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London art exhibitions calendar

Our handy collection of all the big, small and scary art exhibitions coming to town

© Tristan Fewings/Getty Images

Hello eager art friend, want to do some planning ahead? Well, you've come to the right place with our one-stop shop for all the art exhibitions, big or small, coming to London over the next couple of months. From exciting new gallery openings to upcoming London photography shows, keep your eyes peeled and your paintbrush poised for as much art as your diary can handle. Or, if you can’t wait that long, here's the best new art in London this week to satisfy those creative cravings sooner. 

Art exhibitions in September

Dorothea Tanning

An exhibition of the surrealist artist Dorothea Tanning's final paintings: a series of 12 ghostly, erotically atmospheric pictures of mauve flowers.

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Alison Jacques , Fitzrovia Thursday September 1 2016 - Saturday October 1 2016

London Design Biennale 2016

London's first biennial for design will showcase the talents of designers from 35 nations across the globe, who are responding to the theme of 'Utopia by Design'.

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Somerset House , Temple Wednesday September 7 2016 - Tuesday September 27 2016

Maggi Hambling – Touch: Works on Paper

Although she's probably best known for her controversial public sculptures (Oscar Wilde, 1998 opposite Charing Cross Station and Scallop, 2003 on Aldeburgh Beach), Maggi Hambling has also amassed a huge body of work on paper, with drawing continuing to be fundamental to her practice. The British Museum has been collecting her drawings since 1985 after acquiring a piece depicting her former teacher Cedric Morris on his deathbed which will be on show here, alongside thirty nine other works spanning early student sketches and etchings, and portraits of Stephen Fry and curator Norman Rosenthal, on show for the first time.

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British Museum , Bloomsbury Thursday September 8 2016 - Sunday January 29 2017

The Infinite Mix

Multimedia works by 10 different artists will come together into an immersive installation at this newish creative space on the Strand. Expect holograms, cinema-style projections and music from the likes of Kendrick Lamar and Sonic Youth. 

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180 the Strand , Temple Friday September 9 2016 - Sunday December 4 2016

Tacita Dean: LA Exuberance

This new collection of work from the celebrated British artist focuses on the time she spent over in the West Coast city: prints, drawings and a 35mm film of fellow artist David Hockney.

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Frith Street Gallery , Soho Friday September 16 2016 - Friday November 4 2016

Peter Wachtler

The first solo exhibition in a UK institution by the Berlin and Brussels-based artist Peter Wachtler. Working in animated film, ceramics and drawing, Wachtler explores the experience of labour, with his writing and poems providing source material.

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Chisenhale Gallery , Mile End Friday September 16 2016 - Sunday December 11 2016

Astronomy Photographer of the Year

Once again you can expect to see remarkable feats of astrophotography at the Astronomy Photographer of the Year. It’s a chance to see magical views of our own night sky and of galaxies far, far away. The winning spacey visions come from professional and amateur snappers in various categories including ‘Planets, Comets and Asteroids’, ‘Stars and Nebulae’, ‘Galaxies’ and ‘Young Astronomy Photographer of the Year’ for under-16s.

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Royal Observatory , Greenwich Saturday September 17 2016 - Friday December 23 2016
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Art exhibitions in October

Champagne Life

Champagne Life returns to the Saatchi Gallery for another show dedicates solely to female artists. New work by Aleksandra Mir, Jeni Spota and Phoebe Unwin will feature. 

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Saatchi Gallery , Chelsea Saturday October 1 2016 - Saturday October 29 2016

Tony Cragg

An exhibition showcasing new work by the celebrated sculptor, exploring the juxtaposition of organic and artificial elements. 

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Lisson Gallery , Lisson Grove Saturday October 1 2016 - Saturday November 5 2016

Guerrilla Girls


The feminist activist group looks at the Whitechapel Gallery’s history of exhibiting female artists including Sophie Calle, Nan Goldin, Sarah Lucas and Bridget Riley for this Archive display. Founded in 1985 by an anonymous group of artists to expose the inequality of the art world, culture in general and politics, the Guerrilla Girls will don their gorilla masks and scan their critical eye over this east London institution.

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Whitechapel Gallery , Whitechapel Saturday October 1 2016 - Sunday March 5 2017

Henri Barande

The only chance you'll get in the UK to see the work of French-born artist Henri Barande, who sought total anonymity for fifty years. Two decades ago American curator and critic David Galloway persuaded Barande to share his output but the artist will still only show his work once in a single country. The show's open for less than a month, so get your skates on.

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Saatchi Gallery , Chelsea Tuesday October 4 2016 - Monday October 31 2016

Picasso Portraits

The 2016 exhibition schedule just got a whole load more exciting with the announcement of the National Portrait Gallery's major autumn show. 'Picasso Portraits' traces the development of Picasso through the portraits he painted – from child genius to the most famous artist in the world. Featuring around 80 works, the show reveals the many ways in which he captured a sitter's likeness.

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National Portrait Gallery , Leicester Square Thursday October 6 2016 - Sunday February 5 2017

Beyond Caravaggio


Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio remains art’s ultimate bad boy some 400 years after his death. A maverick and a murderer, he embodies the ‘live fast, die young’ mantra. However, the drama of Caravaggio’s short life is more than matched by that of his art. A master of theatricality and illumination, Caravaggio revolutionised painting in Rome at the end of the 1500s by painting straight on to canvas and using ‘ordinary’ folk as models for religious characters.

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National Gallery , Trafalgar Square Wednesday October 12 2016 - Sunday January 15 2017

Paul Nash


Paul Nash (1889-1946) exerts a strong influence over British painting. If he’s overlooked it’s because, in his powdery vistas, he can come across as mild mannered – too English. Yet the eccentricity and romanticism of his quasi-mystical landscapes is never far from the surface, neither is his deep feeling for the land. His work also transports us to dark episodes of our history.

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Tate Britain , Westminster Wednesday October 26 2016 - Sunday March 5 2017

South Africa: The Art Of A Nation

Exploring over 100,000 years of history, this exhibition dives into the rich artistic heritage South Africa boasts. 200 objects investigate seven key periods of the country's history, with works by contemporary artists used to provide current perspectives on South Africa's past. 

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British Museum , Bloomsbury Thursday October 27 2016 - Sunday February 26 2017

Art exhibitions further ahead

The Radical Eye: Modernist Photography from the Sir Elton John Collection

Elton John has one of the best private collections of twentieth-century photography in the world, which may come as a surprise if you thought he just spent his money on CDs and flowers. He's lending around 150 key images for this major Tate Modern show, which focuses on the decades 1920 to 1950, when photographers and artists started to use the medium in earnest to create truly modern visions of the world.

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Tate Modern , South Bank Thursday November 10 2016 - Sunday May 7 2017

Teller on Mapplethorpe

One photographic provocateur curates another, as the German-born Juerguen Teller is invited to select a number of the legendary Robert Mapplethorpe's pictures for this exhibition. 

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Alison Jacques , Fitzrovia Thursday November 17 2016 - Saturday January 7 2017

Robert Rauschenberg


Robert Rauschenberg (1925-2008) was an exceptionally versatile artist. His practice encompassed painting, printmaking, sculpture, photography, installation and performance. After leaving the Navy in 1947 and a stint of studying in Europe, Rauschenberg enrolled at Black Mountain College where the influential abstract artist, Josef Albers, taught him and he met lifelong collaborators John Cage and Merce Cunningham.

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Tate Modern , South Bank Thursday December 1 2016 - Sunday April 2 2017

Find our favourite art exhibitions on now

Top ten art exhibitions in London

Fancy seeing an art show this weekend but no idea where to go? Well look no further. You can't go wrong if you head down to one of our ten favourite art exhibitions taking place in the capital right now.

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By: Time Out London Art