2020 was a tough year for museums and galleries all around the world – but they are soldiering on, including planning for some amazing new exhibitions in 2021.
As we have all learnt by now, Covid-19 restrictions can change at a moments notice so I highly recommend double checking dates on exhibitions in 2021 before you book tickets or travel. As I write this post, the information is as accurate and up-to-date as it can be – but this is likely to change. I cannot emphasise this enough, but use this blog post as a guide and double check websites for up-to-date info.
So, once everything is safe, these are the 12 exhibitions I will be looking to visit in 2021.
Becoming Richard Burton – The National Museum of Wales, Cardiff – 21st November 2020 to 11th April 2021
The first exhibition on the list is one I have already seen – I was lucky enough to view Becoming Richard Burton on its opening day. The exhibition follows the remarkable story of how a boy from Pontrhydyfen became an international star of stage and screen. The exhibition features Burton’s diaries, papers and personal objects, on display for the first time. A small but perfectly formed exhibition.
Masterpieces from Buckingham Palace – The Queen’s Gallery, London – 4th December 2020 to 31st January 2022
65 of the greatest paintings from the Picture Gallery at Buckingham Palace come together in the latest exhibition at The Queen’s Gallery. What this means in practice is the unique opportunity to see some of the greatest paintings in Britain in one room. Artists represented in the exhibition include Titian, Guercino, Guido Reni, Vermeer, Rembrandt, van Dyck, Rubens, Jan Steen, Claude and Canaletto. A must for any true art history lover.
Trust me, this is going to be one of the must see shows of 2021. Epic Iran will be the UK’s first major exhibition on Iranian art and culture in more than 90 years. The exhibition will bring together 250 fascinating objects and images to cast a rare light on 5,000 years of history, from the earliest known writing to the 1979 revolution and beyond.
The Galloway Hoard: Viking-age Treasure – National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh – 19th February to 9th May 2021
The Galloway Hoard brings together the richest collection of rare and unique Viking-age objects ever found in Britain or Ireland. Buried around the beginning of the 10th century, the Hoard brings together a stunning variety of objects that was discovered by one lucky metal detectorist in 2014. . The exhibition will reveal the detailed conservation work carried out, the exciting research discoveries made so far, and some of the mysteries that scholars will keep working to solve now and for many years to come.
Duhrer’s Journeys: Travels of a Renaissance Artist – The National Gallery, London – 6th March to 13th June 2021
The first major UK exhibition of German Renaissance artist Albrecht Dürer in nearly 20 years, this exhibition follows Dürer’s travels across Europe, bringing to life the artist himself, and the people and places he visited, through paintings, drawings, prints, and letters. One of the exhibition’s most striking loans will be a double-sided painting of a Madonna and Child from the National Gallery of Art, Washington, which will be shown in the UK for the first time ever.
Grab your disco flares for the first ever celebration of the history of nightclubbing! From the iconic Studio 54 to The Ministry of Sound, Night Fever will chart the evolution of nightclubs since the 1960s, the show explores how architecture and interior design merge with sound, light, fashion, graphics and visual effects to create hugely influential epicentres of pop culture.
One of the exhibitions that featured in last year’s post, the V&A’s celebration of all things Alice in Wonderland was pushed back into 2021 and is currently slated to open in late March. Exploring its origins, adaptations and reinventions over 157 years, this show will chart the evolution of this classic children’s story from manuscript to a global phenomenon beloved by all ages. Expect a theatrical and immersive exhibition.
Gold and Glory: Henry VIII and the French King – Hampton Court Palace – 1st April to 5th September 2021
Another exhibition originally scheduled for 2021, Gold and Glory was one of a series of events intended to mark the 500th anniversary of The Field of The Cloth of Gold. The major exhibition was pushed back a year and will feature a never-before-seen Tudor tapestry and the spectacular Stoneyhurst vestments. A must for any Tudor history lover.
Thomas Becket: Murder and The Making of A Saint – The British Museum, London – 22nd April to 22nd August 2021
Another hot ticket for 2021, this exhibition was another originally scheduled for 2020 to mark the 850th anniversary of the shocking murder of Thomas Becket. This murder transformed Becket into a much revered saint. Get up close to the man, the murder and the legend through an incredible array of objects associated with Becket, including medieval stained glass, manuscripts, jewellery and sacred reliquaries.
I’ve always been a bit of a fan of both Hogarth and Georgian history, so I’m really looking forward to this exhibition. For the first time, this exhibition will bring together Hogarth’s greatest works with those of his peers across the continent, comparing vivid images of contemporary life and social commentary, and capturing the new modernity of the and galle 18th Century.
This exhibition will explore work by artists from the Caribbean who made their home in Britain, alongside other British artists who have also made work addressing Caribbean themes and heritage. It celebrates how people from the Caribbean have forged new communities and identities in post-war Britain – and in doing so have transformed British culture and society.
Remember – given the pandemic, its essential to double check dates on the exhibitions.
Which one of these exhibitions are you most looking forward to? Let me know in the comments below.