The biggest art news of 2020

It's been a year of new developments to say the least! As always, the creative world has rolled with the punches and become more innovative than ever before. Ahead of November's announcement of a second lockdown, we saw a huge increase in online events - including the first digital London Fashion Week - along with COVID-19 inspired street art and yet another shocking Banksy auction.

Plus it was great to find that we're not the only ones celebrating our anniversary this year (find out more about this here), as both Tate Modern and the Metropolitan Museum of Art toasted landmark achievements. Read on to discover our top headlines from 2020. 

Pictured: The Van Gogh Alive project at Birmingham Hippodrome (credit: Pamela Raith) and COVID-19 inspired street art in Wynwood, Miami (credit: Ussama Azam). 

It’s official: online events were one of the biggest trends this autumn/winter season. In September 2020, Art Basel Hong Kong attracted over 250,000 digital visitors, while institutions like the British Museum, MoMA and Somerset House have also embraced virtual exhibitions. Fusing art with cutting-edge technology, galleries are creating innovative ways to immerse visitors in multisensory experiences. The Van Gogh Alive project at the Birmingham Hippodrome combines light, colour, sound and fragrance to give audiences the sense of walking straight into one of the artist’s paintings. In France, Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dalí and Gustav Klimt have been reimagined for the 21st century.

Since the coronavirus outbreak, graffiti artists have taken to the streets to express their messages of solidarity. From London to Kenya, Amsterdam, Brazil and Australia, colourful murals have lit up cities and social media feeds around the world. Banksy hit the headlines when he was caught on video on the London Underground in July 2020. Disguised as a cleaner, he created a tongue-in-cheek mural featuring rats sneezing and holding hand sanitiser. Unfortunately for commuters, TfL later destroyed the artwork as it violated their strict antigraffiti policy.

Dubbed ‘the Beyoncé of art history’ by Telegraph critic Alastair Sooke, the Italian Baroque painter Artemisia Gentileschi became the first female artist to have a major exhibition at the National Gallery in London. Considered one of the most accomplished artists of the 17th century, Gentileschi worked in the style of Caravaggio and her paintings show strong female protagonists and the oppression of female figures from myths and the Bible. 

In October 2020, Banksy was back in the news when he sold his unique interpretation of ‘Bridge Over a Pond of Water Lilies’ at Sotheby’s for £7.5m. Titled ‘Show me the Monet’, the painting forms part of his Crude Oils series, which remixes famous artworks. 

And it’s not just us celebrating this year! Toasting 150 years and 20 years respectively, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and Tate Modern in London bring the power of art to millions of people each year. Tate Modern’s spectacular collection features British and international works from 1900 until the present day, including masterpieces like ‘The Kiss’ by Auguste Rodin and ‘A Young Lady’s Adventure’ by Paul Klee. Over on 5th Avenue in NYC, the Met Museum showcases over two million pieces, spanning 5,000 years of art.

Pictured: (above) 'Self Portrait as Saint Catherine of Alexandria' by Artemisia Gentileschi (credit: James Laing) and Tate Modern in London (credit: Maria Teneva). 

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