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Elle Decor Italia

12 exhibitions you should not miss in 2018

The new year will be full of exhibitions and retrospectives all around the world. Big names from the art and design sectors and unexpected crossovers.

courtesy Design Museum

2017 was the year of great exhibitions and retrospectives in big art and design capitals, delighting design lovers with big names and new artists alike. From Paris to New York, from Milan to Tokyo, all those cities that always make space for artists and designers have already scheduled their 2018 agenda. Here are the 12 exhibitions you should check out in 2018.  


Elemental, Alejandro Aravena’s architecture studio, is the name chosen by the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art for its exhibition series called The Architect's Studio. This series examines the work of contemporary architects whose sustainable and socially responsible practice faces globalisation-related challenges.

11th October 2018 – 17th February 2019 en.louisiana.dk


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The Royal Academy of Arts will host an exhibition dedicated to Renzo Piano’s 50-year-long career, working closely with the Italian architect to properly showcase his work. Visitors will be able to see the design processes of some of his most famous buildings such as The New York Times Building and The Shard through drawings, models and life-size experiments.

15th September 2018 – 20th January 2019 www.royalacademy.org.uk


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Azzedine Alaïa: The Couturier is an exhibition at the Design Museum dedicated to the iconic Tunisian fashion designer, who died last November, displaying 60 of his most stunning dresses. The exhibition took a long time to put together and it was Alaïa himself who selected the pieces.

10th May – 7th October 2018 designmuseum.org


Paul Klee and Primitivism at Mudec. The aim is to go through the artist’s pieces in an innovative way, including him in Europe’s primitivism stream from the 20th century. The selection comprises Klee’s oils, temperas, watercolours and drawings compared to antiques and ethnographic pieces belonging to the Mudec collection.

26th September 2018 – 27th January 2019 www.mudec.it


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Meanwhile, in a few days, Milan’s Triennale will inaugurate ‘999 domande sull'abitare’ (999 questions on living), doubtlessly one of the best architecture and design exhibition of 2018. It will be a show with Italian experiences on contemporary living, with a series of international guests that will engage the public with interactive physical, digital and social installations.

12th January – 2nd April 2018 www.triennale.org 

Finally, Hangar Bicocca will host The Feeling of Things, the first big retrospective on Matt Mullican in Italy. Constantly seeking to explain and structure everything that surrounded him, the artist has been working since the ‘70s to develop a complex system of models and words corresponding to different perception levels. Mullican designed a massive sculpture inspired by his most emblematic five-colour cosmologies, which uses almost all the 3,500 square metres available at the museum. Visitors are invited to enter the structure to discover thousands of his art pieces that have been carefully selected and positioned inside. These are paintings, flags, glass sculptures, paper art, videos, lightboxes, pieces of floors and bigger installations.

12th April – 16th September 2018 www.hangarbicocca.org


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New York

One of the most awaited exhibitions of the year is certainly Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination at the Metropolitan Museum of Art of New York. This is an interesting study on the relationship between religious art and contemporary couture, which will be displayed in both branches in Manhattan.  

10th May - 8th October 2018 www.metmuseum.org


Stunning model cities made of cardboard, paper, plastic and other recycled materials will enliven the halls of the MoMa in New York on the occasion of the retrospective exhibition dedicated to Congolese sculptor Bodys Isek Kingelez. The installation will cover 25 years of art pieces, from individual buildings to extensive metropolitan projects inspired by African cities.

26th May – 21st October 2018 www.moma.org


Bijoux d'artistes, de Calder a Koons, is an exhibition at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris dedicated to jewel design by some of the most prominent artists in modern and contemporary history. A showcase of 230 jewels designed by artists such as Alexander Calder, Jeff Koons, Max Ernst, Pablo Picasso, Niki de Saint Phalle and César.

7th March – 8th July 2018 www.lesartsdecoratifs.fr


Values of Design is an exhibition that was inaugurated at the end of 2017 at Design Society, London’s V&A’s first international gallery in the new design museum in Shenzhen. The architect behind it is Sam Jacob, who selected 250 objects from the V&A collection as milestones in the history of design, from an astrolabe from the 17th century to clothing pieces designed by Stella McCartney for H&M.

2nd December 2017 – 2nd August 2019 designsociety.cn 


In 2018, Vienna will celebrate 100 years of modernism with several exhibitions dedicated to Gustav Klimt (Stairway to Klimt at Kunsthistorisches Museum), to Egon Schiele (Egon Schiele, expression and lyricism at Leopold Museum) and to Viennese photography modernism. Everything with the recurrent theme of beauty and abyss. 


The Architecture and Planning of the Manhattan Project, at the National Building Museum in Washington, is an exhibition on three American cities in Tennessee, New Mexico and Washington built from the ground to be bases for the development of nuclear weapons during WWII. They were known as ‘Manhattan Project’ and had a strategic and military purpose but today they are examples of architecture, engineering and innovative design just like the principles of modernism they are based on.  

5th May 2018 – 3rd March 2019



by Essia Sahli / 10 January 2018


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