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11 art events to look forward to in 2018

Published 21 December 2017

Exhibitions, commissions, transformations and brand spanking new galleries – there’s a lot to look forward to in 2018. Here are some art highlights to mark in that new diary your grandma gave you for Christmas.

    • 1. Anthea Hamilton’s Tate Britain Commission

      Tate Britain, London
      21 March – 7 October 2018
      In 2017, Anthea Hamilton prized apart a pair of buttocks to greet visitors to Tate Britain’s Turner Prize exhibition and in March 2018, she’ll return to the galleries to unveil her Tate Britain Commission. As the museum’s Director Alex Farquharson has said, Hamilton’s work produces “unforgettable experiences that both provoke and delight”, but all that’s been revealed of this particular commission so far is that it will be a major new work combining sculpture and performance.

      Anthea Hamilton

      Anthea Hamilton

      © Valerie Sadoun


    • 2. Frida Kahlo’s wardrobe

      V&A, London
      16 June – 4 November 2018
      Frida Kahlo’s vibrant outfits are a recognisable hallmark of her work – from floral headdresses and traditional Mexican skirts to hand-decorated medical corsets and a prosthetic leg wearing a bright red lace-up boot with bells. This fashion exhibition explores her clothes alongside artworks, photographs and letters to build a portrait of the artist and her life. As she said herself: “I am my own muse. The subject I know best. The subject I want to know better.”

      Frida Kahlo, Self-Portrait with Red and Gold Dress
    • 3. Joan Jonas

      Tate Modern, London
      14 March – 5 August
      In the 1970s, Joan Jonas (along with Marina Abramovic and many other women) was using bodies, mirrors and rituals to pioneer performance and video art in the US and beyond. This exhibition makes good use of Tate Modern’s specially designed performance art galleries to show her seminal works from the late 1960s, along with recent installations exploring climate change and species extinction – including performances from the artist herself.

      Joan Jonas, They Come to Us without a Word II

      Joan Jonas, They Come to Us without a Word II, 2015.

      Performance at Teatro Piccolo Arsenale, Venice, Italy, 2015. Photo by Moira Ricci. © 2017 Joan Jonas : Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York : DACS, London.


    • 4. A new Hayward Gallery

      Southbank Centre, London
      Opens January 2018
      The Hayward Gallery’s Brutalist home on Southbank has had two years of transformation – its first major refurbishment since it was built in 1968. The gallery that put Carsten Höller’s swirling silver slides on the outside of its building (and inside hosted retrospectives of work by David Shrigley, Tracey Emin and Ana Mendieta among others) will be at the heart of London’s contemporary art scene once more.

      Carsten Holler, Isomeric Slides (during installation of 'Carsten Holler: Decision' at Hayward Gallery)
  • 5. A new Royal Academy of Arts

    Royal Academy of Arts, London
    Opens 19 May 2018
    From one transformed building to another – and this time it’s our own! On 19 May 2018 we’ll open the doors to A New Royal Academy of Arts: a two-acre campus with new spaces to display our Collection, immersive architecture installations, projects by students from our art school and much more. Inaugurating the new galleries will be the pioneering, poetic work of Tacita Dean, exploring the genre of landscape. See you there.

  • Take a look at what you can expect from The New RA in 2018.


    • 6. Scotland’s first design museum

      V&A Dundee
      And from two transformed galleries to an entirely new one: V&A Dundee will be Scotland’s “first dedicated design museum”, housed in specially built, curvy, concrete structure nestled on the city’s waterfront. The building has been designed by Japanese architect Kengo Kuma (who is also responsible for Tokyo’s 2020 Olympic stadium) and is due to be finished in 2018. Once open, the galleries will tell the story of Scotland’s design heritage – the first confirmed object to be displayed is Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s 13.5 metre oak tea room interior, constructed of over 600 pieces.

      Architect's visualisation of V&A Dundee
    • 7. The tenth Liverpool Biennale

      Venues across Liverpool
      14 July – 28 October 2018
      2018 marks 20 years of Liverpool’s bi-annual art fair. This year over 30 artists’ work will be stationed throughout the city in a 15-week invitation to “reflect on a world of social, political and economic turmoil”. This year’s theme is based on a poem by the German poet Friedrich Schiller which asks: “Beautiful world, where are you?” When Schiller wrote the line, France’s imminent revolution was sending ricochets throughout Europe, but this biennale finds plenty to explore in his question in 2018.

      Oliver Laric, Sleeping Boy (installation view at Cains Brewery, Liverpool Biennal 2016)

      Oliver Laric, Sleeping Boy (installation view at Cains Brewery, Liverpool Biennal 2016), 2016.

      Photo: Joel Chester-Fildes.


    • 8. Hope to Nope: Graphics and Politics 2008-2018

      Design Museum, London
      28 March – 1 August 2018
      At the Design Museum too there’s a chance to reflect on recent political stormclouds. From the Arab Spring to Black Lives Matter to Je Suis Charlie to Women’s Marches – this decade has seen more and more citizens use innovative graphic design on placards, banners and memes to capture the world’s attention. This exhibition looks at how both the marginalised and the powerful have harnessed type and image to change the world.

      Poster from International Women's Day 2017
    • 9. NOW: Jenny Saville and others

      Scottish National Gallery of Art, Edinburgh
      24 March – 16 September
      Jenny Saville graduated from Glasgow School of Art in 1992 and has spent the past 25 years painting and drawing big, fleshy, female bodies from angles that art history would perhaps prefer not to see. Her work is full of thighs, bellies, wounds, surgeries and corpses, spread out on monumental canvases in thick oil and murky charcoal. In 2018, she returns to the country where she learnt her craft for a major career-spanning exhibition.

      Jenny Saville RA, Olympia

      Jenny Saville RA, Olympia, 2013-14.

      Charcoal and oil on canvas. 217 x 290 cm. © Jenny Saville. Courtesy of the artist and Gagosian.


    • 10. Modern Couples: Art Intimacy and the Avant-garde

      Barbican Centre, London
      10 October 2018 – 27 January 2019
      The Barbican is doing away with the myth of the solitary artist genius and presenting an exhibition of the complex, supportive creative exchanges between fellow artists in intimate relationships of all shapes and sizes. Explored in artworks, correspondence and photographic documentation, peer into the inspiring close spheres of Dora Maar and Pablo Picasso, Dorothea Tanning and Max Ernst, Mary Reynolds and Marcel Duchamp and 40 other artist couples.

      Dorothea Tanning and Max Ernst with his sculpture, 'Capricorn', 1947
    • 11. Langlands & Bell – Internet Giants : Masters of the Universe

      Ikon Gallery, Birmingham
      21 March — 10 June 2018
      Describing Apple’s new $5bn spaceship-like home in Silicon Valley, artist Nikki Bell says: “It oozes strategy, ambition, globalisation and technology; it so thoroughly embodies what these companies are about… It is a fantasy of total control”. Inspired by this conspicuous office upgrade, the duo have been investigating the headquarters of 21st-century tech companies and their recent findings are presented in sculptures, installations and portraits in this exhibition.

      Langlands & Bell, Apple (Oblique)

      Langlands & Bell, Apple (Oblique), 2017.

      Archival inkjet prints on 310gsm Hahnemuhle Photo Rag bright white paper. Courtesy the artists.

    • American Gothique, after Grant Wood, from 'Miss Piggy's Treasury of Art Masterpieces from the Kermitage Collection', co-edited by Michael K. Frith

      Did you see all these?

      Try some of our most-loved articles from 2017

      If the Christmas break leaves you time to catch up on some culture – but you don’t want to leave the house – try our list of most-loved articles and videos from the RA, from learning to paint with hot wax to the story of Miss Piggy’s legacy in art.

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