Whitechapel Gallery’s new show celebrates the women artists who redefined abstract painting in the aftermath of World War II. The show’s co-curator, Candy Stobbs, shares the story behind five of the extraordinary works
5 amazing art exhibitions to see this December
25 Nov 2022
This may be the month for lights, panto and choral singing, but don’t miss the chance to see some spectacular art too. Here are five shows that are top of our list
Aztec, Notting Hill Carnival – Aztec, by Errol Lloyd, 1997. Courtesy the artist
1. Party, party
With its theme of carnival, here is an exhibition that feels a great fit for the party season. Paint Like the Swallow Sings Calypso is at Kettle’s Yard in Cambridge and is curated in dialogue with artists Paul Dash (b.1946, Barbados), Errol Lloyd (b.1943, Jamaica) and John Lyons (b.1933, Trinidad). Alongside their own art, the three have drawn works from the collections at The Fitzwilliam Museum and Kettle’s Yard. With examples by 28 artists, spanning five centuries, expect pieces by Goya, Picasso, Dürer, Hepworth, Sutherland and more. The works reflect carnival’s history, originating in ancient Egypt as a pagan ritual through to Bacchanalia and on to the French masquerade balls brought to the Caribbean by Western colonisers.
Until 19 February 2023; kettlesyard.co.uk
Chagall, Collection/National Galleries of Scotland. Accepted by HM Government in lieu of Inheritance Tax and allocated to the National Galleries of Scotland 2020. © Estate of Marc Chagall. All Rights Reserved. DACS, London 2021
2. Sparkling additions
What’s on your wish list of covetable artworks? We love Marc Chagall’s dreamy L’Écuyère (The Horse Rider), 1949–53, which is one among 100 major works to have recently been added to Scotland’s national collection of art. This exhibition is a celebration of such acquisitions and includes painting, sculpture, photography, film and more. Among the works are pieces by Bridget Riley, Pablo Picasso, Damien Hirst, Gwen John and Dorothea Tanning. Called New Arrivals: From Salvador Dalí to Jenny Saville, you can catch it now at Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh.
Until 12 February 2023; nationalgalleries.org
#65, Kunstmuseum Den Haag, The Hague
3. The female gaze
Seen here is artist Paula Modersohn-Becker’s 1902 richly coloured oil Girl with Child. It’s just one of the works featured in the Royal Academy’s new show, Making Modernism: Paula Modersohn-Becker, Käthe Kollwitz, Gabriele Münter and Marianne Werefkin. The focus of this exhibition is the art of the trailblazing artists, all female, who were working in Germany in the early 1900s. Many of the works have never been seen in the UK before. These were women who created radical art with an empathic eye for those of their own sex. They all left a significant mark on the period of art in Germany that emerged from the old and looked to the new – to Modernism.
Until 12 February 2023; royalacademy.org.uk
Cerith Wyn Evans, Neon Forms (After Noh I), 2015 (detail). Courtesy of the artist, White Cube and Pirelli HangarBicocca. Photo: Agostino Osio
4. Lighting the way
It may get darker much earlier, but there’s a show staged in Wales to brighten any winter’s day. Known for his intricate neon sculptures, the Welsh-born conceptual artist Cerith Wyn Evans creates pieces that are literally artworks to walk through, around and under. His electrifying works, some of which appear to dance while suspended in air, make a visit to this exhibition – a major solo show – both a seductive experience and one that challenges perceptions about what is art. Called Cerith Wyn Evans: ….)(, it’s on now at Mostyn in Llandudno.
Until 4 February 2023; mostyn.org
Citrine by the Ounce, Private collection © Courtesy of Lynette Yiadom-Boakye
5. Painterly oils
We’re excited that this beautiful exhibition – Lynette Yiadom-Boakye: Fly In League With The Night – has just reopened at Tate Britain, having originally been cut short by lockdowns. A soaring figure on the contemporary arts scene, the award-winning artist is famed for her finely executed portraits of fictitious people. She’s noted, too, for the mysterious titles she chooses for her works. Seen here is her Citrine by the Ounce, 2014. This show features some 70 of the artist’s works. Cited as ‘a journey into the imagination’ by The Guardian, we think this elegant exhibition is one not to miss.
Until 26 February 2023; tate.org.uk
For more art shows to note, see The Arts Society Magazine, available exclusively to members and supporters of The Arts Society (to join, see theartssociety.org/member-benefits). And for our online monthly ‘5 amazing art shows to see’, sign up at theartssociety.org/signup
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