London art exhibitions calendar

Our handy calendar of the must-see art shows coming to town this year



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Get your diary out for a new season of must-see exhibitions in 2014, including the Barbican's 'Digital Revolution', Tate Britain's 'Late Turner' exhibition, the Courtauld's Egon Schiele exhibition and the Frieze Art Fair.

October 2014

Ryan Trecartin and Lizzie Fitch, 'Priority Innfield (Way)', 2013

Ryan Trecartin and Lizzie Fitch, 'Priority Innfield (Way)', 2013 © the artist

Lizzie Fitch & Ryan Trecartin

  • Free

The LA-based duo bring the carnivalesque escapades of their absurd characters to London for the first time this autumn. Working with long-time collaborator Lizzie Fitch, ‘Priority Innfield’, which was originally shown at the 55th Venice Biennale, takes you on a rip-roaring roller coaster ride where dysfunctionality reigns supreme within the fabricated installations Trecartin and Fitch build to exhibit the bizarre filmed exploits.

  1. Zabludowicz Collection 176 Prince of Wales Rd, NW5 3PT
  2. Thu Oct 23 - Sun Dec 21
More info

© Walead Beshty Studio

Walead Beshty

  • Free

Known for his colourful abstract photographs that incorporate different techniques from repetitively exposing film or repeatedly photographing photographs, the British Los Angeles-based artist will cover the Curve gallery in a new series of cyanotype prints. Creating a chronological blueprint of the artist’s past year are over 12,000 prints made from exposing objects directly onto UV-sensitive coated surfaces. The result is a 90-metre long timeline of abstract silhouettes.

  1. Barbican Centre Silk St, EC2Y 8DS
  2. Tue Oct 21 - Sat Feb 7
More info
Sigmar Polke, 'Girlfriends (Freundinnen)', 1965/66

Sigmar Polke, 'Girlfriends (Freundinnen)', 1965/66 © 2013 Estate of Sigmar Polke / ARS, New York / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn

Sigmar Polke: Alibis

The German painter, who gave the polka dot contemporary art status, is surveyed through this retrospective of his unusually varied five-decade career. From working with poisonous pigments to incorporating bubble wrap in his paintings, Polke’s appreciation for experimentation and inconsistency allowed him to explore notions of transformation and anti-authority with irreverent humour.

  1. Tate Modern Bankside, SE1 9TG
  2. Tue Oct 21 - Sun Feb 8
More info
Richard Tuttle, 'Walking on Air', 2009

Richard Tuttle, 'Walking on Air', 2009 © the artist

Richard Tuttle: The Weave of Textile Language

  • Free

The US artist brings his blurry coloured line aesthetic to the UK with a three-part project that culminates in this exhibition focusing on the influence of textiles on his abstractions along with a sculptural presentation in Tate Modern's Turbine Hall and a publication.

  1. Whitechapel Gallery 77-82 Whitechapel High St, E1 7QX
  2. Tue Oct 21 - Sun Dec 14
More info


Reality is a matter of perspective, which in our digital age can often be skewed. This group show of London’s most inspirational and significant artists including Lucky PDF, Laure Prouvost, Helen Marten and Susan Hiller, looks at how our increasing digital existence informs and reflects our daily experiences. 

  1. Hayward Gallery Southbank Centre, SE1 8XX
  2. Tue Oct 21 - Sun Jan 4
More info
Rembrandt, 'Self Portrait at the Age of 63', 1669

Rembrandt, 'Self Portrait at the Age of 63', 1669 © The National Gallery, London

Rembrandt: The Late Works

It would appear that there is no such thing as too much Rembo. Especially when the shows are massive Autumn blockbusters providing an incredibly rare opportunity to see 40 of the Dutch master's late period paintings alongside 20 drawings and some 30 prints. The great man's work only got better with age, and this show will feature works lent by major museums across the globe.

  1. National Gallery Trafalgar Square, WC2N 5DN
  2. Tue Oct 21 - Sun Jan 18
More info
Egon Schiele, 'Crouching Woman with Green Kerchief', 1914

Egon Schiele, 'Crouching Woman with Green Kerchief', 1914 The Leopold Museum, Vienna

Egon Schiele: The Radical Nude

Few people captured the human body with the obsessive fleshy intensity of Egon Schiele. The Viennese painter, and protégé of the great Austrian master Gustav Klimt, showed the human body in all its odd, contorted and bumpy glory. So it’s safe to assume that the title of this Courtauld show, ‘The Radical Nude’, is no exaggeration. It’s also Schiele’s first major solo museum show in this country, so will be our first proper chance to get our eyes around his provocative vision of men women.

  1. Courtauld Gallery Somerset House, The Strand, WC2R 0RN
  2. Thu Oct 23 - Sun Jan 18
More info
Giovanni Battista Moroni, 'Gian Gerolamo Grumelli', c. 1560

Giovanni Battista Moroni, 'Gian Gerolamo Grumelli', c. 1560 Fondazione Museo di Palazzo Moroni, Bergamo - Lucretia Moroni Collection

Giovanni Battist Moroni

Moroni (1520-1579) was a talented contemporary of Titian and dedicated his considerable skills to the art of portraiture. He captured the everyday lives of people in his native Bergamo with compassion and humanity, marking him out as a uniquely gifted artist of his time.

  1. Royal Academy of Arts Burlington House, Piccadilly, W1J 0BD
  2. Sat Oct 25 - Sun Jan 25
More info

November 2014

Allen Jones, 'First Step', 1966

Allen Jones, 'First Step', 1966 Image courtesy of the artist

Allen Jones RA

2013 may have seen our interest in pop art reach fever pitch, but there's still more on the horizon with this retrospective show of pop-indebted work from the '60s onwards by this British painter.

  1. Royal Academy of Arts Burlington Gardens 6 Burlington Gardens, W1S 3ET
  2. Thu Nov 13 - Sun Jan 25
More info
Birgit Püve, 'Braian and Ryan', 2013

Birgit Püve, 'Braian and Ryan', 2013 © the artist

Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize

The prestigious photographic portrait award returns with a showcase of the most talented and exciting photographers working across the globe. From over 4,000 submissions by 1,793 photographers this annual exhibition showcases 60 portraits by students, amateurs and established professionals presenting an ambitious approach to photographic portraiture today.

  1. National Portrait Gallery St Martin's Place, WC2H 0HE
  2. Thu Nov 13 - Sun Feb 22
More info
Shomei Tomatsu, 'Steel Helmet with Skull Bone Fusedby Atomic Bomb, Nagasaki', 1963

Shomei Tomatsu, 'Steel Helmet with Skull Bone Fusedby Atomic Bomb, Nagasaki', 1963 © Shomei Tomatsu – interface. Courtesy of Taka Ishii Gallery, Tokyo

Conflict, Time, Photography

As we look back over 100 years since the end of the First World War, the Tate examines the - often uneasy - relationship between photography and conflict.

  1. Tate Modern Bankside, SE1 9TG
  2. Wed Nov 26 - Sun Mar 15
More info

Guy Bourdin: Image Maker

Provocative, surreal and instantly recognisable: the work of Guy Bourdin marks a high point in twentieth century fashion photography, turning editorial and advertising imagery into something rich and strange. Guy Bourdin: Image Maker is the UK’s largest ever exhibition of his work, charting his 40 year career from protégé of Man Ray to photography revolutionary. Over 100 colour exhibition prints, as well as early and late works in black and white, will be on display, along with Polaroid test shots, contact sheets and transparencies.

  1. Somerset House Strand, WC2R 1LA
  2. Thu Nov 27 - Sun Mar 15
More info

December 2014

Tatiana Bruni, 'The Terrorist Costume Design for The Bolt', 1931

Tatiana Bruni, 'The Terrorist Costume Design for The Bolt', 1931 Courtesy GRAD


  • Free

In 1931, Shostakovich’s ballet 'Bolt' was banned by the Soviet authorities after its premiere. Featuring real hammers and machines, the experimental industrial production is now brought to life in this vibrant exhibition, organised in collaboration with the St Petersburg State Museum of Theatre and Music. The ballet's characters including the Komosomol Girl and the Drunkard can be re-envisioned through the original set designs and costumes.

  1. GRAD 3-4a Little Portland Street, W1W 7AB
  2. Sat Dec 6 - Sun Feb 22
More info

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Users say

Eleanor Ferguson
Eleanor Ferguson

To all the people scandalized by the Paul Klee comment, you do understand that we live in a world where peopel are allowed to have opinions; rather than some sort of mythical dictatorship where cultural appreciation is sanctioned by the state and anyone who doesn't toe the party line will be expunged ?? Also art criticism is just that.....criticism.

Celeste Ponzellini
Celeste Ponzellini

In reference to the exhibition in October on Paul Klee your opening line reads:''A wishy-washy favourite of the student bedroom wall...'' HOW DARE YOU? I appreciate that in the more detailed description of the actual show, you are more respectful to this great artist, but this initial line is unacceptable and offensive to the man and the potential visitors alike, not to mention the curators of the exhibition. I do sincerely hope you will change this by the time we get closer to October. I would also like to point out that this less than tasteful joke, has for me finalised the decision of cancelling my subscription to your magazine, which has in the last two years or so declined so much it has reached the bottom. Regards

Esar Quais
Esar Quais

Nice paintings ! I like them. Paintings made in February, June and November are the best of all others. Thanks

Liz Keevill
Liz Keevill

Paul Klee a "wishy-washy favourite of the student bedroom wall"? How very dare you. Who writes this tosh?

thaer jrab
thaer jrab

Iwould like to show my liters and simpoles from my oun world

mulondo patrick
mulondo patrick

My name is Mulondo PATRICK from Uganda East Africa. I am student at Makerere university 3rd year studding art. I want to be part of these exhibitions and exhibit my works as well. I am a sculptor working with fiberglass mixed media with scrap metal welded together. Below is a link to my works. How can I please be part of these exhibitions?

Saskia Whinney
Saskia Whinney

I hear the great French Artist/ Graffiti Writer Horfe is coming and doing a show in London in March. That should definitely be added to the list