec­tive cities tran­si­tioned from the com­par­a­tively ebul­lient 1920s to the in­creas­ingly despotic and bel­li­cose 1930s.

FE­MALE IM­AGES FROM BIEDERMEIER TO EARLY MODERNISM AT THE LEOPOLD MU­SEUM VIENNA

In a prime ex­am­ple of a mu­seum mak­ing ex­cel­lent use of its ex­ten­sive per­ma­nent col­lec­tion, the Leopold Mu­seum, Vienna’s pan­theon of Ger­manic modernism, has dug into its own hold­ings and or­gan­ised a the­matic show around “fe­male im­ages.” While any man­date that sweep­ing runs the risk of fall­ing flat, re­assess­ing the evo­lu­tion (or lack thereof) of de­pic­tions of gen­der feels timely.

The first part of the show is or­gan­ised around themes (mother and child, young/old, for­mal por­traits, etc), while the lat­ter part in­cludes works cre­ated by fe­male artists.

PARIS

Fred For­est, a French artist born in 1933, be­came fa­mous (or at least art world fa­mous) in the 1970s for his con­cep­tual, per­for­ma­tive, and largely in­com­pre­hen­si­ble prac­tice. Forty years later, the the­ory be­hind much of his art re­mains mud­dled, but his em­brace of new tech­nol­ogy - he was a lead­ing prac­ti­tioner of video art - has be­gun to ap­pear dra­mat­i­cally ahead of its time.

Given that For­est has largely dis­ap­peared from re­cent con­tem­po­rary dis­course, the Pompidou’s show is part ret­ro­spec­tive and part in­tro­duc­tion to a younger au­di­ence that wasn’t alive when he was first scan­dal­is­ing (or send­ing up) the art world.

ED­UARDO AR­ROYO: DANS LE RE­SPECT DES TRA­DI­TIONS AT THE FON­DA­TION MAEGHT SAINT-PAUL DE VENCE, FRANCE

The Fon­da­tion Maeght, a pri­vate ex­hi­bi­tion space perched on a moun­tain­side in the south of France, has been a des­ti­na­tion since it was founded in 1964 by the art deal­ers Mar­guerite and Aimé Maeght. Its per­ma­nent col­lec­tion, which in­cludes a ter­race full of sculp­tures by Gi­a­cometti and a “labyrinth” de­signed by Joan Miro, is al­ways a draw, but its tem­po­rary shows are equally good.

This col­lec­tion of work by the Span­ish pain­ter Ed­uardo Ar­royo (b. 1937 in Madrid) show­cases one of the gi­ants of post­war paint­ing who, for what­ever rea­son (ge­og­ra­phy, and the fact that they can’t be eas­ily cat­e­gorised, most prob­a­bly), has been un­der­val­ued by the art world for decades. That prob­a­bly won’t last long.

CHINA AND EGYPT: CRADLES OF THE WORLD AT THE NEUES MU­SEUM BERLIN

In a very dif­fer­ent ex­am­ple of con­trast­ing time­lines, this show com­prises 250 ob­jects span­ning nearly 4,000 years and charts the de­vel­op­ment of the two ear­li­est and most so­phis­ti­cated so­ci­eties on the planet. The ex­hi­bi­tion’s ob­jects in­clude a full Chi­nese burial suit made out of jade blocks from about 200 BC E, a per­fectly pre­served poly­chrome Egyp­tian stella from about 1350 BC E, and a gor­geously fil­i­greed 13th cen­tury BC E Chi­nese wine ves­sel in the shape of an ox, on loan from the Shang­hai Mu­seum.

A bonus: the Neues Mu­seum’s beau­ti­fully de­signed in­te­ri­ors by star­chi­tect David Chip­per­field.

LON­DON

Per­haps it re­quires a Bri­tish arts or­gan­i­sa­tion to truly in­ter­ro­gate what it meant to be a black Amer­i­can artist. This sweep­ing show - which in­cludes work by Ro­mare Bear­den, Nor­man Lewis, Sam Gil­liam, and more than 50 oth­ers - seeks to ar­tic­u­late a rel­a­tively fresh nar­ra­tive from the race ri­ots of the 1960s through the early 1980s and the es­tab­lish­ment of the Black Power move­ment.

Equally re­fresh­ing, the show in­cludes work from the birth of Black Fem­i­nism, along with less overtly po­lit­i­cal pieces, like the aes­thetic pho­tog­ra­phy of Roy DeCar­ava, the first black pho­tog­ra­pher to win a Guggen­heim Fel­low­ship.

CRISTÓBAL DE VILLALPANDO: MEX­I­CAN PAIN­TER OF THE BAROQUE AT THE METROPOLI­TAN MU­SEUM OF ART, NEW YORK

The Met might be in the throes of a much-pub­li­cized bud­get cri­sis and man­age­ment shakeup, but you wouldn’t know it from the qual­ity of its 2017 ex­hi­bi­tions.

One of the most ex­cit­ing dis­plays is a colos­sal paint­ing by Cristóbal de Villalpando (c. 1649–1714), a Mex­i­can Baroque pain­ter. The paint­ing is more than 28 feet tall and de­picts two bib­li­cal scenes (Moses and the brazen ser­pent, and the Trans­fig­u­ra­tion of Je­sus). Ten ad­di­tional works round out the show, but the mas­sive paint­ing is the star: This is the first time in more than 300 years that it’s left Mex­ico.

PLAY­ING WITH FIRE: PAINT­INGS BY CAR­LOS ALMARAZ AT LACMA LOS AN­GE­LES

It’s en­tirely rea­son­able that Car­los Almaraz’s rep­u­ta­tion is in­ter­twined with Los An­ge­les: He founded a Chi­cano artist col­lec­tive in the city in the 1970s and sub­se­quently cre­ated a se­ries of promi­nent mu­rals in East L A de­pict­ing the strug­gle for Chi­cano civil rights.

But his paint­ings, which are bright, vivid, and of­ten verge on the sur­real, prac­ti­cally beg for an in­ter­na­tional au­di­ence. This show - the first ma­jor ret­ro­spec­tive of his work - in­cludes more than 60 pieces from 1967 un­til his death from com­pli­ca­tions in 1989.

THE SCULP­TURE PARK AT THE LOUISIANA MU­SEUM OF MOD­ERN ART, HUMLEBAEK DEN­MARK

No roundup is worth its salt with­out a glar­ing ex­cep­tion, and there’s no bet­ter ex­cep­tion than the Louisiana Mu­seum’s out­door sculp­ture park. Truly, it’s one of the most beau­ti­ful sum­mer­time des­ti­na­tions for art view­er­ship on the planet.

Set on a rolling lawn over­look­ing the Öre­sund Sound, the park con­tains more than 60 sculp­tures dot­ted amid trees, flow­ers, and me­an­der­ing paths. The park is about a half- hour drive from down­town Copen­hagen and well worth the trip.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Oman

© PressReader. All rights reserved.