7 Art Exhibitions May 2021

Mira Van Lierop

To Visit: 7 Art Exhibitions Opening their Doors in May

Due to covid, a lot of art exhibitions had to push their openings to later this year. And now that restrictions are slowly being lifted—depending on where you are in the world—those exhibitions are finally opening their doors. So, we made a list of seven art exhibitions opening in May that we would love to go and see. Friendly warning: we try to be as accurate as possible but these are unusual times, so be sure to check the venue before visiting!

1. Women in Abstraction — Centre Pompidou (Paris, France)

Woman in Abstraction sets out to write the history of the contributions of women artists to abstraction. The exhibition showcases 106 artists and more than 500 works dating from the 1860s to the 1980s, which includes: dance, the decorative arts, film, photography, cinema, and museography. Women artists have often been downplayed in exhibitions of abstract art, but this exhibition wants to change that. 

‘Women in Abstraction’ at Centre Pompidou, Paris, will run from 5 May – 23 August. For more information, visit Centre Pompidou’s website.

7 Art Exhibitions May 2021

Lynda Benglis in the process of creating (Originally published in the magazine 'Life' (1970). © Henry Groskinsky

2. Picasso & Les Femmes d’Alger — Museum Berggruen (Berlin, Germany)

Inspired by Eugène Delacroix’s depictions of the Women of Algiers (1834 and 1849), Pablo Picasso began one of his most important series of works called Les Femmes d’Alger in 1954. He produced 15 oil paintings and more than 100 sketches and prints of Delacroix’s figures. While the series has been spread around the world, a significant part of the famous series will now come to Berlin. With loans from American museums, private collections, and the Louvre, among others, this exhibition is setting out to be a spectacular one. 

‘Picasso & Les Femmes d’Alger’ at will run from 7 May – 08 August. For more information, visit Berlin State Museums’ website.

7 Art Exhibitions May 2021

Pablo Picasso, The Women of Algiers, 1955, oil on canvas. © Staatliche Museen zu Berlin

3. The World of Steve McCurry — Waagnatie (Antwerp, Belgium)

The World of Steve McCurry takes you on a journey through more than 200 photos of renowned photographer Steve McCurry. His body of work consists of conflicts, disappearing cultures, old traditions, and contemporary culture while preserving the human aspect. The exhibition covers multiple countries: from Afghanistan to Africa and Cuba to Brazil, all while McCurry guides you around through an audio guide.  

‘The World of Steve McCurry’ at Waagnatie, Antwerp, will run from 12 May – 31 August. For more information, visit the website of ‘The World of Steve McCurry’.

7 Art Exhibitions May 2021

Sharbat Gula, the Afghan Girl, at Nasir Bagh refugee camp near Peshawar, Pakistan. © Steve McCurry

4. The Making of Rodin — Tate Modern (London, UK)

The infamous sculptor Auguste Rodin is renowned for his creations of the human body with all its complexities. While Rodin’s most famous works are made out of bronze and marble, The Making of Rodin is the first major exhibition to focus on the importance of plaster in his work. Working as a modeler, he captured movement, light, and volume in plaster. The exhibition showcases various plasters of all sizes and how he experimented with the process. Musée Rodin offered unprecedented access to Tate Modern for this exhibition, which features over 200 works, with many never having been outside of France before.

‘The Making of Rodin’ at Tate Modern, London, will run from 18 May – 31 October. For more information, visit Tate Modern’s website.

7 Art Exhibitions May 2021

Auguste Rodin, right hand of Pierre and Jacques de Wissant 1885–86. © Musée Rodin

5. How will we live together? — the 17th International Architecture Exhibition (Venice, Italy)

If you know anything about art, you’ll know the Venice Biennale or Art Biennale; a contemporary visual art exhibition held biennially. It’s got several separate events, and one of them is the International Architecture Exhibition, commonly known as the Venice Biennale of Architecture. This year the 17th International Architecture Exhibition is titled How will we live together? Curated by the Dean of the School of Architecture and Planning at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Hashim Sarkis, the international exhibition will include 114 participants from 46 countries. And let’s be honest, anything related to the Venice Biennale is worth seeing. 

‘How will we live together?’ at the 17th International Architecture Exhibition, Venice, will run from 22 May – 31 October. For more information, visit the website of the Biennale. 

7 Art Exhibitions May 2021

Outdoor and shared spaces in a housing project. @nicolaslaisnearchitectes

6. Alice: Curiouser and Curiouser — Victoria and Albert Museum (London, UK)

Alice: Curiouser and Curiouser is a landmark exhibition celebrating the infamous story of Alice in Wonderland. Through an immersive journey down a rabbit hole, the exhibition will explore the origins of Alice’s story, its adaptions, and reinventions throughout 158 years. The V&A will be the first museum to fully explore the cultural impact of Alice and her ongoing inspiration for many creatives with 300 pieces spanning art, fashion, film, performance, and photography. Several highlights of the exhibition include Lewis Carroll’s original handwritten manuscript, stage costumes, fashion from Iris van Herpen, and photography from Tim Walker and Annie Leibovitz. I mean, how can you not go to this exhibition?

‘Alice: Curiouser and Curiouser’ at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, will run from 22 May. For more information, visit the website of the Victoria and Albert Museum.

7 Art Exhibitions May 2021

Illustration from the first published edition of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, illustrated by John Tenniel, 1866. © Victoria and Albert Museum

7. Epic Iran — Victoria and Albert Museum (London, UK)

Bringing together over 300 objects from ancient, Islamic, and contemporary Iran, Epic Iran will explore 5000 years of art, culture, and design. From sculptures, carpets, and ceramics to photography, film, and textiles, V&A presents rarely seen objects alongside international loans and private collections such as The Sarikhani Collection. Moreover, this will be the UK’s first major exhibition on Iranian art and culture with such an overarching narrative in 90 years. 

‘Epic Iran’ at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, will run from 29 May – 21 September. For more information, visit the website of the Victoria and Albert Museum.

7 Art Exhibitions May 2021

Qaran Unhorses Barman. © The Sarikhani Collection

Photo credits: Henry Groskinsky, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Steve McCurry, Musée Rodin, @nicolaslaisnearchitectes, Victoria and Albert Museum, and The Sarikhani Collection

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