Here’s Your Guide to the Most Highly Anticipated Museum Shows of 2018 in Europe

From Tate Modern's first ever Picasso survey to Ettore Sottsass's first retrospective in the Netherlands, here's what not to miss in Europe this year.

James Rosenquist, The Stowaway Peers Out at the Speed of Light, (2000), Estate of James Rosenquist, ©Estate of James Rosenquist/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2017, Photo: Courtesy of the Estate of James Rosenquist

Museums across Europe are offering a wide range of highlights in the first half of 2018. In London, Tate Modern is preparing for its first ever survey of Pablo Picasso, and Tacita Dean will be taking over three major institutions in the English capital with shows at the National Portrait Gallery, the National Gallery, and the Royal Academy. Meanwhile, ARoS museum in Aarhus, Denmark will present James Rosenquist’s monumental works in a show conceived together with the artist before his passing in March of last year. The Reina Sofia in Madrid will survey the powerful work of Colombian artist Beatriz González, and Vienna’s Secession will hold artist Bouchra Khalili’s first exhibition in Austria. Design fans wouldn’t want to miss the major Ettore Sottsass retrospective in Amsterdam’s Stedelijk, and the Vitra museum will explore iconic nightclub interiors, and their influence on everyday design.

Here’s our preview what to see across Europe this year:

“Henri Michaux: The Other Side” at Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, February 2–May 13

Henri Michaux, Untitled (1981). Colección particular, París. ©Henri Michaux, VEGAP, Bilbao, 2017.

The Belgian painter and poet’s work evades categorization, yet his influence on fellow artists and writers is undeniable—in particular his experimental work produced under the influence of psychoactive substances. With 150 works from a creative career spanning most of the 20th century (he died in 1984), the exhibition will exemplify Michaux’s attempts to make sense of modern society with many previously unseen artworks and archival material.

The Guggenheim Bilbao is located at Avenida Abandoibarra, 2 – 48009 Bilbao, Spain

Picasso 1932 – Love, Fame, Tragedy” at Tate Modern, March 8–September 9

Pablo Picasso, The Dream (Le Rêve) (1932,) Private Collection ©Succession Picasso/DACS, London 2017

In what will be the Tate Modern’s first ever solo exhibition dedicated to Picasso, more than 100 paintings, drawings, and sculptures will go on view alongside family photographs to illustrate the artist’s personal life, focusing on one particularly tumultuous year in the artist’s life, when he met his muse and lover Marie-Thérèse Walter. Of particular note will be the display of three paintings of Walter, shown together for the first time since produced in 1932. The exhibition is organized together with the National Picasso Museum in Paris, where the show “Picasso 1932” is currently on view through February 11.

Tate Modern is located at Bankside, London SE1 9TG. 

Tacita Dean at the National Portrait Gallery and the National Gallery, March 15–May 28, and the Royal Academy of Arts, May 19–August 12, 2018

Tacita Dean, <i>Majesty, </i> (2006). Tate ©Courtesy the artist; Frith Street Gallery, London and Marian Goodman Gallery, New York/Paris

Tacita Dean, Majesty, (2006). Tate ©Courtesy the artist; Frith Street Gallery, London and Marian Goodman Gallery, New York/Paris

Tacita Dean is the first artist to have shows at London’s Royal Academy of Arts, the National Portrait Gallery, and the National Gallery at the same time, but it will be a close run thing. “Portrait” will be at the NPG (March 15 – May 28) when “Still Life” is at the National Gallery (March15 – May 28), but “Landscape” only opens at the RA on May 19. A Careful Dean diary coordination is required.

Royal Academy, 6 Burlington Gardens, London, UK.

Night Fever. Designing Club Culture 1960 – Today” at the Vitra Design Museum, March 17–September 9

Courtesy Vitra Design Museum.

The value of nightlife in solidifying boundary-pushing art movements has long been established, but the focus has usually been placed on the music and styles that defined socials scenes. This exhibition will emphasize the role of design—furniture, lighting, graphics—in defining the spatial context as a Gesamtkunstwerk. Examples range from 1960s Italian clubs created by members of Radical Design to Studio 54, the Palladium in New York designed by Arata Isozaki, and more recent concepts by the OMA architecture studio for the Ministry of Sound in London.

The Vitra Design Museum is located at Charles-Eames-Str. 2, 79576 Weil am Rhein, Germany.

Beatriz González: Retrospective 1965-2017” at Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, March 22–September 2

Beatriz González, Zócalo de la comedia, (1983). Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid

The Colombian artist, critic, and Pop-Art pioneer, whose powerful work Interior Decoration (1981) was a hit at documenta 14 in Athens, holds an important position in the history of Latin American art for her engagement with recent Colombian history, politics, and corruption. Curated by María Inés Rodríguez, the show presents around 150 works representative of the six decades of the artist’s career.

The Museo Reina Sofía is located at 52, Calle de Santa Isabel, 28012 Madrid, Spain.

“Linder: The House of Fame,” at Nottingham Contemporary, March 24–June 17

Linder, Untitled, (2013). photomontage. Courtesy of Stuart Shave/Modern Art, London.

Linder Sterling, also known simply as Linder, presents an exhibition which draws on her discoveries as the artist-in-residence at Chatsworth, the first in the history of one of Britain’s grandest country houses. Conceived as a part-retrospective of the artist’s photomontages and performance work, it will also explore Nottingham’s long history of lacemaking.

Nottingham Contemporary, Weekday Cross, NG1 2GB Nottingham, UK.

Ettore Sottsass: Retrospective” at the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, April 1–August 31

Ettore Sottsass, lamp Ashoka, produced by Riforma, Pregnana Milanese (L) for Memphis, Milan (IT) 1981, vases Nilo (centre) and Euphrates, produced by Porcellane San Marco, Nove (IT) for Memphis, Milan 1983. Photo: Gert Jan van Rooij. Collection Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. Nilo on long-term loan from the Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands, donated in lieu of inheritance tax by the State of the Netherlands. c/o Pictoright Amsterdam, 2017

Following a landmark acquisition of the Italian designer’s Cabinet no. 70 (2006), which was added to the Stedelijk’s 80 Sottsass holdings, this will be the Netherlands’ first ever Sottsass retrospective, spanning his 70-year career. The show explores his relationship to Modernism and Functionalism as well as his versatility as an artist working in painting, architecture, writing, and a broad area of design.

The Stedelijk Museum is located at 10 Museumplein, 1071 DJ Amsterdam, the Netherlands.  

Bouchra Khalili, at Secession, April 12 – June 17

B-ouchra Khalili, Foreign Office (2015). Courtesy the artist and Galerie Polaris, Paris.

Bouchra Khalili’s practice addresses the issue of migration by ambitiously touching upon several concepts—including citizenship, community, subjectivity, minorities, and solidarity as well as native language, tradition, self-empowerment, and (finally) the art of storytelling. For Khalili’s first solo exhibition in Austria, the Moroccan-French artist who’s shortlisted for the Guggenheim’s Hugo Boss prize, will present a series of photography, video, and installation works centered on North-African history in relation to colonialism and revolutionary movements.

Vienna Secession is located at Friedrichstraße 12, 1010 Vienna, Austria.

James Rosenquist at ARoS Aarhus Kunstmuseum, 14 April–19 August

James Rosenquist, Star Thief, (1980), Museum Ludwig, Köln, loan from Peter und Irene Ludwig Stiftung, Aachen 1995, Art: ©Estate of James Rosenquist/VG Bild-Bonn, 2017, Photo: Nathan Ishar

Presented in collaboration with the Museum Ludwig in Cologne, where the exhibition is on view through March 4, the ARoS Art Museum in Aarhus will host the second leg of the show highlighting Rosenquist’s “monumental formats”—some of which measure up to 88 feet long—that were produced in the 1950s and 60s. To convey the late American artist’s concept of “painting as immersion,” works on view will include the in­s­tal­la­tion F-111, an icon of the Pop era, as well as the newly cleaned and restored Horse Blinders (1968–69) and previously unseen in­s­tal­la­tions that Rosenquist cre­at­ed for the le­g­endary Castel­li Gallery. Rosenquist, who passed away in March 2017, was deeply involved with the development of the show.

ARoS Aarhus Art Museum is located at Aros Allé 2, 8000 Aarhus, Denmark.

“Lubaina Himid” at the Baltic, May 11 – September 30, 2018

Lubaina Himid, Naming the Money (2004). Photo Andy Keate, courtesy the artist and Hollybush Gardens.

The 2017 Turner Prize-winning artist, Lubaina Himid, is due to unveil a new commission, which uses the colorful patterns of East African kangas to produce a series of flags based on the traditional clothing, which will suspended in the the gallery space with mottos chosen by the sixty-something British artist enjoying her moment in the spotlight.

Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, South Shore Road, Gateshead, UK.

“Azzedine Alaïa: The Couturier” at the Design Museum,  May 10–October 7, 2018


London’s Design Museum will open a major retrospective focused on world-renowned fashion designer Azzedine Alaïa next spring, a highly anticipated project featuring 60 pieces selected by the designer himself. Alaïa was co-curating the exhibition when he died of heart failure in November, which makes the exhibition one of his last creative endeavors and will likely draw huge crowds.

The Design Museum is located at 224-238 Kensington High St, Kensington, London W8 6AG, UK.

Philippe Parreno at Martin Gropius Bau, May 25–August 5, 2018

Exhibition view of Philippe Parreno’s La levadura y el anfitrión, Museo Jumex, Mexico City, (2017). Courtesy of the artist. Photo: Andrea Rossetti.

The French artist is internationally renowned for his multimedia-based installations that challenge the viewer’s preconceived knowledge of control and movement in space and time. The artist considers the exhibition as a whole a living organism, governed by invisible but palpable factors that cause components interact and create performative moments. This will be Parreno’s first solo exhibition in a German institution.

Martin Gropius Bau is located at Niederkirchnerstraße 7, 10963 Berlin, Germany.

Luke Willis Thompson at Kunsthalle Basel, June 8–August 19, 2018

Luke Willis Thompson at Chisenhale Gallery Photo: Andy Keate.

Not bad for a Swiss debut: The New Zealand artist will have his first solo exhibition in Switzerland opening alongside this year’s Art Basel at the city’s leading institution. Thompson received major acclaim in 2017 with his politically charged work commissioned by Chisendale Gallery, featuring Diamond Reynolds, the partner of Philando Castile, who documented his murder by a police officer on Facebook Live.

Kunsthalle Basel is located at Steinenberg 7, 4051 Basel, Switzerland.

Sanguine/Bloedrood” at M HKA, the Museum of Contemporary Art Antwerp, June 1–September 16

Edward Kienholz, Five Car Stud, (1969–72). Photo Delfino Sisto Legnani Studio

Antwerp is celebrating the Baroque all year in 2018. Curated by Luc Tuymans, this exhibition seeks to leave visitors awestruck by bringing Baroque works into the experimental spaces of contemporary art. The exhibition will present key works of the Baroque by artists including Georges de La Tour, Francisco de Zurbarán, and Francisco Goya alongside work by contemporary stars such as Edward Kienholz, Anne Imhof, On Kawara, and Chuck Close, and new works by Zhang Enli, Takashi Murakami, and Danh Vō.

M HKA is located at 32 Leuvenstraat, 2000, Antwerp, Belgium.

Subodh Gupta at La Monnaie de Paris, April 13August 26

Subodh Gupta, Untitled (Egg) (2014). Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

A key figure in contemporary Indian art, Gupta is known for employing Duchamp-like “ready-made” methods by using everyday objects from contemporary Indian life to create large-scale installations. For his first retrospective in France, set to be staged at the recently revamped La Monnaie de Paris, Gupta will present existing works as well as produce site-specific installations that respond to the building’s history and ongoing role in the production of Euros and other circulating currencies.

La Monnaie de Paris is located at 11 Quai de Conti, 75006 Paris, France.

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