The 21 Art Exhibitions You’ll Be Talking About This Year

“Another year over,” John Lennon still coos, posthumously, over the course of several, semi-irritating weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. “And a new one just begun.” It’s probably the most succinct way of melodically paying tribute to the passing of one 365-day period and the dawn of another.

We’re reminded of Lennon’s lyrics as we scan our list of the new year’s most drool-worthy museum shows. His widow, the great musician and artist Yoko Ono, is one among several female artists headlining massive shows in 2015, joining Bjork, Marilyn Minter and the late artists Frida Kahlo and Mary Louise Reynolds, among others.


Yes, artists like Alex Katz, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Barnett Newman have wound their way into our ranks, but we’re pleased to see shows like “Islamic Art Now” and “Women to Watch 2015” making waves for underrepresented and emerging figures too. While there’s always room to grow (we’d love to see more women of color hosting retrospectives around the U.S., for example), we’re glad the year of markedly macho artists like Jeff Koons, Paul McCarthy and James Turrell is over.

The following 21 shows will debut at some of the biggest art institutions in the United States, and a few small ones too. From New York to Los Angeles, Minneapolis to Houston, Atlanta to Chicago, these are the art exhibitions we’ll be talking about in the new year.

1. On Kawara at the Guggenheim

on kawara
Sixteen performance artists working in pairs and shifts take part in a previous staging of “One Million Years.” They are reading extracts from a book of 271,000 even and odd numbers. (Photo by J. Quinton/WireImage)

What: On Kawara: Silence
Where: The Guggenheim, New York, NY
When: February 6, 2015 to May 3, 2015
Why: On Kawara passed away last year, leaving behind a complex body of conceptual art. This will be the first full representation of his output, ranging over 50 years. We’re especially excited for the continuous live reading of his “One Million Years” series, which will consist of a steady recitation of numbers by volunteers on the ground floor of the Guggenheim rotunda.

Also on view: Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian: Infinite Possibility, Alberto Burri: The Trauma of Painting

2. Bjork at the Museum of Modern Art

Björk, “Mutual Core” video still, 2012. Credit: Directed by Andrew Thomas Huang, Image courtesy of Wellhart Ltd & One Little Indian

What: Björk
Where: The Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY
When: March 8, 2015 to June 7, 2015
Why: This full-scale retrospective will span the entire career of Icelandic singer, songwriter and artist Björk, including sound, film, visuals, instruments, objects,…

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