1989 in art
- 30 May – Tiananmen Square protests of 1989: The sculpture Goddess of Democracy (由女神, zìyóu nǚshén), constructed by students of the China Central Academy of Fine Arts from extruded polystyrene foam, is unveiled by protestors in Tiananmen Square, Beijing. Early on 4 June it is toppled by a tank.
- 12 June – Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. removes Robert Mapplethorpe's photography exhibition.
- December – Restoration of the Sistine Chapel frescoes: Completion of restoration work on Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel ceiling in the Vatican.
- Bill Gates founds Corbis Corporation as Interactive Home Systems to license rights to visual media for digital display.
- The Keith Haring Foundation is established.
- Magiciens de la Terre exhibition opens at the Centre Georges Pompidou and the Grande Halle at the Parc de la Villette.
- The Other Story, the first retrospective exhibition of British African, Caribbean and Asian modernism, opens at the Tate in London.
- Jim Dine Drawings 1973–1987 at Minneapolis Institute of Art
- Robert Longo retrospective at Los Angeles County Museum of Art
- Magiciens de la terre at Centre Georges Pompidou
- Yaacov Agam – Visual Music Orchestration
- Wayne Chabre (Eugene, Oregon)
- Robert Coburn – Korean Temple Bell (installation, Portland, Oregon)
- Peter Corlett – Man in the mud (diorama, Australian War Memorial)
- Tom Hardy, Lawrence Halprin, and Scott Stickney – Hatfield Fountain (Salem, Oregon)
- Odd Nerdrum – Dawn
- Cornelia Parker – Thirty Pieces of Silver (installation)
January to June
- 23 January – Salvador Dalí, Spanish surrealist artist (b. 1904).
- 1 February – Elaine de Kooning, American abstract expressionist painter (b. 1918).
- 9 February – Osamu Tezuka, Japanese manga artist, animator and producer (b. 1928).
- 17 February – Guy Laroche, French fashion designer (b. 1921).
- 24 February – Mallica Reynolds ("Kapo"), Jamaican painter, sculptor and religious leader (b. 1911).
- 9 March – Robert Mapplethorpe, American photographer (b. 1946).
- 31 March - Piotr Belousov, Russian painter and graphic artist (b. 1912).
- 6 April – Henri Cadiou, French realist painter and lithographer (b. 1906).
- 4 June – Dik Browne, American cartoonist (b. 1917).
- 9 June - Piotr Vasiliev, Russian painter (b. 1909).
July to December
- 29 August – Sir Peter Scott, English ornithologist, conservationist and wildlife painter (b. 1909).
- 24 October – Doris Huestis Speirs, Canadian painter, ornithologist and poet (b. 1894)
- 11 November – Jay DeFeo, American visual artist (b. 1929).
- 21 November – Edward Bawden, English artist and illustrator (b. 1903).
- 22 November – C. C. Beck, American cartoonist and comic book artist (b. 1910).
- 21 December – Rotimi Fani-Kayode, Nigerian-English photographer, co-founded Autograph ABP (b. 1955)
- 28 December – William Scott, Ulster Scots painter (b. 1913).
- 31 December – Lilly Daché, French milliner and fashion designer (b. 1898).
Full date unknown
- "Magiciens de la Terre: Reconsidered", Tate Modern, 2013.
- "Making Art Global (Part 2): 'Magiciens de la Terre' 1989", Afterall.
- Jean Fisher, "The Other Story and the Past Imperfect", Tate Papers no. 12 (ISSN 1753-9854), Tate.