Top 11 exhibitions to see in the UK in 2018

2017 was a major year for British art with record-breaking exhibitions and plenty of young, creative talent making its mark.

The thriving arts scene in Birmingham has had its fair share of the success with seven galleries being granted National Portfolio Organisation status. International artists have flocked from around the world to exhibit and perform in the city’s venues that have received international recognition.

2018 is set to be just as vibrant with galleries and museums across the UK preparing programmes of events, festivals and exhibitions to suit everyone’s tastes. We’ve taken a look at some of the best exhibitions coming up in the UK and picked our top 11 tips.coming out sign


Coming out: Sexuality, Gender and Identity at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery

2 December 2017 – 15 April 2018, free

To kick off let’s look at one of the most exciting exhibitions in Birmingham this year.

The list of names exhibiting in Coming Out: Sexuality, Gender and Identity speaks for itself. Featuring Sara Lucas, Grayson Perry, Steve McQueen, Francis Bacon, David Hockney, Andy Warhol and many more, this exhibition includes work by some of the most prestigious artists in modern and contemporary art.

Whether you’re familiar with contemporary art, a dedicated queer theorist or just fancying something a bit different, this diverse exhibition has something for you.

Richard Long: Drawn from Land at Derby Museum and Art Gallery

2 December 2017 – 4 March 2018, ‘give what you think’

In collaboration with Tate Modern, Derby Museum and Art Gallery is hosting a solo show of work by the acclaimed British artist Richard Long.

Long has built his extensive career around the act of walking the landscape, which has inspired his sculptures, photographs and aural works. Set against the apt backdrop of the Peak District, this exhibition offers a unique chance to explore the work of one Britain’s most influential contemporary artists.

T.84-1968 Woman's cape; black curled cock feathers; Auguste Champol; French; c.1895.

Woman’s cape (c.1895) Auguste Champol

 Fashioned from Nature at the Victoria and Albert Museum

21 April 2018 – 27 January 2019, £12

Two worlds come together in Fashioned from Nature as the Victoria and Albert Museum explores how nature has inspired fashion since the renaissance.

Natural history specimens will be shown alongside high-end fashion from the last 400 years, telling the story of the enduring relationship between nature and fashion. Fashioned from Nature is primed to be one of the most vibrant and striking exhibitions of 2018.

From Ear to Ear to Eye at Nottingham Contemporary

16 December 2017 – 4 March 2018, free

Sound takes centre stage in Nottingham Contemporary’s upcoming exhibition which focuses on music, speech and narrative in Arab culture.

17 contemporary artists will present a diverse range of work including photographs, sound art, sculptures and graphic scores. Form Ear to Ear to Eye is set to be an immersive meander through exotic cultures and sounds.

Videogames at the Victoria and Albert Museum

8 September 2018 – TBA

It’s unusual for videogames and CGI to be the focus of big museum exhibitions. However, next year millennial culture will take centre stage at the Victoria and Albert Museum as videogame art is shown alongside the museum’s renowned collections of sculpture, textiles and painting.

Videogames will focus on videogame design and culture over the last decade and offer a unique perspective on this contemporary art form.

van dyk

Charles I (1635-6) Anthony van Dyck

Charles I: King and Collector at the Royal Academy

27 January – 15 April 2018, £20

Reuniting one of the largest royal collections to have ever existed, the Royal Academy’s upcoming exhibition is primed to be a whistle-stop tour through the greatest moments in the history of western art.

Featuring classical sculptures, baroque paintings and works by some of history’s most celebrated artists, Charles I: King and Collector will be every art history lover’s dream. Whether you’re new to the world of art or old friends with the likes of Rubens and Van Dyke, this exhibition is a must-see.

At £20 it’s our most expensive exhibition on the list but it certainly looks worth splashing out on.

Marinella Senatore: York Symphony at York Art Gallery

23 September 2017 – 7 May 2018, £7.50

Marinella Senatore’s immersive exhibition has been developed in response to a series of conversations and workshops with York’s residents. The work, which she describes as a ‘symphony,’ responds to the city’s landscape and culture through a range of video, collage and text.

Grayson Perry: The Life of Julie Cope at various locations, see website.


The Craft Council will present a unique collection of the Turner Prize-winning artist’s work in an exhibition that will tour to galleries across the UK.

Grayson Perry is one of Britain’s’ most popular and well-known artists. His unique take on tapestries and ceramics has seen Perry receive international recognition and revolutionised the relationship between craft and contemporary art.

Grayson Perry: The Life of Julie Cope features work from the artist’s iconic project in 2015 where he paired up with Charley Holland of FAT Architecture to design a house for a fictional character, Julie Cope.

Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize at National Portrait Gallery

16 November 2017 – 8 February 2018, £6

Celebrating the best contemporary portrait photography from around the world, this annual exhibition includes selected images from an open call competition.

The exhibition showcases portrait photography made using a range of traditional and contemporary techniques and features 59 images by artists ranging from established professionals to amateurs and emerging talent.


Poor migrant farmers… (2017) Timm Sonnenschein

Timm Sonnenschein: division, resistance & empowerment at Parkside Gallery

15 January -24 February 2018, free

It’s been a while since we’ve had a solo show here at Parkside Gallery but we couldn’t resist dedicating the whole gallery to Sonnenschein’s portrait photography.

Emotive, personal and often challenging, Sonnenschien’s portraits provide a personal view of some of the most complex issues facing society. Featuring six collections that focus on cultures ranging from student communities to the Chinese workforce, Sonnenschein’s emotionally and politically-charged works focus on personal responses to political landscapes.

Pop by Parkside Platform, to see a sneak peak of Sonnenschein’s work which features in our current exhibition, A time and a place.

Melanie Jackson: Deeper in the Pyramid at Grand Union

2 February – 21 April 2018, free

Deeper in the Pyramid is a multimedia exhibition inspired by our complex relationship with milk and the networks that it creates in the twenty-first century.

Jackson uses milk as a focal point to explore networks of animals, humans and technologies that are interacting in increasingly complex ways.

Comprising of animations, sculptures and performance works, Deeper in the Pyramid is a vibrant response to the complex systems of the new millennium.

Here at Parkside Gallery we have some extremely exciting plans for the coming year. With new ventures and big changes lined-up, watch this space!

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