Outdoor UK art exhibitions worth entertaining this autumn

Socially-distanced culture

Museums and galleries physically reopened across the UK in July, but with the government still advising against unnecessary travel, it’s not always possible (or desirable) to visit in person. With that in mind, we’ve rounded up some of our favourite exhibitions this season, from outdoor sculpture trails to virtual showrooms.

Andy Leek at King’s Cross, London

Andy Leek at King's Cross, London
Photography via Andy Leek / King’s Cross

Street artist Andy Leek is best known for delivering uplifting and unpredictable handwritten notes in the most random places, as with his project @notestostrangers. His recent creation (and first installation) seeks to flip feelings of loneliness and danger into hope, positivity and humour, with messages presented around King’s Cross neighbourhood. Until 30 September 2020.

Travel the World at Kew Gardens, London

Travel the World at Kew Gardens, London
Photography: Kew Gardens

The summer holidays may be over, but you can still be transported to other climes at Kew, where 11 international artists are debuting their poetry, prose and illustrations from around the world. Experience the humid forests of Madagascar in the Tropical Glasshouse, trek through six mountainous regions in the Rock Garden or simply enjoying the sense of tranquillity found in the Japanese Garden of Peace. Until 16 October 2020.

Joana Vasconcelos: ‘Beyond’ at Yorkshire Sculpture Park

Joana Vasconcelos: 'Beyond' at Yorkshire Sculpture Park
Photography: Jonty Wilde

Set across an 18th-century deer park, the Yorkshire Sculpture Park has over 80 works on show in the open air, with pieces by Ai Weiwei, Brian Fell, Anya Gallaccio, Barbara Hepworth and Bob and Roberta Smith dotted across its picturesque grounds. The YSP is currently hosting shows by Damien Hurst and a large solo show on Portuguese artist Joana Vasconcelos, known for her vibrant, monumental sculptures that combine craft elements with everyday items to explore ideas around national, collective, and female identity. Until 3 January 2021.

Thomas J Price: ‘Reaching Out’ in Bow, London

Thomas J Price: 'Reaching Out' in Bow, London
Photography: Jeff Moore

Unveiled last month in Bow, Reaching Out by Thomas J Price is a nine-ft-tall sculpture of a Black woman – and the latest addition to East London art trail, The Line. This ‘everywoman’ is one of just a handful of public works depicting Black women in the UK, and Price is one of few Black artists to do so.

The sculpture was created to reframe public perceptions and conversations about power and representation in public art. Make a pilgrimage to see her at Bow before exploring the rest of The Line – a trail of public artworks set across East London’s industrial landscape that can be explored for free on foot. Permanent.

Frieze Sculpture at The Regent’s Park, London

Frieze Sculpture at The Regent's Park, London
Photography: Stephen White

London’s beloved outdoor art fair will return in the fall to coincide with Frieze week, taking place as a mix of virtual and physical events with COVID-related precautions in place. Frieze sculpture trail will features works by Lubaina Himid, Richard Long and Rebecca Warren, among others, on show in the open air of Regents Park’s English Gardens. It will also be available to view online for those further afield. 5-18 October 2020.

Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s ‘London Mastaba’ virtual experience

Christo and Jeanne-Claude's 'London Mastaba' virtual experience
Image courtesy of Acute Art

The art world lost a great with the passing of Christo earlier this year. Fans of the sculptor and his life-long collaborator Jeanne-Claude can revisit their monumental London Mastaba this autumn – restaged in digital form on the Serpentine Lake. The sculpture was initially displayed from 18 June to 23 2018, and Acute Art has created a 360° video and interactive VR app of the pink pyramid. Ongoing.

Anish Kapoor at Houghton Hall in Norfolk

Anish Kapoor at Houghton Hall in Norfolk
Photography: Houghton Hall

Anish Kapoor brings 24 large-scale sculptures, a selection of drawings and smaller works to the grounds of Houghton Hall in Norfolk for this new solo exhibition, which is the largest UK exhibition of his outdoor sculptures. The show delves into 40 years of Kapoor’s works and offering new perspectives of the landscape in which the artworks sit. ‘Anish’s reflective pieces are said to throwback to the world in mysterious ways,’ says Lord Cholmondeley, owner of the stately home.

Anish Kapoor at Houghton Hall in Norfolk
Photography: Houghton Hall

Please note that some of Kapoor’s mirrors and sculptures are also on show inside the mansion’s historic interiors, though visits are timed and ticketed meaning social distancing is possible. Until 1 November 2020.

And one virtual one…

Frances Christie: ‘Friendship and Community’ at the Outside In Virtual Gallery

'Friendship and Community' at the Outside In Virtual Gallery
Image: Outside In Virtual Gallery

Responding to the challenges facing the arts industry due to the pandemic, modern art specialist Frances Christie reached out to 14 artists to answer what friendship and community mean to them. The result is this digitally-mounted exhibition that breaks out of the gallery space.

Explore the sprawling new sculpture park that has opened just outside Berlin

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