Welcome to February! Having squelched into work in the type of slushy snow only ever found within the M25, we’ve finally warmed up and are excited to update you with a line-up of exhibitions guaranteed to drag you out the house this month. Despite being such a short one, February has not disappointed as there’s everything from retrospectives of war photography-greats to explorations of the contemporary Japanese art scene.
Whether you’re based around the corner from us, or are braving the even colder climates of cities like New York, check out our must-see events, below.
Tate Britain, London
5 February – 6 May 2019
This new exhibition provides the chance to see the work of one of British photography’s most-celebrated figures in this career-spanning Tate Britain retrospective. Visitors will be exposed to a tranche of his photos of conflict around the world — including images captured in Northern Ireland, Vietnam, and Syria — as well as work on working-class life in the East End, and “meditative landscapes” of his current home of Somerset.
Implicit Tensions: Mapplethorpe Now
Guggenheim, New York
25 January – 10 July 2019
If you’re not all photo-d out after the Don McCullin show and happen to find yourself in New York, you could do worse than checking out the Guggenheim’s massive new exploration of Robert Mapplethorpe’s work, life, and legacy. Split into two sections, the first half of Implicit Tensions consists of work donated to the museum by Robert himself, while the second features work that responds to Mapplethorpe by the likes of Rotimi Fani-Kayode, Lyle Ashton Harris, Glenn Ligon, Zanele Muholi, Catherine Opie, and Paul Mpagi Sepuya.
A place that exists only in moonlight: Katie Paterson & JMW Turner
Turner Contemporary, Margate
26 January – 6 May 2019
Turner Contemporary will stage the largest UK exhibition of Scottish artist Katie Paterson to date, paired with a group of works by JMW Turner. The exhibition will be showcasing the majority of Katie’s extraordinary ten-year practice including unique projects with NASA and the European Space Agency. Her work is tied thematically to that of JMW Turner’s by fascinations with the sublime and vastness of the universe.
Blain Southern, London
30 January – 23 March 2019
A group show that showcases a movement among Mexican artists towards abstract and more monochromatic works, Approaching Abstraction presents work by nine different artists. Works are presented in a variety of media and are divided into four themes: time, architecture and landscape, historical commentary and socio-political critique. Participating artists include Tania Candiani, Tomás Díaz Cedeño, Galia Eibenschutz, Cristóbal Gracia, Isauro Huizar, Daniela Libertad, Fabiola Menchelli, Francisco Muñoz and Benjamín Torres.
Kim Lee-Park, Not Suntag, Park Gunwoong, Grim Park, Andeath: Flags
Doosan Art Center, New York
31 January – 23 February
Flags is an exhibition built around observation and interaction, curated by Sue Kim. Featuring the work of five Korean artists, it documents separate generations of a seemingly homogenous Korean society, opening with the imagery of “flags” hoisted by groups and individuals during 2016’s Candlelight Demonstrations. The exhibition explores the impact of protest flags. From student unions to the rainbow flag of the LGBTQ+ community, the exhibition considers the value of flags amongst the ethnically homogenous landscape of Korean culture.
Looking at the world through rose coloured glasses
+1 Gallery, Antwerp
19 January – 3 March 2019
Looking at the world through rose coloured glasses is a mammoth group show taking place at the +1 Gallery in Antwerp. Showing the work of both 20th Century and contemporary artists, it sets out to transmit positivity. Many of the works feature pink as a central colour, an underlying optimism runs through them, offering an alternative to the pessimistic view of today’s society. The show includes work from Andy Warhol, David Shrigley, Goya and Rose Wylie.
Artist Rooms: Louise Borgeois
Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge
22 January – 24 March 2019
Louise Borgeois is widely recognised as one of the most important figures of modern and contemporary art. The selection of work at Kettle’s Yard includes sculptures, prints and drawings, reflecting different periods in Bourgeois’ life, and is drawn from the Artist Rooms collection.
Roppongi Crossing 2019: Connexions
Mori Art Museum, Tokyo
2 February – 26 May 2019
The Roppongi Crossing series of exhibitions, launched in 2004 by the Mori Art Museum, provide insight into the state of the Japanese contemporary art scene every three years. Connexions is the sixth edition of the series, and will showcase the work of around 25 Japanese artists and collectives, primarily practitioners born in the 1970-80s. Through a variety of media, the exhibition will explore the connections artists – and art – offer us in a world of growing disparity.
Digital Citizen: The Precarious Subject
24 January – 16 June 2019
The Baltic’s latest exhibition draws on the imagination of contemporary artists to inspire a conversation on ideas of citizenship in the digital age. We are said to live in the era of “fake news” – online propaganda which significantly endangers democracy. Digital Citizen: The Precarious Subject features digital avatars, game environments and “total worlds” that open up new spaces for creation and fluid gender identities. It asks the question of whether it is still possible to foster new transnational forms of togetherness and activism in the digital realm and includes the work of James Bridle, Alan Butler, Laura Grace Ford, Peter Hanmer, Daniela Ortiz, Jonas Staal, Kate Stonehill, Petra Szemán, They Are Here, Alan Warburton
Theaster Gates: Amalgam
Palais de Tokyo, Paris
20 February – 12 May 2019
In an incredibly short space of time, Chicago-based artist Theaster Gates has incubated compelling new models for legacy building, social transformation, and making art. For his first solo museum exhibition in France, the artist has initiated an entirely new project that explores the history of migration and interracial relations using a specific time period of American history as his point of departure. In turn, the work addresses larger questions of black subjugation and the “imperial sexual domination and racial mixing that resulted from it”.
About the Author
Ruby joined the It’s Nice That team as an editorial assistant in September 2017 after graduating from the Graphic Communication Design course at Central Saint Martins. In April 2018, she became a staff writer and in August 2019, she was made associate editor. Get in contact with Ruby about ideas you may have for long-form stories on the site.