The best art exhibitions to see in galleries in the Midlands during 2014

By Richard Moss | 30 December 2013

Nottingham, Coventry, Warwick, Wolverhampton, Walsall, Birmingham and beyond - it's going to be a great 2014 in Midlands galleries. Here are a few exhibitions to visit

A photo of a lizard made up of a suit of orange and yellow with a brown head
The newly-named Marvin Gaye Chetwynd will provide performative installations at Nottingham Contemporary© Marvin Gaye Chetwynd, courtesy Saatchi Gallery
The artist formerly known as Spartacus Chetwynd returns at Nottingham Contemporary as Marvin Gaye Chetwynd (January 25 – March 23), offering a typically bonkers set of performative installations (volunteers are currently being sought to take part). Alongside, the gallery will be showing the equally strange paintings of Iranian-born painter Tala Madani (January 25 – March 23).

It’s a good winter for art lovers in the city, as Nottingham Castle is the first Midlands venue to host Jeremy Deller’s All That Is Solid Melts Into Air (January 31 – April 22) as it weaves its way across the country.

The Mead Gallery at Warwick Arts Centre hosts the Arts Council and Southbank touring exhibition Uncommon Ground - Land Art in Britain 1966-1979 (January 18 – March 8), and is then the next stop for Deller’s exhibition (May 2 – June 21).

At Coventry’s Herbert Art Gallery, an emotive painting show awaits visitors to Likely Walls with Wounds (February 15 – May 18). Dale vN Marshall's journey from Vermin, a Bristol graffiti artist, to the painter of abstract expressionist canvasses takes in mental illness, Victorian asylums and a peeling back of the layers of history via children’s handwritten scrawls on the walls of a former workhouse.

There’s a similarly intense experience awaiting visitors to Wolverhampton Art Gallery, who open the year with Bastion: An Installation by Ray Jacobs (January 4 – February 1) which explores and explodes the stereotype of the harmless jester.

The NPG's BP Portrait Award (March 1 - June 14) arrives for the spring alongside the photographs of Justyna Ptak (April 19 - July 12) who seeks to capture the significant and the intangible in the everyday...

Over at the city's Bantock House Museum, All that Glitters: Eighteenth Century Steel Jewellery (May 9 - August 10) explores the legacy of Wolverhampton's role as a centre for the production of cut steel jewellery.

Fans of furniture design should head to Bilston Craft Gallery for Raw Craft: Fine Thinking in Contemporary Furniture (February 1 - March 29), a Crafts Council exhibition showcasing imaginative contemporary furniture by seven designers.

Compton Verney is celebrating Ten Years with a suitably significant exhibition of two giants of 20th century sculpture. Moore Rodin (February 15 – August 31) will see works on display both in the Capability Brown parkland and inside the galleries.

The tenth birthday celebrations continue with an exhibition of Folk Art (September 27 – December 14), fresh from its stint at Tate Britain. Although a Tate-curated show, it’s a fitting venue as the British Folk Art Archive resides at the Warwickshire venue.

Birmingham’s IKON has already begun celebrating 50 years in the business. During 2014 the contemporary art space invites some familiar names back to rub shoulders with a typically progressive programme of less familiar artists.

Jamal Penjweny (February 19 – April 21), from Iraqi Kurdistan, presents photo and filmwork that is both disturbing and compelling, while Belgian artist Michel Francois (April 30 – June 22) makes varied work comprising sculpture, film, photography, painting and prints, intended to be viewed as a whole and exemplify his belief that “art, after all, is life sculpted.”

With exhibitions by Korean artist Lee Bul (September 10 – November 9) and Pakistani miniature painter Imran Qureshi (November 19 – January 25) joining alumni including Cornelia Parker (July 2 – August 31), Yinka Shonibare (September 10 – November 9) and Julian Opie (November 19 – January 25 2015), it’s another impressive year for an impressive gallery.

Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, meanwhile, is the first venue in the Midlands to present The Vanity of Small Differences by Turner Prize-winning artist Grayson Perry (February 14 – May 11).

New Art Gallery Walsall welcomes immersive Japanese installation artist Chiharu Shiota (January 17 – April 16) for two spectacular site-specific installations, shown alongside a selection of drawings and films. The Hayward Touring exhibition, George Grosz: THE BIG NO (January 2 – March 16) also displays the decadent Weimar drawings from two of Grosz’s most powerful series; Ecce Homo from 1923 and Hintergrund of 1928.

What do you think? Leave a comment below.

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The best art exhibitions to see in London during 2014

The best art exhibitions to see in the East of England in 2014

The best art exhibitions to see in Wales in 2014

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