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The Midlands has a wealth of art galleries and museums hosting a range of fantastic exhibitions - both permanent and temporary. Here's a selection of what's showing across the region.

JOY... INSPIRED BY NATURE

Herbert Art Gallery & Museum’s free-to-enjoy summer exhibition comes complete with giant flowers, bursts of rainbow colours, and sounds and smells that awaken inner tranquillity.
 Joy...Inspired By Nature sees acclaimed artists Nicola Richardson and Marianne Taviner create ‘an eye-popping wonderland that playfully reconnects us to nature’. 
The exhibition features two special commissions: a scentscape by Gemma Costin and a soundscape by Ashley James Brown. Local artist Abeda Begum joins the team in crafting the final installation. 

Herbert Art Gallery & Museum, Coventry,  Friday 19 July - Sunday 22 September

JOY…Inspired By Nature


TITANIC EXHIBITION

Visitors to this fascinating exhibition will find themselves coming face to face with objects and artefacts from one of the most famous and tragic events in 20th-century British history. 
The Titanic was a passenger liner that sank in the North Atlantic Ocean on 15 April 1912 during its maiden voyage. 
Using remarkable footage of the wreckage, the exhibition offers a rare chance to discover more about the crew, engineers and passengers who set sail on what was supposedly an ‘unsinkable’ ship.

NEC, Birmingham, Saturday 27 July - Sunday 25 August

Titanic Exhibition: Birmingham


TREZA BUSKOVA: HIDDEN MOTHERS

Czech multimedia artist Tereza Buskova’s Hidden Mothers takes its name from a commonly used practice in Victorian-era portrait photography. When mums were having photos taken of their infants - who they needed to keep still during the necessary long exposures - they would sit nearby but cover themselves with a cloth to ensure that they didn’t appear in the image themselves. In so doing, they became known as ‘hidden mothers’.
Tereza’s exhibition aims to provide a platform from which to empower women, ‘encouraging mothers to step out from the shadows and reclaim their importance in society’.

Midlands Arts Centre (MAC), Birmingham, until Sunday 29 September   

Tereza Buskova: Hidden Mothers


LOUISE BOURGEOIS: NATURE STUDY

Spreading seamlessly from Compton Verney’s galleries into the surrounding landscape and featuring more than 40 works - including some which have rarely been seen in the UK - Nature Study brings together paintings, textile pieces, sculptures and works on paper made across Louise Bourgeois’ seven-decade-long career.
As well as providing an opportunity for visitors simply to revel in her output, the exhibition also explores numerous important themes in the artist’s work. These include: the importance of memory; the landscape as a metaphor for the mind and body; and the cycles of time and nature.   

Compton Verney, Warwickshire, Saturday 6 July - Sunday 6 October

Louise Bourgeois:  Nature Study Les Fleurs, 2009 Photo Christopher Burke, © The Easton Foundation/Licensed by DACS, UK (2) - detail


CLAUDETTE JOHNSON: DARKER THAN BLUE

Darker Than Blue is Claudette Johnson’s first solo show in the Midlands. 
The Turner Prize nominee’s work often takes the human figure as its subject and in particular explores the experience of Black women - including herself. 
“It’s wonderful that Claudette has been nominated and recognised for her incredible work,” says the Barber’s director, Professor Jennifer Powell. “It is really powerful, with striking and confident line work - and her figures always hold your gaze.
“In the show there will be a sound installation by Trevor Mathison, who’s a contemporary sound artist. Trevor has created a soundscape that combines aspects of the Barber experience - the echoes and sounds of the galleries - with the sound of Claudette working in the studio. 
“It’s the first time that Claudette and Trevor have ever worked together, and it’s the first time that Claudette has had this sound aspect in an exhibition.” 

The Barber Institute, University of Birmingham, until Sunday 15 September

Darker Than BlueImage © Claudette Johnson / photo: Andy Keate (detail)


CARLOS BUNGA

Portuguese artist Carlos Bunga is best known for his large-scale and site-specific architectural installations, which he makes from materials such as tape, cardboard and household paint. For this major exhibition of his most recent art, the Barcelona-based Bunga has created a work especially for the gallery. Composed of cardboard columns and other architectural forms, the installation has been made for the venue’s street-facing window box, a temporary environment alluding to the often-precarious nature of physical constructs. 

New Art Gallery, Walsall, Friday 5 July - Sunday 27 October

Carlos Bunga Image: Carlos Bunga, Nomad, House no. 17, 2022, varnish on plasterboard and latex on wood. Photo: Joaquín Cortes y Román Lores. ‘Against the Extravagance of Desire’, Palacio de Cristal, MNCARS, Madrid, Spain, 8 April – 4 September 2022.


ACTS OF CREATION: ON ART AND MOTHERHOOD

 

A Hayward Gallery Touring exhibition that ‘plunges into the joys and heartaches, mess, myths and mishaps of motherhood’, Act Of Creation features more than 100 artworks - ‘from the feminist avant-garde to the present day’. The exhibition explores the lived experience of being a mum, offering a ‘complex account’ that engages with contemporary concerns about gender, caregiving and reproductive rights. 

Midlands Arts Centre (MAC), Birmingham, Saturday 22 June - Sunday 29 September

Acts of Creation: On Art and Motherhood


JOHN BLUNDALL (1937 - 2014)

Perhaps most famous for having created the puppet of Parker, Lady Penelope’s chauffeur in the Gerry Anderson TV series Thunderbirds, Birmingham-born John Blundall was also the founder & artistic director of the Cannon Hill Puppet Theatre company, which was housed in the city’s Midlands Arts Centre (MAC) between 1968 and 1992. 

This fascinating new exhibition offers a glimpse into Johns’s life and work, showcasing a range of puppets from a selection of his productions.

Bantock House Museum, Wolverhampton, until Sunday 30 June

John Blundall (1937 - 2014)


FOOTBALL: DESIGNING THE BEAUTIFUL GAME

From the master planning of the world’s most significant football stadiums, to the innovative materials used in modern-day football boots, this international touring exhibition takes a look at the ways in which design has been used to push ‘the beautiful game’ to its technical and emotional limits.

Alongside the exhibition, the gallery is screening Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait. Produced by contemporary artists Douglas Gordon and Philippe Parreno, the film follows French football star Zinédine Zidane in real time over the course of a single match during 2005. 

The film will be screened from Saturday 29 June to Sunday 20 October. Pre-booking is advised.

Wolverhampton Art Gallery, until Sunday 1 September

Football: Designing The Beautiful Game


DAME LAURA KNIGHT

The first female artist ever to be welcomed into the Royal Academy, Dame Laura Knight felt a profound love for Worcestershire and the Malvern Hills. Indeed, her emotional connection to the area provided her with a great deal of artistic inspiration during the later years of her life. 

Curated by Worcester City Art Gallery & Museum, this brand-new exhibition, titled I Paint Today, pays homage not only to the artist herself but also to her relationship with the local countryside. 

The show features works from the Worcester City collection alongside loans from regional and national collections, including Tate. 

Worcester City Art Gallery, until Sunday 30 June

Dame Laura Knight


VICTORIAN RADICALS

Birmingham’s impressive collection of Pre-Raphaelite art here goes on display in the city for the first time in more than five years. 

Taking the subtitle ‘From The Pre-Raphaelites To The Arts & Crafts Movement’, Victorian Radicals features vibrant paintings and exquisite drawings presented alongside jewellery, glass, textiles and metalwork. The show provides visitors with the chance to discover the story of the Pre-Raphaelites - Britain’s first modern art movement - and learn about their influence on artists and makers well into the 20th century.

Image: Hope Comforting Love in Bondage, 190. Artist: Sidney Harold Meteyard

The Gas Hall, Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, until Wednesday 10 July

Victorian Radicals


A SPIRIT INSIDE

With its themes ranging from mythology and internal contemplation to external and political expression, A Spirit Inside comprises a selection of works produced by women and non-binary artists across a period of 100-plus years.

The featured pieces have been drawn from the Women’s Art Collection - Europe’s biggest collection of work by female artists - and The Ingram Collection, one of the UK’s best collections of modern and contemporary British art. 

Artists whose work is featured in the show include Leonora Carrington, Winifred Nicholson, Bridget Riley, Man Fung Yi and Permindar Kaur.

Compton Verney, Warwickshire, until Sunday 1 September

A Spirit Inside


DION KITSON: RUE BRITANNIA

A major solo exhibition, Dion Kitson’s Rue Britannia sees the artist remodelling everyday objects to isolate and elevate ubiquitously ‘ordinary’ sights, such as a burst football or discarded plastic bottle.

The exhibition also includes Council House Of Kitson - a new installation featuring a pebble-dashed façade and footage documenting Dion’s father.

Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, until Sunday 8 September

Dion Kitson:  Rue Britannia


HIDDEN VOICES

Fitting in nicely (just as you’d expect!) with the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust’s (SBT) multi-year Women Who Made Shakespeare theme, Hidden Voices focuses on the important females in the life of the bard, exploring their impact as mothers, wives, widows, businesswomen and managers of a busy household at New Place, the site of the grandest house in Jacobean Stratford-upon-Avon. 

The exhibition also seeks to dispel many of the myths which have persisted across the centuries: that William didn’t love wife Anne, because he left her the ‘second best bed’; that daughter Susanna was his favourite; that younger daughter Judith was illiterate; and that because Shakespeare’s mother Mary was a farmer’s daughter, she was less upwardly mobile. 

Numerous objects from SBT’s collection are featured in the exhibition, including artefacts from the late 16th and early 17th centuries.

Shakespeare’s Birthplace Trust, Stratford-upon-Avon, until Sunday 3 November

Hidden Voices


COLLECTING COVENTRY

Seventy-five years of collecting is being celebrated in this brand-new and long-running exhibition.
Featuring a selection of objects dating from the founding of the Herbert Art Gallery in 1949 through to the present day, the show is being presented across four of the Herbert’s rooms. 

Featured objects and curiosities include a 4.5 billion-year-old meteorite, a Covid testing kit, LS Lowry’s famous painting of Ebbw Vale and a number of items being displayed for the very first time.

Herbert Art Gallery & Museum, Coventry, until Sunday 27 April 2025

Collecting Coventry


DIPPY IN COVENTRY: THE NATION'S FAVOURITE DINOSAUR

The Natural History Museum’s iconic Diplodocus cast - life-size, made of plaster-of-paris, and affectionately referred to as Dippy - has taken up residence in Coventry for an initial period of three years. 

Diplodocus carnegii, to give it its official name, lived during the Late Jurassic period, somewhere between 155 and 145 million years ago. Huge, plant-eating dinosaurs with long, whip-like tails, they grew to about 25 metres in length and are believed to have weighed around 15 tonnes, making them three tonnes heavier than a London double-decker bus. 

Dippy first arrived in London in 1905 and recently visited Birmingham as part of an eight-city tour that attracted a record-breaking two million visitors.

Herbert Art Gallery & Museum, Coventry, until Tues 21 February 2026

Dippy In Coventry - The Nation’s Favourite Dinosaur

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