Major Art Exhibitions to Look Out For in 2016

by Cass Art


You don't have to wish too hard for rain in the UK, but that's something we're actually looking forward to in 2016; With so many incredible art exhibitions coming up this year, a little drizzle is the perfect excuse to hole up and find shelter inside one of the UK's many galleries. Keep reading to find out which major art exhibitions we'll be visiting to soak up some inspiration this year...  

Frank Auerbach Art Exhibition

9th October 2015- 13th March 2016 at Tate Britain

If you haven’t had the chance to catch Frank Auerbach’s major retrospective at Tate Britain in 2015 there is no need to fret, as the New Year offers a further 3 months to catch this critically-acclaimed show. Auerbach is now acknowledged as one of the world’s greatest living painters, and this show goes a long way to prove why. Visitors are able to view the progression of his work from the 1950’s to the present day, through a series of paintings and drawings. Go along to marvel at the artist's masterful use of texture and mark-making, which bring his portraiture and landscape works to life.

Alexander Calder: Performing Sculpture

11th November 2015- 3rd April 2016 at Tate Modern

Alexander Calder is the man who showed the world that sculpture needn’t be static. His famous suspended pieces, christened mobiles by Marcel Duchamp, are displayed alongside film, music, dance and theatrical collaborations in this celebratory show. Calder’s work is as delicate as it is monumental, and the variety in this exhibition offers real insight into the artist’s exciting and eccentric practice.

 Delacroix and The Rise of Modern Art

17th February- 22nd May 2016 at National Gallery

Eugène Delacroix was an innovator during the 19th century, and this exhibition honors the legacy passed down by the artist. Delacroix's work marked a turning point in French painting, directing it away from the shackles of traditional technique and moving towards a freer, more modern way of working; in the process paving the way for eminent future artistic movements, such as Impressionism and later, Post-Impressionism. His work will be shown alongside pieces by artists including Courbet, Van Gogh, Renoir and Matisse, all of whom cited the artist's style as an influence in their own work. This will be the first exhibition of Delacroix's work on British soil for more than 50 years, so it is definitely major art exhibition of 2016 not to be missed!  

Botticelli Reimagined

5th March- 3rd July 2016 at V&A

In a similar vein to Delacroix at the National Gallery, the V&A will be presenting a comprehensive celebration of the work of Italian Old Master, Sandro Botticelli. Once again, the artist's work will be shown alongside those who have followed in his footsteps, painting a striking visual timeline of his incredible influence. The emphasis in this exhibition is the image itself; and presented works can be seen to directly appropriate and re-envisage the famous style and content of his pieces. Expect wide-ranging exhibits, including fashion, sculpture, print and film from artists and designers such as William Morris, Elsa Schiaparelli and Andy Warhol, alongside a substantial collection of Botticelli's own work. Renaissance buffs and modern culture fans alike should find something to love in this show. 


Bridget Riley: Paintings, 1964-2015

15th April 2015- 16th April 2017 at Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art

A fascination with monochrome in the early 1960's earnt Bridget Riley critical acclaim, and she has since been known as one of the key figures in the Op art movement. Her paintings, featuring geometric shapes evoke a sensory reaction from viewers, who see movement and depth within the static surfaces. Over the course of her career she evolved to explore colour within her work, and this retrospective exhibition shows the development of her practice from her black and white beginnings in the 60's, through to the present day. Visit the exhibition for pattern, illusion, and maybe event a hint of seasickness. 

Francis Bacon: Invisible Rooms
18th May- 18th September 2016 at Tate Liverpool
With a taste for grotesque imagery and brilliant eye for composition, Francis Bacon's paintings are simultaneously beautiful and unsettling. Austere geometric structures recur through much of Bacon's work; encasing his painted subjects within boxes, rooms or cages. These ghostly frames are highlighted by Tate Liverpool's upcoming exhibition, Francis Bacon: Invisible Rooms, which will feature approximately 35 original works including this key theme. The dramatic setting of Liverpool's dockland serves as the perfect venue for a reflective exhibition on some of the artist's most bleak and powerful pieces, which are arguably masterpieces of the modern age.

Painters’ Paintings: From Freud to Van Dyck
22nd June- 4th September 2016 at National Gallery
Artists express their individual identities to the public through the exhibition of their own creations, and much is read into the concept and imagery of these works. Painter's Paintings exhibition gives the rare opportunity to see further into their lives, by exhibiting a collection of works owned, but not made, by some of the world's most well-known artists, including Mattise, Degas and Lucian Freud. If you've ever wanted to take a peek into an artist's private world, this show should be an insightful glimpse into the artists' points of inspiration, investments, and personal areas of interest. This is the perfect field-trip for the nosy art-lover!  
David Hockney RA: 79 Portraits and Two Still Lifes

2nd July- 2nd October 2016 at The Royal Academy

David Hockney has enjoyed a monumental career spanning over 50 years, during which time his painted work has taken a variety of forms. From Pop Art in the 60's, through to multicoloured landscapes, interior spaces and portraiture. This exhibition focuses on the latter, with the showing of 79 new portraits of personal friends, colleagues and acquaintances. The short, three day, turnaround of each painting gives the images a snapshot quality; his masterful brush strokes effortlessly capture the essence of each of his sitters, while his beginnings in Pop Art are still apparent through the paintings' vivid cobalt backgrounds. Visit the RA from Summer 2016 to soak in the work of one of the world's most influential living artists, and gain some insight into his life in the LA art scene. 

Facing the World: Self-Portraits from Rembrandt to Ai Weiwei  

16th July- 16th October 2016 at Scottish National Portrait Gallery

The self-portrait has been a enduring theme throughout the history of art, and has been explored through numerous art forms, and in a vast variety of scales and materials. The continuous evolution of popular styles, techniques, and the rise of technology, has ensured that there have always been fresh takes on self representation, and the self-portrait continues to capture our imagination. Facing the World is presented at a time when self perception, and the branding of an individual, is at an all-time high, thanks largely to our cultural obsession with exhibiting our own image online via social media sites such as Instagram and Facebook. Go along to take a look back at the historical context of "the selfie" and see artists such as Rembrandt, Edvard Munch, Marina Abramovich and Sarah Lucas through their own eyes.

Have we missed any must see art exhibitions happening in 2015?

Shout out about any upcoming shows and major art exhibitions that aren't to be missed in 2015 on Twitter, using the hashtag #cassart, and we'll give you a retweet. 

Image Credits

1-  Frank Auerbach, E.O.W. half-length nude, 1958, courtesy Marlborough Fine Art Photo: Douglas M. Parker Studio,
2- Alexander Calder, Antennae with Red and Blue Dots, c1953, © 2015 Calder Foundation, New York and DACS, London,
3- Eugène Delacroix, Self Portrait, 1837 © Musée du Louvre,
4- Yin Yin, Venus, after Botticelli, 2008, Guillaume Duhamel, courtesy Duhamel Fine Art, Paris, 
5-  David LaChapelle, Rebirth of Venus, 2009, Creative Exchange Agency, New York, Steven Pranica / Studio LaChapelle. © David LaChapelle 
6- Bridget Riley, Burn, 1964, Private Collection,
7- Francis Bacon, Three Studies for Figures at the Base of a Crucifixion, circa 1944, Presented by Eric Hall 1953© 
8- Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Italian Woman, about 1870 © The National Gallery,
9- David Hockney RA, Lord Jacob Rothschild, 2014, © David Hockney Photo credit: Richard Schmidt, 
10- Sarah Lucas, Self-Portraits, 1990-1998 © The Artist, courtesy Sadie Coles HQ, London, 
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