Looking Forward 2018: the Americas

Cultural highlights of the year ahead

Pablo León de la Barra
Chelsea Hodson
Miriam Katzeff
Amy Sillman


Eugenio Espinoza, Untitled (Circumstantial [12 coconuts]) , 1971, acrylic on canvas, coconuts, and rope, 150 x 150 x 25 cm. Included in ‘Memories of Underdevelopment’, Museo Jumex, 2018. Courtesy: © the artist; photograph: Sid Hoeltzell, Miami 2015.

Eugenio Espinoza, Untitled (Circumstantial [12 coconuts]) , 1971, acrylic on canvas, coconuts, and rope, 150 x 150 x 25 cm. Included in ‘Memories of Underdevelopment’, Museo Jumex, 2018. Courtesy: © the artist; photograph: Sid Hoeltzell, Miami 2015.

Pablo León de la Barra
Pablo León de la Barra is Curator at Large, Latin America at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum.

I’m looking forward to a number of exhibitions across the Americas this year. In March, ‘Memories of Underdevelopment’ will open at Mexico City’s Museo Jumex. Curated by Julieta González, the exhibition explores artistic responses to the failed process of modernization during the 1960s and ’70s in Latin America.

In June, the 10th Berlin Biennale will open under the proposal to research ‘strategies of self-preservation as acts of dismantling dominant structures and building from a non-hierarchical position’. One hopes that the all-black curatorial team – headed by artistic director Gabi Ngcobo with Thiago de Paula, Nomaduma Rosa Masilela, Yvette Mutumba and Moses Serubiri – will dismantle and expand understandings of ‘blackness’ in art while addressing the too-white ‘Western’ art world. That same month, ‘Historias Afro-Atlanticas’ will open at MASP in São Paulo and continue until October. Curated by Adriano Pedrosa, Lilia Schwartz and Ayrson Heráclito, the exhibition continues the research the team began with 2014’s ‘Historias Mestizas’, this time with an emphasis on the decolonization of art histories through an analysis of the influence of Africa on the art of the Americas. In fact, this year’s entire programme at MASP is dedicated to artists of ‘Afro-Atlantic’ origin.

In the US, SITE Santa Fe Biennial will open in August. As a member of the curatorial team for the previous biennial and as someone who saw the first edition, I’m very much looking forward to this year’s exhibition – the third under SITE Director Irene Hoffman, who has refocused the Biennial on the Americas. This year’s show is titled ‘Casa Tomada’ (Spanish for ‘house taken over’) and is curated by Ruba Katrib, Candice Hopkins and Jose Luis Blondet.

Later in the year, I’m looking forward to Raul Quintanilla’s retrospective at MADC (Museo de Arte y Diseño Contemporaneo de Costa Rica), which opens in September. Under the direction of Fiorella Resenterra, the MADC has occupied a unique position in Central America, a region replete with interesting artists but lacking in a strong cultural infrastructure. MADC’s recent programme has continuously presented mid-career exhibitions and given visibility to a range of Central American artists, including Benvenuto Chavajay from Guatemala, Adan Vadecillo from Honduras, Simon Vega from El Salvador and Oscar Figueroa from Costa Rica. It has also recognized the work of an earlier generation of artists, like Victoria Cabezas from Costa Rica. It’s in this line of work that Quintanilla’s exhibition inserts itself. Born in Nicaragua in 1954, he has been influential force in the region through his writing and teachings, and in sculpture that resembles archeological objects that fuse different historical confirm this.


Colin Winnette, The Job of the Wasp, 2018. Courtesy: Soft Skull Press

Colin Winnette, The Job of the Wasp, 2018. Courtesy: Soft Skull Press

Chelsea Hodson
Chelsea Hodson is the author of Tonight, I’m Someone Else, forthcoming from Henry Holt this June.

2018 is going to be a great year for books, and I’ve got my eye on quite a few. In January, there’s Colin Winnette’s The Job of the Wasp (Soft Skull Press), which I’ve been excited to read ever since he hired a group of singers to interrupt his reading at The Kitchen last year. Then, in March, Soft Skull is publishing a book I really love: Men and Apparitions, the first novel in twelve years by the legendary Lynne Tillman [a frieze columnist]. In April, I’m most looking forward to seeing the world through Alexander Chee’s eyes via his book of essays, How to Write an Autobiographical Novel (HMH Books). And in the fall, Brad Phillips’ debut story collection, Never Forget to Not Forgive, will be published by Tyrant Books – a publisher I turn to when I’m in the mood to ‘be devastated’, and this book is no exception.


Sondra Perry, It's In the Game, 2017, video still. Courtesy: the artist and Bridget Donahue, New York

Sondra Perry, It's In the Game, 2017, video still. Courtesy: the artist and Bridget Donahue, New York

Miriam Katzeff
Miriam Katzeff is an editor of Brooklyn-based publisher Primary Information.

I am looking forward to Sondra Perry's exhibition at Bridget Donahue in January (7 January - 25 February), Budd Hopkins at Downs and Ross in May, and Howie Chen and Andy Lampert's self-help book for the art world (not sure of the title) which will be published by Badlands Unlimited.


Jutta Koether, Spring, 2012, oil on canvas, 1.6 x 2.2 m. Courtesy: the artist and Bortolami, New York

Jutta Koether, Spring, 2012, oil on canvas, 1.6 x 2.2 m. Courtesy: the artist and Bortolami, New York

Amy Sillman
Amy Sillman’s exhibition ‘Mostly Drawing’ runs at Gladstone Gallery, New York, from 26 January – 3 March.


1. I'm hoping to soon receive my Speech/Acts catalogue from the Institute of Contemporary Art Philadelphia, which I've been waiting for.
2. I’ve been trying to understand Alenka Zupančič’s new book, What IS Sex? (Short Circuits 2017).
3. Anni Albers’s Notebook 1970-1980, which came out already but I haven't seen it yet.
4. I’m also hoping that Isabelle Graw and Kerstin Stakemeier's new books on art and painting are translated into English soon!
5. Reading Ed Halter's new book (with Barney Rosset), From the Third Eye: The Evergreen Review Film Reader (Seven Stories Press 2018).
6. Two upcoming books on galleries by Dancing Foxes Press: one on Pat Hearn Gallery and American Fine Arts and another on Orchard Street Gallery.


1. Jutta Koether, ‘Tour de Madame’ at Museum Brandhorst, Munich (18 May - 21 October).
2. Ian White’s ‘Any Frame is a Thrown Voice’ at Camden Art Centre, London (19 April – 24 June).
3. A retrospective of Hilma af Klint at the Guggenheim, New York (12 October 2018 - 27 January 2019), which then travel to the Museum of Contemporary Arts Los Angeles, and its catalogue.
4. Sara Magenheimer, ‘Noon’ at the New Museum, New York (24 January - 15 April).
5. Amelie von Wulffen at Reena Spaulings, New York.
6. Arthur Jafa and Jacolby Satterwhite at Gavin Brown’s enterprise, New York.
7. Nick Mauss (March) and Mary Corse (June) at the Whitney Museum, New York.
8. ‘Before/On/After: William Wegman and California Conceptualism’ at the Met Breuer, New York (17 January - 15 July).
9. Rodney McMillian at the Contemporary Austin (1 February - 26 August).
10. Terry Winters, ‘Facts and Fictions’ at The Drawing Center, New York (6 April - 12 August).
11. Judith Hopf, ‘Stepping Stairs’ at KW, Berlin (10 February – 15 April).
12. The Hairy Who show at the Art Institute of Chicago (1 September 2018 - 6 January 2019).
13. ‘Now and Forever: The Art of Medieval Time’ at The Morgan Library, New York (26 January - 29 April).
14. ‘Fantastic! Alfred Kubin and the Blue Rider Circle’ at the Lenbachhaus, Munich (16 October 2018 - 17 February 2019).


1. Claire Denis's High Life (2018), her new sci-fi adventure film.
2. Light Industry's show devoted to the old DYKE TV cable show.


1. The next season of FOX’s Brooklyn 9-9, especially after the episode when Rosa comes out as queer (does everyone know that B9-9 is a hilarious show that some of the smartest people I know are secretly addicted to?!).
2. Next season of Netflix’s House of Cards after whatshisname is off the show.
3. Next season of HBO’s VEEP (after Selina Meyer stops trying to be President – I don't know what happens?).

And ...

1. The ongoing, entertaining Instagram presences of both K8 Hardy (@k8hardball) and Zoie Fenty (@iamzoie). (I hate that corporate social media algorithmic bullshit, but some people do it right! I look forward to all posts where people gripe, opine, grieve, argue, love, honour and show you interesting shit, and DON'T only advertise themselves.)
2. Also, like everyone on earth, I really look forward to Bobby ‘Threesticks’ Mueller ripping the carpet out from under the criminals … as soon as possible please!

Main image: William Wegman; Pat (detail), 1997, colour Polaroid; 61 x 51 cm. Courtesy: the artist and Sperone Westwater, New York

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