Best in Show: 2011–today

The fifth and final part of our series looking back at the most significant exhibitions from the past 25 years


‘This Will Have Been: Art, Love & Politics in the 1980s’, 2011-12, curated by Helen Molesworth (ICA Boston / MCA Chicago)

Jason Foumberg: ‘Whether you experienced the decade as a protester or a passer-by, as a goth or a toddler, the 1980s perennially throws up a degraded copy of itself into our present moment. That era’s ghosts are on rerun, their dirges remixed and sampled for another go-round. These undead greeted visitors to ‘This Will Have Been: Art, Love & Politics in the 1980s’, a touring survey of art from that decade.’

‘Pacific Standard Time’, 2011-12 (various venues, LA)

Sam Thorne: ‘Sniping at the Getty’s activities is nothing new. As early as 1977, Joan Didion noted that, ‘From the beginning, the Getty was said to be vulgar […] ritually dismissed as “inauthentic”, although what “authentic” could mean in this context is hard to say.’ So, when ‘Pacific Standard Time’ (PST) – which was initiated and funded by the Getty Foundation – opened at the end of September, the reactions were fun to watch. Taking in around 70 cultural institutions in Southern California, PST is, as the Getty’s catalogue claims, ‘quite possibly the largest visual arts initiative ever’.’

dOCUMENTA (13), curated by Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, 2012 (various venues, Kassel)

Alex Farquharson: ‘dOCUMENTA (13) is vast, even by Documenta standards. Works by some 190 artists occupy multiple venues and are individually sited as far as the pedestrian-spectator can go – to a river’s edge, beyond the baroque Karlsaue Park and down train tracks, where Kassel’s armaments factories stood during World War II. The exhibition takes at least four or five days to see, and that’s before you’ve taken in any of its public programme of lectures, seminars, screenings, performances, hypnotisms, etc., or begun reading its 100 commissioned essays – by luminaries including Franco ‘Bifo’ Berardi, Judith Butler, Susan Buck-Morss, Boris Groys, Donna Haraway, Suely Rolnik and Michael Taussig – gathered in the hernia-inducing, tree-gorging catalogue The Book of Books.’

Philippe Parreno, ‘Anywhere, Anywhere Out of the World’, 2013 (Palais de Tokyo, Paris)

Rahma Khazam: ‘Parreno’s exhibition at Palais de Tokyo consists of a series of automated tableaux driven by the score of Igor Stravinsky’s Petrushka (1910–11) played on Disklavier pianos connected to computers. Visitors are guided from one tableau to the next by means of a succession of sonic and visual effects. […] Yet despite its spectacular proportions and the occasional descent into cliché, Parreno’s show offers many surprisingly intimate moments.’

Hilma af Klint, ‘A Pioneer of Abstraction’, 2013 (Moderna Museet, Stockholm)

Jennifer Higgie: ‘Hilma Af Klint died in 1944 at the age of 81 (curiously, Mondrian and Kandinsky also died in the same year). In her will, she left more than 1,000 paintings, watercolours and drawings, and 27,000 pages of notebooks – which the Moderna Museet is in the process of digitizing – to her nephew, Erik af Klint. The estate is now owned by a foundation run by her family. She also stipulated that her work could not be shown publicly until 20 years after her death; she believed that the world was not ready to understand the significance of her visions. Hopefully, it is now.’

Other significant exhibitions:

Ryan Trecartin, ‘Any Ever’, 2011 (MoMA PS1, New York); 9th Shanghai Biennial, 2012, curated by Qiu Zhijie (Power Station of Art, Shanghai); ‘Rosemarie Trockel: A Cosmos’, 2012, curated by Lynne Cooke (Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid; New Museum, New York; Serpentine Gallery, London); The Whole Earth, 2013, curated by Diedrich Diederichsen and Anselm Franke (Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin); Steve McQueen, 2013 (Schaulager, Basel); ‘When Attitudes Become Form – Bern 1969/Venice 2013’, 2013, curated by Germano Celant, Thomas Demand and Rem Koolhaas (Fondazione Prada, Venice); Isa Genzken: ‘Retrospective’, curated by Sabine Breitwieser, Laura Hoptman, Michael Darling and Jeffrey Grove, 2013-14 (MoMA, New York); Pierre Huyghe, curated by Emma Lavigne with Florencia Chernajovsky, 2013–14 (Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris / Museum Ludwig, Cologne / LACMA, Los Angeles); Richard Hamilton, curated by Mark Godfrey, Paul Schimmel, Vicente Todolí and Hannah Dewar, 2014 (Tate Modern, London / Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid); Mark Leckey, ‘Lending Enchantment to Vulgar Materials’, curated by Elena Filipovic, 2014-15 (WIELS, Brussels / Museo d’Arte Contemporanea Donnaregina-Madre, Naples / Kunsthalle Basel); 2nd Kochi-Muziris Biennale, 2015, curated by Jitish Kallat (various venues); Dhaka Art Summit, 2016, curated by Diana Campbell Betancourt (Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy); Nicole Eisenman: ‘Al-urg-ories’, curated by Helga Christoffersen and Massimiliano Gioni, 2016 (New Museum, New York); ‘Francis Picabia: A Retrospective’, curated by Cathérine Hug, 2016 (Kunsthaus Zurich).

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