The main exhibitions of 2024.

Part 1.

A respectable company. Dead classics - Frans Hals, Caspar David Friedrich, Brancusi, Bacon, and Kelly; living classics - Yoko Ono, Kiefer, Kruger, and Pierre Huyghe.

To this, it is simply necessary to add a list of promising youth and group hits. This is how the art critic and chief editor of the Dialogue of Arts, Alexandra Rudik, reasoned and compiled a detailed guide to the main exhibitions of 2024.

However, it can also be used as a travel guide.

French sculptor of Romanian origin Constantin Brancusi (1876–1957) practiced "direct carving," meaning he worked directly in stone and bronze, rather than modeling in clay or plaster. This way, he eliminated the possibility of reproduction. Towards the end of his life, he began making studio copies of his works himself to replace the sold pieces.

Brancusi always arranged the sculptures surrounding him in a particular order, establishing relationships inside "mobile groups," and sometimes repositioning them. He bequeathed all the contents of his studio to France.

The Pompidou Center in France, following his original intention, preserves his work. In anticipation of the center's closure for reconstruction in 2025, the curators at the Pompidou decided to exhibit the studio for public view, along with the late plaster works and original pieces gathered from around the world, comprising approximately 200 sculptures, as well as photographs, drawings, films, and archives.

Paris

From March 27th to July 1st, the Centre Pompidou.

Olympism, a modern invention, ancient heritage. 

April 26 - September 16, Musée du Louvre

Paris is preparing for the Summer Olympic Games: Orly airport is being renovated, house facades are being restored, tons of garbage will be removed from the streets, and public transport fares are set to double.

Museums are also striving to keep up. The Louvre is preparing an exhibition-research on the political subtexts of the first Games and the modern reinterpretation of ancient Greek wills.

This will include figures like Pierre de Coubertin, the father of the modern Olympics. Not only officials, but also artists have found their place. For example, Swiss archaeologist-illustrator Emile Gillieron, who worked on excavations in Greece, was appointed the official artist of the Olympic Games in 1896 and 1906, developing a new aesthetic referring to the archaeological findings and discoveries of his time. 

Arte Povera

October 9 - March 24, 2025, Bourse de Commerce

Caroline Christov-Bakargiev, a leading curator and an equally prominent expert on the work of the Arte Povera group, is preparing an exhibition at the Bourse de Commerce in Paris. The term "poor art" appeared in 1967 thanks to another outstanding curator, Germano Celant, who brought together kindred Italian artists at an exhibition, including Alighiero Boetti, Jannis Kounellis, Mario Merz, and Giuseppe Penone.

The movement existed from the mid-1960s to the late 1970s and was characterized by an anti-technological stance, emphasis on craftsmanship, the search for unity and opposites in nature and culture, shamanism, and the use of non-traditional materials such as earth, grass, concrete, or kitchen utensils.

Within the exhibition, Christov-Bakargiev explores how the movement has influenced the course of art history, juxtaposing Arte Povera works with pieces from the Pinault collection and other private and public collections.

Entangled Pasts, 1768–now: Art, Colonialism, and Change

February 3 - April 28, Royal Academy of Arts

At the Royal Academy of Arts, the past collides with the present in a hundred works by fifty artists— from the grand style portraits of Joshua Reynolds to an installation of endless boat models by Hew Locke. The exhibition is an exploration of the role of art in colonial history, in creating the narrative of empire, enslavement, resistance, and abolition.

Yoko Ono:
Music of the Mind

February 15 - September 1, Tate Modern

It is common to report about Yoko Ono (b. 1933) as the widow of John Lennon and as someone who had a direct relation to the breakup of The Beatles. This has turned her from an artist into a figure of pop culture. However, Ono is a pioneer of performance art with powerful feminist statements.

One can at least recall her radical performance "Cut Piece" (1964), where the audience was invited to cut pieces of her clothing, hinting at the vulnerability and passive role of women in a patriarchal society. The retrospective at Tate will help the audience to focus on Ono's creativity.

Mike Kelley: Ghost and Spirit 2 

October - 9 March 2025, Tate Modern

Mike Kelley (1954-2012) sews together dirty carpets, plush toys, and other trash from the world of punks, wanderers, and degraded items resistant to the global order and any systematic organization. If one of the tasks of contemporary artists is considered to be creating their own languages, then Kelley undoubtedly succeeded.

He is a singer of cheap trash and a propagandist of waste culture who found a fertile ground for important conversations at dumpsites, tabooing the remnants of the traditional representation of the American dream. In the well-known 1980s installation "Plato's Cave, Rothko Chapel, Lincoln Profile," Kelley touched on themes of patriotism, art, philosophy, mixed with sexual metaphors 1 . The soft toys sewn together represent his reflections on child violence. The artist's retrospective reveals Kelley's perspective on the roles people play in society, and how they intertwine with historical facts and objectified fantasies consumed from movies, books, and other cultural sources

Portraits of Francis Bacon

Francis Bacon 10 October - 19 January, National Portrait Gallery

It is known that Francis Bacon (1909–1992) was opposed to any literary interpretations or searches within his works, although he often worked with triptychs, thus telling stories in progression.

Nevertheless, the existential darkness into which his distorted, blurred portraits of characters immerse us, compels us to read between the lines each time.

The portraits depict close, beloved, and dear to the author, people: Lucian Freud, Henrietta Moraes, George Dyer, and others, whose mere glance speaks more eloquently than any author's statements

Willem de Kooning and Italy

April 17 - September 15, Gallerie dell' Accademia

Venice has always been filled with exhibitions disproportionate to its own scale, and once every two years, during the Venice Biennale, it literally begins to burst at the seams. It is impossible to see everything, but it is confidently recommended to visit the projects prepared by the academy.

This year it is the retrospective of Willem de Kooning (1904–1997), a Dutchman by origin who preferred to live in New York and became famous as an American representative of action painting, that is, abstract expressionism. One of the artist's first significant paintings was the composition "Excavations," painted for the 25th Venice Biennale in 1950, so the city was of great importance to the artist.

However, it will not be exhibited at the academy, but there will be plenty of Italian flair. Curators Gary Garrels and Mario Codognato have explored de Kooning's trips to Italy in 1959 and 1969, and will show how primarily the "Roman holidays" influenced his painting, drawings, and sculptures from the late 1950s to the 1980s

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The main exhibitions of 2024

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