What to Do and Where to Go in 2018

Time for an update on my suggestions for things to do in the next few months. Art, theatre, history, literature, and anything else that catches my eye. Ideas to keep you all occupied and out of mischief!

As London is on my doorstep it makes a fair few appearances on the list, but there are also things both further afield and closer at hand, even chez nous. I hope you find something that appeals.




Picasso 1932 – Love, Fame, Tragedy
at the Tate Modern, until 9 September 2018.
This the first ever solo Pablo Picasso exhibition at Tate Modern.  It features over 100 paintings, sculptures and drawings, mixed with family photographs and other glimpses into his personal life.

James Cook: The Voyages at the British Libraryuntil 28 August 2018
It is now 250 years since James Cook set sail from Plymouth on three great voyages that spanned ten years and the British Library are recognising this with an exhibition that includes Cook’s journal from the first crossing of the Antarctic Circle, artwork and maps.

Frida Kahlo: Making Her Self Up at the V&A Gallery, until 4 November 2018
This exhibition presents a collection of personal artefacts and clothing belonging to the iconic Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, all displayed alongside some of her emblematic self-portraits. Locked away for 50 years after her death, this collection has never before been exhibited outside Mexico.

Michael Jackson: On The Wall at the National Portrait Gallery until 21 October 2018
This exhibition has received rave reviews. It reveals to us the wide influence that Michael Jackson had on contemporary art, across multiple artists and across all media. It has been timed to coincide with Michael Jackson’s 60th birthday (on 29 August 2018) and brings together the works of over forty artists, drawn from public and private collections around the world. This one is high on my to do list.
Normal ticket price is £20 but Time Out has a half price offer for weekends.

Lee Bul at the Hayward Gallery, until 19 August 2018.
Over 100 spectacular and though-provoking works by Korean artist Lee Bul.

Shape of Light: 100 years of photography and abstract art at the Tate Modern, until 14 October.BletchleyIMG_394120180211-1
The first major exhibition to explore the relationship between photography and abstract art. It features work from the 1910s to the present day, showing world from artists such as Man Ra, Alfred Stieglitz, Barbara Kasten, Thomas Ruff, Antony Cairns, Maya Rochat and Daisuke Yokota.
This is a huge and excellent exhibition, that demands a visit, and prompts much thought and reflection.  I thoroughly enjoyed it and intend to return to take more of it in.


China’s First Emperor and the Terracotta Warriors at the World Museum, until 28 October 2018.
The exhibition of terracotta warriors includes a number of objects that have never been on show in the UK before, including material excavated over the last 40 years from the Imperial Mausoleum and selected tombs.



Rembrandt: Britain’s discovery of the Master at the Scottish National, open 7 July – 14 October 2018
This landmark exhibition showcases major works by the legendary Dutch Master alongside those of the many British artists he inspired, such as William Hogarth, Joshua Reynolds, Henry Raeburn, David Wilkie, Jacob Epstein, John Bellany, and Frank Auerbach.


Idea of North at the Baltic until 30 September 2018
A series of pavilions, constructions and projects displaying work exploring Northern imagination and identities, including a photography exhibition documenting women in the North, curated by Sirkka-Liisa Konttinen.


Rencontres 2018, until 23 September 2018
This annual international photography exhibition has a tremendous selection of exhibitions in wonderful buildings around town. It is must-see annual European event.


Wanderlust at Alte Nationalgalerie, until 16 September 2018.
Prompted by the loan from Hamburger Kunsthalle of the “Wanderer above the Sea of Fog” by Caspar David Friedrich,  this exhibition features over 120 works from around the world that have been inspired by the idea of wanderlust.


Grayson Perry at Kiasma, until 2 September 2018
The exhibition comprises around fifty works, including ceramic, tapestries, cast iron and bronze.


Andy Warhol after Munch at the Kunsthall, until 26 August 2018.
In 1983–84, commissioned by the Bellman gallery, Pop artist Andy Warhol (1928–87) produced a series of 15 paintings with images taken directly from Edvard Munch’s best known lithographic prints.


Biennale, until 25 November 2018
It’s high time you got out to Venice for this year’s Biennale – it’s the turn or architecture.


Double Take: the Asia photographs of Brian Brake & Steve McCurry at the Shanghai Centre of Photography, until 9 September 2018.
The works of two renowned photographic storytellers, demonstrated by the captures of Asia, with reflections on how this has affected the west’s view of Asia.


Light Buoys, Yarra’s Edge, Docklands
This 50-metre science fiction-inspired glowing sculpture is the work of Melbourne artist Tracy Sarnoff.  It consists of 16 buoyant crystalline shards made from opaque acrylic, illuminating in different colours to respond to passers by.


This month, let’s go Trainspotting for our home entertainment.  It’s 25 years since Irving Welsh’s first book was published.  This collection of short stories, written in either Scots, Scottish English or British English, brings us the stories of various residents of Leith, Edinburgh whose lives are impacted by heroin addiction. If you fancy screen rather than page, there’s always the 1996 Trainspotting film, directed by Danny Boyle.





Please Feed the Lions at Trafalgar Square, 18-23 September 2018
A fifth fluorescent red lion will make its appearance as part of the London Design Festival, shouting poetry across the Trafalgar Square.

Videogames: Design/Play/Disrupt at the V&A, Brompton Road, London, 8 September 2018 – 24 February 2019
Explore the design and culture of contemporary video games.

Open air cinema: Classic novels in film format, at pop-up Nomad Cinema in Brompton Cemetery, 5-7 September.
Take your pick from The Bride of Frankenstein, Rebecca and Jane Eyre.



V&A Dundee – this brand new gallery opens 15 September 2018.
There will be a festival over the opening weekend, starting on Friday 14 September. More details and information on tickets to be released closer to the event.
Ocean Liners: Speed and Style, an exhibition that will explore the vessels that revolutionised travel in the 19th and 20th centuries, as well as Scotland’s role in the design and development of ocean liners, is the opening show.


Winchester Heritage Open Days, 13-16 September 2018.
An annual event, featuring walks and talks, open houses and workshops, pop-up performances and living history, exhibitions and even wine & cider tastings. A great way to get to know this fantastic city.


Les Extatiques, outdoor art at La Defense, until 21 October
Giant works by 9 artists, inviting use of all our senses to fully appreciate them.



Annual Sherry Festival, 1-16 September 2018
Jerez’s annual sherry festival takes place in early September, coinciding with the start of the wine harvest and celebrating sherry, horses and flamenco.


Little Women by Louisa May Alcott reaches its 150th anniversary on 30 September 2018.
It is one of my favourite novels and at least partly responsible for my love of books. It has plenty of other fans too. No matter how many times you’ve already read it, or seen it, this month is a good time to revisit.  And if you fancy listening rather than turning the pages, you can tune in here.





Yayoi Kusama at Victoria Miro, 16 Wharf Road, N1 7RW from 3 October to 21 December 2018
I was disappointed to miss a Yayoi Kusama exhibition on my travels earlier this year, as it closed a day before I arrived in Seoul. And I then missed a small exhibition in London in June. But now the polka dot and pumpkin lady is returning for her 12th major exhibition at Victoria Miro.  A collection of her new works will be displayed around the galleries and waterside garden, and will include works from the iconic My Eternal Soul series, painted bronze pumpkin and flower sculptures, and a large-scale Infinity Mirror Room, created for this exhibition.


Auschwitz at the Canal Art Centre, until 7 October 2018
For the first time ever, over 600 original objects are shown in the first travelling exhibition about Auschwitz.


David Goldblatt: photographs 1948-2018 at the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia from 19 October 2018 to 3 March 2019.
An exhibition of mostly black-and-white photos by renowned South African photographer David Goldblatt.  Sadly, Goldblatt died in June 2018, and did not get to see this major retrospective of his work, though he was involved in the early preparations. This man and his camera have traced the changing face of South Africa from the start of apartheid at the end of the 1940s through to 1991, when it was dismantled, and the changes that have followed.






Copyright Debbie Smyth, 15 August 2018


14 thoughts on “What to Do and Where to Go in 2018

  1. What a fabulous list, unfortunately not sure I am going to be able to visit any of them as the diary for the next two months is a tad busy . . .but might try and squeeze in some of the Scottish ones if I can.

    Liked by 1 person

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