DESIGN

There Are Too Many Good Events Going on in May…

So we put together a guide to the best art and design fairs around the world to help you prioritize.

Spring has sprung, and with it, one of the busiest months of the year for art and design. But don’t panic. We’ve put together a guide to the top events happening in May, and a few of the highlights to look out for while you’re there. For more events, exhibitions, and happenings around the world in 2018, see our Itinerary »

Photo: Mark Blower. Courtesy Mark Blower/Frieze

FRIEZE NEW YORK 2018
May
 3 – 6, 2018
New York, New York

The seventh New York edition of the British art fair assembles more than 190 galleries from 30 countries, presenting highlights such as solo exhibitions of David Hockney (Pace Gallery) and Betye Saar (Roberts Projects), and curated shows on environmental concerns (Chi-Wen Gallery) and homoerotic art from Latin America (Henrique Faria). New and notable to this year’s event: (1) “For Your Infotainment: Hudson and Feature Inc.,” a show commemorating the legacy of the art dealer and his boundary-pushing gallery, as part of a new themed section at the fair; (2) Kapwani Kiwanga’s imposing open-air installation exploring the politics of exclusion and freedom of movement; (3) Allied Editions’s sale of specially commissioned, affordable artworks; (4) and the New York debut of Live, a new segment for stage performances and interactive projects, dedicated this year to street performance and protest marches and curated by Adrienne Edwards of Minneapolis’s Walker Art Center.

Phumzile Khanyile, "Plastic Crowns," 2016. Photo: Courtesy Afronova Gallery
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1-54 CONTEMPORARY AFRICAN ART FAIR NEW YORK 2018
May 4 – 6, 2018
Brooklyn, New York

Dedicated to contemporary art from Africa and its diaspora, the fourth edition of the New York fair rallies 21 international galleries, as well as a host of participating artists including Derrick Adams, Yinka Shonibare, Omar Victor Diop, and Lady Skollie, in its program of presentations, special projects, and talks.

Photo: Harry Heuts

TEFAF NEW YORK SPRING 2018
May 4 – 8, 2018
New York, New York

Nearly 100 international galleries participate in the second Spring edition of this fine and decorative art fair. This year’s exhibition highlights include Ellsworth Kelly’s “White Yellow” from 1975 (Matthew Marks Gallery), new sculptures by Mexican artist Gabriel Orozco (Marian Goodman Gallery), and Josef Albers’s “Study for Homage to the Square: Terrassed Foliage” from 1960 (David Zwirner); plus, conversations with the likes of composer Paola Prestini and Arturo Galansino, director of Florence’s Fondazione Palazzo Strozzi, and panels on global modernism, collecting, and the depiction of women in post-war media.

Photo: Wendy Shepherd

VANCOUVER DESIGN WEEK 2018
May 7 – 13, 2018
Vancouver, British Columbia

For the first time in its three years, the interdisciplinary design event has an overarching  theme. Organized around the concept of “Impact,” the event highlights how design and the work of Vancouver-based practitioners shape and transform society, the environment, and the world. Two new programs expand on that idea: Design Landmarks, an exploration of the stories behind Vancouver’s most impactful spaces; and Design Editions, a series of public events produced by the city’s design influencers.

Photo: Courtesy of London Craft Week

LONDON CRAFT WEEK 2018
May 9 – 13, 2018
London, England

Highlights at this fair focused on international and British craftsmanship include a live weaving session with Christabel Balfour; an exhibition and workshop on botanical crafts; solo presentations by Matilda Goad and Jochen Holz; and live demonstrations of silversmithing, ceramic painting, leatherworking, and bookbinding.

Lee Broom for Bergdorf Goodman. Photo: Courtesy NYCxDESIGN

NYCxDESIGN 2018
May 11 – 23, 2018
New York, New York

It might not yet rival Milan Design Week, but this consistently growing citywide celebration of design lines up hundreds of events in various venues throughout the five boroughs. Alongside key shows such as ICFF and Wanted Design (see below), special events and projects will also unfold at art institutions, schools, retail stores, and design districts from NoMad to SoHo. See below for specific events that fall under the NYCxDESIGN umbrella.

LWM Woodwork, "The Roger desk." Photo: Courtesy Brooklyn Designs

BROOKLYN DESIGNS
May 11 – 13, 2018
Brooklyn, New York

For its 15th edition, Brooklyn’s pioneering design show continues to champion collaborative design through exhibitions, panel discussions, and a marketplace spotlighting local designers such as Maker Anonymous, Sarnecky Design, and Foundrywood.

Photos: Courtesy Flat Vernacular and Allied Maker

“BALANCED / UNBALANCED” BY COLONY
May 17 – 24, 2018
New York, New York

As part of Tribeca Design District’s programming, this exhibition by the design collective presents new work by 17 independent American designers (Allied Maker, Phaedo, and Flat Vernacular, among them), who channel harmony and discord through spatial, acoustic, and experiential design.

Photo: Krisanne Johnson for the Design Trust for Public Space

“DISCOVER EL-SPACE” BY THE DESIGN TRUST FOR PUBLIC SPACE
May 17
New York, New York

This conversation and tour centers on El-Space, a design experiment aimed at improving pedestrian experience beneath New York City’s network of elevated transportation structures. A panel tackles design strategies to innovate these spaces and a tour of a pilot installation below the Gowanus Expressway in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, which proposes ideas for enhanced lighting, pedestrian circulation, and environmental management.

Esmeralda Kosmatopoulos, “Hand 3,” 2017. Photo: Courtesy Twyla and Sight Unseen.

SIGHT UNSEEN OFFSITE 2018
May 16 – May 20, 2018
New York, New York

With its focus on independent American talent, this contemporary design show’s fifth iteration unveils new projects from 25 designers as part of its Selects group show. Meanwhile, individual design studios—including Ben & Aja Blanc, Llot Llov, John Hogan, among others—will launch new collections at boutiques from Opening Ceremony to Retrosuperfuture.

Courtesy Wanted Design

WANTED DESIGN 2018
May 17 – May 22, 2018
New York

Highlights for the eighth year of programming, spread across two venues in Brooklyn (May 17–21) and Manhattan (May 19–22), include an installation of this year’s American Design Honors winner Oliver Haslegrave of Brooklyn-based Home Studios; the fifth edition of Launch Pad, spotlighting 33 emerging furniture and lighting designers; a showcase of small design objects exploring materiality at the “Outside the Box” exhibition; and presentations from 10 finalists for this year’s nature-themed Rado Star Prize U.S.

Photo: Courtesy ICFF

ICFF 2018
May 20 – 23, 2018
New York, New York

More than 800 international exhibitors gather for the 30th anniversary of the interior and furnishings fair, which includes spotlights on French design in the presentation “No Taste for Bad Taste,” handmade German objects in the “Handmade in Germany World Tour,” and emerging designers at the ICFF Studio.

Hatch House, Jack Hall, Wellfleet Cape Cod, 1960. Photo: Antoine Lorgnier

FIFTH INTERNATIONAL ICONIC HOUSES CONFERENCE
May 15 – 18, 2018
Norwalk, Connecticut

This year’s conference takes on two themes: “Modernism on the East Coast” celebrates the progressive structures by Philip Johnson and the Bauhaus-inspired Harvard Five architects, and “Iconic Houses in Latin America” examines how houses and house museums in Latin America have struggled to survive under the threat of demolition or closure.

Edward Burtynsky, "Salt Pans #13," 2016. Photo: Courtesy Photo London

PHOTO LONDON 2018
May 17 – 20, 2018
London, England

The photography fair’s fourth edition teems with more than 100 galleries from around the globe and a lineup of special exhibitions, including a show on contemporary Japanese and Chinese photography, a photography-themed installation by set designer Es Devlin, and a solo presentation of new and previously unseen works by Canadian photographer Edward Burtynsky, who is awarded the title of this year’s Master of Photography.

John Eadon, MIMA Collection, 2017. Photo: Courtesy Clerkenwell Design Week

CLERKENWELL DESIGN WEEK 2018
May 22 – 24, 2018
London, England

Highlighting the creative energies of one of London’s key design hubs, the festival marks its ninth edition with hundreds of design-driven events and themed exhibitions, including specially commissioned projects and installations by designers and architects, including Timorous Beasties, Lou Corio Randall, and TDO Architecture.

Photo: Courtesy What Design Can Do

WHAT DESIGN CAN DO LIVE AMSTERDAM 2018
May 24 – 25, 2018
Amsterdam, Netherlands

The seventh edition of this two-day annual conference asks speakers—including Dutch textile designer Femke Van Gemert, Freitag founder Daniel Freitag, and the vice president of Google Creative Lab, Robert Wong—to address how design can contribute to climate action and social justice.

Photo: Andrea Avezzù. Courtesy La Biennale di Venezia

VENICE BIENNALE: INTERNATIONAL ARCHITECTURE EXHIBITION 2018
May 26 – November 25, 2018
Venice, Italy

Themed “Freespace,” the 16th edition of Venice’s leading architecture showcase unveils proposals from more than 70 global participants, plus special events, including the Meetings on Architecture talks series and installations by architects Sami Rintala and Dagur Eggertsson.

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