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Standing Out in the Crowd: 10 Summer Solo Shows Around the World in 2015

06/25/2015 11:18 am ET | Updated Jun 25, 2016


The summer group show: it is an art world standard, a simple placeholder for the slower months and, increasingly, a cliché ripe for parody and subversion. But as the art world grows and grows, and the 24/7 art news cycle keeps spinning year round, galleries are packing their calendars with big solo shows in the hot months. Shedding some of its listless lackluster, the summer show is becoming a testing ground for young artists, or those working in less sale-able and more experimental mediums, like installation and video. Bucking the trend of your usual summer group show roundups, we've put together a list of great summer solo shows around the world, from commercial galleries to non-profit art centers, featuring artists on the young and experimental end of the spectrum.

Michael Mandiberg, From Aaaaa! to ZZZap!, installation view, 2015. Courtesy Michael Mandiberg and Denny Gallery NYC.

Michael Mandiberg - From Aaaaa! to ZZZap!

Denny Gallery, New York, through July 11

Michael Mandiberg's Print Wikipedia project extracts a fixed form from the flux of our ever-evolving online compendium of knowledge, using software to compile all 4.8 million English-language articles into a series of over seven thousand volumes, available to print on demand. You can watch the upload process at the gallery while thumbing through a few sample copies of Wikipedia-incarnate, or follow it on Twitter here. A snapshot of our collective knowledge that is out of date from the moment it's captured, the complete set of Print Wikipedia would set a collector back $500,000 (a single volume can be purchased for $80).

Radames "Juni" Figueroa, installation view, 2015. Courtesy Edel Assanti, London.

Radames "Juni" Figueroa

Edel Assanti, London, through July 31

Radames "Juni" Figueroa has transplanted a bit of Puerto Rico cool to London's Fitzrovia neighborhood for the summer, transforming the gallery into a space for music, poetry, performance and just hanging out. With palms poking out of footballs and bright yellow planters, hanging pots dripping with spider plants and a "sky deck" structure that reaches up toward the gallery skylight, Figueroa "tropicalises the gallery" and provides platforms for social engagement. Upcoming programming includes poetry (London Poetry Systems, July 16; Hammer and Tongue, July 21) and music (The Crisis Project, July 9), and more, in partnership with Freuds.

Letha Wilson, Look With Your Hands, installation view, 2015. Courtesy GRIMM, Amsterdam.

Letha Wilson - Look With Your Hands

GRIMM, Amsterdam, through July 18

In our Insta-image-saturated world it's hard to imagine an artist reinventing the landscape photograph, but Letha Wilson successfully does so, plying images of the iconographic American West into physical form. Photographs are folded, bent, cut up, punctured, some even embedded right into the gallery's architecture. A peephole installed through both photograph and gallery wall forms a literal portal to the outside world while calling into question the photograph's ability to transport the viewer to other landscapes. You'll never look at a photograph the same way again.

Shana Moulton, MindPlace ThoughtStream, 2014. Courtesy the artist and Gimpel Fils, London; Galerie Gregor Staiger, Zurich; and Galerie Crèvecoeur, Paris.

Shana Moulton - Picture Puzzle Pattern Door

Yerba Buena Center of Art, San Francisco, through August 2

You might gain a greater appreciation for puffy popcorn blouses and smoothly functioning intestinal tracts after experiencing the delirium of Cynthia, Shana Moulton's video alter ego, as she undergoes self-treatment with the "MindPlace Thoughtstream Biofeedback System" and some particularly psychedelic strain of Activia yogurt. Sculptures, gadgets and a doctor's waiting room environment provide the backdrop for Moulton's videos, showing Cynthia's cyclical quest to find healing and enlightenment through various wellness products. Moulton mines the New Age kitsch aesthetic with verve and humor, projecting a futile fantasy world where object and desire become one.

Michiel Ceulers, LAURA, installation view, 2015. Courtesy Nicodim Gallery.

Michiel Ceulers - LAURA (Ein bisschen Schnitzel in Magen war mir lieber als ein Vogel in den Himmel)

Nicodim Gallery, Los Angeles, through July 18

Michiel Ceulers' paintings could be Dayglo or dirt brown, but under the orange glow that suffuses the gallery it's impossible to say. This hijacked gallery lighting -- a farewell to the Los Angeles street lights that are switching from the distinctive sodium vapor to efficient LED lights -- not only yields a unique and fulvous gallery experience, it's a gracious gesture to the city. The sculptures, on the other hand, are a gracious gesture to our feline friends -- you can make out the shapes of scratching posts inside, and they're accessible via cat doors installed on the side. Small pets welcome.

Susan Giles, Scenic Overlook, installation view, 2015. Courtesy the artist and Hyde Park Art Center. Photo: Tom Van Eynde.

Susan Giles - Scenic Overlook

Hyde Park Art Center, Chicago, through July 26

Cities are defined by their skylines. Chicago is the Sears Tower, Manhattan is the Empire State Building. In Scenic Overlook, Susan Giles takes the signature architectural features of four of the world's tallest observation towers and literally upends them. These massive wooden constructions, now perched on tripods, lose their powerful verticality and take on the form of telescopes, or missiles. Points that hitherto scraped the sky are now aimed at viewers on the catwalk on the second story of the gallery. Giles' work, on a smaller scale, is also on view in a solo show at THE MISSION until June 27.

Cyprien Gaillard, Nightlife, 2015. Ó Cyprien Gaillard. Courtesy Sprüth Magers.

Cyprien Gaillard - Where Nature Runs Riot

Sprüth Magers, Berlin, through July 18

Cyprien Gaillard's films can be appreciated on a number of different levels, not least of which for their extremely refined cinematic beauty. Nightlife (2015) is a major new film, shot in 3D that roves between Los Angeles, Berlin and Cleveland, and forms the centerpiece to the exhibition. A moving, hypnotic soundtrack swells over footage of fireworks, monuments and plants and trees, their limbs thrashing and undulating in violent winds, a "hallucinatory riot of urban botany." Each element of the film is more than it seems, imbued with significance and symbolism, a monument to displacement, diaspora and the folds of history.

Rachel Higgins, Logistics, installation view, 2015. Courtesy Kristen Lorello, New York.

Rachel Higgins - Logistics

Kristen Lorello, New York, through July 17

Rachel Higgins' sculptures can often be confused for something they're not, and that's part of their appeal. A waist-high black cylinder, interrupted by a wall of MDF slat board, is instantly recognizable as a (partial) rubbish bin, and, indeed, there's a collection of tiny paper cups that have been deposited in it. Composed of materials you're likely to encounter in corporate lobbies and generic show rooms, Higgins' sculptures of peg board, stucco and synthetic stone engage in a game of associative free play in this tiny but incredibly tactile show.

Neïl Beloufa, NEOLIBERAL, installation view, 2015. Courtesy Balice Hertling, Paris, France. Photo: © Aurélien Mole.

Neïl Beloufa - Neoliberal

Balice Hertling, Paris, through July 18

The self-sufficient structures that house Neïl Beloufa's video works follow their own logic, which may or may not intersect with what the videos show. Here Beloufa has constructed what appears to be a viewing console command center that wouldn't quite look out of place in a video arcade from the 1980s, or a Jacuzzi salesroom, or a pre-Y2K upscale furniture outlet liquidation sale. Suspended above the video cubicle, a series of transparent panels, studded with cigarette butts, creates a crystalline canopy overhead, at once sleek and grotesque.

David Maljkovic, installation view, 2015, Metro Pictures, New York. Courtesy of the artist and Metro Pictures, New York.

David Maljkovic

Metro Pictures, New York, through July 31

David Maljkovic subjects his work and the conditions of its display to a process of continual reinterpretation, reuse and repositioning. In the upstairs gallery of Metro Pictures, Maljkovic has covered two walls with black-and-white wallpaper derived from installation views of his recent show at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris. These images compose the backdrop for an HD video and a slide projection, subjecting the room to a distinct sense of spatial distortion.

--Natalie Hegert