A year of art: 15 inspiring art events around the globe in 2018

2018 is proving to be yet another fruitful year in the world of art. From a new contemporary art museum in South Africa and belle époque vibes in Paris to the rise of a beacon in Abu Dhabi, we show you 15 art events around the world that are guaranteed to challenge your views and inspire you.

Yayoi Kusama Museum – Tokyo, Japan

Yayoi Kusama, Pumpkins screaming about love beyond infinity, 2017

Yayoi Kusama, Pumpkins screaming about love beyond infinity, 2017 © Yayoi Kusama

Have you experienced your Instagram feed blow up with dots lately? It is most likely because of Yayoi Kusama, the influential artist captivating art lovers around the world with iconic dots, nets, pumpkins and infinity rooms through the span of six decades. With the opening of a museum dedicated to the avant-garde artist in October 2017, Yayoi fans got a five-story space in the western suburbs of Tokyo with endless opportunities to capture yet another selfie in the universe of the master of dots.

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Louvre – Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

The futuristic Louvre Abu Dhabi

The futuristic Louvre Abu Dhabi © Louvre Abu Dhabi. Photo by Mohamed Somji

Mona Lisa … the woman with the mysterious smile, kept safe behind bulletproof, triple-laminated glass at the world’s largest art museum, The Louvre. Now, fast forward from its history-rooted establishment going back to 1793 to November 2017. A new chapter was added to the history of this legendary museum: the opening of Louvre Abu Dhabi, a new cultural beacon with a vision to shine fresh light on the shared stories of humanity. Designed by acclaimed architect Jean Nouvel, the building, a futuristic sky-dome overlooking the Arabian Gulf, is worth the visit alone. Mona Lisa, that is truly a reason to smile! A special inaugural exhibition ‘From One Louvre to Another’ opens on December 21, 2017.

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Jasper Johns at The Broad – Los Angeles, CA, US

With an average of 284 sunny days per year, citizens of Los Angeles are at no risk of vitamin D deficiency. With that said, another beam of light will lighten up the city when one of the most important living American artists, Jasper Johns, enters the contemporary art museum The Broad to present his first major solo show in California in over 60 years.

Titled Jasper Johns: ‘Something Resembling Truth’, the exhibition presents iconic images of familiar objects – flags, targets, numbers, maps and light bulbs – one highlight being the 1958 canvas ‘Three Flags’. Prepare for a serious dose of brain vitamins and a genuine rendezvous beneath the sun.

When: February-May 2018

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The Armory Show – New York, NY, US

There’s no argument that New York is a mecca for art lovers and the premier art fair The Armory Show is where artists and collectors converge. Since its founding in 1994, the Armory Show has served as a nexus for the art world, bringing the most important 20th and 21st century art together along with over 65,000 visitors annually.

Held in Midtown Manhattan at the special event venue Piers 92/94, this year’s program will be put together by two American curators, Gabriel Ritter and Jen Mergel, both boasting institutional affiliations and solid experience in building art collections in the US.

When springtime is about to set, The Armory Show blooms freshly in the crisp Big Apple that you just need to bite into.

When: March 8-11, 2018

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Biennale of Sydney – Sydney, Australia

Dive deep into the art shows presented during the Biennale of Sydney

Dive deep into the art shows presented during the Biennale of Sydney © Courtesy the artist and Kukje Gallery, Seoul. Photo by Markus Tretter

As the first biennale to be established in the Asia-Pacific region and one of the longest running exhibitions of its kind, the Biennale of Sydney returns in 2018 for its 21st edition.

Unfolding over 12 weeks, this year’s event brings together around 70 artists, including Ai Weiwei, Haegue Yang, Eija-Liisa Ahtila, Anya Gallaccio and Oliver Beer. There won’t be a specific theme or concept, but the event will rather focus on an exploration of various perspectives of the world and its histories.

This will be a fruitful affair that awaits to be peeled off and explored layer by layer.

When: March 16 – June 11, 2018

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Art Basel – Hong Kong

With the opening of major international art galleries such as White Cube and Gagosian in the city, the relatively young art world of Hong Kong has established itself as a place worth traveling to. What makes this even more compelling is Art Basel Hong Kong, which continues to make waves as one of the world’s best upcoming art fairs.

Through an in-depth overview of the region’s diversity, be it historical or cutting-edge works by established and emerging artists, Art Basel Hong Kong will probably figure as a must-do on most artsy lists in 2018.

When: March 29-31, 2018

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São Paulo International Art Festival (SP-Arte) – São Paulo, Brazil

Take your time and take it all in at SP-Arte – São Paulo International Art Festival

Take your time and take it all in at SP-Arte – São Paulo International Art Festival © SP-Arte 2017. Photo by Jéssica Mangaba

With its feverish energy, São Paulo is home to a colorful art scene. In April, a real rainbow rooster is provided by SP-Arte – São Paulo International Art Festival.

What started out as a small trade event with 40 local art gallery booths held in the Biennial pavilion designed by modernist master Oscar Niemeyer, has grown into an international event with 147 exhibitors and 27,000 visitors. And hey, if you end up in this vibrant city, don’t forget to check out the world’s largest mural by the internationally renowned street artist Eduardo Kobra.

When: April 12-15, 2018

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Banksy at Moco – Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Arguably the most famous street artist in the world, Banksy has become an international icon. Notorious for his secretiveness and honesty, depicting iconic stencils with a political edge on walls around the globe, the street art legend moves within four white walls for the first time in history with a museum exhibition at the Modern Contemporary (Moco) Museum Amsterdam.

Come experience the graffiti master, painter, activist and filmmaker, who in 2010 ended up on the list of the world’s 100 most influential people. Anonymous and yet on everyone’s lips.

When: Present- May 31, 2018

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Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa – Cape Town, South Africa

The Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa is the newest addition to the global art scene

The Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa is the newest addition to the global art scene © Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa. Photo by Iwan Baan

It has been one of the world’s most anticipated museums and is set to become one of Africa’s most important cultural attractions – the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa in Cape Town. Opened in September 2017, the museum houses nine floors, seven filled with art. This is an abundance of expressions by creative minds and a platform for Africans to tell their own story. Being asked what the institution’s greatest strength is, the museum’s director Mark Coetzee answered: “The unknown. We are breaking new ground.” And the greatest weakness? “The unknown. We are breaking new ground.” So, are you ready to step into new ground, into the unknown?

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Berlin Biennale – Berlin, Germany

Berlin is an eclectic mix that feeds your curiosity and makes you want to seek out every nook and cranny. A good place to start is the Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art, curated by Gabi Ngcobo and a host of guest curators, which will take you around evolving locations throughout the city.

What’s more, the Berlin Biennale is no way monologue-ish in its scope. Shaped by the concepts of several well-known curators and hosted in various surprising venues, it is appointed to be an ‘open space’ where artists can enter a dialogue with the public.

When: June 9 – September 9, 2018

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Liverpool Biennial – Liverpool, UK

Liverpool has drawn serious attention from art lovers worldwide since the foundation of the Liverpool Biennial in 1998. Having grown into the largest festival of contemporary visual art in the UK, it returns this year stronger than ever before. Taking place over 15 weeks across the city’s galleries, museums and public spaces, this year’s edition will focus on social, political and economic turmoil under the title ‘Beautiful world, where are you?’.

Some of the artists invited to showcase their work include Pakistani Madiha Aijaz, focusing on photography and film, New York-based Kevin Beasley whose practice traverses sculpture, photography, sound and performance, and Paul Elliman, working with language and typography seen through many of its social and technological guises.

When: July 14 – October 28, 2018

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Code Art Fair – Copenhagen, Denmark

Fall is all about art in Copenhagen

Fall is all about art in Copenhagen © Code Art Fair 2017. Photo by I DO ART Agency

Around the time fall sets in, something quite special is beginning to stir in Copenhagen: the Code Art Fair. As a new, ambitious art fair, the only international one in Scandinavia, Code Art Fair presents the best contemporary art from around the world bringing together emerging and established galleries.

Hosted under the roof of Bella Center, Scandinavia’s largest exhibition center, film screenings, talks and performance art will fill the four-day program.

Really, there is more to Copenhagen than ‘New Nordic’ cuisine.

When: August 30 -September 2 , 2018

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Art Basel Cities – Buenos Aires, Argentina

Art Basel, the Swiss mega-fair, seeks out new territory when its first major project beyond organizing fairs takes place in Buenos Aires. The initiative, titled Art Basel Cities, will support the city’s cultural ecosystem and highlight and celebrate its dynamic cultural scene. Four days of workshops, talks and a chance to meet collectors, curators and artists from around the world … what’s not to like?

Clearly, a refreshing wind is blowing towards Buenos Aires.

When: September 11-16, 2018

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Frieze – London, UK

Frieze London is not to be missed

Frieze London is not to be missed © Galerie Perrotin, Frieze London 2017. Photo by Mark Blower

In October, when the northern hemisphere is cooling down and entering the cold season, there is a particular part of London that is heating up. The reason? One of the world’s most influential contemporary art fairs, Frieze London, takes place in The Regent’s Park. With this fall’s fierce fair, the city segments its role as one of the leading hubs of the art world. London’s calling …

When: October 2018

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FIAC – Paris, France

FIAC, The Foire Internationale d’Art Contemporain, takes place in Paris late October, making art lovers and collectors flock under the belle époque glass naves of the Grand Palais and the Petit Palais.

Bringing a huge array of contemporary and modern art to every corner of the two Beaux-Arts palace-museums built for the 1900 Universal Exposition, it is hard to come up with a prettier place for an art fair. Last year’s program included larger retrospectives such as Paul Gauguin’s ‘The Alchemist’, but also exhibitions presenting work from younger artists like ‘Women House’, an exhibition showcasing the work of 39 female artists – including newcomers Pia Camil, Nazgol Ansarinia and Joana Vasconcelos.

When: October 18-21, 2018

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This article has been produced in collaboration with Artland and is authored by Anne-Lill Brok. Artland is founded on a vision to connect art collectors, art lovers, galleries and artists from all over the world in a global art community. Learn more about them and download the free app on their website.

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