The must-see exhibitions of 2020 — The rest of the world
From Arbus in Canada to Doig in Tokyo, Konaté in Ghana to Chaplin in Abu Dhabi — our guide to the must-see exhibitions across the globe
In 2016 the Art Gallery of Ontario acquired 522 works by the legendary New York photographer Diane Arbus — allowing it to claim the world’s second-largest collection of her output. To celebrate, it has organised the first solo exhibition of her pictures in Canada for nearly 30 years.
The show chronicles 15 years of her career, from early experiments with self-portraiture in the 1940s, to her switch from 35 mm film to the 2¼ inch Rolleiflex camera which created her iconic square images, as well as later shoots for Esquire and Harper’s Bazaar. The AGO’s curator of photography Sophie Hackett argues that during this decade and a half Arbus ‘produced perhaps the most compelling and demanding body of portraits the 20th century had seen.’
Don’t miss… CONTACT, the world’s largest annual photography festival, which coincides with the exhibition and runs from 1-31 May in Toronto.
Since opening in 2018 MACAAL has helped make Marrakech a centre of the African contemporary art scene. Its spring 2020 show takes its title from a Yoko Ono song and promises to address ‘important socio-political issues happening in the world today’.
With paintings, installations, sculptures and video from artists including Rahima Gambo, Akira Ikezoe (below), Kapwani Kiwanga, Amina Benbouchta as well as Ono, the show has been curated by Marie-Ann Yemsi. She has previously curated other African art projects including African Odysseys at the Brass Cultural Centre, Brussels (2015) and A Silent Lines, Lives Here at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris (2018).
Don’t miss… Running alongside the exhibition is Untitled: Seydou Keïta, an open-air show of large-scale photographs by the Malian photographer (and owned by the mega-collector Jean Pigozzi) which will be pasted onto the walls of Marrakech’s historic medina.
Fusing the landscapes of his two homelands, Canada and Trinidad, with the painterly styles of Gauguin, Matisse and Munch, Peter Doig has become something of a hero among 21st-century painters.
Doig’s long-awaited first solo show in Japan ranges from his early-career images of snow-filled vistas to his latest, more figurative portraits, and will be a rare opportunity to see works by the notoriously publicity-shy artist, many of which are in private hands.
Don’t miss… Swamped, a Doig painting based on a still from the 1980s cult horror classic Friday the 13th, sold by Christie’s in 2015 for more than $25 million.
In April 2019 Sally Rees was one of three people awarded the inaugural Suspended Moment — Katthy Cavaliere Fellowship, the largest prize in Australia for women artists. Named after the Italian-Australian performance artist who died in 2012 aged 40, and funded by her estate, the $100,000 is being used by Rees to mount a multimedia installation and performance series at Hobart’s Museum of Old and New Art (MONA).
Rees’s work Crone (named after the white-haired woman of folklore) will examine the role of the ‘older’, invisible women of society, and how they can be powerful and transgressive figures.
Don’t miss… The other two winners of the Katthy Cavaliere Fellowship, Frances Barrett and Giselle Stanborough, will show their fellowship-winning projects at Sydney’s Carriageworks and Melbourne’s ACCA galleries in 2020.
Hailing from Mali, the artist Abdoulaye Konaté has built one of the cornerstone reputations of the booming African contemporary market. His labour-intensive, gigantic fringed tapestries refer to the West-African tradition of using textiles as a means of commemoration and communication, and have been a hit with collectors and institutions over the last few years.
Don’t miss… On the weekend before the official opening of the show (6-8 March), Gallery 1957 will be throwing a party to celebrate its first ever exhibition of Konaté’s work, as well as the gallery’s 4th anniversary and Ghanaian Independence Day.
Split up into four sections — each introduced with a clip from one of Charlie Chaplin’s movies — this exhibition takes a look at how themes such as man versus machine, modernist poetry and the circus infiltrated the 1920s and 30s work of Dada, Surrealist and Constructivist artists such as Léger, Kupka and Chagall, as well as Chaplin’s own cinematography.
With more than 100 paintings, drawings, sculptures and photos loaned from Europe, the United States and Russia, the show comes from a successful stint at the Musée d’arts de Nantes in France.
Don’t miss… The Louvre Abu Dhabi will also host performances of new work by the French mime artist Yoann Bourgeois, who has reinterpreted the show’s overarching themes of ‘time, the absurd and contemplation’ into his choreography.
Launching from the current epoch, the Anthropocene, Potential Worlds 1: Planetary Memories takes a look at potential future scenarios as struggles for power and resources develop worldwide.
The project is a collaboration with the Zurich Migros Museum of Contemporary Art (where it is also on show from 7 March to 31 May) and includes works by Monira Al Qadiri, Ozan Atalan, Alberto Baraya, Carolina Caycedo and many more.
Don’t miss… Kiluanji Kia Henda’s brilliant short film Havemos de Voltar (We Shall Return), in which a stuffed Angolan antelope narrates its mission to escape the country’s national archives and return to its homeland.
In 2015 the Pushkin State Museum began its ‘Pushkin XXI’ project, exhibiting contemporary artists whose work creates dialogues with the classical art that makes up the core of its collection.
For the 2020 iteration it is displaying more than 20 works by the influential American video artist Bill Viola, who is best known for his gigantic, devotional-like screens showing people burning, drowning and dying. The comparison, however, is not a new idea — the exhibition comes just over a year after another at London’s Royal Academy, which compared his work to that of Michelangelo.
Don’t miss… Fire Woman, Viola’s 2005 work which shows a collapsing woman set against what he describes as a towering wall of ‘the flames of passion and fever’.
Celebrating the diversity of Europe’s cultural output during times of crisis across the continent, Diversity United features politically charged works by more than 80 artists including Tacita Dean, Olafur Eliasson, Adrian Ghenie, Wolfgang Tillmans, Rachel Whiteread and Maurizio Cattelan.
If you can’t make it to Moscow, the exhibition is also travelling to Berlin and Paris in 2021.
Don’t miss… Lucy + Jorge Orta’s Antarctica World Passport Office. Since 2008 the artists have been extending their body of work focused on Antarctica (the only politically unclaimed land on Earth) by handing out self-issued passports for the territory. So far 57,000 have been created. This exhibition will be another chance to grab one.
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Following on from a year of critically acclaimed exhibitions at the Busan Museum of Art in South Korea, the Uffizi in Florence and the Royal Academy in London, British sculptor Antony Gormley will be showing a selection of his works at Gallery Continua in the Cuban capital.
Gallery Continua has outposts in San Gimignano, Beijing and Les Moulins, and operates from a converted 1950s movie theatre in the heart of Havana’s Chinatown. This is the first time Gormley’s work has ever been to Cuba.
Don’t miss… LOST HORIZON II, Gormley’s 2017 work which pulls taut 5,000 pieces of silk-wrapped bungee cord, attached to floor and ceiling to create a navigable white fabric forest.