7 Amazing Art Destinations Across Europe To Visit this Summer

From Greece to Moscow and Ibiza, it's time to get packing.

Stromboli. Courtesy of Stone Matthew.

Summer is here and if you’re lucky the sun is shining and your schedule is clear for a refreshing break. For those who prefer their time-off to be filled with art, there are exhibitions, festivals, biennials, and happenings taking place all over Europe, and there are even two art fairs you can visit at the end of the summer, such as Marseille’s Art-o-Rama, or Chart in Copenhagen.

So, with artful adventures in mind we have gathered together some of our top art destinations in Europe this season for your delectation.

Peter Saville performance in Stromboli, 2013. Photo: via the Fiorucci Art Trust website.

Peter Saville performance in Stromboli, 2013. Photo: via the Fiorucci Art Trust website.

1. Volcano Extravaganza 2016 “I Will Go Where I Don’t Belong”, Stromboli
Held by the Fiorucci Art Trust in Stromboli, Volcano Extravaganza 2016, has one of the most striking settings of any art festival in the world. Viewers are treated to an exclusive boutique art festival that is, literally, up a volcano. The event usually includes music and performance as well as more traditional visual arts, and this year is no different.

Now in its sixth edition, the festival is lead by French artist Camille Henrot with curator Milovan Farronato and is titled, “I Will Go Where I Don’t Belong”. With contributions from Egyptian artist Anna Boghiguian, David Horvitz, Mike Nelson, Martin Murphy, Yona Friedman, and Rachel Rose, Henrot is seeking to create “a constellation of themes [that] will support a weeklong and spineless narrative.”

The luxurious sounding opening night will see a dinner fashioned into scenes from Homer’s The Odyssey by Henrot herself and a soundtrack provided by the art world’s favorite polymath artist, poet, and DJ Juliana Huxtable.

Volcano Extravaganza in Stromboli runs from July 15-21

Trehgornaya Manufactory, building #5 Photo: Courtesy of the 5th Moscow International Biennale for Young Art press office

Trehgornaya Manufactory, building #5. Photo: Courtesy of the 5th Moscow International Biennale for Young Art press office

2. 5th Moscow International Biennale for Young Art
Comprised of a whopping 53 exhibitions, the Moscow International Biennale for Young Art creates a platform for emerging artists, exposing them to a willing audience in the unique urban context of the city of Moscow.

The biennial has four strands, so there’s plenty of art on view: a main project “Deep Inside”; two strategic projects “H Y P E R C O N N E C T E D” and “Time of Reasonable Doubts”; sixteen special projects; and 40 exhibitions framed within a parallel program.

“Deep Inside,” the main project, will be installed in Trekhgornaya Factory art space and will feature an exhibition of 86 artists from 36 countries. Nadim Samman, who has worked on pavilions for both the Venice and Marrakesh biennials in the past, will curate the show, which will focus on ecology, finance, and the dangers of new technologies and social instability.

The 5th Moscow International Biennial for Young Art opens this weekend and runs until August 10 

Callum Innes Regent Bridge 2012 CAP

Callum Innes Regent Bridge (2012). Photo courtesy Edinburgh Art Festival

3. Edinburgh Art Festival 2016
It is no secret that the Scottish capital becomes a center for the performing arts for the whole of August each year. The annual Edinburgh Festival and Festival Fringe—the world’s largest for the performing arts—brings 50,459 performances of 3,314 shows to 313 venues in the Scottish capital.

The Edinburgh Art Festival, founded in 2004, capitalizes on this and the other festivals running in the city adding visual arts to the rich cultural landscape of the festival month.

The commissions program includes a “dazzle ship” by Ciara Phillips, a film project from Roderick Buchanan, and a light installation by Graham Fagen.

Spread across museums and galleries across the city, highlights include new works by Damián Ortega at the Fruitmarket Gallery and over 100 drawings by Joseph Beuys as part of the Tate collaboration ARTIST ROOMS at the beautiful Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art. There will also be an exploration of self-portraiture at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery with work from Marina Abramovic, Ai Weiwei, Alice Neel, and Gustave Courbet, plus a group exhibition with Tim Dodds, Emma Hart and Susan Mowatt at Rhubaba at the Edinburgh School of Art.

Edinburgh Art Festival runs from July 28-August 28 2016


The Island of Hydra. Photo courtesy HYAM

4. The Island of Hydra, Greece
The small, scenic Greek Island of Hydra will be alive with art this summer.

The DESTE Foundation Project Space, formerly the island’s slaughterhouse, will be host to renowned Italian multi-disciplinary artist Roberto Cuoghi. “Putiferio” the Latin for “To Bring the Stink” will be an investigation into varying archaic methods of firing ceramics.

Artist Maria Tsagari will be installing works around the beautiful island as part of Hydra for artists for the Mediterranean (HYAM). French based HYAM selects a Greek-Cypriot artist to exhibit on the historic Greek island each year to promote them and art from the region in general. Tsagari will be installing small sculptures in the shape of blue plants around the landscape in ways that are un-harmful to the land and ecosystem.

“Putiferio” is on view until September 30


James Turrell Albion Barn (2012). Photo courtesy The Venet Foundation

5. James Turrell: Inspire the Light at the Venet Foundation
A master of light and land art James Turrell rarely disappoints and in the environs of the stunning Venet Foundation, in Le Muy, France his work with undoubtedly flourish.

As well as two installations, one “Skyspace” —Elliptic, Ecliptic (2016)—is a long-term artwork at the foundation which, as with Turrell’s other “Skyspaces”, manages to somehow harness the beauty of the sky. The second, Prana (2016) is a light work inside a hermetically sealed space with no exterior light but for a red rectangle.

Other works at the Venet Foundation are the Stella Chapel by Frank Stella, and installations by Bernar Venet and Sol LeWitt (tour by appointment only).

The foundation was initially conceived at a workspace for French conceptualist Bernar Venet, who lived and housed his collection there. Made up of work by his contemporaries such as Donald Judd, his collection has since grown into a foundation with stunning center for contemporary art. An absolute gem this is definitely worth a visit if you are in the South of France this summer.

MEJISHI, Ogi, Sadogashima, préfecture de Niigata. Avec l’aimable autoristation de l’artiste. ------ MEJISHI, Ogi, Sadogashima, Niigata prefecture. Courtesy of the artist.

Ogi Mejishi, Sadogashima Niigata prefecture. Photo courtesy of the artist.

6. The Rencontres d’Arles 2016
Over the years I have heard the adage “what happens in Arles, stays in Arles” many times regarding this event, so if for nothing other than a great party, this photographic festival is worth a look.

“The Rencontres d’Arles” was founded in 1970 by photographer Lucien Clergue, author Michel Tournier, and historian Jean-Maurice Rouquette.

Since its inception the festival has thrived and grown to encompass over 60 exhibitions throughout the city and the legendary European Night or “Le Nuit de l’Europe” which has, in the past, included a Patti Smith concert.

Sometimes an artist will be asked to program a section of the festival, and alumni include Martin Parr in 2004, Raymond Depardon in 2006, couturier Christian Lacroix in 2008, and Nan Goldin in 2009.

Exhibitions featuring this year include work from PJ Harvey and Maurizio Cattelan, plus “Africa Pop” that focuses on photography by 10 African photographers including the legendary Malick Sidibé, who died earlier this year.

The Recontres d’Arles runs from July 4 until September 25

The site of the new sculpture park Photo courtesy Parra & Romero

The site of the new sculpture park Photo courtesy Parra & Romero

7. Outdoor Sculpture Project by Parra & Romero
Ibiza has gone a long way to shaking off its “clubbing hotspot” label, and is becoming a different kind of destination.

Adding to the increasing number of art events on the Balearic island, Madrid based gallery Parra & Romero is launching an outdoor sculpture park in sunny Ibiza this summer. Seeking to hark back to the time when Ibiza was a place where intellectuals like Walter Benjamin, Tristan Tzara, Wols or Raul Haussmann would holiday, the gallery wants to create something of artistic value that will not harm the landscape of this beautiful region of Spain.

The temporary project will include works by Stefan Brüggemann, Luis Camnitzer, and Philippe Decrauzat and is curated by Jérôme Sans.

The project will be on view from July 22


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