Art & Exhibitions | Living North

What's On - Art & Exhibitions


Leonardo Da Vinci: A Life In Drawing
Until Monday, May 6, 2019

Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens is one of only 12 venues chosen by the Royal Collection Trust to host this sensational exhibition, marking the 500th anniversary of Da Vinci's death. Unique in the range of his achievements, drawing lay at the heart of Leonardo’s creativity – as he drew to prepare for his artistic projects, to record the world around him, to pursue his scientific speculations, and to make visible the workings of his imagination. Now you can see all this for yourself right here in the North East. We can’t wait.

Digital Citizen
Until Sunday, June 16, 2019

Drawing on the imagination of contemporary artists to inspire a conversation around the ideas of ‘citizenship’ in the digital age we now find ourselves living in, this exhibition creatively investigates the new possibilities presented to us from innovative digital tools, and networks for rethinking historical forms of nationalisms and citizenship, while addressing our voluntary blurring of the lines between reality and simulation.

Coal Forest
Until Monday, April 22, 2019

Witness Woodhorn Museum as you’ve never seen it before, now it has been transformed through a series of magical and thought-provoking art installations. From neon lungs glowing in the heart of the colliery ventilation system, to a plainsong chant leading to a kaleidoscopic vision of coal; a curious, tree-like figure taking root in front of the blacksmith’s forge, and an unearthly stag grazing in the depths of the mine – you never know what you might discover next.

Small Town Inertia
Until Sunday, March 24, 2019

In his photography, Jim Mortram captures the lives of people in his community who, through physical and mental problems and a failing social security system, face isolation and loneliness in their daily lives. His work covers difficult subjects such as disability, addiction and self-harm, but faces these themes with hope and dignity – focusing upon the strength and resilience of the people he photographs.

Heather Phillipson
Until Sunday, March 31, 2019

Produced as a major new commission that responds to BALTIC’s vast Level Four gallery, Heather Phillipson presents a series of videos, sounds and objects that operate as landmarks in a remixed geology; somewhere between agricultural vista and lunar wasteland, a spatio-temporal ‘field’ punctuated by farm equipment, holding pens and the noise of circling gulls.

Until Sunday, March 24, 2019

Forgive and forget – easy, right? Not for many of us. Carrie Fertig explores the complexities surrounding this theme in her latest exhibition through a kaleidoscope of installations – incorporating film, sound, performance and sculpture, often carved using flame-worked glass.

Cracked! Secret Codes and Communication
Until Sunday, June 2, 2019

Since the dawn of time, people have had secrets to hide… and share. Delve into the mysterious world of covert communications in The Word’s latest free exhibition – Cracked! Secret Codes and Communication – which starts with the earliest examples of ciphers before journeying through time to discover how methods of secret communication were used during times of war, right through to how modern technology uses coding to allow us to communicate safely today. Bring your budding cryptologists along and try your hand at cracking a secret code using their Caesar Wheel, communicate a message using Flag Semaphore, and discover the ancient ciphers that remain unsolved to this day.

Elmer and Friends
Until Saturday, February 1, 2020

Celebrating 30 years of everyone’s favourite patchwork elephant, this playful exhibition at Seven Stories, The National Centre for Children’s Books is the first major retrospective of David McKee’s striking artwork – which, as well as being full of vibrance and colour, are perfect for opening up conversations around diversity and being yourself.


The Spring Exhibition
Until Sunday, May 26, 2019

The Biscuit Factory’s annual Spring Exhibition features a bold headline collection of original portraits from Peter Hallam, plus new artwork from returning artists – including Carol Nunan and Anja Percival – as well as brand new artists, designers and makers.

Spring Open Studios
Saturday, March 23, 2019 - Sunday, March 24, 2019

One of the jewel in Ouseburn’s cultural crown, 36 Lime Street is throwing opening the doors on all five levels of its beautiful listed building this March to invite us into the workshops of some of the most innovative and exceptional artists, designers, makers and musicians in the region. See you there?

Goya's Prison: The Year of Despair
Saturday, March 23, 2019 - Sunday, June 23, 2019

Late in 1792, renowned Spanish painter Francisco Goya became severely ill. During a period of recuperation he produced a set of small cabinet paintings on tin plate that were to define the rest of his career. The Bowes Museum’s Interior of a Prison is one of this series of works, and the story of the piece is explored in detail in this exhibition, alongside works by Reynolds, Ramsay and Tiepolo.

Whistler and Nature
Saturday, March 30, 2019 - Sunday, June 16, 2019

Born in America, but spending most of his life in the UK, James Abbott McNeill Whistler became one of the best-known artists of the late 19th century. This exhibition of his oil paintings, watercolours, lithographs and etchings examines his attitude to the natural world, revealing how it was underpinned by his enduring kinship with the makers of railroads, bridges and ships, the legacy of his early training as a military cadet.


Durham Miners Gala Exhibition
Monday, April 1, 2019 - Saturday, February 1, 2020

Part of the Norman Cornish Centenary Art Exhibitions that are set to run throughout the year across the region, this stunning display of Norman’s work is complemented by a range of other exceptional local artists – which, together, form a body of work depicting the social history of our region, with all the art displayed available for sale.

100 Years of Fashion
Friday, April 5, 2019 - Sunday, September 8, 2019

From the timeless elegance of Chanel’s Little Black Dress, to the edgy, exciting shoes of Vivienne Westwood and Prada, take a joyful journey through 100 years of fashion in this brilliant exhibition – taking in the work of Balenciaga, Dior, Stella McCartney, Alexander McQueen, Galliano, Chanel and Comme des Garçons while you do.

NGC 21
Saturday, April 6, 2019 - Sunday, September 15, 2019

In celebration of their 21st anniversary this year, the National Glass Centre host this special exhibition – featuring work by artists who have worked to help establish Sunderland as this international centre of excellence for Studio Glass work that it has now become. Keep your eyes peeled for work by some major names in the glass art scene, including Stanislav Libensky and Ann Wolff.

Yan Wang Preston
Saturday, April 6, 2019 - Sunday, June 9, 2019

In the age of anthropocene, the violent destruction of forests is one of the defining characters of our societies. To create the photographic project Forest, British-Chinese artist Yan Wang Preston spent eight years investigating the politics of recreating forests and ‘natural’ environments in new Chinese cities and documenting their impact.

Side Gallery, Newcastle


Matt Antoniak
Saturday, May 11, 2019 - Saturday, June 15, 2019

Over the past year and a half, Newcastle-based artist Matt Antoniak has collected the scraps of paper used to test materials in an art shop. Covered in doodles and throwaway marks, these images are then cropped and scaled up before he paints them in forensic details – stepping away from the prevailing 20th century idea of the genial artist and creating micro-authorships that toy with the ideas of artistic hierarchy, time and chance.

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