BY MATTEA PIESCH
If you’re an art fan, you may have already heard about one or more of the festivals listed below. However, contemporary art is evolving steadily and redefines itself all the time. We’re not just talking about art galleries and paintings, we’re also talking about the new urban art scene, where art combines music, dance, paintings, architecture, and so on. We had a close look at the art festivals taking place all over the world and picked 10 that stood out!
Venice Biennale, Venice, Italy
Dates: May 9 – November 22
What to expect: The Venice Biennale is a festival that combines contemporary art, architecture, music, theater, cinema, and dance. It takes place every two years and is the largest and most-visited contemporary art festival worldwide. Despite the fact that it collides with Art Basel, the Venice Biennale celebrates record-breaking visitor numbers every year. The Biennale takes place in venues all over the beautiful city.
Vienna Festival, Vienna, Austria
Dates: May 14 – June 21
What to expect: This festival is all about contemporary stage art. Thirty-nine productions from over 20 countries, spanning drama to dance to opera, will be shown at different venues all over Vienna. Be sure to check out the opening event in front of Vienna’s City Hall — entrance is free!
Art Basel, Basel, Switzerland
Dates: June 18 – June 21
What to expect: Art Basel displays the most famous contemporary art of the time. Founded in 1970, Art Basel has since added spinoff festivals in Hong Kong and Miami due to its high popularity. The show hosts 300 of the best art galleries from all over the world.
Afrika Burn, Tankwa Karoo National Park, South Africa
Dates: April 27 – May 3
What to expect: Think Burning Man but in a desert in South Africa. Once a year, a temporary city of art, costume, music, and performance is created by the volunteer culture of the citizens of Tankwa Town. Nothing is for sale at this festival since it is a decommodified zone that’s about giving without expecting anything in return.
California Roots Music and Art Festival, Monterey, CA
Dates: May 22 – May 24
What to expect: Welcome to your happy place! This festival is all about good vibes and positivity. Besides musical performances by roots and reggae artists, the festival also shows a lot of DIY projects and local art.
Phases of the Moon Music & Art Festival, Mulberry Mountain, AR
Dates: Oct 16 – Oct 18
What to expect: Another festival that mixes music and art! Grassroots music and interactive art give this festival a spiritual vibe. Artwork plays a big part in this event and pieces from renowned national artists as well as local artists can be seen on display. If you get tired from all the art, there’s also a sanctuary where you can relax or do yoga.
Frieze Art Fair, New York
Dates: May 14 – May 17
What to expect: Frieze New York brings together the most fascinating contemporary art galleries from around the globe and takes place in a serpentine structure overlooking the East River. Besides the gallery exhibitions, Frieze also offers workshops, talks, and education programs.
Galway International Arts Festival, Galway, Ireland
Dates: June 13 – June 26
What to expect: This festival combines comedy, art, literature, music, and dance. The biggest art festival in Ireland, it wows critics every year. Besides established artists and musicians, the festival also makes room for a lot of local artists and newcomers. Make sure to check out the beautiful historic city center of Galway while you’re there.
Istanbul Biennale, Istanbul, Turkey
Dates: September 5 – November 1
What to expect: The International Istanbul Biennale is a meeting point in the field of visual arts for artists from different cultures and backgrounds. Every two years, the Biennale takes place in Istanbul and offers art exhibitions as well as educational programs and dialogues with the artists. The directors try to make the Biennale a very personal event for visitors as well as the artists.
Edinburgh Art Festival, Scotland
Dates: July 30 – August 30
What to expect: Edinburgh Art Festival is the UK’s largest annual festival of visual art. The festival includes contemporary art galleries as well as major solo and survey shows of artists from the 20th Century. The majority of exhibitions are free to attend.