This article titled “Masters and machines: the best art and architecture of 2019” was written by Adrian Searle, Jonathan Jones, Oliver Wainwright and Sean O’Hagan, for The Guardian on Wednesday 2nd January 2019 10.00 UTC
Pierre Bonnard: The Colour of Memory
More unsettling than they first appear, Pierre Bonnard’s paintings are often thought of as celebrations of domestic tranquility. With trembling and sometimes overloaded colour, and a touch that always seems nervous, there’s anxiety and disquiet in his interiors and portraits of his wife, Marthe de Méligny, taking her endless baths. Sometimes he catches himself in the bathroom mirror. Tate recommends slowing down to appreciate Bonnard, but you may feel a panic coming on.
Tate Modern, London, 23 January-6 May
Leonardo da Vinci: A Life in Drawing
Forget Leonardo da Vinci’s paintings. Whatever people pay for them, it is in his drawings that you see his genius. Anatomy, flying machines, caricatures and visions of the deluge – it’s all here in some of the greatest human artistic creations. The Queen is sending her unrivalled collection of these sublime sketches to 12 British cities for a simultaneous show that marks the 500th anniversary of the genius’s death.
Twelve museums across the UK, 1 February-6 May
Comprised of more than 250 photographs, all printed by McCullin himself in his own darkroom, this retrospective features many of his iconic images of conflict from Vietnam, Biafra, Northern Ireland and, more recently, Syria. It also gathers a selection of his groundbreaking early documentary photographs of postwar London and the industrial north-east, as well as the more reflective later landscapes he has made in Somerset, where he now lives.
Tate Britain, London, 5 February-6 May
The most outrageous of the 1990s Young British Artists continues her metamorphosis into an expressionist painter with an epic show of new canvases, drawings and sculpture that descend into dark depths of grief and loss. Emin, who recently won a commission to build a naked statue outside Oslo’s new Munch museum, continues to find inspiration in northern artists from Munch to Rogier van der Weyden. Strong, honest confessions by an artist of soul and courage.
White Cube Bermondsey, London, 6 February-7 April
The pop exuberance of Jeff Koons is a constantly unexpected funfair of banality and brilliance. Just when you think he’s the emptiest artist ever, he’ll suddenly reveal a sly satirical insight into our time. He is also a fan of art history who refers wittily to Botticelli, Rubens and Giotto. So it makes a surprising amount of sense that he is showing among the Ashmolean’s Old Master paintings and Greek statues.
Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, 7 February-9 June
Luigi Ghirri: The Map and the Territory
A retrospective of the work of a European pioneer of colour photography, who died in 1992 and has only recently been afforded the recognition he deserves. Having trained as a surveyor, Italian-born Ghirri’s quiet, understated landscapes often approach the deadpan, but also possess a distinctive sense of place and time. He worked in series, documenting people and places – beaches, parks and streets – in small but formally concise compositions. The exhibition, the first to travel outside his native Italy, will bring together 200 early images from the 1970s.
Jeu de Paume, Paris, 12 February-2 June
Diane Arbus: In the Beginning
First shown at the Met Breuer in New York in 2016, this must-see exhibition features more than 100 early works made by Diane Arbus from 1956–62, the majority of which have never been shown in Europe before. In 1956, having suddenly decided to quit doing commercial work for magazines like Glamour and Vogue, Arbus began wandering the streets of New York photographing people whose otherness caught her eye. The show traces the formation of a visual style: part voyeuristic, part intimate documentary, that remains singular and still has the power to unsettle.
Hayward Gallery, London, 13 February-6 May
Born in Germany in 1897, Irwin Blumenfeld trained in the Netherlands and made his name as a fashion photographer in Paris in the 1930s. Initially shooting only in black and white, he experimented with double exposure, distortion and solarisation. In 1941, he relocated to New York and quickly established himself as one of the most acclaimed fashion photographers of the time, shooting in colour and using techniques borrowed from the surrealists. This exhibition focuses on the work he made in America between 1941 and 1960.
Foam Amsterdam, 15 February-14 April
Milan Triennale: Broken Nature
Set in the newly restored galleries of the 1930s Palazzo dell’Arte, next year’s Milan Triennale will tackle our fraught relationship with the planet, going beyond the past two decades of “sustainable design” to look at fundamental approaches of “restorative design” to avert our current collision course with environmental catastrophe. It promises a provocative range of projects, from living root bridges in India to a future of “above ground mining” of electronic waste.
Various venues, Milan, 1 March–1 September
The Renaissance Nude
Naked art never loses its edge. Nudes made 500 years ago can still provoke. And that’s what makes this blockbuster such an exciting prospect. The geniuses of the Renaissance put their passions into the art of the nude. Michelangelo gave some of his steamiest drawings to a young nobleman he adored. Titian, like his admirer Lucian Freud, slept with the women he painted. This is the Renaissance without a fig leaf.
Royal Academy, London, 3 March-2 June
The Berlin-based artist’s technological, post-internet art is often as funny as it is acute, in its critiques and parodies of power. Guided neighbourhood walks and digital animation, artificial intelligence and human thinking are all in there somewhere in a new collectively produced digital commission. Unscrambling her art is often as entertaining as it is dark and full of foreboding. Steyerl is an artist and documentarist of our times.
Serpentine Sackler Gallery, London, 6 March-6 May
Dave Heath served as a soldier in the Korean war before turning to photography. In 1959, he studied under the great W Eugene Smith, and in 1963, his exhibition A Dialogue With Solitude established him as one of the first photographers to explore the sense of alienation and isolation that many young people felt in postwar America. For this exhibition, his images are presented alongside three American cult films of the 1960s, each of which deal with the theme of solitude: Portrait of Jason by Shirley Clarke; Salesman by Albert and David Maysles and Charlotte Mitchell Zwerin; and The Savage Eye by Ben Maddow, Sidney Meyers and Joseph Strick.
Photographers Gallery, London, 8 March-9 June
New MK Gallery
It is always good to have a new art space outside London. The MK Gallery has struggled a bit with inadequate exhibition space. A new development, designed by terrific architects 6a, in collaboration with artists Nils Norman and Gareth Jones, doubles the size of the current building, and it opens with a group exhibition, including Yinka Shonibare and Jeremy Deller, about the relationship between changing patterns of leisure and land ownership. Can’t complain there’s nothing to do in a new town now.
Milton Keynes, opens 16 March
Amager Resource Centre, Copenhagen by BIG & SLA Architects
A great metallic mountain for a country starved of hills, the ARC waste-to-energy incinerator will be the ultimate embodiment of Danish architect Bjarke Ingels’ philosophy of “hedonistic sustainability” – saving the planet while having fun doing so. Billed as the world’s cleanest waste incinerator, the facility will be topped with a 600-metre-long ski slope, hiking trails and a climbing wall, while the chimney is planned to blow cheeky smoke rings of water vapour.
Windermere Jetty by Carmody Groarke
Standing as a cluster of pitched-roof cabins huddled on the edge of Windermere in Cumbria, the new Museum of Boats, Steam and Stories will provide a window on to a world of steam launches, sailing yachts, motorboats and record-breaking speedboats. Designed by Carmody Groarke, the copper-clad buildings will include a wet dock, allowing the display of boats on water, and a boatyard where visitors will be able to see conservation in action.
Opens in the spring
Van Gogh and Britain
More than simply recounting Van Gogh’s years as a young man living in Stockwell, London, this exhibition looks at the artist’s British influences – from John Constable to John Everett Millais, Charles Dickens and the Illustrated London News, and the engravings and other British graphic art he collected. Van Gogh in turn influenced Walter Sickert and David Bomberg, Matthew Smith and Francis Bacon.
Tate Britain, London, 27 March-11 August
National Museum of Qatar by Jean Nouvel
Having only recently unveiled his huge celestial dome for the Louvre Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates, Jean Nouvel will be opening another colossal cultural beacon for its Gulf rival, Qatar. The sprawling complex takes the form of a series of interlocking discs, inspired by the blade-like petals of a desert rose crystal formation. It is a spectacularly strange thing, looking like a pileup of flying saucers at rush hour.
Opens 28 March
The Weston, Yorkshire Sculpture Park by Feilden Fowles
Set into a hillside in a former quarry, the new Weston visitor centre promises to be a delightful addition to the bucolic Yorkshire Sculpture Park. Designed by up-and-coming young architects Feilden Fowles, the walls are constructed from layered pigmented concrete, evoking the strata of sandstone bedrock, while the roof is crowned with saw-tooth skylights, bringing filtered light into the gallery, restaurant and shop below.
Opens 30 March
The Shed, Hudson Yards, New York by Diller Scofidio + Renfro
Nestled in the centre of the largest real estate development in American history, looking like a quilted Chanel handbag, the Shed will be an arts venue like no other. It will house two expansive galleries and a black-box theatre, along with a telescoping outer shell covered in a skin of translucent inflatable pillows, which will be able to extend out into a plaza to form a gaping hangar of a performance space.
Alys Tomlinson: Ex Voto/Jan Wang Preston: Forest
Young British photographer Alys Tomlinson won first prize in the Discovery category of the 2018 Sony World photography awards for her black and white series Ex Voto, which was shot at religious pilgrimage sites in France, Ireland and Poland. This exhibition gathers her austere but powerfully evocative landscapes, portraits and still lifes from the series. Also on show will be Yan Wang Preston’s ambitious series Forest, which moves between rural areas and newly created cities to explore the often dismal reality behind the Chinese government’s vast programme of conservation and urbanisation.
Side Gallery, Newcastle upon Tyne, April
AI: More than Human
What does it mean to be human? Will machines outsmart us? These existential questions will be explored in an exhibition staged across a range of the Barbican’s spaces. It will tell the rapidly evolving story of artificial intelligence, from its ancient roots in Japanese Shintoism, to Ada Lovelace and Charles Babbage’s early experiments in computing, to AI’s major leaps from the 1940s to the present day. Featuring Lawrence Lek, Massive Attack, Neri Oxman and more.
Barbican, London, 16 May-26 August
The cliche that American abstract expressionism is a peculiarly male art movement probably started with the critic Clement Greenberg’s comparison of Jackson Pollock to a cowboy “lassooing” paint. This survey of the epic, energy-filled canvases of Pollock’s wife, Lee Krasner, reveals not just her brilliance, but the way fields of colour liberated women as well as men to make a new kind of art. High time this terrific painter got her due.
Barbican, London, 30 May-1 September
Rakowitz’s extremely popular life-size replica of one of the gigantic monumental winged bulls that once guarded the gates of Nineveh in Iraq currently stands on Trafalgar Square’s Fourth Plinth. Made from date syrup cans, it is part of the Iraqi-American artist’s project to recreate all 7,000 objects looted from the Iraq Museum in 2003. This first European survey show presents the artist’s depth and range. Middle Eastern Beatles fans, visionaries in Hungary and Afghan stone-carvers all get a look-in.
Whitechapel Gallery, London, 3 June-25 August
Full of life, bounce and vim, Keith Haring’s art was funny and angry, vital and urgent. Everything came with an exclamation mark. Always accessible, his unmistakable art was never slight. Haring died aged 31, a victim of the 1980s Aids epidemic. A gay activist and agitator, educator and performer, Haring went from making chalk drawings on the New York subway to working with Madonna, Grace Jones and Vivienne Westwood, and opening pop-up shops filled with crawling babies, barking dogs, flying saucers and dancing condoms.
Tate Liverpool, 14 June-10 November
Urban Impulses: Latin American Photography 1962–2016
This survey of Latin American photography spans half a century and looks at the changing nature and contradictions of Latin American urban life. Featuring several hundred images from the collection of Leticia and Stanislas Poniatowski, it is a conceptually ambitious show that “considers the real and imaginary life of the cities on the Latin American continent through works carried out by photographers involved in the creation of the conflicted Latin American identity.” Includes work by José Moreno, Juan Enrique Bedoya and Jesus Ruiz Duran.
Photographers’ Gallery, London, 20 June-October
Goldsmith Street social housing, Norwich, by Mikhail Riches
After a long dearth of new social housing, 2019 will see a wave of council-led developments being completed across the country. One of the most impressive is Goldsmith Street, by Mikhail Riches architects, a scheme of 100 new homes designed as brick terraces along a traditional street pattern. Boldly led by Norwich city council, without a developer or housing association, the homes have been designed to Passivhaus energy standards – and will all be for social rent.
Yorkshire Sculpture International
Based on Phyllida Barlow’s assertion that “sculpture is the most anthropological of the art forms”, the so-called Yorkshire sculpture triangle comes alive, with sculptors from Yorkshire, German artist Wolfgang Laib and Jamaican-Canadian Tau Lewis at the Hepworth; American artist Rashid Johnson at the Henry Moore Institute, the great American sculptor David Smith at Yorkshire Sculpture Park and Nobuko Tsuchiya at Leeds Art Gallery. Including site-specific and newly commissioned works by Ayşe Erkmen and Huma Bhabha in Leeds and Wakefield, you won’t need to be an anthropologist to trip over a sculpture wherever you go.
The Hepworth, Wakefield, Yorkshire Sculpture Park and Henry Moore Institute, Leeds, 22 June-29 September
Cindy Sherman is an artist of multiple guises and dozens of roles. Taking us from her Untitled Film Stills 1977-80, with their central-casting Hollywood girls about town, feisty screwball bit-players, passers-by and vamps, to the frightening grotesqueries of her later clowns, wizened matriarchs, her sex pictures and her centrefolds, this promises a feast of fun and fear. Never was the dressing-up box used to greater effect. The real Cindy is in there somewhere, playing with her public images.
National Portrait Gallery, London, 27 June-15 September
The artist famous for creating Tate Modern’s indoor sun has plenty more tricks up his sleeve. Eliasson thinks of his art as a progressive social experiment, but it is also just gorgeous and sublime. Fountains of light, mind-fooling shadowplays, kinetic conundrums and appropriated icebergs are among his astonishing spectacles. At the centre of his imagination is a fascination with light that makes him the JMW Turner of installation art.
Tate Modern, London, 11 July-5 January 2020
The art of Blake rejects the observation of nature that fascinated his contemporary Constable and strives instead for an inner truth of cosmic light and galaxy-spanning drama. He wanted to paint like Michelangelo. The mythic characters he portrays, which come from his own poetry, are colossal nudes scaled down to the pages of illuminated books. The sheer intensity to his vision makes him a toweringly great artist.
Tate Britain, London, 11 September-2 February 2020
Cars at the V&A
Love them or hate them, cars have shaped the world around us like few other inventions. Over its short 130-year history, the car has revolutionised manufacturing, transformed the way we move and dramatically altered our environment. This major exhibition will take a broad look at the impact of car culture, with objects ranging from a 1900s driving coat by Burberry to Le Corbusier’s Maison Citrohan, alongside a range of rare vehicles and futuristic concept cars.
V&A, London, 5 October-19 April 2020
The strangeness and sharpness of Gauguin’s modern world still make it utterly contemporary. In the globalised 21st century, his paintings of the end of traditional ways of life in rural France and the Pacific have greater depth than ever. This exhibition focuses on his portraits, but none of his images of people are straightforward. They are full of symbolism and a bold abstract vision that anticipates Picasso. This haunting artist is full of dark poetic insight.
National Gallery, London, 7 October-26 January 2020
In a unique collaboration between Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum and the Prado in Madrid, Rembrandt and Velázquez will be among the pairings of 17th-century paintings from the Netherlands and Spain, also including Zurbarán and Vermeer, Hals and Ribera. This sounds like a killer show, a confrontation as much as a conversation between artistic cultures and sensibilities.
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, 11 October-19 January 2020
It barely feels like 16 years since Riley’s 2003 Tate Britain retrospective. Her art always feels as if it was made yesterday, or perhaps even tomorrow. She always refreshes the eye. However restrained and methodical her approach is, there is joyousness in her painting as well as formal innovation, pleasure as well as rigour. She delights in the erotics of abstract vision.
Hayward Gallery, London, 23 October-26 January 2020
Lucian Freud: The Self-Portraits
Artists have long used mirrors to portray themselves. Freud, catching his image in a shaving mirror or one above a mantelpiece, depicted what he saw as if it was someone else, or just a fleshy object. This disturbing way of seeing himself goes to the heart of the cold, ruthless truth-telling that makes him a genius of modern art. This intimate encounter with a giant will reveal his truly radical eye.
Royal Academy, London, 27 October-26 January 2020
- This article was amended on 2 January 2019 to correct the spelling of Rijksmuseum.
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