Bristol has carved out its niche in the UK as an ‘arty city’. Thanks to a thriving street art scene and some amazing art galleries, there are always awesome art exhibitions in Bristol to see. Not only are you likely to catch both local and international talent, but everything from traditional contemporary sculptures to the world’s best wildlife photographs. You can get your dose of culture during 2024 with these art exhibitions in Bristol. Will you see ’em at the museum?
1. Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2023, Bristol Museum & Art Gallery
This display at the Bristol Museum & Art Gallery hosts last year’s most stunning photographs showcasing Earth’s extraordinary diversity and the fragility of wildlife on our planet. The 59th Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition makes the perfect pairing with the museum’s fascinating natural science collections. The 100 winning photographs were chosen from 49,957 entries by photographers of all ages and experience levels from 95 countries. It also features soundscapes, videos and expert insights that capture animal behaviour, spectacular species, and the breathtaking diversity of the natural world.
Until April 21, 2024. More info here.
2. Young In Hong: Five Acts, Spike IUsland
Five Acts is a new commission by Spike Island studio holder Young In Hong. The exhibition explores the lesser-known histories of women’s labour in Korea through photographic archives. Inspired by the Bayeux Tapestry – an 11th-century embroidered cloth depicting the events leading up to the Norman conquest of England in 1066 – central to the Bristol exhibition is an embroidered tapestry that depicts women workers’ protests in Korea from the twentieth century up to the present day. Hong’s version includes reinterpretations of photographs depicting women’s struggles for better working conditions – images from the tapestry will also be reinterpreted in a series of performances and an original musical score.
From February 3 to May 5, 2024. More info here.
3. These Mad Hybrids: John Hoyland and Contemporary Sculpture, RWA
These Mad Hybrids is a combination of ceramic sculptures made by abstract painter John Hoyland, alongside an assembly of contemporary sculptures by artists including Phyllida Barlow and Hew Locke. The exhibition is inspired by a group of unique ceramic sculptures by Hoyland, which he called his “mad little hybrids”, and is their first public display since 1994. Also on display are paintings by Hoyland, showing the connection between his sculptures and paintings – this is the first time these ceramic sculptures are presented alongside his abstract paintings.
From February 3 to May 12, 2024. More info here.
4. One Year!, Martin Parr Foundation
To coincide with the 40th anniversary of the miners’ strike, One Year! brings together a collection of photographs – many from the Martin Parr Foundation collection – from this year-long (’84 to ’85) struggle against pit closures. A collection of posters, vinyl records, plates, badges and publications – all relating to the strike – will also be placed on display. The exhibition includes photos by Brenda Prince, John Sturrock, John Harris, Jenny Matthews, Roger Tiley, Imogen Young and Chris Killip, as well as photo albums compiled by Philip Winnard, a striking miner.
From January 18 to March 31, 2024. More info here.
5. Elias Sime : Eregata እርጋታ, Arnolfini
The first major solo European museum exhibition of one of Ethiopia’s leading contemporary artists, Elias Sime. Eregata እርጋታ focuses on his work from the past six years, which transforms carefully sourced materials (from electrical wires to computer keyboards) and gives them new life. This includes intricately woven abstract topographies from his landmark series Tightrope, key works from his early stitch, yarn and button series, and a large-scale ceramic installation (Bareness). A programme of performances, talks and screenings will accompany Eregata እርጋታ, as well as workshops and family activities.
Until February 18. More info here.
6. Picasso and Matisse: Friends and Rivals, Hidden Gallery
Everyone has heard of them, Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse, and throughout February, Hidden Bristol will be exhibiting original artworks by two of the most influential figures of the 20th century. The exhibition includes some of the artists’ most iconic images, including sought-after lithographs from one of the last portfolios produced by Matisse before his death, and a unique artist’s palette heavily coated with oil paint directly from Picasso’s estate. The artworks are now available to buy too!
From February 1 to March 6. Find out more here.