Cultural tourism: international exhibitions and art fairs in 2024

Need an excuse to travel? Why not plan a trip around a major exhibition, art fair or biennale this year?

As 2024 finds its stride, despite global conflicts and economic uncertainties, art museums globally take time to reflect on the value that artists have contributed to deepening our grasp on the world. There are a huge number of significant retrospective and survey exhibitions this year, a major focus on woman artists, and a continued celebration of Blackness and an African diaspora – as well the return of some of the most loved biennale events that take the pulse on making now.

ArtsHub takes a look at what’s showing – and what are the travel-worthy exhibitions – across five regions (Asia, the UK, the US, Europe and Canada) in 2024.

10 must-see art events and exhibitions in Asia and South Asia

14th Shanghai Biennale, Shanghai, China
This year’s edition considers the terms of our relationship with the cosmos, under the theme Cosmos Cinema. What does it mean and who is showing? Learn more. Why not plan to view it before heading to Hong Kong for the art fair season? Lead curator is Anton Vidokle.
Dates: opened in November 2023 and continues through to 31 March.

Art Basel Hong Kong 2023. Image: Courtesy Art Basel.

Art Basel Hong Kong 2024 and Art Central, Hong Kong
While Hong Kong has struggled in recent years with a change of government and being hard hit by COVID travel cancellations, Asia’s biggest fairs return in March. Art Basel Hong Kong’s Encounters sector is curated by Alexie Glass-Kantor.
Dates: 28-30 March (Vernissage 27 March).

I.M. Pei: Life is Architecture, M+ Museum, Hong Kong
The first comprehensive survey of the renowned Chinese-American architect I.M. Pei is being presented at the mega Museum M+. The exhibition aims to celebrate Pei’s transcultural vision and his impact on global architecture. Curators: Shirley Surya and Aric Chen.
Dates: 29 June – 31 January 2025.

Frieze Seoul, and 15th Gwangju Biennale, Korea
A recent edition to the art fair circuit, Frieze Seoul hosts its third fair this year, which has been nicely timed to lead into Gwangju Biennale – a historically strong exhibition – this year curated by Nicolas Bourriaud.
Dates: Frieze 4-7 September, Gwangju Biennale 7 September – 1 December.

4th Bangkok Art Biennale, Thailand
An easy jump up to Thailand for Australians, why not visit this year’s Bangkok Art Biennale (BAB 2024)? It will explore the theme Nurture Gaia, a term used for Mother Earth. Artists will consider historical expressions of the nurturer, giver of life – reaching across time and cultural expression. Artistic Director: Apinan Poshyananda.
Dates: 24 October – 25 February 2025.

3rd Lahore Biennale, Pakistan
Organised around the theme of ecologies and sustainable futures, the Biennale will present site-specific work that draws attention to environmental degradation, and will also look at Indigenous heritage as potent resources for imagining future sustainability. Curator: John Tain.
Dates: Opens 5 October.


Japan has been a hot tourism destination coming out of COVID. If you are joining the trend in 2024, think about planning your visit around these art events.

Theaster Gates: Afro-Mingei, Mori Art Museum, Tokyo
This is the first comprehensive survey of the renowned US artist, Theaster Gates to be presented in Japan. The Chicago-based artist trained as a sculptor and urban planner, and has been influenced by Japanese craft and culture. Gates founded the Rebuild Foundation, a non-profit that assists in civic regeneration and cultural development. His ongoing Tar Paintings series (2020 – present), which considers the legacy of Black artists in abstraction, will be part of this show, and is sure to be a 2024 highlight.
Dates: 24 April – 1 September.

8th Yokohama Triennale, Japan
Opening across venues, including the newly renovated Yokohama Museum of Art, the Triennale’s theme for this year is Wild Grass: Our Lives. Artistic Direction: Liu Ding, Carol Yinghua Lu.
Dates: 15 March – 9 June 2024.

9th Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale, Japan
The Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale is held in the rural region of Niigata Prefecture. 2024 will be the ninth edition of the event. The artist list is yet to be announced.
Dates: 13 July – 10 November.

The Northern Alps Art Festival, Omachi City, Japan
The first edition took place in 2017 and included a series of newly commissioned public art works and a rich program of events and experiences interlocking the site with art. It takes place across Omachi City in the Nagano Prefecture.
Dates: 13 September – 4 November.

10 travel worthy exhibitions across the US

Zanele Muholi, ‘Thathu I, The Sails,’ Durban, 2019; collection of Pamela and David Hornik. Image: © Zanele Muholi.

Zanele Muholi: Eye Me, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
South African artist Zanele Muholi has been making an impact on the art world – including Australia. This exhibition Eye Me will feature more than 100 photographs, alongside paintings, sculptures and video works. Tate Modern in London is also presenting a major survey of her work opening in June (and, yes, a different show). Often positioned at the intersection of art and activism, her works look at the complex history of LGBTQ+ communities.
Dates: Open now and continuing through 11 August.

Giants: Art from the Dean Collection of Swizz Beatz and Alicia Keys, Brooklyn Museum of Art
Musicians have been known to collect art. Brooklyn Museum of Art takes a look at the collection of Swizz Beatz (Kasseem Dean) and Alicia Keys, who have advocated for Black creatives. Their collection celebrating diasporic Blackness is titled Giants and the pair have promised to gift part of the collection.
Dates: 10 February – 7 July.

The Armory Show, New York
The Armory Show was acquired recently, along with EXPO Chicago, by the Frieze group, but will continued to operate under their existing brand names.
Dates: EXPO Chicago 11-14 April and The Armory Show 5-8 September.

LaToya Ruby Frazier, Museum of Modern Art, New York
The interdisciplinary artist-activist LaToya Ruby Frazier has placed social activism and storytelling at the heart of her making. This year, the iconic Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) will present her first museum show titled Monuments of Solidarity, which will span 20 years of what she is calling erased stories, viewed through a feminist lens.
Dates: 12 May – 7 September.

It is incumbent upon me to resist—one photograph at a time, one photo essay at a time, one body of work at a time, one book at a time, one workers’ monument at a time – historical erasure and amnesia.

LaToya Ruby Frazier.

Firelei Báez, Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston
Firelei Báez is set to open her first museum survey show in 2024, at ICA Boston. The Dominican-born artist recently joined the powerhouse gallery Hauser & Wirth, and joins a stream of African diaspora exhibitions globally. Báez investigates the historical narratives and legacy of colonialism in her work, moving across mediums and source material. Her pieces are typically figurative and brightly coloured – and causing a stir.
Dates: 4 April – 2 September.

Firelei Báez, ‘Untitled (Les tables de geographie reduites en un jeu de cartes)’, 2022. Collection of Deborah Beckmann and Jacob Kotzubei. Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth. Photo: Jackie Furtado.

Jenny Holzer, Guggenheim Museum, New York
This exhibition will present a reimagination of Jenny Holzer’s landmark 1989 installation Light Line at the Guggenheim, climbing all six ramps of the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed rotunda.
Dates: 17 May – 29 September.

Mickalene Thomas, The Broad, Los Angeles
Debuting at The Broad with over 80 works made over the last 20 years, Mickalene Thomas’ bold and colourful works are known for shifting the power plays of race and gender, through her depictions of confident Black women. Also travelling to The Barnes Foundation, Philadelphia and Hayward Gallery, London.
Dates: 25 May – 29 September.

Kathe Kollwitz, The Museum of Modern Art, New York
This marks the first-ever New York City museum retrospective and the largest exhibition of Kollwitz’s work in the US in more than three decades. MoMA will present a focused exploration of the artist’s career via over 100 rarely seen examples of her drawings, prints and sculptures loaned from public and private collections in the US and Europe.
Dates: 31 March — 20 July.

Mary Cassatt at Work, Philadelphia Museum of Art
A celebrated member of the French Impressionists, Pennsylvania-born Mary Cassatt challenged the conventional expectations of women, and their role in society. There are more than 130 works in this retrospective.
Dates: 18 May – 8 September.

Harold Cohen: AARON, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York
The Whitney Museum of American Art presents Harold Cohen: AARON, a tribute to the British-born artist and AI pioneer, Harold Cohen. This exhibition focuses on Cohen’s groundbreaking work with AARON, a computer program designed to create art independently. The show will feature a collection of AARON’s paintings and drawings, along with live demonstrations of the software, highlighting Cohen’s significant contributions to the intersection of artificial intelligence and art.
Dates: open now until May.

Ed Ruscha/Now Then, LACMA, Los Angeles
A pairing of two US legends – Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) and Ed Ruscha – will happen mid-year with the retrospective Ed Ruscha/Now Then. Known for his take on US society, in particular his photographs of LA streets.
Dates: 7 April – 6 October.

Make it a European art odyssey this year

Vera Molnár, Centre Pompidou, Paris, France
Before Centre Pompidou closes next year, it is honouring Hungarian-born artist  Vera Molnár, who has been called the godmother of generative art. Molnár died in 2023 at the age of 99, and this retrospective looks at her breakthrough practice.
Dates: Open now until 26 August.

Dan Flavin: Dedications in Lights, Kunstmuseum Basel, Germany
Minimal artist and champion of fluorescent tubes, US artist Dan Flavin will be showing his work in an exhibition at Kunstmuseum Basel, focusing on his works that are dedicated to other artists or make reference to signficant events.
Dates: 2 March – 18 August.

1st Malta Art Biennale, Malta
Explore the main pavilion’s four central themes: Can You Sea?: The Mediterranean as a Political Body, The Counterpower of Piracy, Decolonising Malta: Polyphony Is Us and The Matri-archive of the Mediterranean.
Dates: 9 March – 31 May.

Read: 2024 Arts Conference and Summit Planner

Anselm Kiefer, Palazzo Strozzi, Florence, Italy
A giant of the art world, German artist Anselm Kiefer has influenced many other artists. His exhibition Fallen Angels will bring together new and historic paintings, sculptures, prints and installations from across his six-decade career. His work is often monumental in scale, and this exhibition will be a sure highlight of 2024.
Dates: 22 March – 21 July.

Paris 1874: Inventing Impressionism, Musée d’Orsay, Paris
Celebrating the 150th anniversary of the birth of the avant-garde movement, Paris 1874: Inventing Impressionism brings together nearly 130 pieces by prominent artists from the period, and traces the political and cultural circumstances that led these artists to go against the conventions of the academies of the time. This exhibition will travel to National Gallery of Art, Washington DC.
Dates: 24 March – 24 July.

Venice Biennale in 2024, Italy
The 60th edition of the Venice Biennale, the most prestigious and oldest-running art biennial, is set to open in April. The 2024 theme is Foreigners Everywhere, and the Biennale is curated by Adriano Pedrosa.
Dates: 20 April – 24 November 2024

Caspar David Friedrich, Berlin, Hamburg and Dresden, Germany
Celebrating the 250th anniversary of the birth of Caspar David Friedrich (1774–1840), this exhibition – titled Infinite Landscapes – looks at his sweeping Romantic landscape. The painter faded into obscurity during the second half of the 19th century, so this exhibition is described as long overdue. It is part of the Caspar David Friedrich Festival, which will mark the anniversary year by organising a series of thematically distinct exhibitions held at the Hamburger Kunsthalle – titled Art for a new age, the Alte Nationalgalerie Berlin of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, and the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden titled Where it all started – each exhibition taking a different entry point to his practice.
Dates: Showing now until 1 April (Hamburg), 19 April – 4 August (Berlin) and 24 August —5 January 2025 (Dresden).

Edvard Munch: Trembling Earth, Munch, Oslo
Trembling Earth is the first significant survey of Edvard Munch’s depictions of nature. It’s an exhibition that will challenge many of the usual preconceptions about his art. Curated by the Munch Museum.
Dates: 27 April – 25 August.

Art Basel European editions
Art Basel 2024 Swiss edition will take place 13-16 June at Basel’s Messeplatz, showcasing over 200 galleries and 4000 artists from five continents. Paris+ par Art Basel, introduced in 2022, will take place in 18-20 October.

Manifesta 15, Barcelona, Spain
Manifesta returns in 2024 under Artistic Direction of Hedwig Fijen. The European Nomadic Biennial will be presented in Barcelona this year.  Its theme will circle topics of democratisation of public life, the defence of public space, the fragility of housing and the need for social progress to combat environmental challenges.
Dates: 8 September – 24 November.

And don’t forget Canada on your cultural travel list

Toronto Biennial of Art, Canada
When speaking about the curatorial process, Dominique Fontaine and Miguel A López said: ‘The 2024 Biennial aims to showcase the ways artists from different localities respond to the impact of the aftermath of colonialism on everyday life… The exhibition aims to create a collective dialogue around urgent issues of our times: environmental destruction, sovereignty, self-representation, belonging, collective memory, ancestral knowledge, migrant diasporas, queer futurity and how art can participate in the process of restoring disrupted social bonds.’ 
Dates: 21 September – 5 January 2025

The Culture: Hip Hop and Contemporary Art in the 21st Century, Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto

Immersing viewers in the world of hip-hop through contemporary art and fashion, The Culture: Hip Hop and Contemporary Art in the 21st Century brings together contemporary artists, musicians, designers and stylists to tell the story of the art form and its global impact on visual culture.
Dates: Opens December 2024

Gina Fairley is ArtsHub's National Visual Arts Editor. For a decade she worked as a freelance writer and curator across Southeast Asia and was previously the Regional Contributing Editor for Hong Kong based magazines Asian Art News and World Sculpture News. Prior to writing she worked as an arts manager in America and Australia for 14 years, including the regional gallery, biennale and commercial sectors. She is based in Mittagong, regional NSW. Twitter: @ginafairley Instagram: fairleygina