Last year was another outstanding twelve months for the visual arts in Yorkshire with a number of venues offering memorable, world-class exhibitions – and 2020 is shaping up to reach a similar high standard.
One show I’m particularly looking forward to is a major exhibition that comes to the Hepworth Wakefield next month. Bill Brandt/Henry Moore traces for the first time the parallel and intersecting careers of the photographer and the sculptor, both considered to be among the most important artists of the 20th century.
The two men met during the Second World War while creating images of civilians sheltering in the London Underground during the Blitz – and they were often drawn to similar subjects such as ordinary people, the home and labour. Bringing together more than 200 works, the show will include photographs, sculptures, drawings, unprinted negatives and rare original colour transparencies. The exhibition runs February 7 to May 31.
Over at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, another of my favourite haunts, the programme for this year is looking as exciting as ever. Included are British artist Saad Qureshi – Something About Paradise opens in the chapel space tomorrow – plus the UK’s largest ever exhibition by celebrated Portuguese artist Joana Vasconcelos which arrives at the Park in March with works on display in the Underground gallery and open air. A touring exhibition comes to the Longside gallery in April – Breaking the Mould: Sculpture by Women since 1945 is an Arts Council Collection celebrating the strengths of sculpture made by women. More than 45 artists are represented including Barbara Hepworth, Elisabeth Frink, Cornelia Parker and Rachel Whiteread.
Sheffield Museums have a wide range of exhibitions coming up this year – the biggest of which is probably their summer show at the Millennium Gallery. Cecil Beaton’s Bright Young Things (running June 25-October 18) examines the world of the glamorous ‘Bright Young Things’ of the 1920s and 30s as seen through the lens of acclaimed photographer and society figure Cecil Beaton. At the Weston Park Museum local matters are explored in The Sheffield Project showcasing photography commissioned in the 1980s, a time of great change for the city, documenting the decline of the steel industry and the miners’ strike.
York Art Gallery next month presents the largest solo exhibition to date of the artist Harland Miller. York, So Good They Named It Once (February 14-May 31) will feature both new and existing works including perhaps Miller’s best-known series; the ‘Penguin Book Covers’ and the ‘Pelican Bad Weather Paintings’ which refer directly to the artist’s relationship to his hometown of York.
The Tetley in Leeds kicks off 2020 with a show by Russian artist Taus Makhacheva. Featuring sculpture, performance and video, it includes her 2018 work Spa which invites visitors to have a facial treatment while listening to stories about disappeared artworks.
I have to stress that this is only a brief glimpse of a tiny selection of what will be happening across our fantastic visual arts organisations this year. Do try and get along to some of them, I can guarantee you will not be disappointed.