Eight Unmissable Art Shows in Europe This Fall

Across the continent, several new exhibitions are worth building a trip around.

Europe is always spectacular in the fall, but a raft of new exhibitions are opening up to give you an extra dose of continental culture.

From London to Athens, Europe’s fall art lineup is impressive. Younger contemporary artists shine in extensive institutional shows, as do under-exhibited legends like Anni Albers. Here are eight exhibitions, events, and works of art worth an extra trip.

Marcel Broodthaers

September 29, 2018–February 3, 2019; Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, Moscow, Russia

Lots of today’s artists still cite late Belgian conceptualist Marcel Broodthaers as a source of inspiration. He had a short but intense career, and deftly mixed text and objects (he’d been a poet before turning to art at age 40). Here, see Broodthaers’s early work in the first major exhibition in Russia to feature this seminal artist’s work.

Athens Biennale

October 26–December 6; Athens, Greece

The Greek crisis of debt, austerity, and uncertainty is now a decade old. Curated by Stefanie Hessler, Kostis Stafylakis, and Poka-Yio, this year’s Athens Biennale reflects on revolt and resistance in a show titled ANTI. It features more than 100 artists and thinkers from around the world showing their work in real-world settings.

Anni Albers, “Knot” (1947)

Anni Albers, “Knot” (1947)

Courtesy of The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation

Anni Albers October 11–January 27, 2018; Tate Modern, London, United Kingdom

A female student at Bauhaus, an early 20th-century art, architecture, and design school in Germany, Anni Albers turned to textiles after being discouraged from taking courses in traditional artistic disciplines. Here she shone–using weaving as “drawing” and exploring abstraction, color, and form in the medium.

This exhibition shows 350 of Albers’s works in a long-overdue survey show that showcases the underrated artist’s influence on subsequent art and design.

The Moon: From Inner Worlds to Outer Space

September 13, 2018–January 20, 2019; Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Copenhagen, Denmark

The moon has long been an art-historical subject, the object of musings and mythologies. It’s also been a scientific subject, and later, became a destination. In the run-up to the 50th anniversary of humankind’s first steps on its surface in 1969, this expansive exhibition traces, in about 150 artworks, the many visual but also scientific considerations of our closest celestial neighbor.

Tomas Saraceno, “Spiders Underwater”

Tomas Saraceno, “Spiders Underwater”

Courtesy the artist; Tanya Bonakdar Gallery; Andersen’s Contemporary; Pinksummer contemporary art; Esther Schipper; Ruth Benzacar, Argentina. Photography by Studio Tomás Saraceno, 2017

Tomas Saraceno, “On Air” October 17, 2018January 6, 2019; Palais de Tokyo, Paris, France

Ever the experimental art venue, Palais de Tokyo offers one artist carte blanche in its entire 13,000-square-meter space once a year.

This time Argentinean artist Tomas Saraceno–a mix of arachnophile, cosmologist, architect, inventor, and visionary–takes over with new work involving spiders and the webs they spin, cosmic dust and the music it makes, and big balloons that are presented as the first step in flying without fossil fuel. The show is certain to inspire, but arachnophobes beware.

The Black Image Corporation

September 20, 2018–January 14, 2019; Prada Foundation Osservatorio, Milan, Italy

American social practice artist Theaster Gates presents the photographs of Moneta Sleet Jr. and Isaac Sutton, shot for Ebony and Jet publisher Johnson, in this striking new show.

Plumbing Johnson’s archives, Gates curates their depictions of African American life in the postwar era and creates an interactive environment in which one can browse these rarely seen pictures and archival issues of the magazines that helped shape black discourse and identity.

Petrit Halilaj, “Shkrepëtima”

October 29, 2018–February 3, 2019; Fondazione Merz, Turin, Italy

Kosovan artist Petrit Halilaj explores the nuances of his Balkan homeland’s politics through sculpture, video, and installations that touch on collective memory and cultural identity. This year his travelling series of projects commissioned by the Turin-based Mario Merz Foundation ends with a large-scale show in the foundation’s own spaces in Italy. In Albanian, “shkrepëtima” means “flash” or a burst of emotion–something viewers will undoubtedly find here.

Jean-Michel Basquiat, “Untitled” (1981)

Jean-Michel Basquiat, “Untitled” (1981)

Courtesy of Douglas M. Parker Studio, Los Angeles. © Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat.

Jean-Michel Basquiat October 3, 2018–January 14, 2019; Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris, France

Starting this fall, Jean-Michel Basquiat’s work takes over four floors of the Frank Gehry-designed Fondation Louis Vuitton, marking 30 years since the death of one of the 20th century’s most significant artists.

Throughout his career, Basquiat used cultural and political commentary to depict societal struggles in his creations; namely, the need for Afro-American representation in the art world. The Paris exhibition showcases 120 pieces from Basquiat’s abundant body of work. Spanning 1980 until 1988, the display includes his first paintings and drawings as well as his later prints and collages—many of which have never been on public view in Europe.

>> Next: 10 U.S. Art Shows You Have to See This Fall

Kimberly Bradley is an American writer living in Berlin and Vienna, but her love affair with Greece in general and Athens in particular dates to the early 1990s. Read her writings on travel and culture at kimberly-bradley.com.
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