Art & Exhibitions | Living North

What's On - Art & Exhibitions


Norman Cornish: A Slice of Life
Until Sunday, October 13, 2019

Co-curated by the local community and members of Norman’s family, the selection of his work displayed in this special exhibition – in honour of the centenary of his birth – includes some rarely-seen mining and street scenes and provides a warm and refreshing perspective on one of the most enduringly-popular mining artists of a generation, as well as offering a fresh insight into how his work resonates with the community that lives on today. 

Mining Art Gallery, Bishop Auckland
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.

NGC 21
Until 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.

100 Years of Fashion
Until 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.

Durham Miners Gala Exhibition
Until 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.

The Open Contemporary Young Artist Award
Until Sunday, August 25, 2019

Open to established and emerging artists that are 35 years old or younger, The Open Contemporary Young Artist Award profiles the successful entrants and raises awareness of mixed contemporary art practices – welcoming submissions across paintings, photography, handmade prints, sculpture, glass, ceramics, textiles and jewellery in their group exhibition.

John Akomfrah
Until Sunday, October 27, 2019

Since the early 1980s, John Akomfrah’s moving image works have offered some of the most rigorous and expansive reflections on the culture of the black diaspora, both in the UK and around the world. This exhibition includes the European premiere of Precarity, which tells the story of Charles ‘Buddy’ Bolden, the African American cornetist and key figure in the development of jazz music.

Bernadette Koranteng and Lisa Delarny
Until Sunday, August 25, 2019

Explorations of the human form are central to this joint exhibition. North East native Bernadette is best known for her strong, sensuous nudes – using the physicality of the body to examine what it means to be human and express those emotions which unite us. Lisa, on the other hand, exhibits a fascination with the inner animal that still lives within us in her sculptural creations: examining how we share a body language with the creatures we, simultaneously, deny have an emotional and intellectual capacity similar to ours.

Dennis Kilgallon Gallery, Hexham
James Owen Thomas
Until Monday, July 29, 2019

Collage art created from recycled materials, including discarded scratch cards, form the basis of this innovative new exhibition from 18-year-old artist Jame Owen Thomas. Having painstakingly torn, cut or hole-punched the scratch cards before piecing them together into a mosaic, James’ collage is endeavours to make a positive statement about the creative power of recycling.

Durham’s World Heritage Site Visitor Centre
Fragile Earth: Seeds, Weeds, Plastic Crust
Until Sunday, September 29, 2019

MIMA’s summer exhibition presents artistic responses to current urgencies around ecological change around the world, as well as hosting an extensive public programme of thinking, making and exploring the Tees Valley with communities, artists and specialists. How do art practices and projects set the tone for change in industrial, commercial and governmental behaviours? Go along and find out.

Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art
Victoria & Albert: Our Lives In Watercolour
Until Sunday, September 15, 2019

Throughout their marriage, Queen Victoria and Prince Albert were enthusiastic patrons (and practitioners) of the art of watercolour painting. This touring exhibition – including many works that will be displayed for the first time – marks the bicentenary of both of their births with a collection of colourful, dynamic watercolours capturing the pomp and spectacle of the British court, foreign travel and diplomacy, the exploration and shaping of a modern nation and, importantly, the close-knit family at the heart of it all.

Norman Cornish: The Portraits
Until Sunday, September 1, 2019

Portraiture was an important part of Norman Cornish’s artistic practice. This exhibition features self-portraits from throughout his career, showing his stylistic development as well as insights into the man himself, alongside informal images of his family and more formal commissioned portraits and sketches of local characters.

Gala Gallery, Durham
Now You See Me
Until Sunday, November 3, 2019

A castle that’s not a castle, on an island that’s not an island; these compelling contradictions form the idea behind Lindisfarne Castle’s latest family-friendly exhibition. Bringing to life remarkable tales through a broad selection of media, Now You See Me conjures an immersive kaleidoscope of hearsay, rumours, anecdotes, truths and mistruths in which you’ll smell the musk of gunpowder, be stirred by the ringing of the same bell as soldiers were in bygone days, and be invited to decide just how you view Lindisfarne Castle.

Turner: Northern Exposure
Until Sunday, October 13, 2019

This important new exhibition of 13 paintings and two sketchbooks by one of the most renowned of English Romantic artists is touring from Tate Britain, and will be complemented during its residence at The Granary Gallery by two additional works by Turner on loan from V&A and one from the Manchester Art Gallery. Together, they will represent the highlights of Turner’s first route of the North of England in 1797, which he credited as being the start of his success – and a landscape which he would continue to frequent throughout his lifetime.

LEGO®: Building The Bowes Museum
Until Sunday, October 13, 2019

Calling all LEGO® fans and families: The Bowes Museum is the place to be this summer, as they turn the museum into a bricked wonderland for their LEGO®: Building The Bowes Museum exhibition  – with 15 of their most loved objects, including the famous Silver Swan, recreated by Brick This’ Steve Mayes. Best of all, you can let your imagination run wild in their Creation Station and build your own museum of treasures.


Nicolas Poussin's The Triumph of Pan
Saturday, October 5, 2019 - Sunday, January 5, 2020

A much-loved work from the National Gallery’s Collection, Nicolas Poussin’s The Triumph of Pan is touring the UK this year, taking a short residence in York. Poussin was the leading painter of the classical French Baroque style during the 17th century – even serving briefly as First Painter to the King under Louis XIII – and remained a major inspiration for classically-oriented artists as Jacques-Louis David and Paul Cézanne. Don’t miss this chance to see a real masterpiece up close.

The Bishop Trevor Gallery, Bishop Auckland

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