Start the year by avoiding London. (Well, go and see Modern British Sculpture at the RA as soon as it opens on January 22nd because it will be just incredibly amazing. But save the rest.) Instead, take the opportunity to see artists right here in Oxford. The O3 gallery opens with Rad Cam! on the 17th: artists’ responses to what is perhaps Oxford’s most iconic structure. The North Wall Arts Centre, meanwhile, presents the work of the Oxford Sculptors Group from the 24th to the 5th only. On February 1st the Oxford Art Movement are exhibiting work on the theme The Sublime and the Grotesque at Christ Church, and the Sarah Wiseman Gallery will show landscape paintings of Rajasthan by Jenny Eadon.
Back in the capital, Tate Britain opens a historical survey of the medium of watercolour on February 16th, which would be a great complement to the Eadon show. Its content ranges from medieval illuminations to work by contemporary artists like Emin and Hodgkin. Fine Artists might also particularly like to see Art School at the V&A, documenting the transformation of art school practice in the 19th century, including Turner and Constable’s early sketches.
Modern Art Oxford does not disappoint with the next two artists in its line up: with the installations, interventions and other art happenings from Roman Ondák and Michael Sailstorfer, it’s going to be an interesting experience walking into the gallery this March. The Ashmolean, meanwhile, has a summer show which completely departs from its last blockbuster. Images and the State explores the style and content of Chinese propagandist imagery in the Cultural Revolution. Definitely an antidote to all those Pre-Raphaelites. A little further afield, another show of pictures meant to play with your mind is the retrospective of Surrealist René Magritte, on at Tate Liverpool from June 24th.
Autumn means time for the next Turbine Hall artist and this year it’s Tacita Dean, who is perhaps most famous for her 16mm films documenting reflections and alterations of light on surfaces. After Ai Weiwei’s 2010 installation of thousands of seeds became look-and-don’t-touch because of health and safety concerns, it will be hugely exciting to see how Dean employs the space on offer.
Finally, the National Gallery rounds off a year of Renaissance shows with Leonardo da Vinci: Painter at the Court of Milan. The enormous, expensive, impressive shows have been scarcer than usual this year, but don’t worry. This is the most complete display of da Vinci’s surviving paintings ever held, with loans from all over the world, and looks set to be spectacular. Enjoy.