Courting water cannons, electric chairs and a red hot globe: ‘Newtopia’ (Mechelen)

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‘I’ve tried to include not too many text-based works. People should read books at home.’ My kind of curator! Don’t let that subtitle The state of human rights put you off. Newtopia (Mechelen, through December 10, several locations) might be about some mighty serious issues, Katerina Gregos, one of the Manifesta9-curators, has tried to make this an interesting and enjoyable trip, not forgetting the poetic and the humourous. Newtopia (4 chapters & 5 solo shows) includes more than 70 artists from several generations. Afterwards you’ll wish it might have really slapped you in the face more often, but the exhibition sure offers a varied collection of works.
Don’t forget to include a couple of Gregos’ favorites in your walk: Picasso’s Weeping woman (‘extremely difficult to get’), Wilhelm Werner (‘never included in an exhibition’), Chinese artist Zhou Zixi (‘very difficult to get: they almost didn’t arrive on time’), Wilchar (‘hopefully this will resuscitate his reputation’), Syrian artist (and ‘outspoken critic’) Ali Ferzat, and Fernando Sánchez Castillo’s funny video with water cannon trucks. As a satellite project an exhibition focusing on Alfredo Jaar will open at ING Cultural Centre Brussels on October 10.

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