Year in review 2014: Looking forward to next year’s can’t-miss exhibitions

Next year promises to offer some remarkable educational and aesthetic experiences, all over the world. Here are our picks of the unmissable exhibitions of 2015.

Grete Stern. Dreams No. 1. 1949. Gelatin silver print, 10 1/2 x 9" (26.6 x 22.9 cm). Latin American and Caribbean Fund through gift of Marie-Josée and Henry R. Kravis in honor of Adriana Cisneros de Griffin. © 2014 Galería Jorge Mara-La Ruche
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London and Paris may be following fashion with reruns of proven blockbusters such as Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty and The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier, but New York promises to steal the show with the offer of something new.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s China: Through the Looking Glass charts the history of China’s impact on the fashionable imaginations of the West.

The show will feature more than 100 examples of ready-to-wear and haute couture from designers such as Paul Poiret and Yves Saint-Laurent alongside examples of Chinese and Sino-inspired costumes, film, paintings and objets d’art.

This is fashion as it deserves to be exhibited and understood, beyond the catwalk and in the round.

China: Through the Looking Glass

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

May 7 to August 16


Two of photography’s greatest portraitists, Julia Margaret Cameron and Irving Penn, are the subject of not-to-be-missed shows next year but it is an exhibition dedicated to two of the medium’s lesser lights that really captures the imagination.

From Bauhaus to Buenos Aires: Grete Stern and Horacio Coppola (pictured) is the first major exhibition about the German-born Grete Stern and the Argentine Horacio Coppola, avant-garde photographers who met at the Bauhaus in 1932 and succeeded in establishing themselves on both sides of the Atlantic.

The exhibition traces their early careers, their exile in London and eventual relocation to Buenos Aires in portraits, cityscapes and commercial images that resonate with both the drama of the period and the couple’s surrealist humour and wit.

From Bauhaus to Buenos Aires: Grete Stern and Horacio Coppola

Museum of Modern Art, New York

May 17 to October 4


2015 is a year in which many of art history’s heroines receive a welcome and much-needed reassessment.

Barbara Hepworth was one of the world’s most successful artists in the 1950s, but when Tate Britain opens its retrospective in June it will be the British sculptor’s first major show in almost 50 years.

Similarly, Marlene Dumas is currently one of the world’s foremost portrait painters, but her work is largely unknown in the UK. That situation looks set to change when Tate Modern’s Marlene Dumas: the Image as Burden opens in February.

Bilbao should achieve something similar with Niki de Saint Phalle and a retrospective that promises to explore a career that managed to be complex, intellectual and political while also being joyous, paradoxical and profound.

Niki de Saint Phalle

Guggenheim Bilbao

February 27 to June 7


“Architecture defines a city, and no city has been defined by its architecture – or has influenced global architectural design – like Chicago.”

While plenty would argue with mayor Rahm Emanuel’s statement, his chutzpah isn’t entirely misplaced.

Chicago gave us “Form follows function”, steel-framed construction, the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition, Daniel Burnham, Louis Sullivan, the Prairie School and the 2008 Chicago Climate Action Plan, one of the world’s most ambitious programmes for urban sustainability; it will now add its own architectural biennial to the list.

The State of the Art of Architecture promises to be North America’s largest survey of contemporary international architecture. The title sounds like a statement when it should probably be a question, but let’s see what Chicago can achieve.

Chicago Architecture Biennial

October 2015 to January 2016