Courtesy Cadbury Research Library
Janet Mendelsohn - Varna Road
Where: Ikon, Birmingham
When: 27 January – 3 April 2016
The largest-ever exhibition dedicated to American photographer and filmmaker Janet Medelsohn, who documented life in Balsall Heath, Birmingham. When Mendelsohn photographed it in the late 1960s, this was the city's red light district and home to about 200 prostitutes. Featuring images taken on the streets, in pubs and in their homes, the show offers an incredibly close look into the lives of sex workers at the time, capturing them in different moments of their days, from approaching clients to spending time with their children.
Photo Jonty Wilde, courtesy of YSP
Where: Yorkshire Sculpture Park
When: 6 February – 12 June 2016
A favourite in the fashion and music worlds, counting Kanye West and Pharrell Willams among his many high-profile a fans, KAWS has finally landed to the UK with a major show in Yorkshire. The Sculpture Park’s grounds will be populated by a series of monumental sculptures (up to 10 metre high) featuring the artists’ signature characters, five large-scale paintings made especially for the exhibition.
Courtesy The Royal Shakespeare Company
Curtain Up: Celebrating 40 Years of Theatre in London and New York
Where: V&A, London
When: 9 February – 31 August 2016
To coincide with the 40th anniversary of the Olivier Awards, the V&A and the New York Public Library have come together to celebrate the best of the West End and Broadway. Expect memorabilia of all sorts, from A Chorus Line’s golden top hats to Chicago’s costumes and War Horse set designs, clips of several productions. A must-see if you’ve always wondered what goes on backstage.
© The Art Institute of Chicago, Illinois
Delacroix and the Rise of Modern Art
Where: National Gallery, London
When: 17 February – 22 May 2016
Travelling all the way from Minneapolis, this major survey of the work of French painter Eugène Delacroix (1798 – 1863) will explore the influence the artist had on his contemporaries and on future artists such as Cézanne, Van Gogh and Matisse. Including over 60 works from 30 collections around the globe, the show will display Delacroix’s masterpieces alongside the works they inspired.
Copyright David LaChapelle
Where: V&A, London
When: 5 March – 3 July 2016
This major Societe Generale – sponsored show will explore the influence that Italian Renaissance painter Sandro Botticelli (1445-1510) had on future generations of visual artists – from William Morris to Andy Warhol, Cindy Sherman, David LaChapelle and fashion designer Elsa Schiaparelli. Including 50 original works by Botticelli, it’s the largest show dedicated to the artist in Britain since the 1930s. Definitively one to book ahead.
© Tina Barney, Courtesy of Paul Kasmin Gallery
Strange and Familiar: Britain as Revealed by International Photographers
Where: Barbican Art Gallery, London
When: 16 March – 19 June 2016
British photographer Martin Parr curated this selection of images taken by some of the 20th century greatest, including Henri Cartier-Bresson, Candida Höfer and Edith Tudor-Hart. Capturing moments as diverse as Coronations and local football league games, these rare photographs offer a unique glimpse into the history of Britain from the 1930s.
Copyright State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow
Russia and the Arts: The Age of Tolstoy and Tchaikovsky
Where: National Portrait Gallery, London
When: 17 March - 26 June 2016
Moscow’s State Tretyakov Gallery and the National Portrait Gallery are celebrating their 160th birthday with a major artwork swap. Among the 26 pieces that will be loaned to London are portraits of Russia’s most famous figures, including Chekhov, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy and Tchaikovsky. In exchange, the NPG is temporarily parting with some of Britain’s most famous faces, namely Darwin, Dickens, Shakespeare and Elizabeth I.
© Estate of Francis Bacon
Francis Bacon: Invisible Rooms
Where: Tate Liverpool
When: 18 May – 18 September 2016
A recurring feature in several of Bacon's works is placing an imaginary structure around the characters – a device that enabled the artist to highlight the emotional state of his subjects and shift the viewer's focus on their feeling of isolation. For the first time, Tate Liverpool is dedicating an entire show to these 'invisible rooms', inviting visitors to reflect on this particular aspect of the British artist's production. It's also the largest-ever exhibition of Francis Bacon's works ever staged in the North of England.
© Georgia O’Keeffe Museum
Where: Tate Modern, London
When: 6 July – 30 October 2016
holds the record for the most expensive work by a woman ever sold, scoring $44.4 million (£28) at auction in 2014. A key figure in American modernism and a pioneering feminist artist, O'Keeffe is one of the most relevant and influential painters of the 20th century, known especially for her abstractions of landscapes and portraits of flowers. The first large-scale retrospective of her work in the UK in over 20 years, the show will take place following the opening of the new Tate Modern earlier in the Summer.
Courtesy National Galleries of Scotland
Facing the World: Self-Portraits from Rembrandt to Ai Weiwei
Where: Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh
When: 16 July – 16 October 216
In the age of the selfie, the Scottish National Portrait Gallery is organising a survey of how artists choose to represent themselves. Around 140 self-portraits from the sixteenth century to the present day will be exhibited together, featuring artists as diverse as Rembrandt, Matisse, Warhol, Sarah Lucas and Ai Weiwei. Browse through paintings, photographs and Instagram posts - and maybe get some inspiration for the next time you flip to front camera.
Philadelphia Museum of Art, Courtesy of The Pollock-Krasner Foundation
Where: Royal Academy of Arts, London
When: 24 September 2016 – 2 January 2017
Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning and Mark Rotkho are only some of the artists included is this major survey of the abstract expressionist movement, which developed in America in the 1940s and 1950s and is one of the most significant phenomena in post-war art. We predict long queues outside the Royal Academy for this one.