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Must-See Art Exhibitions of 2021

Must-See Art Exhibitions of 2021 

With a new year bringing new possibilities, art and culture hold promising prospects. Artists and enthusiasts felt the significance of self-expression and creativity more than ever in the past year. Countless exhibitions and shows were canceled or postponed, but that did not halt the creative juices from flowing. If you’re looking forward to some of the most exciting art exhibitions of 2021, this list can help you get started.

Francis Bacon: Man and Beast, in London

The Royal Academy is set to display this exhibit, which will focus on Francis Bacon’s lifelong passion for animals, examining how animals emerged in his emotive paintings across his work.

Man and Beast will examine how Bacon used animalistic mannerisms in his portrayals of mankind and vice versa, continuously reworking preconceived concepts of human behavior in his unconventional works. The dates for the exhibition are still being finalized amid further lockdowns and restrictions in London.

The exhibition, curated by Francis Bacon’s friend, Michael Peppiatt, deconstructs the artist’s belief that man is basically an animal with aggressive, primal urges. It begins in 1944 with Bacon’s grotesque, surrealist creatures inspired by the Furies from the Greek tragedy Oresteia and concludes in 1991 with Bacon’s final work, a bull, which was unearthed in 2016.

Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirror Rooms, in London

Filled with the Brilliance of Life and Chandelier of Grief, two of Yayoi Kusama’s photograph-worthy Infinity Mirror Room exhibits will appear in London’s Tate Modern late this year, in what is guaranteed to be among the metro’s most coveted art exhibitions for 2021.

Kusama’s Infinity Mirror Rooms, which she first made in 1965, has become one of her most well-known works – other signatures of the Japanese artist include enormous polka-dotted pumpkins – and are beloved for their intrinsic quirkiness and sensations of freedom.

Yayoi Kusama: A Retrospective, in Berlin

As one of the greatest contemporary artists in the world, Yayoi Kusama has another must-see art exhibition this year. The exhibition primarily focuses on tracking Kusama’s artistic talents from her initial illustrations and accumulative works to her immersive surroundings, along with her artistic involvement in Europe.

Kusama’s original exhibitions are faithfully reproduced in the works of art thanks to deep analysis. Her work is meant to dazzle the sensations. Her art is full of references to infinite space and self-obliteration, with endless repetition and obsessive arrangements of dots and meshes that blanket the surfaces.

Georgia O’ Keeffe, in Madrid, Paris, and Basel

The exhibition is aimed to provide a complete overview of Georgia O’Keeffe’s artistic creations, including her works from 1910 to 1920.  

Her famed floral paintings and panoramas of New York, which established her as a prominent figure in American modernist art, along with her canvases of New Mexico, which emerged from her preoccupation with the environment and ethnic diversity of that remote area, established her as a trendsetter of abstractionism.

The Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza in Madrid possesses the most O’Keeffe paintings of any museum outside the United States.

Slavery, in Amsterdam

This art exhibition in 2021 covers contrasting attitudes toward enslavement seen between the 17th and 19th centuries through the genuine experiences of ten people comprising enslaved Africans, a Dutch sugar merchant, and a few people who assisted in abolishing the chains of the institution of slavery.

The pieces on show, such as paintings of African plantation slaves, are brought to life through audio commentaries by narrators who have a firsthand connection to people represented, as well as poetry and music. A miniature replica of a decorated Dutch ship that used to carry thousands of slaves to the Caribbean, shackled together for up to 3 months on the open ocean, is notably heinous.

Peter J. Geise, in San Diego

Peter J. Geise makes his return to the gallery after becoming the first artist to hold a show at the gallery’s original site in Normal Heights in 2009. Collectors are invited to explore recent pieces created during Peter’s busiest years when he worked on a wide range of art. It will be open for three days. Arnold L. Melvin, Peter’s deceased husband, is honored in this show.

Kathleen Strzelecki, in San Diego

“An American Family,” a collection of 17 artworks by Kathleen Strzelecki, showcases the tale of a family from its origins on a South Dakota farmland to their lifestyle in Southern California. It is on display at the Lemon Grove Historical Society.

She creates large-scale mixed-media paintings on canvases. Her evocative art has earned her numerous prizes, including a Governor’s Award for the Lemon Grove History Mural in 2014.

Johannes Vermeer: On Reflection, in Amsterdam

The exhibition will feature important works such as Woman in Blue Reading a Letter and Young Woman Standing at a Virginal, but the most significant piece of art is considered to be Girl Reading a Letter at an Open Window.

Girl Reading a Letter at an Open Window by Vermeer has a long and illustrious background. It barely avoided being destroyed by the Allies during WWII, only to fall into Soviet control for years. The picture has undergone extensive conservation in recent years, with restorers uncovering that there was a picture of Cupid framed on the wall behind the woman in the initial condition.

Over 40 pieces by prominent Dutch genre artists, such as Pieter de Hooch, will be displayed alongside Vermeer’s 10 masterpieces.

Sophie Taeuber-Arp, in London

The avant-garde textile designer, editor, artist, dancer, and sculptor of the twentieth century was brimming with creativity and inventiveness, going from one domain to another with insatiable enthusiasm.

Taeuber-Arp injected energy into every endeavor, from Dadaist artworks and puppet plays for the Cabaret Voltaire to her astonishing geometrical abstraction and modernist textiles. Her contribution to modern art has long been underappreciated in the United States; in her homeland, Switzerland, she is so revered that she is featured on paper currency.

This landmark show, co-produced by the Tate Modern in London and even the Museum of Modern Art in New York, features over 250 pieces and aims to position Taeuber-Arp as among the most prominent avant-gardists of classical Modernism.

With this list of must-see art exhibitions for 2021, you can re-discover your passion for contemporary, abstract, and classical art.

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