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Exceptional Exhibits: 5 Major Museum Shows for 2009

Here is a selection of exhibits encompassing the new, the old, the avant-garde and the traditional that you may like to consider while traveling to cities around the world.

2009 promises to be a stellar year for the arts around the world with the display and installation of some outstanding art exhibitions. Here is a selection of exhibits encompassing the new, the old, the avant-garde and the traditional that you may like to consider while traveling from London to Frankfurt, Beijing to New York.

Where: London, England
What: "Altermodern: Tate Triennial 2009" at Tate Britain
When: February 3 to April 26, 2009

The fourth triennial to be held within the hallowed halls of London's Tate Britain (, "Altermodern" is an exceptional introduction to contemporary British art and works by international artists with similar themes. The exhibition covers a multitude of artistic genres, from installation to painting, film, and sculpture. Curated by Nicolas Bourriaud, co-founder of the influential Palais de Tokyo Gallery in Paris, "Altermodern" will also showcase a number of cutting edge new artists and works never shown in public before. The term "Altermodern" was coined by Bourriaud to describe how artists respond to the increasingly global context in which we all now live. The exhibit will be open daily from 10am to 4:40pm, plus on the first Friday of each month, the gallery is open from 6pm-10pm. Admission to Tate Britain is free. event listing:

Where: New York City, United States
What: "Into the Sunset: Photography's Image of the American West" at MoMA
When: March 29 to June 8, 2009

Known for its phenomenal permanent collection, the Museum of Modern Art ( also has a reputation for impressive temporary exhibits. "Into the Sunset: Photography's Image of the American West" examines how photography has portrayed the American West from 1850 to the present. For over 150 years, the way we perceive the West has largely been influenced by the way photographers have captured iconic and everyday images from settlement, through the era of the Wild West to the present. This exhibition considers the medium's role in shaping our collective imagination of the West and features over 120 photographs organized thematically. "Into the Sunset" includes photographs from three centuries, incorporating a range of artistic strategies, motifs, and concerns, showcasing the work of some 70 photographers, including Cindy Sherman, Joel Sternfeld, Robert Adams, Timothy O'Sullivan, John Baldessari, Dorothea Lange, Carleton E. Watkins, and Edward Weston. MOMA is open Wednesday to Monday from 10:30am to 5:30pm (8pm on Fridays) and admission is $20 for adults, $16 for seniors, $12 for students, and free for children under 16.

Where: Madrid, Spain
What: "Francis Bacon" at Museo Nacional del Prado
When: February 3 to April 19, 2009

2009 marks what would have been famed Irish-born artist Francis Bacon's centenary and in his honor, the Museo del Prado in Madrid ( will put on a retrospective of the artist's most prominent paintings. The touring exhibition will also appear at the New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art later in the year. Known for often depicting grotesque and macabre figures, Bacon is widely considered one of the most singular and influential painters of the 20th century and this is the first large-scael exhibition of his work since his death. In Madrid, the exhibition has a special meaning due to the fact that Bacon was strongly influenced by Spanish masters like Velázquez and Goya, he frequently visited the Prado during the last years of his life and because he died in Madrid on April 28 1992. The Prado is open Tuesday to Sunday from 9:00am to 8:00pm and admission to the permanent collection is free but exhibition tickets are €6 for adults, €3 for students and free for children under 18. event listing:

Where: Frankfurt, Germany
What: "Bauhaus twenty-21: An Ongoing Legacy" at Deutsches Architekturmuseum (DAM)
When: March 7 to April 26, 2009

To commemorate the 90th anniversary of the founding of the Bauhaus architectural movement, Frankfurt's German Architecture Museum ( hosts "Bauhaus twenty-21: An Ongoing Legacy." The exhibition will then move on to Poland (Krakow International Cultural Centre) from May 8 to July 5, Slovenia (Ljubljana National Gallery) from July 16 to September 13 and Belgium (Brussels Centre International pour la Ville) from September 24 to November 22, 2009. The exhibition will showcase twelve of the most iconic achievements of Bauhaus architecture built before 1933, paired with 12 projects built in this century by a group of up-and-coming as well as internationally prominent contemporary designers influenced by the Bauhaus style.

Bauhaus's most famous practitioners included Walter Gropius, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Hannes Meyer, Georg Muche, Adolf Meyer, and Richard Paulick. Reproductions of the plans presented with short texts will highlight each of the twelve Bauhaus buildings' most significant architectural characteristics, while demonstrating their innovative design. Interpretative images will illustrate each of the buildings as they stand today, demonstrating the timelessness of these architectural landmarks. Each of the contemporary buildings will be featured through photographs, a set of plans and a short text exploring its formal and theoretical relationship to the Bauhaus. In addition to the 24 architectural projects the exhibition will present re-editions of Bauhaus furniture and objects designed before 1933 and still manufactured today by companies such as Knoll, Tecnolumen, Tecta, and Thonet. DAM is open Tuesday to Sunday from 11am to 6pm (Wednesday until 8pm) and admission is €6 for adults, €5 for students, and €3 for children. event listing:

Where: Beijing, China

What: "Qiu Zhijie: Breaking Through the Ice" at Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (UCCA)
When: February 15 to May 15, 2009

UCCA (, the only contemporary art exhibition center in China with the backing of a private foundation, is located in Beijing's famous 798 arts district. "Breaking Through the Ice" by conceptual artist Qiu Zhijie features totally new works commissioned especially for this exhibition. The exhibit's theme is man's desire to build gigantic structures and their related systems within Chinese industrial history. Conceived as a huge sinking ship that engages the audience through the industrial transformations of China, this highly experimental show displays a wide variety of works ranging from sculpture and installation to ink paintings and photographs. Viewed together these works explore the ill-fated implications of massive industrial state enterprises for the individual mind, private life, history, philosophy and environment.

Qiu Zhijie is recognized as one of the leading figures of China's next generation of artists. His artistic orientation, theory ,and curating have been the driving force of several Chinese art movements and he inspires a new generation of artists through his work at the China Academy of Art in Beijing. Qiu Zhijie's creative output encompasses photography, video, calligraphy, painting, installation, and performance art. UCCA is open Tuesday to Sunday from 10am to 7pm. Admission is 15 RMB for adults, free on Thursdays, and free for students and children at all times.

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