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Zürich is more than just an overture. It's a symphony!

As the art world nearly fills up its dance card with Documenta 14and Skulptur Projekte Münster, we must have one last waltz before Basel at Zürich’s Contemporary Art Weekend! Some say this is just an ‘overture to Art Basel,’ but we say it is so much more. As a city filled with tradition and experimentation, it is a leading global financial center with a vibrant local art scene. Unlike other finance capitals, dependent on the ‘generosity’ of corporations and donors, Zürich’s core institution is one of an innovative public-private partnership. The Löwenbräu complex which is equally owned by the City of Zürich, Kunsthalle Zürich and Migros Museum is exemplary of merging commercial and non-commercial spaces. When asked about this combination Eva Presenhuber, the grande dame of the Zürich gallery scene, remarked: “There was the sense of a new beginning, what we had was a common interest in art, not these problems of drawing boundaries.”

We are happy to announce our boundary-defying guide to Zürich, across all these spaces; private, public and everything in-between. Just check our app Exhibitionary to see all our Picks, and read on below as we reflect on a cross section of shows from esoteric to blockbuster.

Just as the city itself is a microcosm of the entire ‘culture industry’ the expansive practice of German conceptual artist Michael Riedel unravels the world of art production and consumption. Entering the exhibition at Kunsthalle Zürich, you walk through the museum entrance only to encounter a replica entrance followed by still another replica to create architecturally “displaced facsimiles.” Each iteration is a little more distorted in a twisted game of déjà vu and confusion that is signature to Riedel’s work. Reminding us that there are many modes of entry into a work of art, just as there are many entry points into the vast constellation of exhibitions during Zürich Art Weekend.

Michael Riedel – CV. Courtesy Kunsthalle Zürich, photo: Annik Wetter

Even though the Löwenbräu Areal is the obvious choice to start, we leave the building after the Kunsthalle and suggest a more circuitous route beginning with one of the most exciting galleries in the city, BolteLang. The duo of gallerists presents a two-person show of artists Athene Galiciadis and Ruby Sky Stiler titled “I shall wash your shadow.” Galiciadis presents new, acrylic painted ceramic works. She dubs these tenderly misshapen vases “Empty Sculptures,” at times encased in neon-accented plexiglass cubes that transform them into stools. Stiler uses formally similar elements of strong geometry that juxtapose biomorphic shapes. However, in her work, the figure is depicted as an image. Here she presents three females that each start from the same outline and become unique variations.

Nearby, still in District 5, is a gallery whose program we follow closely, Grieder Contemporary, showing a solo presentation of Berlin-based Michael Sailstorfer. A bit of a hometown hero, he is famed for quirky installations that could be said to be ‘phenomenological art’ a fancy art word meaning it’s amazing to experience in person (like an entire room filled with popcorn). Here he presents a new series of works titled “Altenheim für Populisten” which are more modest in size but big in ideas. They are divided into three levels of sculpture: carpets, on top of which he displays pink ceramics on white plinths and a Vespa with its motor replaced by a stove that runs but cooks nothing. As we enter the exhibition, we find the work “Teppich Zürich” consisting of carpets in various shades of blue (a nod to Yves Klein and Rudolf Stingel). Carpeting usually signifies ‘Gemütlichkeit’ (meaning comfy) but before you curl up on these works check their material list which includes decommissioned Zürich police uniforms. Suddenly the carpets, ceramics, and Vespa take on a darker socio-political symbology of civilization and its discontents.

Ebecho Muslimova and Bailey Scieskza. Courtesy Galerie Maria Bernheim, Zürich

Right across the street at Dammweg is the ever brilliant and extremely international Galerie Maria Bernheim showing a satirical exhibition titled “FATEBE x OLDPUT.” The show creates a narrative between two fictional avatars created by young American artists Ebecho Muslimova and Bailey Scieskza. First, Muslimova takes a stab at the norms of female beauty with the obese, uncoordinated and silly character of FATEBE. It's the kind of humor that makes you laugh but stop and suddenly feel uncomfortable. Meanwhile, Bailey Scieskza presents drawings, installations, writings, and performances, centered around a figure titled OLDPUT, a drunk old lady clown ranting, and day-dreaming. The clown has been a classic trope in art from the Harlequin in Commedia dell’Arte onwards. And one of the first avatars artists used to perform an entertaining slapstick that also holds deeper truths.

In the same district but appropriately in a former manufacturing building (suggestive of gentrification) are two galleries that have been in Zürich since the 90s. It is a treat to see an artist at her pinnacle being (re)discovered by a whole new audience in a new context. Colombian legend Beatriz González, who is often grouped with her contemporaries in Pop art, has until recently remained relatively unknown in the West. Here González presents a group of haunting paintings at Galerie Peter Kilchmann. Unlike American or European Pop art, centered around ubiquitous consumerism, Gonzalez portrays the timely theme of displaced people in the so-called ‘third world.’

Mark Handforth: Snow White 2016. Courtesy Galerie Eva Presenhuber Zurich, New York

In the same building on Maag Areal is an artist at the height of his practice, the intensely gifted Los Angeles-based Henry Taylor. For his exhibition at Galerie Eva Presenhuber, he tackles the historically loaded trope of portraiture. His figures come from all different times and realities and uncover a new psychologically charged figuration. With an economy of gestural marks, the paintings recall the hard edges of Jacob Lawrence or even Alex Katz. Taylor places his representations of the black body (in all its complexities) at the center of his work. He bursts way beyond the reductive label of ‘identity politics.’ The gallery is also presenting the British artist Mark Handforth in Gasträume at Steinfelsplatz presenting one of his iconic oversized five-pointed stars (a sign with many meanings) symbolically ‘broken’ and titled “Snow White” which refers to its color and its direct appropriation from culture.

Off the beaten path in District 1 (on the Limmatquai river near the 17th-century Rathaus which is a perfect location for such politically radical work) we find the largest exhibition to date in Switzerland of Argentine force of nature Tomás Saraceno at the Museum Haus Konstruktiv. He is known for embracing utopian and sustainable futures (in a sincere way) by approaching the natural world with reverence. His lifelong project has been imagining an airborne sustainable future. Formally his work is stunningly inspired by the morphologies of soap bubbles, cellular structures and astronomical diagrams. Like a scientist he innovated ways to 3D scan and model spider webs as well as using live spiders to create sculptures. His work exists at the touch point between art and science in what he calls "more-than-human" coexistence.

Tomás Saraceno – Aerosolar Journeys. Courtesy Museum Haus Konstruktiv, Zürich, photo: Stefan Altenburger

Now we return to Löwenbräu to see one of our favorite art spaces anywhere, LUMA Westbau. As a sidenote: one power dynamic in the art world is the stuff of legends, a great curator advising a great patron. Peggy Guggenheim said of Marcel Duchamp “I took advice from none but the best. I listened! That's how I finally became my own expert.” So that brings us to the present day exhibition “89plus: Americans 2017” the brainchild of a Swiss trifecta made up of curators Simon Castets and Hans-Ulrich Obrist vis-a-vis the great collector Maja Hoffmann. Here they present works that are generation defining. Among the artists included are AB6ALAndrea CrespoBunny Rogers, and their peers who are contributing to the future of art. Interestingly the artists from all countries challenge the idea of ‘Americans’ being limited by borders. We would see any exhibition Bunny Rogers is in. Her visual work relates to her diary-like confessional poetry, which intimately exposes the digital native generation’s teenage angst. While trans artist Andrea Crespo makes video work with new narratives of queer potential for selves that are not male nor female but a hybrid body. ‘They’ is a post-gender artist updating the relational ideas around images shaping reality.

Darren Bader: Anus and/with Greyness. Courtesy Sadie Coles, London; Franco Noero, Turin; Andrew Kreps Gallery, New York; Blum & Poe, Los Angeles

At ACRUSH, one of the most interesting non-exhibition spaces to see exhibitions in, is a show of Anne de VriesDarren Bader, and Jon Rafman. The building is a private art fabrication warehouse that makes mostly large-scale sculptures, including 3D printed and router-cut objects. They are known for producing the artworks of blue-chip artists, but on special occasions, they mount exhibitions that display artworks next to the sites of art production. There is so much to say about the brilliant Jon Rafman who simultaneously defines and breaks the mold of a moment annoyingly dubbed ‘post-internet.’ His videos and their reified sculptures persistently show the perverse underbelly and reverent ecstatic states of real and virtual worlds folding into each other. Darren Bader also uses humor in convincing yet unexpected ways. He wins for one of the best all-time titles which describes the artwork: “Anus and/with Greyness.”

Many galleries open shows timed with the two evening events, the Zürich Art Dinner organized by the big players in town including Eva Presenhuber, Peter Kilchmann, and Mai 36 Galerie. The other one is the brand new Wicky Wacky Woo Dinner & Party at ACRUSH co-organised by the hip galleries including Galerie Bernhard, BolteLang and Gregor Staiger. We aspire to have the unique ability of HUO to at both places at the same time.

We never leave Zürich without having a Dry Martini at Kronenhalle where chef Peter Roth keeps a notebook containing names along with favorite cocktails under the bar. Masterpieces of Modernism (we want the Giacometti or the drawing from Tinguely in the guest book) hang with no fuss on the wooden walls, reminding us of the boundless merger of art into everyday life.

 

– Justin Polera

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11.06.2018
#Basel
This week all roads lead to Basel!
Lovers of prime-quality art, gossipy shenanigans, and overpriced liquor rejoice: Art Basel is back this week with its 2018 edition.

24.05.2018
#Basel
#Bejing
#Los Angeles
#New York
#Vienna
Five Shows in May
We've selected five shows not to be missed in May.

Iza Tarasewicz | Croy Nielsen | Vienna
Hito Steyerl & Martha Rosler | Kunstmuseum | Basel
Flora Hauser | Ibid | Los Angeles
Ragnar Kjartansson | Faurschou Foundation | Beijing
Jenny Saville | Gagosian | New York

25.04.2018
#Berlin
Fabulous women, neolithic children and queer dudes: Say Hi to Gallery Weekend Berlin!
We’ve reached this time of the year again: for a couple of days, the Berlin art world puts on its shiniest frock to welcome visitors to Gallery Weekend. Aside from the 47 galleries who officially participate in the main event, everyone else who contributes to making Berlin such a uniquely vibrant place for contemporary art also plans on presenting exciting positions to brighten their reputation, press portfolio or finances.

18.04.2018
#Berlin
#London
#Los Angeles
#New York
#Vienna
Five Shows in April
A selection of five shows you shouldn’t miss in April. Enjoy!

Barbara Hepworth | Pace Gallery | New York
Timur Si-Qin | Société | Berlin
Sylvie Fleury | Karma International | Los Angeles
Sophia Al-Maria | Project Native Informant | London
Marianne Vlaschits | Galerie Nathalie Halgand | Vienna

27.03.2018
#Düsseldorf
#London
#Los Angeles
#New York
#Zürich
Five Shows in March
Here are five shows you should check out in March.

Sam Lewitt | Miguel Abreu Gallery | New York
Gallery Share | Hannah Hoffman | Los Angeles
Elin Gonzales | Lucas Hirsch | Düsseldorf
Women Look at Women | Richard Saltoun Gallery | London
Louisa Gagliardi | Plymouth Rock | Zurich

05.03.2018
#Los Angeles
LA (Un)confidential – Exhibitionary goes West!
About a hundred years ago, movie executives discovered California’s magic sunlight, relative absence of labor regulations and pleasant ocean views: Los Angeles was picked as the location of choice to shoot pictures. Ever since, a steady stream of hopeful, driven and adventurous people has been fuelling the city of Angels, transforming it into a fertile ground for cultural initiatives. Hence, it seems only logical for Exhibitionary to chose LA as its third US and eleventh altogether location! From now on, you can check out, select, and visit the city’s most thrilling exhibitions thanks to our app.

28.02.2018
#Berlin
#Düsseldorf
#London
#New York
#Vienna
Five Shows in February
The top five shows not to miss in February.

James Benning | neugerriemschneider | Berlin
Adrian Buschmann | Gabriele Senn Galerie | Vienna
Mi Kafchin | Lyles & King | New York
Pizza is God | NRW Forum | Düsseldorf
Lydia Ourahmane | Chisenhale Gallery | London

24.01.2018
Five Shows in January
Our recommendations for the five shows to see in January.

Kathe Burkhart | Mary Boone Gallery | New York
Carmen Herrera | Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen | Düsseldorf
Leonor Antunes | Whitechapel Gallery | London
Group Show | Eva Presenhuber | Zürich
Fahrelnissa Zeid | Deutsche Bank Kunsthalle | Berlin

15.12.2017
#Berlin
#London
#Miami
#New York
#Vienna
Five Shows in December
Here are the five shows we recommended to see in December.

Evgeny Antufiev | Emalin | London
Jemima Kirke | Sargent’s Daughters | New York
Anna K.E. & Florian Meisenberg | WNTRP | Berlin
Publishing as an Artistic Toolbox: 1989–2017 | Kunsthalle Wien | Vienna
Tschabalala Self | Thierry Goldberg Gallery | Miami

04.12.2017
#Miami
Lots of glamour, lots of art and lots of fun. Here comes Art Basel Miami Beach!
The conclusion of this year's busy schedule will have Miami’s white beaches and refrigerated fair halls as a setting; but this time, the program of and surrounding the Donatella Versace of fairs seems at least as busy as the rest of the year: museum (re)openings, satellites, parties and endless Uber drives will keep the glitterati more occupied than ever.

06.11.2017
#Berlin
#London
#New York
#Vienna
#Zürich
Five Shows in November
Here’s our a selection of five shows we recommend to check out in November.

Michael E. Smith | KOW | Berlin
Hannah Quinlan & Rosie Hastings | Arcadia Missa | London
Marguerite Humeau | Museum Haus Konstruktiv | Zurich
Louise Bonnet | Half Gallery | New York
Basel Abbas & Ruanne Abou-Rahme | Kevin Space | Vienna

03.10.2017
#London
Frieze Week is here – with some radical feminism, emerging talents and new spaces!
This week London celebrates the 15th edition of Frieze, the capital’s prime art fair and a must-go station on the art world’s calendar. As it so often is the case with an event of such magnitude, the wave it triggers makes many others want to ride it; consequently, a myriad of great shows, openings and satellite fairs are set to take place concurrently.

22.09.2017
We've just released some amazing new features!
Now you’re able to publish your Picks and share them with others. It's easy to follow your friends and other interesting editors and see which shows they recommend.

11.09.2017
#Berlin
Knock Knock – It’s Berlin Art Week!
It’s that time of the year: Summer has violently vanished and been replaced by depressing temperatures, the semi-licit outdoor rave program is put on hold and Berlin Art Week is here again.

07.09.2017
#Berlin
Talking Art and Artsy Talks – Good to Talk
Good to Talk, a 46-hour long marathon of talks, lectures, and panel discussions, rounded off by the occasional live performance and musical intermezzo, aims to break open the sometimes crusted cocoon in which the art world unfolds and therefore produce fresh food for the minds of audience and participants alike.

04.09.2017
#Cologne
#Düsseldorf
Great Art, Good Beer, and a Juicy Rivalry – DC Open in Düsseldorf & Cologne
Düsseldorf and Cologne, historically two of Germany and Europe’s most relevant spots regarding postwar culture. We’re glad to announce that we’ve partnered with DC Open and on this occasion, we are launching Düsseldorf in our app. We will consequently provide you with some insight into the highlights taking place during these three days.

26.06.2017
#Basel
#Berlin
#Cologne
#London
#New York
Five Shows in June
These are the last shows for many galleries before they take a much needed holiday. All too often they just present a group show of whatever inventory is available from their artists (that didn't sell at the fairs). We searched for exhibitions that raise well above the expected, and we’re delighted to see some galleries mounting some of their finest of the year.

Christopher Wool | Galerie Max Hetzler | Berlin
Carol Rama | New Museum | New York
Yan Xing | Kunsthalle | Basel
Tom Burr | Maureen Paley | London
Jorge Pardo | Galerie Gisela Capitain | Cologne

12.06.2017
#Basel
Basel is more than a symphony. It's an entire opera!
Everyone wants to look fresh when they step off the plane in Basel, but just as important as looking good is what you go to see and where you’re seen. One of the strongest ways for collectors, new and experienced, to show dedication and commitment is to show up in person to support new presentations of artists they acquire. In Basel, more than anywhere else, it is a non-stop meteoric shower of events and openings to attend.

08.06.2017
#Münster
Skulptur Projekte Münster made easy
Wondering how to navigate Münster? The city transforms itself every ten years with Skulptur Projekte Münster into a mecca for the art world. We have mapped it all for you so download Exhibitionary and you don’t have to spend precious little time in this scenic city lost.

28.04.2017
#Berlin
We show you more in Berlin than just Gallery Weekend!
Gallery Weekend is an event like no other. Unlike the artificial situation in a trade fair or on the auction chopping block where meaning and context are emptied out. Collectors from all over the world come to see art in its primary public source, to buy early, for galleries to step up to the plate and for artists to give it their best. Our home turf and source of pride is Berlin and we hope here to provide a few entry points in this.

22.04.2017
#Cologne
Are you ready for the Cologne whirlwind?
The history of post-war Cologne is a history of the emergence of contemporary art itself. Today the city still is home to major collectors (among other, Reiner Speck and Benedikt Taschen) who support established and emerging galleries. Here shows of the absolute highest caliber take place. The best way to discover which works become meaningful to you over time is to go out and see them in person.

15.04.2017
#London
#Madrid
#Miami
#New York
#Vienna
Five Shows in April
Here we try to give a mode of entry for first time collectors but also insight for those seasoned in the art world. This is a roundup of five shows that share a depth of lasting power, they are not simply mass-market appeal even if some are very popular.

Korakrit Arunanondchai | Clearing | New York
Yu Honglei | Carl Kostyál | London
Yuri Pattison | Kevin Space | Vienna
Susan Hiller | Pérez Art Museum | Miami
Donna Huanca | Travesia Cuatro | Madrid

06.04.2017
#Athens
Athens: The unsolved mysteries of Documenta 14
Everyone has heard something about the first ever Athen’s chapter of Documenta (arguably the biggest thing happening in art right now). With only days before the inauguration, there is little clarity of what to expect, and the artist list is the biggest mystery. We provide an overview of the complicated themes and why the whole art world is talking about this quinquennial.

30.03.2017
#Bejing
#Berlin
#London
#New York
#Vienna
Five Shows in March
With “Five Shows” we launched a new format which consists of five – as Harald Szeemann would say – “with great enthusiasm and a bit of obsessiveness” hand-picked exhibitions we recommend to see or we would like you to read about.

Cristof Yvoré | M Woods | Beijing
Sheree Hovsepian | Higher Pictures | New York
Hal Fischer | Project Native Informant | London
Hannah Black | mumok | Vienna
Ned Vena | Société | Berlin

01.03.2017
#New York
The Armory is bolder than Frieze Week. We tell you what not to miss!
Long before it became The Armory Show, it was the highly experimental perversely satirical Gramercy International Art Fair, a playing ground for a new generation of radical artists and gallerists. It took place inside the hotel of the same name and was the meeting ground for the downtown New York art scene.

22.02.2017
#Madrid
All about ARCO and what to see in Madrid
It’s late February which means we are off to Madrid, already we have spent all month practicing Spanish. What is great about going to Madrid is being able to see artists who are underrepresented in Western Europe and the US (because they are often overlooked in the international scene).

03.01.2017
#Berlin
The Beginning of the End: A Look Ahead to 2017
We are more positive about the coming year than the title of this post might suggest, even if we do live in fraught times. We share the sentiments of Jerry Saltz who said when asked about 2017 and the future of galleries:

28.12.2016
#Berlin
#London
#Miami
#New York
The End of the Beginning: A Look Back at 2016
The end of the year gives space and time for reflection. 2016 was incredible for us. We launched our app Exhibitionary during the hot days of summer, which – now in winter – seems so far away. Within a few months, Exhibitionary grew into a global art guide with curatorial picks in major art centers around the world.

29.11.2016
#Miami
Forget the fairs! Seven things you shouldn't miss in Miami
Miami is the best place to see the diversity of Latin American art because of its proximity to the region. Many of the great private collections in Miami focus on art outside the hegemonic cannon. It is not only the rich visual arts but also the culture and food of the region that we immerse ourselves in.

25.11.2016
#Miami
Must-see guide for Art Basel Miami and the top parties you probably won't get into
As always, we are determined to find hope, sun, and LSD (love, stimulants, vitamin D) in Miami. Last year, postdiluvian floods reminded us that nature is bigger than even Gavin Brown’s beach party. This year, Zika put a cramp in Galerie Perrotin’s party and canceled Jack Shainman’s outdoor blast – but fear not, the show must go on and the parties rage on.

03.11.2016
#Turin
Top Six Shows in Turin
We are on a pilgrimage to Turin! Part of what makes the treasured art institutions in the city so exciting to see is the beautiful town that inspires them and the jaw-dropping post-Renaissance buildings they are housed in. Here are our top six shows that are must-sees.

20.10.2016
#Paris
Top ten shows to see in Paris during FIAC
There is no place like Paris; it is the right city for art. This year many galleries chose FIAC over Frieze. One major factor putting Paris back on the map is the evolution of FIAC under the Director Jennifer Flay. So here are our top 10 museum quality exhibitions to see in Paris now.

04.10.2016
#London
London Calling for Frieze Frenzy
London, one of the world’s most important art cities comes alive for Frieze, one of the world’s most important art fairs. The fair is about frenzied buying, except Londoners have a unique kind of refined connoisseurship that is anything but fanatic. Here are ten exhibitions we won’t miss in London and we hope you won’t miss either.

15.09.2016
#Berlin
Berlin Art Week for Aficionados
The art world shuts down in August, a time to cross the blurry boundary between professional (art) life into personal (art) life. We jump out of our bathing suit directly back to work in the newest fall fashion for the big openings of jam-packed September.

01.08.2016
#Berlin
Berlin's Project Space Festival Breaks the White Cube
Project Space Festival Berlin is an annual opportunity to step out of the white cube routine and experience the exciting fringes of the local scene. The strength of Project Space Festival is twofold, in its diversity and ephemerality. We’ve gone through it with a fine-comb to call out five of the finest.

26.07.2016
Gstaad my Love – A Summer Art Affair
The summer season of art is so quiet that in order to find a great show you have to make a great pilgrimage. We are heading off to Gstaad, one of the most remote art locations, for Project 1048 which is a little bit of everything, outdoor exhibition, boundary-defying collaboration and non-profit project.

07.07.2016
Liverpool on Strike for the Future
Facing the aftershocks of post-Brexit, it is urgent to go to the Liverpool Biennial. Under director Sally Tallant the Biennial takes over the city in the form of a free festival, a Midsummer night’s voyage through six episodes. Profound questions about our past, present, and future remain without easy answers in this political moment.

29.06.2016
#New York
New York Warm Up
No sleep till Brooklyn – NYC celebrates its week of summer openings. What better way to avoid the grotesque hot summer days than a pilgrimage through pristine well air-conditioned galleries in the art world’s capital?! Exactly, none.

23.06.2016
#Düsseldorf
Düsseldorf Back on the Map
In constant search of the next big celebration; we are heading for the infamous Rhineland. Historically thought of as the 80's center of the German art-world, it is now putting itself back on the map. Düsseldorf is the place to be with a new private museum, a new hip gallery, and commemorative performances!

18.06.2016
#Basel
Last Look at Art Basel
In the congested summer schedule of the touring art world, Art Basel is an event sometimes preferably ignored but never forgotten. Art Basel was overwhelming and exhausting. At times it was underwhelming, at times, it blew us away.

08.06.2016
#Zürich
Manifesta Tips
Just as the hangover is fading from (the celebrations of) the 9th Berlin Biennale, Manifesta 11 begins. Zurich, as everyone knows, is all about the money. Christian Jankowski hit it right on the head when he chose “What People Do For Money,” as the theme this year for Manifesta.