As Museums and Galleries plan their reopenings after the current Covid restrictions and the public plan their Summer staycations, Artlyst has put together a selection of exhibitions throughout the country to get you through the season.
John Nash: The Landscape of Love and Solace
Towner Eastbourne, Eastbourne
18 May – 26 September 2021
Towner Eastbourne presents the most comprehensive major exhibition of work in over 50 years by John Nash, one of the most versatile and prolific artists of the 20th century. In a career spanning more than seven decades, Nash produced work across a range of mediums, from iconic oil paintings, now housed in some of Britain’s most important collections, to accomplished wood engravings, line-drawings, lithographs and watercolours.
Also on show is John Akomfrah: Vertigo Sea
Seaside Modern: Art and Life on the Beach.
27 May 2021 – 26 September 2021
Featuring paintings, photographs, posters and more, dating from 1920 to 1970, Seaside Modern will explore the relationship between artists and the seaside. While some artists, such as LS Lowry and William Roberts, depicted the people who thronged the beaches, others, like Paul Nash and Wilhelmina Barns-Graham, explored the coastal landscape itself. Poster designers enticed holidaymakers to the coast with images of glamorous young people in stylish swimwear, as the seaside became both popular and fashionable. Meanwhile, the working life of the quay and the harbour were depicted by artists including Prunella Clough and John Minton.
Social history, artistic relationships, and the importance of the beach in the development of Modern British art come together in a celebratory show.
England’s Creative Coast
connecting the coastlines of Essex, Kent and East Sussex
1 May – 14 November 2021
Seaside towns alive with creativity, breathtaking coastal landscape and some of the most thought-provoking contemporary art being produced today – England’s Creative Coast spans 1,400km of shoreline from the South Downs to the Thames Estuary. Seven new site-specific artworks by seven international contemporary artists – Andreas Angelidakis, Mariana Castillo Deball, Holly Hendry, Jasleen Kaur, Katrina Palmer, Pilar Quinteros and Michael Rakowitz – will connect the coastlines of Essex, Kent and East Sussex and the world-class arts organisations in these places.
The Waterfronts series of artworks will be set in the landscape of Margate, Folkestone, Hastings, Bexhill-on-Sea, Eastbourne, Gravesend and Southend-on-Sea.
Taking the border between land and water as their inspiration, each artist will respond to these unique coastal locations, focusing on issues, stories and questions related to the area to offer fresh perspectives on each place.
Holly Hendry: Indifferent Deep
De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill on Sea
19 May – 30 August 2021
This summer, the De La Warr Pavilion will host two major new projects by artist Holly Hendry addressing subjects that include borders, edges, bodies and machines.
Ben Nicholson: From the Studio
Pallant House Gallery Chichester
Saturday 26 June – Sunday 24 October 2021
An intimate look at Ben Nicholson’s everyday inspirations
Throughout his career, Ben Nicholson (1894 – 1982) transformed everyday homewares into extraordinary experiments in abstract art.
Nicholson’s studio was filled with objects that inspired him. From patterned mocha-ware jugs and cut glass goblets to spanners, hammers and chisels, these ordinary personal possessions were a source of almost endless inspiration to the artist.
This exhibition brings together for the first time Nicholson’s paintings, reliefs, prints and drawings alongside his rarely seen personal possessions and studio tools. It traces how the artist’s style developed, from his early traditional tabletop still lifes to his later abstract works.
Still life was at the heart of Nicholson’s artistic practice. Through these humble items, he began to experiment with form and colour. His early works in particular owed inspiration to his father, the painter William Nicholson.
The exhibition will also trace the artistic and personal influences on Nicholson’s evolutionary still life style from the 1920s to the 1970s. It will explore his time with Winifred Nicholson and Barbara Hepworth, as well as his encounters with other Modernist greats, Pablo Picasso and Piet Mondrian.
Masterpieces in Miniature: The 2021 Model Art Gallery
Pallant House Gallery Chichester
Saturday 26 June – Spring 2022
More than 80 original – but miniature – works of art in three model art galleries. With work by artists from Augustus John, Vanessa Bell, Paul Nash, Sir Peter Blake and Richard Hamilton to new pieces by Rachel Whiteread, Damien Hirst, John Akomfrah, Tacita Dean and Lubaina Himid, the galleries are a time capsule of 80 years of British art.
In 2020, we asked Wright & Wright architects to design a model art gallery to house original miniature artworks from over 30 of the most exciting contemporary British artists, including John Akomfrah, Michael Armitage, Tacita Dean, Lubaina Himid, Damien Hirst, Magdalene Odundo, and Gillian Wearing. These works were created during the 2020 coronavirus lockdown – a time when artists could not get to their studios, exhibitions were cancelled, and many people spoke of being creatively blocked.
The 2021 Model Art Gallery will be displayed alongside two earlier model galleries – The Thirty Four Gallery and The Model Gallery 2000. Together, the galleries tell the story of Modern British art from the 1930s until today.
Samson Kambalu: New Liberia
Modern Art Oxford
22 May – 5 September 2021
Colour, humour and intelligence set the mood for this dynamic new exhibition of works by Samson Kambalu. With vivid and playful imagination, Kambalu brings the dances, cinema and costumes of his childhood in Malawi into conversation with his life as an Oxford University professor.
Alfred Wallis Rediscovered
Kettle’s Yard Cambridge
Until 20 June 2021
Alfred Wallis’ (1855-1942) expressive drawings and paintings capture the immediacy of his direct experiences of the sea. Wallis lived in Cornwall throughout his life, working on deep-sea fishing boats and then as a marine scrap merchant. He turned to painting when he was in his seventies and with no formal training, and used this creative outlet as a means to escape the isolation and loneliness that he felt following the passing of his wife. In his final year of his life, Wallis lived in a workhouse and here, with materials gifted to him by artist Ben Nicholson and art critic Adrian Stokes, he continued to recall and sketch his memories of the sea, shore and Cornish landscape.
Three sketchbooks made in his final year (1941-2), which are filled with drawings and paintings in varying styles, are the catalyst for this exhibition. Alfred Wallis Rediscovered will explore Wallis’ paintings from the Kettle’s Yard Collection, with particular attention to his later works and drawing practices. Wallis’ close friendship with the creator of Kettle’s Yard, Jim Ede, who purchased large numbers of the artist’s paintings in the 1930s, is demonstrated through their lively letter correspondence, which will be on display. Ben Nicholson described Wallis’ work in 1942 as ‘an immensely real experience’. This exhibition will shine new light on this innovative artist whose contribution to the development of modern art in Britain deserves closer attention.
An Unholy trinity: Lucian Freud, John Minton and Adrian Ryan
Victoria Art Gallery Bath
10 July – 19 September 2021
This unique exhibition will celebrate the life of Adrian Ryan (1920-1998) and his friends John Minton (1917-1957) and Lucian Freud (1922-2011).
In the tight community of the art world of pre-war London, the three artists were colleagues and friends. As ambitious figurative painters with – at first – hopeful and promising career trajectories, all three explored a relaxed intimacy behind closed doors, especially during the war years.
After Minton’s suicide Ryan and Freud drifted apart, which may have contributed towards the significance of the lonely figure in their work. This theme will be explored in the exhibition alongside the three artists’ developing practise, from some of their earliest paintings up to Minton’s death in 1957.
Pre-Raphaelites: Drawings & Watercolours
Ashmolean Museum Oxford
18 May – 20 June 2021
From sketches on the back of envelopes to grand, elaborate chalk drawings, our upcoming exhibition offers an opportunity to view our internationally-renowned collection of Pre-Raphaelite works on paper. Explore the enormous range of techniques and media used by the artists that made up this movement – as well as the intimate and often complex friendships and love affairs between them.
Barbara Hepworth: Art & Life
The Hepworth Wakefield
21 May 2021 – 27 February 2022
In summer 2021, to mark The Hepworth Wakefield’s 10th anniversary, the gallery will organise the largest exhibition of Barbara Hepworth’s work since the artist’s death in 1975.
The exhibition will present an in-depth view of the Wakefield-born artist’s life, interests, work and legacy. It will display some of Hepworth’s most celebrated sculptures including the modern abstract carving that launched her career in the 1920s and 1930s, her iconic strung sculptures of the 1940s and 1950s, and large-scale bronze and carved sculptures from later in her career. Key loans from national public collections will be shown alongside works from private collections that have not been on public display since the 1970s, and rarely seen drawings, paintings and fabric designs. It will reveal how Hepworth’s wide sphere of interests comprising music, dance, science, space exploration, politics and religion, as well as events in her personal life, influenced her work.
Contemporary artists Tacita Dean and Veronica Ryan have been commissioned to create new works which will be presented within the exhibition. Each artist will explore themes and ideas that interested Hepworth and that continue to resonate with their own work. Art works by Bridget Riley from the 1960s will also be presented in dialogue with Hepworth’s work from the same period.
Frank Bowling at Arnolfini
3 July – 26 September 2021
Arnolfini present a major exhibition, Land of Many Waters, with pioneering painter Sir Frank Bowling, OBE RA, as part of their 60th anniversary year celebrations in 2021. The exhibition will feature new and recent work, as Frank continues his exploration and experimentation with the painted surface that has marked his extraordinary career.
2 Tone: Lives & Legacies
Herbert Art Gallery & Museum, Coventry
28 May – 12 September 2021
The 2 Tone sound originated in Coventry’s thriving music scene of the 1970s and the name derives from the legendary 2 Tone record label founded in 1979 by Jerry Dammers of The Specials, referencing a desire to transcend and defuse racial tensions in Britain at that time.
The exhibition will explore the formation of the record label and examine its philosophy, political and social message, design and impact on the music charts of the day. It highlights the bands that were part of the label, focussing on The Specials, The Selecter and other ska-influenced bands such as Madness, The Beat and The Bodysnatchers.
It will look at 2 Tone’s continuing influence on music, fashion, politics and culture. It will include interviews and quotes from original band members and 3rd wave bands from around the world, famous fans and 2 Tone fanatics. It will also bring the story up to date – with band members touring nationally and internationally.
The exhibition will feature fashion items and memorabilia, including the iconic 2 Tone suit, Roddy Radiation’s pork pie hat, Fred Perry polo shirt and the Harrington jacket.
The Herbert Art Gallery & Museum will be hosting the 2021 Turner Prize exhibition 29 September 2021 – 12 January 2022
Joana Vasconcelos: Beyond
Underground Gallery and Open Air
Yorkshire Sculpture Park
7 March 2020–9 January 2022
Celebrated Portuguese artist Joana Vasconcelos creates vibrant, often monumental sculpture, using fabric, needlework and crochet alongside everyday objects from saucepans to wheel hubs. She frequently uses items associated with domestic work and craft to comment from a feminist perspective on national and collective identity, cultural tradition and women’s roles in society.
This Living Hand: Edmund de Waal presents Henry Moore
Henry Moore Studios & Gardens
19 May – 31 October 2021
This Living Hand, curated by acclaimed artist and author, Edmund de Waal, will explore the role of touch and the iconography of the hand in Henry Moore’s art.
Moore believed that ‘tactile experience is very important as an aesthetic dimension in sculpture’. Throughout his career he repeatedly emphasised the importance of experiencing sculpture haptically, and often returned to the hand as a subject in his sculpture and drawings, studying its expressive power and symbolic values as Auguste Rodin and Michelangelo, two of his favourite artists, had done before him.
The exhibition will present a selection of original sculptures and other objects which visitors will be invited to touch, as well as a group of drawings and sculptural works charting Moore’s interest in the hand as a subject, from Reclining Figure: Hand 1979 to the numerous two and three-dimensional studies of his own and other subjects’ hands – including the drawings and lithographs he made in 1978 of the winner of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, Dorothy Hodgkin, who wanted her hands to be used as her portrait.
Grayson Perry: The Pre-Therapy Years
York Art Gallery
28 May – 5 September 2021
A major new exhibition featuring the earliest works and “lost pots” of one of Britain’s most well known artists is coming to York this summer.
Grayson Perry: The Pre-Therapy Years will be showcased from 28 May to 5 September 2021 at the Centre of Ceramic Art (CoCA) at York Art Gallery.
The touring exhibition, developed by the Holburne Museum in Bath, is the first to celebrate Grayson Perry’s earliest forays into the art world and will re-introduce the explosive and creative works he made between 1982 and 1994.
The remarkable 70 works included in the exhibition have been crowd-sourced following a national public appeal. These ‘lost’ pots will be on display together for the first time since they were made.
19 May – 26 September 2021
Major works by the celebrated British sculptor Tony Cragg will go on show in the grounds and historic interiors of Houghton Hall in Norfolk. The exhibition, curated by the artist himself, will include large-scale bronze and steel sculptures sited in the gardens and grounds, and smaller pieces shown in the State rooms and gallery spaces of the house. Several new works have been made specifically for the exhibition.
The Laing Art Gallery,
17 May – 21 August 2021
Before the 20th century, the entire canon of western art was dominated by male artists. True, there had been celebrated female painters, such as Artemisia Gentileschi, Élisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun and Rosa Bonheur, but it wasn’t until the 20th century that women began to enjoy comparable success with their male counterparts.
The roots of this lay in the Victorian era, when those born, raised and educated in the later decades of the 1800s were able to seize upon the huge changes in society, occurring during a time of burgeoning modernism, transformation and increasing emancipation.
Here in Britain, four female artists exemplified this time of flux against that backdrop of radical change, with their lives and work reflecting the almost constant struggle to challenge the conventions imposed upon them – they were Vanessa Bell, Laura Knight, Gwen John and Dod Procter.
The Laing Art Gallery’s major new exhibition of more than 60 works, Challenging Convention (opening, Government advice allowing, 17 May – 21 August 2021), charts how they made a significant impact on the profile of women artists within traditional institutions and in the public eye.
Archie Brennan: Tapestry Goes Pop!
26 April – 30 August 2021
Pop artist, weaver, and former Mr Scotland, Archie Brennan changed the course of modern weaving and is considered one of the greatest unrecognised pop artists of the twentieth century. Why unrecognised? Most likely because his medium of choice was tapestry.
Archie Brennan: Tapestry Goes Pop! tells the story of Edinburgh native Archie Brennan (1931-2019) in the first major exhibition of his work. Bringing together over 80 tapestries as well as archive material, this is a chance to delve into the world of a master of modern tapestry.
Sharp, witty, and immensely talented, Brennan began his 60-year weaving career at Dovecot and was an innovator and iconoclast who inspired weavers all over the world from Papua New Guinea to Australia. A charismatic character, he dedicated his life to teaching and his influence on weaving can still be felt to this day. Brennan’s contribution to modern art has not been recognised, until now.
Read Clare Henry’s Review Here
Night Fever: Designing Club Culture
1 May 2021 – 9 January 2022
the first major exhibition exploring the relationship between club culture and design from the 1960s to today.
Delving into iconic clubs in New York, Paris, Florence, Manchester, London, Beirut, Berlin – and towns and cities across Scotland – the exhibition uncovers the progressive and subversive history of nightclub design, and its far-reaching influence on popular culture.
As spaces for adventure and escape, nightclubs have always encouraged experimental and radical design – from Studio 54 to the Haçienda. Discover how architecture, art, fashion, graphics, lighting, performance and sound all come together to create an immersive sensory experience where design, music and technology meet on the dancefloor.
Lead image photo Sara Faith ©Artlyst 2021