New works by the artist in the last year include Purple (2017), first shown at the Barbican Art Gallery; Precarity (2017), commissioned by Prospect.4 in New Orleans and, most recently, Mimesis: African Soldier (2018), currently at the Imperial War Museum in London. The first survey of Akomfrah’s work in the United States also opened at the New Museum in the summer.
The German painter turned 80 this year and has been fêted with exhibitions around Europe and the US, including a retrospective at the Fondation Beyeler that travelled to the Hirshhorn and a drawings and prints show at the Kunstmuseum Basel. And to coincide with Frieze in London, Thaddaeus Ropac presented paintings from the 1980s.
Three exhibitions by the same artist in the same city is a major event. The National Gallery, National Portrait Gallery and Royal Academy chose to present her still lifes, portraits, and landscapes, in media including film, photography and painting. In July, the Fruitmarket Gallery in Edinburgh focused on Dean’s interest in theatre and performance.
Jonas’s retrospective at Tate Modern, in which she performed old and new works as part of a 10-day-long live programme, was a chance for new audiences to see the pioneering performance and video artist in action – and experience her disregard for genres.
Paula Rego has long been one of Britain’s leading painters. This year her unsettling paintings have appeared in ‘All Too Human’ at Tate Britain, and in a large solo exhibition at the Musée de l’Orangerie in Paris. A selection of the artist’s lithographs also went on show at Marlborough in London in September.
Sherald is best known for her paintings of African Americans. By far the most famous of these is her official portrait of Michelle Obama, which was unveiled at the Smithsonian in February. Shortly afterwards, Sherald joined the roster of Hauser & Wirth; in May, her first solo museum exhibition opened at the Contemporary Art Museum St Louis.
The Shortlists | Acquisition of the Year | Book of the Year | Digital Innovation of the Year | Exhibition of the Year | Museum Opening of the Year