The best exhibitions to see in 2020

Sikolo Brathwaite, wearing a headpiece designed by Carolee Prince, is one of the portraits on show at Black is Beautiful: The Photography of Kwame Brathwaite in South Carolina

As galleries and museums around the world start to reopen, these are the exhibitions to catch now that you can


Black is Beautiful: The Photography of Kwame Brathwaite

This traveling exhibition portrays the work and role of Kwame Brathwaite – whose photographs championed the political slogan Black is Beautiful in the late 1950s and ’60s – recognizing his importance in the second Harlem Renaissance.

Black is Beautiful: The Photography of Kwame Brathwaite, Columbia Museum of Art, Columbia, South Carolina, USA, until September 6, 2020

A colorful collection of legendary Louboutins on display at Christian Louboutin: L’Exhibition[nist] in Paris

Christian Louboutin : L’Exhibition[nist]

Set in an institution close to where he was born, and which served seminal significance to his career, a show dedicated to Christian Louboutin comes to the Palais de la Porte Dorée in Paris this year. A vast collection of Louboutin’s legendary designs – including some from his personal archive, which haven’t been exhibited before – is displayed, as well as works from exclusive collaborations.

Christian Louboutin : L’Exhibition[nist], Palais de la Porte Dorée, Paris, France, until January 3, 2021

Uniquely Hong Kong – A Celebration of Hong Kong Art

The Alisan Fine Arts Central Gallery in Hong Kong presents a celebration of its art community with a showcase of 28 local artists, many of whom are in the early stages of their careers. It highlights the vibrancy and significance of its surrounding cultural scene, with many of the artworks created in the past six months.

Uniquely Hong Kong – a Celebration of Hong Kong Art, Alisan Fine Arts Central Gallery, Hong Kong, until September 3, 2020

Marilyn Diptych (1962) is one of many iconic Andy Warhol creations on show at London’s Tate Modern until mid-November

Andy Warhol

This retrospective is Tate Modern’s first Andy Warhol exhibition in almost two decades. In addition to his iconic pop-art images of Marilyn Monroe, Coca-Cola and Campbell’s soup cans, it includes works that have never been shown before in the UK. Portraits from his Ladies and Gentlemen series (with drag queens and trans women as the subjects) are presented – as well as one of his final pieces before his death, Sixty Last Suppers.

Andy Warhol, Tate Modern, London, UK, until November 15, 2020

Otobong Nkanga: There’s No Such Thing as Solid Ground

This solo exhibition follows Otobong Nkanga’s one-year Artist in Residency at the Gropius Bau, delving into the themes that center the Nigerian-born visual and performance artist’s work. Exploring the complications of humanity’s relationship to land, Nkanga navigates issues such as global extraction processes and the utilization of natural resources.

Otobong Nkanga: There’s No Such Thing as Solid Ground, Gropius Bau, Berlin, Germany, until December 13, 2020

Cao Fei: Blueprints

This immersive exhibition is Cao Fei’s first large solo event in the UK. Incorporating new and existing works, it zooms in on the Chinese multimedia artist’s themes of virtuality and reality, technology and automation.

Cao Fei: Blueprints, Serpentine Galleries, London, UK, until September 13, 2020

Otobong Nkanga, photographed beside her installation Taste of a Stone (2020), which is on show at Otobong Nkanga: There’s No Such Thing as Solid Ground until the end of the year in Berlin
A portrait of artist Steve McQueen in Year 3 at London’s Tate Britain

Steve McQueen Year 3

For this vast installation, Steve McQueen invited every Year 3 pupil in London to have their picture taken in an interpretation of a traditional school photograph. The award-winning artist and filmmaker’s intention is to offer “a glimpse of the capital’s future, a hopeful portrait of a generation to come”.

Steve McQueen Year 3, Tate Britain, London, UK, until January 31, 2021

Composição (1951) can be seen at Guggenheim Bilbao’s Lygia Clark: Painting as an Experimental Field, 1948–1958 until October 25

Lygia Clark: Painting as an Experimental Field, 1948–1958

Revisiting a formative period of Lygia Clark’s career, this exhibition (which comes in the year of the centenary anniversary of her birth) looks at the pioneering Brazilian artist’s early exploration of figuration and abstraction, which went on to define her work.

Lygia Clark: Painting as an Experimental Field, 1948–1958, Guggenheim Bilbao, Spain, until October 25, 2020


This will be the UK’s first major exhibition of the exceptional 17th-century Italian Baroque artist, whose work in an era when women artists were not easily accepted is now recognized as ground-breaking. It includes two iterations of her best-known and “viscerally violent” Judith Beheading Holofernes, alongside her self-portraits, depictions of historical heroines and recently discovered personal letters.

Artemisia, The National Gallery, London, UK, from October 3, 2020 to January 24, 2021

Peter Lindbergh: Untold Stories

Following the death of Peter Lindbergh in September 2019, MK&G Hamburg is presenting the first survey exhibition curated by the German fashion photographer himself. “The first time I saw my photographs on the walls of the exhibition mock-up, I was startled, but in a positive way. It was overwhelming to be thus confronted with who I am,” Lindbergh is quoted in the catalogue. The collection shows 140 photographs, taken between the 1980s and not long before his death in 2019.

Peter Lindbergh: Untold Stories, MK& G Hamburg, Germany, until November 1, 2020

Christo et Jeanne-Claude: Paris!

Following Christo’s death in May, Centre Pompidou postponed the first exhibition dedicated to the artist and his late wife and collaborator Jeanne-Claude to later this year. It charts their seminal period in Paris between 1958 and 1964. As part of the celebration, a project 60 years in the making will finally come to fruition in 2021. L’Arc de Triomphe, Wrapped will see the French landmark shrouded in 25,000 square meters of fabric and 7,000 meters of rope. The ambitious idea was first dreamed up by the couple, famed for bold public-space installations, during their time living in the city in the 1960s.

Christo et Jeanne-Claude: Paris!, Centre Pompidou, Paris, France, until October 19, 2020

Afterglow: Yokohama Triennale

Held every three years since 2001, Yokohama Triennale 2020 is the seventh iteration of the international art exhibition. The title Afterglow was chosen by the New Delhi-based Raqs Media Collective, which is leading on the creative direction this year, as a reference to “how, in our everyday lives, we unknowingly experience the residues of light sparked at the beginning of our time”.

Afterglow: Yokohama Triennale, Yokohama Museum of Art, Kanagawa, Japan, until October 11, 2020

A 1962 portrait of Jeanne-Claude, Christo’s late wife and collaborator, at Centre Pompidou’s Christo et Jeanne-Claude: Paris!
Kara Walker’s Hyundai Commission, Fons Americanus, a 13-meter-tall working fountain constructed from environmentally conscious materials, at Tate Modern until November

Kara Walker

Also at the newly reopened Tate Modern will be an extension of Kara Walker’s Hyundai Commission, Fons Americanus, a 13-meter-tall working fountain constructed from environmentally conscious materials. The idea is inspired by the Victoria Memorial in front of Buckingham Palace but, rather than being a celebration of the British Empire, Walker uses water as a theme to examine the intersected histories of Africa, America and Europe.

Kara Walker, Tate Modern, London, UK, until November 8, 2020

Titian: Love, Desire, Death

This exhibition brings together six paintings by Titian in a series commissioned by Prince Philip of Spain (the future King Philip II) in 1551. The legendary European painter, renowned for his enchanting storytelling, produced the works inspired by classical myths.

Titian: Love, Desire, Death, The National Gallery, London, UK, until January 17, 2021

Millet and Modern Art: From Van Gogh to Dalí

The extensive global legacy of French painter Jean-François Millet is brought into focus for the first time in this exhibition. It delves into the influence of his work on the artworld – as a pioneer of innovative imagery depicting rurality, landscapes and nudes – including for the likes of Vincent van Gogh, Camille Pissarro, Claude Monet, Edvard Munch and Salvador Dalí.

Millet and Modern Art: From Van Gogh to Dalí, Saint Louis Art Museum, Missouri, USA, until September 7, 2020

Aubrey Beardsley

Tate Britain’s acclaimed Aubrey Beardsley exhibition – the first in over half a century – has also received an extension, with its all-encompassing look at the famed Victorian artist’s brief but intense career.

Aubrey Beardsley, Tate Britain, London, UK, until 20 September, 2020

Latiff Mohidin: Pago Pago

This exhibition returns to Singapore, following presentations in Paris and Kuala Lumpur in 2018, with its major retrospective into Malaysia’s leading modernist painter-poet. Through art, writing, films and photography, it depicts a seminal time in Latiff Mohidin’s career, as he traveled Europe and Southeast Asia in the 1950s and ’60s.

Latiff Mohidin: Pago Pago, National Gallery Singapore, until September 27, 2020

Victorian artist Aubrey Beardsley’s The Slippers of Cinderella is on show at London’s Tate Britain until September 20, 2020