Getting Cultured: A 2019 Arts Preview

By Mario Mercado  •    •  December 27, 2018

Getting Cultured: A 2019 Arts Preview

By Mario Mercado  •  December 27, 2018


Mark your calendars. These are the must-see art shows, buzzed-about theatrical productions, and groundbreaking museums to visit in 2019.

 

New York City

 

On April 5, New York’s vibrant cultural life takes on added dimension with the opening of The Shed in the heart of the Hudson Yards development. Next to the High Line, the eight-level interdisciplinary arts center’s mind-bending design involves a superstructure that moves along tracks to reveal performance and exhibition spaces and an open-air plaza. Up first: a collaboration between painter Gerhard Richter and composers Arvo Pärt and Steve Reich, plus the world premiere of an elaborate concert production by Björk. • Several of the city’s major museums have ambitious plans this year: The Whitney Biennial promises an emphasis on emerging artists—the curators visited more than 300 artists’ studios throughout the United States (May 17–Sept. 22). At the Brooklyn Museum, fans of iconic Mexican painter Frida Kahlo will see her work in new light, thanks to displays of her identity-shaping clothing and jewelry (Feb. 8–May 12). And the Museum of Modern Art is set to increase its gallery space by 30 percent and add a theater, new public spaces, and easy access to the cherished Sculpture Garden. • Broadway’s most sought-after tickets this spring are a study in contrasts. The great Glenda Jackson emanates regal authority in the title role of Shakespeare’s King Lear (previews begin Feb. 28), while Moulin Rouge, a new musical based on the Baz Luhrmann film, re-creates the decadent world of the infamous Paris cabaret (previews begin June 28)

Where to Stay

 

Washington, D.C.

 

Pistols concealed in lipstick tubes and cyberwarfare are among the many aspects of espionage and intelligence revealed at the International Spy Museum, which opens a new, $162 million building on L’Enfant Plaza in May. Engaging exhibitions and interactive experiences draw James Bond wannabes of all ages, as do sweeping views of the capital from the roof. • The National Gallery of Art presents the landmark exhibition “Tintoretto: Artist of Renaissance Venice,” devoted to the Italian master, with loans from international museums and collections (March 10–July 7). • In September, the Kennedy Center extends its stretch along the Potomac River with The Reach, a series of three new pavilions for performance, education, and outdoor simulcasts and movies. Designed by architect Steven Holl, it’s the Center’s first major expansion in nearly 50 years.

Where to Stay

 

Dallas

 

On April 18-19, conductor Fabio Luisi leads the Dallas Symphony Orchestra in performances of works by Beethoven and American composer William Grant Still. It’s a prelude to the 2019-20 season, Luisi’s first as music director. Known for inventive programs, Luisi will conduct beloved classics as well as neglected masterworks, and commission new music. Concerts take place in the renowned Meyerson Symphony Hall, part of the city’s arts district. • Nearby, the recently renovated and expanded Crow Museum of Asian Art showcases prized collections of carved jade and a captivating, diaphanous site-specific installation, Nuvole (Clouds), by artist Jacob Hashimoto.

Where to Stay

 

Santa Fe

 

Judith Espinar is one of today’s foremost collectors of folk art and an advocate for handmade craft.  For the first time, treasures reflecting her experienced eye and cultivated taste—French ceramics, Ethiopian metalwork, Bolivian textiles—are on view at the Museum of International Folk Art (through Aug. 25). • For anyone inspired by Espinar’s example, the International Folk Art Market, which shows the work of artists from more than 60 countries, is indispensable for budding collectors (July 12-14). • Another summer highlight: Santa Fe Opera, whose festival season brings the world’s leading singers, conductors, directors, and designers to New Mexico for open-air performances that range from Mozart to Puccini and a world premiere of The Thirteenth Child, a fairytale opera by Danish composer Poul Ruders (June 28–Aug. 24).

Where to Stay

 

Puebla, Mexico

 

Opened in 2016, the International Museum of the Baroque is set in a dazzling, contemporary building by Japanese architect Toyo Ito. Devoted to the art and architecture of 17th- and 18th-century New Spain (Mexico)—in no short supply in this UNESCO World Heritage city—the museum is currently holding two special exhibitions. One assesses the legacy of the influential 17th-century painter Cristóbal de Villalpando, whose monumental works embellish the cathedrals of Mexico City and Puebla (through March 10). The other examines the influence of the Neo-Baroque on 20th-century and contemporary design in Mexico and beyond. 

Where to Stay

 

London

 

The last time Tate Britain held a major Van Gogh exhibit, in 1947, more than 157,000 people queued up—damaging the floors in the process. This year’s “Van Gogh and Britain” may prove just as popular. Assembling 45 works, it focuses on the artist’s early years in England, when he worked as an art dealer and teacher, and the lasting influence of British art and literature—including Constable, Dickens, and George Eliot—on his painting (March 27–Aug. 11). • At Southbank, the critically acclaimed 2017 revival of Stephen Sondheim’s Follies returns to the National Theatre with a starry cast directed by Dominic Cooke (from Feb. 12). • This season’s unprecedented presentation of all 20 one-act plays by British playwright Harold Pinter at the Pinter Theatre (through Feb. 23) is capped off with a bonus: a production of Betrayal, the Nobelist’s drama about romantic intrigue and deception, featuring the dashing Tom Hiddleston (from March 5). • The 19th-century architect John Soane, renowned for his eponymous house museum filled with paintings, antiquities, and books, also designed a country estate just east of London—Pitzhanger Manor. Now its intricate plasterwork, trompe l’oeil painted marbling, and bright Regency ceilings have been lovingly restored, and his original garden conservatory re-created. A gallery will showcase contemporary artists and designers, with an inaugural exhibit by Anish Kapoor (opens March 16)

Where to Stay

 

Paris

 

The Paris Opera is celebrating its 350th anniversary—Louis XIV established the company in 1669—at both the Palais Garnier and the Opéra Bastille with an exceptional season of opera and dance. Among the 15 new productions, highlights include baroque operas by Rameau and Scarlatti and contemporary works from choreographers Mats Ek, Paul Lightfoot, and Sol Léon. • An hour’s high-speed train ride from Paris, the magnificent châteaux of the Loire Valley will commemorate the 500th anniversary of the death of Leonardo da Vinci, who spent his final years at the Château du Clos Lucé. Amboise, Blois, Chambord, Chenonceau, and others will offer cultural tours, exhibitions, and festivals that reveal aspects of Da Vinci’s visionary imagination and enduring influence.

Where to Stay

 

Hong Kong

 

In January, the Xiqu Centre will be the first performing arts facility to open in the highly anticipated West Kowloon Cultural District. The striking building, suggestive of Chinese lanterns, will have two spaces for Chinese traditional theater and Cantonese opera—a 1,100-seat main stage and an intimate Tea House Theatre. • Nearby, the M+ Museum, designed by Herzog & de Meuron and dedicated to 20th-century and contemporary art, architecture, and moving image, is planned for completion by year’s end.  It will augment programming at the M+ Pavilion, a gallery for temporary exhibitions and film. • Art Basel: Hong Kong returns to the banks of Victoria Harbour in March, bringing hundreds of galleries—half of them from Asia—showcasing the region’s immense cultural diversity under one roof (March 29–31).

Where to Stay

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