This is a year without a Documenta or a Venice Biennale, or even a Berlin Biennale or a Biennale of Sydney, but the lack of major biennials has left plenty of room for international museums to make up for it with big retrospectives and touted surveys. The trend continues across the globe this fall as institutions ready their marquee exhibitions before a quiet winter.
Picasso has been feted seemingly everywhere this year, on the 50th anniversary of his death. There will be more of that at Paris’s Centre Pompidou, where hundreds of works on paper will go on view, but many other artists are getting their time in the spotlight. Those artists include Marina Abramović, KAWS, and Marisol. Yet a litany of artists with less global renown, like Kim Kulim and Gavin Jantjes, are also getting sizable shows of their own, potentially making them new entrants to the canon far beyond their home countries.
Below, a look at 25 museum exhibitions to see beyond the US.
“Edgardo Giménez: No habrá ninguno igual” at Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires
During the ’60s and ’70s, Edgardo Giménez caught the attention of many in Argentina with his Pop-inflected posters abounding with trippy imagery. These posters, many containing surrealist animals amid bright pops of color, tapped the countercultural spirit that was in the air at the time. Rather than a traditional retrospective, Giménez’s MALBA show, featuring nearly 80 paintings, sculptures, and more, will have “the structure of a film, with each scene reflecting Giménez’s distinct themes, styles, and obsessions,” according to its description.
Through November 13
Kim Kulim at National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul
While audiences in New York get a taste of Kim Kulim’s work in a Guggenheim Museum survey of Korean modern art, viewers in the artist’s home country will get a full-dress retrospective, with some 230 works, 60 pieces of archival material, and a performance. Kim has produced an indefinable oeuvre, burning paint for heady abstractions and quickly cutting together shots of cities for a legendary experimental film from the ’60s. He is by some estimates one of the first avant-garde artists in South Korea, and his retrospective will attest to the fact that he still earns that reputation today, in his late 80s.
Through February 12, 2024
Bienal de São Paulo
Latin America’s premier biennial is back, this time with a focus on the Global South and movements of people across the world. (Those happen to be the themes of last year’s Documenta and next year’s Venice Biennale, respectively; consider this show a halfway point between the two.) Curators Diane Lima, Grada Kilomba, Hélio Menezes, and Manuel Borja-Villel have titled the exhibition “choreographies of the impossible,” tapping biennial darlings like Edgar Calel, Julien Creuzet, Rosana Paulino, and Yto Barrada for their artist list.
September 6–December 10
“Coco Fusco: Tomorrow I Will Become an Island” at KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin
In 1992, on the 500th anniversary of when Christopher Columbus arrived in what would become the Bahamas, Coco Fusco and Guillermo Gómez-Peña staged a performance in which they posed as “Amerindians,” newly discovered and held within a cage. More than 30 years on, the work remains a biting send-up of settler colonialism and US history; other performances, videos, photographs, and more produced by Fusco in the intervening decades have taken up these subjects as well. This show, her first major retrospective, will cement the Cuban-American artist’s reputation as a thinker ahead of her time.
September 14, 2023–January 7, 2024
“Antoni Tàpies: The Practice of Art” at BOZAR Center for Fine Art, Brussels
The rough-and-tumble paintings of Antoni Tàpies are among the most unruly produced during the postwar era: they generally don’t make use of oil and rarely conform to the stylistic whims of their moment. Instead, the Catalan painter frequently worked with materials like sand, tar, hair, and latex, which he shaped into vulgar, textured mixtures that are sometimes accompanied by symbols such as pointing hands. (The chunkiness of the resulting canvases caused some to group him with the Art Informel movement.) In what Spain is labeling a “Tàpies Year,” the artist is now getting a major retrospective curated by former Museo Reina Sofía director Manuel Borja-Villel; the 120-work show travels next to that Madrid museum and then to Tàpies’s foundation in Barcelona.
September 15, 2023–January 7, 2024
“Michelangelo and Beyond” at Albertina, Vienna
If the memorable flayed man of his Last Judgment is any proof, Michelangelo knew how to render the human body so well, he could literally portray it inside out. It’s no surprise, then, that his methods have been massively influential. The Albertina is now endeavoring to trace his ripple effect, using his drawings as case studies and pitting them alongside works by Rembrandt, Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele, and more.
September 15, 2023–January 14, 2024
Füsun Onur at Museum Ludwig, Cologne
While most artists think big for their Venice Biennale presentations, Füsun Onur went small for last year’s Turkish Pavilion, where she displayed a group of tiny figures formed from wire that told an abstract fairy tale. Onur, now well into her 80s, has become well-known in Turkey for wringing maximal meaning from minimal everyday materials, harnessing them to explore the differences between flatness and depth and the flow of time. Some 94 installations by Onur, including some that fill rooms, will be shown in this retrospective, among the first major presentations devoted to her outside her home country.
September 16, 2023–January 28, 2024
Marina Abramović at Royal Academy of Arts, London
Delayed not once but twice by the onset of the pandemic, Marina Abramović’s long-awaited retrospective is finally set to open this fall, making her the first woman artist to have a survey in the Royal Academy’s hallowed main gallery spaces. Her boundary-pushing performance art of the 1970s, featuring situations that inflicted pain upon her body and tested her endurance, will be represented by documentation; less abrasive works from later periods will also be included, and even enacted by live performers in some cases. Fear not: The Artist Is Present, the 2011 performance that drew droves of visitors to the Serbian-born artist’s MoMA retrospective, has returned. It will be performed live as well.
September 23, 2023–January 1, 2024
“KAWS: FAMILY” at Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto
Love them or hate them, KAWS’s cartoonish figures with Xed out eyes are now everywhere. They have become a hit with sneakerheads and collectors across the globe, and have gradually infiltrated institutions like the Brooklyn Museum, which cemented his art-world street cred with a retrospective in 2021. Now, some are headed to his Canadian museum debut, which features 70 works, including Family (2021), a nine-and-a-half-foot-tall sculpture of two parents and two children as filtered through KAWS’s playful gaze.
Opens September 27
“Sarah Lucas: Happy Gas” at Tate Britain, London
When Sarah Lucas first gained a larger audience in the 1990s as part of a loose group known as the Young British Artists, she was thought to be a provocateur, given that her sculptures depicted genitalia and sexual subjects. Roughly three decades later, Lucas’s feminist forays remain every bit as distinct as they once were, yet whether they are also still just as shocking will be tested by this survey. It includes 10 never-before-exhibited new sculptures made using stuffed tights, marking a return to the style that brought her fame during the ’90s.
September 28, 2023–January 14, 2024
Frans Hals at National Gallery, London
Are we in a golden age of Dutch Golden Age retrospectives? First, there was a once-in-a-lifetime Vermeer exhibition at the Rijksmuseum in February. Now, this September, there will be this major show about Frans Hals, whose bawdy depictions of drunken revelers and piercing portraits of wealthy patrons earned acclaim during the 17th century. Among the 50 works that have traveled for this show, which heads to Amsterdam and Berlin after its run in London, is a masterpiece that has never before traveled: The Laughing Cavalier (1624), an iconic portrait that has stayed put at London’s Wallace Collection since it was acquired in 1865.
September 30, 2023–January 21, 2024
“Harriet Backer: Every Atom is Colour” at National Museum, Oslo
Harriet Backer’s name is today unfamiliar to many, but it wasn’t always that way—she once received an honorable mention by a jury at the Paris Salon and achieved acclaim during the 19th century. She broke new ground in Norway with her paintings of women cloistered interiors, seemingly lost in thought while undertaking everyday activities, and in the process knitted together the languages of Dutch Golden Age genre painting and Impressionism. Will this retrospective bring her fame anew? It just well may after the show heads to Germany, France, and Sweden after its run in Oslo.
September 30, 2023–January 14, 2024
“Jasper Johns—The artist as collector” at Kunstmuseum Basel, Switzerland
You likely know Jasper Johns as a painter of flags, targets, US maps, and, in more recent years, figurative scenes laden with puns and self-allusions. You likely don’t know him as a collector, although it’s possible you may have already encountered works from his holdings in exhibitions such as the Museum of Modern Art’s 2021 Cézanne drawings show, which featured studies of the artist’s famed bathers straight from Johns’s holdings. In tribute to his collecting, the Kunstmuseum Basel is bringing together 100 drawings that he owns by artists such as Pablo Picasso, Willem de Kooning, and Kathe Köllwitz.
September 30, 2023–February 4, 2024
“Ben Shahn: On Nonconformity” at Museo Reina Sofía, Madrid
Part of the reason Ben Shahn hasn’t been talked about in the same breath as other modernists may have something to do with his chosen artistic mode: figuration, the opposite of the abstraction that was considered particularly fine at the time. Then again, Shahn, an American Jew born to Lithuanian parents toward the start of the 20th century, never seemed much interested in fitting in. In 1957 he gave a lecture called “On Nonconformity,” which has now lent its name to this retrospective featuring a host of works by him, from photography documenting Great Depression–era New York to paintings that meditated on the violence of war, the solidarity of organized labor, the perniciousness of McCarthyism, and the truths of his own Jewish identity.
October 4, 2023–February 26, 2024
“Marisol: A Retrospective” at Musée des Beaux Arts de Montréal
Marisol was sometimes grouped in with the Pop artists of 1960s New York, but the classification never totally fit. She dabbled in their ironic consumerism—one famed sculpture features a disembodied mouth suggestively sucking from a Coke bottle—only to diverge from it significantly with a group of well-known sculptures resembling squat figures with carved wooden heads and block-like bodies. This retrospective, assembled by the Buffalo AKG Art Museum following its acquisition of around 200 works by her, should do a lot to more accurately place her within art history.
October 7, 2023–January 21, 2024
James Lee Byars at Pirelli HangarBicocca, Milan
There is these days a fascination among artists with realms beyond this one—consider the craze for spiritualist art by the likes of Hilma af Klint and Georgiana Houghton (whose Art Gallery NSW exhibition opens in November and also appears on this list). Long before many took note of those artists, critics fell hard for James Lee Byars, whose bizarre, minimalist objects and performances evoked mystical states, centuries-old rituals, and alternate forms of being. His first retrospective in Italy features a range of the grand sculptures and installations he produced between 1974 and 1997, including his 1990 work The Golden Tower, which rises 70 feet into the air—and was initially supposed to be much taller than that.
October 12, 2023–February 18, 2024
“Our Ecology: Toward a Planetary Living” at Mori Art Museum, Tokyo
The news these days has been filled with a flotilla of natural disasters spurred by climate change: fires in Hawaii and Greece, flooding in Italy, extreme heat in India, Thailand, and elsewhere. An increasingly ravaged earth requires increasingly inventive forms of art-making, some of which will be surveyed in this show, which includes a cross-continental mix of artists such as Ali Cherri, Sheroanawe Hakihiiwe, and Apichatpong Weerasethakul. The exhibition is true to its green spirit: walls and other materials will be recycled from past shows at the Mori Art Museum.
October 18, 2023–March 31, 2024
“Picasso: Drawing Infinity” at Centre Pompidou, Paris
The majority of the shows mounted this year to mark the 50th anniversary of Pablo Picasso’s passing dealt with his paintings and sculptures. This one focuses on an entirely different side of his practice: his works on paper, nearly a thousand of which are assembled for this blowout show. The notebooks, drawings, and engravings brought together for this show refute the idea that they were merely testing grounds for what he would later produce in paint—they were notable artworks in their own right.
October 18, 2023–January 15, 2024
Mark Rothko at Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris
Leave it to the Fondation Louis Vuitton, a museum with a penchant for blockbusters, to successfully procure all nine of Rothko’s Seagram Murals for this retrospective, which will see the paintings make the rare journey from Tate, its longtime owner. The Seagram Murals, from 1958, represent the apex of Rothko’s Abstract Expressionist style—vast, engulfing fields of blackish red that conjure sublimity and then some—but they will hardly be the only gems among the 115 works here. Accordingly, the museum has brought out the big guns: Rothko’s son Christopher co-organized the show alongside Suzanne Pagé.
October 18, 2023–April 2, 2024
“Indigenous Histories” at Museu de Arte de São Paulo
This show, the latest in MASP’s acclaimed “Histórias” series, is a vast and sprawling survey of many different Indigenous cultures hailing from regions in North America, South America, Scandinavia, and Oceania. Make no mistake: its organizers, which include artists Abraham Cruzvillegas and Sandra Gamarra, are not aiming to provide something total and comprehensive, but rather a partial picture with interconnecting historical strands. If past “Histórias” exhibitions stand as evidence, expect this show to be eye-opening.
October 20, 2023–February 25, 2025
Lyonel Feininger at Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt
Amazingly, it has been more than 25 years since any German museum mounted a retrospective devoted to Lyonel Feininger, arguably one of the most important modernists associated with the country (despite having been born in the US). Although best-known today as a teacher at the Bauhaus school, Feininger produced some exceptional abstractions in his own right. The long interregnum between this retrospective and the last one has yielded some new research on his sleek photographs of angular buildings, some of which will be featured here.
October 27, 2023–February 18, 2024
“Georgiana Houghton: Invisible Friends” at Art Gallery NSW, Sydney
A Kandinsky blockbuster at the Art Gallery NSW may be the big attraction in Australia this fall, but a complementary exhibition devoted to Georgiana Houghton, a lesser-known spiritualist who worked contemporaneously to him, is likely to be the season’s true star. Houghton, who was born in the Canary Islands to British parents in the 19th century, created gorgeous watercolors formed from multihued spirals and lines that overlap and intersect; they were messages, she said, from beings beyond this world who had communicated with her. Having been shown in the 2022 Venice Biennale, her art will now find a new audience outside England, where Houghton exhibitions have been exceedingly rare.
November 4, 2023–March 10, 2024
Long before lawmakers in the US held a conference on UFOs earlier this year, the Russian critic, curator, and artist Anton Vidokle had been fascinated by all the possibilities of outer space, founding the Institute of Cosmism with Arseny Zhilyaev in 2019. Spurred on by the inquiries begun by this organization, Vidokle has curated the latest edition of the Shanghai Biennale, promising art predicated upon an “understanding of the relationship between life on earth and the cosmos that nourishes and conditions it.”
November 9, 2023–March 31, 2024
“Everything Gets Lighter” at Museo Jumex, Mexico City
To toast its 10th anniversary, the Museo Jumex, the private museum of fruit juice magnate Eugenio López Alonso, is trotting out 65 works from its permanent collection dealing with fluidity and death. Ironically, the show’s curator, New Museum director Lisa Phillips, has chosen some weighty works—tough stuff by heavy hitters like Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Ana Mendieta, Bas Jan Ader, and more—but there will be moments of visual levity as well. One Instagram-worthy one comes courtesy of Olafur Eliasson, whose 1998 piece Waterfall, a tall pour of water with no obvious source, will appear in front of the museum.
November 18, 2023–February 11, 2024
“Gavin Jantjes: To Be Free! A Retrospective” at Sharjah Art Foundation, United Arab Emirates
“One cannot speak of form and colour when one’s environment speaks of poverty, hunger, and death,” the artist Gavin Jantjes once wrote. That was back in 1976, at a time when Apartheid continued to inform Jantjes’s existence as a Black South African, but it is a statement that could be applied to the whole of his career, which has seen him address many other conflicts within and relating to Africa via prints, paintings, and more. Now based in Oxfordshire, England, Jantjes will be feted with a retrospective at the Sharjah Art Foundation, where he had a residency in 2022.
November 18, 2023–March 10, 2024