The biggest exhibitions around the world in 2020

The biggest exhibitions around the world in 2020
Christo with a preparatory drawing for the London Mastaba installation. Courtesy the Pompidou.
Must see  -   Exhibitions

From Artemisia to Abramović, Old Masters to Olmecs, and Richter to Roman antiquities, here are 2020’s most anticipated exhibitions around the world.


Christo and Jeanne-Claude at the Centre Pompidou in Paris

Centre Pompidou, Paris, 18 March-15 June

Christo and his late wife Jeanne-Claude first conceived the idea of wrapping the Arc de Triomphe when they lived near it from 1958 to 1964. Their idea will be finally realized this year when the monument will be covered with a silver blue fabric, tied by 7,000 metres of red rope. But before that happens, the city of Paris will be paying its respect to the artist duo with a major show at the Centre Pompidou that will focus on the years they spent in the city. Some unseen works like Cratères (1959-61), as well as a series influenced by Jean Dubuffet will be on show as well as a special focus on the Pont Neuf project, which along with the Reichstag in Berlin, is one of their most iconic works covered in fabric.

Artemisia at the National Gallery in London

National Gallery, London, 4 April-26 July

The first UK exhibition on Artemisia Gentileschi (1593-1654) has been in the works ever since the museum acquired Self Portrait as Saint Catherine of Alexandria (1615-17). The exhibition will focus on her singular position as a female painter in 17th-century Europe and how she turned her struggles into her advantages. Trained in the Roman studio of her father Orazio Gentileschi, Artemisia established herself as an artist in Florence and returned to Rome in the 1620s before settling for the last 25 years of her life in Naples. Along with Self Portrait as Saint Catherine of Alexandria, major works on loan will be displayed like Susannah and the Elders (1610), and Judith Beheading Holofernes (1611-12).

The Olmecs and the Cultures of the Gulf of Mexico at the Musée du Quai Branly-Jacques Chirac in Paris

Musée du Quai Branly-Jacques Chirac, Paris, 19 May-15 November

The Quai Branly-Jacques Chirac has collaborated with Mexico’s Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia to show the first major exhibition on the Olmecs in Europe. While the Olmecs, who inhabited southern Mexico from 1400BC to 400BC, are celebrated in the Americas, they are less than well-known in Europe, where people are more familiar with the Aztec and Mayan peoples who came after them. The museum wants to bring greater attention to the Olmecs by showing over 200 artefacts that carry their economic, social, political and artistic prowess.

Masterpieces from the National Gallery, London at the National Museum of Osaka 

National Museum of Art, Osaka, 7 July-18 October

Vincent van Gogh’s Sunflowers (1888) will be shown for the first time ever in Japan alongside 60 other works from the National Gallery in London. This will be the largest collection of works from the UK museum to be loaned internationally and is particularly timed to coincide with the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. Masterpieces ranging from the Italian Renaissance all the way to the early 20th century will be shown, like works by Diego Velázquez, Anthony Van Dyck, Claude Monet, J.M.W Turner and Pierre-Auguste Renoir. The show will open in the spring at the National Museum of Western Art in Tokyo, before travelling to Osaka in July, and then making its way to the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra, later in the year.

Marina Abramovic: After Life at the Royal Academy of Arts in London

Royal Academy of Arts, London, 26 September-8 December

You can never predict what a Marina Abramović show will be. Her 1974 performance in Naples entailed a visitor to hold a loaded gun to her head. For her 2010 exhibition at New York’s MoMA, she made prolonged eye-contact with museum-goers. While no details of the London show has been released, a spokeswoman said that the artist will be in London for the run of the show and that the “exact nature of her presence is yet to be determined”.