March has arrived, although spring most certainly has not, with temperatures plummeting ever further below zero. But that’s no excuse to stay indoors—as our calendar of excellent new art shows, performances and fairs opening this month attests. Our guide to the best art events in March spans everything from the David Bowie blockbuster sprinkling stardust on New York, to Tate Modern’s first ever solo Picasso exhibition, all the way to the anticipated Hong Kong edition of Art Basel. So, without further ado, it’s time to get up off the sofa, into your thermals and off to a gallery space near you. Happy March!
Irving Penn: Centennial
C/O Berlin, 24 March – 1st July
This year marks the centennial of legendary photographer Irving Penn, whose groundbreaking oeuvre spanned everything from celebrity portraiture through to exquisite still lifes. Penn was also responsible for countless fashion shoots for Vogue that served to elevate fashion photography to its current art form status. Now Berliners can revel in Penn’s mastery for themselves, courtesy of The Met’s stunning retrospective of the imagemaker’s work, newly relocated from New York to C/O Berlin. The display will feature some 240 photographs, each as mesmeric as the next.
Picasso 1932 – Love, Fame, Tragedy
Tate Modern, London
8 March – 9 September
Tate Modern’s first ever Picasso solo show takes a unique and original approach to showcasing the work of the trailblazing artist. The exhibition zooms in on one particularly creative year in Picasso’s life – 1932 – and focuses on his relationship with his muse and mistress, Marie-Thérèse Walter, who was only 17 years old when they met. It’s set to be a charged, complex and detailed looked into the life and work of an icon whose art and romantic life were so frequently intertwined.
H Queen’s, Hong Kong
2 March – 15 April
Hong Kong once again captured the art world’s attention this year with H Queen’s: a luxury monolith dedicated to fine cuisine, luxury shopping, and world-class art from South East Asia and beyond. 11 of H Queen’s’ formidable 24 stories were custom-built to house galleries, with UV-coated glass and expansive open floor plans — and several impressive international presences, including David Zwirner and Tang Contemporary Art, already call H Queen’s home. To coincide with Art Basel Hong Kong 2018, Pace Gallery and Hauser & Wirth will officially open their doors in H Queen’s, with shows by Yoshitomo Nara and Mark Bradford respectively. If you like the sound of seeing cute-yet-spiritual paintings or mixed-media abstractionist works in a setting like no other, this one’s for you.
March 8 – 11
Armory Week 2018 could be more accurately referred to as Armory Fortnight, with a vast programme of events, fairs and shows stretching across the better part of two weeks. Undoubtedly the core of Armory Week is the eponymous show, now under the directorship of Nicole Berry, who aims to highlight the “emotional and intellectual value” of the art presented by no less than 198 galleries. We’re particularly excited to see what Gabriel Ritter will do with the “Focus” sector, dedicated to exploring the body and technology.
Mona Saudi: Poetry and Form
Sharjah Art Museum, United Arab Emirates
7 March – 7 June
Mona Saudi is perhaps best known for her sculpture work, which has taken on a new currency in an age where being “highly Instagrammable” adds a certain veneer to art. Indeed, her works in white marble, pink limestone, jade and black diorite would undoubtedly make a great addition to anyone’s feed. But her latest exhibition, “Poetry and Form”, transcends Saudi’s obvious visual appeal, incorporating her paintings and drawings into a formidable retrospective of work from the mid-1960s to present. We’re hoping for a deep-dive into Saudi’s fixations with the body, fertility and growth, and a comprehensive look into her creative development over the past 50 years.
Soulnessless – Terre Thaemlitz
Martin Gropius Bau, Berlin
17 – 18 March
Musical polymath Terre Thaemlitz a.k.a. transgender house DJ and producer DJ Sprinkles is putting on a one-of-kind event at Martin Gropius Bau. Over the course of 30 hours, she will play “Soulnessless” – dubbed the “World’s Longest Album in History” – on piano. This is likely to be an immersive and spellbinding performance, culminating in one of DJ Sprinkles’ acclaimed “Deeperama” sets, which celebrate the queer roots of deep house.
Hong Kong Basel
Convention and Exhibition Centre, Hong Kong
9 – 31 March
In recent years Hong Kong has grown to be the world’s third-largest art market, after New York and London. The sixth Hong Kong edition of Art Basel is sure to reflect this thriving climate, with half of the exhibiting galleries hailing from Asia and Asia-Pacific, including 24 HK-based galleries. Expect a diverse mix of emerging and established artists, painting, sculpture, immersive installation and film.
David Bowie Is
Brooklyn Museum, New York
2 March – 15 July
New Yorkers: don’t miss the chance to immerse yourselves in the inimitable universe of David Bowie via newly opened retrospective, “David Bowie Is”, at the Brooklyn Museum. The fêted blockbuster — which began its global tour at London’s V&A in 2013 — presents over 400 objects to take visitors on a unique, multi-sensory journey through the starman’s remarkable life. This is a rare chance to take an up-close look at Bowie’s chameleonic costumes, hand-scribed lyric sheets and much, much more.
A Slight Shift
Sous Les Etoiles Gallery, New York
1 March – 14 April
A group exhibition at New York’s Sous Les Etoiles Gallery offers a welcome opportunity to revisit the work of balloon-centric French artist Charles Pétillon. Titled “A Slight Shift”, and also featuring the work of Javier Riera and Barry Underwood, the show considers the ways in which installation art can challenge landscape as both medium and subject matter. Pétillon’s offering is a series of magical large-scale installations which place clusters of balloons among landscapes, with results that are both fantastical and haunting, posing questions about the human invasion of natural environments.
Sondra Perry: Typhoon Coming On
Serpentine Sackler Gallery, London
6 March – 20 May
Sondra Perry’s work investigates the relationship between black identity, power structures and digital media through a variety of mediums including video, performance and installation. We can’t wait for her latest London exhibition, promising a thought-provoking, original and timely exploration into the shifting nature of black identity and the utilisation of technology to tackle oppression.
Nick Mauss: Transitions
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York
16 March – 14 May
Artist and curator Nick Mauss attempts to cover new ground in the exploration of modernist ballet at the Whitney Museum using his own musical scores, decor, and live performance. “Transitions” also makes use of other items from the museum’s collection, the Kinsey Institute, and the Dance Division of the New York Library. The exhibition will focus on New York’s role in modernist ballet’s transatlantic history and its intersection with fashion, theatre and visual arts as a whole, including critical responses from contemporary dancers.
Margiela / Galliera, 1989-2009
The Palais Galliera, Paris
3 March – 15 July
The Palais Galliera is hosting the first retrospective of Martin Margiela’s work at his eponymous label from 1989 to 2009, charting a career that saw the designer disrupt the industry and attain his status as one of the world’s most renowned fashion rule breakers. Margiela’s unique approach to dress started at Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp, where he perfected his vision of conceptual design through experimenting with scale, deconstruction and trompe-l’oeil, marking the start of an exceptional journey.