Feature

Hello 2019! Biennials, Art Weeks, and Exhibitions

08 Jan 2019

By Sandy Di Yu

Welcome to 2019, art lovers and friends! You made it through another year, and now you have nothing but the tranquil expanse of the year ahead of you, unmarked by the claws of untamed time. Now let’s change that. Let’s fill your year with art events, because the right events will make this year your most dazzling yet.

We’ve already scribbled all over our clean, crisp calendars with buzzworthy contemporary art events around the world, and we’re excited to share them with you. Get ready to grab your diaries and take note:

Welcome to the Forest
✎11-13 January 2019
As this year’s London Borough of Culture, Waltham Forest invites everyone to come celebrate the wealth of creativity in this corner of North East London, with live music, light shows and sensational art to be soaked up.

Condo 2019
✎12 January - 9 February 2019
An antithesis to the usual art fair model, Condo is a collaboration between international galleries that not only redirects the spotlight onto gallery exhibitions but allows easier exchange between international players to give more room for experimentation. Condo 2019 presents 46 international galleries in 17 London spaces.  

Singapore Art Week
✎19-27 January 2019
Aptly named “Art Takes Over”, the 7th edition of Singapore Art Week (SAW) sees the transformation of this buzzing metropolis into a canvas on which artistic possibilities of all sorts extend into every participating neighbourhood.

Bill Viola / Michelangelo: Life Death Rebirth
26 January - 31 March 2019
Enmeshing two artists from centuries apart who are masters each in their own right, the canonical Michelangelo and pioneer in installation art Bill Viola come together in an exhibition that explores the eternal themes of birth, life and death in an immersive journey through the cycle of life.

transmediale 2019
✎31 January - 3 February 2019
An annual Berlin-based festival that’s been a staple for over 30 years, transmediale aims to facilitate critical reflection on cultural transformation from a post-digital perspective. This year’s event focuses on the role of emotion and empathy in digital culture, exploring and challenging technologies of feeling.

Gilbert & George: 1971-2016
9 February - 12 May 2019
Name a more iconic and near-identical (and artistic) duo. That’s right, you can’t. From their first meeting in their London art school until the present, their works engage themselves both as subject and object, playing with comedy, tragedy, and a rollercoaster of other possibilities. This retrospective on at Moderna Museet in Stockholm contains over 50 images selected by the duo.

Diane Arbus: In the Beginning
✎13 February - 6 May 2019
Known for her striking photographs of New York’s most eccentric inhabitants, Diane Arbus’ art is at once intimate and alienating. This solo exhibition presents more than 100 photographs, many of which have never before been shown in Europe. 

Armory Week
✎7-10 March 2019
The Armory Show is a New York cultural staple which will be celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. While the fair boasts a selection of artists and participating galleries that could make any collector drool, New York as a whole always has so many other art events happening contemporaneously to the central fair that aren’t to be missed.

Art on the Underground: Aliza Nisenbaum
✎10 April 2019
Part of London’s initiative to bring more art into public spaces, Art on the Underground has a full 2019 program planned. Specific to Brixton, following a two-month residency at Brixton Station, Mexico-born artist Aliza Nisenbaum will respond to the precariousness of the pending Brexit by creating portraits of TFL workers, to amalgamate in a mural that will be presented on the 10th of April.

UK Degree Shows
To Be Confirmed, May - September 2019
From early May until late September, art and design schools from across the UK host graduate shows presenting the work of their final year students. Along with collectors and gallerists attending shows to seek fresh new talent, ArtRabbit puts out a yearly guide highlighting all the shows taking place throughout the summer. Stay tuned so you don’t miss any.

Degree Shows

Learn more about degree shows and what you can do in our Art Freshers' Guide to the Art World.

Camp: Notes on Fashion
✎9 May - 8 September 2019
While our social feeds will inevitably be filled with buzz about the Met Gala at the beginning of May, this Lady Gaga-co-chaired event is followed by an exhibition that explores the origins and evolution of the camp aesthetic, taking Susan Sontag’s 1964 essay Notes on ‘Camp’ as a framework.

58th Venice Biennale: Biennale Arte 2019 - May You Live In Interesting Times
✎11 May - 24 November 2019
Named after a phrase erroneously attributed to an ancient Chinese curse, this year’s edition of contemporary art’s most famous event will be curated by Ralph Rugoff, the director of the Hayward Gallery in London. While it will undoubtedly include works that speak to the precariousness of our current political reality, it acknowledges that art is better for engaging critical thinking than to alleviate all political tragedies.

Block Universe 2019
✎25 May - 2 June 2019
As London’s leading performance art festival, Block Universe acts as an annual antithesis to the commodity-obsessed rotation of the Frieze type art fairs. In its 5th edition, the two weeks in 2019 is set to be the best yet, with participating performances taking place in both major institutions as well as one-off locations

Yorkshire Sculpture International 2019
✎22 June - 29 September 2019
As the UK’s largest event celebrating sculpture, the event will feature an array of international artists in both newly commissioned and classic works. The festival takes place in four venues around Leeds and Wakefield, and is accompanied by an engagement programme with local schools and communities.

Manchester International Festival 2019
2-21 July 2019
Founded in 2007 as an artist-led festival, this yearly event commissions and supports innovative works across a broad spectrum of media. This year’s lineup includes immersive events, musical performances and participatory orchestras from the likes of Yoko Ono, Janelle Monáe, Skepta and more.

Artjog 2019
✎25 July - 25 August 2019
Located on the Indonesian island of Java, ArtJog is a yearly art fair that brings together some of the most innovative and diverse selection of art and individuals from Indonesia and beyond.

Berlin Art Week 2019
✎11 September - 15 September 2019
A staple in the ever-artistic German capital, Berlin Art Week will be returning for its 8th edition this year, highlighting galleries and project spaces across the city. Keeping with our previous two years, ArtRabbit will be on site to bring you live coverage of the events taking place. Stay tuned!

16th Istanbul Biennial: The Seventh Continent
✎14 September - 10 November 2019
The 16th Istanbul Biennial references the mass of floating plastic in the Pacific Ocean that has been christened “the Seventh Continent”. It considers and tracks the movements and impacts of human activity on non-human inhabitants. 

Nam June Paik: The Future is Now
✎17 October 2019 - 9 February 2020
One of the most important artists of our time who foresaw the prolific effect of mass media and new media on culture, this major retrospective features work that spans his five-decade-long career. Included will be several video works, robots made from old TV screens, and large-scale immersive installations.

About the writer:
Sandy Di Yu, London-based writer, art theorist and artist. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter, or visit her website.