11 Must-See Shows in Early 2015
A pioneer of kinetic art and Latin American abstraction, Jesús Rafael Soto is renowned for kinetic sculptures and installations that welcome viewers to enter their reach, surround them with color, and prompt them watch and move as optical illusions play out before their eyes. Now, 10 years since his death, the great Venezuelan artist is celebrated in simultaneous exhibitions at Galerie Perrotin’s New York and Paris locations; curated by Matthieu Poirier and realized with the help of the artist’s estate, this major exhibition culls together some 60 works over the two spaces.
A dynamic trio of thirtysomething artists welcome the new year at Almine Rech’s London outpost. Ayan Farah, known for intricately weathered textile works presents a series created with rainwater collected from world travels mixed with mud, pigments, and dyes. Max Lamb shows bronze works—shelves and a chair—that were carved in styrofoam before becoming realized through his iconic method of pouring molten metal into molds created in sand. Chris Succo, who gained international interest in 2014 for canvases that combine process, and gesture, presents white canvases with black scrawls carved out of layers of lacquer and oil.
For his second solo show with Cheim & Read, Tal R presents recent works of female subjects inspired by time spent drawing strangers while living and working as a professor in Düsseldorf’s Altstadt, the city’s “old town,” and reference the art historical undercurrents that run throughout his works. Recalling forebears from Pierre Bonnard to Alice Neel, he presents new paintings of female strangers enclosed in interiors—including hotel rooms, bedrooms, and intimate moments before the mirror and in the shower—and the awkward encounters that ensued as he asked them to pose for him.
Inspired by Federico Fellini’s 1960 La Dolce Vita—a cinematic masterpiece of light and shadow—Galerie kreo takes us back to the film’s rich innovative era, and the years that followed, which were marked by designers who were dedicating themselves to lighting—tackling fluorescent lighting, spatial concerns, the space race, halogen bulbs, and plastic. As the gallery describes, they were the “cinematographers of our interiors and daily landscape.” With an established passion for lighting, in both their London and Paris spaces, Galerie kreo presents works by Italian and French designers from the 1950s through ’70s, including Nanda Vigo, Gino Sarfatti, Pierre Guariche, and Robert Matthieu, among others.
While Christian Marclay set a pretty high bar for himself after The Clock, his new show at White Cube promises to be a worthy second act. Alongside a major solo exhibition of new paintings, videos, and works on paper, the artist has joined forces with the London Sinfonietta chamber orchestra to present a free program of live music—featuring original compositions inspired by his works—every weekend for the duration of the show. If that weren’t enough, The Vinyl Factory will take up residence in the gallery to make records of the performances and Coriander Studio will be on hand to create silkscreened record sleeves. For more information and updates email email@example.com.
German artist Esther Kläs creates process-based sculptures and curates them in installations, creating dialogues among works and prompting consideration of spatial relationships. Playing with scale, gesture, color, and material she engages viewers, who are often caught in the crosshairs of her discourse as they traverse her exhibitions. Her works often incorporate everyday materials including concrete, cement, and styrofoam, and take shape in asymmetrical forms from asymmetrical monoliths to suspended metal tubes to thick slabs of hewn quartzite.
Walter Dahn, a so-called “kindred spirit,” of Richard Prince—who curated his last solo show, in fall 2013 at Venus Over Manhattan—receives a solo show at Spruth Magers in Berlin, following his presentation at Art Berlin Contemporary 2014 with the gallery in the fall. A former student of Joseph Beuys at the Dusseldorf Art Academy—where he encountered Blinky Palermo, Imi Knoebel, and Sigmar Polke—Dahn has carried out an artistic career marked by upending formal art practices, interest and engaging in counter-cultural movements and music.
Through careful experimentations with developer, fixer, and water, Mariah Robertson incites chemical reactions and interrupts them to execute her vibrant photographic works. Electric blues and golds stream together in luminous abstract compositions that form painterly networks of dazzling liquids that seem to glow. Her works engage in conversations around contemporary cameraless and experimental photography—as evidenced by her inclusion in several group exhibitions this year, including “What is a Photograph?” at the International Center of Photography. In her recent solo presentation at Paris Photo L.A. Robertson enveloped viewers in her mesmerizing works, which were assembled in sculptural installations.
Visitors to the 2014 Whitney Biennial will remember Bjarne Melgaard’s immersive—and transgressive—technicolor funhouse installation, and recent visitors to the Miami fairs witnessed his works lining Gavin Brown’s booth at Art Basel and Rod Bianco Gallery at NADA. In his debut solo exhibition at Galerie Forsblom, Melgaard presents his characteristic canvases laden with playful subjects, and liberal daubs and splashes of fluorescent paint.
Known for thoughtful juxtapositions of found objects, Carol Bove receives her first solo presentation at David Zwirner this spring in London. A year and a half since her solo show at Maccarone—a chorus of I-beams, glass plates, concrete blocks, and tubular sculptures that prompted New York Times art critic Roberta Smith to nominate her “one of the best artists of our peculiar moment”—and a year since her yearlong exhibition on the High Line, the show comes on the heels of her current duo show with Carlo Scarpa at Museion - Museo d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea in Italy—and promises peacock feathers.
Delving into themes of the Cultural Revolution, Tiananmen Square protests and immigration, Chinese artist Zhang Dali has been a pioneering figure in Chinese contemporary art, spanning street art, painting, sculpture, installation, and photography. Zhang has been recognized in shows internationally and spanning mainland China in recent years, and in 2015, alongside dedicated museum exhibitions at Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Buenos Aires and Kunstverein Ludwigsburg, Zhang receives his first solo exhibition in Hong Kong at Pékin Fine Arts.
Casey Lesser is Artsy’s Creativity Editor.