Five exhibitions to see this March
Whether it’s busting myths surrounding the Titanic, peeking under the floors of a stately home, or scrutinising the human form, this month’s must-sees will leave you wide-eyed with wonder.
March, as they say, comes in like a lion, and there's an array of excellent exhibitions opening across the UK this month. It’s well worth browsing our full listings, but if time is short, here are five we really think you should check out, all free or 50% off with a National Art Pass. Lions can be tamed…
Take a new look at the roaring 1920s and Depression-hit 1930s in the first exhibition to explore the ‘cool’ in early 20th-century American art. From abstract works by Georgia O’Keeffe, Arthur Dove and Paul Strand to the precisionist paintings of Charles Sheeler and Charles Demuth, all share a sense of stripped-back detachment, devoid of human figures. It is also the first opportunity to see many of the works in the UK. Highlights include a rare painting by E E Cummings, and one of Edward Steichen’s few surviving works, Le Tournesol (c1920).
Offering fresh insights into the terrible tragedy of 1912, this exhibition challenges some of the myths and assumptions still surrounding the Titanic to this day. The personal stories of survivors and their descendants are retold and many items are on public display for the first time. Illustrating the rapid commercialisation of the disaster are souvenirs which went on sale within days, alongside other contemporary artefacts. Posters, production stills, and props from several movie adaptations, including a costume worn by Kate Winslet in 1997's Titanic, show how the story continues to resonate in the public imagination.
It is nearly 100 years since American soldiers arrived in large numbers on the Western Front, supporting the Allies in the First World War. This immersive exhibition explores the relationship between the US and Europe and looks at the personal experiences of those left behind and those who fought, including the writer Ernest Hemingway, Red Cross worker Charlotte Bannon, and one of the 16 million animals who served. Exhibits include a reconstructed Renault tank and photographs of the graffiti made by US soldiers in training caves in France.
Celebrate a century of artists working to capture the human figure in paint, and enjoy three major works by Francis Bacon on display in the UK for the first time in at least 30 years. Alongside the work of Bacon and Lucian Freud are rarely seen paintings by some of their contemporaries including Frank Auerbach and Paula Rego. The exhibition traces the zeal of these artists to represent life itself in the generation before with works by Walter Sickert and David Bomberg and shows how it lives on in the figurative painting of contemporary artists.
A chance to get up close and personal with the 500-year-old stately home and celebrate the exceptional skill and artistry involved in its recent major restoration. Discover what’s under the floor in the Chapel Corridor, marvel at the restored tapestries in the State Dining Room, and peer into corners and hidden spaces – with a torch if you like – to uncover the secrets of its fascinating history. As you explore the changes the last few centuries have wrought, you are invited to look ahead and imagine what lies in store for this beautiful house in the next 100 years.