Here are just some of the museum exhibits I’m keen to see this year, listed in chronological order of exhibit closing date. What are your cultural must-sees of 2017?
Revolution: Russian Art 1917 – 1932
Royal Academy, 11 February through 17 April
I saw this and recommend it unreservedly. I’ll write a review soon!
- One hundred years on from the Russian Revolution, this powerful exhibition explores one of the most momentous periods in modern world history through the lens of its groundbreaking art. Taking inspiration from a remarkable exhibition shown in Russia just before Stalin’s clampdown, the RA marks the historic centenary by focusing on the 15-year period between 1917 and 1932 when possibilities initially seemed limitless and Russian art flourished across every medium.
Perspectives of Destruction: Images of London, 1940-44
Museum of London, 27 January through 8 May
- The London Blitz beginning in 1940 has been described as the second Great Fire of London and large swathes of the city were destroyed. The British government recognized that ‘a war so epic in its scope by land, sea and air’ should be recorded and interpreted by artists. These official War Artists were tasked with depicting events and experiences both on the field of battle and on the home front. This exhibition explores the way artists and photographers responded to the bombing of London during the Second World War.
Imagine Moscow: Architecture, Propaganda, Revolution
Design Museum, 15 March through 4 June
- Imagine Moscow presents an idealistic vision of the Soviet capital that was never realised. Large-scale architectural drawings are supported by artwork, propaganda and publications from the period. Each of the six projects presented in the exhibition introduce a theme relevant to life and ideology in the Soviet Union: collectivisation, urban planning, aviation, communication, industrialisation, communal living and recreation. Taken together, these unbuilt projects suggest an alternative reality for the city, offering a unique insight into the culture of the time.
Wolfgang Tillmans 2017
Tate Modern, 15 February through 11 June
- From intimate still-lifes and portraits, to images that address vital political issues, explore the photographs of this groundbreaking artist. This is Tillmans’s first ever exhibition at Tate Modern and brings together works in an exciting variety of media – photographs, of course, but also video, digital slide projections, publications, curatorial projects and recorded music – all staged by the artist in characteristically innovative style.
The American Dream: pop to the present
British Museum, 9 March through 18 June
- The past six decades have been among the most dynamic and turbulent in US history, from JFK’s assassination, Apollo 11 and Vietnam to the AIDS crisis, racism and gender politics. Responding to the changing times, American artists have produced prints unprecedented in their scale and ambition. Starting with the explosion of pop art in the 1960s, the exhibition includes works by the most celebrated American artists.
People Power: Fighting for Peace
Imperial War Museum, 23 March through 28 August 2017
- Covering the First World War to the present day, this exhibit explores how peace movements have influenced perceptions of war and conflict. From conscientious objectors to peace camps and modern day marches, Fighting for Peace tells the stories of passionate people over the past one hundred years and the struggles they have endured for the anti-war cause. Over three hundred objects including paintings, literature, posters, placards, banners, badges and music reveal the breadth of anti-war protest movements.
Tunnel: the Archaeology of Crossrail
Museum of London Docklands, 10 February through 3 September
- The construction of London’s newest railway (the Elizabeth line, services begin in 2018) has given archaeologists a unique chance to explore some of the city’s most historically important sites. Since 2009 the project has undertaken one of the most extensive archaeological programmes ever in the UK, with over 10,000 artefacts shining a light on almost every important period of the Capital’s history. The wide variety of items on display explores 8,000 years of human history, revealing the stories of Londoners ranging from Mesolithic tool makers and inhabitants of Roman Londinium to those affected by the Great Plague of 1665.
Wildlife Photographer of the Year
Natural History Museum, October 2016 – 10 September 2017
- The exhibition features the collection of 100 exceptional images that reveal the astonishing diversity of life on our planet, from urban foxes to mountain hares. Now in its 52nd year, the ever popular exhibition showcases some of the best photographic work to be found around the world. The 100 pictures on display, shortlisted from almost 50,000 competing entries, embody all the best elements of photojournalism, with beautiful framing, lighting and compositions.
Designed in California
Design Museum, 24 May through 15 October
- California has pioneered tools of personal liberation, from LSD to skateboards and iPhones. This ambitious survey brings together political posters, personal computers and self-driving cars but also looks beyond hardware to explore how user interface designers in the Bay Area are shaping some of our most common daily experiences. The exhibition reveals how this culture of design and technology has made us all Californians.
Diana: Her Fashion Story
Kensington Palace, from 24 February
- Discover how Diana used her image to inspire people and to champion the causes she cared about through an extraordinary display of some of her most iconic outfits. Take a closer look at the glamorous gowns from the 1980s and the chic working outfits she used to wear in the 1990s, and see how Diana established herself as a trendsetter, princess and patron.
Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion
Victoria & Albert Museum, 25 March through February 2018
- This exhibit will showcase pieces from Cristóbal Balenciaga, one of the most revered and influential designers of the 20th century. His unique and forward-thinking vision of female beauty, innovative use of textiles and ingenious pattern-cutting, shaped the modernity of 1960s fashion and continues to shape fashion today.
Basquiat: Boom for Real
Barbican, 21 September through 28 January 2018
- This will be the first large-scale UK exhibition of iconic painter and New York downtown scene prodigy Jean-Michel Basquiat. The exhibition will dig deeper into Basquiat’s complex work, focusing on the artist’s relationship to music, text, film and television, placing it within the wider cultural context of the time; the 1980s New York art scene where he was a key figure along with his friend Andy Warhol.