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Top Ten World Art Exhibits of 2013


In 2013, the world has seen fascinating works displayed in exhibition after decades by master artists and astounded by the works of hot new artists. This year in art marks the ability of fine art to inquire about our beliefs and place in the world. Here, we explore ten of the top art events of the year and look forward to what 2014 offers.

Top Ten Art Exhibits of 2013

1) Not seen by the public for since 1980, Leonardo da Vinci’s original drawing which depicts an ideal of human proportions, better known as the Vitruvian Man, ran through December 1, 2013 in Venice. Leonardo da Vinci: The Universal Man at the Galleria dell’Accademia  brought together 52 works on paper by the Renaissance master, with significant loans from Italian and international collections. The works have remained in the museum’s collection since 1822. View a short film about the exhibition:

2) Speaking of the figure, there is an excellent show on the male nude in Paris which opened in the fall. The female nude has been the prolific gender on display in the art world, which begs the questions of Why? and What about the masculine? Masculine/Masculine runs from September 24, 2013 to January 2, 2014 at the famous Musee D’Orsay. The museum argues that the male nude has in fact remained a crucial art historical theme from the eighteenth century to the present.

3) Reflections. From Van Eyck to Magritte ran from June 11, 2013 to September 15, 2013 at the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza in Madrid. The exhibit was a range of works from the museum’s permanent collection which focused on the relationship between real and reflected imagery in art. From old to modern masters, surreal masterpieces from artists like Rene Magritte and Jan van Eyck were on display.

4)  Art and Appetite: American Painting, Culture, and Cuisine at the Art Institute of Chicago runs through November 12, 2013 to January 27, 2014. Since the earliest days of American artwork, a painting of a fruit plate has never been just a painting of a food plate. This delicious exhibition explores the various themes, metaphors, and critiques employed by visual depictions of food. Among the works displayed is the iconic Night Hawks (1942) by Edward Hopper.

5) Performance art often pushes the boundaries, which was definitely the truth with “vagina knitter” Casey Jenkins, the artist of a performance art exhibition called Casting off My Womb, which featured at the Darwin Visual Arts Association gallery of Australia for 28 days from October to November 2013. You can learn about Jenkins’ work and recent sensational exhibition at her website. The artist states on her website that, “The performance consists of me sitting on a plain wooden chest in the gallery space and knitting from wool lodged in my vaginal tunnel, one skein of wool each day, to mark a full menstrual cycle. As the passage of knitting grows longer it is suspended from the ceiling on wire coat-hangers. As each day of knitting passes, a manual calendar is clicked over to mark the number of days remaining until the piece will be ‘cast off’.” Many publications (from Salon to new women’s magazine Luna Luna) covered her exhibition and she became an overnight sensation.

6)  New Zealand presented the 5th Auckland Triennial, which ran from May 10, 2013 to August 11, 2013. Led by renowned curator Hou Hanru, If you were to live here… included work by more than 35 New Zealand and international artists, collectives and architects.

7)  In Japan, from  October 5, 2013 to November 4, 2013, the Setouchi Triennale saw over 150 artists install artworks throughout the islands of the Seto Inland Sea, benefiting  the communities of the area and the discourse of contemporary art. Separated into three seasons, the autumn season follows the success of spring and summer. The Triennale merged the boundaries of art and landscape.

8) In Nashville, Tennessee (US) 30 Americans is displayed at The Frist Center for the Visual Arts, running from October 11, 2013 to January 12, 2014. The exhibition features over 70 works from the biggest African American artists from the last 30 years. Such names as Jean-Michel Basquiat, Carrie Mae Weems, Nina Chanel Abney Kehinde Wiley and Mickalene Thomas are exhibited in the show. If there are any names you are unfamiliar with here, you still have a chance to see the show in person through 2014.

9) She Who Tells A Story: Women Photographers from Iran and the Arab World shows from December of 2013 to January 2013. Photographers including Jananne Al-Ani, Boushra Almutawakel, Gohar Dashti, Rana El Nemr and Lalla Essaydi “rupture the dominant tradition of the male gaze and female objects, choosing instead to capture their own image and forge their own identities.”

10) In Japan, the Bridgestone Museum of Art features Gustave Caillebotte: Impressionist in Modern Paris, a collection of over 60 of his portrait works during the Impressionist movement, revealing the progress of Industrialization but also people during their leisure activites. The exhibition runs through October 10, 2013 to December 29, 2013.

Get Excited About Art in 2014!

Personally speaking, I’m excited about the exhibition coming up in January 2014 in New York, where the New Museum is turning its fifth floor gallery into a space module. The art show will run from January 22 to April 13, 2014.

According to the New Museum: “The vessel will visually recall the iconic Czech science-fiction film Ikarie XB-1(1963), which melded postwar utopianism with Soviet utilitarianism. On view in and around the spacecraft will be fifty-plus artworks, mainly video, but also sculpture, print, and installation, by artists hailing from cities around Eastern Europe, notably Vienna, Prague, Budapest, Bucharest, and Bratislava, all of whom tranzit has worked with previously. The exhibition offers an allegory of “anthropological science fiction,” where the exhibition space becomes an estranged and exciting universe that dramatizes the cross-cultural translation involved in the presentation of art.”

Do you have a favorite art event you enjoyed attending in 2013 or one that you look forward to in 2014?


About the Author

Tiffany Chaney is a freelance writer, artist and graphic designer residing in North Carolina. In 2012, her first poetry collection Between Blue and Grey was released. Find out more about her at