The art calendar is always chockablock with can’t-miss museum exhibitions, biennales and international fairs, not to mention countless gallery shows that open each month. But 2023 promises to be especially teeming, as it’s likely to be the first full year without Covid restrictions in most art capitals since 2019. While the fairs and biennales are probably already on your calendar, Robb Report has culled the major events to put in your diary now.
Dia Art Foundation is known for collecting artists in depth and supporting their wildest imaginings—City, Michael Heizer’s sprawling epic in the Nevada desert, and Walter De Maria’s The Lightning Field in New Mexico come to mind. This month, Dia Beacon, the institution’s massive space in a former Nabisco factory in upstate New York, will mount a long-term exhibition devoted to Senga Nengudi, who has used humble materials such as vinyl, water, lint and tape to blur the boundaries of sculpture, photography, painting and performance over her five-decade-long practice. It’s set to be a big year for Nengudi: At a Dallas gala on April 1, she will also receive the prestigious Nasher Sculpture Prize, which comes with a $100,000 cash award.
Nengudi’s influences range from the African diaspora to Japan. Abstract expressionist Sam Francis was also wowed by the island nation, which he first visited in 1957, and his art’s relationship with Japan and Eastern philosophy form the basis of an exhibition opening at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) in April.
In March, New York City will toast groundbreaking female artists uptown and down. Sarah Sze will construct a series of her densely composed installations at the Guggenheim Museum, including a projection on the Frank Lloyd Wright building’s iconic spiral facade, all with the theme of the passage of time, while Wangechi Mutu will fill the entire New Museum—also covering the facade—with more than 100 paintings, sculptures, collages, drawings and videos exploring history, colonialism and gender, among other hot-button topics.
Topping the list of fall’s must-see shows is an Ed Ruscha retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). The exhibition, opening in September and traveling to LACMA in April 2024, will span 65 years of his oeuvre with over 250 works. Expect to see not only his breakthrough black-and-white photos of gas stations from the early ’60s and his iconic, graphic paintings of words but also lesser-known works by the perennially cool, LA-based Pop and conceptual veteran.
Another artist associated with Pop early in her career will also get her due: Marisol, the Venezuelan American sculptor whose chunky, life-size figures were shown alongside works by Warhol and other men at the movement’s height, will be the subject of a retrospective bowing in October at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts.
Meanwhile, the Metropolitan Museum of Art will reach further back, to modern art’s nascent rumblings in the late 19th century, with a double-header. First comes Van Gogh’s Cypresses, a look at the crowd favorite’s beguilingly stylized trees—including those in The Starry Night, which MoMA has graciously agreed to lend—opening in May. Then, in September, Manet/Degas will delve into the French frenemies’ complicated but brilliantly fruitful relationship.
As for galleries, in recent years LA has emerged as an essential city in which to have some real estate. Once David Zwirner opens in the first quarter, the international behemoths—Gagosian, Pace and Hauser & Wirth complete the quartet—will all be there, along with plenty of respected homegrown operations. This month, just in time for Frieze LA, Hauser & Wirth will inaugurate its second branch in the area, in West Hollywood, with a George Condo show. And in May the venerated Marian Goodman Gallery, which has spaces in New York City and Paris, will join the crowd with a converted warehouse in Hollywood. Designed by LA firm Johnston Marklee, the complex will include 5,000 square feet of skylit galleries in addition to a courtyard garden.
Goodman’s enviable roster of artists includes William Kentridge, the South African filmmaker who is the subject of a major retrospective at the Broad in LA through April 9.
Adding yet more buzz to the SoCal scene: The UCLA Hammer Museum will unveil its long-gestating expansion in March. Architect Michael Maltzan has spent more than 20 years transforming the institution little by little. Capping off the project is the new Lynda and Stewart Resnick Cultural Center, named for the philanthropists who aided the effort with a $30 million gift.
Meanwhile, Mariane Ibrahim, the fast-rising gallerist with an eye for artists of the African diaspora, including the red-hot Amoako Boafo, is set to unveil a Mexico City location this month in a 19th-century two-story building on Río Pánuco. (Ibrahim’s other spaces are in Chicago and Paris.) A show of work by Clotilde Jiménez, who lives in Mexico City, will inaugurate the gallery.
New York is not being cut out of the expansion action. Jay Jopling’s White Cube, the London-based gallery synonymous with the Young British Artists (YBAs) of the 1990s, is, after years of anticipation, opening in Manhattan toward the end of 2023. But it is eschewing both Chelsea, where a critical mass of players reside, and the relatively upstart locales of the Lower East Side, Tribeca and Brooklyn in favor of the establishment Upper East Side, where it will occupy three floors at 1002 Madison Avenue.
And Jack Shainman Gallery is expanding from Chelsea to Tribeca, taking over the Clock Tower Building, an 1898 McKim Mead & White neoclassical gem. Long before it was fashionable, Shainman threw his energy into building a lineup of BIPOC artists; many, including Kerry James Marshall, Carrie Mae Weems, Lynette Yiadom-Boakye and Nick Cave, are now among the art world’s most celebrated names. Cave, coming off an acclaimed retrospective at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago and the Guggenheim, will have inaugural-show honors in the fall.