Ai Weiwei, Jeff Elrod, Joan Mitchell, Thomas Struth et al.
Inaugural Installations: Kinder Building (group show)
The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
21 November 2020 – 31 December 2021
The Nancy and Rich Kinder Building is dedicated to the Museum’s international collections of modern and contemporary art. The soaring spaces feature displays that span media encompassing painting and sculpture, craft and design, video, and immersive installations. It will open with the first comprehensive installation of these works, drawn from the collections of Latin American and Latino art; photography; prints and drawings; decorative arts, craft, and design; and modern and contemporary art.
These first installations in the Kinder Building are accompanied by eight major site-specific commissioned works that will be inaugurated at the time of the opening. Commissioned artists are El Anatsui, Byung Hoon Choi, Carlos Cruz-Diez, Ólafur Elíasson, Trenton Doyle Hancock, Cristina Iglesias, Jason Salavon, and Ai Weiwei.
Museum of Fine Arts
Purgatory (solo show)
Aedes Architecture Forum, Berlin
31 October 2020 – 7 January 2021
The installation Purgatory represents both a physical and spiritual transit space, as it emerges at any time all over the world in diverse configurations – as a border space, a refugee camp, a mobile space, a thought space – for millions of people, who are simultaneously in a state of movement as well as in a state of waiting, departure, escape, hope, despair, happiness; between the place they have left and that of their destiny or longing; on their way home, to a temporary outland or into exile. Ai Weiwei's work at Aedes is an adaptation of the project Bus Shelter he had placed citywide in New York’s public space in 2017 as part of his exhibition Good Fences Make Good Neighbors. The Chinese artist and activist, who himself grew up in exile, complements the installation at Aedes with a selection of large-format portraits of well known refugees – artist, philosopher, scientist – forced out of Germany in the 1930s due to the ideology of the political establishment.
Aedes Architecture Forum
Ai Weiwei et al.
There is Another Way of Looking at Things (group show)
SCHAUWERK Sindelfingen, Sindelfingen
5 September 2020 – 24 May 2021
“THERE IS ANOTHER WAY OF LOOKING AT THINGS” – this sentence is both our exhibition’s title and motto and reminds us that we have the possibility to view things differently. The quote is taken from Maurizio Nannucci’s eponymous neon work from 2012. Its text has lost none of its topicality. On the contrary, it is more current than ever.
The exhibition features ten works from the Schaufler Collection which can be reviewed under the impression of the present change of times. Included are works by Ai Weiwei, Tony Cragg, Jeppe Hein, Lori Hersberger, Lee Bul, Maurizio Nannucci, Giulio Paolini, Mario Schifano, and Erwin Wurm. These artworks shed light on what contemporary art is doing not only in times of crisis: It questions the values of our time and takes a stance.
Coronation (2020) (film)
“Coronation” (2020) is a documentary film about the lockdown in Wuhan, China, during the Covid-19 outbreak in the spring of 2020.
On December 31, 2019, the first novel coronavirus case was confirmed in Wuhan. Chinese officials repeatedly denied that human-to-human transmission was possible, concealed the number of diagnosed patients, and punished medical staff for disclosing information about the epidemic. On January 23, 2019, Wuhan was placed under a city-wide lockdown. Covid-19 has become a global pandemic, with over 17 million people infected and over 670,000 deaths.
“Coronation” examines the political specter of Chinese state control from the first to the last day of the Wuhan lockdown. The film records the state’s brutally efficient, militarized response to control the virus. Sprawling emergency field hospitals were erected in a matter of days, 40,000 medical workers were bused in from all over China, and the city’s residents were sealed into their homes.
The film takes us into the heart of these temporary hospitals and ICU wards, showing the entire process of diagnosis and treatment. Patients and their families are interviewed, reflecting their thinking about the pandemic and expressing anger and confusion over the states’ callous restriction of their liberties. The film also takes us into the private lives of individuals living under the lockdown: a couple attempt to return to their home in Wuhan, a courier delivers essentials to residents barred from leaving their community, an emergency construction worker stuck in limbo and forced to live out of his car, a former party cadre and her son debate the function of the media and the party’s response to the outbreak, a grieving son navigates the bureaucracy of retrieving his father's ashes.
China has assumed the status of superpower on the global stage, yet it remains poorly understood by other nations. Through the lens of the pandemic, “Coronation” clearly depicts the Chinese crisis management and social control machine—through surveillance, ideological brainwashing, and brute determination to control every aspect of society. The film shows the changes that took place in a city and in individual space under the impact of the virus; it illustrates the value of individual life in the political environment, reflecting on the difficulties we face as individuals and countries in the context of globalization. Ultimately, the result is a society lacking trust, transparency, and respect for humanity. Despite the impressive scale and speed of the Wuhan lockdown, we face a more existential question: can civilization survive without humanity? Can nations rely on one another without transparency or trust?
Ai Weiwei directed, produced, and completed post-production remotely in Europe. The filming was done by ordinary citizens living in Wuhan.
Ai Weiwei Films
Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore (solo show)
21 March – 18 July 2021
This retrospective will explore the full arc of Joan Mitchell’s artistic practice, from her exceptional New York paintings in the early 1950s to the majestic, large-scale multi-panel works made in France later in her career. Co-organized with the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the exhibition features rarely shown paintings and works on paper from public and private collections in the U.S. and Europe. The exhibition moves through focused suites of work, following Mitchell's cyclical way of working, in which subjects and gestures appear and resurface years later. A selection of projects created with and for writers like Frank O’Hara and Jacques Dupin will underscore the role of poetry in her life and work; others signal themes including her relationships with music and the artists of the 19th century. Additionally, the exhibition will feature transitional works that unfold her process and emphasize the role of Mitchell’s exquisite small paintings, pastels, and works on paper. An accompanying catalog will provide a sweeping scholarly account of the artist’s career.