Five exhibitions to see this January

Published 4 January 2019

Start 2019 on a cultural high with our pick of must-see exhibitions, and celebrate the new year with some musical selectors or a modern master or two.

If one of your New Year's resolutions is to see more art, it now comes with the extra glow that regularly visiting museums and galleries can be good for your wellbeing.

So whether you're interested in painting, automata or antiques – or just want to find out what happens when a rock band takes over an art gallery – start your year right with free or 50% off entry to all of the below exhibitions with a National Art Pass.

Ken Kiff, S15 Red face, spilt cup, sunface, man and tree

Ken Kiff: The Sequence

In his fascinating work, Ken Kiff (1935-2001) forged a complex relationship between colour and image, fantasy and reality. This exhibition, the first of Kiff's work in 25 years, reappraises the career of an extraordinary artist, focusing on The Sequence, a series of nearly 200 paintings composed over 30 years. Ranging from the lyrical to the grotesque, it was regarded as a single work by Kiff himself, in which he developed and deepened themes through repetition of colour and imagery.

Model of Maria in the Dream section of the Robots exhibition


Our desire to create machines that look and act like humans has been burning brightly for an astonishing 500 years or more. This interactive exhibition offers the chance to meet some of your robotic siblings, from a 16th-century articulated iron figure to the eight-foot-tall 1950s automaton Cygan. The show also explores the cutting-edge technologies of today and considers the future impact that humanoid robots may have on society.

Kaiser Chiefs

When All Is Quiet: Kaiser Chiefs in Conversation with York Art Gallery

In an exhibition that's set to open your ears as well as your eyes, the band Kaiser Chiefs have brought together works of art that resonate with their own experience as musicians, while exploring the boundaries between art, music, performance and creation. From a setlist of songs inspired by works in York Art Gallery’s collection to a ‘silent gig’ that reconfigures a live music show through light, colour and lyrics, it promises to be truly immersive.

Pierre Bonnard, Coffee (Le Café), 1915

Pierre Bonnard: The Colour of Memory

The early 20th-century French artist Pierre Bonnard has long been loved for his intense colours and ability to capture fleeting and otherwise unnoticed moments – his wife dressing after a bath, a room abandoned after a meal. The first major show of Bonnard in the UK for 20 years emphasises his influence on future artists such as Mark Rothko and Patrick Heron, and explores overlooked aspects of his work, his travels around France and his response to two world wars.

Bluett & Sons, Ming Bowl

SOLD! The Great British Antiques Story

If you’ve ever fancied yourself in the antiques business or find yourself watching repeats of Lovejoy, don’t miss this unique exhibition looking at the fine arts from a dealer’s perspective. Step inside an Old Curiosity Shop from the 1850s and follow the stories of 25 objects as they pass through different hands to their current homes in museums such as the V&A and the National Gallery. The history of the antiques trade is explored along the way, as well as the practices of different dealers and the myths surrounding them.

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