Another big year for art across the Yorkshire region

SPEAK OUT: Revolt and Revolutions at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park.
SPEAK OUT: Revolt and Revolutions at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park.
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Can the coming months top 2017’s fantastic year for the visual arts in Yorkshire? Yvette Huddleston takes a look at just some of the many highlights.

It’s been an incredibly rich and noteworthy year for the visual arts in Yorkshire – just two of the big news stories were Hull hosting the Turner Prize as part of its tenure as UK City of Culture 2017 and the much anticipated reopening of Leeds Art Gallery in October – and it looks as though we have another exciting twelve months in prospect.

We are very lucky in our region to have access to such a wide range of world-class art. That is down to bold, imaginative programming by high-calibre cultural institutions that attract the work of renowned British and international artists on a regular basis.

The Yorkshire Sculpture Park follows up its packed 40th anniversary programme last year with another series of top-class shows. Highlights include an exploration of revolt and revolution from the Arts Council Collection, which opens tomorrow and runs until April, plus the most extensive UK exhibition to date by Italian artist Giuseppe Penone opening in May, and a look at the radical work of arts and environmental charity Common Ground. York Art Gallery’s programme includes a private collection of iconic shoes by Vivienne Westwood, illustrations by Quentin Blake in The BFG in Pictures, an exhibition on borders and migration entitled The Sea is the Limit, and a major exhibition of the work of ceramicist Lucie Rie. The gallery will also be hosting the annual Aesthetica Art Prize again.

The Hepworth Wakefield’s extraordinary Alina Szapocznikow exhibition runs until the end of this month – catch it if you can – and then in February the gallery will see another major survey – this time of the work of Anthony McCall. The show will include the UK premiere of three new ‘solid light’ installations and will also feature an overview of McCall’s pioneering 1970s early work with film and light, and a display of his drawings, sketchbooks and maquettes. In June the gallery will be showcasing the work of photographer Lee Miller and the biennial Hepworth Prize for Sculpture, launched in 2016, will return again this year with five artists being shortlisted in the autumn and the winner being announced in November.

In Leeds the Tetley launches three shows next month. The House that Heals the Soul is both an exhibition and a functioning publishing studio and focusses on the political and social status of libraries. It also hosts first UK solo shows by two Pakistani artists – Madiha Aijaz and Mahbub Jokhio – as part of New North and South, a three year collaborative programme from a network of 11 arts organisations from across the North of England and South Asia.

Over in Sheffield at the Millennium Gallery, Hope is Strong, opening next month, explores the power of art to question the world we live in. It will feature work by Ai Weiwei and Jeremy Deller’s The Battle of Orgreave Archive, chronicling the confrontations between the police and striking miners in South Yorkshire. At the Graves Gallery Received Dissent: American Art from 1968 marks the 50th anniversary of SMS which sent artworks directly to subscribers and includes work by Marcel Duchamp, Roy Lichentstein, Man Ray and Yoko Ono.

This is just a snapshot of what is on offer. There is a wealth of excellent galleries and artspaces in the region – too many to mention them all here – so, why not make a resolution to visit at least one of them this year?