February is the perfect month for art lovers to explore what galleries and museums have to offer. With the winter exhibitions in full swing, there is much to see and enjoy. In this article, we're going to explore the five most exciting exhibitions opening this month that are worth visiting. From historic paintings to contemporary installations, there's something for everyone. Grab your calendar and book a visit to these incredible exhibitions.
Action, Gesture, Paint: Women Artists and Global Abstraction 1940 -1970 at Whitechapel Gallery from 9 February to 7 May 2023
This major exhibition examines the art of an underprivileged generation of international women artists working in the predominantly white, macho domain of Abstract Expressionism in the aftermath of World War II. Action, Gesture, Paint, as the title suggests, highlights the dynamic and vital potential of this static medium. Featuring Lee Krasner, Marta Minujín, Vieira da Silva, Helen Frankenthaler, Behjat Sadr and Janet Sobel, this extensive exhibition brings together more than 150 works by women, who worked to expand and promote the visual language of painting.
Sonia Boyce's Feeling Her Way at Turner Contemporary in Margate, Kent from 4th February to 8th May 2023
First shown at the British Pavilion as part of the 59th Venice Biennale International Art Exhibition 2022, Sonia Boyce's Feeling Her Way is an immersive and captivating exhibition in which visitors move through a soundscape shaped by the audio of five women all black women singing a cappella. The artwork, which won the Biennial's Golden Lion Award, features wordless and emotive performances on a series of high-definition television screens alongside geometric structures and wallpaper emblazoned with images of hundreds of black British female singers. Clarrie Wallis, director of Turner Contemporary, commented: “This joyful and ambitious installation celebrates female creativity and collaboration – of finding a voice.”
Alice Neel: Hot Off The Griddle at the Barbican in London, from 16 February to 21 May 2023
Few painters can animate a canvas with as much humanity and psychological realism as Alice Neel. “For me, people come first”, the American painter once explained. “I tried to affirm the dignity and eternal importance of the human being.” This resolve permeates his prolific portraits, in which he chose to depict individuals who would not normally be chosen as subjects by other painters. Spending many years living in Spanish Harlem, New York, Neel's portraits immortalize pregnant women, labor leaders, black and Puerto Rican children, civil rights activists and queer artists in his neighborhood. Alice Neel: Hot Off The Griddle at London's Barbican will be the UK's largest exhibition of her work to date, bringing together 70 of the artist's most evocative paintings.
Dana Schutz at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebæk, Denmark from February 9 to June 11, 2023
American artist Dana Schutz (b. 1976) is considered one of the greatest narrative painters of her generation. Her works - large, complex and often grotesque canvases that fluidly mix figuration and abstraction - are an attempt, says the artist, to pictorially represent an abstract idea. It takes cues "often from language and the way language can be very open - like a sentence".
His show at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 30 minutes from Copenhagen, will contain paintings – including The Interview, which was recently acquired for the museum's permanent collection – alongside drawings and sculptures that provide an overview of his career from his debut exhibition in 2002. At the end of the year, the show will travel to the Musée d'Art Moderne in Paris.
Vermeer at the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam from 10 February to 4 June 2023
To date, the most comprehensive exhibition devoted to Johannes Vermeer (1632-1675) was held in 1996 at the Mauritshuis in The Hague. It included 23 of his estimated 37 paintings. This spring, however, Amsterdam's Rijksmuseum will get bigger. According to its managing director, Taco Dibbits, the upcoming Vermeer exhibition will contain "at least" 28. It also promises to re-examine the artist's work through a new generation of curators interested in his social circles and home life.
The Rijksmuseum has never held a solo show of the artist's work, although it has four of his best paintings: The Milkmaid, Woman Reading a Letter, The Love Letter and View of Houses in Delft. New York's Frick Collection will loan all three of Vermeer's paintings to the exhibition: Girl Interrupted at Her Music, Officer and Laughing Girl, and Mistress and Maid. The Mauritshuis also agreed to lend the artist's most famous work: Girl with a Pearl Earring.