Art shows we’re looking forward to in 2020

From New York City to Marrakesh and Sao Paulo, here’s our guide to the must-see exhibitions that are worth planning a trip around this year. Get in touch now to book an art tour in NYC and beyond!

Gerhard Richter at the Met Breuer (New York)
March 4 through July 5, 2020
Before vacating its contemporary art branch, Marcel Breuer’s building on Madison Avenue, the Metropolitan Museum will present a major exhibition by the German painter Gerhard Richter. The show encompasses an over six-decade career, bringing together more than 100 works of art, including paintings, glass sculptures, prints and photographs. Early works will be in dialogue with more recent ones, like “Birkenau” (2014) and “Cage” (2006), which are making their US debut.

Niki de Saint Phalle at MoMA PS1 (New York)
April 5–September 7, 2020
Niki de Saint Phalle’s exhibition at MoMA PS1 will feature over 100 works, including her colorful, large-scale sculptures and socially engaged activist projects focused on women’s rights, climate change, and HIV/AIDS. The show, the late artist’s first New York museum survey, will also examine her landmark project Tarot Garden (1998), a sprawling 14-acre sculpture park in Tuscany, through photographs, drawings, and models.

Kusama with Pumpkin, 2010 © YAYOI KUSAMA. Courtesy of Ota Fine Arts, Tokyo / Singapore / Shanghai; Victoria Miro, London; David Zwirner, New York

Yayoi Kusama at the Botanical Garden (New York)
May 9 through Nov. 1st, 2020
Following a much praised exhibit on the work of Brazilian landscape designer Brule Marx, the New York Botanical Garden will present Kusama: Cosmic Nature. The garden-wide exhibit will include the artist’s signature mirrored environments, paintings, giant polka-dotted sculptures flowers and pumpkins and site-specific sculpture. The greenhouse installation will change over time and offer visitors a chance to participate in Kusama’s creative process.

Gego with her hanging sculptures. Photo: Fundación Gego Archive

Gego at the Guggenheim Museum (New York)
October 9, 2020–March 21, 2021
Gertrud Goldschmidt, or Gego, moved from Stuttgart to Caracas at the beginning of World War II and established herself as a leading figure of Venezuelan abstraction. Her approach combines a variety of media and draws inspiration from the Bauhaus, as well as her training in architecture and engineering. The iteration at the Guggenheim will be the first major New York museum retrospective dedicated to the Latin American artist. Before traveling to New York, the show is displayed at the Museo Jumex, in Mexico City, from April 30 through August 30.

Van Eyck: An Optical Revolution at the MSK (Ghent)
February 1st through April 30, 2020
The city of Ghent has declared 2020 the year of the 15th-century Flemish master Jan van Eyck, father of the Northern Renaissance and pioneer of a hyper-realistic style of oil painting that greatly shaped the trajectory of Western art. At the heart of the celebrations is Van Eyck: An Optical Illusion, the biggest Van Eyck exhibition ever staged. It will feature at least half of the surviving works by the painter — including the eight recently restored exterior panels of The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb, Van Eyck’s magnificent altarpiece created for St Bavo’s Cathedral. 

Lynette Yiadom-Boakye at Tate Britain (London)
May 20 through August 31st, 2020
One of the leading artists of her generation, Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, will have a full retrospective at Tate Britain of more than 80 paintings and works on paper dating from 2003, the year she graduated from the Royal Academy Schools, up to the present day. Her paintings are a delight to see: utterly contemporary, but also steeped in art history — often echoing the grand portraits, dark palettes and poses of Goya, Degas, Manet and Singer-Sargent. It promises to be quite an experience. 

Artemisia Gentileschi’s Judith beheading Holofernes, about 1612-13

Artemisia Gentileschi at the National Gallery (London)
April 6 through July 26, 2020
A long-overdue recognition, this show pays tribute to Artemisia Gentileschi, the world’s best known female Renaissance painter. She was the first woman accepted into the Accademia delle Arti del Disegno in Florence and defied prejudice to forge a successful career. Forgotten for generations, her work was rediscovered thanks to scholarship in the 1970s and ’80s, achieving new resonance due to the reassessment of female artists’ roles in art history. The survey brings together around 35 works, including best-known paintings such as Judith beheading Holofernes, and more recently discovered masterpieces, like the Self-Portrait as Catherine of Alexandria, painted in around 1615-17, which alludes to Artemisia’s trial following her rape at the age of 17 by her painting teacher, Agostino Tassi.

Fantastic Women – Surreal Worlds From Meret Oppenheim to Frida Kahlo at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art (Copenhagen)
June 18 through September 27, 2020
The female pioneers of Surrealism made a marked impact on their movement, but, as is so often the case in art history, their achievements have been overshadowed by those of their male contemporaries. Next summer, however, an exhibition at Louisiana Museum looks to redress the balance. The survey will include around 250 works of painting, sculpture, drawing, photography and film by 30 women artists from the US, Mexico and Europe. Big names like Meret Oppenheim will be displayed alongside lesser-known artists including Leonor Fini. 

Christo’s project of The Arc de Triomphe, Wrapped. Photo: André Grossmann

Christo and Jeanne-Claude at the Arc de Triomphe (Paris)
September 19 through October 4, 2020
This year, the Arc de Triomphe will be wrapped by Christo. The Bulgarian-born artist and his late wife Jeanne-Claude came up with the idea in 1962, but it is only now — nearly 60 years later — being realized in collaboration with the Centre Pompidou.  For just two weeks, the monument on the Champs-Élysées will be enveloped in 25,000 square metres of silvery blue fabric made from recyclable polypropylene and 7,000 metres of red rope. L’Arc de Triomphe, Wrapped  forms part of a major exhibition at the Pompidou, from March 18 through June 15, focusing on the couple’s work from the time they spent in Paris (1958-1964). Some unseen works like Cratères (1959-61), as well as a series influenced by Jean Dubuffet will be on display as well as preparatory studies for their Pont Neuf project, which along with the Reichstag in Berlin, is one of their most iconic works covered in fabric.

Though It’s Dark, Still I Sing: 34th Bienal de São Paulo (São Paulo)
September 5 through December 6, 2020 (expanded programming from February)
This year, the second-oldest biennial in the world will have a different format, with related solo shows opening as part of the exhibition months before the main part launches. The show’s title “Faz escuro mas eu canto” (Though it’s dark, still I sing), is a nod to the ways in which art can inspire hope and resilience during  times of upheaval. The Brazilian biennial will also shed light on contemporary indigenous art, from Brazil and other parts of the world, and stage an ever-before-realized Hélio Oiticica performance. While in the city, don’t miss Oiticica’s Dance in My Experience survey at the Museum of art of Sao Paulo (MASP). The show will present a wide selection of the Parangolés, including exhibition copies that can be worn by the public, with a focus on those with stronger connections to dance, music and popular culture. 

Have You Seen A Horizon Lately? at the MACAAL (Marrakesh)
February 25 through July 19
Taking its title from a song by Yoko Ono, the exhibition at the Museum of African Contemporary Art Al Maaden features work from a selection of emerging and established international artists including Ono herself (USA), Kapwani Kiwanga (Canada-France), Rahima Gambo (Nigeria), Amina Benbouchta (Morocco) and Alexandre Maxwell (Brazil). Throughout July, venues around the city will host a variety of exhibitions and events, like the 1-54 Contemporary African Art.

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