The best art exhibitions to see in Yorkshire galleries during 2014

By Richard Moss | 30 December 2013

It's going to be a typically arty 2014 in Yorkshire's galleries and museums; here's Culture24's pick of some of the best

Three female beauty contestants in swimming costumes stand beside a table where a man sits drinking tea.
Tony Ray-Jones, Beauty contestants, Southport, Merseyside (1967)© National Media Museum
Yorkshire Sculpture Park's 2014 highlights include the most extensive exhibition to date and first major exhibition in Europe by acclaimed American artist Ursula von Rydingsvard (April 5 – January 4); an exhibition of sculpture and animation by Tom Price (January 4 – April 27) and a new installation conceived especially for YSP's Longside Gallery by 2002 Turner Prize-nominee Fiona Banner (July 9 – November 2).

It's a typically eclectic season at the YSP, who also welcome the works of landscape interventionist David Nash (throughout 2014), the Arts Council touring exhibition Land Art (April 5 – June 15) and a performance work by video artist and rapper Helen Benigson (July 2014).

Leeds’ newest venue, The Tetley, gets into its stride with The Reversing Machine (January 24 – February 28), a kinetic installation described by its creators, Simon Lewandowski and Sam Belinfante, as a “mechanical palindrome”.

The pair will be reconfiguring the work during its stay, inviting visitors to choose from a selection of vinyl records of specially commissioned “palindromic compositions”.

The second part of Leeds Museums’ Rembrandt two-parter, Rembrandt and the Bible (April 8 2014 – July 20 2014), opens at Temple Newsam with etchings illustrating stories from both the Old and New Testaments.

The city's Henry Moore Institute delivers a typically quality programme featuring Ian Kiaer: Tooth House, (March 20 - June 22) who will be filling the galleries with everything from inflated Korean rubbish bags and office tables to fluorescent-tube packaging and deflated footballs.

An exploration of the work of the late master of line, shape, form and shadow, Gego (July 24 - October 19), arrives for the summer with a further range of exhibitions including Russian Constructivists, the Stenberg Brothers (January 22 - April 20), Photographing Sculpture: How the Image Moves the Object (March 20 - June 22), and D’Arcy Thompson's Henry Moore-inspired drawings (May 14 - August 17).

At Bradford’s National Media Museum they take delivery of Only in England: Photographs by Tony Ray-Jones and Martin Parr (March 22 – June 29 2014), which walks a typically fine line between the mundane and the peculiar.

There’s another photography show in Wakefield at the Hepworth, which hosts the first major UK survey of the cinematic shots of American photographer Philip-Lorca diCorcia (February 14 – June 1) with more than 100 photographs from four decades of his career.

A large-scale retrospective of one of the most important sculptors of the 21st century arrives at the Hepworth for Franz West: Where is my Eight (June 13 – September 21), followed by the bizarre life-size tableaux of Dutch contemporary artist Folkert de Jong (October 2014 – January 2015).

De Jong will be borrowing Henry VIII’s armour from the Royal Armouries and sitting it alongside his trademark polystyrene, latex and insulation foam creations.

There’s a cracker in Sheffield. Although it may not win any prizes for the most ingenious title, the Graves Gallery’s Pole Position: Polish Art in Britain 1939 – 1989 (January 11 – June 28) will shed some welcome light on a neglected chapter of British art of the post-war period.

Over at the Millennium Gallery, Printing Sheffield (January 25 – June 15) reveals the rude health of printmaking in the city of steel. And Recording Britain (April 3 – November 2 2014) shows the V&A’s beautiful collection of watercolours commissioned by the government from the likes of John Piper, Barbara Jones and Kenneth Rowntree during the Second World War.

Finally, the city's Site Gallery 2014 programme is nothing if not diverse, with artists from Taiwan, Germany, the USA and the Middle East.

Wu Chi-Tsung: Dust (April 4 – May 31) explores the connections between East and West, E-Vapor-8 (June - August 16), a group exhibition curated by Francesca Gavin, looks at the influence and relationship between contemporary art and rave music from the early 1990s.

Matt Stokes: Megatron (September 26 – November 8) is a major new site-specific commission investigating the subterranean environments and subcultural underworlds of Sheffield. Plenty to draw on there, then.

What do you think? Leave a comment below.

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