Every artist knows that a big part of the job is looking at art — and where better than at 2024’s biggest gallery exhibitions.
Exhibitions are more than a pleasant way for art lovers to spend the afternoon. They also offer inspiration and can be great for spotting art trends that can help you market your own art work.
For a taste of what’s coming up in 2024, here’s Artweb’s pick of international art exhibitions. Remember you don’t have to see them all; many offer virtual online tours or catalogues that can be equally inspirational.
Women to Watch 2024
Washington’s National Museum of Women in the Arts offers a forward-thinking show with its New World’s Women to Watch exhibition. It features 28 artists exploring ideas from perspectives that shift across geographies, cultural viewpoints, and time. The show in April marks the reopening of the museum/gallery.
A fascinating show with a unique method of choosing work through a network of outreach committees where curators are responsible for creating a shortlist of artists for their region.
Women to Watch runs from April 14 to August 11, 2024.
Mark Rothko: Paintings on Paper
Think Mark Rothko and you probably think of monolithic slabs of canvas shimmering with color. This exhibition is a chance to view paintings on paper by the big name of abstract expressionism. For artists, it challenges and reassures in equal measure that paintings on paper count.
The exhibition brings together more than 100 of Rothko’s most compelling paintings on paper, many on view for the first time, and includes early figurative works.
The Paintings on Paper exhibition is on at the National Gallery of Art until the end of March.
Monet (and Auerbach) in London
London’s Courtauld Gallery is planning two big events in 2024. The Monet and London: Views of the Thames brings together Claude Monet’s Impressionist paintings of London for the first time since he painted them. A must for all painters to see.
Monet and London opens September 27, 2024.
The gallery is also showing large-scale drawings by Frank Auerbach. This is an incredible show for portrait artists, and lovers of mark-making at its most dramatic. No one does impasto quite like the legendary American painter. But in this show, the focus is on what this incredible artist can do with simple charcoal and paper.
Frank Auerbach: The Charcoal Heads runs from February 9 to May 27.
Conceptual: Yoko Ono at Tate Modern
The Japanese-American artist now aged 90 is more than the widow of Beatle John Lennon. Her conceptual artwork traverses almost seven decades and includes everything from photography to performance.
Her almost 70 years in the art world is told in around 200 works which include her famous all-white chess set. One of the beautiful things about Ono’s work is its hands-on approach — from the chess set you can play to a wall where you can attach a photo or message dedicated to mothers. You can also add your own wish for peace on her wish tree.
Yoko Ono: Music of the Mind at Tate Modern runs from February 15 to September 1, 2024.
Vision and Verse: The Poetry of Chinese Painting
It is the beauty of an art gallery like The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York that can rifle through its collection and come up with a bespoke thoughtful exhibition that represents existing work in a new setting with its own story. In this case, a collection of 90 works explores the relationship between poetry and painting in Chinese culture.
The exhibition supplements its own collection of calligraphy, decorative arts pieces and paintings with some loans of note. The show spans work inspired by ancient Chinese poetry such as the Book of Odes (Shijing).
Vision and Verse is open through June 16, 2024.
Also on at MOMA is the intriguing Hidden Faces: Covered Portraits of the Renaissance. Most artists, regardless of their discipline find some inspiration in the work of those clever Renaissance artists, whether color, texture or form. This exhibition looks at multisided portraits in which the sitter’s likeness was concealed by a hinged or sliding cover, within a box or by a dual-faced format.
Hidden Faces runs from April 2 to July 7, 2024.
In a similar visual play, fellow New York gallery The Guggenheim puts on a show of its work under the guise of Going Dark: The Contemporary Figure at the Edge of Visibility.
The show will present works of art that feature partially obscured or hidden figures, thus positioning them at the “edge of visibility.”
Housed in the Guggenheim Museum’s iconic rotunda, Going Dark presents more than 100 works by a group of 28 artists, the majority of whom are Black and more than half of whom are women.
Going Dark is open through April 7, 2024.
The Anxious Eye: German Expressionism
Once seen, it can never be forgotten: German Expressionism has a reputation for its depth and its darkness, but it is a style of art that is a must for artists to explore.
Washington’s National Gallery of Art hosts The Anxious Eye: German Expressionism and Its Legacy which explores the art and how it has inspired contemporary artists over the following century. Born out of a tumultuous time in Europe including a world war and revolutions, their work continues to be relevant today.
The show represents its own collection by German expressionists Erich Heckel, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, and Emil Nolde, among others. The exhibition features recent acquisitions as well as works that have rarely, if ever, been on view. Work by Otto Dix, Käthe Kollwitz, Egon Schiele, Karl Schmidt-Rottluff, are shown in a range of mediums, including prints, drawings, illustrated books, portfolios, and sculptures.
The Anxious Eye runs from February 11 to May 27, 2024.
Paris 1874: The Impressionist Moment
Like Renaissance artists, the Impressionists continue to cast their long inspirational shadow over contemporary artists.
The latest international touring show of the Impressionist stars brings together many of the eye-popping works from the original Paris 1874 exhibition showing 130 works by the likes of Paul Cézanne, Edgar Degas, Claude Monet, Berthe Morisot, Camille Pissarro, and Pierre-Auguste Renoir.
The work is presented as a reminder of how great art will always have a wow factor and pokes delicious fun at those critics who found it poorly painted and ill-defined. Hard to imagine of work that has become so much of our visual cultural consciousness.
For those unable to attend in person, selected works are exhibited online in high enough resolution that you can see the brush marks and beautiful scumble that shimmers in the tuile of Renoir’s The Dancer.
Paris 1874 runs from September 8, 2024, to January 19, 2025.
The Venice Biennale returns this year with its take on contemporary art. This behemoth show traditionally runs across many venues traversing eras and disciplines that include architecture, music, dance and theatre alongside the visual arts.
Find an afternoon to have a look through its comprehensive website if the ticket and airfare price is too much. It’s easy to forget with a show of this reputation and magnitude that much of what you see has been chosen by judges from submitted works from artists. That alone is inspirational to the everyday artist.
The Venice Biennale runs from April 20 to November 24, 2024.