2018: A Year of Art

From St Ives to Liverpool, covering everything from Bellini to Basquiat, we’ve got plenty of top art exhibitions across the country to look forward to in 2018. So get your culture fix with this varied selection of red-hot shows over the coming year!

Jean-Michel Basquiat, King Zulu, 1986. Courtesy Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona

Basquiat: Boom for Real

Barbican Art Gallery, Until 28 January

Finishing soon but an absolutely must see show, ‘Basquiat: Boom for Real’ is the first major retrospective exhibition in the UK of the work of American artist Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960 – 1988). One of the most significant artists of the twentieth century, and the biggest young artist of his generation, he burned brightly but briefly. Now one of the most discussed, collectible and expensive artists of all time, he was embraced as a protégé by Warhol, with whom he collaborated for over a year. He built a body of work from his position in the heart of New York’s art scene, that drew on wealth, poverty, race and politics. Bringing together a selection of more than 100 works from international museums and private collections, the exhibition features rare film, photography and archive material, much of which has never been exhibited in Europe before.

Surrealism in Egypt: Art et Liberté 1938 – 1948

Tate Liverpool, Until 18 March

When we think of surrealism, often artists like Salvador Dali and René Magritte first spring to mind. Although surrealism is widely associated with Europe, the movement spanned much further, underpinned by a progressive internationalist energy in an age of rising fascism. ‘Surrealism in Egypt: Art et Liberté 1938 – 1948’ draws upon this past to uncover how surrealism developed beyond Europe. The first comprehensive museum exhibition about the Art and Liberty group features numerous paintings, photographs and archival documents, many of which are being exhibited in the UK for the first time. The Tate explores how this politically engaged collective of artists and writers lived and worked in Cairo between 1938 – 1948, and the influence of international artists such as André Breton in introducing surrealism to the Cairo art scene.

Eileen Agar, Angel of Anarchy, 1936 – 40, The Estate of Eileen Agar/ Bridgeman Images

Virginia Woolf, An Exhibition Inspired by Her Writings

Tate St Ives, 10 February – 29 April

From one Tate to another, this time a little closer to home, Tate St Ives is to exhibit a collection of art from 1850 to the present that has been inspired by the writing of Virginia Woolf. The author of works such as To the Lighthouse, and the pioneering feminist text A Room of One’s Own, Woolf cherished the early memories of St Ives where she spent her summers until she was 13. The exhibition, led by her writing, will act as a prism through which to explore feminist perspectives on landscape, domesticity and identity in modern and contemporary art. With works by over 70 artists, the touring exhibition will move to Pallant House in Chichester from the 26th May – 16th September before heading to the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge between 2nd October – 9th December 2018.

Picasso 1932 – Love, Fame, Tragedy

Tate Modern, 8 March – 9 September

Undoubtedly one of 2018’s most talked about art shows, which Tate has described as one of the most significant in its history set to draw in thousands of people a day, this ‘once-in-a-lifetime opportunity’ will focus on the work produced by Picasso in a single year: 1932. This blockbuster show, featuring over 100 ‘outstanding’ paintings, sculptures and drawings from private and international collections, will be the first time in 85 years that the work of Picasso’s ‘year of wonder’ is shown together. 1932 was an extraordinary year for Picasso both personally and professionally, creating some of his best loved works including ‘The Dream’ and ‘Girl before a Mirror’, cementing his celebrity status as the most influential artist of the early 20th century.  Taking visitors on a month-by-month journey through 1932, the exhibition invites viewers to get close to Picasso’s way of thinking and working and to the tribulations of his personal life at a pivotal moment in his career.

Pablo Picasso, The Dream (Le Rêve), 1932, Private Collection Succession Picasso/DACS, London 2017

Mantegna and Bellini

The National Gallery, 1 October 2018 – 27 January 2019

If the Renaissance is more your scene, the National Gallery will host the first full-scale joint exhibition of two of the Italian Renaissance’s greatest artists: Giovanni Bellini and Andrea Mantegna. This showcase will explore their relationship and compare the work of two pre-eminent artists, who also happened to be brothers-in-law. Central to the exhibition will be two historic juxtapositions of Mantegna’s and Bellini’s depictions of ‘The Agony in the Garden’ and ‘The Presentation to the Temple’. It was Mantegna’s compositional innovations and deep interest in classical antiquity that made a huge impact on Bellini. In turn, Bellini’s very different pictorial style deeply impacted on Mantegna’s work. Though they did not work in close proximity to one another, their work provides evidence of a life-long creative artistic exchange.

Klimt/Schiele: Drawings from the Albertina Museum, Vienna

Royal Academy of Arts, 4 November 2018 – 3 February 2019

Closing 2018 by marking the centenary of the deaths of two great Modernist icons, this blockbuster show offers an intimate glimpse into Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele’s enigmatic relationship, friendly rivalry and differing creative processes. 1918 brought about the end of an intense period of creative vitality that had blazed across Vienna’s bohemian swirl as a result of radical symbolist painter Klimt and his young, edgy protégé Schiele. These rare, raw and revealing drawings selected from the world’s greatest collection of their works on paper, Vienna’s Albertina Museum, provoke and reflect how both the work of Schiele and Klimt possess passion, modernity and desire demonstrating how the body is a universal subject. The fact that many of these works will likely not see the light of day again for many years, due to their fragility, makes this exhibition an absolute must-see.

sciele 2
Egon Schiele, Self-Portrait in Orange Cloak



Emily Stearn


Featured image source: https://www.pablopicasso.org/images/paintings/girl-before-a-mirror.jpg


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