Top 10 Arts Fairs You Wouldn’t Want to Miss (Around Europe)

Art is a field where you can run into various practices from painting to photography, performance to dance, installation to -in some cases- even architecture. Every year different galleries, museums, municipalities, organizations around the world get prepared for their art events in the form of a week, biennale, triennale, and other various types depending on the length and times. Art events are considered as a must seen when you are an artist or on your way to becoming one. The reason behind it is to get experience, follow the trends -or at least get to know them-, and see what the others from your profession are up to do.
 
Here is a list of 10 pioneer art events including the closest ones with dates and locations.

Berlin Biennale — 09 June – 09 September 2018, Berlin
 
The Berlin Biennale is a contemporary art exhibition, which has been held at various locations in Berlin, Germany, every two to three years since 1998. The curator or curators choose the artists who will participate. After the event became established, annual themes were introduced. The Biennale is now underwritten by the German government through the Kulturstiftung des Bundes (Federal Culture Foundation), and is the second most important contemporary art event in the country, after documenta. The Berlin Biennale was co-founded on March 26, 1996, by Klaus Biesenbach and a group of collectors as well as patrons of art. Biesenbach is also the founding director of KW Institute for Contemporary Art and currently serves as Director of MoMA PS1 and Chief Curator at Large at MoMA.
 
berlin biennale
Credit: berlinbiennale.de
 
Art Basel — 14–17 June 2018, Basel
 
Every June, art lovers flock to Switzerland to view top artists from around the world at this annual contemporary art fair that has been called “the Olympics of the art world.” Art Basel’s world-leading shows in Basel, Hong Kong, and Miami connect collectors, galleries, and artists, and are a driving force in supporting the role galleries play in nurturing the careers of artists. The recently launched Art Basel Cities initiative highlights local art scenes and facilitates international collaborations.
 
The show brings the international art world together, with 290 of 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.
 
 
Manifesta — 16 June – 04 November 2018, Palermo
 
Manifesta, the European Nomadic Biennial, changes its location every two years – Rotterdam (1996), Luxembourg (1998),  Ljubljana(2000), Frankfurt (2002), San Sebastian (2004), Nicosia (2006 – cancelled), Trentino-South Tyrol (2008), Murcia in dialogue with  northern Africa (2010), Limburg (2012), St. Petersburg (2014) and Zurich (2016). The upcoming editions will take place in Palermo (2018) and Marseille (2020).
 
Manifesta purposely strives to keep its distance from what is often seen as the dominant centers of artistic production, instead of seeking fresh and fertile terrain for the mapping of a new cultural topography. This includes innovations in curatorial practices, exhibition models, and education. Each Manifesta biennial aims to investigate and reflect on emerging developments in contemporary art, set within a European context. In doing so, they present local, national and international audiences with new aspects and forms of artistic expression.
 
 
Berlin Art Week — 26-30 September 2018, Berlin
 
Berlin Art Week is a highlight on the contemporary art calendar in the German capital. The rich variety of the programme is made possible by the joint collaboration of institutions, galleries, artists, private collectors, and project spaces and draws international attention.
 
For the seventh time, from 26-30 September 2018, the Berlin art scene will be hosting art fairs, exhibition openings, award ceremonies, artist films, and numerous special events. Visitors can expect large-scale exhibitions on established artists as well as countless presentations in a wide range of genres by artists yet to be discovered.
 
 
Frieze London — 04-07 October 2018, London
 
Originally established to sell original works from contemporary artists, Frieze Art Fair has become an iconic cultural event, with thousands of visitors coming to peruse over 170 galleries.
 
Frieze is a media and events company that comprises three publications, frieze magazine, Frieze Masters Magazine and Frieze Week; and four international art fairs, Frieze London, Frieze LA, Frieze New York and Frieze Masters; a programme of courses and talks at Frieze Academy, and frieze.com – the definitive resource for contemporary art and culture.
 
 
Art Cologne — 11-14 April 2019, Cologne
 
Originally founded in 1967 by the gallery owners Hein Stünke and Rudolf Zwirner as the ‘Kunstmarkt Köln ’67’, Art Cologne is today one of the most important international addresses for exceptional and high-quality art of the 20th and 21st centuries. Around 200 leading international galleries from more than 20 countries come together annually and present a broad offering of modern and contemporary works in all price segments and movements by more than 2,000 artists.
 
Art Cologne presents art lovers and collectors with the most varied offering segments, including the GALLERIES section with modern and postwar art and extending to the modern and contemporary art of established galleries. This also includes the NEW POSITIONS section, a sponsorship programme that makes it possible for young artists to present their works in their own promotional booths next to the stands of their gallery owners. In addition to this, with the NEUMARKT section, Art Cologne presents the central platform for the “cutting edge art” of young galleries that have existed for no more than ten years. Curated presentations and special projects from galleries of all age classes are also found in the NEUMARKT section.
 
 
International Art Exhibition — 11 May – 24 November 2019, Venice
 
The International Art Exhibition, the “great mother” of all the Biennale activities, was organized for the first time in 1895 and immediately became one of the most important art exhibitions in the world. A prestige which is maintained today for the ability of La Biennale to anticipate new trends in art and, at the same time, to present works and artists of every period under renewed perspectives. Countless Masters have been invited to present their works at the International Art Exhibition; important critics and art historians curated the main exhibitions and the National Pavilions: a very long list of central figures in the history of 20th-century art that contributed to generate and develop the “pluralism of voices” which has characterized La Biennale di Venezia since its birth.
 
 
Istanbul Biennial — 14 September – 10 November 2019, Istanbul
 
The International Istanbul Biennial is a contemporary art exhibition, held every two years in Istanbul, Turkey, since 1987. The Biennial is organized by the İstanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (İKSV). The Biennial aims to create a meeting point in İstanbul in the field of visual arts between artists from diverse cultures and the audience. The biennials İKSV has organized up to now have enabled the formation of an international cultural network between local and international art circles, artists, curators and art critics by bringing together new trends in contemporary art every two years.
 
The 16th edition of the Biennial will be curated by French curator, an art scholar, and writer Nicolas Bourriaud. Bourriaud, one of the co-founders of Palais de Tokyo, Paris and current director of the Montpellier Contemporain, stated, “I am very honored to be able to contribute to the history of Istanbul Biennial, which has always been a place of strong curatorial statements since its creation in 1987. Also, as a crossing point, the city of Istanbul takes a specific signification today, in a global political era marked by binary thought. I will try to build an exhibition that measures up to our historical situation.”
 
 
documenta — to be announced, Athens & Kassel
 
The first documenta was a retrospective of works from major movements (Fauvism, Expressionism, Cubism, the Blaue Reiter, Futurism) and brilliant individualists such as Pablo Picasso, Max Ernst, Hans Arp, Henri Matisse, Wassily Kandinsky, and Henry Moore. In this journey through the art of the first fifty years of the century, German founders of modern art such as Paul Klee, Oskar Schlemmer, or Max Beckmann were presented alongside classics of modernism.
 
Each documenta takes its character from the ideas and concept of its Artistic Director, and is therefore not only a forum for current trends in contemporary art but a place where innovative and standards-setting exhibition concepts are trialed. In each edition, documenta has played a leading role in taking the international discourse about art in new directions. Over the past decades, documenta has established itself as an institution that goes far beyond a survey of what is currently happening, inviting the attention of the international art world every five years for this “museum of 100 days.” The discourse and the dynamics of the discussion surrounding each documenta reflect and challenge the expectations of society about art.
 
documenta
Credit: documenta14.de
 
Lyon Biennial — to be announced, Lyon
 
The Biennial festival of Contemporary Art was created in 1991 by Thierry Raspail and Thierry Prat and alternates with the Biennial festival of dance which was created in 1984.
 
The event lasts about 4 months, occupying various venues around the city from mid-September until the beginning of January exhibiting some of the most important works from dozens of international artists.
Each Biennial invites a different curator to determine the artistic direction based on a theme which runs for a trilogy of biennials. 2015 saw the first part of a trilogy based around the word “modern” and welcomed guest curator Ralph Rogoff whose “Modern Life” biennial exhibited works from over 60 artists from 28 different countries including British sculptor Anish Kapoor and attracted around 250,000 visitors confirming its reputation as one of the most important international festivals of modern art.
 
 
Yağmur Ruzgar, 2. semester Public Art and New Artistic Strategies (M.F.A.) 

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