10 art exhibitions to see in December

Published 1 December 2017

‘Tis the season to be jolly, and what could be jollier than this: ten exhibitions to help you escape the shopping crowds, shelter from the cold a while and wrap yourself up in art and ideas?

  • Marion Adnams: A Singular Woman

    Derby Museums and Gallery, Derby
    In her dreamlike, detailed Surrealist paintings, Marion Adnams often depicted scenes and landmarks from her native Derby, where this long-overdue celebration of her work is taking place. Born in 1898 – at a time when, as her friend Eileen Agar put it, “men thought of women simply as muses” – Adnams began taking evening art classes while teaching at a girls’ school. She found her way to critical and commercial success in the 1930s-60s, before failing eyesight forced her to stop painting, though she lived to age 96. Sadly, today her work has been largely forgotten, but this first major retrospective should be a catalyst for a reevaluation of her place in 20th-century art history.

  • Marion Adnams, For Lo, Winter is Past

    Marion Adnams , For Lo, Winter is Past , 1963 .

    Oil on board. © Derby Museums Trust and Artist’s Estate.

  • Winnie-the-Pooh: Exploring a Classic

    Victoria and Albert Museum, London
    A big exhibition for a bear of very little brain – the V&A is bringing the Hundred Acre Wood to South Kensington. Described by Director Tristram Hunt as their “first exhibition specifically for younger families”, it will explore the fruitful creative partnership between writer A.A. Milne and illustrator E.H. Shepherd. Exhibits include letters between the two, early sketches of Pooh, Piglet and friends, and immersive installations inspired by classic tales like Pooh Sticks and Eeyore’s House. Winnie-the-Pooh would surely approve of the museum as a venue, given that its rooftops house hives of bees making his favourite food, honey (although much like him, not wishing to appear too greedy, they haven’t bothered about the bread).

  • E.H. Shepard, Christopher Robin and Winnie-the-Pooh

    E.H. Shepard , Christopher Robin and Winnie-the-Pooh , 1970 .

    Line block print, hand coloured by E.H. Shepard. © Egmont, reproduced with permission from the Shepard Trust. 'Winnie the Pooh: Exploring a Classic', 9 December 2017 – 8 April 2018. With support from the Unwin Charitable Trust.

  • A New Era: Scottish Modern Art 1900-1950

    Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh
    Presenting work from around 50 artists spanning a period of 50 years, this ambitious exhibition will shine a light on the role Scottish artists played in major 20th-century artistic movements including Cubism, Abstraction and Surrealism. Expect to discover lesser-known names like Margaret Mellis; a central figure in the St Ives community of the 1940s – her later work involved creating compelling constructions from driftwood and mentoring a young artist named Damien Hirst.

  • William Johnstone, A Point in Time

    William Johnstone , A Point in Time , c.1929/37 .

    Oil on canvas. 137.2 x 243.8cm. ?Collection: National Galleries of Scotland. ?Presented by Mrs Hope Montagu Douglas Scott 1971?© Estate of William Johnstone ?Image: Antonia Reeve.

  • baby boy, curated by Black Radical Imagination

    Transmission Gallery, Glasgow
    This touring programme of visual shorts takes John Singleton’s 2001 drama, Baby Boy, as a jumping-off point for an exploration of Black-American malehood, spanning 15 years to conclude with 2016’s Best Picture-winner, Moonlight. Black Radical Imagination explore issues of representation and inclusivity in a cinematic context, using new media and video art to question what these two “golden ages” of Black cinema have to tell us about the political and cultural state of America.

  • Installation view of 'baby boy', featuring works by Christopher Harris, Brandon Coley Cox and Daniel T. Gaitor-Lomack

    Installation view of 'baby boy', featuring works by Christopher Harris, Brandon Coley Cox and Daniel T. Gaitor-Lomack

    Courtesy of the artists

  • Jacqueline Donachie

    Fruitmarket, Edinburgh
    In 1995, a 25-year-old Jacqueline Donachie created Advice Bar, a performance art piece in which she dispensed advice one-on-one from behind a homemade bar, inspired by the two part-time jobs she had at the time: bartender and administrator for an analyst. A revival of the piece will open this first major survey of the Glaswegian artist’s work, which will also present her films, sculptures, photography and installations. Part of the “Glasgow Miracle” generation that put the city firmly on the art map in the ‘90s, Donachie’s work explores how people “navigate the world”, often inviting the public to become part of a performance.

  • Jacqueline Donachie, Advice Bar (Expanded for the Times)

    Jacqueline Donachie , Advice Bar (Expanded for the Times) , 2017 .

    Steel, concrete, newspapers. Courtesy of the artist and Patricia Fleming Projects, Glasgow.

  • Rose Wylie: Quack Quack

    Serpentine Sackler, London
    This major exhibition represents a new career high for Rose Wylie RA, presenting both her colourful, large-scale paintings and works on paper. Her exuberant art, often inspired by popular culture and childhood memories, has been winning over critics ever since the artist was “discovered” in her late seventies – in the past seven years, she’s had shows at Tate Britain and Turner Contemporary, won prestigious awards and been elected a Senior Royal Academician. As Wylie puts it, “I married early and had children, and so I didn’t paint for a long time, but that wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. I’d been through a lot, and thought a lot, and I came back to my work afresh.”

  • Rose Wylie RA, Queen with Pansies (Dots)

    Rose Wylie RA , Queen with Pansies (Dots) , 2016 .

    © Rose Wylie, Courtesy the artist and David Zwirner, London, Photograph: Soon-Hak Kwon.

  • Ilya and Emilia Kabakov: Not Everyone Will Be Taken Into The Future

    Tate Modern, London
    Born in Dnipropetrovsk back when it was part of the SSR Ukraine, the Kabakovs have lived through some of the 20th century’s most seismic changes. The pair’s pioneering installation art is rooted in their experience of living under the oppressive regime of the Soviet Union, dreaming up escapes from communal apartments and alter-egos who communicate with mysterious little white men. This Tate exhibition recreates six of these installations, along with displays of Ilya’s earlier drawings, paintings and collages.

  • Ilya Kabakov and Emilia Kabakov   , Not Everyone Will Be Taken into The Future

    Ilya Kabakov and Emilia Kabakov , Not Everyone Will Be Taken into The Future , 2001 .

    Wooden construction, railway car fragment, running-text display and paintings. MAK - Austrian Museum of Applied Arts / Contemporary Art, Vienna © Ilya & Emilia Kabakov.

  • Kehinde Wiley: In Search of the Miraculous

    Stephen Friedman Gallery, London
    In October, Barack Obama announced that he had chosen the artist Kehinde Wiley to paint his official portrait for the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery. It’s the latest in a series of critical coups for the New York-based artist, whose work often places contemporary subjects in an ancient context, co-opting the symbolism of the art-historical canon to imbue his portraits with a sense of power and majesty. This latest exhibition presents nine new paintings that reinterpret seascapes by JMW Turner RA, Winslow Homer and Hieronymus Bosch, as well as the artist’s first venture into multi-channel filmmaking.

  • Kehinde Wiley, The Herring Net (Zakary Antoine and Samedy Pierre Louisson) (detail)

    Kehinde Wiley , The Herring Net (Zakary Antoine and Samedy Pierre Louisson) (detail) , 2017 .

    Oil on canvas. 272.3 x 394cm. © Kehinde Wiley. Courtesy of Kehinde Wiley and Stephen Friedman Gallery, London.

  • Daughters of Necessity: Serena Korda & Wakefield’s Ceramics

    The Hepworth Wakefield, Wakefield
    Experimental British artist Serena Korda’s previous creations include a 15-foot latex monster, a mobile library with confessional booths, and a dancing “boob meteorite”. At Hepworth Wakefield, she’ll be curating a selection of the gallery’s ceramics collection, which includes pieces by Hans Coper, Lucy Rie and Albert Wainwright. Korda will also be showing a new presentation of her Glasgow International 2016 work, titled Hold Fast, Stand Sure, I Scream a Revolution. It’s a sound sculpture made up of 29 porcelain mushrooms that can be played as bells – and will be, during the Ceramics Fair in May 2018.

  • Serena Korda, Hold Fast, Stand Sure, I Scream a Revolution

    Serena Korda , Hold Fast, Stand Sure, I Scream a Revolution , 2016 .

    Courtesy of the artist. Photo: Alan Dimmick.

  • Sofia Stevi

    BALTIC, Gateshead
    Greek artist Sofia Stevi originally studied graphic design, before starting to make sculptures using the techniques she learned on a bookbinding course as part of a masters in typography. Today, her work spans sculpture, works on paper and paintings on cotton – the last as a result of her unorthodox training, which left her “too poor or scared” to buy and stretch traditional canvases, but opened her mind to the possibilities of alternative materials. She takes inspiration from her own dreams and desires to create colourful, almost cartoonish works that meld identifiable shapes with psychedelic motifs and patterns.

  • Sofia Stevi , Untitled

    Sofia Stevi , Untitled , 2017 .

    Courtesy The Breeder, Athens.