FALL PREVIEW: A sneak peek at forty-five major exhibitions opening worldwide.

And: VENICE 2011. The Fifty-Fourth Venice Biennale—curator Bice Curiger’s “ILLUMInations“—aims to move beyond the usual art-world name game, proposing instead an investigation of knowledge, reason, historicity, and vision. Artforum asked seven critics, curators, and art historians to take stock of the Biennale and the projects surrounding it, in order to decide whether these shows rose above the roster or are ultimately just another who’s who.

· Claire Bishop surveys “ILLUMInations” and asks whether the exhibition’s championing of Enlightenment values, in the wake of a decade of globalized biennials, constitutes an innovation or a retrenchment:
“‘ILLUMInations‘ feels like a beautifully judged roundup of recent art, but one bereft of propositions for the future.”

· Francesco Bonami bemoans the political underbelly of the Italian pavilion’s curatorial process:
“The Venice Biennale may be the mother of all biennials, but it is also their Jekyll and Hyde.”

· John Kelsey scans Bjarne Melgaard‘s Venice installation and e-flux‘s Art Basel project, assessing the fate of the open work in relation to pedagogy, violence, and disease:
“Every ‘Utopia Station’ eventually begins to dream of its own aesthetic Columbine.”

· Daniel Birnbaum revels in the German pavilion’s tribute to Christoph Schlingensief, Benjamin Paul sheds light on the Biennale’s Tintoretto paintings, Nicholas Cullinan considers Collective Actions at Boris Groys’s Russian pavilion, and Tim Griffin diagnoses the contemporary conditions proposed by Curiger’s exhibition.

· Also: Following R. H. Quaytman‘s exhibitions at the Kunsthalle Basel and the Neuberger Museum, art historian and critic Paul Galvez immerses us in one of the few detailed readings of the artist’s stunningly precise and profound tableaux.

· David Joselit defines “the art of witnessing”—a mode of viewing typified by the recent installations of Thomas Hirschhorn, where towering material confrontation demands that we question our instinct for image consumption.

· Yve-Alain Bois has a close encounter with two paintings by Martin Barré that manifest the late French artist’s radical turn circa 1960.

· Plus: Dieter Roelstraete unravels the intertextual threads of Goshka Macuga‘s practice; Jessica Morgan writes an “Openings” on Argentinean sculptor Adrián Villar Rojas and Brian Dillon debuts Berlin-based artist Olivia Plender; Christine Mehring sizes up the Blinky Palermo retrospective; Sam Pulitzer follows Ryan Trecartin‘s “Any Ever” survey at MoMA/PS1 down the rabbit hole; Jeffrey Weiss sees the Met’s “Richard Serra Drawing: A Retrospective” in shades of gray; J. Hoberman ruminates on the afterlife of Jack Smith; Rachel Haidu retraces the steps of Sven Augustijnen‘s new film, Spectres; James Quandt relishes Raúl Ruiz‘s epic film Mysteries of Lisbon; Craig Clunas parses Gao Minglu‘s new book on the Chinese avant-gardes; Gary Indiana pays a visit to Louise Bourgeois and Peter Zumthor‘s Steilneset Memorial; and olfactory expert Chandler Burr gives his Top Ten.

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