Cover Photo: © David Parry/ Royal Academy of Arts

From rarely-seen paintings by Leonardo da Vinci to books of Japanese manga, there's something for everyone

1. The Venice Biennale

Where Venice, Italy

When Until November 24 

Sometimes described as the Olympics of the art world, the Venice Biennale sees countries invite an artist (or group of artists) to represent them at this international exhibition, which takes place in dozens of venues around the Italian city.

This year’s show is themed “May You Live In Interesting Times”, a phrase taken from an ancient Chinese curse that condemns the listener to live in times of crisis and uncertainty. Artists to look out for at this year’s event include Turner Prize-winning Charlotte Prodger (who’s representing Scotland), Inuit artist collective Isuma (Canada) and Shirley Tse (Hong Kong).

2. Whitney Biennial 2019

Where New York, USA

When Until September 22

The Whitney Biennial is a must-see for anyone interested in contemporary American art. Founded in 1932, the show has helped catapult artists such as Georgia O'Keeffe, Jackson Pollock and Jeff Koons to global fame. This year’s show is being organised by associate curator Jane Panetta and assistant curator Rujeko Hockley.

The Whitney Museum of American Art | 99 Gansevoort St, New York, NY 10014, USA

3. The Summer Exhibition

Where London, England

When Until August 12

A great leveller in the art world calendar, the Royal Academy's annual summer exhibition showcases the works of amateur artists alongside big names such as Tracey Emin, Grayson Perry and Banksy. This year's sprawling show features more than 1,500 artworks, including paintings, photographs, drawings, sculptures, architectural models and much more. Highlights include a monumental new painting by Anselm Kiefer and a double portrait by Wolfgang Tillmans. 

The Royal Academy | Burlington House, Piccadilly, Mayfair, London W1J 0BD, UK

4. Bauhaus Week

Where Berlin, Germany

When August 31 to September 8

A century after the founding of the influential Bauhaus art and architecture school, performances, exhibitions and other events will showcase the movement’s innovative designs and explore its continuing cultural impact at museums and public spaces around Berlin. Be sure to see the Bauhaus and Photography exhibition at the Museum of Photography. 

5. Picasso—Birth of a Genius

Where Beijing, China 

When Until September 1 

Pablo Picasso’s transformative works have voyaged from their home at the Musée National Picasso-Paris to the UCCA Center for Contemporary Art in Beijing for Picasso—Birth of a Genius. Featuring 103 works from the first three decades of Picasso's career, this is the largest exhibition of the renowned artist’s work ever hosted in China.

UCCA Center for Contemporary Art | 4 Jiuxianqiao Rd, Chaoyang Qu, Beijing Shi, Mainland China, 100103

6. Leonardo da Vinci’s St Jerome

Where New York, USA

When Until October 6

In commemoration of Leonardo da Vinci’s death 500 years ago, The Met is showing his unfinished painting Saint Jerome Praying in the Wilderness (1483), which presents a unique opportunity to examine the polymath’s creative process. The painting is on special loan from the Vatican Museums.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art |1000 5th Ave, New York, NY 10028, USA

7. Olafur Eliasson: In Real Life

Where London, England 

When July 11 to January 5, 2020

The Danish-Icelandic artist is known for his sculptures and large-scale installations that play with the elements, and his latest exhibition won’t disappoint. The works make use of rainbow, light and shadow. The exhibition features a spectacular outdoor sculpture as well as an area where Eliasson explores social issues such as climate change and migration.

Tate Modern | Bankside, London SE1 9TG, UK

8. Implicit Tensions: Mapplethorpe Now

Where New York, USA

When July 24 to January 5, 2020

The second event in a two-part series dedicated to the acclaimed, late 20th-century American artist, this exhibition places a selection of Robert Mapplethorpe's portrait photography in conversation with contemporary artists’ works that reference his oeuvre, thus exploring the impact of his lasting legacy. 

The Solomon R Guggenheim Museum | 1071 5th Ave, New York, NY 10128, USA

9. Why Should I Hesitate? Putting Drawings To Work

Where Cape Town, South Africa

When August 24, 2019 to March 2020

Two of South Africa’s leading art institutions are showing works by famed local artist William Kentridge in his largest exhibition on the African continent in over a decade. The Norval Foundation focuses on sculptures that Kentridge has created over the past two decades, while Zeitz MOCAA charts 40 years of drawings, stop-frame animation, videos, tapestries, and other pieces—some of which will be displayed in South Africa for the first time.

Zeitz Mocaa | V&A Waterfront, Silo District, S Arm Rd, Waterfront, Cape Town, 8001, South Africa

The Norval Foundation | 4 Steenberg Rd, Steenberg Estate, Cape Town, 7945, South Africa

10. Manga

Where London, England

When Until August 26

The largest exhibition of manga ever to take place outside of Japan, this sprawling exhibition is sure to impress both existing fans and curious gallery-goers who are entirely new to the genre. On top of showcasing manga prints and comics, the exhibition will house a re-creation of the oldest manga bookshop in Tokyo and will feature a “cosplay section”, where visitors can dress up as their favourite manga character.

The British Museum | Great Russell St, Bloomsbury, London WC1B 3DG, UK

This article first appeared on

© 2022 Tatler Asia Limited. All rights reserved.