A Look Ahead:
Big Shows in 2024

It’s the start of a new year. Here are cultural institutions roll out their updated public programme. Aesthetica selects five must-see exhibitions for 2024 around the world. These museum and gallery surveys reflect on identity and perception through powerful photography, light installation and architecture.

Solo Photography Show
Zanele Muholi: Eye Me | San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco | From 18 January

SFMOMA’s show will be one of the biggest exhibitions to date of the works of South African artist Zanele Muholi. A self-described visual activist Muholi foregrounds issues of gender identity, representation and race in their work. Muholi’s project as both an artist and an activist includes making space for Black queer life in the museum. Eye Me brings together over 100 photographs from 2002 to the present alongside paintings, sculpture and video. The survey provides an opportunity for audiences to experience Muholi’s expansive artistic project and make visible their Black queer community in post-Apartheid South Africa.

Group Photography Show
The Camera Never Lies | Sainsbury Centre, Norfolk | From 18 May

The Sainsbury Centre’s exhibition re-evaluates some of the most iconic images of the past 100 years, asking to what extent they have shaped or created a false understanding of major global events. The Camera Never Lies looks at the way photography has been used to present facts, whilst questioning its originality and truth, through the snapshots of photographers such as Don McCullin (b. 1935) and Robert Capa (1913-1953). This show features original pieces from the 20th century, along with the work of contemporary artists who use the medium to question assumed truths about diverse subjects, including government surveillance, domestic violence and the effect of conflict on civilian populations.

Women Artists in Focus
New Worlds: Women to Watch 2024 | NMWA, Washington D.C. | From 18 April

One of the first major exhibitions to follow NMWA’s reopening after renovation, New Worlds will immerse visitors in the museum’s renewed spaces. Through the show, visionary artists reimagine the past, introduce alternate realities and inspire audiences to create different futures. In the past few years, our world has been transformed by a global pandemic, advocacy for social reform and political division. How have these curious times inspired creativity? The display will respond to this question through projects by 28 creative figures including Ana María Hernando (b. 1959) Irina Kirchuk (b. 1983) and Meryl McMaster (b. 1988).

Solo Installation Show
Anthony McCall | Tate Modern, London | From 27 June

In summer 2024, Tate Modern will present a focused exhibition of immersive works by English-born and US-based artist Anthony McCall (b. 1946). McCall is known for his “solid-light” installations that began in 1973 with the seminal piece Line Describing a Cone, which is a key work in Tate’s collection. These immersive creations go beyond the familiar boundaries between cinema, drawing, installation and sculpture – they are imaginative, dream-like experiences. In the exhibition, visitors will be able to enter and explore the large-scale sculptural forms, created from a thin mist and slowly evolving projected light.

Architecture Show
I. M. Pei: Life Is Architecture | M+, Hong Kong | From 29 June

Life is Architecture will be the first major retrospective of the Chinese-American architect I. M. Pei(1917–2019). During his seven decades long carreer, Pei realised celebrated projects such as the Bank of China Tower in Hong Kong, the modernisation of the Grand Louvre in Paris, the National Gallery of Art East Building in Washington, D.C., and the Museum of Islamic Art in Doha. To lend a contemporary lens to Pei’s work, M+ presents newly commissioned photographs of his iconic and lesser-known buildings. This will showcase images from a new generation of creatives from around the world including Giovanna Silva (b. 1980), Mohamed Somji (b. 1976), South Ho (b. 1984), Tian Fangfang (b. 1987) and Yoneda Tomoko (b. 1965). The show will introduce small-scale models of Pei’s constructions, made in collaboration with architecture schools at The University of Hong Kong and The Chinese University of Hong Kong.


1. Poison Glen. Photo. Richard Mosse

2. Zanele Muholi, Miss D’vine II, 2007; courtesy the artist and Yancey Richardson, New York; © Zanele Muholi 

3. Poison Glen. Photo. Richard Mosse

4. Meryl McMaster, Lead Me to Places I Could Never Find on My Own I, from the series “As Immense as the Sky,” 2019; Digital C-print, 40 x 60 in.; Courtesy of the artist, Stephen Bulger Gallery, and Pierre-François Ouellette art contemporain

5. Anthony McCall. Face to Face (II) (2013). Installation view, Eye Film Museum, Amsterdam, 2014. Photograph by Hans Wilschut.

6. I.M. Pei, Grand Louvre Pyramid, 1989. Photo: Radubradub