|Covid-19|21 May – Eighteen Old Master paintings from the Beit collection are stolen from Russborough House in Ireland by Martin "The General" Cahill, the second major art theft from this location.
19 August – Two weeks after it was stolen, the Picasso painting Weeping Woman is found in a locker at Spencer Street Station in Melbourne, Australia.
Opening of the Musée d'Orsay (formerly the Gare d'Orsay) in Paris.
Archibald Prize: Davida Allen – Dr John Arthur McKelvey Shera
Sulman Prize – Wendy Sharpe – Black Sun – Morning and Night
Turner Prize – Gilbert and George
Shortlisted were: Art & Language, Victor Burgin, Derek Jarman, Stephen McKenna and Bill Woodrow.
David Adickes – Cornet (sculpture, Galveston, Texas)
Ruth Asawa – Aurora (sculpture, San Francisco)
John Buckley – The Headington Shark (Untitled 1986; painted fibreglass sculpture)
Wayne Chabre – Einstein Gargoyle (sculpture, Eugene, Oregon)
John Doubleday – Royal Marines Commando Memorial (Lympstone, England)
Georgia Gerber – Animals in Pools (sculptures, Portland, Oregon)
David Hockney – Pearblossom Highway #2 (photocollage)
Ellsworth Kelly – Houston Triptych (bronze sculpture, Houston, Texas)
Igor Mitoraj – Heros de Lumiere
Odd Nerdrum – Return of the Sun
Kantilal B. Patel – Mohandas Gandhi (sculpture, New York City)
Andrew Wyeth – Flood Plain
Jamie Wyeth – Kalounna in Frogtown (Terra Foundation for American Art)
Yu Tang Wang and Sun Chau – Chinatown Gateway (structure, Portland, Oregon)
15 April – Amy Louise Nettleton, British installation and sculpture artist.
6 March – Georgia O'Keeffe American artist (b. 1887).
26 April – Dechko Uzunov, Bulgarian painter (b. 1899).
11 May – Henry Plumer McIlhenny, American art collector, philanthropist and chairman of Philadelphia Art Museum (b. 1910).
31 May – Jane Frank, American painter, sculptor, mixed media artist and textile artist (b. 1918).
9 June – Ilona Harima, Finnish painter (b. 1911).
7 April – Cecil King, Irish abstract-minimalist painter (b. 1921).
30 June – Guan Zilan, Chinese avant-garde painter (b. 1903)
22 July – Floyd Gottfredson, American cartoonist (b. 1905).
31 August – Henry Moore, English artist and sculptor (b. 1898).
9 September – Albert Malet, French painter (b. 1912).
Jacques Henri Lartigue, French photographer and painter (b. 1894).
Ernst Haas, Austrian photographer (b. 1921).
11 October – Barker Fairley, English-born Canadian painter, writer, and educator (b. 1887).
23 October – Conrad O'Brien-ffrench, British intelligence officer, mountaineer and painter (b.1893).
Marko Čelebonović, Serbian painter (b. 1902).
Guan Liang, Chinese artist (b. 1900).
1986 in art Wikipedia