19 Major Exhibitions That Actually May Open in Europe This Fall, From a Hito Steyerl Retrospective to Manifesta 13
We combed through exhibition listings so you don't have to.
It’s been a weird year. We won’t bore you with the details, you know just as well as we do what’s going on.
But lockdown measures are lifting across Europe and art institutions are starting to reopen, which means art lovers keen to get back to museums are probably wondering what they can see in the second half of 2020.
Wonder no longer. Here are 19 shows across the continent and UK that you should keep your eye on (and that we hope will actually open).
“Barbara Walker: Place, Space and Who” at Turner Contemporary
WHAT: Throughout a four-month residency at Turner Contemporary in Margate, British artist Barbara Walker created larger-than-life portraits of women from the African diaspora living in the local area. The portraits of women from across generations are informed by stories and experiences they have shared with Walker, and are drawn directly on the 45-foot-tall walls of the Sunley Gallery, which looks out to the North sea.
WHERE: Turner Contemporary, Margate, UK
WHEN: Through September 6
“Christo and Jeanne-Claude: Paris!” at Centre Pompidou
WHAT: Christo unfortunately died before this tribute to his life in Paris and the works he made in and around the city, alongside his artistic collaborator and wife Jeanne-Claude, could open at the Centre Pompidou. Paris was central to the Bulgarian artist’s development: it was here that he turned away from painting to the concept of “wrapping,” the idea that he’s best know for. His dream of wrapping the Arc de Triomphe is finally due to be realized this year.
WHERE: Centre Pompidou, Paris, France
WHEN: Through October 19
“Robert Morris: The Perceiving Body” at Saint-Étienne Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art
WHAT: The celebrated American sculptor is the subject of a posthumous survey that takes a different approach to his work, in that it will seven different rooms will each have one monumental installation, or a singular group of related objects.
WHERE: Saint-Étienne Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Saint-Étienne, France
WHEN: Through November 1
“Franz Erhard Walther: Shifting Perspectives” at Haus der Kunst
WHAT: A major survey dedicated to the 71-year-old German artist (and the Venice biennale’s 2017 Golden Lion winner) already found critical acclaim. Now, due to calendar switch-ups, this crowd-favorite is getting an extended run. Walther has become well-known for pioneering a new understanding of sculpture and painting that sees the viewer as an actor.
WHERE: Haus der Kunst, Munich
WHEN: Through November 29
“Otobong Nkanga: There’s No Such Thing as Solid Ground” at Gropius Bau
WHAT: After her one-year residency at the Berlin institution, Nkanga has opened a solo exhibition that explores key elements of her practice, including her interest in how natural resources (like stone, coal, and minerals) are imbued with different meanings in different cultures.
WHERE: Gropius Bau, Berlin
WHEN: Through December 13
“Petrit Halilaj: To a Raven and Hurricanes That From Unknown Places Bring Bring Back Smells of Humans in Love” at Reina Sofia
WHAT: This sprawling exhibition at Madrid’s Palacio Cristal, organized by the Museo Reina Sofia, is the Kosovar artist Petrit Halilaj’s first solo exhibition in Spain. Halilaj has transformed the space into a giant nest, inviting birds inside to feed freely, and filled it with sculptures relating to his biography, which includes his experiences during the 1998 Kosovo War and life as a refugee.
WHERE: Reina Sofia, Madrid, Spain
WHEN: Through February 28, 2021
“Kader Attia: Remembering the Future” at Kunsthaus Zürich
WHAT: The French-Algerian artist Kader Attia is showing sculpture, photos, videos, and installations that interpellate Europe’s colonial history and its legacy. A highlight is a new video installation in which Attia addresses the question of restitution of African objects from European museums by inviting a diverse range of figures, from historians to economists, to share their views on the matter.
WHERE: Kunsthaus Zürich, Switzerland
WHEN: August 21–November 15
Manifesta 13 at various locations in Marseille
WHAT: After a postponement from June to late August, the roving exhibition is forging ahead with a gradual opening that includes part of the curatorial biennial program, “Traits d’unions.” Participating artists include Hannah Black and Jana Euler.
WHERE: Various locations across Marseille, France
WHEN: August 28–November 29
“11th Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art” at KW Institute for Contemporary Art and other locations
WHAT: The biennial, which was originally set to take place in June, is curated by María Berríos, Renata Cervetto, Lisette Lagnado, and Agustín Pérez Rubio, an “intergenerational, female-identified team” of South-American curators have been curating the biennial as a series of “lived experiences” since last September. Next month’s main event is seen a the epilogue.
WHERE: KW Institute for Contemporary Art, daadgalerie, Gropius Bau and ExRotaprint
WHEN: September 5–November 1
“Isa Genzken: Works 1973–1983” at Kunstmuseum Basel
WHAT: The exhibition focuses on the first decade of the German conceptual artist’s career, including her “Ellipsoids” and “Hyperbolos” sculptures and her computer printouts on continuous paper that informed their creation, among other exceptional early works.
WHERE: Kunstmuseum Basel, Switzerland
WHEN: September 5–January 24, 2021
“Kapwani Kiwanga: New Work” at FKA Witte de With
WHAT: For her first solo exhibition in the Netherlands, the Paris-based artist is creating a new body of work that examines the balance between the philosophical concept of “pharmakon” and poison, and protection and aggression.
WHERE: FKA Witte de With, Amsterdam
WHEN: September 20, 2020–January 17, 2021
“Échelle Humaine” at Lafayette Anticipations
WHAT: The third edition of the gallery’s Échelle Humaine (human scale) performance festival will explore the human body and all of its possibilities, with theater, dance, and art performances taking over the whole space. The festival includes works from artists Tino Sehgal, Sourour Darabi, Simon Senn, and Mette Ingvartsen, among others.
WHERE: Lafayette Anticipations, Paris, France
WHEN: September 21–27
“Isaac Julien: Lina Bo Bardi. A Marvelous Tangle” at MAXXI
WHAT: The British artist and filmmaker has created a nine-channel video installation work and photographic series in tribute to the great Brazilian modernist architect Lina Bo Bardi. The title of the exhibition, “A Marvelous Entanglement,” is taken from one of Bo Bardi’s letters when she wrote: “Time is not linear, it is a marvelous tangle in which, at any moment, ends can be chosen and solutions invented, without beginning or end.”
WHERE: MAXXI, Rome
WHEN: September 23, 2020–January 17, 2021
Hito Steyerl at Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen
WHAT: The first comprehensive exhibition dedicated to the artist Hito Steyerl will span early and recent works that show the Berlin-based artist’s critical eye on documentary and image-making.
WHERE: Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Dusseldorf
WHEN: September 26, 2020–January 10, 2021
“Artemisia” at the National Gallery
WHAT: The centerpiece of this long-awaited exhibition of the most famous female artist of the 17th century, Artemisia Gentileschi, will be a recently rediscovered painting by the artist that the National Gallery acquired in 2018. The 35 works in the show trace her life in Rome from apprenticing her father, the artist Orazio Gentileschi, through the harrowing circumstances of her life, which included surviving rape and a subsequently horrific trial before finally establishing herself as an independent artist.
WHERE: National Gallery, London
WHEN: October 3, 2020–January 24, 2020
“Zanele Muholi” at Tate Modern
WHAT: This full-career survey of the visual artist and activist Zanele Muholi’s works will include their well-known intimate photographs of LGBTQ+ people in South Africa as well as their ongoing series of dramatic self-portraits addressing issues of race and representation.
WHERE: Tate Modern, London
WHEN: November 5, 2020–March 7, 2021
“Jennifer Packer” at Serpentine Gallery
WHAT: This survey is the New York-based painter’s first European solo, and includes paintings and drawings from the past 10 years. It includes figurative portraits of friends and family, as well as more abstract floral still lifes and vessels of personal grief Packer says she makes in response to racially motivated violence against Black Americans.
WHERE: Serpentine Gallery, London
WHEN: November 18–Spring 2021
“Lynette Yiadom-Boakye: Fly in League With the Night” at Tate Britain
WHAT: Yiadom-Boakye is a rising star painter known for her contemporary portraits of Black figures, often infused with European art-historical references. More than 80 paintings and works on paper by the British painter and writer will be included in this landmark show at Tate Britain.
WHERE: Tate Britain, London
WHEN: November 18, 2020–May 9, 2021
“The Disquieted Muses. When the Biennale Meets History” at the Central Pavilion in Venice
WHAT: To mark its 125th anniversary, the Venice Biennale is organizing an unprecedented archival group show that is curated by six artistic directors. The show will look at how the exhibition and festival overlapped and confronted major historic world events.
WHERE: The Central Pavilion, Venice, Italy
WHEN: August 29–December 8
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