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Exhibitions to see this spring

 

Discover highly-anticipated Spring exhibitions, brought to you by our long-standing museum and art gallery partners including V&A, Tate, The British Museum, Royal Academy of Arts, National Museums Scotland and The Courtauld Gallery.

Francis Bacon, Study for Chimpanzee, 1957 Oil and pastel on canvas, 152.4 x 117 cm Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, New York Photo: David Heald (NYC) © The Estate of Francis Bacon. All rights reserved. DACS 2021

Francis Bacon: Man and Beast

The Royal Academy of Arts presents Francis Bacon: Man and Beast, the first exhibition to chart the development of the artist’s work through the lens of his fascination with animals, and how this impacted upon his treatment of his ultimate subject: the human figure. Francis Bacon (1909–1992) is recognised as one of the most important artists of the twentieth century. Since his death, the world has changed in ways that make his unnerving work ever more prescient. This important exhibition includes 46 remarkable paintings spanning his career; from his earliest works of the 1930s and 40s through to the final painting he ever made in 1991, which is exhibited publicly for the first time in the UK. In Bacon’s paintings, man is never far from beast. From the biomorphic creatures of his earliest work, to the distorted nudes that define the latter part of his career, Bacon remained convinced that, beneath the veneer of civilisation, humans are animals like any other.

Francis Bacon: Man and Beast running 29th January – 17th April, Royal Academy of Arts, London

Vincent van Gogh, (1853-1890), Self-Portrait with Straw Hat, August-September 1887, Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam (Vincent van Gogh Foundation)

The Morgan Stanley Exhibition Van Gogh. Self-Portraits

An unprecedented exhibition of Vincent van Gogh’s self-portraits at The Courtauld Gallery brings together, for the very first time, around half of all Van Gogh’s self-portraits to explore the full range of the artist’s most enduring and personal subject matter. An outstanding group of 16 self-portraits trace the evolution of Van Gogh’s self-representation, from the early Self-Portrait with a Dark Felt Hat, created in 1886 during a formative time in Paris that saw the radical transformation in Van Gogh’s style, to Self-Portrait with a Palette, painted at the asylum in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence in September 1889, one of the last self-portraits created before his death in 1890. This is the first time the full span of Van Gogh’s self-portraiture has been explored in an exhibition, and it is the largest group to be brought together in more than 25 years. Some of the works in the exhibition were last together in Van Gogh’s studio and have never been reunited until now.

The Morgan Stanley Exhibition Van Gogh. Self-Portraits running 3rd February 2022 – 8th May 2022, The Courtauld Gallery

Jock McFadyen RA Goodfellas 2001 Oil on canvas 173 x 390 cm © Jock McFadyen RA

Jock McFadyen RA: Tourist without a Guidebook

The Royal Academy of Arts presents Jock McFadyen RA: Tourist without a Guidebook, a free exhibition that brings together 20 key works from the 1990s to the present, showcasing McFadyen’s London: the landscape that the artist has watched intently for the past 50 years. The early 1990s was a turning point for McFadyen. After designing The Judas Tree, Kenneth MacMillan’s last ballet for the Royal Opera House in 1991, the figure began to fall away from his work and location became the focus of his painting. The empty panoramas in this show border on abstraction, while retaining a sense of habitation and intrigue. The large vistas of dilapidated urban landscapes are full of human presence and ghosts of human activity. Graffiti, litter, peeling posters and shop signs allude to the city’s inhabitants just out of frame. Buildings begin to take on human characteristics as windows, shuttered doors and painterly scars hint at their past lives and occupants.

Jock McFadyen RA Tourist without a Guidebook running 5th February 2022 – 10th April 2022, Royal Academy of Arts, London

Detail from a print depicting Carolina Parrots from Birds of America, by John James Audubon. Image © National Museums Scotland

Audubon’s Birds of America

Audubon’s Birds of America showcases 46 unbound prints from National Museums Scotland’s collection, most of which have never been on display before, as well as a rare bound volume of the book, on loan from the Mitchell Library. This exhibition is a unique opportunity to see so much of John James Audubon’s work in one place. Where his predecessors and contemporaries illustrated birds looking stiff and unnatural, Audubon was pioneering in his depiction of scenes from nature, positioning birds into realistic poses he had observed in life and painting on the spot, identifying over 20 species new to science. His paintings of the natural world are some of the most famous in the history of art and natural sciences, and his portrait hangs in the White House. Audubon’s story, however, is full of contradiction and controversy, and the exhibition will look at both the legend which built up around him and the more complex, problematic realities of the times.

Audubon’s Birds of America running 12th February 2022 – 8th May 2022, National Museums Scotland

The Tale of Jemima Puddle-Duckartwork, by Beatrix Potter, 1908. Watercolour and ink on paper. © National Trust Images

Beatrix Potter: Drawn to Nature

Beatrix Potter: Drawn to Nature is the first exhibition to tell the complete life story of Beatrix Potter, one of the best-loved authors of children’s fiction in the twentieth century. Realised through a major partnership with the National Trust, this playful and interactive exhibition invites visitors of all ages to rediscover this household name and explore the full breadth of her achievements and multifaceted life, from storyteller to natural scientist and conservationist. The Victoria and Albert Museum exhibition showcases over 200 personal objects including artworks, rarely seen letters, manuscripts, sketches, coded diaries, family photographs, commercial merchandise and personal artefacts. It celebrates her early talent for storytelling, her business acumen and her fascination with the scientific study of the natural world, as well as her passion for sheep farming and conservation – a legacy still felt today. This is a chance to meet the real Beatrix Potter. 

Beatrix Potter: Drawn to Nature running 12th February 2022 – 8 January 2023, Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Stonehenge © English Heritage

The world of Stonehenge

The world of Stonehenge is the UK’s first ever major exhibition on the story of Stonehenge. This landmark exhibition will set the great monument in the context of one of the most remarkable eras on the islands of Britain and Ireland, which saw huge social and technological revolutions, alongside fundamental changes in people’s relationships with the sky, the land and one another. At the heart of the exhibition will be the sensational loan of a 4,000-year-old Bronze Age timber circle, dubbed Seahenge due to its similarity to Wiltshire’s Stonehenge. Nearly two-thirds of the objects on display are loans – such as Britain’s most spectacular grave goods which were unearthed in the shadow of Stonehenge and elaborate ancient gold hats depicting the cosmos with objects – which come together from 35 lenders across the UK, the Republic of Ireland, France, Italy, Germany, Denmark and Switzerland. Of these, the majority have never been seen before in the UK. 

The world of Stonehenge running 17th February 2022 – 17th July 2022 at The British Museum, London

Leonora CarringtonSelf-portraitc.1937–38. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, The Pierreand Maria-Gaetana Matisse Collection, 2002 © 2022 Estate of LeonoraCarrington / Artists RightsSociety (ARS), New York. Image © Metropolitan Museum of Art


Surrealism Beyond Borders

This groundbreaking exhibition reveals the broad scope of this radical movement, moving beyond the confines of a single time or place. Based on extensive research undertaken by Tate and The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, it spans 80 years and 50 countries to show how Surrealism inspired and united artists around the globe, from centres as diverse as Buenos Aires, Cairo, Lisbon, Mexico City, Prague, Seoul and Tokyo. Expanding our understanding of Surrealism, Tate Modern will show how this dynamic movement took root in many places at different times, offering artists the freedom to challenge authority and imagine a new world. Surrealism is not a style – but a state of mind. It aims to subvert reality. To find the uncanny in the everyday. To tap into our unconscious desires and bring dreams to life. And for many artists around the world, it has been a way to challenge authority and imagine a new world.

Surrealism Beyond Borders running 24th February 2022 – 29th August 2022, Tate Modern, London

Gucci Pre-Fall 2019 Men’s Tailoring Campaign; Creative Director: Alessandro Michele; Art Director: Christopher Simmonds; Photographer & Director: Harmony Korine; Courtesy of Gucci

Fashioning Masculinities: The Art of Menswear

Fashioning Masculinities: The Art of Menswear will be the first major V&A exhibition to celebrate the power, artistry and diversity of masculine attire and appearance. The show will trace how menswear has been fashioned and refashioned over the centuries, and how designers, tailors and artists – and their clients and sitters – have constructed and performed masculinity, and unpicked it at the seams. Contemporary looks by legendary designers and rising stars will be displayed alongside historical treasures from the V&A’s collections and landmark loans. The exhibition will showcase the variety of possible masculinities across the centuries from the Renaissance to the global contemporary, with outfits worn by familiar faces interspersed throughout, from Harry Styles to Billy Porter. Innovative creations and diverse representations will highlight and celebrate the multiplicities of masculine sartorial self-expression, dressing beyond the binary.

Fashioning Masculinities: The Art of Menswear running 19th March 2022 – 6 November 2022, Victoria and Albert Museum, London

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