What not to miss in the art world in 2015


With 2014 done and dusted, the art world is quickly turning its head towards the coming year in order to scout out some of the crucial fairs, exhibitions, prizes and openings which are planned for the following 12 months. 2015 promises to follow in 2014’s footsteps and continue with the dazzling array of events, exhibitions and openings which made the past year so prolific for art professionals and amateurs alike. AMA picks out the highlights of the year to come…

The stand-out event of the year is undoubtedly the 56th Venice Biennale, celebrating its 120th year with its 2015 edition which is to take place from 9 May until 22 November. The title of this edition, chosen by the first African-born curator of the event Okwui Enwezor, is “All the World’s Futures”, which Enwezor describes as “devoted to a fresh appraisal of the relationship of art and artists to the current state of things”. The Biennale is split into three “filters”— “Liveness: On epic duration”; “Garden of Disorder” and “Captial: A Live Reading”— each a “constellation of parameters that circumscribe multiple ideas, which will be touched upon to both imagine and realize a diversity of practices”.

An important recent addition to the art world calendar is the New Museum Triennial, which was inaugurated in 2009, and is holding its third edition from 25 February until 24 May. Entitled “Surround Audience”, it aims to be “predictive, rather than retrospective”, and features 51 early career artists from over 25 countries.

The Istanbul Biennial, founded in 1987, is to hold its 14th edition from 5 September until 1 November 2015 entitled “Saltwater: a Theory of Thought Forms”. It is to include work by oceanographers and neuroscientists, the concept described as “city-wide project on the Bosphoros that considers different frequencies and patterns of waves, the currents and densities of water, both visible and invisible, that poetically and politically shape and transform the world.”

This bumper year for Biennials is continued with the Sharjah Biennial 12, entitled “The past, the present, the possible”, set to take place from 5 March until 5 June in Sharjah, the United Arab Emirates. For this edition, over two-thirds of the fifty-plus artists (including those such as Danh Vo, Hassan Sharif and Mark Bradford) taking part will present new works. The biennial, which first took place in 1993, is organised by the Sharjah Art Foundation, who aim to bring a range of contemporary art and cultural programs to the region.

Outsider Art Fair is to take place in both Paris and New York this year, from 29 January until 1 February and from 22 until 25 October respectively. Differentiating itself from other fairs, Outsider Art Fair displays work by Outsider, folk and self-taught artists, which has seen a boom in popularity in recent years; Christian Berst, of Christian Berst Art Brut gallery, described Outsider Art to AMA as “essential in its understanding of the mechanisms of creation and the very definition of art.”

Hopefully following on from the success of Art Basel Miami Beach 2014, which welcomed around 73,000 visitors over five days, Art Basel is to launch its third Hong Kong edition from 15 until 17 March 2015. The fair will be split into six sections: Galleries, Insights, Discoveries, Encounters, Magazines and Film, which will trace 12 decades of art history through a range of paintings, sculptures, drawings, installations, photographs and video by more than 3,000 artists.

Frieze New York, Art Basel, Frieze London, FIAC in Paris and Art Basel in Miami Beach all resume their usual places in the calendar; that is Frieze New York from 14 until 17 May; Art Basel from 18 until 21 June; Frieze London from 14 until 17 November; FIAC in Paris from 22 until 25 October and Art Basel Miami Beach from 3 until 6 December.

As for museum exhibitions, it looks to be another strong year for Old Master painters, with the exhibition “Reubens and His Legacy”, which is to be held at the Royal Academy in London from 24 January until 10 April, being cited by both the BBC and The Guardian as one of the key opening exhibitions of the year. This exhibition is to be the first major overview of his work, presenting masterpieces by the “prince of painters” alongside major works by artists that were later influenced by him. Elsewhere, in Paris, the popularity of Old Master paintings is confirmed by the presence of exhibitions such as “Velázquez and the Triumph of Spanish Painting”, which is to be held from 25 March until 13 July at the Grand Palais. Velázquez’s works are to be displayed alongside works which are thought to have influenced him, allowing the variation between the range of his earlier styles to become apparent.

In London “Adventures of the Black Square: Abstract Art and Society 1915-2015” at Whitechapel gallery, on display from 15 January until 6 April, is set to be a landmark exhibition on the city’s art scene. The exhibition uses Kazimir Malevich’s Black Square, which was first shown 100 years ago, as a starting point to look at the artists that were influenced by its pioneering abstraction, presenting works which “symbolise Modernism’s utopian aspirations and breakdowns.” The exhibition is to be split into four sections: ‘Utopia’, ‘Architectonics’, ‘Communication’ and ‘Everyday’.

As for more modern artists, the first major exhibition of Jean-Michel Basquiat’s notebooks is to be held from 3 April until 23 August at the Brooklyn Museum in New York, displaying 160 pages of mostly-unseen sketches, poetry, and observations by the legendary artist. These notebooks display the interplay between words and images, a recurring theme in the Basquiat’s work, allowing the viewer a crucial insight into the process of his work and the development of iconic motifs such as that of the teepee, the crown, skeletal figures and grimacing faces.

Yoko Ono is to receive her first solo MoMA exhibition “Yoko Ono: One Woman Show, 1960-71”, from 17 May until 7 September, which surveys around 125 pieces of her work created in the buildup to her unofficial ‘one woman show’ at MoMA in 1971. The exhibition promises to directly involve the viewer, through works such as Painting to Be Stepped On and Bag Piece.

Elsewhere in New York, the Guggenheim Museum is to host the exhibition “Alberto Burri: the Trauma of Painting” from 9 October until January 2016, a retrospective of the Italian artists work. Burri, who originally trained as a doctor, began to paint whilst interned in a prisoner-of-war camp in Texas during World War Two. His work uses unconventional materials such as burlap, scrap iron, resin, plastic cement, tar and PVC.

In Madrid, the Museo Thyssen Bornemisza is to cast a new light on the works of the Fauvist artist Raoul Dufy, looking at aspects of his work such as the changing distance of his viewpoints, the portrayal of the domestic, and the balance between the everyday and the pastoral. This exhibition, under the name “Raoul Dufy: Exterior to Interior”, is to take place from 17 February until 17 May. As part of the exhibition, on display for the first time will be the Dufy’s prints created for Apollinaire’s Besitary, a collection of thirty poems which was published in 1911.

The Chilean artist Alfredo Jaar is to have his first French retrospective at MAC (Musée d’Art Contemporain) Marseille from 4 July until 1 November. His work explores the limits of art itself, questioning its power and moral obligation to depict events such as disaster and genocide, closely linked with contemporary politics and sociology. He is well-known for his installation The Rwanda Project, based around the 1994 Rwandan genocide, which deals with issues surrounding art’s capability to document death on such a scale. 

Interesting links between artists from completely different historical periods and contexts look to be drawn in the exhibition “Where I Want To Go”, which presents works by Tracey Emin and Egon Schiele alongside each other. The exhibition is set to take place from 24 April until 14 September at the Leopold Museum in Vienna, establishing a dialogue between the leading figure of the “Young British Artists” and the Austrian Expressionist.

However, it is not just museums with a promising range of exhibitions for the year ahead but also galleries; an example of which can be found at Marianne Boesky Gallery in New York which is to host the exhibition of new work by John Waters entitled “Beverly Hills John”, from 9 January until 14 February. The recent works question Waters’ own experiences, and include a new video entitled Kiddie Flamingos, which is a reworking of Waters’ x-rated 1972 film Pink Flamingos as a children’s film with a cast of child actors. Also in New York, from May until June, David Zwirner gallery is to host its next exhibition of works by the Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama, following the huge success of her mirror room installation at the gallery in 2013, which generated hour-long queues and drew in around 2,500 visitors a day.

The long-awaited opening of the Louvre Abu Dhabi, situated in the cultural district of Saadiyat Island, is set to take place on 1 December, opening with displays of the 300 works loaned by 13 of France’s most important museums. Despite controversy surrounding the museum’s deal with the Emirate — with some critics attacking it as the use of France’s cultural heritage for a purely commercial end, and with reports of substandard and exploitative working conditions on the site — the opening is marked on the 2015 calendar as the beginning of what looks to be a key bridge between Western and Eastern art.

Another important opening to remember for the coming year is that of the National Gallery of Singapore, opening in November, which is to reside in the former city hall and supreme court of the city. The museum will focus on displaying South-East Asian art from the 19th century until the present day, drawing from its 10,000 piece strong collection.

Paris’ Musée Rodin is to continue its refurbishment with the closure of the Hôtel Biron (the space where the permanent collection of the sculptors work is housed) from 5 January until September, in order to bring the space up to date, make the area more accessible, and to open new visiting rooms.

The Wellcome Collection in London will also see a 30% increase in its gallery space at the end of a project started in 2013, to enlarge and improve the museum. The building was originally designed to accommodate 100,000 visitors per year but after the startling 490,000 visitors that it saw in 2012, they launched a project to expand. Elsewhere in the UK, on 14 February the Whitworth Art Gallery, part of the University of Manchester is to open its £15 million renovation, which has doubled the gallery’s size and added a new learning studio and study centre.

On 1 May the Whitney Museum of American Art is to open their new nine-storey building located in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District, designed by Renzo Piano. This marks the end of the project that begun in 2007, which adds around 50,000 square feet of indoor gallery space and 13,000 square feet of outdoor exhibition space to the museum, also making it the largest column-free museum gallery in New York.

On this same date, the Fondazione Prada in Milan is to open its new headquarters and exhibition space located in a converted distillery. The space is to encompass seven buildings, with a total of more than 21,000 square metres of space. Designed by the architecture firm Rem Koolhaas, the building includes an auditorium, a temporary exhibition space and a nine-storey tower to house the foundation’s collection.

In addition to these openings in 2015, it is also going to be the first year in which a Scottish city is to host the 31st year of the Turner Prize, which is to be held from 1 October until January 2016 at Glasgow’s The Tramway.