Art / Photographic Exhibitions in Dublin

An Art and Photographic Exhibitions guide for Dublin. All events may not be listed. For further details please visit the venue website.

You can scroll down through the page or jump to a particular venue by clicking on a link below:

A curated list of other events across the city and county can be found in our What’s On section here.

Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane

Seamus Nolan: Traveller Collection at the Hugh Lane

Seamus Nolan’s project sees him investigating the idea of archive, deconstructing ideas on ‘heritage’ and engaging with the Traveller communities in Ireland and Traveller activists and archivists. Seamus Nolan’s exhibition at the Hugh Lane comprises of archival material that forms the Irish Travelling People: a Resource Collection and which is borrowed from the Special Collections of Ulster University.


Rachel Maclean: Just be yourself!

The Hugh Lane is pleased to present the first solo exhibition in Ireland of Scottish artist Rachel Maclean, who creates fantastic visual narratives using green-screen technology. She parodies fairy tales, children’s television programmes, advertising, internet videos, and pop culture to examine identities, power dynamics and consumer desire. All of the characters are played by the artist, who transforms herself through extravagant costumes and make-up. This exhibition includes Spite Your Face which Maclean exhibited at the 57th International Art Exhibition - La Biennale di Venezia in 2017, representing Scotland+Venice 2017, curated by Alchemy Film and Arts in partnership with Talbot Rice Gallery and the University of Edinburgh.


Doireann O’Malley: Prototypes

Doireann O'Malley's film Prototypes brings together transgender studies, science fiction, bio politics, psychoanalysis, AI, and experimental music. She skilfully ties these to phantoms of modernist utopias, epitomized by the post-war architecture of Berlin, which serves as a dreamlike scenography for the main, protagonists' ghostly actions.


IMMA - The Irish Museum of Modern Art


Drawing on the paradox implicit in the word ‘coastline’ - for never has a coast followed a linear course - the title of this exhibition throws a line around a 12 month programme of changing displays of artworks and archival material that will explore our sense of place, perception, representation and memory. Works by Dorothy Cross, Carlos Cruz-Diez, Clare Langan, Richard Long, Anne Madden, Anita Groener, Michael Mulcahy, Donald Teskey, Tony O’Malley, Alexandra Wejchert, Bridget Riley and others variously explore pattern and line, surface, folds, enclosures, erasures, borders, terrain, the inherent coastal tensions between motion and stillness and any attempt to map what our senses perceive. Others such as Brian O’Doherty, Hamish Fulton, Tim Robinson and OMG collective variously engage photographic, linear, linguistic and coded systems to invoke a mind/body relationship.


Lennon, Porous Plane

Porous Plane, a solo exhibition by Lennon, presents a range of work from the 1970s to the present which includes 1/3/92B, 1992, from the IMMA Collection and Folded/Unfolded MM 1972 (for Fiona), 2017, shown originally in Lennon’s first solo exhibition at the Project Arts Centre, Dublin in 1972 and remade especially for the IMMA Galleries as part of this exhibition. Lennon’s exhibition is part of a curatorial approach that explores works in the IMMA Collection where artists are invited to place their early work among their current practice - ‘Then and Now’. Lennon’s art began in the 1970s with the Folded/Unfolded paintings and has continued to explore innovative forms of painting, most recently, AL13s, Denier7s, Autochthones and the on-going Arbitrary Colour Collections.


Brian Maguire, War Changes Its Address: The Aleppo Paintings

This new exhibition brings together Brian Maguire’s latest body of work, resulting from a visit to Syria in 2017. It is shown in the context of earlier work made in response to the refugee crises hitting Europe’s shores as a result of the Syrian conflict. The Aleppo Paintings document the ruined buildings of the city, offering a visceral and stark insight into the physical consequences of war and the international arms trade that fuels all conflict. As with all his work, Maguire’s work is informed by first-hand experience of the city of Aleppo and its people and is fuelled by a desire to see beyond the news coverage to gain a personal insight into the reality of the situation. Maguire’s paintings bear stark testament to the human suffering implicit in his depiction of the building fragments left after the bombardment, underlining the need for justice.


Freud Project, The Ethics of Scrutiny, Curated by Daphne Wright

The Ethics of Scrutiny, curated by artist Daphne Wright, is the second exhibition to be presented as part of the IMMA Collection: Freud Project - a five-year loan of 52 works by renowned artist Lucian Freud (1922-2011); one of the greatest painters of the 20th-century. This exhibition takes aspects of Freud’s intimate studio practice as a starting point to explore themes of vulnerability, longing and loss that permeate the painter’s work, while also looking to the works of other artists who address on a wider scale the complexities of representation. Two new paintings by Lucian Freud are exhibited at IMMA for the first time, alongside work by other artists including Emily Dickinson, Sigmund Freud, Marlene Dumas and John Berger.


Frank Bowling, Mappa Mundi

IMMA presents Mappa Mundi, a comprehensive overview of the work of seminal British artist Frank Bowling (b. British Guiana, 1934). Over a long and varied career, the evolution of Bowling’s work can be seen as a reflection of a major evolution in painting throughout the latter half of the 20th century. Coming out of the fertile grounds of the Royal College of Art in the mid 1960s Bowling, along with contemporaries like David Hockney and Ron Kitaj, exhibited widely in London and the UK, garnering acclaim for ambitious early works such as The Execution of Mary Queen of Scots, and Big Bird. Though previously not as widely celebrated as some of those friends and contemporaries, Bowling is now considered an essential figure in the discourse around art, identity and post-colonialism.


The 38th EVA International at IMMA

Devised as ‘Cosmology of Exhibitions’ by Curator, Inti Guerrero, the 38th EVA International - Ireland’s Biennial of Contemporary Art takes place across various venues in Limerick city with an expanded programme to include IMMA, Dublin. The exhibition at IMMA features works by contemporary artists exploring the politics of communication. Works at IMMA include Locky Morris’s 1992 installation Comm which references the history of clandestine messaging between Republican prisoners during the conflict in Northern Ireland, Roy Dib’s Mondial 2010 which uses the video form itself to transgress sexual and territorial boundaries in the Middle East, and a sequence from Marlon T. Riggs’ seminal Tongues Untied film, exploring language in the African-American gay community.


National Gallery of Ireland

Emil Nolde -Colour is Life

The German Expressionist artist Emil Nolde was a prolific painter and printmaker. This exhibition, a collaboration between the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art and the National Gallery of Ireland, will present a bold and colourful survey of his paintings, drawings, etchings, and woodcuts. Included will be scenes of Berlin café culture, calligraphic views of the River Elbe, brilliant studies made on travels to the South Seas, as well as portraits, flower paintings, and imaginative depictions of fantastical creatures in both oils and watercolours. This exhibition will be the first to showcase the work of this important artist in Ireland for over fifty years. All works are on loan from the Nolde Foundation Seebüll, Germany.


Guercino – Journey of a Masterpiece

The National Gallery of Ireland and the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, carried out a two-year long conservation and research project of Guercino’s Jacob Blessing the Sons of Joseph (NGI.4648), one of the masterpieces from our collection. Now returned from the Getty Museum, the fully restored painting is on display in the Hugh Lane Room on level two of our historic wings, alongside detailed information charting the restoration process, and insights into the painting’s subject and history. This in-focus exhibition celebrates the journey of this baroque masterpiece which, over its lifetime, moved from Italy via Spain, and the UK to Paris, to become the first old master painting to be purchased by Sir Denis Mahon (1910-2011), one of the most important art historians and collectors of the twentieth century.


Drawing Dublin

Dublin has famously inspired writers including Louis MacNeice, whose poem ‘Dublin’ evokes the city of the 1940s. The city and surrounding countryside has inspired many visual artists as well. This exhibition of works on paper is drawn from the Gallery’s own collection, which includes a wealth of Dublin-related images in a wide variety of media. Landscapes, figure studies and portraits will be arranged in the Print Gallery’s newly refurbished display cases, depicting how Dublin was interpreted by artists over the centuries.


Guercino Varnish Removal

National Library of Ireland

Photo Detectives

Photo Detectives is an exhibition for all ages at our Photographic Archive in Meeting House Square, Temple Bar, Dublin. The exhibition celebrates our wonderful photographs, and the work of the online community who help us find out more about them. With remarkable images, intriguing detective work, fascinating stories and a relaxing family area, there is something for everyone. Photo Detectives is free, and open every day...


World War Ireland: Exploring the Irish Experience

In summer 1914 a war broke out in Europe that would change the world forever. In Ireland, many supported the cause and joined up or travelled to serve in nursing and auxiliary services. Others objected to the war on moral, social or political grounds. By the time the conflict ended in 1918, its impact had been felt through the length and breadth of the country. World War Ireland is a free exhibition at the National Library of Ireland that focuses on the unique aspects of the Irish WWI experience. Running from November 2014 through to 2018, the exhibition draws on the NLI’s collections of letters, diaries, recruiting posters, newspaper reports, cartoons, handbills and leaflets dating from 1914-1918. With original artefacts, first hand personal accounts and eyewitness testimony, World War Ireland brings visitors dramatically inside the lives of those who experienced WWI.


YEATS: The Life and Works of William Butler Yeats

William Butler Yeats (1865-1939) was one of the great poets of the twentieth century. He created works that are widely known and loved. Yeats was a man of many interests - Ireland, literature, folklore, theatre, politics, the occult - and a significant influence on modern Irish cultural identity. We are indebted to members of the Yeats family who donated a large and invaluable collection of WB Yeats's manuscripts and books to the National Library of Ireland. This exhibition, based in our main building, celebrates that collection.


National Museum of Ireland - Archaeology

Roger Casement – voice of the voiceless

A temporary exhibition to commemorate Roger Casement’s work as a humanitarian opened at the National Museum of Ireland on the 100th anniversary of his death on 3rd August 2016. Although Roger Casement is recognised for his role in the 1916 Rising, his humanitarian work investigating atrocities in the rubber trade in Africa and South America is less well-known. This exhibition uses some of the objects he collected during his time in Africa and South America to tell the story of this part of his life and the story of the victims of slavery and forced labour he worked for. On display are butterflies collected in present day Colombia, items used in rubber collecting in present day Democratic Republic of Congo and objects made by skilled Congolese and Amazonian crafts people. The exhibition concludes with a panel dealing with modern day slavery and oppression of tribal people.


Clontarf 1014: Brian Boru and the Battle for Dublin

The Battle of Clontarf was fought a thousand years ago – Good Friday (23rd April), 1014. The National Museum of Ireland - Archaeology is marking this anniversary with an exciting exhibition. Clontarf is probably the best-known battle in Irish history, but also one of the least understood. Popular perception sees the battle as the great victory where the Christian king of Ireland, Brian Boru, defeated the pagan Vikings and drove them out of Ireland. But is this correct? This ground-breaking exhibition explodes myths and presents the evidence we have for what actually happened at Clontarf, what led up to the battle and what resulted from it.


Rites of Passage at Tara

The Mound of the Hostages, or Duma na nGiall, is the oldest visible monument on the Hill of Tara. The mound covers a burial monument called a passage tomb built in the period just before 3000 BC, which was used as a place to bury human remains for more than 1,500 years. The mound lies near the northern edge of a large enclosure called Ráith na Ríg or Fort of the Kings. The line of this enclosure was laid out so that the ancient mound would lie within it thus respecting its importance. The enclosure was built around 100 BC.


Medieval Ireland 1150-1550

The exhibition contains three galleries entitled Power, Work and Prayer, reflecting the three-fold division of medieval society - nobles, common people and clergy. The lifestyle of nobles is explored, while surviving arms and armour reflect the distinctive characteristics of warfare in medieval Ireland. The exhibition looks at the different forms of agriculture (pastoral and arable), which were practiced. Finds from urban excavations illustrate Ireland’s import trade and the various crafts and industries operating in towns. The Irish church changed fundamentally in the 12th Century, although many older church traditions survived. The exhibition also looks at religious practice and devotion as well as church furnishings, including a fine selection of late medieval reliquaries: book shrines, bell shrines and croziers.


Kingship and Sacrifice

Following the discoveries of Iron Age bog bodies at Oldcroghan, Co. Offaly and Clonycavan, Co. Meath in 2003, a team of international specialists worked with the Irish Antiquities Division and Conservation Department to examine these human remains. Kingship and Sacrifice gives an overview of the results of the analysis and, along with other bog bodies from Museum collections, offers an opportunity to literally come ‘face to face’ with the past. The exhibition is based around the theory that human sacrifice and the deposition of the victims in bogs along tribal boundaries is related to sovereignty and kingship rituals during the Iron Age. Other related material displayed includes items of royal regalia, horse trappings, weapons, feasting utensils, boundary markers and votive deposits of butter known as bog butter.


Prehistoric Ireland

Explore human settlement in Ireland from the stone tools of the first hunter-gatherers around 7000 BC, to the bronze weapons of the Late Bronze Age around 500 BC. A reconstructed Passage Tomb provides a backdrop to the tools, pottery and personal objects of the Neolithic farmers, including a beautifully decorated flint mace head from Knowth, one of the three famous passage tombs of Brú na Bóinne with Newgrange and Dowth, Co. Meath. The introduction of metalworking around 2500 BC and its development are documented. Copper axes and daggers, shields, cauldrons and cast bronze horns (the earliest known Irish musical instruments) are displayed.


National Museum of Ireland - Decorative Arts & History

Caution! Fragile – Irish Glass Tradition in Transition

In collaboration with Róisín de Buitléar, Fred Curtis, Eamonn Hartley, and Greg Sullivan, three masters of glass cutting and engraving from Waterford create an exhibition; CAUTION! Fragile, Irish glass – Tradition in Transition. Collectively considered, the work comments on the history and social experience of working in the Waterford Crystal factory and living in Ireland. CAUTION! Fragile not only refers to the delicate nature of glass, but is also an appeal to cherish and respect the long tradition of glass engraving and cutting in Ireland.


War in the Mud, The Irish soldier in Belgium in the summer of 1917

In 1917, two Irish Divisions fought side-by-side, in victory and then in defeat. In June 1917, the 36th (Ulster) and 16th (Irish) Divisions benefited from careful preparation and good luck to eject well-entrenched German forces from the important Messines Ridge. The preliminary artillery bombardment was unprecedented in its intensity - three shells exploded on the German lines every second for 12 days. This was followed by the exploding of 19 mines under the German lines killing 10,000 German soldiers. Two months later, the same two divisions suffered terrible casualties in assaulting concrete fortifications amid the mud of an unusually wet autumn at the Battle of Langemarck.


Proclaiming a Republic: The 1916 Rising

The National Museum of Ireland has a long tradition of exhibitions relating to Easter Week 1916. The Museum has put on show one of the largest displays of materials from this period in a this new exhibition entitled Proclaiming a Republic: The 1916 Rising at the Museum of Decorative Arts & History, Collins Barracks, opened on 3rd March, 2016. Many of the exhibited objects have never been on public display before while others, such as the Irish Republic flag which flew over the GPO, have been specially conserved.


21st Century Irish Craft

The exhibition, 21st Century Irish Craft, showcases contemporary Irish material in the national collection. In 2004 the National Museum of Ireland and the Crafts Council of Ireland, (renamed the Design and Crafts Council of Ireland in 2014), established a joint purchase fund to acquire pieces for a contemporary Irish craft collection as part of the museum’s decorative arts collections. A selection of objects, acquired through the fund, is now on display at the National Museum of Ireland: Decorative Arts and History and includes examples of the best of Irish ceramics, glass, furniture, wood turning, jewellery, accessories and silverware. The collecting of contemporary high quality works from Ireland’s leading designer-makers for the national collection is a way of preserving tomorrow’s antiques for future generations. The primary value such contemporary collecting affords is the visual strength of the objects acquired on behalf of the Irish people, and the preservation of the skills involved in their making.


Reconstructed Rooms: Four Centuries of Furnishings

Through accounts of times past, touching objects and reading about life during the periods in question, Reconstructed Rooms: Four Centuries of Furnishings traces the development of furniture in Ireland from 1600 through to the present day. It has accompanying interactive gallery which invites visitors to touch, examine, explore and learn about chair design over the past two hundred years. The material is displayed in a series of room settings, from the 17th century with oak furniture and panelling, through the refined splendour of Georgian Ireland to the high style of the 19th century. The exhibition also shows some of the international furniture collection, not exhibited for many decades. The galleries are visually enhanced by objects, such as textiles, silverware, glass and ceramics, from other collections.


Airgead: A Thousand Years of Irish Coins & Currency

Medieval coins and coin-hoards, to modern banknotes; tokens and medals; the development of paper money from the 18th century to the present; credit cards and internet banking: the purpose of Airgead exhibition is to place coins in their historical, social, and economic context. Airgead examines the manner in which the lives of people were influenced by the use of money and how money in turn reflected social and economic trends. With regard to the medals, it explores their historical significance in their own right and throws light on some of the lesser-known events and aspects of Irish history.


National Museum of Ireland - Natural History

Irish Fauna

The animals found in Ireland today inhabit a landscape that was scoured by ice on a number of occasions over the last 100,000 years. At the later stages of this Ice Age, animals such as the giant deer Megaloceros giganteus lived in an Ireland with a climate similar to ours. They shared their landscape with woolly mammoths, spotted hyenas and brown bears. Ireland has few mammal species, compared with other European countries. Only certain species travelled into Ireland before the island was separated from Britain and northwest Europe at the end of the Ice Age. Since then, many species have been introduced by humans. For example, the rabbit, which was introduced by Anglo-Normans in the 12th Century.


Mammals of the World

The first floor of the Museum is home to the lemurs, apes and monkeys that make up the group known as primates, to which we also belong. Among these, monkeys such as the brown capuchin Cebus apella typify the characteristics that this group shares with us. The eyes face forwards, providing good vision in front, which developed for a life in the trees where the ability to judge distances is crucial. A second feature common to the animals in this group is the opposable thumb on each hand, which allows them to hold on to branches. Many of the primates can do this with their feet as well as their hands, and some have tails that can grasp branches to help their balance in the forest canopy.


3D Virtual Visit – Natural History

These views of National Museum of Ireland - Natural History, include two balconies that are currently closed to the public following a safety review. While there are too few emergency exits from upper levels to allow for visitor access these virtual tours give you a chance for a virtual visit. To make a virtual visit to one of the four floor levels of the museum, just click on one of the four 3D Showcases below. These take a short time to load and are then best viewed at full screen. These interactive presentations were created by Domavue and require up to date versions of Internet browsers (Chrome, Safari, Internet Explorer, Firefox).


RHA - Royal Hibernian Academy

Charles Harper – A Retrospective

Charles Harper RHA came of age as an artist in 1960s Ireland, a time of political turmoil in the north, reactionary politics in the south, sexual repression and a dominant conservative Catholic Church. Harper’s early works from the period addressed the issues of the day and cast his quest to explore in paint issues of the individual within his or her social context. In the 1970s, the grid began to gain signi cant usage in art, especially in the USA with the rise of Minimalism. Harper (who had spent two years in Germany as an animator) immediately seized upon its characteristics – sequential, serial, regular – and realized its metaphoric potential to probe social and political systems.


Dorothy Smith – Land Marks

In the exhibition entitled Land Marks, Smith considers the infrastructure and material fabric of public space; the spaces and structures we habitually traverse and use; how this impacts on the quality and reach of our lives and on the effectiveness of our cities and neighbourhoods. She is concerned with the evolution of ‘space’ into ‘place’, place being a space with social signicance and how as individuals and a society we construct, materially and conceptually, space and place.


Alex Pentek – Folded Space

The RHA Gallery presents a new body of work by Cork-based sculptor Alex Pentek, titled Folded Space. This site-specific series of artworks, which has been created for the foyer and atrium of the RHA is inspired by Pentek’s long-time interest in origami. Origami informs his work on a practical and philosophical level, as well as an ongoing interest in science and cosmology. Origami is at the forefront of research into deploy-able forms for use in space exploration, such as the Miura fold. Named after Japanese astrophysicist Koryo Miura, he developed this design to allow astro solar sails to be compactly stored and unfold once in space. On a larger scale origami is now being used as a model to explain Galaxy formation [White & Vogelsberger, 2009, Neyrinck, 2012].


188th RHA Annual Exhibition

Welcome to the 188th RHA Annual Exhibition, Ireland’s largest and longest running exhibition of visual art. Open to all artists working in paint, drawing, print, sculpture, photography and architecture, the RHA Annual Exhibition attracts a large public and critical audience with 48,000 visitors last year. With sales in excess of € 490,000 in 2017, the highest since 2008, the Annual is a key event of the art calendar for both public and private buyers of all levels. Last year it was agreed with exhibiting artists that the RHA would retain 40% commission, in order to raise funds for our outstanding bank payment of € 350,000, due June 2018. This is the next stage of repayment of the loan received by the RHA for the refurbishment of the gallery during 2008. That generous contribution by artists raised € 100,000. To this we can add funds raised from other sources of € 150,000, however we still need to secure the final € 100,000.


The Little Museum of Dublin

What’s She Doing Here?

History is full of macho glory. We have all heard stories about great men who led the way in the worlds of politics, law, science, art, sport and technology. In such accounts there has been a glaring absence – women. At a moment of great change in Irish society, a brilliant new exhibition at the Little Museum salutes trailblazing females, from historical heroines such as Eileen Gray and Hanna Sheehy-Skeffington to women of today who defy sexist attitudes to excel in industries that were traditionally dominated by men.


The Alfie Byrne Collection

Alfie Byrne was the most popular Dublin-born politician of the 20th Century. Until recently he had never been the subject of a biography or an exhibition in his hometown. Byrne's personal archive is now on view in the Little Museum. Elected as Lord Mayor of Dublin a record ten times, Alfie Byrne was called the “Shaking hand of Dublin” and “Alfred the Great” by the press, but Dubliners knew him simply as “Alfie.” Even today, nearly 60 years after his death, many Dubliners remember this short, dapper figure with affection. But his achievements have not been officially recognised and he hardly gets a mention in most histories of modern Ireland.


U2: Made in Dublin

Ireland's greatest rock band has finally got the exhibition it deserves. U2: Made in Dublin charts the story of the band over the last 40 years. This fan-curated exhibition features musical rarities, signed albums and some great photography, alongside delights such as a Trabant car, an oversize Gibson Explorer, a life-size sculpture of MacPhisto and even a pack of U2 condoms. The exhibition was created by fans of the band along with some of Ireland’s best photographers and artists, as a tribute to U2 and a celebration of their roots in the local music scene of the 1970s.


Other Current Exhibitions

Lucienne Day: Living Design

This exhibition celebrates the life and work of one of most influential designers of the post-war generation. Lucienne Day: Living Design tells the story of Lucienne’s design career unfolding in a sequence of photographs drawn from the archives of the Robin and Lucienne Day Foundation. Photographs show the lead up to her career breakthrough at the Festival of Britain 1951, with her pioneering ‘contemporary’ design Calyx. They also evidence Lucienne’s prolific output of patterns for furnishing dress fabrics, table linen, carpets, wallpapers and ceramics. The exhibition includes current production of Lucienne’s designs, demonstrating the continuing vitality of her design legacy. The exhibition celebrates the centenary of Lucienne’s birth and comes to Dublin in the year of another important centenary that of women’s suffrage in the UK and Ireland.


Life at the Edges

Why do inhospitable settings spark our imagination and our appetite for adventure? How can art and design inspire and influence pioneers exploring the outer limits? What can desolate environments tell us about coping with climate change, and should we redirect scientific resources toward adapting organisms and technologies to thrive under these severe conditions? Join us for an adventure to the extremes at LIFE AT THE EDGES, the new free exhibition at Science Gallery Dublin, running until 30 September 2018.


Print, Protest, and The Polls: The Irish women’s suffrage

In 2018, the centenary of the first granting of votes for women in Ireland, we are delighted to announce the details of our upcoming new exhibition – “Print, Protest, and The Polls: The Irish women’s suffrage campaign and the power of print media, 1908 – 1918”. This exhibition will commemorate the centenary of the first female vote in Ireland through exploration of the use of print media by the Irish suffragists, and their opponents, in their methods of promotion and protest. The exhibition aims to shine a light on a neglected period in Irish women’s history, while simultaneously exploring the powerful relationship between the contemporary political protest and the developing print media. Exhibition content will include print ephemera, photographs, and newspaper publications which illustrate the influence and effect of protest through print in a period of early media. It will demonstrate the role which the process of print played in the Irish fight for women’s rights to vote, and will feature print ephemera which has never before been exhibited publicly. The exhibition will be curated by Donna Gilligan, a material culture historian who specialises in the research of the objects and images of the Irish suffrage campaign.