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Britain’s cultural calendar is packed with world-class exhibitions in 2021, and with 15 April marking World Art Day, you can start dreaming of an art-inspired future trip to Britain. From the Liverpool Biennial and a showing of privately owned Banksy pieces to a trip through nightclub design at the V&A Dundee, here’s a selection of what’s to come.
Hailed as one of the most influential British artists of the 20th century, David Hockney will exhibit The Arrival of Spring, Normandy, 2020 at the Royal Academy of Arts from 23 May – 26 September 2021. Featuring 116 new pieces that capture the resplendence of spring in his signature style, each was initially created on an iPad but then printed, allowing you to see every ‘brushstroke’ used by the master of colour.
This year, the V&A will invite you to ‘tumble down the rabbit hole’ into Alice: Curiouser and Curiouser. This immersive journey will take fans through the many fantastical adaptations and ideas that have stemmed from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, during the book’s 157-year history. Of the hundreds of marvellous objects on show, highlights will include original illustrations for Lewis Carroll’s novel, designs by Vivienne Westwood and costumes from Tim Burton’s film adaptation. Opening dates are to be confirmed.
With past works dazzling millions of visitors across 34 cities, Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama will bring one of her biggest ever installations to the Tate Modern in spring 2021. The Infinity Mirrored Room – Filled with the Brilliance of Life will give you a rare chance to explore Kusama’s staggering creative vision and will show alongside the Chandelier of Grief, which creates a never-ending illusion of rotating chandeliers.
The largest private collection of works by Banksy, one of the most famous and influential graffiti artists of all time, is set to be displayed in London from 20 May 2021. The Art of Banksy, showing at 50 Earlham Street near Covent Garden, will include prints, sculpture and limited edition pieces such as Girl and Balloon and Flower Thrower, alongside a few lesser-known works.
The UK’s largest contemporary art festival, the Liverpool Biennial, will return in 2021. This city-wide event will run from 20 March – 6 June 2021 and will feature a programme packed with free exhibitions, performances and shows created by 50 international artists. This year’s theme of ‘The Stomach and the Port’ will creatively explore the human body in a place shaped by its maritime past. It will transform unexpected areas, historic sites, galleries and public spaces around the city, including Tate Liverpool, Open Eye Gallery and Victoria Gallery & Museum, as well as the iconic Grade II-listed Lewis's Building, a new addition to the 2021 line-up.
England’s Creative Coast is an innovative self-guided art treasure hunt along south-east England’s coastline. Seven outdoor art works, all inspired by the meeting of land and sea, will feature along a 1,400 km route stretching from West Sussex to Essex, taking in the Thames Estuary en route. Guided by GPS-enabled geocaching technology, you can stop off in Margate, Folkestone and Hastings, as well as Eastbourne and Southend-on-Sea, to discover outstanding works from a range of contemporary artists, alongside galleries, festivals and other events.
To celebrate ten years of The Hepworth Wakefield in 2021, the gallery will display Barbara Hepworth: Art & Life, the largest exhibition of the artist’s work since she passed away in 1975. Running from 21 May until 27 February 2022, it will shine a light on her celebrated works, bringing together rarely seen pieces from national and private collections, while delving into the master sculptor’s life, legacy and hobbies. The exhibition is also set to showcase several commissions from artists Tacita Dean and Veronica Ryan, as well as work from painter Bridget Riley, a contemporary of Hepworth’s in the 1960s.
The beating heart of Newcastle’s modern art scene can be experienced at the Ad Minoliti exhibition, held at the city’s BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Arts. Representing the artist’s largest exhibition in Europe to date, this show will use feminism and queer theory to reinterpret painting, design and visual language. Showing 24 July 2021 – 8 May 2022, this vibrant and geometric collection will also include the Feminist School of Painting, a living installation with a classroom hosting bi-weekly workshops.
Scotland is set to welcome a selection of captivating exhibitions in 2021, including The V&A Dundee’s Night Fever: Designing Club Culture. Diving into the world of nightclub design from the 1960s to the current day, it will explore how club culture and its design influenced society, highlighting legendary nocturnal spots such as Haçienda in Manchester, New York’s Studio 54 and London’s Ministry of Sound. Dates are to be confirmed.