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What not to miss over the Christmas period

24 December 2014

After Christmas, we’ll be looking ahead to some of the anticipated highlights of 2015. But there’s also a wealth of interesting shows which are nearing the end of their run. Here are just a few exhibitions in the UK, Europe and USA that you might want to squeeze into your Christmas schedule before they close their doors…

For more exhibition listings, visit our Agenda section


Ursula von Rydingsvard and Fiona Banner
at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park until 4 January

Don’t miss these two very different, but equally spectacular, exhibitions at the YSP. Von Rydingsvard’s large-scale wooden sculptures manage to feel monumental and intimate at once, while Fiona Banner’s Wp Wp Wp is characteristically dramatic: ‘If you’ve never stood directly beneath the moving rotor blades of a Chinook helicopter,’ writes Digby Warde-Aldam, ‘I strongly suggest you try it’. You have until 4 January to do so.

‘Ming: 50 years that changed China’
at the British Museum, London, until 5 January

This exhibition focuses on just 50 years of cultural production (the Ming dynasty itself lasted for 276), but brings together an impressive number of exceptional works. ‘The first thing that comes to mind at the mention of ‘Ming’ is blue and white porcelain; but the artistic creations of this flourishing early period were far more diverse’, writes Alice Williamson.

‘The Generous Georgian: Dr Richard Mead’
at the Foundling Museum, London, until 4 January

It’s been a big year for the Georgians, as numerous museums and galleries have celebrated the tercentenary with major exhibitions and events. The Foundling Museum has taken a close look at one of its most significant, but now largely unsung, benefactors, Dr Richard Mead. Katy Barrett visited the fascinating show, which closes on 4 January.

‘Rossetti’s Obsession: Images of Jane Morris’
at the William Morris Gallery, London, until 4 January

If the Pre-Raphaelites are more your thing, don’t miss ‘Rossetti’s Obsession’, a ‘small but fascinating exhibition’ that explores D.G. Rossetti’s preoccupation with his friend’s wife. William Morris himself, meanwhile, is the subject of an interesting show at the National Portrait Gallery, until 11 January.

at the Hayward Gallery, London, until 4 January

Contemporary artists attempt to navigate the digital cloud, with varying degrees of success, in the Hayward Gallery’s latest show. How can art adapt to and keep pace with the rapidly-changing virtual world?


‘Olafur Eliasson: Riverbed’
at Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Denmark, until 4 January

Olafur Eliasson has launched a succession of high-profile projects and exhibitions across the globe this year. This is one of his most spectacular: the artist has transformed Denmark’s white-walled modern art gallery into an unruly riverbed that visitors have to clamber over and around.

‘Modern Times. Photography in the 20th Century’
at the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, until 11 January

The Rijksmuseum unveiled its refurbished Philips Wing this autumn with an exhibition of modern photographs – quite a departure from the Old Master paintings for which it is most famous. The show is a good opportunity to explore this relatively new, and surprisingly extensive, part of the collection.

‘Rubens and his Legacy’
at BOZAR, Brussels, until 4 January 2015

This exhibition considers the Flemish painter’s influence on Western art up until the 20th century. The artist’s sensuous canvases are shown alongside works by Watteau, Manet and Picasso. The whole lot moves on to London’s Royal Academy at the end of January. We spoke to the curator, Nico Van Hout, to find out  more.


‘An Opening of the Field: Jess, Robert Duncan, and Their Circle’
at the Pasadena Museum of California Art until 11 January

This exhibition looks at the life and work of Jess (as the nuclear scientist turned artist Jess Collins chose to be called) and his partner Robert Duncan, whose San Francisco home became ‘a nexus of literary and artistic life in the city from the early 1950s through to Duncan’s death in 1988.’

‘Assyria to Iberia at the Dawn of the Classical Age’
at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, until 4 January 2015

In the 8th and 7th centuries BC, as the Assyrian empire expanded in the Near East and the Phoenicians strung their trading routes across the Mediterranean, culture spread out along the same lines. How was this reflected in the cultural objects of the period? The Met’s exhibition brings together a wide variety of items that demonstrate the spread and evolution of artistic ideas.

‘Spectacular Rubens: The Triumph of the Eucharist’
at the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, until 11 January

Almost 400 years ago, the powerful Infanta Isabel Clara Eugenia (daughter of Philip II of Spain) commissioned an extraordinary cycle of tapestries celebrating the Roman Catholic Church from the famous artist Peter Paul Rubens. This show brings together finished tapestries with the painter’s original designs; and it’s a feast for the eyes.

For information about more current exhibitions around the world, visit our Agenda section.