Brush Up on Your Art History: Must-See Exhibitions Across the UK to Deepen Your Knowledge this Spring

12 Mar 2024

by ArtRabbit

Does your Art History knowledge need some polishing up? Let ArtRabbit help you out with our guide to retrospective and survey exhibitions currently open in the UK.

This spring, retrospectives and survey shows across the UK tell the stories of artists often overlooked in their time and present contemporary, monumental exhibitions that capture our current moment. Female artists, working-class artists, Black artists, and South East Asian artists are represented in a diverse range of shows this spring. Here's our round-up.

The Time is Always Now at The National Portrait Gallery

A major study of the Black figure, The Time is Always Now, curated by Ekow Eshun, showcases 55 works by 22 contemporary artists from the African diaspora, including Michael Armitage, Lubaina Himid, Kerry James Marshall, Toyin Ojih Odutola and Amy Sherald. As well as surveying the presence of the Black figure in Western art history, the exhibition also examines its absence – and the story of representation told through these works – as well as the social, psychological and cultural contexts in which they were produced. Under 25s can enjoy £5 tickets.

Unravel: The Power and Politics of Textiles in Art at the Barbican

Until 26 May, the Barbican Art Gallery is hosting an exhibition featuring 50 international, intergenerational artists who utilise textiles, fibre, and thread to weave stories, challenge power structures, and reimagine the world. The exhibition showcases the work of prominent artists including Cecilia Vicuña, Faith Ringgold, Louise Bourgeois, Magdalena Abakanowicz, Tracey Emin, among others, presenting a diverse array of perspectives and techniques. Standard tickets available for £18, members go free.

Pasquarosa at the Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art

At the Estorick Collection, the paintings and ephemera of prolific Italian artist Pasquarosa Marcelli take centre stage in what is the first showing of her work in almost a century.

Bert Hardy at The Photographers’ Gallery

Get to know London-born press photographer and documentarian Bert Hardy, who captured the life and times of people across the UK and in post-war Europe, in this comprehensive survey show.

Angelica Kauffman at the Royal Academy of Arts

At the RA, see a show of work by Neoclassical painter Angelica Kauffman. As one of two female founding members of the RA, this exhibition conveys the influential artist's role in shaping the art world in 18th-century Europe.

Shirley Craven at The Whitworth

The Whitworth presents a retrospective show by British textile designer Shirley Craven. With a dazzling display of 80 bold, abstract textiles, shown for the first time in over 60 years alongside newly acquired early works, this exhibition captures Craven's prolific career which balanced creative expression with industrial design.

Fanchon Fröhlich at Victoria Gallery and Museum

Liverpool-based artist Fanchon Fröhlich is re-appraised alongside her contemporaries in an exhibition at the Victoria Gallery and Museum. Anyone who knows their Kandinsky, Rothko and de Kooning should get to know Fröhlich as an influential abstract painter of the 20th century.

Do Ho Suh at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art

A retrospective at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art of leading contemporary artist Do Ho Suh explores the role that drawing and paper play in Suh’s artistic practice alongside the immersive installation work for which he is known.

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