BY frieze in Exhibition Reviews | 17 NOV 23

The Top Shows to See in the EU This November

From Moki Cherry's feminist reimagining of family life to a captivating retrospective of the self-declared mystic James Lee Byars

BY frieze in Exhibition Reviews | 17 NOV 23


Museion, Bolzano

30 September – 25 February 2024

Suzanne Treister, SURVIVOR (F)/Fashion designs for space travel/Rainbow Spaceship Dress 03, 2016–19
Suzanne Treister, SURVIVOR (F)/Fashion designs for space travel/Rainbow Spaceship Dress 03, 2016–19, watercolour. Courtesy: the artist and Annely Juda Fine Art, London

Conceived as anthropomorphic sculptures that reflect on the physical boundaries between the self and the world, Nicola L.’s series of interactive and wearable works, ‘Sun & Moon Giant Pénétrables’ (c.1996), are a fitting lens through which to view ‘HOPE’, the third instalment of ‘TECHNO HUMANITIES’, a three-year multidisciplinary research project launched by Museion in 2021. Aiming to turn the institution ‘into a production site of wonder, merging science and fiction to evoke hope through individual and collective imaginations’, according to the press materials, the show posits that it is only through such experiments in speculative worldbuilding that we can ‘re-enchant the world’ and take back our future. – Giovanna Manzotti 

Moki Cherry

Moderna Museet, Malmo

23 September – 3 March 2024

Moki Cherry, The Organic Music Theatre or The Living Temple, 1971
Moki Cherry, The Organic Music Theatre or The Living Temple, 1971. Courtesy: Corbett vs Dempsey and Bildupphovsrätt 2023

‘The stage as a home, and the home as a stage,’ was the motto by which the late Swedish artist and textile designer Moki Cherry lived. A creator of art and artistic communities, Cherry produced a celebratory and colourful oeuvre that is impressive in its interdisciplinary range and quietly radical in its commitment to a feminist reimagining of family life and artmaking. Now, more than a decade after her death, Cherry is the subject of the Moderna Museet retrospective ‘A Journey Eternal’, which begins with her close collaboration with her husband, legendary American jazz musician Don Cherry, and briefly touches on the work she created later in life as an artist in her own right. – Zoe Cooper

Pablo Picasso

Guggenheim Museum Bilbao and Museo Picasso Málaga

29 September ­– 14 January 2024 and 3 October – 31 March 2024

Pablo Picasso, Femme assise, un chat sur les genoux (Seated Woman with a Cat on her Knees), 1964
Pablo Picasso, Femme assise, un chat sur les genoux (Seated Woman with a Cat on her Knees), 1964, oil-modified paint on canvas, 146 × 89 cm. Courtesy: Fundación Almine y Bernard Ruiz-Picasso; photograph: Hugard & Vanoverschelde/© Succession Pablo Picasso, VEGAP

What else is there to know about Pablo Picasso 50 years after his death? Something, evidently. With the support of the French and Spanish governments, the Musée Picasso–Paris and the artist’s grandson and heir, Bernard Ruiz-Picasso, are marking the anniversary with a programme of some 50 exhibitions and events worldwide. ‘Picasso Sculptor. Matter and Body’ at the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, and ‘The Echo of Picasso’ at the Museo Picasso Málaga are two of the more prominent exhibitions of this ‘Picasso Celebration 1973–2023’ series. But what exactly is being celebrated?

Spain’s cultural calendar often seems to orbit around such tribute numerology; whether that encompasses 2004’s ‘Dalí. Mass Culture’ exhibition at Barcelona’s CaixaForum as part of the centennial of the birth of Salvador Dalí, or the resuscitation of Antoni Tàpies with the centenary retrospective that tours to the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía and the artist’s eponymous foundation next year. And while it might seem curious to toast a death, Picasso’s colossal reputation as the influencer-in-chief of modern art means this year is perhaps better understood as marking five decades of something akin to a Picasso-industrial complex. – Max Andrews

Ima-Abasi Okon

Kunstverein in Hamburg

9 September – 7 January 2024

Ima-Abasi Okon 2023
Ima-Abasi Okon, ‘Avg Pace: S %~E~L%~A%~ H%~s%~peri£meno£pau£sal~P%~S%~A %~L ~M%~’S km —(t!h!a!t-yes-t!!hhat incumbent experiential plane to reorganise a c,a,p,a,c,i,t,y of never having enough— Not as a whole but as aprecise h!e!a!p of digni-fide agility)’, 2023, exhibition view. Courtesy: the artist and Kunstverein in Hamburg

Care and confrontation collide in the works of Ima-Abasi Okon. For her institutional debut in Germany, at Kunstverein in Hamburg, the London- and Amsterdam-based artist considers the building’s former purpose as the city’s market hall – a place for exchange of goods and ideas – to make visible the power play present within the German legal system. Her proposition is two-fold: an exhibition on the ground floor, ‘S.t.a.n.d.a.r.d. P.r.a.c.t.i.c.e.’, explores the licence agreements of photographic reproductions, while another exhibition on the first floor, ‘Avg Pace …’, features a new commission that looks at the (often arbitrary) ways in which legal authorization is granted or denied. – Maximiliane Leuschner

James Lee Byars

Pirelli HangarBicocca, Milan

12 October – 18 February 2024

James Lee Byars in front of The Door of Innocence, 1986-87
James Lee Byars in front of The Door of Innocence, 198687. Courtesy: Castello di Rivoli Museo d’Arte Contemporanea, Turin; photograph: Elio Montanari

The spectre of James Lee Byars – or, rather, his extravagant persona, clad in a gold suit and a top hat – looms over this captivating retrospective. But what would this self-declared mystic, with his aristocratic bearing and reverence for beauty, have thought of his works being exhibited inside the cavernous, former-industrial spaces of Milan’s Pirelli HangarBicocca? Perhaps it would have appealed to Byars’s Detroit roots, a coming full circle of sorts? Or, perhaps more likely, the concrete venue would have been a non-starter for a man who travelled to Cairo to see its resplendent pyramids from his hotel as he lay dying from cancer in 1997. – Ana Vukadin

Main image: Moki Cherry, Brown Rice, 1975. Courtesy: Moderna Museet, Malmö Bildupphovsrätt 2023; photograph: Prallan Allsten

Contemporary Art and Culture