August's Must-See Museum Exhibitions

Nakanojo | Nagoya | Toyota | São Paulo | Zurich | Cambridge

E njoy this last month of summer on special holidays to can’t-miss museum exhibitions. The lesser-known sculptures of Henri Matisse crown the Kunsthaus Zürich while Winslow Homer’s drawings from the front lines of the American Civil War go on view at the Harvard Art Museum. In Japan, the Aichi Triennale and Nakanojo Biennale will mount varied programmes of film, performing arts, photography and contemporary art, and in Brazil The Panorama of Brazilian Art returns to the Museum of Modern Art, São Paulo.

The Aichi Triennale 2019 & Nakanojo Biennale 2019

Katsuya Tomita, TENZO, 2019. Courtesy of All-Japan Young Soto Zen Buddhist Priest Association.


I n its fourth edition, the Aichi Triennale will open with the intriguing title, Taming Your/ Our Passion and bring together work by over 90 individual artists and artist groups from Japan and overseas and feature a wide range of creative practices. The cities of Nagoya and Toyota will play host to a rich and varied program of film, performing arts, and music, in addition to a central contemporary art exhibition.

Japanese rock band Sakanaction.

Further north, the 7th iteration of the Nakanojo Biennale will see work by more than 150 artists inhabit the town’s stunning mountain setting, spilling out into nearby onsen spa towns and abandoned wooden school buildings. For a month, Nakanojo will overflow with exhibitions of drawing, sculpture, photography and installation.

Kyoko Fujiwara, Sanctuary, 2015. Photograph by K.Hayashi.

The Aichi Triennale 2019 runs through 14 October, whilst The Nakanojo Biennale 2019 will begin on 24 August and run until 23 September.

36th Panorama of Brazilian Art

Rosa Luz, E Se a Arte Fosse Travesti.


T he Museum of Modern Art, São Paulo held its first edition of The Panorama of Brazilian Art in 1969 and was conceived as a way for the museum to actively re-engage in the contemporary arts scene. This year will celebrate 50 years of the event and takes the evocative term, ‘Sertão’ as its curatorial theme. The word commonly refers to the Brazilian hinterland but also carries more multi-layered and metaphorical meanings, some of which will be reflected in the work of this year’s 29 specially invited artists. The curator, Julia Reboucas proffers, ‘Allusively, the Sertão refers to both art and the state of art.’

Luciana Magno, My life in a bush of ghosts, 2012.

In its 36th edition at MAM, the Panorama will survey the landscape of cutting-edge, early and mid-career artistic talent in Brazil through work exploring a myriad of pertinent issues and themes including gender identity, police violence, racism and religion. It looks to be a truly varied and thought-provoking show.

The 36th Panorama of Brazilian Art opens at MAM Sao Paulo on 17 August.

Matisse: Metamorphoses

Atelier di Matisse nell’allora Hôtel Regina di Cimiez, presso Nizza, 1953. Archives Henri Matisse, Issy-les-Moulineaux © Succession Henri Matisse / 2019 ProLitteris, Zurich.

O ne of the most popular artists of the 20th century, celebrated for his colourful paintings and works on paper, Henri Matisse’s sculptural output is less recognised but by no means less impressive.

Henri Matisse, Jeannette III, 1910/1911. Musée d‘Orsay, Parigi, deposito al Musée Matisse, Nizza, donazione della Signora Jean Matisse, 1978 Photograph by François Fernandez. © Succession Henri Matisse/ 2019 ProLitteris, Zurich.

This exhibition will showcase the evolution of the artist’s sculpted bronze figures, as his early naturalistic forms evolved into their radical, abstracted iterations. In the instance of the bronze, Nu de dos reliefs, Matisse rigorously re-worked the motif through an extended ‘metamorphoses’ of 20 years.

Henri Matisse, Nu couché III, 1929. Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC, Gift of Joseph H. Hirshhorn, 1966. Photograph by Cathy Carver. © Succession Henri Matisse/2019 ProLitteris, Zurich.

The show will feature more than 70 works and aim to illuminate Mattise’s creative process by comparing transformations in the artist’s sculptural style with those evident in his paintings, cut-outs and drawings. The exhibition will also unite sculptures with their inspiration, including photographs of nude figures and African sculptures.

Matisse: Metamorphoses opens at Kunsthaus Zürich on 30 August and runs until 8 December.

Winslow Homer: Eyewitness

Winslow Homer, Canoe in Rapids, 1897. Watercolor and graphite on off- white wove paper. Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Louise E. Bettens Fund, 1924.30. Photograph by Harvard Art Museums. © President and Fellows of Harvard College.

C onsidered one of the leading American painters of the 19 Century, Winslow Homer began as a commercial illustrator and as an artist-correspondent during the American Civil War. Documenting soldiers both in battle and back at camp, his sketches, drafted in the field, were reproduced to illustrate the reports of the conflict in the periodical, Harper’s Weekly.

After Winslow Homer, engraved by unidentified artist, Our Watering Places—The Empty Sleeve at Newport, 1865. From Harper’s Weekly, August 26, 1865. Wood engraving and letterpress on off-white wove paper. Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Gift of W. G. Russell Allen, M9323. Photograph by Harvard Art Museums. © President and Fellows of Harvard College.

The exhibition aims to show how this experience helped shape his later career as a painter, and also to interrogate the moral responsibilities of artists working in war.

Winslow Homer: Eyewitness opens at the University Research Gallery, Harvard Art Museums, Massachusetts, on 31 August.

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