Kahlo, Churchill And Monet — The Big Exhibitions Of 2005

By Richard Moss | 29 December 2004
shows a black and white head portrait of a smiling Frida Kahlo

Will Frida Kahlo at Tate Modern be one of the biggest shows of the year? Frida Kahlo 1944 © Bettmann/CORBIS

The blockbuster exhibition is fast becoming a stock in trade for many of our national museums. Last year Degas, Hopper, the Liverpool Biennial and the Turner Prize, to name just a few, grabbed our attention and kept the revolving doors moving in our galleries and museums. But what will be the big shows and events of 2005?

Our national museums and galleries have already lined up some big shows for the new year and for some, booking has already begun. If you put these together with some major anniversaries and a clutch of new museum openings, 2005 promises to be another good year for arts and heritage.

Shows a painting by Whistler. It depicts a scene in Venice at night. Buildings are silhouetted on either side of the image against a dark green sky, which comes all the way down to almost meet a dark green body of water in the foreground.

Monet, Whistler and Turner opens at Tate Britain on February 10. Nocturne in Blue and Silver: The Lagoon, Venice, 1879-1880 by James Abbott McNeill Whistler. Museum of Fine Art, Boston.

The V&A is one of the world's great repositories of Arts and Crafts collections so it's perhaps natural that their first big show of 2005 is International Arts and Crafts, opening on March 17.

If sales of posh wallpaper are anything to go by, Arts and Crafts remains one of those seismic movements in design that seems to rumble ever onwards - so it's long overdue an appraisal.

The V&A have responded with the first major exhibition to look at the influential movement from an international perspective and they have arranged it into four handy sections to cover the contributions of Britain, USA, Europe and Japan.

shows an ornate silver lamp which resembles a stylised round bush

Just one of the objects at the V&A's Arts and Crafts exhibition opening March 17. Picture © V&A

In October the V&A will also host a major retrospective of New York photographer Diane Arbus, one of a clutch of big photography shows in 2005.

Lee Miller, another important photographer, opens at the National Portrait Gallery on February 3 (surprisingly this is her first major retrospective in the UK), whilst Henri Cartier-Bresson, whose life spanned most of the 20th century, has a comprehensive retrospective at the Dean Gallery in Edinburgh from August 6.

The latter features more than 200 photographs and has been organised by the Cartier-Bresson Foundation in Paris.

shows a black and white side portrait of Lee Miller

Lee Miller opens at the National Portrait Gallery February 3. Lee Miller, self portrait, New York 1932. © Lee Miller Archives, England, 2004. All rights reserved.

Back in the world of hi-art and we still don’t know what’s going to replace Bruce Naumann’s sound installation when it vacates Tate Modern’s vast Turbine Hall in March, but the gallery has announced a lively programme of shows for 2005.

Opening on February 4 a major exhibition of the work of Joseph Beuys is followed by a retrospective of the multi-talented August Strindberg: Painter, Photographer, Writer on February 17.

But perhaps the show with widest appeal and with ‘blockbuster’ written all over it is the major retrospective of Frida Kahlo, which opens on June 9.

shows a man in a trilby working on a canvas (off picture) with a crowd of interested onlookers behind him.

Joseph Beuys' Action Piece 26- 6 February 1972. Presented as part of Seven Exhibitions held at the Tate Gallery Feburary 24 - March 23 1972. His work will return for the gallery's first new show of 2005. Picture from the Tate Archive Photographic Collection. Photo: Simon Wilson Copyright DACS 2004.

Over the river at Tate Britain, they are going for the ‘buy two – get one free’ approach with a feast of art heavyweights: Turner, Whistler, Monet, opening on February 10.

The exhibition draws on the influences and relationship between these three giants of 19th century art and has already been a huge success in Toronto and Paris – so book your tickets now.

shows an impressionistic painting in light blue shades of a bridge over a river

Claude Monet, Charing Cross Bridge, Overcast Weather, 1899-1900. Oil on canvas. Courtesy Boston, Museum of Fine Arts.

Staff at the National Gallery are weighing in with their own big name painter by looking at the last years of a great master. Caravaggio: the Final Years is a new take on the Italian master of light and shade and opens in the Sainsbury Wing on February 23.

The show concentrates on the last years of his life when, following the death of a rival in a duel, 'old Carra' was exiled from Rome and moved around Italy in dark and pensive mood, which had a massive and fascinating influence on his painting.

shows a painting of three people - the woman on the left is holding a silver tray with a bearded, severed head on it. A man on the right has grabbed the head by the hair to reveal its features

Follow the last years of Caravaggio at the National Gallery from February 23. Salome receives the head of Saint John the Baptist, 1609-10. Caravaggio. © National Gallery, London

You will find work of similar power and significance, albeit from a more lately deceased master, in Scotland at this summer’s retrospective of the major small-format portraits of Francis Bacon. Francis Bacon: Portraits and Heads opens at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art on June 4.

Before then the same gallery is hosting another portrait show - with the first exhibition devoted entirely to Andy Warhol's celebrity. Andy Warhol: Self-Portraits opens on February 12.

shows a print of a young Andy Warhol. He is coloured in blue, has yellow hair and a pink face.

Andy Warhol makes return to the Scottish National Gallery on February 10. Andy Warhol (1928-87). Self-Portrait, 1967 (blue, pink, yellow). Acrylic and silkscreen ink on canvas. Froehlich Collection, Stuttgart. © 2004 Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts / ARS, New York.

In Birmingham, a quiet coup for the excellent Ikon Gallery sees the first exhibition in the UK by Italian artist Giovanni Anselmo opening on February 2.

Both the gallery spaces will be turned over to pieces from his Arte Povera phase (late 1960s – 1970s), together with a new installation commissioned by Ikon in collaboration with Kurhaus Museum, in Kleve, Germany.

A gallery with a similar fondness for cutting edge art, the Milton Keynes Gallery – or MKG, will showcase the installations of Fionnuala Boyd and Les Evans from January 29. Boyd and Evans: Landmarks encompasses painting, photography and digital imagery based on the American landscape.

shows a square stone pillar with a lettuce leaf wreath tied around the top of it

From February 2 you can see 'Arte Povera' at the Ikon. Giovanni Anselmo, Senza titolo, 1968, granite stones, lettuce, copper wire, sawdust. Picture courtesy Ikon Gallery.

Staying, precariously, on the cutting edge, the cognoscenti will be flocking to the Barbican Art Gallery from February 15 for Christian Marclay – one of an increasing number of artists bridging the gap between music and visual art.

Expect sound and vision collisions, tape cut-ups and a pile up of images and sounds plundered from a world where turntablism meets art. You may also encounter the occasional chin-stroking backpack-wearing young man with a copy of The Wire sticking out of his back pocket – as an added bonus.

shows a montage of three record covers including a shaved mans head at the top with AC/Dc written into it then a woman's torso and bum

Christian Marclay, Slide Easy In, from the Body Mix Series, 1992. Record album covers and thread. Collection of Steven Johnson and Walter Sudol, New York.

Before we get too carried away with crazy notions about the ascendance of post-modernism and new forms, it’s perhaps wise to take note of the Saatchi Gallery.

They will be opening their 20th anniversary show on January 26 and in preparation they are moving Damien Hirst’s shark ‘out of the way’ to make way for, wait for it… large scale paintings!

The Triumph of Painting is a chance to see some rarely seen works by Martin Kippenberger, Peter Doig, Marlene Dumas, Luc Tuymans, Jorg Immendorff and Hermann Nitsch. The gallery has been partially redesigned to make the most of large-scale works. And who said painting was dead?

shows a painting of trees in a sparse landscape at the bottom of a hill. The trees are a stylised autumnal red and much of the scenery is coloured yellow and white with snow.

The Triumph of Painting at the Saatchi Gallery from January 26. Peter Doig, Orange Sunshine 1995-96 oil on canvas. Courtesy Saatchi Gallery.

Liverpool is in the throes of doing itself up for its City of Culture accolade in 2008 and, as you would expect, it has one or two things to offer during the continuing build up of 2005…

The city’s great maritime history is explored in Liverpool to New York: the only way to cross, which runs from January 28 until August 14 at the Merseyside Maritime Museum.

Staying down at the docks, at Tate Liverpool they've lined up a major Sarah Lucas retrospective, which opens in October, but perhaps the biggest show of the summer can be found by following the smell of patchouli oil and ganja to the gallery's Summer of Love: Art of the Psychedelic Era, which opens on May 27.

shows a kaleidascopic round painting with greens and reds

Peter Sedgley, Video Disques 2: YOU 1968. Art of the Psychedelic Era at Tate Liverpool from May 29. © Peter Sedgley

Speaking of inebriation, back in the 80s when at college in Manchester I remember there being a ‘bog man’ in the window of the Manchester Museum. Quite a sight he was, with his leathery skin and half squashed head, especially as you staggered home along Oxford Road in search of a kebab.

Now the Museum of Science and Industry is revisiting these grimly fascinating unfortunates with their Mysterious Bog People exhibition, opening on February 5.

As well as being a chance to stare in wonderment at these half-preserved individuals the exhibition looks at the forensics and science behind the reconstructions.

shows a mummified corpse with a rope around its neck

Grim fascination: you will be able to look at this mysterious bog person at the MSIM from February 5. © MSIM

Confirming what a great year 2005 is shaping up to be for photography exhibitions, Manchester also has a classic exhibition of photojournalism.

Manchester Art Gallery is hosting the first solo exhibition by Guardian photographer Don McPhee. Opening on January 15, the show covers his 33-year career at the Manchester office of the newspaper.

shows a man wearing a toy police helmet confronting a line of policemen

Pickets and police during the miners' strike, Don McPhee at Manchester Art Gallery from January 15. © The Guardian

Happy Anniversary...

Every year seems to bring a new clutch of anniversaries and 2005 is no exception, with some big anniversaries for museums and galleries to celebrate.

The Imperial War Museum is gearing up for the 60th anniversary of VE day with its Children’s War Exhibition, which opens on March 18. It is part of a wider initiative called Their Past – Your Future, a programme that re-unites WWII veterans and brings them together with the younger generation.

shows a picture of a child holding a union jack flag against a black background

The IWM in London will be commemorating the end of hostilities in Europe with an exhibition exploring children's wartime experience. © IWM

As well as being the 60th anniversary of the end of hostilities in Europe, 2005 is also the timely 40th anniversary of the death of that cigar-chomping greatest-Britain-of-all time Winston Churchill.

To mark the occasion staff at the Cabinet War Rooms will be opening their Winston Churchill Gallery on February 11. The Museum is the final component in the expansion and development of the Cabinet War Rooms, and the first such dedicated museum in the UK.

But it doesn’t end there - not to be outdone ‘Winnie’ will also be commemorated at his ancestral home, Blenheim Palace with an exhibition, Churchill's Destiny running from May 28.

shows a poster of Winston Churchill wearing a hat and the slogan 'Let Us Go Forward Together'. There are tanks and planes in the background.

In 2005 there are two exhibitions commemorating the 40th anniversary of the death of Winston Chuchill © IWM

One of the biggest anniversaries during 2005 is the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar and throughout the UK we will be celebrating our relationship with the sea with all kinds of events and exhbitions planned.

The National Maritime Museum naturally gets in on the events with an exhibition exploring the relationship of the two great adversaries Nelson and Napoleon, which opens at Greenwich on July 7.

Shows a painting by JMW Turner entitled The Battle of Trafalgar. It depicts a large naval vessel, in front of which - in the shore - people are massed.

The Battle of Trafalgar by JMW Turner. Commissioned by George IV, 1822. © National Maritime Museum, London.

Charlotte Bronte’s 150th anniversary will be marked by a Royal Mail stamp in 2005, but the epicentre of the celebrations will be at her former home in Haworth, Yorskhire.

Opening on February 1, an exhibition at the Bronte Parsonage Museum entitled Currer Bell is Dead will retell the final year of her life though letters manuscripts and artefacts from the Bronte Society Collection.

shows a portrait of Charlotte Bronte mounted in an oval guilt frame

The 150th anniversary of Charlotte Bronte's death will be commemorated with a series of exhibitions and events at the Bronte Parsonage Museum, Haworth. © Bronte Society

The museum has also organised a large scale project that involves 'projections' and installations inside and outside the house. The exhbition, entitled Leaving Home, will be created by landscape photographer and video artist Simon Warner and promises to transform the historic rooms of the Parsonage.

New Museums Opening…

2004 saw the announcement of several new museum developments – many of them so big and swanky they won’t be finished until way beyond 2005…alas making them ineligible for this ‘What’s Hot in 2005' run-down.

However the cement and stone cladding will be dry and in place on a couple of exciting projects in the new year...

shows a large modern multi-storey building lit at night time

The National Waterfront Museum at Swansea is one of the big new museum openings of 2005. © NWM

In May a new museum opens in South Wales, charting the rise of the country as a powerhouse of the Industrial Revolution. The National Waterfront Museum also covers the linguistic and cultural diversity of this proud Celtic land and is housed in a glass-fronted building in Swansea, see www.waterfrontmuseum.co.uk for more details.

The Natural History Museum in London is opening its new Ecology Gallery in January 2005, Bristol’s Arnolfini is scheduled to open in 2005 after a re-fit that promises more art project spaces and more public space overall whilst the eagerly awaited World Museum Liverpool opens in April 2005.

shows a skeleton of a pterosaur in the atrium of a museum

A Pterosaur skeleton is just one of the new exhibits to grace the atrium of the World Museum Liverpool. Picture © National Museums Liverpool/World Museum Liverpool.

Not just a big exhibition but also a big project, the eagerly awaited Armada in Ireland comes to fruition in 2005 and you can check the progress on their website, www.armadainireland.com

The Museum of Flight at East Lothian has an exciting new exhibition called The Concorde Experience. Based around their recently acquired Concorde the state of the art exhibition space is currently being developed and will open in March 2005.

Shows a photograph of Concorde in flight against a background of a sunset.

Concorde was retired in 2003 but you can see one at the Museum of Flight at East Lothian from March 2005. © James Kightly.

So there you have it — more shows, anniversaries and openings than you can shake a stick at and, as the saying goes, this is just the tip of the iceberg!

2005 promises to yield the usual crop of surprises, blockbusters and facinating events and exhibitions so make sure you check the 24 Hour Museum to find out what's hot in museums, galleries and heritage in the new year.

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