Supporter Update 🤝🏻 August 18, 2023

A preview of Fall art-museum exhibitions & more

Supporter Update 🤝🏻 August 18, 2023
Phyllida Barlow, untitled: eleven columns; standing, fallen, broken (detail), 2011. © Phyllida Barlow. Courtesy Haus der Kunst and Hauser & Wirth. Photo: Wilfried Petzi.

Hi everyone,

Today in Toronto it’s breezy and cooler, a premonition of the season to come. Fall is my favorite time of year, both meteorologically and culturally. And as some of you may know, my background is in contemporary art and photography. With “Fall Arts Preview” articles dropping like leaves, I thought I’d offer you my own version.

I trust you to find your way to MoMA in New York, Tate Modern in London, or the AGO here in Toronto. Instead, this idiosyncratic and opinionated short list includes exhibitions that fit two criteria. First, they examine themes relevant to this newsletter and/or contain artists I deeply admire. Second, they are being presented in lesser-known venues that nonetheless have strong reputations among those in the know. These shows would be at or near the top of my to-do list if I was visiting these cities.

After that, your regularly scheduled updates on the stories we’ve published recently.

If you end up visiting any of these shows, I’d love to hear from you! Or if there are other shows you’re particularly looking forward to, send them my way.

Love all ways,

In the Galleries

Toronto. In my home city, I’m especially looking forward to the Museum of Contemporary Art’s presentation of two eminent women sculptors, Phyllida Barlow and Liz Magor. Barlow’s work is best served by architecture it can push against, and MOCA’s peculiar columns and industrial patina will make this show one you feel as much as see. The picture above gives you a sense of what I mean. Magor is one of Canada’s most eminent artists and educators, but one whose work I haven’t encountered much in person. I’m eager to complement what I’ve read and heard about her work with time spent in its presence.

Montreal. Though it opened in May, I haven’t yet visited the Canadian Centre for Architecture’s exhibition “The Lives of Documents—Photography as Project.” It’s the first in a three-part series of exhibitions scrutinizing the relationship between image media and architecture that will culminate in the center’s 50th anniversary in 2029. You can expect a forthcoming issue dedicated to this exhibition.

New York City. I think artistic projects are wonderful vehicles for exploring alternative forms of education, and I’m eager to visit Mumbai-based artist Shilpa Gupta’s exhibition at Amant, a relatively new nonprofit organization in Brooklyn (with a campus designed by SO–IL). At the International Center of Photography, three of my favorite working photographers—Gregory Halpern, Raymond Meeks, and Vasantha Yogananthan—have been brought together to explore what it means to immerse yourself in and record another place or culture.

(OK, OK, one nod to a giant institution: I expect many of you will be interested in “Life Cycles: The Materials of Contemporary Design” and “Emerging Ecologies: Architecture and the Rise of Environmentalism” at MoMA. But don’t miss the survey of photographer An-My Lê, whose powerful vision of America and its landscape she articulated in my March 2020 interview with her for Art in America.)

Adeyemi Michael, still from Entitled, 2018. From “Lagos, Peckham, Repeat.”

Los Angeles. In the past fifteen years, a small and dedicated group of dealers, curators, and artists have elevated the visibility of artist Barbara T. Smith, a pioneering performance artist and LA stalwart. She’s now getting the full hometown treatment, with a survey exhibition at ICA LA and an accompanying catalogue. Another wonderful institution, the California African American Museum, is presenting a touring exhibition exploring the legacies of the Great Migration on leading Black artists. Even if you can’t visit, the programming it generated at earlier presentations in Baltimore and Mississippi is a deep and rewarding rabbit hole for anyone interested in Black life, twentieth-century history, and cultural inheritance.

London. For London visitors with an art-focused itinerary, South London Gallery and Camden Art Centre are about as far apart as you can get. But I nearly always find myself visiting both on my trips. “Lagos, Peckham, Repeat” brings together Nigerian and British-Nigerian artists to understand the social, cultural, and economic links between the London neighborhood and the Nigerian capital. “Tamara Henderson: Green in the Grooves” is a large multimedia presentation of the London-based Canadian artist’s fascination with “the primordial intersection of life beneath and above the Earth’s surface.” Send me airfare and I’ll write a newsletter about both shows and about the urban experience of riding a bike the 15km between them.

Berlin. My Berlin picks win the award for ungainly titles: “As Though We Hid the Sun in a Sea of Stories” at Haus der Kulturen Welt and “The Assault of the Present On the Rest of Time” at Schinkel Pavilion and the Brücke-Museum. The former looks at the the many worlds across North Eurasia that have existed in parallel to the regimes that have controlled this vast land area. The latter is a two-part exhibition, of artists working in the 1930s and today, that explores how artists respond to war. Lastly, as with the CCA in Montreal beginning a long-term project, C/O Berlin launches its long-term consideration of photography and nature with “Image Ecology.”


More stories related to past Frontier Magazine issues.