Gender discussions in the north
Female sculptors are being celebrated in the north of England this year, at both the Yorkshire Sculpture Park and Baltic centre for Contemporary Art in Newcastle. Breaking the Mould: Sculpture by Women since 1945 will showcase a range of works across the park, aiming to inspire future generations of female artists, while Newcastle’s Baltic centre will host the first major exhibition in Europe for sculptor Huma Bhabha. Highlighting issues such as colonialism, war and memories of conflict, Bhabha uses materials ranging from clay and wire to animal bones and wood to create striking human figures.
Newcastle will also be the home of The Enchanted Interior, The Laing Art Gallery’s look into how pre-Raphaelite art depicted women as simply ornamental, and at the artists who challenged this. Another look into changing culture through art in Newcastle will be Art Deco by the Sea, which reveals the relationship between the art deco movement and British seaside culture during the 1920s and 1930s.
Buzzing cultural hubs
York is set to host a range of great exhibitions, including local artist Harland Miller’s biggest solo exhibition, York, So Good They Named It Once, at York Art Gallery. If you’re a culture vulture visiting the historic city, you can also check out the York Mediale, an international arts festival, with both exhibitions cementing York as Britain’s first and only UNESCO Creative City of Media Arts.
Moving across the art map of Britain to the west, Liverpool will be exhibiting some major works throughout 2020. Two highlights include a retrospective of Linda McCartney’s photography at the Walker Art Gallery, as well as the exciting Liverpool Biennial, the UK’s largest festival of modern visual art, which spans the entire city. This year’s festival is a discussion of bodies and how they connect to Liverpool and the wider world.
Colonialism, colours and craft
In addition to soaking up dramatic vistas in the Lake District, you can also enjoy Earth Photo, a photography exhibition in Grizedale Forest that will showcase striking imagery of people and the changing landscape of the modern world. Alternatively, head to Blackwell to take in The Arts & Crafts of Politics, which will reveal the social politics explored in the works of Arts & Crafts heroes such as John Ruskin, William Morris and Walter Crane.
Further south, Bath is set to host some boundary-pushing art this year, with the Victoria Art Gallery bringing an experiential exhibition for lovers of colour and bohemian Paris, as they showcase the wonderful world of Toulouse-Lautrec and other seminal artists from the period. Meanwhile, the Holburne Museum will display a collection of Grayson Perry’s ceramics in The Pre-Therapy Years.
The south coast will also be offering unmissable art, as 2020 marks the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower voyage – the journey that saw the first pilgrims venture over to America. The exhibition Settlement will tackle the issue of colonialism and how this is felt by indigenous people, presented in the historically salient location of Plymouth during their Mayflower 400 commemorations. And Bournemouth will take a look into the past at Russell Cotes Art Gallery with Beyond the Brotherhood, a celebration of the legacy of the pre-Raphaelite masters.