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12 Days: Highlights of 2016

30 December 2015

 Over the 12 days of Christmas, Apollo contributors and guests select their highlights of 2016

View the 12 Days series here

‘East River Pollution “From Laura’s Window”, New York, Aprill 79’, 1979, Etel Adnan. Courtesy the artist and Sfeir-Semler Gallery Hamburg/Beirut

I missed the recent display of Etel Adnan’s works at the Irish Museum of Modern Art, so I’m looking forward to seeing the Serpentine Sackler Gallery’s summer show of her visual art (8 June–11 September 2016). As well as being a painter, Lebanese-born Adnan (now in her nineties) is also a poet and essayist; her politically inflected work often weaves between the visual and verbal. I’d also like to get to New York to see the literary influences at play in Marcel Broodthaers’ work, on show at MoMA this spring (14 February–15 May 2016). The display will include over 200 mixed-media pieces by the late Belgian artist, filmmaker, poet, and photographer (Broodthaers nicely defies easy categorisation), including his seminal installation Musée d’Art Moderne.

‘Armoire blanche et table blanche’ (White cabinet and white table), 1965, Marcel Broodthaers. The Museum of Modern Art, New York. © 2015 Estate of Marcel Broodthaers/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / SABAM, Brussels

Also in New York, the New Museum stages a major show of Anri Sala’s work (3 February–10 April 2016). It will be interesting to see how the museum integrates his sound and image pieces across three floors of the gallery. Other contemporary solo shows I’m excited about include Taryn Simon at Louisiana Humlebaek (29 October 2016–8 January 2017) and Omer Fast at BALTIC (18 March–26 June 2016). Fast’s layered film works are all about storytelling; they have fiction at their heart.

What more can we learn about Abstract Expressionism, that dominant post-war force that plunged the US headfirst into the limelight? I hope the Royal Academy’s ambitious autumn survey (24 September 2016–2 January 2017), the first in the UK for over 50 years, will complicate the grand narrative and offer new perspectives on a movement whose tremors are still felt today. Complementing this exhibition is Tate Modern’s in-depth look at Robert Rauschenberg – an artist who reacted against Ab-Ex painting and whose mixed-media works took post-war American art down a different road. It’s a chance to see some examples of his collages and combines, which remain remarkably contemporary (1 December 2016–2 April 2017).

, 1942–43, Jackson Pollock.

Male and Female , 1942–43, Jackson Pollock. Philadelphia Museum of Art. © The Pollock-Krasner Foundation ARS, NY and DACS, London 2015.

Imelda Barnard is assistant editor of Apollo magazine.

View the rest of the 12 Days series here

Event Details

‘Etel Adnan’ is at the Serpentine Sackler Gallery, London from 8 June–11 September 2016.

‘Marcel Broodthaers’ is at MoMA, New York from 14 February–15 May 2016.

‘Anri Sala: Answer Me’ is at the New Museum, New York from 3 February–10 April 2016.

‘Taryn Simon: An American Index of the Hidden and Unfamiliar’ is at Louisiana Humlbaek from 29 October 2016–8 January 2017.

‘Omer Fast: Present Continuous’ is at BALTIC, Newcastle, from 18 March–26 June 2016.

‘Abstract Expressionism’ is at the Royal Academy of Arts, London from 24 September 2016–2 January 2017.

‘Robert Rauschenberg’ is at Tate Modern, London from 1 December 2016–2 April 2017.