Exhibitions To See Around The World During The Holidays


With Christmas nearly upon us, Culture Trip rounds up a selection of the must-see exhibitions and collections you can visit over the holidays if your family gets to be too much, you’re at a loose end, or you simply just can’t take anymore Christmas television.

Permanent Collection at Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

With its excellent collection of Johannes Vermeers, the Rijksmuseum is the ideal location for a meander on Christmas Day. The stunning building, designed by the Dutch architect Pierre Cuypers in 1885, merges Gothic and Renaissance styles and is as impressive as the works on display. Highlights include Rembrandt’s The Night Watch and Vermeer’s The Milk Maid.

Opening hours: Daily, 9am-5pm including Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day.

Johannes Vermeer ‘The Milkmaid’, 1660 | © The Rijksmuseum / Wikicommons

Pipilotti Rist: Pixel Forest at New Museum, New York

Get immersed in the Swiss artist’s wonderfully interactive multimedia work, which includes all-encompassing video installations and unlikely encounters in her first New York survey. Taking over the three main floors of the museum, the works on show span Rist’s entire career, from early single-channel videos that explore popular culture’s representation of the female body to her transformative and entrancing creations. If you’re after something unexpected and relaxing, then make a beeline for this before it closes on January 15, 2017.

Opening hours:  December 23-24, 11am-6pm; Closed Christmas Day; December 26-28, 11-6pm; December 29, 11am-9pm; December 30-31, 11am-6pm. Closed January 1 and 2, 2017.

Pipilotti Rist, ‘Open My Glade’ (Flatten), 2000 | © Pipilotti Rist. Courtesy the artist, Hauser & Wirth, and Luhring Augustine. Installation photo: Maris Hutchinson / EPW Studio, courtesy New Museum.

Ai Weiwei: Libero at Fondazione Palazzo Strozzi, Florence

Open throughout the holidays, this major retrospective of Ai Weiwei is a fantastic opportunity to see the influential Chinese artist’s politically provocative work within the the Renaissance palace. Spanning Weiwei’s four-decade career, the galleries have been transformed, featuring hundreds of bicycles and specially-created wallpaper, whilst the exteriors of the building have been kitted out with lifeboats to highlight the ongoing plight of refugees.

Opening hours: Daily, including holidays, 10am-8pm; Thursdays, 10am-11pm.

Ai Weiwei ‘Reframe’ | © Courtesy of Alessandro Moggi

Fiona Tan: Geography of Time at MMK 1, Frankfurt am Main

Focusing on the major film works by Dutch artist Fiona Tan, Geography of Time at MMK 1 is must-see introduction to an artist who explores the power of memory on our interpretation of history and the present. Film works are presented within Tan’s intriguingly-designed architectural installations, so it feels as if you’re stepping into the very worlds she films.

Opening hours: December 22-23, 10am-6pm; Closed December 24; Christmas Day, 10am-6pm; December 26, 10am-6pm; Closed December 31; January 1 2017, 10am-6pm.

Fiona Tan, Ghost Dwellings I-III, 2014. Installation view MMK Museum für Moderne Kunst Frankfurt am Main | © Courtesy the artist and Frith Street Gallery, London. Photo: Axel Schneider

Bedwyr Williams: The Glutch at Barbican Curve Gallery, London

Welsh artist Bedwyr Williams takes you on a surreal journey through numerous immersive installations where singing shoes, sand dunes, a talking mountain goat, and a race track all add to the obscure narrative of this exciting young artist. This show is the perfect antidote to Christmas gorging, and is fun for all the family.

Opening hours: December 22 and 23, 10am-9pm; Closed Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day; December 27 and 28, 10am-6pm; December 29 and 30, 10am-9pm; December 31 and January 1, 10am-6pm.

Bedwyr Williams, The Gulch, The Curve, Barbican | © Max Colson

Give Me Yesterday at Fondazione Prada Osservatorio, Milan

To inaugurate their new photography-dedicated gallery located in Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, the Fondazione Prada present Give Me Yesterday. Displayed over the unique 800-square-foot gallery are the works of 14 Italian and international artists including Leigh Ledare, Wen Ling, Ryan McGinley, Izumi Miyazaki, Joanna Piotrowska and Greg Reynolds, who use photography to create personal visual diaries.

Opening hours: December 22, 10am-7pm; December 23-24, 10am-8pm; Closed Christmas Day; December 26, 10-7pm; December 28-29, 10am-7pm; December 30, 10am-8pm; Closed New Year’s Day.

Ryan McGinley, Dakota (Hair), 2004 | © Ryan McGinley, Courtesy Team Gallery

Francis Bacon: From Picasso to Velázquez at Guggenheim Bilbao

This extensive exhibition of nearly 80 paintings looks at the influence of French and Spanish cultures on Francis Bacon’s practice. Rarely exhibited portraits, nudes and landscapes are displayed alongside the works of Old Masters and 19th Century painters who inspired the Irish-born British artist, making for a rich and insightful take on the fascinating figurative painter. You can also experience Bacon’s studio through an interactive headset.

Installation view: Francis Bacon: From Picasso to Velázquez. | © Guggenheim Bilbao

Opening hours: December 22-23, 10am-8pm; Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, 10am-5pm; Closed Christmas Day; December 26-30, 10am-8pm. Closed New Year’s Day.

Urban Light and Levitated Mass at LACMA, Los Angeles

You could spend an entire day at the expansive exhibition halls and galleries of LACMA and still not see everything. So if you just fancy a stroll in LA’s sunny winter weather, then head straight for Chris Burden’s Urban Light installation and Michael Heizer’s Levitated Mass in the museum’s grounds, where you can capture enviable Instagram shots.

Opening hours: December 22, 11am-5pm, December 23, 11am-8pm, December 24, 10am-7pm. Closed Christmas Day; December 26-January 8, 2017 10am-8pm (including Wednesdays).

Chris Burden, Urban Light.