The exhibitions you must see this November
Brighten up your November with a trip to one of these extraordinary exhibitions: featuring Grayson Perry’s evocative pots, Tracey Emin’s love letter to Edvard Munch and the powerful photographs of Zanele Muholi.
As autumn draws to a close and the cooler winter days creep in, we’re rounding up this month’s must-see exhibitions to get you out of the cold and into the warmth of your favourite museum or gallery.
This month we’re celebrating the pioneers who led the way in their field. From autobiographical artist Tracey Emin to photographer and visual activist Zanele Muholi, this month’s creatives demonstrate how art can be a powerful tool for change, shaping perspectives and showcasing innovation.
We’ll explore how art can transcend disciplines, as the exhibitions featured include not only work by artists but also that of world-famous choreographers, filmmakers and multi-disciplinary creatives.
- Tate Modern, London
- 5 November 2020 – 7 March 2021
South African photographer Zanele Muholi’s evocative portraits convey power, courage and resilience, and form a visual archive of people who consistently face prejudice, violence and injustice just for being their authentic selves. Muholi’s portraits extend to self-portraiture, exploring themes of racism, sexual politics and Eurocentrism. Somnyama Ngonyama (translated as ‘Hail the Dark Lioness’), a powerful highlight in the exhibition, comprises images of Muholi taken every day for a year, capturing the hate crimes, homophobia and injustice they experienced.
- Aberdeen Art Gallery, Aberdeen
- 10 October 2020 – 24 January 2021
An influential platform for emerging and established portrait artists, this year’s BP Portrait Award is being shown in Scotland at Aberdeen Art Gallery – one of the five fabulous winners of Art Fund Museum of the Year 2020. Scooping a first prize of £35,000, this year’s Portrait Award winner is self-taught artist Jiab Prachakul with Night Talk, exploring themes of identity and self-perception. Over 40 portraits from the competition are on display, demonstrating a variety of portraiture from artists across the world and showcasing the beauty of the art form.
- Henry Moore Institute, Leeds
- 1 September 2020 – 3 January 2021
This collection of narrative sculpture by German contemporary artist Paloma Varga Weisz presents a world cloaked in masquerade. Working primarily in woodcarving and ceramics, many of her figurative sculptures take the form of fantastical creatures. The artist is known for using her own personal experiences to drive the poetic practice of her art, and the exhibition also dives into issues of identity, society and historical stereotyping.
- Royal Academy of Arts, London
- 15 November 2020 – 28 February 2021
In this unique show Tracey Emin pens a love letter to her long-time inspiration, Edvard Munch, exploring their shared fascination with the human psyche. Emin’s work sits alongside works by the Norwegian pioneer of expressionism, hand-selected by the artist herself, showing how both artists embrace pain and raw emotion, magnifying feelings of loneliness. The exhibition puts Emin’s work under a new lens, demonstrating the breadth of her skill across disciplines as well as her very personal inspirations.
- The Holburne Museum, Bath
- 5 July 2020 – 3 January 2021
Offering a look into the formative early years of one of Britain’s best-known artists, 70 works made between 1982 and 1994 are on display, notably featuring Perry’s ‘lost pots’. Examining his early works provides an insight into the artist’s career as he progressed towards worldwide acclaim, touching on themes that would become familiar, from crowns and Staffordshire pottery to his fascination with Princess Diana.
- British Museum, London
- 22 October 2020 – 21 February 2021
With highlights including an ancient mammoth sculpture and modern snow mobiles, this major exhibition explores the complex makeup of the Arctic. Focusing on the polar region's Indigenous people, there is a collection of unique tools, clothing, and photography depicting everyday life, as well as rare 28,000-year-old archaeological finds. The wide range of objects and artworks demonstrates the diversity of cultures and communities in the Arctic, and the exhibition looks at their response to climate change and drastic changes in weather.
- Barbican Art Gallery, London
- 7 October 2020 – 3 January 2021
Dancer and choreographer Michael Clark’s colourful career in dance takes centre stage at the Barbican, establishing him as a radical figure in British history. Featuring a collection of video and photography, the exhibition follows Clark’s legendary collaborations across visual art, music, fashion and film, and explores the unique combination of classical and contemporary influences that shaped his work.
- Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh
- 24 October 2020 – 5 September 2021
Inspiring a generation of filmmakers that came after him, including Tim Burton, George Lucas and Steven Spielberg, Ray Harryhausen was a superstar of special effects on screen, elevating stop motion in film to a certified art form. The exhibition is accompanied by a range of events celebrating what would have been the cinema titan’s 100th birthday, exploring his extraordinary impact on the entire film industry and his lasting legacy in special effects.