We consider Birmingham a pretty ‘arty city’ even by Britain’s standards. There’s a thriving street art scene to discover, plus plenty of awesome independent art galleries brimming with Brummie talent. Unsurprisingly, with such a taste for the arts, there are always some awesome art exhibitions in Birmingham to see.
Not only are you likely to catch both local and international talent, but everything from 17th-century Netherlandish landscape etchings to ‘Afrospeculative’ multidisciplinary projects. You can definitely get your dose of culture during 2023 with these art exhibitions in Birmingham. Will you see ’em at the museum?
1. Grayson’s Art Club: The Exhibition, Midlands Arts Centre
Of all the exhibitions in Birmingham currently happening, this is the one you’ll most likely have heard of. Grayson’s Art Club is a major exhibition by much-loved British artist Grayson Perry and is a spin-off of the very popular TV show of the same name. Split into seven themes (Love, Heroes & Heroines, Inside My Head, Normal Life, Holidays, The Future and The Queen), one for every episode of season three, the exhibition features over 100 artworks selected during the show.
The artworks have been chosen by Grayson Perry, Philippa Perry, and guest celebrities throughout season three. The programme aims to bring “the nation together through art and encourages people to celebrate their collective creativity.” Expect a wide variety of mediums, such as photography, painting, textiles and sculpture. While contributing celebrities include Birmingham’s very own Joe Lycett, plus Bill Bailey, Jo Brand, Joe Wilkinson, Mawaan Rizwan, Katy Wix and Dame Prue Leith.
Until June 25. For more information head here.
2. Heterotopias in The Turbulent Zone, Centrala
Art is so often tangled up with politics that the two can rarely be separated. Heterotopias in The Turbulent Zone at Centrala explores the role of art as a tool for social justice in a “world of uncertainty, conflict and turbulence.” The show is by the art activist group Art Lab Yerevan (made of Hovhannes Margaryan, Syuzanna Hakobyan, Ara Petrosyan, Artur Petrosyan, Vardan Jaloyan, Olga Azatyan and Gagik Charchyan).
It might be political, but there is a positive vision of the future to find here. The exhibition utilises collaborative artistic practices to highlight how solidarity can create change, as well as highlight the educational importance of art as a tool for protest. You’ll find a mix of newly commissioned and existing works on display.
Until May 27. Find more information here.
3. Eric Gaskell ARBSA, RSBA
The Wigan-born artist, Eric Gaskell, has been producing work since the 1980s. But during COVID and its subsequent lockdowns, his work started to change. Slowly over these lost months, it became more about colour, pattern, and design. He started to collect and reuse ideas from earlier linocuts and redrew them, collaging them together and combining them into new compositions. If you’re looking for art exhibitions in Birmingham that have a single vision, Eric Gaskell’s ARBSA is a great place to start. All the linocuts in this show were created in this new manner. Something new from an old master.
Until June 11. Learn more about this exhibition here.
4. Nature and Artifice: Dutch and Flemish Landscape Prints, The Barber Institute of Fine Arts
From something new to something old, yet no less worthy of your time. The Barber Institute of Fine Arts offers something a bit different from other exhibitions in Birmingham. This display explores etchings and engravings of the Netherlands’ landscape during the 17th century. Curated by Robert Wenley, these naturalistic views of the countryside were hugely popular and numerous on the Dutch art market at the time and helped to establish the nation’s cultural identity. Most of the landscapes allude to the countryside of the Netherlands, while others depict views from further afield, reflecting the widespread travel of artists in this period.
Until July 23. For more information head here.
5. Melati Suryodarmo: Passionate Pilgrim, IKON Gallery
IKON Gallery is transforming for one of the most unique exhibitions in Birmingham this summer. Its galleries will become a platform for performance art, as the first UK exhibition by Indonesian performance artist Melati Suryodarmo heads to Brum. Known for her performances that last several hours, she was the mentoree of Butoh dancer and choreographer Anzu Furukawa and performance artist Marina Abramović in the early 1990s. Expect live performances from the artist and “delegated works” performed by over 50 associated artists and community activists.
Special live performances will take place on May 17 (Sweet Dreams Sweet , and May 19 (I’m a Ghost in My Own House ), while Ikon debuts the first hybrid performance of Passionate Pilgrim  on May 28. From May 25, for the duration of the exhibition, on Thursday and Saturday afternoons, solo performers will re-enact Suryodarmo’s Kleidungsaffe performance .
May 17 until September 9. For more info head here.
6. GOD-POCKET, Eastside Projects
If looking for more cutting-edge exhibitions in Birmingham, then you should be checking out the artist-run space Eastside Projects in Digbeth. GOD-POCKET sees a number of Birmingham-based artists muse on the topic of identity in Black British discourse, with themes of displacement and belonging as its main concerns. Exhibiting artists include Tesha Murrain-Hernandez, a Jamaican-Montserration wellness artist; Yusuf Dongo who specialises in drawing and fabrication; multidisciplinary artist Trixiebella Suen; Neoliberalizard; and writer, artist, and curator Jaz Morrison.
From June 2 until July 15. Learn more about this exhibition here.