Hassan Hajjaj at Arnolfini
Image by Lisa Whiting

Best exhibitions to see in Bristol and Bath this September 2020

With measures in place to help keep you safe, many of Bristol and Bath’s galleries and museums have re-opened to the public.

Share this page

August 24th, 2020


With measures in place to help keep you safe, many of Bristol and Bath’s galleries and museums have re-opened to the public. If you’ve missed browsing paintings, artefacts and photography, here are some of the best exhibitions to see in the two cities this September.

The Art of Action at That Art Gallery  (5-24 September)

Featuring artwork from all over the globe, this exhibition of Poster Art includes artists from Tristan Manco's recently published book "The Stencil Graffiti Handbook" : Tano Veron, Gerdy Harapos, Nazza, Tester, Marian Calle, Fede (Run Don't Walk), Cabaio, Malatesta, bs.as.stencil, BA Paste Up, Erre, Toxicómano, Lesivo, djlu, Stinkfish, Emptyboy, Diseqtiva, Hogre, Voxx Romana, Skam, RX Skulls, Mais±Menos, Hugo Kaagman.

*Please cover your face when entering That Art Gallery. Access is limited to 3 people at a time (unless you’re with family members from the same household, then it’s 4).

Bristol Museums re-opening

Oh how we've missed them, and now they're back! Bristol's M Shed and Bristol Archives will re-open on 8 September, while Bristol Museum & Art Gallery will open the following week on 15 September. 

*All visits must now be booked in advance - pre-booking opens on Tuesday 1 September. Find out more about their re-opening plans here.

Bristol Museum & Art Gallery
Bristol Museum & Art Gallery

Bristol Open Doors (11-13 September)

Treat Bristol as your very own outdoor art gallery! Explore the city in a series of digital audio walking tours, guided by Bristol experts - all you need is a smartphone and headphones. Listen as local legends guide you on your journey, revealing tales of ship captains, famous vessels, iconic bridges, graffiti artists, hidden caves and craft brewers! 

Pick your preferred day and start time and buy your tickets here.

*A week before the tour,  you’ll receive a code and instructions to download your tour in advance. Arrive at the starting point to join your fellow adventurers for a socially-distanced introduction, given by a producer, then press play and follow the instructions for your personal tour. The tours take between 60 – 90 minutes, depending on your pace, and you can stop whenever you want.

Bristol Open Doors

Hassan Hajjaj: The Path at Arnolfini (Thurs-Sunday until 1 November)

Vibrant, contemporary pop art photographic portraiture showcasing the wealth of work from Hassan Hajjaj. With an exuberant melee of colours, patterns, appropriated brand logos and found objects, Hassan Hajjaj:The Path is a timely exploration of global culture across continents through the unique lens of the acclaimed Moroccan-British photographer.

*Exhibition slots are free, bookable in advance. Arnolfini asks all visitors to wear face masks.

Hassan Hajjaj at Arnolfini Image by Lisa Whiting
Hassan Hajjaj at Arnolfini

Chantal Joffe : For Esme – with love and squalor (3 Sept-22 November)

Recognised as one of Britain's foremost painters, Joffe explores the intimate act of painting and portraiture. Including a number of new works (many produced whilst in 'lockdown'), highlights include a series of portraits of Joffe's daughter, from older works such as Esme (First Painting) captured as a new-born swaddled in blankets, to the later, defiantly awkward Esme in White, painted within days of her sixteenth birthday this year.

Esme at the kitchen Table - Chantal Joffe Esme at the kitchen Table by Chantal Joffe

Wilhelmina Barns-Graham and the Artists of St Ives at The RWA, Bristol (Thurs-Sat until 19 Sept)

The RWA are re-opening with three exhibitions exploring the work of Wilhelmina Barns-Graham and her peers. 

Wilhelmina Barns-Graham: Inspirational Journeys ​​​​​​explores the work of one of Britain's most significant 20th century artists and the effect her trips to Europe had on her practice. Made over a 50 year period, they range from detailed figurative depictions of specific landscapes to bold and colourful abstract paintings. 

St Ives: Movements in Art and Life portrays how St Ives became a temporary home to some of Britain’s most forward-thinking abstract artists fleeing the dangers of the Second World War in 1939. This exhibition explores the creative inspiration offered by the harbour town in West Cornwall, its surrounding landscape and its people to a generation of artists whose lives and careers were impacted by mid-twentieth-century conflict. 

Wilhelmina Barns-Graham Prints is a small exhibition of limited edition prints by this prolific painter and proponent of abstract art in the 20th century. All prints are for sale and can be bought in person or online here.

*It is requested that all visitors wear a mask in the galleries and preferably in public spaces too. Visits are between 11am - 1pm and 1pm - 3pm on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Please be aware that the number of people who can enter the RWA at any one time is restricted. Due to this, there may be a queue to enter.

Wilhelmina Barns-Graham: Inspirational Journeys at the RWA Wilhelmina Barns-Graham: Inspirational Journeys at the RWA
Wilhelmina Barns-Graham: Inspirational Journeys at the RWA

Night & Day: 1930s Fashion and Photographs, American Museum and Gardens (until 20 December)

Organised by the Fashion and Textiles Museum, London, this thematically presented exhibition will take visitors on a journey through sumptuous city tableaus featuring a range of glamorous evening wear, passing art deco architecture, visiting wild parties and basking in the Golden Age of Hollywood. Nightclub, cinema and bustling street scenes are filled with floor-length gowns, created in satins, velvets and crepes and adorned with diamante. Expect dresses and outfits galore, plus fabulous 1930s photography, which encapsulates the era. 

*Entry to the exhibition will be via timed ticket only. The interactive interpretation within the gallery has been removed, however you can download information about the settings within the exhibition to your smartphone or tablet using the links here. You will also need to wear a face covering to visit the exhibition.

© Michele Morgan photographed by Ernest Bachrach, circa 1939. Private collection of Terence Pepper © Michele Morgan photographed by Ernest Bachrach, circa 1939. Private collection of Terence Pepper

Grayson Perry: The Pre-Therapy Years, Holburne Museum, Bath (until 3 January 2021)

The first exhibition to survey Grayson Perry’s earliest forays into the art world will re-introduce the ground-breaking works that made his name between 1982 and 1994. Renowned for being one of the most compelling contemporary social commentators and recognisable British artists, many of the 70 items on display - which include his distinctive tapestry, collage and ceramic works - are often challenging and explicit in their exploration of themes of gender, identity and social class.

*Before you visit please read the Museum Charter and Q&A at their coronavirus page.

Grayson Perry: The Pre-Therapy Years
Share this page

Do you live locally?

Join our residents-only mailing list for exclusive special offers to top cultural attractions on your doorstep

Find out more