With 2018 drawing to a close, it’s a great time to look back and take stock of the year that’s passed before we turn and start to anticipate the year that’s yet to come. It’s been an exciting year in the art world, both for established names and hungry, new artists who are all about finding the cutting edge and pushing it yet further.
As is usual for Art Basel, 2018 was a packed year. Just their final show – the recently concluded Art Basel Miami Beach in early December – was richly stocked with both spectacle and deep consideration of the art world as well as exciting new works.
One of the highlights of the show was the celebration of Act One – the exclusive art journal – an evening event at an exclusive hotel transformed into a Garden of Eden wonderland with the help of sculptures lent by Russian art supremo Zurab Tsereteli.
With a programme of panel discussions about some of the most vital issues facing the art world today, and a stunning installation/performance piece inaugurating Art Basel’s Grand Ballroom, this was a show that finished the year on a high note for the artists, for the organisation and for contemporary art as an institution.
London, as a bastion of old world culture as well as innovative art and design, put on a strong showing through the year in its museums and galleries, serving the public more than collectors and buyers.
Good Grief, Charlie Brown is on in Somerset House through to March 2019, so if you’ve not had the chance to take it in already, this celebration of Charles M Schulz’ iconic comic strip can be a treat for the dark days after Christmas. Loneliness, anxiety and alienation might not sound like the perfect recipe for the funny pages but this exhibition shows how Schulz turned them into an immortal and, yes, comic exploration of the human condition.
Lasting till just after Christmas in the National Gallery is hosting an exhibition of Mantegna and Bellini’s greatest works, and there’s an odd parallel to the Peanuts strips here. While Schulz made deftly, darkly comic work of some of the most heart wrenching aspects of human nature, these Renaissance masters took on some of the brutal scenes of suffering in the bible, transforming torture and martyrdoms into works of transcendent beauty. This is a dense exhibition with lots of background information to absorb, so you’ll step out if its galleried informed, entertained and educated.