Must See Exhibitions
Posted By Tom on February 25, 2012
Meller Merceux’s hand-picked guide to what’s coming up in the contemporary art world
Jenny Saville, Museum of Modern art Oxford
Saville is an artist both steeped in traditional skills and thrillingly contemporary in spirit. Her intimate, imposing explorations of the female ﬁgure mark her out as one of the most accomplished painters of her generation. This, her ﬁrst solo show in a public museum, charts her career from the early 90s through to recent work.
23 Jun – 16 Sep
Top Read: The Music of Painting: Music, Modernism, and the Visual Arts
This skilful study highlights paralells between the innovations made by visual artists and composers, tracing interdisciplinary patterns of inﬂuence such as Claude Debussy’s fascination with J.M.W. Turner and the Impressionists. Another fascinating case in point is Wassily Kandinsky, a synaesthete who could ‘hear’ colour.
Misia, Queen of Paris, Musée d’Orsay
In the history of painting, the personality of an artist’s muse can often come across as strongly as that of the man at the easel. Such is the case with Misia Godebska, the legendary Parisian musician, dance patron and model, who sat for artists such as for Pierre Bonnard, and Auguste Renoir and who is celebrated in this intriguing show.
12 Jun – 9 Sep
The Basel Art Fair
Artists and galleries the world over are still adapting to the radical changes that the increasing number of fairs and biennales is having on the art world. Such events make ours an increasingly international industry, offering collectors and curators the chance to absorb an enormous amount of information over just a few days. It’s a process that looks set to continue: the ﬁrst Hong Kong edition of Art Basel has just taken place, a move that seemingly conﬁrms that city’s place as the new centre of the burgeoning Far East Art market. Fairs such as Basel and Frieze have an effect similar to that of the internet, making much more art available to far more people. The processes which determine which artists are in fashion are now taking place at a feverishly accelerated pace. Some have questioned whether fairs are the best place to arrive at a rounded understanding of an artist’s ouevre, and whether such conditions are at all conducive to the traditional role of art as an enabler of contemplation. And yet their role in setting the taste agenda cannot be ignored.
Art Basel claims not simply to support established stars, but to be the best place to spot up-and-coming artists and galleries. This June’s fair in Switzerland features an admittedly Eurocentric selection of 27 solo shows by rising artists. German Oliver Laric catches the eye with his colourful, conceptually-layered explorations of reality and fakery in consumerist culture. One recent piece puts sets the emerging medium of the 3D printer to work, in order to place the Virgin Mary from Basel’s town hall inside a Buddhist Shinto shrine with a box of counterfeit cigarettes. Mexican Edgardo Aragón is the only Latin American on the list, and the young video artist takes us off the beaten track to record the changes occurring within his native landscapes. Aragón’s agonisingly slow takes are at once sublime and sinister, capturing the beauty of remote places while alluding to the escalating drug violence which has engulfed parts of Mexico.
14 – 17 Jun