Art Exhibitions Across The UK To Check Out In 2023

By Olivia Emily

8 months ago

The best arty things to see in 2023

Looking for must-see art exhibitions in the UK? You’ve come to the right place. There are oodles of galleries spread across the country where you can find a fantastic array of artworks and designs. Here are the ones to look out for in 2023.

Art Exhibitions Across The UK To Check Out In 2023

Sean Scully: Smaller Than The Sky

Head to the home of Britain’s first Prime Minister, Sir Robert Walpole, in Norfolk to experience Sean Scully’s incredible sculptures in a unique Palladian setting. Showcasing the full range of Scully’s work, expect sculptures made with sandstone, wood, glass, marble and steel alongside paintings and works on paper.

Sean Scully at Houghton

Sean Scully at Houghton – Venice Stack 2020 – © Sean Scully – photo Pete Huggins

Details: 23 April–29 October 2023 at Houghton Hall (Bircham Road, King’s Lynn PE31 6TY).

Storm Warning

Through new commissions and recent work, this collaborative exhibition will explore what climate change means for coastal communities, and raise awareness of the threat of rising sea levels and the acute danger this invokes. Connecting with the local community, Storm Warning will promote direct action to tackle the environmental emergency.

Details: 4 October 2023–6 January 2024 at Focal Point Gallery (Elmer Ave, Southend-on-Sea SS1 1NS), and 18 November 2023–13 April 2024 at Newlyn Art Gallery.

Black Atlantic: Power, People, Resistance

A new major exhibition is coming to Cambridge’s Fitzwilliam museum, featuring works made in West Africa, the Caribbean, South America and Europe, revealing global stories and histories of exploitation, resilience and liberation. Expect historic pieces in dialogue with contemporary works by artists such as Donald Locke, Barbara Walker, Keith Piper, Alberta Whittle and Jacqueline Bishop.

Black Atlantic: Power, People, Resistance

Details: 8 September 2023–7 January 2024 at the Fitzwilliam Museum (Trumpington Street, Cambridge CB2 1RB).

Dutch Flowers

Ten of the finest examples of Dutch flower painting are on display at Plymouth’s beautifully restored church art gallery, The Box, thanks to loans from the National Gallery. Teeming with beauty, colour and life, visitors will get a stunning overview of leading artists in the field, including Ambrosius Bosschaert the Elder (1573–1621), Jan van Huysum (1682–1749) and Rachel Ruysch (1664–1750), and a chance to admire their style, technical characteristics and exquisite detail up close.

Details: 7 October 2023–7 January 2024 at The Box (Tavistock Pl, Plymouth PL4 8AX). Admission is free with no booking required.

Real Families: Stories of Change

This autumn, Cambridge’s Fitzwilliam Museum will explore the intricacies of modern family relationships through the eyes of artists in Real Families: Stories of Change. Featuring over 120 artworks spanning painting, photography, sculpture, film and installation, this exhibition will reveal how artists including Alice Neel, Chantal Joffe, Sunil Gupta, Donald Rodney, Nan Goldin, Paula Rego and Lucian Freud (curated by Dr Susan Golombok) have represented different facets of family life.

A painting in the Real Families exhibition

Aliza Nisenbaum, Susan, Aarti, Keerthana and Princess, Sunday in Brooklyn, 2018, oil on linen © Aliza Nisenbaum. Photo courtesy the Artist and Anton Kern Gallery, New York

Details: 6 October 2023–7 January 2024 at the Fitzwilliam Museum (Trumpington Street, Cambridge CB2 1RB).

Osman Yousefzada

A solo exhibition of interdisciplinary artist and writer Osman Yousefzada’s work will be showcased at Charleston from 23 September, featuring works on display for the first time. Engages with the representation, rupture, and reimagining of the migration experience, Yousefzada tells stories across textiles, sculpture, moving image, installation, garment making and performance.

Details: 23 September 2023–10 March 2024 at Charleston (Firle, West Firle, Lewes BN8 6LL).

Turner Prize 2023

One of the world’s best known prizes for the visual arts, the Turner Prize aims to promote public debate around new developments in contemporary art. From now until spring 2024, visitors can pay a visit to Towner Eastbourne to see the work of the four artists up for the 2023 prize –  Jesse Darling, Ghislaine Leung, Rory Pilgrim and Barbara Walker – with the winner revealed on 5 December 2023 at an award ceremony in Eastbourne’s Winter Garden. The Turner Prize award is £55,000 with £25,000 going to the winner and £10,000 each for the other shortlisted artists.

Jesse Darling at Towner Eastbourne's Turner Prize exhibition

Jesse Darling – Turner Prize 2023 – Towner Eastbourne – © Angus Mill Photographer

Details: 28 September 2023–14 April 2024 at Towner Eastbourne (Devonshire Park, College Road, Eastbourne BN21 4JJ). Open Tuesday to Sunday, 10.00–17.00. Admission is free.

John Craxton: A Modern Odyssey

Charting the development of John Craxton’s work – from melancholy wartime Britain to vibrant paintings produced in Greece – ‘A Modern Odyssey’ draws together paintings, drawings, prints, ceramics, and designs for sets and book jackets, including rarely exhibited works from the Craxton Estate. At the exhibition’s centre point is Craxton’s rebellious biography, exploring LGBTQ+ identity, the historical context of mid-century Britain and Greece, and Craxton’s relationship to significant modern British and international artists such as Lucien Freud, Graham Sutherland, John Piper, Paul Nash, Keith Vaughan, John Minton, Robert Colquhoun and Robert MacBryde.

John Craxton, Still Life Sailors, 1980-85

John Craxton, Still Life Sailors, 1980-85

Details: 28 October 2023–20 April 2024 at Pallant House Gallery (9 N Pallant, Chichester PO19 1TJ).

Jake Grewal: Some Days I Feel More Alive

Jake Grewal’s first solo institutional exhibition is taking place at Chichester’s Pallant Gallery, titled ‘Some Days I Feel More Alive’ and comprising a new body of works, spanning raw charcoal to paint. Grewal is known for his figures, which often mirror his own likeness, set against dark, earthy, and ambiguous landscapes. They are often composed en plein air, imbuing the fierceness of nature right into them. Elsewhere in the Pallant, Grewal has curated a display of Neo-Romantic paintings and drawings from Pallant House Gallery’s own collection, including Prunella Clough, Paul Nash, Graham Sutherland, and Vaughn; a selection that has further informed the themes of Grewal’s new works.

Jake Grewal, No One Said How It Hurts

Jake Grewal, No One Said How It Hurts © Todd White Art Photography

Details: 28 October 2023–20 April 2024 at Pallant House Gallery (9 N Pallant, Chichester PO19 1TJ).

Damien Hirst

Four of Damien Hirst’s major sculptures are on display at Yorkshire Sculpture Park until September 2024 as part of the Yorkshire Sculpture International partnership with The Hepworth Wakefield, the Henry Moore Institute, Leeds, and Leeds Art Gallery. Wander the expansive grounds of Bretton Hall to see Charity (2002-2003), Myth (2010), The Hat Makes the Man (2004-2007) and The Virgin Mother (2005-2006).

Details: Until 2 September 2024 at Yorkshire Sculpture Park, West Bretton.

Featured image by JULIO NERY via Pexels.