Home to the stunning museums of Paris, the edgy galleries of London and exciting cultural institutions, Europe plays a major role in the world of contemporary art, and – unsurprisingly – hosts countless art events throughout the year. In this guide to the best art and design events of 2014, we take a look at what’s on in Europe, from Art Basel in Switzerland and Art Cologne in Germany to exhibitions in London, Amsterdam and Rome.
London, UK | Richard Deacon Exhibition at Tate Britain
5 February – 27 April
This spring, Tate Britain is putting on a one-of-a-kind show featuring Turner Prize winner Richard Deacon. Known for his spectacularly large and intriguing sculptures, Deacon is a master of all materials – and that is the focus of the Tate’s showing of his work. His engineering mind, combined with a profound and demonstrable interest in poetry and philosophy give an element of richness to his work, which has the ability to consistently surprise even the most seasoned of art lovers.
Tate Britain, Millbank, London SW1P 4RG, United Kingdom, +44 20 7887 8888
Cologne, Germany | Art Cologne
10 – 13 April
Art Cologne is the world’s oldest art fair featuring modern and contemporary art. A range of global galleries and established, as well as emerging artists working in all sorts of mediums, will give visitors an excellent overview of what’s happening on the worldwide art scene. The fair was initially launched in 1967 by two Cologne-based gallerists, in the hopes of breathing new life into the West German art market. The fair is still going strong today, with reach that’s broader than ever and an important place in the international art market.
Art Cologne, Messeplatz 1, Cologne, Germany, +49 221 821-3998
Amsterdam, The Netherlands | Art is Therapy
25 April – 7 September
The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam is renowned for its mesmerising exhibitions, but Art Is Therapy is something entirely new: this fascinating exhibition provides another look at the museum’s collections, as seen by British writers and philosophers Alain de Botton and John Armstrong. The pair want to question what the purpose of art is and highlight the therapeutic effect that art has on visitors. They make comments on about 150 pieces of art through the Rijksmuseum’s galleries, but they will also speak their minds on items in the café, cloakroom and other curious spots.
Rijksmuseum, Museumstraat 1, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, +31 20 674 7000
Rome, Italy | Premio MAXXI at the Fondazione MAXXI
May – September
As part of the Premio MAXXI competition, Rome’s fabulous MAXXI National Museum of XXI Century Arts will be showcasing site-specific works realised by the four MAXXI Prize finalists. The works, displayed within the Zaha Hadid-designed galleries, should be a startling addition to the space, providing new views for visitors and new backdrops for the works already on display. An international jury will select one piece at the end of the show, which will be acquired by the museum.
MAXXI National Museum of XXI Century Arts, via Guido Reni, 4A, Rome, Italy, +39 06 320 1954
Venice, Italy | Architecture Biennale
7 June – 23 November
This year’s Architecture Biennale, running alongside the ambitious programme of the Biennale Sessions, will take on the theme of Fundamentals – and, as the name suggests, it will focus on exploring the past of architecture, while returning to its historical fundaments. Situated in the Central Pavilion at Giardini, the event will bring together a rich array of international participants in 29 individual pavilions. The 14th edition of the Architecture Biennale promises to be a breakthrough look at the achievements of 20th century literature and lead the way into 21st century advancements.
Architecture Biennale, Giardini della Biennale, Sestiere Castello, Venice, Italy, +39 041 5218711
Madrid, Spain | Pop Art Myths
10 June – 14 September
Madrid’s wonderful Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum applies 21st century thinking to the 20th century phenomenon of pop art. Roughly 70 pieces from names such as Rauschenberg, Wesselmann, Lichtenstein and Hockney and including British, American and European artists, will be on display during the Pop Art Myths exhibition. Curators hope the show will dispel the banality myth that surrounds the art form and show that the artists not only had a unique way of perceiving reality, but the form is still influential amongst artists today.
Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, Paseo del Prado 8, Madrid, Spain, +34 902 76 05 11
Basel, Switzerland | Art Basel
19 – 22 June
Art Basel is an art fair bucket list item: every art lover should attend at least once. Modern and contemporary art by both well-known and emerging artists makes this the place to ‘see’ old friends and make new discoveries. Art Basel has it all, from sculpture to photography, and represents art at its absolute best. Its international approach is another reason why Art Basel is so special – not only are there about 300 galleries from all over the world, thousands of global art lovers are also there, excited to see what’s new.
Art Basel, Messeplatz 10, Basel, Switzerland
London, UK | Frieze London
16 – 19 October
In October, it is London’s turn to play host to exciting names and developments in the contemporary art market, at one of the most respected art fairs in the world, Frieze London. More than 170 galleries from around the world attend, showing work from about 1,000 different artists. In addition to the carefully selected artistic programme, Frieze will also present Frieze Projects and Frieze Talks, the fair’s programme of artist commissions and panel discussions by the globe’s leading voices in contemporary art.
Frieze London, Regent’s Park, Chester Rd, London NW1 4NR, United Kingdom, +44 20 3372 6111
Paris, France | Foire Internationale d’Art Contemporain
23 – 26 October
With Paris’ excellent Foire Internationale d’Art Contemporain happening on the heels of Frieze, October might just be the month for Europe’s art lovers. While FIAC might not have the size of Art Basel or the reputation of Frieze, the fair brings together a mix of international and French dealers, curators and collectors for an excellent take on modern and contemporary art from both established and emerging galleries and artists.
FIAC, Avenue Winston Churchill, Paris, France, +33 1 47 56 64 27
London, UK | Objectified: Sculpture Today
Saatchi Gallery will be showcasing sculpture in what promises to be a fascinating look at the medium today, at an exhibition entitled Objectified: Sculpture Today. The top names (including Andy Yoder, David Lane, Peter Coffin and Laura Buckley) who are creating some amazing pieces have been gathered together for a revealing look at what’s happening on the sculpting scene.
Saatchi Gallery, Duke of York’s HQ, King’s Road, London SW3 4RY, United Kingdom