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Exhibitions worth travelling for

Exhibitions worth travelling for One of the most revolutionary aspects of travel? It turns the greatest masterpieces in human history from something you read about in books, to something you can see up close in real life. The Mona Lisa is always a train ride away in Paris, and even before then, admiring Van Gogh’s Sunflowers at the National Gallery is a life-affirming endeavour. Casting the net wider, it means that the world’s most important and creative exhibitions are available to us – all we have to do is hop, skip or jump over.

This year is a particularly interesting one, with dozens of significant art and design events taking place across the world involving the most popular innovators in world history. Fashionistas will adore Louboutin’s well-heeled retrospective, and if you’ve ever considered going to Madrid, it’s worth timing it with Magritte exhibition. Thinking of going transatlantic? Be one of the first to check out the Friedo Kahlo exhibition at the Cleve Carney Museum of Art. Even for those who aren’t art fans, these major and mainstream exhibitions are a perfect place to start – they might well turn you into a chin-stroking, turtleneck-wearing critic before you know it.

Which ones are the best of the best? We’ve picked our top five exhibitions for an artful holiday.
Christian Louboutin: L’Exhibition(iste), Paris, France

Christian Louboutin: L’Exhibition(iste), Paris, France

Ever wondered about the story those red soles? You’ll find out at the Palais de la Porte Dorée, where the timeline of Louboutin’s creativity is told in a fittingly spectacular fashion. The museum is a stone’s throw away from where he was brought up, and visitors delve into all the influences that led to his designs. The comprehensive, high-art shoe collection isn’t the only visual treat going on: each room is individually crafted to the highest degree. The Bhutanese theatre - sculpted in Bhutan and delivered to Paris by boat – is especially marvellous. Open now until July 26.
Studio 54: Night Magic, New York, USA

Studio 54: Night Magic, New York, USA

Studio 54, the nightclub where the seventies happened, is the stuff of legend. It was “a dictatorship at the door and a democracy on the dance floor” according to Andy Warhol, and we’d imagine clientele like Grace Jones, Liza Minelli and Mick Jagger would agree. The wild times are documented at a new exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum. Using footage, photos and paraphernalia, it covers its beginnings, the shenanigans, the seventies aesthetic, as well as the artistry of those who walked through its doors. If we can’t roll in Studio 54 on a Saturday night anymore, this is a solid second best. Opens March 13 until July 5.
The Munch Museum, Oslo, Norway

The Munch Museum, Oslo, Norway

There’s more to Munch than The Scream, and now you can find out everything you need to know under one roof. The new Munch Museum in Oslo – where he spent most of his life and where he died ¬– will house 28,000 works from the influential artist within its 13 floors (it’s one of the largest museums dedicated to one artist). Alongside these three permanent exhibitions dedicated to Munch, there’s space for temporary ones from local and international artists, with famed British artist Tracey Emin among those due to set up shop. Opens in Autumn 2020.
The Magritte Machine, Madrid, Spain

The Magritte Machine, Madrid, Spain

Fans of surrealist painter René Margritte are in for a treat as the Thyssen-Bornemisza National Museum compiles an extensive exhibition that looks at his career highlights. The exhibition brings together 70 works, including paintings, drawings, photographs and films. But you’ll need more time for it than you’d expect: with unusual things going on in his seemingly simple work, they’re asking to be studied in depth. The title and theme are based around Magritte dreaming up the idea of a “universal machine for making paintings”. This exhibition attempts to do that, but frankly that’s too conceptual for us to understand – it sounds like one to visit in person. Opens October 27 until February 28 2021.
Frida Kahlo 2020, Chicago, USA

Frida Kahlo 2020, Chicago, USA

Get ready for the biggest collection in 40 years of Frida Kahlo the Mexican artist, activist and feminist icon. The exhibitions at Chi-town’s Cleve Carney Museum of Art and the McAninch Arts Centre delves into her life, work, love and art. It explores the medical and health issues that plagued yet inspired her autobiographical work, and her fractious relationship with her husband, the revered artist Diego Rivera. Expect to see reproductions of her fashion, 100 photos, and 26 original oil paintings and drawings by Kahlo that are on loan from the Museo Dolores Olmedo in Mexico City. Opens on June 1 until August 31.
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