PLANET ART: The Best Works From Around the World for March 2013

Each month we ask the editors of ARTINFO sites around the world to tell us the most significant work of art or art happening of the month, and gather them together for our column “Planet Art.” (NB: Since we have contributions only from where we have editors, this feature does not literally represent the art of the whole planet.)

To see the artworks mentioned in this piece, click on the slideshow.


Ben Quilty, “Captain Kate Porter, after Afghanistan,” 2012
National Art School, Sydney

Australian artist Ben Quilty has created a series of empowering yet revealing nude portraits of Australian servicemen and women in response to his experiences as an official war artist. In his portrait “Captain Kate Porter, After Afghanistan,” Quilty celebrates the inner strength of his subject, but also acknowledges her vulnerability. Through his strong, poetic visual language, Quilty conveys the emotional and psychological effects of wartime service. —Nicholas Forrest, BLOUIN ARTINFO Australia


“Cantos Cuentos Colombianos” and “Para (Saber) Escutar”
Casa Daros, Rio de Janeiro

After six years of restoration and an investment of 83 million reals (around $41 million), the Daros Latinamerica Collection — an institution created in 2000, in Zurich, that is responsible for one of the largest and most important collections dedicated to Latin-American contemporary art in Europe — has debuted its first permanent space outside Switzerland, in Rio de Janeiro. Casa Daros is housed in an 1866 neoclassical building, two floors of which are occupied by its inaugural exhibitions: “Cantos Cuentos Colombianos,” seen in Switzerland between 2004 and 2005, is an overview of contemporary Colombian art curated by Hans-Michael Herzog, director of the Daros Latinamerica Collection, while “Para (Saber) Escutar,” curated by the director of art and education of the institution, Eugenio Valdés Figueroa, presents part of the activities and programs undertaken by the Casa Daros since 2007, during the period when this building was being restored. —Fernanda Lopes, BLOUIN ARTINFO Brazil


Karen Kraven, “As Above, So Below,” 2013
Centre Clark, Montreal

For her show at Centre Clark, Montreal-based Karen Kraven fused installation with photography, and history with fiction. The centerpiece of this narrative environment was a 35mm black-and-white photograph rendered monumental in scale, studded with bullet-like magnet studs, and depicting the barricaded basement vault that once belonged to Al Capone. The image references the infamous episode where reporter Geraldo Rivera blew open the gangster’s entrance on live TV only to discover nothing at all — a blunder that’s become associated with the end of his journalistic career. Kraven takes this signature image of wonton mystery and turns it into a marker of optimism and even anticipation. —Sky Goodden, BLOUIN ARTINFO Canada


Ye Funa, “Water,” 2013
V Art Centre, Shanghai

A young woman steps into a bath and builds a diorama around the islands of her belly, knees, and feet, which are shod in flesh-colored high heels with sculpted-in toes and painted-on nails. Bizarrely, Elle magazine helped sponsor Ye’s work, an unusual ally for a piece that sees historical notions of femininity come floating downstream like so many bloated pig corpses—Sam Gaskin, BLOUIN ARTINFO China


Katarzyna Kozya, “Looking for Jesus,” 2012-2013
Galerie Zak / Branicka, Berlin

In the weeks leading up to Easter of 2012, Polish video artist Katarzyna Kozya, traveled to Israel to document “Jerusalem Syndrome,” the name of the delusion by which otherwise normal individuals come to believe that they are major religious figures. Scenes of Kozya running away from her film crew chasing one self-proclaimed Jesus and the absurdly long waits in dingy hostels in search of others are humorous, to be sure. In interviews, however, syndrome sufferers are entirely genuine, causing bystanders to put down their own Bibles and listen, provoking the more serious question of whether the syndrome itself is not an act but rather a node on the spectrum of belief. —Alexander Forbes, BLOUIN ARTINFO Germany


Reena Kallat, “Untitled (Cobweb/Crossings),” 2013 (in collaboration with ZegnArt Public, India)
Bhau Daji Lad Museum, Mumbai

Seldom have we seen a site-specific installation as entrenched in the complicated politics of its location and cultural context as this one. Artist Reena Kallat (born in 1973) has assembled a ginormous cobweb-shaped installation from her signature rubber stamps on the façade of Mumbai’s oldest museum, the Bhau Daji Lad Museum. The work references the convoluted identity crisis the city inherited when its name was zealously changed from Bombay to Mumbai, sparking a series of conversions of street names from earlier English-sounding editions to more locally inspired replacements. The museum itself was once called the Victoria & Albert Museum, and was a monument to the British Raj’s might. Kallat juxtaposes a rubber stamp which has the original English street name alongside the Devanagiri edition, post-conversion, weaving a narrative of the bureaucratic morass that has embroiled the city in its attempt to erase its colonial past. —Rosalyn D’Mello, BLOUIN ARTINFO India


Haruki Ogawa, “The Accumulation Spreads,” 2013
Frantic Gallery, Tokyo

Twenty-eight-year-old painter Haruki Ogawa’s recent solo show attempts to capture the precarious point at which real and depicted pictorial layers collide with each other, seeming almost to wriggle and squirm free of their support. Thick swathes of alkyd oil paint, ink, and silkscreened pigment heave and jostle for supremacy, never allowing any one component to rise completely to the dynamic, bristling surface of these paintings. —Darryl Jingwen Wee, BLOUIN ARTINFO Japan


Liliana Gálvez, “27Hz: Ruido Análogo,” 2013
Galería la 77, Mexico City

What strikes me about Gálvez’s work is how familiar the moments depicted in her paintings seem — street scenes of Mexico as they appear through a rain-soaked windshield, a series inspired in part by the inexhaustible downpour caused by climate change. Through her Impressionist brush strokes, Gálvez captures the water-distorted view of people running with bags held over their heads; the blotchy red lights of cars breaking in traffic; in short, the essence of the city’s wet disarray. The environmentally-sparked  collection of images is confusing at first and then, when appreciated at the right distance, colorfully precise, like bright, clear memories, meticulously smudged by wet hands. —Aline Cerdán, BLOUIN ARTINFO Mexico


Vladislav Mamyshev-Monroe (1969-2013)

This month, the talk of the town is the prominent Russian artist Vladislav Mamyshev-Monroe, who passed away on March 16, 2013 at the age of 43. The news came along with details somewhat daunting in their absurdity: the artist drowned in a Bali swimming pool. The Russian public has not yet succeeded in eliminating homophobia, and this has resulted in a conflicting attitude towards the artist’s works: On one hand, it was impossible not to find the artist’s unorthodox personality alluring; on the second hand, his outspoken homosexuality was rejected by many here. One thing is crystal clear: the Russian art scene lost a singular artist who had much more to say. —Eugene Nazarov, BLOUIN ARTINFO Russia


Beak Jung-ki, “Is of: Seoul,” 2013
National Museum of Contemporary Art, Seoul

The up-and-coming young artist Beak Jung-ki takes a clever approach to his data-infused work, which never fails to bring a sense of reality to creative mediums. His latest is a series of documentary photographs of the Seoul cityscape, printed on litmus paper using “ink” from the famous Han River that splits the metropolis. —Ines Min, BLOUIN ARTINFO South Korea


Laure Prouvost, “Farfromwords,” 2013
Whitechapel Gallery, London

Produced during a six-month residency in Italy, Laure Prouvost’s filmic installation “Farfromwords” is a sensorial feast exploring ideas and clichés around pleasure in Southern Europe (seen from a foreigner’s perspective). With its images of frolicking modern-day nymphs and little piles of fresh raspberries, the piece is a savvy, sassy nod to the Grand Tour tradition and a deft attempt to undermine the enduring objectification of the female body. —Coline Milliard, BLOUIN ARTINFO U.K.


Nancy Dwyer, “BODY,” 1991, in “Nancy Dwyer: Painting and Sculpture, 1982-2012”
Fisher Landau Center for Art, New York

Sculptural work carries this poignantly funny retrospective spanning three decades of Dwyer’s works, and few so efficiently encapsulate the show’s appealing mix of humor and cynicism as “BODY,” a steel sculpture over 12 feet long, which features cutout metal letters spelling out the titular word, once on the floor and once suspended in the air, united by six-foot-tall metal bars (you have to see it). Simultaneously evocative of a coffin and a typographic prison cell, it also suggests an ominous sculptural rendering of Barbara Kruger's iconic “Untitled (your body is a battleground)” (1989). —Benjamin Sutton, BLOUIN ARTINFO U.S.