2016 looks to be a relatively low-key year for art tourism; there’s no Whitney Biennial (postponed to 2017), no Venice Biennale, no Pacific Standard Time, and no dOCUMENTA. In other words, there's a smaller-than-usual number of “obligatory” art trips—which is quite liberating. While you can almost always tack on a side excursion before or after an art fair, it can be more rewarding to plan a trip entirely around an urban center that has a strong arts scene all year long. Here are some places I’m particularly interested in visiting (or re-visiting) in 2016.
MEXICO CITY & GUADALAJARA
I first went to Mexico City last year and was blown away by the incredible energy that it has. There’s serious art being made there and no shortage of artist studios, galleries, and museums to visit. A few artist studio highlights include Omar Barquet and Pia Camil. Be sure to see Galería OMR's beautiful and light filled new space while stopping by other long-standing galleries like Arróniz Arte Contemporáneo and younger stars like Lulu and joségarcía. If you want to whet your palate with some history, head to the Museo Nacional de Antropología. Guadalajara also has numerous studios to visit including Jose Dávila, Jorge Méndez Blake, and Eduardo Sarabia to name a few. With a deep history of ceramics in the city, Cerámica Suro has an impressive collection of projects that collector José Noé Suro's factory has produced since 1993. Also, be sure to enjoy the various Luis Barragán projects scattered throughout Guadalajara.
L.A. is always a draw for its reliable sunshine and warmth, but lately its art scene has also been luring visitors. Artist-run spaces have been popping up left and right, including The Pit, Commonwealth & Council, and VACANCY. And with the recently opened Broad museum and the museum-like new Hauser & Wirth space (opening March 13), L.A. is fast evolving into a world-class art city.
Over the past 5 years, the Warsaw art scene has become recognized on the global art map thanks to galleries including RASTER, Kasia Michalski Gallery, Lokal_30, Foksal Gallery Foundation, and Dawid Radziszewski Gallery. Be sure to visit The Center for Contemporary Art Ujazdówski Castle for a world-class contemporary museum housed in a Baroque castle. The CCA also has a long-standing residency program called AiR Laboratory.
The numerous gallerists I have met from Copenhagen in the last year have blown me away with their warmth, intelligence, and excellent programming. Copenhagen is known for its beautiful views and rich quality of life, not to mention its culinary panache (Noma is back!); now add a great art scene comprised of top galleries and museums such as David Risley Gallery, Galleri Nicolai Wallner, Den Frie Centre of Contemporary Art, ARKEN Museum, and the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art.
With the recently opened branch of the MMCA (National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art), the renowned Leeum Samsung Foundation, and excellent galleries including Kukje and PKM, Seoul is a promising spot to visit in 2016. While en route to your snail facial (I kid you not—I hear it burns) don’t miss the Nam June Paik Art Center.
In late 2016 the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa will open, making it the first major museum in Africa dedicated to showing contemporary African art. The building, designed by Thomas Heatherwick, will scale 9 floors and have 65,000 square feet of exhibition space. While the artist list for the first exhibition is not announced yet, it is safe to assume that museum quality pieces from the Zeitz Collection including work by Chris Ofili, Kudzanai Chiurai, Wangechi Mutu, Hank Willis Thomas, and more will be on view in the coming years.
Head to Brazil for the 2016 Summer Olympics, but skip the crowds with a stop at Brumadinho to visit Inhotim, one of the largest open-air galleries in the world, spanning 5,000 acres of botanical gardens. A mix of work from Bernardo Paz’s stellar collection, Inhotim hosts installations by artisst Doug Aitken, Olafur Eliasson, and Cildo Meireles. I would, however, wait this trip out until there is more clarity on the Zika virus outbreak.