These Are the Must-See Art Exhibitions in Europe This Summer

From crisp Americana at Paris' Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson to Nina Beier's performative sculptures in Helsinki, there's no shortage of spectacular art on view across the pond.

A porcelain statue of a doberman next to an oriental vase
Nina Beier, China, 2015. Photo: Finnish National Gallery / Petri Virtanen

Summer is basically here, the New York art scene is set to slow down for the season and all the coolest art world insiders’ travel plans are coming together. If you’re one of them and you’re heading to Europe before Labor Day, you already know there’s more to do than read a book on the beach on Lampedusa or dance the night away in Mykonos. Revisiting your favorite centuries-old museum is one idea, but if you’re craving something different, there are several exhibitions across Europe that you should consider adding to your travel to-do list. In Austria, Germany, France and beyond, these are just some of the European art exhibitions to see before the summer is up.

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Nina Beier: Parts’ at the KIASMA Museum

We know Danish artist Nina Beier for her “performative sculptures” that offer insight into her unconventional approach to artmaking. Her exhibition, “Parts,” which is on view at the KIASMA Museum in Helsinki, collects some of her best sculptures, which are on view until September 8. From sculptures made of wigs to remote-controlled toy cars and porcelain dogs, offer a fresh take on consumerism and consumption. This is her biggest retrospective thus far in the Nordic countries.

A photo of 1970s New York City
Second Street, Ashland, Wisconsin, July 9, 1973 from the series Uncommon Places, 1973-1986. Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson

Stephen Shore’ at Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson

As one of America’s best documentary photographers, Stephen Shore is on view at the Henri Cartier-Bresson foundation in Paris until September 15. This survey exhibition showcases over 100 photographs from the 1960s onward, capturing a crisp Americana in all its glory, from car windows, trains and airplanes. This exhibit also includes his latest series, which started in 2020, capturing the American landscape by drones. You’ll also get to see his “Signs of Life” exhibition from 1976, which showcases some of his best works—billboard signs, fluorescent signage and gas station signs from a forgotten era.

Three feet wearing black heels and colorful tights emerge from behind a red curtain
Miles Aldridge, Lookable Legs #1, 2002. © Miles Aldridge Vogue Italia

Beyond Fashion’ at the Saatchi Gallery

This wide-ranging, colorful and loud exhibition in London is a romp through some of the most memorable, edgy fashion moments in recent history. From commercial work to editorials and pure art, it features over 100 photos by photographers like Nick Knight, Peter Lindbergh, Viviane Sassen, Paolo Roversi, Miles Aldridge and Ellen von Unwerth, among others. It also makes room for young photographers, too.

A simply drawn line-art mural by Keith Haring
Keith Haring panels in The Modern Institute’s Aird’s Lane Bricks Space. Courtesy The Modern Institute

Keith Haring: Subway Drawings’ at The Modern Institute

Glasgow, Scotland may be the last place you’d expect to see Keith Haring’s street art, but the Modern Institute has a selection of the artist’s paper-based drawings from New York City’s subway system from the 1980s. It all started in Times Square subway station, where the artist saw blank advertising space on the subway platform. At the time, blank black paper appeared in ad space when it wasn’t being used. He went out and bought chalk and started using the black paper as a canvas for his artwork. What started as a hobby, turned into something iconic that New York commuters began to see every day, as he started to embed social messages into his art. Haring made hundreds, if not thousands, of subway drawings between 1980 and 1985.

A red lit room in an art gallery where a large glass-walled structure stands
Work by Anne Imhof. Photo: Kunsthaus Bregenz Archive

Anne Imhof’s ‘Wish You Were Gay’ at Kunsthaus Bregenz

The star German artist Anne Imhof is known for her exhibition at the 57th Venice Biennale in 2017, where she presented an installation called “Faust” in the German Pavilion that won her the Golden Lion award for Best National Participation. Now, she has a four-floor survey in Bregenz, Austria that includes her latest body of work. There are installations, stadium lighting, video artworks, sculptures and oil paintings in this newly opened exhibition that’s on view until September 22.

A man sits in a chair in front of an artwork made of colorful shapes
Gianfranco Gorgoni, Ellsworth Kelly with Yellow with Red Triangle and Blue with Black Triangle in his studio in Cady’s Hall, Chatham, New York, 1973. © Maya Gorgoni

Ellsworth Kelly: Shapes and Colors, 1949-2015’ at Fondation Louis Vuitton

Until September 9, this landmark Parisian retrospective celebrates the centenary of Ellsworth Kelly’s birth. Its the first exhibition in France offering an overview of the 20th-century artist, known for revolutionizing minimalist abstraction. Over 100 artworks are on view, from sculptures to paintings, drawings and photographs. While you’re there, be sure to check out another exhibition on view at the foundation: “Matisse: The Red Studio.”

SEE ALSO: ‘Saints, Sinners, Lovers and Fools’ Showcases Three Hundred Years of Flemish Feeling

"We Are Here" Press Preview At Le Petit Palais
Street art in the Petit Palais’ Concorde Room. Photo by Luc Castel/GettyImages

We Are Here: An Exploration of Street Art’ at the Petit Palais

Bringing street art inside museum walls feels like an oxymoron, but it’s actually quite epic when street artists bring their edgy pieces into a place like the historic Petit Palais in Paris. Running until November 17, “We Are Here” is the museum’s first foray into urban art, and within its walls, the work of street artists interacts with the institution’s permanent collection. The curators have selected thirteen artists, including Shepard Fairey, Invader, D*Face, Seth and Swoon, to showcase works inside the museum. The museum hopes to pay tribute to salons like the Salon des Refusés and Salon d’Automne from the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

A line drawing of a woman overlapping a man before a pillar
Jean Cocteau, Brother Rivals (Les Frères ennemis), 1925, ink and colored pencil on paper, 26.8 x 20.9 cm. Collection Kinzel-Schilling, Basel. © Adagp/Comité Cocteau, Paris, by SIAE 2024

Jean Cocteau: The Juggler’s Revenge’ at the Guggenheim Venice

Stepping into this Venice museum is epic—mainly because this was once Peggy Guggenheim’s home (she is buried in the backyard with all of her Shih Tzus). Beyond that, it’s worth a visit to see the current Jean Cocteau retrospective, which runs until September 16 and is the largest Cocteau show in Italy. The French artist, whose contemporaries included Edith Piaf and Pablo Picasso, is remembered as the enfant terrible of 20th-century art. This exhibition highlights his versatility as an artist, from jewelry to drawings and books.

Berlin, Berlin’ at the Helmut Newton Foundation

We remember legendary Berlin-born photographer Helmut Newton for his glossy fashion photos from the 1980s, but his body of work goes beyond that. One recurring character in his early work is this exhibition’s eponymous city, even as he made his name as a fashion photographer in Paris in the 1960s. The exhibition features Newton’s photos of the Brandenburg Gate and the Berlin Wall, as well as documentary shots of Newton in West Berlin, tracing his childhood. The exhibition, which marks the 20th anniversary of the foundation, runs until February 16 of next year.

A colorful painting hanging in a sparsely furnished art gallery
A view of Joan Miró, Painting (Mediterranean Landscape), 1930, 234 x 155 cm. Courtesy Galerie Gmurzynska

Joan Miró: Paintings and Sculptures’ at Galerie Gmurzynska

The famed Joan Miró was a revolutionary modern artist from Spain, and this exhibition in Zurich, Switzerland captures a slice of his career with bronze sculptures from the 1970s and 1980s, alongside artworks from his early career. We get to see the surrealist influences in his pieces, with paintings from as early as 1925, along with other items that inspired the artist’s legacy. As his grandson Joan Punyet Miró said in a statement: “The life and work of Joan Miró are full of objets trouvés, for in every object, every bird, every stone, every piece of driftwood on the beach, every cloud drawn on the sky—even if clouds and birds are harder to grasp and bring down to earth—he had the ability to see as many things, forms and nuances as were there for him to bring to light. The objet trouvé is the inspiration which suddenly springs up in the presence of the lucky find, glimpsing creative promise in the object which may or may not be fulfilled later.”

These Are the Must-See Art Exhibitions in Europe This Summer