The biggest and best art exhibitions opening around the world in 2021

The biggest and best art exhibitions opening around the world in 2021

While last year was a disaster for exhibition programming around the world, museums and curators have not been idle and there are plenty of ambitious exhibitions due to open this year (virus-related lockdowns notwithstanding). Below you will find some of the must-see shows of 2021, from the Rijksmuseum’s examination of the slave trade and a reassessment of the Roman arch-villain Nero, to landmark retrospectives for Barbara Kruger, Yayoi Kusama, Sophie Taeuber-Arp and Jasper Johns.To get more art in the news 2021, you can visit shine news official website.

The Rijksmuseum will take on 250 years of colonial history spanning four continents for its forthcoming Slavery exhibition, which considers the slave-trading networks both across the Atlantic and the Indian Oceans. It will be organised around the life stories of ten individuals, including enslaved people, slave owners and those who resisted the system. The audio guide will feature oral histories, songs and speakers with a “personal link” to those figures, helping to immerse visitors in the “emotional, human experience” of slavery, according to Valika Smeulders, the Rijksmuseum’s head of history and a specialist in the presentation of slavery in museums. The curators also consulted a diverse panel of external scholars and community leaders because “we are not working on the exhibition from an ivory tower”, Smeulders says. The 140 exhibits will bring together leg cuffs used to shackle enslaved people and tools from the plantations, with luxurious objects associated with those in power, such as Rembrandt’s portraits of a sugar scion and his wife and a Dutch West India Company golden box presented to William IV.

Epic by name and epic by nature, this exhibition will cover an ambitious 5,000 years of Iranian history through 350 objects. A saga in itself, the show has had to contend with funding complications courtesy of the Sackler scandal (over the family’s involvement in the opioid crisis); increasingly tense US-Iran relations; and the coronavirus pandemic scuppering its original opening date last year. Split into ten sections, the exhibition will have an “immersive design” that apparently sets it in a city, complete with a gatehouse, gardens, a palace and a library. Starting in 3200BC, the show will explore the ancient Persian Empire; Sassanid rule and Zoroastrianism; the ensuing emergence and establishment of Islam; and the royal Qajar dynasty. The final section will include Modern and contemporary works by some of Iran’s leading artists including Parviz Tanavoli, Monir Farmanfarmaian and Shirin Neshat. Literature is an overarching theme of the show, with a section devoted to poetry and its use in manuscripts and another dedicated to Ferdowsi’s 11th-century epic poem Shahnameh (book of kings). The display of these rare illustrated manuscripts—on loan from the Oxfordshire- based Sarikhani Collection and the British Library, among others—is sure to be a highlight. The exhibition will also include recently restored plaster casts of life-sized warrior friezes that adorned the Palace of Darius two millennia ago.

Eight of Yayoi Kusama’s most important exhibitions, which took place between 1952 and 1983, will be recreated for a retrospective of the Japanese artist’s work in Berlin this spring. The restaging of the shows will illustrate how the artist’s use of space developed and how she harnessed a multitude of mediums in her career, which now spans 70 years. As well as a brand-new Infinity Mirror Room, specially made for the occasion, the show will also look back at lesser-known early works. Among these will be an oil painting on paper, Accumulation of Corpses (Prisoner Surrounded by the Curtain of Depersonalization) (1950), and a collage of fake dollar bills, Untitled (around 1962-63)—reminiscent of the work of her friend Andy Warhol—as well as documentation of nude public performances, such as the naked anti-war happening on Brooklyn Bridge in 1968. The exhibition, which will be the first German retrospective of the artist, will also travel to Tel Aviv in the autumn. Meanwhile, a year-long display of two Infinity Mirror Rooms will finally open at Tate Modern in London after being postponed last year due to the pandemic (29 March- 27 March 2022).