Yorkshire's galleries and exhibition centres are set for a bumper year. Arts reporter Nick Ahad on what to look forward to in the coming year.
NExt year's offerings from our houses of art remind me of a quote I once saw on the side of a Waterstones bag. "If I could only recommend one book," went the quote, "then I would keep my mouth shut".
There is a wealth of truly brilliant art coming to our doorsteps over the coming few months and all of it is worth shouting about.
A major home-town exhibition for Leeds's most famous artist son, Damien Hirst? Done.
A major revamp and re-evaluation of Sheffield's brilliant collection of John Ruskin's legacy? No problem.
A chance to cast your eye over the prints, etchings and drawings of Henry Moore? Why not.
David Hockney's biggest painting being exhibited outside of London for the first time? What more could you want?
It is the final of these that might perhaps make art lovers salivate the most – not that I would recommend this one event above all others, you understand. In February, York Art Gallery will exhibit the largest painting David Hockney has created.
Bigger Trees Near Warter or/ou Peinture Sur Le Motif Pour Le Nouvel Age Post-Photograpique 2007, measures a not insubstantial 12m by 4.5m, is made up of 50 smaller canvasses of a landscape near the East Yorkshire village of Warter and is simply a magnificent sight. It is normally housed at the Tate, following its first showing at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition in 2007, but its arrival in York marks the start of Art in Yorkshire – supported by the Tate.
The project is essentially a year-long celebration of the visual arts in 19 galleries throughout the county. Works from the Tate's collection of historic, modern and contemporary art will be showcased through a programme of exhibitions and events.
Bradford Grammar School Old Boy Hockney is not the only Yorkshireman whose art is making a journey home. Damien Hirst, who grew up and trained in Leeds before becoming internationally renowned as the Nineties' Young British Artist.
In July, Leeds Art Gallery will hold the first dedicated display of Hirst's work ever seen in the city, and will trace the artist's career from his student days to his later works after he had established himself as one of the world's highest profile artists. The exhibition will include one of his seminal works Away from the Flock which was first exhibited in 1994 at the Serpentine Gallery in London.
Sheffield's Millennium Galleries host a strong line-up of exhibitions, but the one that seems really exciting is the re-opening of the Ruskin collection.
The dedicated Ruskin Gallery will re-open on March 19 following a 200,000 refurbishment and will see the curators in Sheffield show visitors a new way of looking at the work which the Victorian leading thinker collected. Expect to see
work by artists including JMW Turner and Edward Burne-Jones.
The biggest story in the art world in Yorkshire will be a new addition to the family when The Hepworth Wakefield finally opens in May 2011. All the details will be revealed at the end of January. We do already know that Eva Rothschild will open the new venue's exhibitions programme, but all we can really add is that the place looks amazing – and that's without any art in it.
In April, Harewood House will welcome back Jacob Epstein's sculpture Adam. The piece has been enjoying a pivotal position at the Royal Academy in London. The return of the Epstein sculpture will see Harewood celebrate with a major exhibition, Finding Adam, which will look at the sculpture's journey from its creation to today and will be supported by a wealth of other work by Epstein. Bradford's National Media Museum is always full of interesting photographic exhibitions and April sees The Lives of the Great Photographers which promises iconic images from iconic photographers.
Loiners will be spoilt this year – not only do they get to enjoy the Hirst exhibition, but in February they will also get to enjoy a major exhibition of prints, etchings and drawings by Henry Moore.
The Henry Moore Institute is hosting the exhibition alongisde an important retrospective of the sculptors' work coming to Leeds Art Gallery in March.
Out of the galleries, the Saltaire Arts Trail has moved from September to May. The popular event, which sees Saltaire residents opening their homes and turning them into galleries will run over the weekend of May 28-30.
Opera North continues to make brilliant use of the refurbished Howard Assembly Room in the Leeds Grand Theatre – and that continues in January.
The company will be welcoming Mariele Neudecker, currently on the artist shortlist for the Fourth Plinth in London's Trafalgar Square, to the HAR on January 28, when she will open a major free exhibition. Kindertotenlieder (Songs on the Death of Children) is an installation piece that people can walk through, made up of five rooms and using film, music, poetry and sculpture inspired by the Gustav Mahler song cycle of the
Yorkshire Sculpture Park enjoyed a fantastic year in 2010, and with a major chunk of funding to carry out work on reclaiming parts of the park this year, 2011 will be another good one.
Using the Underground Gallery and the grounds of the park, YSP will present the first major UK exhibition by Jaume Plensa with a collection of work including sculpture and drawing.
There are hundreds of other, similar and smaller galleries that could fill these pages, but, in the spirit of the man asked to recommend a single book, all I would say is see as much of it as you can.
The art world's highlights 2011
John Martin: Millennium Gallery, Sheffield, June 22-September 4: Fifty works by one of Britain's most important 19th century painters. The sweeping, epic paintings inspired by The Old Testament are something to behold.
Henry Moore: Leeds Art Gallery, March 4-Jun 12: Organised jointly by Tate Britain and the Leeds gallery, sculptures and paintings by one of Britain's greatest artists.
Kindertotenlieder: Howard Assembly Room, Leeds, January 28-February 23: Yorkshire continues to attract nationally important artists and the combination of Mariele Neudecker with the stunning HAR should not be resisted.