The year 2008 in art involves various significant events.
- A Fernand Léger painting Woman and Child (1921), which was at first on loan for an exhibit from the Davis Museum at Wellesley College in Wellesley, Massachusetts to the Oklahoma City Museum of Art while the Davis was closed for renovations, is later returned and then stored in a crate at Wellesley, but disappears in the intervening period; the work has not been seen since.
- May – Police seize photographs by Bill Henson from an upcoming exhibition at the Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery in Sydney, Australia, as potentially constituting child pornography.
- 20 February until 18 May – National Gallery, Pompeo Batoni
- July 4 until September 14 - "Robert Indiana a Milano" at the Padiglione d’Arte Contemporanea (Pavilion of Contemporary Art) in Milan, Italy
- Cairns, installation in Portland, Oregon, by Christine Bourdette
- La Danse de la fontaine émergente, fountain in Paris designed by Chen Zhen and completed by his widow Xu Min
- Of All The People In All The World, installation and performance by Stan's Cafe
- Archibald Prize - Del Kathryn Barton for "You are what is most beautiful about me, a self portrait with Kell and Arella
- Artes Mundi Prize - N. S. Harsha
- Caldecott Medal – Brian Selznick, The Invention of Hugo Cabret"
- Hugo Boss Prize – Emily Jacir
- John Moores Painting Prize - Peter McDonald for "Fontana"
- Doug Moran National Portrait Prize – Fiona Lowry
- Rolf Schock Prize in Visual Arts – Mona Hatoum
- Turner Prize nominees – Runa Islam, Mark Leckey, Goshka Macuga and Cathy Wilkes.
January to March
- 1 January – Harold Corsini, American photographer and educator (b. 1919)
- 3 January – Joan Gillchrest, 89, British painter.
- 2 February – Roger Testu, French cartoonist (b.1913).
- 3 March – William Brice, American painter and teacher (b.1921).
- 11 March – Dave Stevens, American illustrator and comics artist (b.1955).
- 19 March – Hugo Claus, Belgian novelist, poet, playwright, painter and film director (b.1929).
- 28 March – Michael Podro, English art historian (b.1931).
- 29 March
April to June
- 3 April – Vladimír Preclík, Czech writer and sculptor (b.1929).
- 6 April – John Plumb, English painter (b.1927).
- 9 April – Burt Glinn, American photographer (b.1925).
- 14 April – Ollie Johnston, American animator (b.1912).
- 16 April – Joseph Solman, American painter (b.1909).
- 23 April – Paul Wonner, American painter (b.1920).
- 25 April – Enrico Donati, Italian-born American Surrealist painter and sculptor (b.1909).
- 10 May – Herbert Albert, 82, British painter and etcher.
- 12 May – Robert Rauschenberg, American artist (b.1925).
- 15 May – Will Elder, American illustrator and comic book artist (b.1921).
- 18 May – Pietro Cascella, Italian painter and sculptor (b.1921).
- 21 May – Bartolomeu Cid dos Santos, Portuguese artist and professor (b.1931).
- 23 May – Cornell Capa, Hungarian-American photographer and photo curator (b.1918).
- 28 May – Beryl Cook, English painter (b.1926).
- 1 June
- 18 June – Tasha Tudor, American illustrator and author of children's books (b.1915).
July to December
- 7 July
- 19 July – Dave Pearson, English painter (b.1937).
- 1 August – Pauline Baynes, English book illustrator (b.1922).
- 12 August – Michael Baxandall, Welsh art historian (b.1933).
- 18 August – Manny Farber, American painter and film critic (b.1917).
- 23 August – John Russell, British American art critic (b.1919).
- 3 September – Derek Davis, English painter and potter (b.1926).
- 4 September – Alain Jacquet, French artist (b.1939).
- 12 September – Simon Hantaï, Hungarian abstract artist (b.1922).
- 1 October – Boris Efimov, Russian cartoonist and propaganda artist (b.1900).
- 7 October – Miles Richmond, English painter (b.1922).
- 11 October – William Claxton, American photographer (b.1927)
- 14 October – Ray Lowry, English cartoonist and illustrator (b.1944).
- 18 October – Gwyther Irwin, English abstract artist (b.1931).
- 15 November – Grace Hartigan, American Abstract Expressionist painter, (b.1922)
- 16 November – Jan Krugier, Polish born Swiss art dealer (b. 1928.
- 17 December – Willoughby Sharp, American author, curator, critic (b.1936)
- 27 December – Robert Graham, Mexican-American sculptor (b.1938).
- 29 December - Vladislav Lalicki, Serbian painter (b. 1935).
- Lacayo, Richard (11 September 2008). "First They Lose a Leger". Time. Retrieved 5 December 2017.
- Perkin, Corrie; Pelly, Michael (7 June 2008). "Bill Henson fight will rage on despite the law". The Australian. Retrieved 28 August 2012.
- National Gallery website Archived 2 August 2012 at the Wayback Machine. Accessed 25 February 2014
- Gardner, Lyn (13 September 2008). "Guardian: Theatre preview". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 24 September 2008.
- "'Fontana', Peter McDonald - Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool museums". Liverpoolmuseums.org.uk. Retrieved 28 November 2018.