Culture, as many other certainly more mentioned sectors, has been hit by a wave of total and destabilising uncertainty: exhibitions do not open, museums close, projects are postponed until a later date, artists delay their deadlines, insiders are struggling and looking for alternative ways, increasingly taking refuge in the digital world, where they try to find their place. Saying goodbye to the injurious 2020 we hope to leave behind us a very black page of history, ready to look positively at the newly arrived 2021 and specially to return to museums all over the world to nourish ourselves with art and culture, which in recent months has been unjustly removed from the basic necessities list, undermined and replaced by poor substitutes that want us behind a screen as passive spectators, rather than as moving bodies and alert minds capable of critical thought. Therefore, aware that the cards could be dealt again, we look forward to a series of exhibitions that are already scheduled in some of the best institutions around the globe.
On 3 February the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris hosts an exhibition (produced in collaboration with Düsseldorf’s K21) devoted to the German artist Hito Steyerl’s work (1966), a retrospective selection of her work which, through the most recent technologies, invites us to reflect on how they are able to reshape reality, an exhibition project (accompanied by two publications) that will take as its starting point the peculiar architecture of the Parisian museum.
The tour of the major exhibition dedicated to Sophie Taueber-Arp (1889-1943), entitled “Living Abstraction”, begins on 20 March at the Kunstmuseum Basel. It will then move over to London’s Tate Modern in July and to New York’s MOMA in November (in fact, the exhibition has been jointly organised by the three museums). This is the largest retrospective devoted to this abstractionism pioneer who has managed to cross the boundaries between art and design.
From 21 March in Venice, Palazzo Grassi – Punta della Dogana hosts “Bruce Nauman: Contrapposto Studies”, a major exhibition dedicated to the American artist Bruce Nauman (1941) in which, in addition to the series of the “Contrapposto Studies, historical works are shown as well, within an immersive exhibition itinerary, that highlight the themes of the artist’s research: from sound to performance and space.
Starting in April, the Palais de Tokyo provides “Carte Blanche à Anne Imhof”, a German artist (born in 1978) who won the Golden Lion at the Venice Biennale in 2017 with FAUST and who the Parisian institution is now asking to create an exhibition project within its spaces, continuing the “Carte Blanche”’s series already begun with Parreno, Seghal, Henrot and Saraceno. For the occasion, Imhof will lay bare the Palais de Tokyo’s spaces, taking the public on a spiral descent into the bowels of the building, through her own works and those of other guest artists.
Again in April, the Milan’s PAC hosts the desired Tania Bruguera’s solo exhibition (1968), a Cuban artist and activist whose performances and installations examine the structures of power and explore the ways in which art can be applied to everyday political life. A selection of her most important actions will be presented in Milan along with unreleased works created for the occasion. Already in February 2020, the artist had put up 200 posters around the city depicting the 12 stars of the European flag joined by barbed wire and accompanied by the text “The poor treatment of migrants today will be our dishonour tomorrow”.
On 18 April, the Fondation Beyeler opens an Olafur Eliasson’s exhibition project whose information are still unknown except that “the artist is transforming the museum to offer an immersive, cross-border exploration of our ideas of nature and culture”.
On 10 September, instead, will open a promising research project on the Marcel Broodthaers’ poèmes industriels, a Belgian artist (1924-1976) who was one of the European conceptual art founding fathers, at the Wiels in Brussels. This part of the artist’s production (realized between 1968 and 1972) is still unfamiliar, but for the occasion about a hundred poèmes industriels will be presented, a sort of puzzle that highlights the non-coincidence between sign and linguistic meaning, as well as playing with the idea of text as image and image as text.
Finally, 2021 is the year of Momentum11 as well, the Norwegian biennale whose title for this edition is “House of Commons”. The dates and the programme of the exhibition, curated by Théo-Mario Coppola, will be announced later, but the project revolves around the concept of “commons” developed by Elinor Ostrom since the 1980s.