All of the art, fashion and design exhibitions I want to see in 2012

2012 looks set to be an incredible year in art and design with more blockbuster exhibitions scheduled than I’ve seen in ages. I don’t think I’ve ever had so many things bookmarked in my to-see folder, although a large chunk of them are abroad which will probably cut down on actual visits.

Here are my cultural highlights for the upcoming year…

Azzedine Alaïa in the 21st Century
11 December 2011 – 6 March 2012
Groninger Museum, Groningen, Netherlands
A strangely un-promoted celebration of Alaïa, should you be in the Netherlands this spring and in need of some fashionable inspiration.

David Hockney RA: A Bigger Picture
21 January – 09 April 2012
Royal Academy of Arts, London
Set to do for the Royal Academy what Da Vinci is currently doing for the National Gallery, this enormo exhibition will house the first major collection of landscape works by Mr Hockney, including a series of newly created pieces as well as works spanning his 50-year career.

Queen Elizabeth II by Cecil Beaton
08 February – 22 April 2012
V&A, London
HRH kicks off her Diamond Jubilee year with an exhibition collating royal photographer Cecil Beaton’s best portraits of Lizzy, from childhood to throne. My favourite picture (SPOILER!!) is this brooding shot of the Queen in a striking cape – what a beaut.

Lucian Freud: Portraits
09 February – 27 May 2012
National Portrait Gallery, London
Scream! A major exhibition of pretty much all of Mr Freud’s finest portraits, with works spanning the late great’s 70-year-career. I imagine this will be a sell-out, so make haste and book now. Don’t forget to go to the Chandos afterwards for a pint to recover.

Yayoi Kusama
09 February – 05 June 2012
Tate Modern, London
The art world’s most famous spot-obsessive takes over a whole floor of the Tate with sculptures, mazes and installations. Trippy!

Picasso and Modern British Art
15 February – 15 July 2012
Tate Britain, London
I’m not the biggest Picasso fan (actually, I hate him), but this exhibition should be interesting anyway as it looks not just at his work, but his inescapable influence on a whole generation of British artists. Work from more than 50 artists who he inspired will be on display at the Tate this spring, including my personal preferences Wyndham Lewis and Henry Moore.

Louis Vuitton and Marc Jacobs
09 March – 16 September 2012
Les Arts Décoratifs, Paris
With everything still to play for in the Dior race, this nicely-timed exhibition celebrates Marc Jacobs’ contribution to the LV label over the last 14 years, as well as looking back at the works of the IRL Mr Louis Vuitton himself and attempting to draw parallels between the two chaps. Clue: it’s facial hair.

Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel
March 2012
Museo Fortuny, Venice, Italy
My favourite museum in Italy is set to celebrate the life and works of fashion editor extraordinaire, Diana Vreeland at this carefully curated exhibition. Details are shady at present and the Fortuny site is a bastard to use, but stay tuned – if I find out more, I shall update.

Designing Women
16 March – 16 June 2012
Fashion and Textile Museum, London
One of my favourite museums on one of my favourite South London streets celebrates the art of textile design in post-war Britain, with a collection of works from the marvellous trio of Lucienne Day, Jacqueline Groag and Marian Mahler. Mid-century textile fans, steady yourselves.

Transformation and Revelation: Gormley to Gaga
17 March 2012 – 30 September 2013
V&A, London
This small but perfectly formed free exhibition looks at design for performance over the last five years, providing an insight into the creative processes of 30 set designers including Es Devlin who has created incredible sets for the likes of Gaga, the Pet Shop Boys and Take That’s giant man. Oh and Es is also designing the closing ceremony for the Olympics, so this’ll be a nice way to familiarise yourself with her work beforehand.

Yves Saint Laurent: The Retrospective
25 March – 8 July 2012
Denver Art Museum, Denver, Colorado
Go bananas for YSL at this indepth exhibition, which boasts more than 200 pieces of incredible YSL as well as photographs, drawings and films.

Gillian Wearing
28 March – 17 June 2012
Whitechapel Gallery, London
Major retrospective of the Turner Prize winner’s photographs and films, exploring public and priviate ideas of identity. Whitechapel Gallery = best bookshop + cafe.

Christian Louboutin
28 March – 01 July 2012
Design Museum, London
The first ever exhibition dedicated to the world’s most famous footwear designer, featuring all of his famous designs and a few lesser known treats. I imagine the opening party will be rad and am already planning how to get an invite. Bloody love the Design Museum and it’s proper near a good Sam Smith pub.

British Design 1948 – 2012: Innovation in the Modern Age
31 March – 12 August 2012
V&A, London
As 2012 increasingly turns into a ‘YAY BRITAIN IS AWESOME’-fest, the V&A squeezes in another exhibition marking stuff what we’re good at. This celebration of the best of British post-war design covers just about everything from iconic 60s fashion to my favourite mid-century furniture, household ceramics and sculpture. I bet the gift shop will be AWESOME.

Damien Hirst
04 April – 09 September 2012
Tate Modern, London
Ol’ shark-butcher himself gets his first proper retrospective at the Tate this spring, with all his iconic works on display including – YES! – the glorious platinum and diamond skull.

Bauhaus: Art as Life
03 May – 12 August 2012
Barbican, London
A celebration of the world’s most famous art school at the most amazing building in London. All the usual suspects are covered with painting, sculpture, textiles and installations from the likes of Kandinsky, Klee and my step-dad’s number one, Moholy-Nagy.

Elsa Schiaparelli and Miuccia Prada: On Fashion
10 May – 19 August
Met Museum, New York, New York
Easily the greatest fashion exhibition of the year (even though we don’t know too much about it yet), this treat of a concept combines together two of the greatest Italian designers of all time in one spectacular show, which promises to explore affinities between the two women. Would it be weird to go to New York for the weekend for this? I mean… 1920s surrealism x 1990s Prada = two of my favourite things.

The Queen: Art and Image
17 May – 21 October 2012
National Portrait Gallery, London
My birthday sees the opening of this rad exhibition, featuring sixty of the most interesting portraits of HRH. Another one to mark the jubilee, works here come from a diverse range of artists including Andy Warhol, Dorothy Wilding and lovely Chris Levine (whose portrait is my personal favourite).

Ballgowns: British Glamour Since 1950
19 May 2012 – 06 January 2013
V&A, London
The V&A celebrates the reopening of its Fashion Galleries with two whole shiny floors of spectacular dresses, covering designers from Normal Hartnell (and a few other royal designers, it is the jubilee right?)  to Hussein Chalayan and McQueen.

She Lay Down Deep Beneath the Sea
26 May – 23 September 2012
Turner Contemporary, Margate
Tracey Emin makes a triumphant return to her hometown at this exhibition in sunny ol’ Margate. Topics are all Emin’s usual suspects (love, sex, relationships and they’re imagined in drawings, prints, sculpture and plenty of her glorious neon.

Van Cleef & Arpels
20 September – 10 February 2013
Les Arts Décoratifs, Paris
A sparkling celebration of the legendary jewellery label, with 400 pieces dating back from the brand’s inception in 1906 – including Wallis Simpson’s Zip necklace.

ETA There are loads, and loads, and loads more exhibitions on in 2012 – this is just what I want to see. Definitely going to be the year I get cultured up to the eyeballs.

5 thoughts on “All of the art, fashion and design exhibitions I want to see in 2012

  1. This is an awesome list and a really neat idea. Naturally I am going to bookmark it and then copy you by starting a year with a list of things to check out and tick off.

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