in Critic's Guides | 01 JAN 09
Featured in
Issue 120

Looking Forward

18 critics and curators on what they’re looking forward to in 2009

in Critic's Guides | 01 JAN 09

Sara VanDerBeek, Eclipse 1, 2008, 'Amazement Park', Tang Museum, Saratoga Springs

Bill Arning

While researching Stan VanDerBeek’s MIT years, I learnt that Ian Berry at The Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs was looking at another aspect of this visionary artist and filmmaker. Berry has consistently managed to push curatorial practice without making shows as academic exercises. With ‘Amazement Park: Stan, Sara and Johannes VanDerBeek’ he will look at the VanDerBeek family’s inter-artistic discussions. The two younger VanDerBeek kids, Johannes and Sara – both of whom have very busy lives as exhibiting artists and gallerists – were always in dialogue with their deceased father only via his art. Berry will frame this fraught literal version of the anxiety of anxiety in the form of a year-long lively morphing exhibition.

Mark Beasley

Performa 09; Guido van der Werve’s forthcoming film shot on the rim of the active volcano in Mount St Helens; and, as the art market crumbles, the return of artist-run initiatives.

Lizzie Carey-Thomas

I’m looking forward to the reopening of the newly expanded Whitechapel Art Gallery, whose absence has left a hole in London over the past year or so. I’m also watching Chisenhale’s programme unfold under the new directorship of Polly Staple and the relaunch of The Showroom under Emily Pethick. There’s Daniel Birnbaum’s 53rd Venice Biennale, of course, and Marc Camille Chaimowicz’ solo exhibition at the Vienna Secession will definitely be worth a visit.

Fabio Cypriano

In Brazil, three events on the arts circuit mean that 2009 appears more promising than 2008. The Argentinian curator Victoria Noorthoorn and the Chilean curator Camilo Yáñez are organizing the 6th Mercosul Biennial in Porto Alegre, Brazil, giving priority to the activities and participation of artists. The pair are co-ordinating an extensive curatorial team of artists to carry out the selection of artists, putting into practice a new model for the Biennial. Adriano Pedrosa will be responsible for the 31st Panorama of Brazilian Art at the São Paulo Museum of Modern Art in October. It is the country’s first large exhibition to have Pedrosa as head curator – at long last. The opening of Casa Daros in Rio de Janeiro is planned for the second half of the year, which will be housed in a 10,000-square-metre 19th-century building that has been subject to a radical renovation by prominent architects Pedro and Paulo Mendes da Rocha. The new space ought to change Rio de Janeiro’s cultural scene and promote a shift away from the current situation of state-operated museums with poor programming.

Max Delany

As the Antipodean art world shuts down for the summer recess (ducking for cover amid global economic meltdown), attention turns towards more sensual pursuits, such as the music festival ‘All Tomorrow’s Parties’, curated by Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds, which will see the reformation of legendary punk and post-punk outfits including The Saints and Laughing Clowns, alongside a roster of contemporary ensembles, to be held at Mount Buller in Victoria’s mountain ranges. Later in the year will be the sixth edition of the Asia Pacific Triennial at Brisbane’s recently opened Gallery of Modern Art. On a more modest note, Mira Gojak, an artist who deserves wider recognition, will show a new body of work at Murray White Room in Melbourne 2009.

Tessa Giblin

Billy Apple’s solo exhibition in the Netherlands at Rotterdam’s Witte de With will bring one of New Zealand’s most important Conceptual artists to Europe at a time when much of the foundation of his oeuvre – economic trade, fiscal value-systems and the artistic possibilities in undermining and destabilizing the established market system – are captivating the eyes and ears of much of the art world. Also to be looked forward to is the exhibition ‘For the blind man in the dark room looking for the black cat that isn’t there’, curated by Anthony Huberman at the Contemporary Art Museum St Louis, USA, in September, around ideas of speculation, fascination, curiosity and confusion, and insisting on the importance of things we don’t understand, as well as Alex Farquharson’s programme at Nottingham Contemporary when it opens its doors in late spring.

Massimiliano Gioni

The Venice Biennale, of course, and the Istanbul Biennial.

Bart van der Heide

November features an extensive retrospective on filmmaker Harun Farocki as part of Stuart Comer’s film programme at Tate Modern, London. This unique occasion will be accompanied by an exhibition of Farocki’s installations at Raven Row, the promising addition to the capital’s art world, which opens in February with an exhibition by Ray Johnson. Also in London, The Showroom (with new director Emily Pethick) will co-produce, together with Gasworks, the new film by The Otolith Group. At Chisenhale, recently appointed Director Polly Staple’s programme will open with a new film by Anja Kirschner and David Panos; and I am looking forward to Rebecca Warren’s solo show at the Serpentine Gallery. Martin Clark’s programme at Tate St Ives also looks most promising.

Sergio Mah

This year, London’s Tate Modern will dedicate a retrospective to Pedro Costa’s filmic work, offering a great opportunity to give one of the most singular contemporary filmmakers the attention his work deserves.

Susanne Pfeffer

I’m looking forward to the change in the art world that will result from the current economic recession. The history of art shows that such times were always favourable for art.

Simon Rees

The ‘Eastern European’ region will be heavily impacted by the opening of several new institutions. At the end of 2008, the DOX Centre for Contemporary Art (the region’s first private museum) launched in Prague with the cheekily titled ‘Welcome to Capitalism!’ exhibition, while the expanded Museum Sztuki in Lodz opened as ms2, housing a gem of a collection of mid-20th-century avant-garde art works. This year, Lithuania will inaugurate its National Art Gallery for 20th- and 21st-century art with an exhibition contextualizing the Lithuanian modernist M.K. Ciurlionis amongst his peers – including Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee and Edvard Munch. Hopefully, the expanded horizons delivered by these new institutions can reinvigorate local scenes suffering from communist-era aphasia.

João Ribas

When each year limps to its end, we turn, Janus-faced, to the failures and foibles of the one that has passed, eager for the one to come. The best words are Percy Bysshe Shelley’s: ‘We look before and after/ And pine for what is not:/ Our sincerest laughter/ With some pain is fraught.’ Now we do so with more uncertainty and perhaps less promise, yet maybe also with irony. As Marcel Duchamp wrote about New York almost a century ago: ‘The feeling of the market here is so disgusting. Painters and paintings go up and down like Wall Street stock.’

Beatrix Ruf

I’d like to see more thoughtfully selected and well-planned shows like Barbara Bloom’s ‘The Collections of Barbara Bloom’. A hybrid of self-curated mid-career retrospective and a more general reflection on retrospectives, the exhibition – at New York’s International Center of Photography and Berlin’s Martin-Gropius-Bau – served as an installation, a private Wunderkammer, a comment on collecting and a self-portrait. I’d also like to see more projects that turn small-scale solo exhibitions into full insights of an artist’s practice, like Lucy McKenzie’s ‘Projects 88’ at MoMA, New York, and Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster’s intelligent use of the monumental and the monument in her installation in Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall in London.

Ingrid Schaffner

In brief: Bruce Nauman at the American Pavilion at the 53rd Venice Biennale (organized by colleagues at the Philadelphia Museum of Art) and surveys of the painters Marlene Dumas and Peter Doig. Working with Glenn Adamson has inducted me into a discourse on craft that is gaining critical ground within contemporary art – and has me eager to read the next issue of The Journal of Modern Craft.

Devika Singh

I am curious to see what Steve McQueen will present at the 53rd Venice Biennale’s British Pavilion. McQueen has taken many risks throughout his career – recently with Queen and Country (2007–ongoing) and his first feature film, Hunger (2008) – without ever being gratuitously provocative; this raises the bar very high. Several exciting artists have recently emerged from Pakistan, including Mohammad Ali Talpur and Rashid Rana. The latter is curating a show dedicated to Pakistani art for the Devi Art Foundation in Gurgaon, India: something I look forward to.

Michael Stanley

Inevitably there will be much interest in Nicolas Bourriaud’s climax to his time as Gulbenkian Curator of Contemporary Art at Tate Britain with the Tate Triennial and his adoption of a new thesis in ‘Altermodern’. In terms of solo exhibitions, I’m looking forward to London’s Camden Arts Centre’s presentation of Andro Wekua.

Gigiotto Del Vecchio

As the world’s financial crisis deepens, having seemingly compromised even the mere envisioning of a future, we can only hope that art will gain strength from this situation. Thought, research and study may help us to weather the crisis a lot better than any form of commercial entertainment.

Pauline J. Yao

I am looking forward to seeing Hou Hanru’s upcoming exhibition at San Francisco Art Institute, ‘Everyday Miracles (Extended)’, featuring female Asian artists. I suppose we have moved past the point where a show concentrating on women artists necessarily needs to be curated by a woman, but I am still interested to see how Hou contextualizes the work of these doubly marginalized artists. In this moment of global economic downturn, I think we are all eagerly waiting to see what the future holds. This is especially the case in China, where several contemporary art museum projects are currently underway, and energy towards building infrastructure is just beginning to gain momentum.