Seven blockbuster exhibitions to see this spring

Published 4 March 2019

Spring is packed full of some of the biggest exhibitions of 2019. From Van Gogh to Videogames, here’s our guide to the season’s blockbusters.

This season's biggest exhibitions offer great opportunities to get up close and personal with titans of fashion, film and modern art.

Whether you want to discover how Van Gogh and Stanley Kubrick both took inspiration from British culture, or follow the exuberant design stories of Mary Quant and Charles Rennie Mackintosh, they're all sure to put a spring in your step.

All seven exhibitions are 50% off with a National Art Pass.

Sam Levy Village, Borrowdale, Zimbabwe, 1995

Only Human: Photographs by Martin Parr

From famous faces such as designer Vivienne Westwood and footballer Pelé, to ordinary people from around the world, celebrated photographer Martin Parr’s portraits include some of his best-known images. Enjoy old favourites and discover new works that capture the aftermath of the EU referendum and the eccentricities of people having fun.

Charles Rennie Mackintosh, Pinks

Charles Rennie Mackintosh: making the Glasgow Style

The Glasgow Style, a distinctive variant of Art Nouveau, grew out of the highly original work of designer Charles Rennie Mackintosh and his close contemporaries at the Glasgow School of Art. Celebrate his 150th birthday with this exhibition showcasing the full breadth of his work, from ceramics and embroidery to stained glass, metalwork and architectural drawings.

Vincent van Gogh, Starry Night Over the Rhone, 1888

Van Gogh and Britain

Vincent van Gogh spent several years in London as a young man and loved it, finding inspiration in British artists and writers from John Constable to Charles Dickens. This exhibition explores the influence that this time had on his work and how, in return, his uncompromising art and life paved the way for many British artists. Van Gogh and Britain is the largest show of his work in the UK for nearly a decade, and a perfect opportunity to take in many of his most famous paintings.

Kelly Wilson wearing tie dress by Mary Quant's Ginger Group, 1966

Mary Quant

The mini skirt, colourful tights, tailored trousers... It could be said that fashion designer Mary Quant dressed the 1960s. This major show, the first ever international retrospective of her work, presents over 120 garments along with accessories, cosmetics and photos, many of which have never been on public display before. Explore the impact that Quant's brand had on the high street, mass marketing, feminism – and perhaps above all, fun.

Edvard Munch, The Lonely Ones, 1899

Edvard Munch: love and angst

The biggest exhibition in the UK of Edvard Munch’s prints for nearly half a century, this show focuses on the art form that made him famous and which continued to preoccupy him throughout his life. Fans of The Scream won’t be disappointed: a rare black and white lithograph, the best-known version of the image during Munch's lifetime, is on loan from Norway’s Munch Museum, along with nearly 50 other works rarely seen in the UK and highlights from the British Museum.


Videogames: Design/Play/Disrupt

Gamers have always known it, but this is the first exhibition to explore how important videogames are as a field of design. Videogames: Design/Play/Disrupt examines how the internet and social media have opened up ever more groundbreaking design possibilities since the start of the century, and looks at the political elements and evolution of player communities. If your thumbs start twitching, there are plenty of opportunities for hands-on interaction.

A Clockwork Orange, directed by Stanley Kubrick (1970-71 GB/United States). Alex DeLarge (Malcolm McDowell) in the Korova Milkbar (still)

Stanley Kubrick: The Exhibition

Stanley Kubrick fans rejoice: here's a whole exhibition dedicated to the iconic filmmaker’s life and work, with original props and costumes, set models and rare photographs. Many scenes from films such as Full Metal Jacket, Dr Strangelove and 2001: A Space Odyssey were filmed in the UK, where Kubrick lived for much of his life. This show explores his unique relationship with Britain, as well as his innovative techniques and fascination with design and architecture.

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