Top 10 European Exhibitions in 2019

2019 has just kicked off and while most of us are only just getting our bearings and trying to get used to how it feels to write down 2019, a new year of stellar exhibitions is already in full swing. Have a look at our top 10 exhibitions in Europe you won’t want to miss this year!

Bill Viola/Michelangelo Life Death Rebirth - Royal Academy of Arts London

Bill Viola - Tristan's Ascension - 2005
Bill Viola, Tristan's Ascension, 2005. Photo courtesy of Royal Academy

In 2006, pioneering video artist Bill Viola saw Michelangelo’s exquisite drawings at Windsor Castle and was deeply moved by how Michelangelo used the body to convey emotional and spiritual states. Though they were born centuries apart and worked in totally different mediums, this exhibition brings these two phenomenal artists together for the first time, artists who explore the same universal themes like birth, life and death with raw emotions and transcendent beauty.

When: 26 January – 31 March 2019
Where: Royal Academy of Arts London

Mark Rothko - Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna

Mark Rothko - Untitled (Red-Orange)
Mark Rothko, Untitled (Red-Orange), 1968. Photo courtesy of Fondation Beyeler

The Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna is organising the first ever Rothko exhibition in Austria, showing over 40 works with many important contributions from the collection of the Rothko family and loans from the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. The exhibition will reflect on Rothko’s interest in the history of art, from classical mythology to the Renaissance, and the Dutch Golden Age.

When: 12 March – 30 June 2019
Where: Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna

Hockney - Van Gogh The Joy of Nature - Van Gogh Museum Amsterdam

David Hockney - More Felled Trees on Woldgate
David Hockney, More Felled Trees on Woldgate, 2008. Photo courtesy of Van Gogh Museum

In yet another 2019 exhibition bringing together two great artists from very different periods, the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam is putting on Hockney – Van Gogh: The Joy of Nature. David Hockney, with his strikingly colourful and colossal paintings has been deeply inspired by Van Gogh throughout his career, and this exhibition explores the parallels between the two artists.

When: March 1 – May 26 2019
Where: Van Gogh Museum Amsterdam

Maria Lassnig - I Is Someone Else - Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam

Maria Lassnig - Dame Mit Hirn
Maria Lassnig, Dame Mit Hirn, 1990. Photo courtesy of Stedelijk Museum

The late Maria Lassnig, who passed away in 2014, is widely regarded as one of the foremost artistic figures of the 20th century. She became particularly known for her Körperbewusstseinsbilder (body awareness paintings), through which she defined her relationship to the world by depicting the sensations experienced in different parts of her body. The exhibition will feature paintings, drawings, films, sculptures, and many never-before-seen works.

When: 6 April – 13 August 2019
Where: Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam

Lee Krasner - Living Colour – Barbican Art Gallery London

Lee Krasner - Icarus
Lee Krasner, Icarus, 1964. Photo courtesy of Barbican

Barbican Art Gallery is hosting the first retrospective of Abstract Expressionist artist Lee Krasner in Europe in over 50 years. Long overshadowed by her male contemporaries, not least by her own husband Jackson Pollock, Krasner was in fact one of the great contributors and influencers in the American Abstract Expressionist movement. This exhibition shows nearly 100 of Krasner’s phenomenal works, many of them on view for the first time in the UK.

When: 30 May – 1 September 2019
Where: Barbican Art Gallery London

Alberto Giacometti - Prado

Alberto Giacometti art
Courtesy of Prado

As part of its Bicentenary activities, the Prado is showing Alberto Giacometti’s works in dialogue with key works from its collection. Giacometti’s figurative sculptures had an incredible influence on the 1950s, abstract-dominated art world. They became a model of how the human figure might return to art. His figures represent solitary human beings attempting, yet tragically failing, to communicate with others. Giacometti’s figures interacting with the Prado’s great masters will be a sight to remember.

When: 4 February – 7 July 2019
Where: Museo del Prado, Madrid

Wolfgang Tillmans - Rebuilding the Future - IMMA Dublin

Wolfgang Tillmans - Elephant Man
Wolfgang Tillmans, Elephant Man, 2002. Photo courtesy of IMMA

German photographer Wolfgang Tillmans returns to Dublin’s IMMA for his first solo show in Ireland, after his contribution to various successful group shows at IMMA in the past few years (including the widely praised 2015 exhibition What We Call Love: From Surrealism to Now.) With over 100 works, Rebuilding the Future mixes works from different periods of Tillmans’ career, capturing his unique way of working.

When: January – 10 March 2019
Where: IMMA (Irish Museum of Modern Art) Dublin

Pipilotti Rist - Louisiana Museum of Modern Art

Pipilotti Rist installation view
Pipilotti Rist, installation view. Photo courtesy of Louisiana Museum of Modern Art.

Swiss artist Pipilotti Rist receives her first major presentation in Denmark with this spring exhibition at Louisiana. Rist boldly explores the possibilities of video technologies, ultimately creating works in which video is not just video but also becomes painting, becomes space. The exhibition will span the artist’s entire oeuvre, from early works in the TV format to large spatial video and audio installations. A must-see blast of colours, immersive images and sensations.

When: 1 March – 23 June 2019
Where: Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humblebæk

Gilbert & George - The Great Exhibition - Moderna Museet Stockholm

Gilbert & George - BEARDARY
Gilbert & George, BEARDARY, 2006. Photo courtesy of Moderna Museet

Two men, one artist. Gilbert & George, the iconic British art duo who have been creating art that challenges the conventions of art and society for over five decades, are coming to Stockholm. With over 50 pieces selected by the artists, and curated by Hans Ulrich Obrist and Daniel Birnbaum, this promises to be a show that is thrilling, grotesque, surreal, and will turn things upside down.

When: 9 February – 12 May 2019
Where: Moderna Museet Stockholm

Anselm Kiefer - Books and Woodcuts - Astrup Fearnley Museet

Anselm Kiefer - The High Priestess/Zweistromland
Anselm Kiefer, The High Priestess/Zweistromland, 1985-1989. Photo courtesy of Astrup Fearnley Museet

The exhibition Anselm Kiefer – Books and Woodcuts focuses on the connection between Kiefer’s art, and literature in general. After all, Kiefer wanted to be a poet but ended up as a painter, and this love for poetry and literature can be found as a constant trace  throughout his art works. Explore Kiefer’s ongoing dialogue between art and literature in a selection of his paintings, sculptures, woodcuts and artist’s books. Curated by Natalia Granero and Gunnar B. Kvaran.

When: 30 May – 15 September 2019
Where: Astrup Fearnley Museet Oslo