Enjoying a cozy year-end break at home in the waning days of  2014, I lapped up the requisite ‘year that was’ reviews, enjoying the look back at some highlights (and lowlights) from the art world’s past 12 months. I considered attempting to take similar stock of what had left the strongest impression on me last year, but felt more inspired to “spring forward” rather than “fall back.” In that spirit, read on for some of the exhibitions I am most eager to explore this year—if not in person, then certainly online.


 Marlene Dumas, The Visitor, 1995

Marlene Dumas, “The Image As Burden,” at the Tate Modern, London 

One of the most powerful modern painters, and a personal favourite of mine, the South African-born, Dutch-dwelling Dumas will be the subject of a major exhibition (the largest one of her work to date) beginning in February. And while the qualifier of “female artist” is hardly necessary, it is heartening to see a well-deserved solo show of this scale dedicated to a woman, a relatively unusual event.

Dumas’ paintings manage to be both delicate and intense. She can deftly convey a great deal of emotion while employing a light touch, reminiscent to me of another great, Edouard Vuillard. Her works are often imbued with an unmistakable underlayer of psychological and sexual tension, and manage to feel very personal while relating a universal audience. (February 5 – May 10)


 Marlene Dumas, Measuring Your Own Grave, 2003

Represent: 200 Years of African-American Art,” at the Philadelphia Museum of Art

Though it’s only January, this sweeping show of the PMA’s own holdings of works by black artists has the makings of one of the year’s best. This particular curatorial area is one of the museum’s strengths, and, through these artworks, the exhibition aims to explore “the evolving ways in which African American Artists have expressed personal, political and racial identity.” Among the artists featured are Jacob Lawrence, Carrie-Mae Weems, Martin Puryear, Glenn Ligon and Lorna Simpson. (January 10 – April 5).


The Whitney Museum of American Art moves downtown

The must-see destination in New York this year is the Whitney‘s new home, moving from its current Marcel Breuer building on the Upper East Side, to 99 Gansevoort Street in the Meatpacking District. Its inaugural exhibition promises to wow visitors: drawn from the museum’s permanent collection of groundbreaking 20th and 21st century art, the opening show will fill the entire 60,000 square feet of the new Renzo Piano-designed space. (Opening May 1)


Garage Museum of Contemporary Art opening in Moscow

The Whitney isn’t the only institution relocating and reinventing itself. The organization formally known as the Garage Center for Contemporary Culture established by Russian art patron Dasha Zhukova in 2008 will now be a museum in both name and place. It will showcase temporary exbihitions and not comprise its own permanent collection (similar to institutions like Toronto’s Power Plant). It is scheduled to open the doors to its Rem Koolhaas-designed building in June of 2015.

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 A rendering of the new Garage Museum in Moscow’s Gorky Park. Image courtesy of OMA

Bruce Nauman at the Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain

The Parisian foundation has worked closely with Nauman to mount this springtime exhibition of his conceptual works. Though little has been published in advance of the opening, this will undoubtedly be a thought-provoking look at the 73-year old American artist’s highly influential career. We do know that it will include new works as well, an exciting prospect from the 2009 winner of one of the art world’s greatest honours, the Golden Lion at the Venice Biennale. (March 13 – June 21) Speaking of which…


The 56th Venice Biennale

Every other year, the art world sails into Venice’s storied canals for a creative Olympics of sorts. Nigerian-born Okwui Enwezor, currently Director of the Haus der Kunst in Munich, has been handed the curatorial reins this year, and has chosen the title of All The World’s Futures as the theme. According to its website, the Biennale aims to ask “how can the current disquiet of our time be properly grasped, made comprehensible, examined and articulated?” A tall, and intriguing, order indeed. (May 9 – November 22)