Top 10 Exhibitions in 2014

2014 has been a great year for contemporary art exhibitions. The huge range of practices on display demonstrates the variety of artistic approaches being developed across the world. From Guy Bourdin to Barbara Kruger, Martin Creed to Annette Messager, all of the artists listed here demonstrate both skill and thought. We take a look at the top 10 exhibitions from 2014, considering why these shows were so important.

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The Art Fund Launch Nationwide Search for Museum of the Year 2015

The Art Fund Prize for Museum of the Year launches its competition for 2015. The search for the next top UK museum or gallery begins this week, after director of the Art Fund and chair of the judging panel, Stephen Deuchar, revealed the international jury line-up of artist Michael Landy; design critic Alice Rawsthorn; Fiammetta Rocco, arts editor of The Economist , and Axel Rüger, director of Amsterdam’s Van Gogh Museum. This year’s arts institutions will be competing for recognition as one of the UK’s most outstanding venues, through the demonstration of their bold artistic vision and engaging visitors’ programme. 

Disinformation, The Analysis of Beauty, Talbot Rice Gallery, Edinburgh

The first instalment of gap in the air festival took place in November with a mesmerising in-situ sound and video piece by noise DJ, artist and researcher Joe Banks. Working under the guise of Disinformation since 1995, Banks has pioneered the use of electromagnetic (radio) noise from sources such as mains electricity, lightning, laboratory equipment, and even the sun, to generate malleable sonic material. For The Analysis of Beauty at the Talbot Rice’s Georgian Gallery, Banks found inspiration in William Hogarth’s famous thesis on serpentine lines and his belief that S-shaped lines were active, lively and stimulating, and therefore beautiful.

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An Aesthetica Magazine Gift Subscription is the Perfect Christmas Present

For those who are passionate about contemporary art and culture, Aesthetica Magazine is the ultimate guide for keeping up-to-date with the latest news from the international art scene. Order a Gift Subscription for someone special this Christmas and save 20% off newsstand prices while also benefiting from a free gift wrapping service and a chance to write a personal message.

Unconventional Design: Discover Aesthetica Issue 62 with the Official Trailer

The December/ January issue of Aesthetica is now available to purchase online and in stores internationally. In Issue 62, Aesthetica focuses on the idea of the unconventional. It’s a celebration of practitioners who are experimenting in their field by working in interdisciplinary ways and introducing concepts from other areas of art and design into their work.

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Aesthetica Christmas Gift Guide

With the start of advent it is time to write those Christmas lists and get shopping. We’ve curated a selection of goodies for a variety of tastes from independent businesses, high-end fashion houses and cultural institutions. From candles to trainers, books to skirts, we’ve got it covered. Read on to find out more about each of our top products. 

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Aesthetica Issue 62 December / January Out Now

Issue 62 of Aesthetica is out in shops now. One of the most thrilling discoveries is someone who is breaking new ground and embodying the word “innovation.” It’s important to look at both established and emerging artists that are the driving force behind this type of progress. At Aesthetica, we are interested in people who are experimenting while stepping outside of the everyday. We want to engage with works that challenge us and change perspective.

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Seeing Through Light: Selections from the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi Collection

Guggenheim Abu Dhabi’s new exhibition introduces the future museum’s curatorial vision through a theme-based collection presentation, featuring artworks by 18 international artists from the 1960s to today and exploring the theme of light. The gallery’s curatorial vision endeavours to foster a transcultural perspective on the history of art, encompassing both modernism and the emergence of contemporary cultural thought in an increasingly interconnected world.

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Joachim Brohm: Vernacular & Modern, Grimaldi Galvin, London

Joachim Brohm rose to prominence in the early 1980s as one of the first photographers in Europe to shoot exclusively in colour. From the late 1970s Brohm connected the visual possibilities of colour photography with a newly defined “everyday cultural landscape.”

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Realigning Architecture, Bernard Tschumi in Aesthetica Magazine

In recent years cultural institutions across the world have seen a renaissance in architecture and architectural presentation. The vigour and enthusiasm with which the development of London and Bejing’s respective Olympic parks were reported in the mainstream press reached a fever pitch unfathomable 15 years ago. The constant development and new witty monikers of the latest high-rises to crop up on London’s skyline has become common parlance while the phenomenal growth in Dubai is a source of fascination with the ability of architects and engineers to achieve ever-higher feats.

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Rediscovering Domesticity, Elmgreen & Dragset in Aesthetica Magazine

The first person to have driven by Prada Marfa (2005), Michael Elmgreen & Ingar Dragset’s re-creation of a Prada store set within the desolate Texan landscape, must have thought they had stumbled upon a mirage. A window display showcasing Prada shoes and handbags interrupts the minimalist white stucco walls of the store, illustrating the discrepancy between the luxurious products and the building itself. The Scandinavian artists, who live and work in Berlin and Los Angeles, have created these shocking sculptural tableaux again and again throughout their career, each time hitting upon an element of society perhaps less than complimentary, whether it be our greed and consumerism or – as with their installation, Tomorrow, at the Victoria & Albert Museum, London – loss, loneliness and alienation. In collaboration with the V&A and curator Louise Shannon, the duo has created a fictional architect’s apartment, which has transformed the former textile galleries of the museum into an abandoned home.

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The Art of Our Time: Masterpieces from the Guggenheim Collections, Guggenheim Museum Bilbao

Located on an old port, on the banks of the river Nervion is the titanium-clad, cathedral like Guggenheim Museum Bilbao. Designed by Frank Gehry and built in 1997, the museum resembles a fantasy ship, with soaring elevated arcs and soft sandstone and has become synonymous with cultural regeneration. The once degenerated city has been transformed into one of the most popular tourist attractions in Europe, and is now bustling with Michelin star restaurants, luxury hotels, satellite museums and “starchitecture”. Earlier this month, The Art of Our Time: Masterpieces from the Guggenheim Collections opened at the Bilbao museum, curated to celebrate the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation’s part in the rebirth of the city.

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Women Fashion Power, Design Museum, London

Innovative and forward-thinking, Women Fashion Power at the Design Museum celebrates the exceptional and influential women from the spheres of politics, culture, business and fashion, and features cutting-edge creatives who have had an impact on our wardrobes and the world stage. Showcasing the work of 25 high-profile women through the presentation of clothing, photography, archive footage and interviews, this trailblazing exhibition looks at how iconic women of the past and present have used fashion to define and enhance their position in the world.

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The 41st Edition of FIAC, Foire Internationale d’Art Contemporain, Grand Palais, Paris

The 41st edition of leading international art fair, FIAC brings 191 galleries from 26 countries into the vast space of Paris’ Grand Palais. The fair’s founding principles are to be attentive to the evolutions and concerns of contemporary creation, to question the transformation of the careers of gallerists as well as artists themselves, to lead prospective actions, and to be creative and responsive while ensuring a spirit of continuity across each edition of FIAC.

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Frieze London 2014: Highlights for the 12th Edition

The leading international contemporary art fair, Frieze London, returns to the heart of the UK’s capital, London’s Regent’s Park, for its 12th edition. Sponsored by Deutsche Bank and designed by Universal Design Studio, this autumn’s fair sees a few changes with the inclusion of two specialist sections: Focus, a celebration and fostering of emerging galleries up to 12 years old, and Live, a haven for performance or participatory-based work. Also new to 2014, is the fair’s novel allegiance to public space, using themes of contract, texture and tone. Design highlights of the fair’s bespoke housing include a timber-lined entrance courtyard and dedicated ancillary spaces.

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Fotofever, Photography Art Fair: An All-Encompassing Photography Platform

The Carrousel du Louvre welcomes the international photography fair for the fifth time. Founded by Cécile Schall, grand-daughter to Roger Schall, this is an inimitable Parisian event which presents the opportunity to view works from a young, creative generation, soaring in popularity amongst collectors. For fotofever’s 2014 edition, a selection of over 100 international galleries will take the limelight – over half of which specialise solely in photography – all exhibiting emerging artists of tomorrow.

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Opening of The Fondation Louis Vuitton in the Jardin d’Acclimatation, Paris

The Fondation Louis Vuitton is a new Parisian centre for contemporary French and international artistic creation, contained within a building commissioned by Bernard Arnault, and designed by the American architect Frank Gehry. The building resembles a cloud of glass: twelve large transparent sails covering a main body, itself formed from an assembly of pure white blocks. Sunken into the ground, the Fondation appears to float within the surrounding Jardin d’Acclimatation whose trees and greenery will play light tricks with and be mirrored by its vast panes.

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Review of Folkestone Triennial 2014: Lookout, Folkestone, Kent

In a town whose faded seaside glamour is both complimented and disturbed by a swath of public art, it is only at low tide that the feverish digging can commence. A swatch of beach that in the morning looks like the realisation of a grim prophecy in a Morrissey song is by late afternoon swamped by an ecstatic crowd. Michael Sailstorfer has buried £10,000 worth of gold bullion in the unforgiving sands of the Old Harbour.

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James Reka: Trip The Light, StolenSpace Gallery, London

With his London debut, Berlin-based Australian artist James Reka explores the splendour of the dancing female form using fluid lines to create a hypnotic and dynamic movement. The title of the show derives from John Milton’s 1645 poem L’Allegro, in which to “trip the light fantastic” alludes to those who dance without inhibition – and Reka’s characters do just this.

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Rashid Johnson: Dutchman, Red Square Russian and Turkish Baths, Chicago

This September, Rashid Johnson’s critically acclaimed piece, Dutchman, will run at Chicago’s Red Square Russian and Turkish Baths for five evenings with performances beginning at 11pm as part of Performa 10 YearsDutchman is Johnson’s first live performance and is a reimagining of the Obie Award-winning theatrical play written in 1964 by LeRoi Jones (Amiri Baraka), re-enacted within the setting of a traditional bathhouse – having premiered at the historic Russian & Turkish Baths in New York City’s East Village.

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GM Architects: Museum of Civilizations is Nominated for an Award at The World Architecture Festival, Singapore

The Museum of Civilizations, presented by GM Architects at Venice Biennale of Architecture 2014, has been nominated for an award at The World Architecture Festival in Singapore. The World Architecture Festival is the world’s largest festival and live awards competition dedicated to celebrating, and sharing architectural excellence from across the globe.

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City Visions: A season of films, talks and debates exploring modern cities, Barbican Cinema, Barbican Centre, London

50% of the earth’s population live in urban centres, a figure that is predicted to rise to over 75% by 2050; City Visions is a series of films, talks and debates that celebrate the energy of modern cities whilst exposing memorable images of urban decay and deprivation. The season engages with conversations around architecture, urban planning and globalisation, and will run alongside the Barbican Art Gallery exhibition Constructing Worlds: Photography and Architecture in the Modern Age.

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31st Bienal de São Paulo: How to talk about things that don’t exist, São Paolo, Brazil

The 31st Bienal de São Paulo will deal with things that don’t exist, it is a poetic call to the promise of art, and addresses these things that don’t exist in several ways: how to talk about them, how to learn from them, how to live with them, how to struggle with them.

Celebrating the 10th Anniversary of Dover Street Market, London

To celebrate ten years of existence, Dover Street Market holds The Next Ten Years: a series of events, installations and special products. For the duration of September, the basement and second floor of Dover Street Market will be totally transformed, the Rose Bakery will be enlarged and artists design four new fitting rooms. Furthermore, an event space on the first floor, an expanded jewellery section and wallet display will be given over to Louis Vuitton for the entire A/W14 season.

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Last Chance to Enter the Aesthetica Art and Creative Writing Prizes

There is still time today to enter Aesthetica’s creative opportunities for artists and writers. The Aesthetica Art Prize, now in its eighth year, celebrates excellence in contemporary art from around the world. Artists at any stage in their career working in all media are invited to submit works that demonstrate innovation, creativity and technical skill. The Aesthetica Creative Writing Award supports and publishes literary talent on an international scale, selecting finalists for publication in the Aesthetica Creative Writing Annual. We present the prizes available for both awards, which make them essential events to take part in this year.

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Aesthetica Art Prize Call for Entries Countdown: Finalist Ingrid Hu

There is still time to enter the Aesthetica Art Prize, which welcomes submissions from artists at all levels working across media from photography to painting, installation to sculpture and performance to artists’ film. A celebration of excellence in contemporary art, the Aesthetica Art Prize supports and nurtures rising talent from across the world and prizes include group exhibition, editorial coverage in Aesthetica Magazine and £5,000 courtesy of Hiscox.

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Aesthetica Art Prize Call for Entries Countdown: Interview with Karl Singporewala

As the final month to enter the Aesthetica Art Prize is upon us, we catch up with last year’s longlisted artist Karl Singporewala to discover how being selected for the Prize has furthered his creative practice. Selected for his work Dial M for Monument, Singporewala now exhibits this piece in a group show for the HIX Award 2014, hosted by the Cock ‘n’ Bull Gallery in Shoreditch, London. Designed by Damien Hirst and judged by Tracey Emin among other leading art professionals, the prize presents a month long exhibition of the 20 finalists throughout August.

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Chasing Time, The Olympic Museum, Switzerland

Time is a key part of competitive sport, much of which is rated according to speed; it’s an essential element for designating winners and losers and establishing records.  This new exhibition at The Olympic Museum in Lausanne, Switzerland explores the concept of time as it is understood and experienced in sport.

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Yang Fudong , SALT, Sandhornøy, Arctic Circle

Remote, beautiful – and increasingly endangered – the Arctic has long been a subject of fascination for many and a source of inspiration for artists. SALT is an ambitious concept to create arts and cultural experiences in the northernmost regions of our planet. It will invite world-famous artists to the Arctic Circle to create works which respond to the breathtaking landscapes, nature and history of the Arctic – while always aiming to treat the landscape with care and respect.

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Adriano Costa, Sam Falls, Samara Scott, Michael E Smith: Zabludowicz Collection, London

The Zabludowicz Collection – which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year –  is presenting four solo exhibitions of sculpture, taking place simultaneously at its North London home in a former Methodist chapel. They combine new site-specific works with pieces selected from the 3,000 works spanning 40 years of modern art which are held by the Collection. Each of the artists contributing engages in a distinctive way with the question of how to make sculpture today, while at the same time a number of threads can be seen which link their approaches. A central concern is an evocation of the human body and its fragile, messy nature, as well as the passing of time.

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Aesthetica Art Prize Call for Entries Countdown: Interview with Artist Nicholas Gentilli

Nicholas Gentilli is a photographer with over 30 years’ experience of shooting places and spaces. His professional genesis lay, until 4 years ago, in the architectural photography that has quintessentially represented his career, before he laid down his commercial toolbag in favour of a pursuit of his more artistic urges. Gentilli’s photograph Au bord de la Mer was longlisted for the Aesthetica Art Prize. It comes out of a visit to Vancouver where the sense of East meeting West is very powerful. We speak to Gentilli about his photographic practice.

National Literary Trust & Wild in Art: Books about Town, London

Recently, Londoners and visitors might have found themselves sitting on concrete benches, which resemble half open books. Benches not only look like a book, they are fully dressed up by different depictions that resemble and celebrate the literary heritage of London. For the Summer 2014 the National Literary Trust and Wild in Art are the promoters of the project Books about Town whose purpose isn’t just limited to the celebration of the rich literary background that London offers, as it aims to engage the public through the joy of reading, via art.

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Folkestone Triennial 2014, Citywide, Folkestone

One of the UK’s most ambitious art exhibitions, the third edition of Folkestone Triennial commissions a number of internationally recognised artists to create a collection of new artworks that will be exhibited in Folkestone’s public spaces under the title, Lookout. Among the artists included in this year’s Triennial are Yoko Ono, Andy Goldsworthy, Pablo Bronstein, Tim Etchells and Sarah Staton.

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Magnus Quaife, Like a Child Running a Stick Along a Fence, Works | Projects

Art history is replete with romantic mythologies, few more potent than the artist as obsessive maker, working round the clock in his studio or in the landscape, as was the case with one of modern art’s most famous obsessives, Paul Cezanne, around whom Magnus Quaife’s solo show, Like a Child Running a Stick Along a Fence at Works | Projects, is framed.

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Arik Levy, Uncontrolled Nature, Louise Alexander Gallery, Porto Cervo, Sardinia.

The Louise Alexander Gallery in Sardinia presents Arik Levy’s first solo show at the gallery. Uncontrolled Nature features a collection of new work in combination with older pieces and Levy showcases a wide range of sculptures that exist like a trail of landmarks alongside paintings and other artworks. Shown for the first time are RockTripleShift and RockTripleFusion Vertical, his ambitious new pieces displaying contrast between fusion and separation – a representation of both the horizontal and the vertical.

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The Photographic Object, 1970, Hauser & Wirth, New York

Peter Bunnell’s 1970 MoMA show Photography Into Sculpture proved a landmark in photographic practise, through its presentation of photographic images arranged in a sculptural manner, and it also gave valuable national exposure to photography as a highly-innovative contemporary art discipline. As well as capturing the revolutionary mood of the times, by showcasing artists working at the vanguard of what was occurring socially, politically, and technologically, it was an exhibition whose legacy continues to exert an influence on photographic practice today.

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Genius Loci: Spirit of Place, Palazzo Franchetti, Venice, Italy

This summer the Lisson Gallery collaborates with Berengo Studio to present an exhibition that coincides with the occasion of the 14th International Architecture Biennale in Venice. The show examines the complex spheres of the public realm and the built environment, existing beyond the walls of the museum or gallery space. In this manner public art can help define the landscape it inhabits, functioning either harmoniously or in dialogue with its environment.

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Aesthetica Art Prize Announces £5,000 for the Main Prize Winner

The Aesthetica Art Prize is a celebration of excellence in art from across the world and offers artists the opportunity to showcase their work to wider audiences and further their involvement in the international art world. This year the Main Prize winner, as chosen by an impressive panel of judges including curators, artists and the Editor of Aesthetica Magazine, Cherie Federico, will be awarded £5,000 prize money courtesy of Hiscox – presenting career-boosting opportunities for the artist.

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Final Week to Visit the Aesthetica Art Prize Exhibition

This spring and summer, the Aesthetica Art Prize exhibition presents eight shortlisted artists contributing outstanding works to contemporary art and will continue to run until 22 June showcasing artistic talent from around the world in a ground-breaking group show.

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Review of The Strange City, Ilya and Emilia Kabakov at The Monumenta, Grand Palais, Paris

Ilya and Emilia Kabakov had set their Strange City under the glass-and-steel passages of Grand Palais. Commissioned by the Monumenta, the exhibition proposes a double total installation: these are already known to Kabakov’s viewers and are situated in featureless pavilions of a total city installation formed under the cupola of the Grand Palais. It is explicitly echoed in the forms of The Dome, positioned at the entrance of the city. Inspiration for this soaring colour-changing installation takes its roots from the theory of the Russian musician, Alexander Scriabin, who created a colour organ, “‪clavier à lumières”, appropriated the synesthetic system, and who was influenced by Newton’s Opticks and theosophical theories of Jean Delville and Helena Blavatsky.