What to See Across the Americas in September

From Kaari Upson’s first posthumous exhibition at Sprüth Magers, LA, to Clarice Lispector’s brilliant orbit of Brazilian artists at Instituto Moreira Salles, Rio de Janeiro, here are the shows on our radar across the Americas

BY frieze in Exhibition Reviews , US Reviews | 16 SEP 22

‘Kaari Upson: never, never ever, never in my life, never in all my born days, never in all my life, never’

Sprüth Magers, LA

4 August – 8 October 2022

An image of a video screen depicted a deranged-looking woman above a life-sized replica of a fireplace
Kaari Upson, Kris’s Dollhouse (detail), 2017–19, site-specific installation, video, MDF, resin, urethane, pine wood, plywood, Aqua-Resin, pigment, spray paint and aluminum, dimensions variable. Courtesy: © The Art Trust created under Kaari Upson Trust and Sprüth Magers; photograph: Robert Wedemeyer

‘never, never ever, never in my life, never in all my born days, never in all my life, never’ is and is not a posthumous exhibition. Kaari Upson passed away only in August of last year; many of us are still coming to terms with her loss. But to think of this, her first solo show in Los Angeles in over a decade, only in the memorializing terms of the posthumous tribute is distracting, limiting and inaccurate. Comprising work produced between 2015 and 2021, it was planned, in part, by the artist herself, but was repeatedly pushed back due to the pandemic. It was Upson who came up with that exclamatory title. – Jonathan Griffin

‘General Idea’

National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa

3 June – 20 November 2022

An image of a heart-wallpapered room looking into a room with a giant fiberglass replication of an AZT pill
‘General Idea’, 2022, installation view. Courtesy: © General Idea and NGC.

It has been more than half a century since General Idea – the irreverent collective consisting of Jorge Zontal, Felix Partz and A.A. Bronson – came onto the art world stage in 1969 with their zany, pop-inflected socio-political critique and tongue-in-cheek antics. Organized in collaboration with Bronson (General Idea’s sole surviving member) some 28 years after they were last active, the National Gallery’s retrospective – and its hefty accompanying catalogue – encapsulate a quarter century of the collective’s influential practice as post-modern pioneers whose work integrated high-minded conceptualism with mass culture and new media. – Charlene K. Lau

‘Constelação Clarice’ 

Instituto Moreira Salles, Rio de Janeiro

5 May – 9 October 2022

An image of a blocky red sculpture with rugged edges, certain aspects coming foward or backward, in the vague shape of a stocky human
Lygia Clark, Estrutura de caixas de fósforos [Matchbox structure], 1964, gouache and glue on matchboxes, 7 × 7 × 8 cm. Courtesy: the artist; photograph: Everton Ballardin

‘Everything in the world began with a yes’, Clarice Lispector, who was born in the Ukrainian People’s Republic in 1920 and died in Brazil in 1977, wrote in The Hour of the Star (1977). This quote opens ‘Constelação Clarice’, an exhibition of the work of the writer and her contemporaries curated by Veronica Stigger and Eucanaã Ferraz. The show is less about Lispector – who looms large in the world of Brazilian letters – than it is an effort to deploy the author as a point of departure for broader reflections on the intersections of art and literature by Brazilian women in the mid- to late-20th century. –Meg Weeks

FRONT International 2022

Various venues across Cleveland, USA

16 July – 2 October 2022


Wong Kit Yi (黄潔宜), Inner Voice Transplant, 2022, installation view, FRONT International: Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art, Emily Davis Gallery, Meyers School of Art, University of Akron. Courtesy: the artist; photograph: Field Studio.

Fastened inconspicuously to a chain-link gate and leaning against a toppled truck is a small Sol LeWitt folded paper drawing (Untitled, 1973). Above it hangs a vivid Horace Pippin painting of an a cappella quartet (Harmonizing, 1944). Such is the fraught composition of Ahmet Öğüt’s Bakunin’s Barricade (2015–ongoing), a realization of socialist revolutionary Mikhail Bakunin’s unfulfilled 1849 proposal to barricade the Prussian forces with paintings from national museums. On view for the first time outside Europe and drawn from the collection of the Allen Memorial Art Museum in Oberlin – one of the many sites of the 2022 FRONT International: Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art – Bakunin’s Barricade, if requested, must be loaned for use in ‘extreme economic, social, political transformative moments and movements’, according to a contract that hangs adjacent to the installation. That political artworks by Alfredo Jaar, Barbara Kruger and David Wojnarowicz are also affixed makes Öğüt’s work read as an exasperation: if art seems only theoretical against oppression, we might as well use it as a literal line of defence. –Alex Jen

Main image: Kaari Upson, ‘never, never ever, never in my life, never in all my born days, never in all my life, never’, 2022, installation view. Courtesy: © The Art Trust created under Kaari Upson Trust and Sprüth Magers; photograph: Robert Wedemeyer

Contemporary Art and Culture