January 9, 2020

2020’s Most Eagerly Anticipated Events

A new decade has just begun and we are now looking forward to 2020's most eagerly anticipated events. Here is My Art Guides selection of the most interesting biennials, fairs, summits, around the world. 2020's plethora of events makes it quite impossible to be everywhere, but here is a list to help you make your own selection.
Words by Mara Sartore

20–21 January 2020
8th Barcelona Symposium: Talking Galleries
Venue: MACBA, Barcelona

The 8th annual symposium in Barcelona will be hosted at MACBA on January 20-21, 2020 and features a wide program of talks, welcoming renowned speakers such Allan Schwartzman (Art Agency, Partners), Matt Carey-Williams (Victoria Miro), Kenny Schachter (Artnet News), Elena Soboleva (David Zwirner), Greg Hilty (Lisson Gallery), Alexander Forbes (Artsy) and Tim Schneider (artnet News), to name just a few, while moderators are Georgina Adam (The Art Newspaper), Melanie Gerlis (Financial Times), Jane Morris (The Art Newspaper) and Llucià Homs (Director, Talking Galleries).


26 January – 29 February 2020
2nd Lahore Biennale
Title: Between the sun and the moon
Artistic directors: Hoor Al Qasimi
Various venues, Lahore, Pakistan

Curator Hoor Al Qasimi invited over 70 artists to present their work at the biennale. Located across cultural and heritage sites in Lahore, with a focus on how the Global South is being affected by climate change, the exhibition will explore human entanglement with the environment while revisiting traditional understandings of the self and their cosmological underpinnings. Inspiration for this thematic focus is drawn from the intellectual and cultural exchange between South and West Asia. The artist list includes participants such as Alia Farid, Anwar Saeed, Haroon Mirza, Hajra Waheed, Simone Fattal, Rayyane Tabet, Nalini Malani, John Akomfrah and Kader Attia.


5 – 9 February 2020
Zona Maco Art Week 
Artistic Director: Tania Ragasol
Venue: Centro Citybanamex, Mexico City

For the first time Zona Maco, Latin America’s art fair, presents in a single location modern and contemporary art, design, photography and antiques, bringing together its four fairs (Zona Maco México Arte Contemporáneo, Zona Maco Diseño, Zona Maco Foto, and Zona Maco Salón) for Zona Maco art week.

Courtesy of Lahore Biennale Foundation
Courtesy of Zona Maco

7 – 15 February 2020
5th Dhaka Art Summit 
Title: Seismic Movements
Artistic director: Diana Campbell Betancourt
Venue: Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy, Dhaka, Bangladesh

Campbell Betancourt said in a statement, “Inspired by the 1414 gift of a giraffe by the Sultan of Bengal to Emperor Yongale of China, I hope this summit will widen its view to look at historical layers of connectivity across Asia, Africa, and the Indian Ocean, becoming a platform where former colonial subjects can come together without a western intermediary to imagine new features from Dhaka inspired by similar utopian movements of the past.”


5 February – 6 December 2020
34th Bienal de São Paulo
Title: Though is Dark still I Sing
Artistic director: Jacopo Crivelli Visconti
Venue: Pavilhão Ciccillo Matarazzo, São Paulo, Brazil

“The Bienal is beginning with a series of shows and events that introduce part of the themes that will be considered in depth in the main show, starting in September,” explains Crivelli Visconti. “Brazil and Latin America are very well represented, both in terms of the artists’ nationalities as well as the subjects they deal with, which range from social and political issues to the recovery of ancestral knowledge. At the same time, special attention is given to the power and urgency of the production within the expanded field of the African diaspora. Generally speaking, the 34th Bienal wishes to shed light on productions that deserve more attention, such as contemporary indigenous art (Brazilian and from other parts of the world) or that produced in the Caribbean.”

Courtesy of Samdani Art Foundation and Dhaka Art Summit © Noor Photoface
Pavilhão Bienal. © Pedro Ivo Trasferetti / Fundação Bienal de São Paulo

14 – 16 February 2020
Investec Cape Town Art Fair 
Venue: Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC).

Investec Cape Town Art Fair is the largest art fair on the African continent, showing cutting edge contemporary art. The fair provides a platform for galleries, collectors, curators and artists from around the globe to engage in cultural and economic exchange. We offer an intimate experience of one of the world’s most unique art capitals. ICTAF is where the fast-growing African art market and the international art world meet.


14 March – 8 June 2020
22nd Biennale of Sydney
Title: Nirin
Curator: Brook Andrew
Various venues, Sydney, Australia

For the first time, artists from Nepal, Georgia, Afghanistan, Sudan and Ecuador will participate in the Biennale of Sydney. “The urgent states of our contemporary lives are laden with unresolved past anxieties and hidden layers of the supernatural,” said Brook Andrew. “NIRIN is about to expose this, demonstrating that artists and creatives have the power to resolve, heal, dismember and imagine futures of transformation for re-setting the world. Sovereignty is at the centre of these actions, and it shines a light on environments in shadow. I hope that NIRIN (edge) gathers life forces of integrity to push through often impenetrable noise.”


19 – 21 March 2020
Art Basel in Hong Kong
Artistic director: Adeline Ooi
Venue: Convention & Exhibition Centre Wan Chai, Hong Kong, China

On March 19, 2020, Art Basel will return to the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre for the fair’s eighth edition in Asia and it welcomes 242 participating galleries. Underlining Art Basel’s commitment to the Asia and Asia-Pacific region, the show provides an in-depth overview of the region’s diversity through both historical material and cutting-edge works by established and emerging artists.

Courtesy of Biennale of Sydney
Mit Jai Inn, Planes, ‘Electric’ (detail), 2019

21 – 23 March 2020
Sharjah March Meetings
Venue: Sharjah Art Foundation, Sharjah, UAE

Sharjah Art Foundation’s annual March Meeting brings together artists, curators and art practitioners from around the world for a wide-ranging programme of talks, panels, presentations and performances that explore vital issues in contemporary art. The 2020 edition is organised around the title and theme of the forthcoming Sharjah Biennial 15 (SB15), Thinking Historically in the Present, conceived by the late critic and curator Okwui Enwezor. The three-day programme will also examine the impact of the Sharjah Biennial on the regional and global contemporary art scenes and its educational role in developing new narratives and shaping the understanding and dissemination of all art forms.


25 – 23 March 2020
Art Dubai
Artistic director: Pablo del Vall
Venue: Madinat Jumeirah Conference & Events Centre, Dubai, UAE

Art Dubai’s Artistic Director Pablo del Val commented on this year’s edition: “Through the selected participating galleries in the 14th edition of the fair, we are exploring and unearthing energies from the Global South and providing new readings on what is happening in the art world, from the established to the 2 emerging. The outstanding work of the selected curators in the 2020 edition has bolstered the narrative of Art Dubai, allowing visitors to discover and discuss unique perspectives on art and culture.”

Sharjah Art Foundation
Courtesy of Art Dubai

14 – 19 April 2020
Miart and Milano Art Week
Artistic director: Alessandro Rabottini
Venue: Fiera Milano City, Milan, Italy

The 25th edition of miart, organized by Fiera Milano and held from April 17 to 19, 2020 (with the VIP Preview on April 16), will see the collaboration of 5 International Curators who will take part in the new Curatorial Advisory Circle. Each member will offer a different experience and vision, with the aim of an ever-expanding cooperation. João Laia, Chief Curator, Kiasma – National Museum of Contemporary Art, Helsinki, Steven Learner, Creative Director, Collective Design, New York, Nana Oforiatta Ayim, Founder, ANO Institute of Arts and Knowledge, Accra, Florence Ostende, Curator, Barbican Art Gallery, London, Fabian Schöneich, Curator and Writer, Berlin


16 May – 11 October 2020
The 2nd Riga International Biennial of Contemporary Art
Title: And suddenly it all blossoms
Artistic director: Lamarche-Vadel
Various venues, Riga, Latvia

The Biennial will bring together 60 international and regional artists and creators whose works challenge traditional definitions of art, expanding its usual territories by working and thinking beyond disciplines. Spreading across Riga’s parks, former industrial sites, wastelands, domestic houses, monuments, restaurants, hotels and harbours, the Biennial, following the principles of entanglement, embraces the pulse and rhythm of the transforming ecosystem of the city.

Courtesy of miart
Riga International Biennial of Contemporary Art

23 May-29 November 2020
17th Venice International Architecture Exhibition
Director: Hashim Sarkis
Venue: Giardini and Arsenale, Venice, Italy

Hashim Sarkis titled the 17th International Architecture Exhibition How will we live together? and explained his decision as follows: “We need a new spatial contract. In the context of widening political divides and growing economic inequalities, we call on architects to imagine spaces in which we can generously live togethertogether as human beings who, despite our increasing individuality, yearn to connect with one another and with other species across digital and real space; together as new households looking for more diverse and dignified spaces for inhabitation; together as emerging communities that demand equity, inclusion and spatial identity; together across political borders to imagine new geographies of association; and together as a planet facing crises that require global action for us to continue living at all.”


28 May-4 July 2020
9th Bucharest Biennial 
Curator: Henk Slager
Various venues, Bucharest, Romania

The Bucharest Biennale explores links between creative practice and social progress, as well as correspondences between local and global contexts. In its tenth year, the Biennale continues to build a strong partnership between Bucharest—a geocultural space where the political is reflected in all aspects of life—and the rest of the World. In transcending specific geographical, historical, or political frameworks, it connects to a broader complexity, namely the one of “resistance” within the quotidian realm.

Courtesy of La Biennale di Venezia
Courtesy of Bucharest Biennale

7 June – 1 November 2020
Manifesta 13 
Title: Traits d’union.s
Artistic team: Katerina Chuchalina, Alya Sebti, Stefan Kalmár,
Various venues, Marseille, France

Manifesta 13 Marseille will unfold through site-specific artistic commissions, performances, and urban interventions to imagine new forms of being together: Traits d’union.s. The Manifesta 13 headquarters, Espace Manifesta 13, are located in one of the most iconic historical and central building in Marseille, former Espace Culture in 42 la Canebière. Space will be one for encounters and exchange, welcoming the neighbourhood and its habitants. Manifesta 13 Marseille’s Artistic Team will create a programming consisting of exhibitions, lectures, debates, artist talks and will invite actors from across the cultural sphere to take over the former Espace Culture.


12 June-27 September 2020
Helsinki Biennial 
Title: The Same Sea
Artistic directors: Pirkko Siitari and Taru Tappola
Venue: Island of Vallisaari, Helsinki, Finland

“The ecological crisis means we are now on the cusp of enormous changes and this is defining our common future everywhere. The biennial’s subtitle, The Same Sea, refers to this situation, which concerns everyone but affects different places in different ways. Like the sea, it is a complex, inconstant entirety that bypasses all boundaries and appears different depending on the perspective,” say Pirkko Siitari and Taru Tappola, head curators of the biennial.

Marseille, Manifesta 13 Venue
Courtesy of Helsinki Biennial

13 June-13 September 2020
11th Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art 
Title: exp. 1, exp. 2, and exp. 3
Artistic directors: María Berríos, Renata Cervetto, Lisette Lagnado, and Agustín Pérez Rubio
Various venues, Berlin, Germany

The 11th Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art is curated by a team of South-American curators who envision the forthcoming edition of the Berlin Biennale as a series of lived experiences that evolve as a process. It begins with three sequential moments, exp. 1exp. 2, and exp. 3, unfolding from September 2019 to May 2020, which attempt to learn from and build sustainable relations, not only with participating artists and projects, but as importantly with the city and people of Berlin (exp. 1: 7.9.–9.11.2019; exp. 2: 30.11.2019–8.2.2020; exp. 3: 22.2.–2.5.2020)


18 – 21 June 2020
Art Basel in Basel
Director: Marc Spiegler
Messe Basel, Messeplatz, Basel, Switzerland

Art Basel show brings the international artworld together, with the world’s leading galleries showing the works of over 4,000 artists. A full program of artworld talks takes place each day. Exhibitions and events are also offered by cultural institutions in Basel and the surrounding area, creating an exciting, region-wide art week.


11th Berlin Biennale
Art Basel in Basel

3 July-11 October 2020
7th Yokohama Triennale
Title: Afterglow
Artistic directors: Raqs Media Collective
Various venues, Yokohama, Japan

“Afterglow” is  a word chosen by Raqs Media Collective to reference how, in our everyday lives, we unknowingly experience the residues of light sparked at the beginning of our time, as in the case of how the “white noise” on our analog televisions included fragments of cosmic microwave background radiation left over from the cosmic Big Bang. By referring to the Big Bang’s destructive energy that propelled creativity and over time, gave birth to life on this planet, and its radiation that is toxic as well as therapeutic, Raqs Media Collective takes interest in the cycle of destruction/toxicity and recovery/care in the human activities of the contemporary age. Together with the artists, audience, and others, Raqs Media Collective will explore ways to co-exist with toxicity for human sustenance and survival in this world in flux, rather than eliminate it.


11 July-25 October 2020
Liverpool Biennial
Title: The Stomach and the Port
Artistic directors: Fatos Ustek and Manuela Moscoso
Various venues, Liverpool, UK

Fatoş Üstek, Director of Liverpool Biennial, said: “We are thrilled to bring new horizons to the Biennial in 2020. We will be expanding further into public spaces with permanent and temporary artist commissions, whilst increasing our visibility in the city through our programming. We have brought together artists from the UK and around the globe, whose practices demonstrate a breadth of enquiry into the world we live in, to research and engage with Liverpool, its history and cultural landscape.”

Courtesy of Yokohama Triennale
Haroon Mirza, Digital Switchover, 2012, Courtesy of Liverpool Biennale

24 October 2020 – 24 January 2021
Title: Yesterday We Said Tomorrow
Artistic Directors: Naima J. Keith and Diana Nawi
Various venues, New Orleans, US

The exhibition brings together artists from the United States, the Caribbean, Africa, and Europe. “Prospect originated in 2008 as an experiment to welcome the contemporary art world to New Orleans and to spotlight a city with unmistakably singular culture and community,” said Executive Director Nick Stillman. “During this Prospect.5 cycle we are celebrating our tenth anniversary as an organization. We’re also recognizing the fifteenth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. New Orleans is irrevocably altered since that moment, and yet remains beautifully unique. History––its weight and complexity–– is very much on our minds as we think about Prospect.5.”


4 September-29 November 2020
13th Gwangju Biennale
Title: Minds Rising, Spirits Tuning
Artistic directors: Defne Ayas and Natasha Ginwala
Various venues, Gwangju, South Korea

The 13th Gwangju Biennale will feature a dynamic program encompassing an exhibition, a performance program, an online publishing platform and publications, and a series of public forums bringing together artists, theoretical scientists, and systems thinkers. The Biennale argues for the primacy of plurality, positing that points of origin and influence ought to be accessed not only through the dominant technological systems and machinic vocabularies traceable to the West but also relate to heterodox ancestries.

"Mood Disorder" by Lucia Koch for P.3 (2014) Contemporary Arts Center, New Orleans
Korakrit Arunanondchai and Alex Gvojic, No history in a room filled with people with funny names 5, film still, 2018

4 September-15 November 2020
39th Eva International 
Artistic director: Merve Elveren and Anne Tallentire
Various venues, Limerick, Ireland

The 39th EVA International presents a programme of artist commissions, presentations, and educational projects across venues in Limerick city and beyond. The programme includes a Guest Programme curated by Merve Elveren, a number of Platform Commissions selected by Merve Elveren and Anne Tallentire, as well as a number of adjacent commissions and projects directly initiated by EVA and collaborating partners.


24 September – 1 November 2020
International Biennale of Casablanca
Artistic director: Christine Eyene
Various venues, Casablanca, Morocco

The 5th Biennale Internationale de Casablanca focuses on the theme The words create images. This curatorial concept takes its cue from a comment by South African photographer George Hallett discussing the literary inspiration at the heart of his photography practice, in an interview with John Edwin Mason, Associate Professor of African history and the history of photography at the University of Virginia. It also refers to an observation by Jacques Derrida in his seminar Trace and archive, image and art (2002), on the idea of ​​words acting as images beyond their discursive properties.

Peju Alatise, Girl Interrupted, 2014, textile, resins, acrylic paints, wood. Installation view at EVA International 2018
Héla Ammar, Bab B’har (La porte de la mer), 2017

10 October 2020 -21 February 2021
2nd Bangkok Art Biennale 
Various venues, Bangkok, Thailand

“The artists will reflect on issues such as environmental detriment, pollution, social malaise, gender, diaspora and political differences. Moreover, they will offer art practice as mind escapism where meditation, contemplation, ritualism, healing and performance become the essence of hope and optimism,” commented Apinan Poshyanada, Chief Executive and Artistic Director.


24 October 2020 -28 February 2021
12th Taipei Biennial 
Title: You and I don’t live on the same planet
Art Directors: Bruno Latour and Martin Guinard
Venue: Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Taipei, Taiwan

The 2020 edition, “You and I don’t live on the same planet”—New Diplomatic Encounters will engage in even deeper exploration of the interactions, dynamics and diplomatic tactics between human and non-human worlds. On this curatorial foundation of in-depth discourse on those matters of concern to contemporary society, the museum seeks to connect the curatorial team with the local community, to make the Biennial more three-dimensional and multilayered.

 3 – 6 December 2020
Art Basel in Miami Beach 
Director: Noah Horowitz
Venue Miami Beach Convention Centre, Miami Beach, Florida

Art Basel Miami Beach showcases international artists with a focus on the U.S. and Latin American exhibitors. More than half of the exhibitors have bases in North and South America, providing what the organizers call a “unique overview” of the hemisphere’s art scene.


12th December onwards
5th Kochi-Muziris Biennale 
Artistic director: Shubigi Rao
Various venues, Kochi, India

Art Basel in Miami Beach
Courtesy of Kochi-Muziris Biennale
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