Attending an art exhibition requires time, will, and a bit of organization, but we all know that the effort is worth it. And since we love art, we couldn’t think of a better way to start the year than by recommending fourteen exhibitions in fourteen cities around the globe: from North to South, East to West, these are the must-see exhibitions you can’t miss if you live in – or travel to – any of these places.
From Melbourne to Los Angeles, to Tokyo, London, Buenos Aires and Stockholm, prepare to book flights if you’re not close to one of them. Big names like Barbara Kruger and Ai Weiwei, emerging artists like C.H.I, fearless, political and humanitarian themes, and interactive and technologically-focused exhibitions is what you’ll find when reading these lines.


The Greek capital has been one of the most affected cities by the unstoppable arrival of refugees who, naturally, seek shelter after their countries are being destroyed and torn apart. And despite many don’t react, many others do. That’s the case of the exhibition Face Forward… into my home, on view until January 31 and held by the National Museum of Contemporary Art (EMST) in collaboration with UNCHR and funded by the European Commission’s department for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations.

The exhibition is part of a broader project divided in three phases. The first one was the set of storytelling workshops, in which some beneficiaries of the ESTIA programme create autobiographical stories about their experiences, revealing traumas, fears but also hopes and dreams, by exploring social issues such as forced migration, social integration and cultural exchange. The second phase was about the photographic portraits, in which asylum-seekers and refugees were immortalized together with their stories, personalities and inner selves. The third and last phase is the exhibition held at the museum, which exhibits the portraits along with the stories of the affected people. A moving show that reminds us that each of us is equally human.
Photo: Vladislav Zukovsky
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Mahdi K. Photo: Giannis Vastardis
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John N. Photo: Giannis Vastardis
Face Forward…into my home is on view until January 31 at the EMST, Kallirrois Avenue & Amvr. Frantzi Str. 117 43, Athens.

A rather unknown – but very powerful – institution of the city, Fundació Suñol (located at the luxurious street of Passeig de Gràcia) is holding one of its largest exhibitions to date. Fernando Vijande. Portrait: 1971-1987, on view until April 14, is an homage to the Spanish gallerist who promoted national talent worldwide and who also brought some of the best contemporary artists to Madrid between the last years of Franco’s dictatorship and the following ones after his death. The owner of the foundation in Barcelona, Josep Suñol, is one of the greatest collectors in Catalonia (and in Spain), and established a very good relationship – both personally and professionally – with Vijande.

The latter was responsible of, among others, exhibiting works of the likes of Andy Warhol and Robert Mapplethorpe, as well as programming two exhibitions that were censored by Franco’s regime. He was also the first one to work the same way as gallerists in New York did: by paying salaries to the artists he represented. That way, he boosted the professional careers of many Spanish creatives, like Costus – an artistic duo who became extremely famous during La Movida –, or Darío Villabla – who won the International Painting Award at Sao Paulo’s Biennal. The exhibition displays pieces by those artists who had solo shows at both Galería Vandrés and Galería Fernando Vijande (the two spaces that the gallerist had), and it’s a unique opportunity to see some of the best Spanish painters as well as internationally renowned names.
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Fernando Vijande & Andy Warhol at the opening of the exhibition “Pistolas, cuchillos y cruces” at Galería Vijande. Luis Pérez Mínguez, Madrid 1983
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Enrique Naya, Juan Carrero Galofré, Blanca Sanchez, Fernando Vijande and Fabio McNamara at the opening of the exhibition “El chochonismo ilustrado”, by Costus. Galería Vijande. Luis Pérez Mínguez, Madrid 1981
Fernando Vijande. Portrait: 1971-1987 is on view until April 14 at Fundació Suñol, Passeig de Gràcia 98, Barcelona.

If we talk about censorship, China is probably one of the first countries that comes to our minds. Nevertheless, it’s the Asian country that teaches a lesson to the western world right now by hosting the exhibition Andres Serrano: An American Perspective, on view until February 25 at the Red Brick Art Museum in Beijing. The controversial photographer, author of one of the most polemic artworks to date, Piss Christ, – and who’s experienced vandalism and censorship in several countries – is having his first solo show in China, where the infamous image of the Christian messiah submerged in urine is displayed among the series Made in China that he did during his artist’s residency at the museum.

The American photographer has been the first one to enjoy the experience of doing a residency at Red Brick Art Museum, and the outcome is as unique as himself. For his most recent series, he’s used Chinese marriages as a subject to depict the ‘state of China’. He made a public call looking for recently married couples as well as divorced ones, and single men and women too. The result is a set of dramatic photographs reflecting on the themes of love and human relationships that is showcased among some of his most iconic artworks, like Donald Trump’s portrait, and famous series like Objects of Desire and Bodily Fluids.
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Donald Trump (America) 2004 © Andres Serrano, Courtesy of the artist and Galerie Nathalie Obadia, Paris/Brussels
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Wang Xiuying (Made in China) 2017 © Andres Serrano, Courtesy of the artist and Galerie Nathalie Obadia, Paris/Brussels
Andres Serrano: An American Perspective by Andres Serrano is on view until February 25 at the Red Brick Art Museum, Maquanying West Road, Shunbai Road, Hegezhuang Village, Cuigezhuang Town, Chaoyang District, Beijing.

The art gallery Sprüth Magers in Berlin is exhibiting a site-specific work titled Forever, by the always thought-provoking Barbara Kruger, until January 20. One of the most powerful figures in contemporary art, who has been working for more than four decades, has created this site-specific piece that occupies all four walls and the floor of the gallery’s main exhibition space. Bold statements in black and white, both in English and in German, make the visitors feel tiny, even disoriented in the room covered by stark contrasts. “In the end, hope is lost”, “You win I lose”, “War without end”, “In the end, lies prevail” and “War for a world without women” are just some of them.

This exhibition marks exactly thirty years since Kruger’s first solo show at Monika Sprüth Gallery in Cologne, the first gallery that ended up expanding throughout the world and that now counts with exhibition spaces in London and Los Angeles, in addition to the German capital. Barbara Kruger has expressed herself through new media, installations, publications, etc. to turn a critical eye toward consumerism, heteropatriarchy and the mechanisms of power, among others. This exhibition couldn’t be more relevant and necessary in a time were post-truth seems to dominate the public sphere.
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Forever 2017 Photo: Timo Ohler
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Forever 2017 Photo: Timo Ohler
Forever by Barbara Kruger is on view until January 20 at Sprüth Magers Berlin, Oranienburger Str. 18, Berlin.
Buenos Aires

We could affirm that the artistic scene in Argentina is lucky: with an increasingly far-right-winged government, critical voices and opinions must try to sound louder and be heard more than ever before. And who better to do so than Ai Weiwei? The politically charged Chinese artist is holding an exhibition until April 2 at Fundación Proa, a cultural institution located at the multi-coloured famous neighbourhood of La Boca. Titled Inoculation and curated by Marcello Dantas, the show occupies all spaces of the building: the exhibition rooms as well as the restaurant, the library, and its immediate public space, where he’s installed the monumental artwork Forever Bicycles.

By presenting objects, installations, films and photographs, Inoculation highlights some of the most striking moments of Weiwei’s prolific career. Human rights, economic and natural exploitation, political and social injustices, and censorship are just some of the themes that the Chinese artist has explored throughout decades, and can now be admired by the Argentinian public.
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Dropping a Han Dynasty Urn, 2016
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Map of China, 2017  
Inoculation by Ai Weiwei is on view until April 2 at Fundación Proa, Av. Don Pedro de Mendoza 1929, Buenos Aires.

The Louisiana Museum of Modern Art presents Being There until February 25, a collective exhibition showcasing ten contemporary artists working with mediums such as installation, video, digital creation and sculpture. It focuses on mankind’s navigation between physical and digital reality, exploring one of the most talked about fears and fascinations of humankind: technology and its improvements. How will they affect our identity? Who will we become? The ten international artists include the likes of Cécile B. Evans, Ed Atkins and Ian Cheng, whose work practice has been tremendously affected by (and even in some cases, created thanks to) the arrival of the Internet and the digital age.

The museum has commissioned some of the works exhibited, which include immersive installations and video projections, and that talk about the ongoing digitalization of our lives and the increasing impact of the internet on our way of understanding ourselves (both individually and collectively) and the world surrounding us. It’s thrilling and encouraging to see that, in addition to the ‘classical’ big names in contemporary art, there are institutions betting on the present and future of digital creation, proving that things are really changing and that some are realizing about it.
Cécile B. Evans. Hyperlinks or it didn't happen, 2014
Ed Atkins. Ribbons, 2014. Courtesy the artist and Cabinet, London
Being There is on view until February 25 at Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Gl Strandvej 13, 3050 Humlebæk, Denmark.

As part of Art Now, a series of free exhibitions focusing on work by emerging artists, Tate Britain is holding an immersive installation by French artist Marguerite Humeau called Echoes. Humeau’s works are the outcome of a thoughtful research process in which she investigates and synthesises the past with the present; in this case, the result is an almost all-yellow room that involves sculpture and sound and that is conceived as a confrontation between life and death. The exhibiting space has been transformed into a half-temple, half-lab environment representing the industrial production of an elixir of eternal life.

While exploring the yellow room – the colour is a representation of the black mamba’s venom –, visitors can hear a mechanic and ethereal voice pretending to be the one by Cleopatra. And at the centre of the space, two sculptures based on Egyptian gods merge human body with biological engineering. In all, Echoes mixes mythology, legends, mortality and beliefs in an installation that will leave no one indifferent.
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Installation shots of Marguerite Humeau, Echoes at Tate Britain. Photo: Joe Humphrys
Echoes by Marguerite Humeau is on view until April 15 at Tate Modern, London SW1P 4RG.
Los Angeles

Another proof that artistic institutions are fighting for more equality and less prejudice is LACMA’s exhibition A Universal History of Infamy, which showcases sixteen Latin-American artists upending any notion of absoluteness regarding what constitutes Latin America and its diaspora. “With most of the featured works produced just this year [2017], this exhibition presents a unique opportunity to experience artworks created by United States Latino and Latin American artists today”, said Michael Govan, LACMA’s CEO.

The exhibition at the museum is on view until February 19, but it unfolds across two other venues: 18th Street Arts Center, which has already closed, and Charles White Elementary School, which will open on January 27. In all of them, the artworks range from installations to videos, drawings and performances, and depict the variety of themes that artists across the continent are working on. Names like Angela Bonadíes (Venezuela), Josefina Guilisasti (Chile), Fernanda Laguna (Argentina) or Michael Linares (Puerto Rico) are some of the highlights to keep an eye on.
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Oscar Santillan, slide from Afterword, 2014–15, the spirit of Nietzsche, stolen paper, HD video, slide projection, and two ink-jet prints, courtesy of the artist, © Oscar Santillan, photo courtesy of the artist
A Universal History of Infamy is on view until February 19 at LACMA, 5905 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles

We’re going to be a bit cheeky on this one because it’s not an exhibition per se. It’s actually more than that: a triennial. Held at the National Gallery of Victoria until April 15, the massive event features the work of over one hundred artists and designers working on very diverse disciplines such as fashion design, performance, film, painting, tapestry, technology, architecture, and animation, among others. From the cutting-edge 3-D printed garments by Iris van Herpen to the extremely poetic pictures by Myoung Ho Lee, and going through a jaw-dropping tapestry by Alexandra Kehayoglou, the sarcastic artworks by Olaf Breuning, the heart-breaking stories recorded and photographed by Richard Mosse, or the massive skulls installation by Australian hyperrealist Ron Mueck, the NGV Triennial is a ‘must’ for everyone living in or visiting the biggest island on Earth.
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Exhibition view of Iris van Herpen Dress 2011 on display in NGV Triennial at NGV International, 2017. Photo: Eugene Hyland
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Olaf Breuning 2017. Courtesy of the artist and Metro Pictures, New York
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Myoung Ho Lee. Tree... #7 2014. Courtesy Yossi Milo Gallery, New York
The NGV Triennial is on view until April 15 at the National Gallery of Victoria, 180 St Kilda Rd, Melbourne.
Mexico City

A key artist of the ‘90s, Philippe Parreno is having his first exhibition in Mexico until February 11 at Museo Jumex. Titled Philippe Parreno: the Yeast and the Host, it continues with the French creative’s idea of turning the exhibition into a living entity, using it as a medium. At the centre of the exhibition is the control centre, where a bioreactor breeds yeast connected to a computer that remembers the program of a past exhibition he had at Tate Modern in 2016. The living colonies react to the new context, and the dynamic systems trigger the order of appearances of events, such as a film projection or the sound and light movements that reverberate throughout the building. That way, Parreno’s work explores themes like randomness, behavioural patterns, and the human mind, giving the control of the show both to spectral forms of intelligent matter and activity. A very unique way of understanding and making art that will for sure fascinate whoever attends the show.
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Installation view from Philippe Parreno: La levadura y el anfitrión Museo Jumex 2017-2018. Photo: Andrea Rossetti
Philippe Parreno: the Yeast and the Host is on view until February 11 at Museo Jumex, Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra 303, Colonia Granada, México City.

One of the most original fashion designers of our time, Rick Owens, is having a retrospective at La Triennale di Milano titled Subhuman Inhuman Superhuman. Until March 25, whoever visits one of the leading fashion capitals in the world will be able to submerge him or herself into the singular and dark world of the Paris-based creative. In words of Eleonora Fiorani, curator of the fashion department at Triennale, “Fascinated by primordial rituality, he explores ancestral forces as sources of creativity and innovation, distilling them with a sophistication of rare and metaphysical purity”.

The exhibition displays the multiple ways in which Owens – and his wife and partner in crime, Michèle Lamy – expresses himself and tries to make a world of his own: clothing, furniture, film, as well as some archives and documents to better understand an artist who’s kept true to himself throughout the years.
Rick Owens Subhuman Inhuman Superhuman is on view until March 25 at La Triennale di Milano, Viale Emilio Alemagna, 6, Milan.
New York City

The Museum of Arts and Design (MAD) is hosting a unique exhibition. Sonic Arcade: Shaping Space with Sound explores sound as substance and how it is an interdependent material connected to electronic circuits and signals, radio waves and resonant bodies. The group show features interactive installations, performing objects and immersive environments that will make the people hear and feel sound by ‘playing’ with the works. Contemporary artists, performers and designers exhibit some pieces and projects that were commissioned specifically for Sonic Arcade, like the ones by Emily Counts and Make Noise, and Deborah Stratman and Anna Friz. The result is a unique opportunity to learn and have fun at the same time while interacting with artworks and putting images on a side to focus on sound.
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Photos: Jenna Bascom. Courtesy of the Museum of Arts and Design
Sonic Arcade: Shaping Space with Sound is on view until February 25 at MAD Museum, Jerome and Simona Chazen Building / 2 Columbus Circle / New York.

How has a Chinese woman become the most renowned and highest-paid photographer of her country? You just have to see what she does and you’ll understand. Chen Man: Fearless & Fabolous is on view until March 4 at Fotografiska Museet in the Swedish capital, and it shows some of the most iconic and representative images of her large body of work selected by curator Kaimei Wang.

From Harper’s Bazaar to i-D, from Rihanna to Nicole Kidman, many A-list clients have commissioned works to the photographer. Her unique inquiring eye has turned her heavily retouched images into a constant reinterpretation of beauty ideals and China’s image: a mix of east and west, of old and new, of tradition and renewal. And her attitude is just as the subtitle of the exhibition states: fearless and fabulous.
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Chen Man. Long Live the Motherland, Beijing No. 1, 2010
Chen Man: Fearless & Fabolous by Chen Man is on view until March 4 at Fotografiska Museet, Stadsgårdshamnen 22, Stockholm.

“I’m a rebel at birth. But my sense of responsibility is as strong as the one of an old man or a model communist”, states C.H.I, a Chinese photographer who started his artistic career by forming a hardcore punk band. The Diesel Art Gallery – an art gallery on the basement floor of Diesel’s shop in Shibuya (Tokyo) – is having a solo show by him curated by Yasuma Yonehara, who fell in love with his photographs the same moment he saw them.

“These impressions are not broadcasted by Chinese media, so we have to start by getting to know Chinese individuals. It is nearly impossible to figure out from the political propaganda that the West diffuses every day”, Mr. Yonehara has said. Chinese Cutting Edge, the title of the show, is powerful statement glorifying the forward-thinking and taboo-breaking style of the multifaceted artist. Bold colours, surreal scenes, and unconventional beauty standards are among the main characteristics of C.H.I’s work, which will for sure make the Japanese adore him.
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Desire In The Can, 2015 © C.H.I
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No Title, 2014 © C.H.I
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Photo: Norihisa Kimura
Chinese Cutting Edge by C.H.I is on view until February 14 at Diesel Art Gallery, cocoti B1F, 1-23-16, Shibuya, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo