As the UK’s leading open-air gallery, Yorkshire Sculpture Park is one of our favourite places to while away a Sunday afternoon – so we hardly need encouraging. Yet its packed 2018 exhibitions programme has left us itching to escape the city and experience all that’s in store; from the mind-blowing web installations of Japanese artist Chiharu Shiota to the monumental firs and marble canvases by the eminent Italian sculptor Giuseppe Penone.
In Liverpool, the Bluecoat prepares to be transformed into a sonic chamber of collective singing by artist Emma Smith, as part of her exploration into the links between psychology, music and the human brain. And in Manchester, The John Rylands Library delves into the rich history of colour through its rare collection of illuminated manuscripts, and the Whitworth presents a perfectly formed exhibition of work by the 1992 Turner Prize nominee Alison Wilding.
Finally, whilst we’ve been flat-out enjoying Wonder Women 2018, over in Sheffield the Steel City continues the nationwide celebration of the centenary of the People’s Representation Act with a series of exhibitions marking 200 years of radical protest and activism in South Yorkshire. Jump on a TransPennine Express and head over the hills to learn more about the city’s links with Chartism, the Battle of Orgreave and current campaign to save its ‘urban forest’.
Here are our picks
Did you know that the remarkable yellows of Turner’s sunsets came from the urine of mango-fed cows? Or that the reds of Raphael’s greatest masterpieces derived from cactus-dwelling bugs? The Alchemy of Colour at The John Rylands Library explores the unusual stories behind some of art history’s most dazzling hues.
To mark the 100-year anniversary of Representation of the People Act, Changing Lives will celebrate how the people of Sheffield have stood up for what they believe in over the past 200 years.
IWM North launches a season of exhibitions and events that attempt to cut through the complexity surrounding the Syrian crisis, and offer a human account of what’s happening in the country today.
The work of the late, world-renowned ceramicist Betty Woodman has an unforgettable quality. Liverpool Biennial presents a rare opportunity to experience her pioneering designs up close in the North.
Open Eye Gallery’s latest exhibition, The Pier Head, captures a slice of Liverpool-Merseyside history in rich anecdotal detail, through a selection of rarely seen images by the acclaimed British photographer Tom Wood.
CFCCA and HOME take part in a new UK-wide programme of exhibitions, commissions and events celebrating female contemporary artists working in China today.
School Prints at The Hepworth Wakefield revives a ground-breaking scheme set up in the 1940s by the British arts campaigner and education activist, Brenda Rawnsley, featuring new work by six contemporary artists.
The world premiere of three new immersive, interactive ‘solid light’ installations by Anthony McCall opens at The Hepworth Wakefield, as part of a major survey of the artist’s work.
A new exhibition by Nick Crowe & Ian Rawlinson at The Turnpike explores the physical and cultural properties of coal, and the impact of our carbon based economies.
The Holden Gallery has an uncanny knack for drawing unexpected parallels and creating dynamic and exciting group exhibitions. Drawing on the unpredictable and unintentional, Break in Transmission certainly does not disappoint.
As part of The Portico’s 2018 Information is Power project, three contemporary artists have created new works based on research into the incalculable legacy of Peter Mark Roget, inventor of the thesaurus and a founding member of the library.
Legendary screen printers one69a mark the launch of their new Islington Mill with a party. Join them and celebrate all things print.
With far right parties and hate crimes on the rise, civil liberties and minority rights seem more at risk today than we could have imagined. In these turbulent times, Hope is Strong explores the power of art to question the world we live in.
Encounter objects from one of the world’s greatest archaeological discoveries, spanning almost 1,000 years of Chinese history, at China’s First Emperor and the Terracotta Warriors.
Through a dialogue between drawing and photography, artists Tom Baskeyfield and Mario Popham continue their exploration into how we have shaped, and in turn, been shaped by stone.
Through books and artworks, Tyrrell illuminates the links between diverse traditions in myth, folklore and popular culture, exploring the idea of ‘uncivilisation’ and the alternative histories we share across borders and among peoples.
Fe/Male is an exhibition that explores the boundaries of gender in contemporary art. The exhibition aims to stimulate the mind and the senses playing with the politics and pleasures of visual culture.
Be transported back in time to an older, wilder England, full of drama and ancient poetry, through the enigmatic work of Norman Ackroyd at Yorkshire Sculpture Park.
Don’t worry, you haven’t OD’ed on contemporary art. The dapperly dressed mole and skittish prickle of hedgehogs playing brass bells are part of YSP’s new exhibition; The Wishing Post by Etsy-celeb, Mister Finch.