After the Cultural Olympiad and several blockbuster shows, it's hard to imagine how the art world can top 2012.

But judging by our top picks, there's plenty to get excited about in 2013.

All over the UK galleries are playing host to some of art's biggest names. More importantly, these exhibitions are looking at work in innovative ways, from documenting the lives of little-known, but influential international artists to showing us old favourites in a completely new way.

One thing that comes through in our selection of next year's shows is a sense of revolution. Galleries large and small have chosen those artists who sought to break away from the norm and to pioneer genres ahead of their time.


While the Royal Academy is showing Manet as a street art originator and the National has chosen to pick out the rebel in poster-favourite Klimt; the V&A and the Scottish National Portrait Gallery are looking back at those who defined fashion, music and taste in the 20th century.

From mid-century American photography, 70s cultural icons and 16th century witches, 2013's shaping up to be a year full of inspiring insights and famous artists as we've never seen them before. We can't wait.

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  • Manet: Portraying Life

    <strong>26 January – 14 April 2013, Royal Academy</strong> You may think you've seen Manet, but this show at the RA is the first ever retrospective dedicated to Eduoard Manet's portraiture. Over 50 words depicting a range of scenes of Manet's Paris, this exhibition definitely has the feel of the observer - his forward-thinking portraits reflecting today's street photography.

  • William Scott Centenary

    26 January –6 May 2013, Tate St Ives To celebrate the centenary of British painter William Scott, the dramatic background of Tate St Ives will host an exhibition which places his work in context of the Cornish landscape which inspired his genre-crossing paintings.

  • Andy Warhol

    8 February - 28 April, MAC Belfast Belfast's shiny new venue is playing host to the first significant exhibition of Andy Warhol's work in Northern Ireland. A mighty 232 works from Warhol's career, considering youth, fame and material culture, will be on display.

  • Lichtenstein: A Retrospective

    21 February - 27 May 2013, Tate Modern With Roy Lichtenstein pastiches populating Tube-train adverts, there's no better time to be reminded of the pop-art originator. Thankfully, London's embankment behemoth, Tate Modern, plays host to the most comprehensive Lichtenstein exhibition ever - and the first retrospective for 20 years.

  • Ed Ruscha

    22 Feb - 22 May, Hatton Gallery, Newcastle Ed Ruscha's work leaves the sunny climes of LA for the North East, and other places, as part of the ARTIST ROOMS tour in 2013. One of the most inventive artists of the last 50 years, this show is a comprehensive look at four decades' of his work. Expect irreverent, interesting looks at communication through art and words.

  • The Bride and the Bachelors

    14 February – 9 June 2013, Barbican A fierce collaboration between composer John Cage, choreographer Merce Cunningham and artists Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns is at the heart of Barbican's Dancing around Duchamp season next year. Looking at the influence of pivotal artist Marcel Duchamp, these four creatives have resulted in an impressive body of work, including music, performance and visual art.

  • George Catlin: American Indian Portraits

    7 March - 23 June 2013, National Portrait Gallery George Catlin was an artist and writer who documented the Native American peoples and cultures to preserve what he saw as a passing way of life in the 19th century. He was right, and now his project is one of the most extensive records in existence. On loan from the Smithsonian American Art Museum, some of Catlin's 500 portraits will be on show at the NPG to demonstrate how he presented these people to capture the public imagination.

  • Toshio Saeki

    8 - 31 March 2013, Print House Gallery Saeki is practically unheard of in the UK, but after his first show here (at the age of 67), it's likely his provocative erotic images are likely to gain attention. Print House, an independent gallery in London, is showing a mix of original and new works from Saeki.

  • David Bowie is

    23 March - 28 July, V&A The V&A have been allowed to rootle around in the Bowie archive and sift out the best bits for the first international retrospective of the cultural icon and musician. Over 300 objects are being brought together for the first time - from some of Bowie's crazy costumes to handwritten lyrics and set design - showing some clue behind his creative thinking and development.

  • The House Of Annie Lennox

    23 March - 30 June 2013, Scottish National Portrait Gallery Eurythmics star and artist Annie Lennox has co-created this show, which focuses on her work as a performer, singer-songwriter and activist. Including photographs, costumes and videos from Lennox's personal archive, it's a go-to not only for fans, but gives an insight into the cultural climate over the course of her career.

  • Outsider Art from Japan

    28 March - 30 June 2013, Wellcome Collection Once again Wellcome find an innovative way to cross the divide between art and science. 2013's spring exhibition shows work from 46 artists who are residents and patients at social welfare institutions in Japan. A mixture of painting, sculpture and textiles explores culture, memory and creativity.

  • Saloua Raouda Choucair

    17 April - 20 October 2013, Tate Modern In another first for the UK, the work of Lebanese artist Saloua Raouda Choucair will go on show in Tate Modern. Choucair has long been respected as a pioneer of abstract art in the Middle East. However, her London show demonstrates the burgeoning importance that she's being given globally of late. This show will reflect her interests in science, mathematics and Islamic art through painting and sculpture over the last five decades.

  • Gary Hume

    5 June –1 September 2013, Tate Britain Along with Lucas, another YBA has a major exhibition in 2013. Now one of Britain's most respected painters, Gary Hume's well-known works will be shown alongside international loans never-before seen in the UK. The show will run in Tate Britain alongside an exhibition of the work of fellow British painter Patrick Caulfield.

  • Chagall: Modern Master

    7 June – 6 October 2013, Tate Liverpool The dreamy works of Russian painter Marc Chagall will be hitting the North West next summer. The first Chagall show in over 15 years in the UK, Tate Liverpool have curated an exhibition which focuses on his time in Paris before WW1 and in Russia during the revolution of 1917.

  • Witches And Wicked Bodies

    27 July - 3 November 2013, Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art An apt exhibition as autumn encroaches on the Gothic city of Edinburgh, this is the first major exhibition to look at visual representations of witches from the last 400 years. Big names include Albrecht Durer, William Blake and Paula Rego, with work looking at how witches have been depicted - from the beautiful to the damned.

  • Diane Arbus

    14 Sep 2013 – 11 Jan 2014, Moray Art Centre 2013's going to be a good year if you're an American photography fan in Scotland - the work of photographic legend Diane Arbus is part of the Artist Rooms collection. 69 images from across her career between the mid 1950s until her suicide in the 70s will be on show.

  • Sarah Lucas

    2 October – 15 December 2013, Whitechapel Gallery Big name Brit-Sculptor Sarah Lucas is starring in her first major solo exhibition in London next autumn. Lucas will be showing some of the witty works responsible for her fame, as well as new pieces, in a specially-commissioned show which looks at feminism and British art.

  • The Portrait In Vienna 1867-1918

    9 October 2013 – 12 January 2014, Sainsbury Wing, National Gallery If you're a fan of Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele or Oskar Kokoschka, this is the show to look forward to. If you're not, here's a good place to start. The National's exhibition is the first to look at portraiture between the 18th and 19th centuries - a time often seen as when the strictures of the artistic academy were overthrown by the avant-garde.