The Display of Art: Exhibitions, Biennials, Salons: Art Exhibitions

Definitions and resources related to historical and contemporary exhibitions.

Art Exhibitions

Art exhibitions represent the gathering of art objects into a space for a temporary event. The exhibition or show may include work by a single artist, art works on a single topic or theme, from a specific era, in a defined medium, from a defined geographic region, or a combination of all of these. The space that houses the exhibition may be a public museum, a private gallery, a warehouse space, a coffeehouse, or anywhere that an audience can view the objects. 

The purpose of the exhibition may be to sell the art works or it may be solely educational. A juried show has an individual or panel acting as judge of submitted artworks and selecting which are to be shown. At an invitational show the organizer asks specific artists to supply artworks for exhibition. An open or non-juried exhibition allows anybody to enter artworks and shows them all.   

A solo exhibition includes the work of a single artist and is a mark of achievement and success. The solo show may include the artist's current work, work from a single time period, or may be a retrospective with representative work from different periods in the artist's career.  

Current Art Exhibitions

Call for Entries: Art Shows, Juried Exhibitions & Competitions for Artists: Part of where artists' portfolios, workshops and tutorials are also listed.    

Euromuse: Information on major exhibitions in European museums updated by the host museum. The database is searchable by date, by topic or by country. Each museum's information is available in the native language and in English.

The Year Ahead: the Guide to this Year's Art Exhibitions and Fairs Worldwide. Call Number: N4390 .Y43. London; New York: Umberto Allemandi & Co, c2002-. Annual guide published in January as a supplement to Art Newspaper.

History of Art Exhibitions

Hauptman, William. "Juries, Protests, and Counter-Exhibitions before 1850," Art Bulletin, v. 67, no. 1 (Mar. 1985), pp. 95-109. Seminal article on the early history of art exhibitions.

Pivotal Exhibitions

Armory Show 1913. Lauded as one of the most influential events in the history of American art, the Armory Show [in New York City] on February 17, 1913, ran to March 15 has a mythic legacy. The site presents a virtual tour of the show, brief commentary on each area of the exhibition, related essays and bibliography.

   There have been various publications about the Armory Show. These include: 

      The Armory Show at 100: Modernism and Revolution, Edited by Marilyn Satin Kushner and Kimberly Orcutt. (New York: New-York Historical Society; London: in association with D. Giles, [2013])

     1913 Armory show; 50th anniversary exhibition, 1963. Organized by Munson-Williams-Proctor Institute. ([Utica, 1963])

     Documents of the 1913 Armory Show : the Electrifying Moment of Modern Art’s American Debut. (Tucson : Hol Art Books, 2009)

Great Exhibition of the Industry of All Nations, 1851. The first in a series of World's Fair exhibitions of culture and industry that were to become a popular 19th-century feature. Website was prepared by the Spencer Research Library at the Univ. of Kansas.

Exhibition History of Specific Museums

Many art museums maintain an Archive Department with records and publications about the museum's history. If the museum doesn't have a formal archive, check their library for their own publications.  

Metropolitan Museum of Art Special Exhibitions 1870-2017. Compiled by the Metropolitan Museum of Art Archive, this record of titles and dates of special exhibitions at the museum is organized chronologically.   

Exhibition History List. Chronological list of exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art, New York since November 1929.

Exhibition History for the Art Institute of Chicago. Chronological list of exhibitions starting in 1883.

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