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Nov 22 2019

AAP Monthly Picks: November–December 2019

by The Editors

SHAHIDUL ALAMProtesters in Motijheel Break Section 144 on Dhaka Siege Day, 1987, photograph, dimensions variable. Courtesy the artist, Drik, and Majority World.

Shahidul Alam: Truth to Power

Nov 8–May 4, 2020

The Rubin Museum of Art, New York, US

A year after Shahidul Alam’s release from Dhaka Central Jail—where he was detained for more than 100 days after voicing support on Facebook Live for student protests—New York’s Rubin Museum of Art presents the Bangladeshi photographer and activist’s first major institutional retrospective in the United States. “Truth to Power” features influential bodies of work, including A Struggle for Democracy (1987–91), documenting a period of political turbulence in Bangladesh, and Brahmaputra Diary (1997–2001), centered on the multiethnic populations and landscapes along the river in India, Tibet, and Bangladesh. New projects, such as a 3D model of Alam’s jail cell, are also on display.

TIMO NASSERI, It’s always night or we wouldn’t need light 33°37’90N, 44°31’74E (Ibn Muqla), 2015, stainless steel in wood, text, 130 × 120 × 8 cm. Courtesy the artist and Sfeir-Semler Gallery, Hamburg / Beirut.

Fragile Frontiers: Visions on Iran’s In/visible borders

Nov 22–Feb 16, 2020

Yarat Contemporary Art Centre, Baku, Azerbaijan

Departing from historian Firoozeh Kashani-Sabet’s 1997 essay “Fragile Frontiers: The Diminishing Domains of Qajar Iran,” in which she elucidates the literal and metaphorical boundaries at play in conceptions of Persia, Yarat’s latest group exhibition examines the notion of frontiers in contemporary Iran through the works of 15 artists. The show is split across two floors, with the first considering sociocultural divisions, and the second focused on ideas of transgression and the boundlessness of nature. Highlights include Kamrooz Aram’s multimedia work Elegy of Blue Architecture (2019), which probes expressions of shared heritage in Iranian, Azerbaijani, and Afghan design, as well as Timo Nasseri’s cosmos-themed commission, It’s always night, or we wouldn’t need light (2019).

KOKI TANAKA, Abstracted / Family, 2019, still from HD video, 120 min. Courtesy the artist; Vitamin Creative Space, Guangzhou / Beijing; Aoyama Meguro, Tokyo.

6th Singapore Biennale: Every Step in the Right Direction

Nov 22–Mar 22, 2020

Multiple locations, Singapore

The Singapore Biennale (SB) returns under the artistic direction of academic and curator Patrick Flores, bringing works by 77 local and international artists and collectives to multiple locations, including the Singapore Art Museum and National Gallery Singapore. The Biennale’s title references Philippine revolutionary Salud Algabre’s remark that “each [uprising] is a step in the right direction.” SB 2019 thus invokes the role of art in propelling positive, if incremental, change within an increasingly troubled world, foregrounding works that reflect on critical issues and offer modes of resistance and resolution. Participants include filmmaker and performance artist Wu Tsang; multidisciplinary artist Amanda Heng; writer and artist Lani Maestro; and multimedia and video artist Koki Tanaka.

Installation view of DANH VŌ’s We The People (detail), 2011-16, copper sculpture, dimensions variable, at “Spectrosynthesis II – Exposure of Tolerance: LGBTQ in Southeast Asia,” Bangkok Art and Culture Centre, 2019-20. Collection of Sunpride Foundation. Courtesy the artist.

Spectrosynthesis II – Exposure of Tolerance: LGBTQ in Southeast Asia

Nov 23–Mar 1, 2020

Bangkok Art and Culture Centre, Thailand

The Bangkok Art and Culture Centre and Sunpride Foundation co-present Asia’s largest-ever survey of LGBTQ art, “Spectrosynthesis II.” Curated by Chatvichai Promadhattavedi, the exhibition is a sequel to the 2017 show of the same name at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Taipei. The 2019 iteration features Danh Vō’s deconstructed life-size replica of the Statue of Liberty, We The People (detail) (2011–16), which interrogates the notion of individual freedom, along with the late Ren Hang’s surreal, sexually charged photographs of young, often nude, subjects. New commissions include a five-channel video installation by Arin Rungjang, Welcome to My World (2019), focusing on issues of social acceptance inspired by the artist’s childhood encounters with trans communities.

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