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Art Agenda 2012

Andreas Küfer knows the international art scene very well and exclusively unveils the ultimate must-see-events in this year's mishmash of art events around the globe. Check out the favourites on his schedule and paste them in your travel journal.

Art Agenda 2012

As an art consultant, with focus on emerging art, Andreas Küfer advises several galleries, art fairs, as well as various private and institutional collectors. He is also part of the Aureus Contemporary Group, which seeks out artists that are often overlooked. Andreas runs his art consultancy from Basel, Switzerland, where he also freelances as an art director for various agencies and clients. We asked the art aficionado to share his personal highlights for 2012 with us; a compilation of inspirational exhibitions and biennials that shouldn’t be missing from anyone’s calendar.


January to April - London

At a safe distance away from what is expected to be the Olympic madness of summer 2012, you have to visit London for a few blockbuster museum exhibitions. Lucian Freud at the National Gallery and the largest Damien Hirst retrospective to date at Tate Modern would be my first choices, should you be forced to choose. 


David Hockney, A Bigger Picture, Royal Academy: 21.01 - 09.04.

Lucian Freud Portraits, National Portrait Gallery: 09.02 - 27.05.

Damien Hirst, Tate Modern: 04.04 - 09.09.


March - New York City

The first half of March is not only busy with The Armory Show and its satellite fairs – where we must point out Volta, an invitational show featuring solo projects only – but also with the start of the Whitney Biennial; a must-see for every contemporary art enthusiast. Another promising exhibition opening just a week earlier is the Cindy Sherman show at the MoMa.


The Armory Show: 08.05. - 11.05.

Whitney Biennial: 01.03. - 02.05.

Volta Show: 08.03. - 11.03.

Cindy Sherman, MoMa: 26.02. - 11.06.




April  - Brussels

Next stop is Brussels in early April. Art Brussels, even though not viewed by many as a top fair, has in my opinion become one of the premier small fairs. The strength of the Belgian gallery scene and the collectors who support it has made this a not-to miss event on the annual art agenda. Only a 2-hour train ride away from Cologne, you might even skip over there to visit Art Cologne, a former premier art fair that is slowly moving back up the ranks.


Art Brussels: 19.04 - 22.04.

Art Cologne: 18.04 - 22.04.


April - Berlin

The end of April used to be the domain of Art Chicago, but with this fair becoming a bit provincial and us already being in Europe, there’s only one place to spend it: Berlin! This year the Berlin Gallery Weekend is supported by the opening of the Berlin Biennale. Christian Ehrentraut and Morgen Contemporary would be amongst my must-visit galleries.


Berlin Gallery Weekend: 27.04 - 29.04.

Biennale Berlin: 27.04 - 01.07.




May - Hong Kong

Asian art, even though not as big as a few years ago, is not to be neglected and is a major force on the contemporary art market. It’s the end of May and time to jump on a jet to Hong Kong. Art Hong Kong has recently been acquired by Art Basel and has settled in as the Number 3 art event of the year, just behind Basel and Miami. There’s rumour of some satellite fairs opening in 2012 to strengthen the destination even further. Shanghai, Taipei and Singapore are strong competitors, but if you can only visit one Asian fair, it has to be Hong Kong.


Art (almost Basel) Hong Kong: 17.05. - 20.05.


May  - New York City

The London-based art fair Frieze created quite a stir last year by announcing it was going to launch a sister fair in New York to compete with local powerhouse The Armory Show. The list of exhibitors they’ve published is impressive. Some of the former Armory satellite fairs like Pulse have changed their dates to coincide with Frieze New York, so... New York it is again.


Frieze New York: 04.05. - 07.05.


June  - Basel

It’s June and time to return to the mother-ship and pay respects to what is the unchallenged leader of the pack; the number one art event of the year: Art Basel. Art Basel is sidelined by many satellite fairs, receptions and events. The Fondation Beyeler is showing a Jeff Koons retrospective, which you won’t want to miss. But hey... after Basel it’s summer and you’ll have a well-deserved art break until the fall season kicks off.


Art Basel: 14.06. - 17.06.

Jeff Koons, The Fondation Beyeler: 13.05. - 02.09.




October - London & Paris

Frieze London and Fiac Paris are traditionally the strongest fall season fairs. There’s also ABC Berlin that’s trying to fill the shoes of the Art Forum Berlin after it closed shop last year but, even though there’s always hope, failed miserably to do so in 2011. If London has managed to digest the Olympics you’ll want to visit Frieze and its edgy satellite The Sunday Art Fair at the weekend. Followed by a few days in Paris to enjoy Fiac held at the beautiful former Bourse du Commerce, sidelined by Slick and Cutlog.


Frieze: 11.10. - 14.10.

Fiac Paris: 18.10. - 21.10.


November -  Istanbul & Art Basel

Head to Istanbul at the end of November to visit “Contemporary Istanbul” and meet the Turkish contemporary art scene. Middle Eastern art is booming! And if you can brave another cross Atlantic flight and are ready for Number 2, then it’s time for Art Basel Miami.


Contemporary Istanbul: 22.11. - 25.11.

Art Basel Miami: 06.12. - 09.12.


Ones to Watch - Emerging Markets

Marrakech Art Fair: 04.10. - 07.10.

Art Dubai: 21.03. - 24.03.

Art Rio: 12.09. - 16.09.



19 / 06 / 2012 // by Andreas Kuefer


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