Five exhibitions to see this September

From Siberian warriors to the Weimar Republic via the wizardry of Terry Pratchett, this month’s exhibitions offer rich historical narratives both real and imagined. All are either open now, or opening in September – and are free or 50% off with a National Art Pass.

Gold applique showing two archers back to back, Kul Oba, 400BC-350BC

Scythians: Warriors of Ancient Siberia

Travel 2,500 years into the past at the British Museum’s major new show, and meet the Scythians: master mounted warriors who roved what is now southern Siberia between 900 and 200 BC. Among the fascinating objects on display are finely crafted plaques, weapons and decorated leather shoes; beautiful but, most importantly for a nomadic tribe, light and portable. See how they intimidated their enemies with creative headgear and even masks for their horses, and discover their rich culture from body art to feasting.

Paul Kidby, Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents, 2002

Terry Pratchett: HisWorld

Celebrate the life of one of the UK’s best-loved writers at this exhibition bringing together a wealth of Terry Pratchett’s personal items with original illustrations by his favourite artist, Paul Kidby. Organised with the blessing of the author’s estate, HisWorld offers fans and newcomers alike a deeper understanding of Pratchett’s work, as well as insight into what his treasured possessions meant to him (many of them are accompanied by Pratchett’s own words). An exhibition of work by Kidby, The Charmed Realm, runs alongside.


Street Fans

A host of internationally renowned street artists are helping to keep the officially endangered craft of fan-making alive with this cool and colourful exhibition at London’s Fan Museum. Supported by an Art Happens campaign, artists including London favourites Captain Kris and Skeleton Cardboard have teamed up with master fan-maker Sylvain Le Guen to create some 50 unique and unexpected designs for hand-held fans, each showing off a different style and street identity.

August Sander, Secretary at West German radio in Cologne, 1931

Portraying a Nation: Germany 1919–1933

Focused on the period between World War I and II, this huge and powerful survey brings together work by two important German artists, painter Otto Dix and photographer August Sander, as they attempted to represent the intensities and extremities of the Weimar Republic. From a flourishing cabaret culture to devastating poverty and civilian rebellions, Dix and Sander’s portraiture reveals the faces of ordinary people in Germany’s interwar years, and is by turns harrowing and exhilarating.

Jenny Holzer, New Corner, 2011 (detail)

SOFTER: Jenny Holzer

The already spectacular site of Blenheim Palace is set to become even more bewitching this summer as a series of light shows conceived by artist Jenny Holzer illuminate the grounds. The projections, which run every night 28 Sep-10 Oct (not 1 Oct), are part of Holzer’s wider takeover of the building, in which she becomes the fourth artist to respond to – and interrogate – its Baroque splendour. The exhibition includes many new works alongside some of her signature LED signs and stone carvings.

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