BY frieze in Reviews | 25 MAY 21

The 7 Best Shows to See Around the World this Summer

From Darrel Ellis's family photographs in New York to Pakui Hardware's medical examination room in Gateshead, here are our editors' picks 

BY frieze in Reviews | 25 MAY 21

Untitled (Portrait of Joseph Tansle, Artist's Great Uncle), c. 1980–90 22 x 14 1/2 inches (55.9 x 36.8 cm)Pen and ink on paper ©Darrel Ellis EstateCourtesy Candice Madey, New YorkPhoto credit: Adam Reich
Darrel Ellis, Untitled (Portrait of Joseph Tansle, Artist's Great Uncle), c.1980–90, pen and ink on paper, 60 × 37 cm. Courtesy: © Darrel Ellis Estate and Candice Madey, New York; photograph: Adam Reich

Darrel Ellis 'A Composite Being' 

Candice Madey, New York

One day in 1982, a decade before 33-year-old conceptual photographer and portrait artist Darrel Ellis lost his life to AIDS, he found a trove of negatives and photographs taken by his father, Thomas, in the 1950s. They are joyous images that show the artist’s mother, his Aunt Lena and Uncle Donny in their homes in Harlem and the South Bronx; children hopscotching across chalk-drawn squares; and the subjects captured by his father at his small portrait studio he kept before he became a postal worker. Tragically, Ellis never met his father: in 1958, a few months before the artist was born, Thomas was killed by two plainclothes police officers. – Shiv Kotecha


Untitled, 1995. Laura Owens (American, b. 1970). Acrylic, oil, enamel, marker, and ink on canvas; 72.25 x 84.25 in. Copyright Laura Owens. Courtesy of the artist; Sadie Coles HQ, London; and Galerie Gisela Capitain, Cologne. Photography by Douglas M. Parker Studio
Laura Owens, Untitled, 1995, acrylic, oil, enamel, marker, and ink on canvas, 183 × 214 cm. Courtesy: the artist, Sadie Coles HQ, London and Galerie Gisela Capitain, Cologne; photography: Douglas M. Parker Studio 

Laura Owens 'Rerun’ 

Transformer Station, Cleveland

Deploying local teens as part of its curatorial team, the exhibition ‘Laura Owens: Rerun’, at the Cleveland Museum of Art’s (CMA) contemporary-art outpost, Transformer Station, suggests that Owens and her teenage interlocutors were a sympathetic pairing. Owens, who draws from colouring-book pages and deploys paint with exhilarating freedom, has borrowed from and alluded to the spirit of childhood artmaking in her paintings for several years. As such, ‘Rerun’ has recruited possibly the most fitting local experts to interpret Owens’s oeuvre: adolescents for whom the memory and material culture of childhood is not a matter of decades ago but mere months. – Grant Klarich Johnson

pakui hardware virtual care
Pakui Hardware, 'Virtual Care', 2021, installation view, commissioned by BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art. Courtesy: the artists and carlier|gebauer, Berlin/Madrid; photograph: Rob Harris 

Pakui Hardware 'Virtual Care'

Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead

Pakui Hardware’s intervention, ‘Virtual Care’ (2021), is pared back and clinical. Designed in collaboration with Lithuanian architecture studio Isora x Lozuraityte, this seven-and-a-half-metre-tall, shrine-like space, fitted with oversized light panels and mismatched LEDs, evokes a dated surgery. Slate-grey vinyl flooring swallows all sounds of life while the luminescent exterior paint echoes the precise blue-grey of a N95 face mask. In the centre of the room, a giant mechanical general practitioner (GP) dangles from the ceiling, its glass eyes surveilling yet tender. All metal brawn and sheen, the machine flexes a hi-tech muscularity, but it is equally gossamer and vulnerable, swaying with the slightest movement of bodies in the room. – Alice Bucknell


everlyn nicodemus silent strength
Everlyn Nicodemus, Silent Strength no 33, 1990, oil on canvas, 70 × 80 cm. Courtesy: the artist and Richard Saltoun Gallery, London

'On Hannah Arendt: What Is Authority?'

Richard Saltoun Gallery, London

‘On Hannah Arendt: What Is Authority?’ – the third in a series of exhibitions themed around the work of the 20th-century political philosopher – sees artists Lili Dujourie, Everlyn Nicodemus and Lerato Shadi toy with different perspectives of authority, as wielded from the individual to the state. Disentangling the term from its common association with totalitarian power, Arendt’s titular 1954 essay seeks instead to reclaim authority as ‘authentic and indisputable experiences common to all’ and ‘an obedience in which men retain their freedom’ – a definition more in line with individual agency. – Aurella Yussuf

David Bestué, Pomes, xiprer, barca, barranc, (Apples, Cypress, Boat, Ravine, 2021), desiccated fruit, wood and earth, 110 x 40 cm each. Courtesy: the artist and Centre d’Art La Panera, Lleida

David Bestué 'Pastorial'

Centre d’Art La Panera, Lleida

‘Pastoral’, the title of David Bestué’s exhibition at Centre d’Art La Panera in Lleida, is intended as somewhat ironic. Although it may seem idyllic, the countryside around the city has a history of distress: not only was it the scene of some of the most brutal episodes of the Spanish Civil War (1936–39), but intensive farming and irrigation, especially for fruit cultivation, has also steadily industrialized its steppeland in recent decades. Like the derelict buildings that pockmark Lleida’s urban fabric, Bestué’s exhibition summons a terrain that is barely held together, on the verge of becoming undone. – Max Andrews

Liv Schulman, Eurropa, 2021, installation view, CRAC Alsace. Courtesy: the artist and CRAC Alsace; photograph: Aurélien Mole

Liv Schulman 'Eurropa'

CRAC Alsace

Argentine artist Liv Schulman is known for making videos with narratives that explore subjects as diverse as the economy, the conditions of creation and the processes of alienation. For last year’s edition of steirischer herbst, for instance, she produced Brown, Yellow, White and Dead (2020) – a four-part video series addressing the phenomenon of the prosumer. In ‘Eurropa’, Schulman’s current exhibition at CRAC Alsace, the artist responds to Altkirch’s location on the border of three European countries: France, Germany and Switzerland. – Oriane Durand

'Top Stories', 2021, exhibition view, Kunstverein, Amsterdam. Courtesy: the artist and Kunstverein, Amsterdam 

Anne Turyn 'Top Stories'

Kunstverein, Amsterdam

Currently the subject of an eponymous exhibition at Kunstverein, Amsterdam, Top Stories (1978–91) was a series of chapbooks made by the writer and photographer Anne Turyn. Reflecting the artistic milieu of Hallwalls – an alternative art space in Buffalo, New York, where Turyn co-programmed events – each issue of the periodical was entirely dedicated to a single female writer and included short works of autofiction, with second-wave feminism, the AIDS epidemic and the rise of the internet as recurring themes. Originally sold for US$1 per issue, Top Stories is now a collector’s item, reflecting a renewed interested in the era’s progressive artists and writers, including Kathy Acker, Constance DeJong and Pati Hill – all of whom had issues dedicated to them. – Julie Mullié 

Main image: Anne Turyn, 'Top Stories', 2021, exhibition view, Kunstverein, Amsterdam. Courtesy: the artist and Kunstverein, Amsterdam

Contemporary Art and Culture