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London art exhibitions calendar

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

© Yayoi Kusama

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 October

Cindy Sherman and David Salle: History Portraits and Tapestry Paintings

Two American contemporary giants are brought together in the inaugural show of this new St James's space. Cindy Sherman is famous for her self-portraits in which she dresses up in the guises of others; David Salle is one of the key names of arch, postmodern painting. Here, they both turn their attention to the past.

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Skarstedt , London Until Saturday November 26 2016

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 Until 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 Until Saturday November 5 2016

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 Wednesday November 30 2016 - Tuesday February 28 2017

Luc Tuymans: Glasses

Luc Tuymans makes boring paintings. Well, kind of. The Belgian artist has always made pictures that seemingly deal with banal and everyday subject matter – but there's always more hovering behind their bleached, scratchy surfaces. In this new show, he's keeping the concept simple: portraits of people wearing glasses.

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National Portrait Gallery , Leicester Square Until Sunday March 26 2017

Lonesome Wife

Taking its title from an oh-so-clever postmodern novel by William H. Gass, this group exhibition looks at how seduction is used with in art. Expect a number of wall pieces and sculptures with much more to them than meets the eye.

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Seventeen , De Beauvoir Town Until Saturday November 5 2016

The Ulm Model

The first UK show about the Ulm School of Design, a short-lived German institution that took a bold and radical approach to the design of everyday items like traffic lights, petrol cans and kitchenware.

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Raven Row , Spitalfields Until Sunday December 18 2016

Maureen Gallace

At first glance, Maureen Gallace's pictures of houses and beaches seem kind of innocuous. But each image reveals a tight painterly language that the New York-based artist has been fine-tuning for years.

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Maureen Paley , Bethnal Green Until Sunday November 20 2016

The Hyundai Commission: Philippe Parreno

Details of Parreno's commission for Tate Modern's vast Turbine Hall space have been pretty damn vague. But we should definitely expect something grand, ambitious and dazzling. Quite possibly with bio-reactors, helium canisters and ventriloquism.

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Tate Modern , South Bank Until Sunday April 2 2017
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Art exhibitions in November

Sean Scully: Horizon

You've got to hand it to Sean Scully. Trends and fads come and go in the art world, but throughout his long career the Irish-born painter has continued to hone and fine-tune his solemn, meditative, unmistakeable brand of abstraction. 

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Timothy Taylor , London Wednesday November 2 2016 - Friday December 16 2016

Patrick Caulfield: Stillness And Drama

Although he's often lumped in with the Pop crowd, the late British artist Patrick Caulfield doesn't easily sit in that category – over a five-decade career, he developed an elegantly simplified style of painting that looked as much to art history as it did the modern world. The work on display in this show were all made from the mid-'80s to the '90s.

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The Approach , Globe Town Thursday November 3 2016

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

Painters' Painters

Contemporary paintings by Richard Aldrich, David Brian Smith, Dexter Dalwood, Raffi Kalenderian, Ansel Krut, Martin Maloney, Bjarne Melgaard, Ryan Mosley and David Salle.

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Saatchi Gallery , Chelsea Wednesday November 16 2016 - Tuesday February 28 2017

Teller on Mapplethorpe

One photographic provocateur curates another, as the German-born Juergen 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

Jason Martin

You could say that Jason Martin has a painterly approach to sculpture, or a sculptural approach to painting. Or both. His work moves between wall-based and floor-based objects: slick, seductive, monochrome and tactile.

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Lisson Gallery , Lisson Grove Friday November 18 2016 - Saturday January 7 2017

Bloomberg New Contemporaries 2016

The exhibition that showcases the work of recent graduates makes a welcome return to the ICA. Rarely coherent, but always bold and refreshing, it makes for a fascinating cross-section of what young artists are making today.

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ICA , St James' Wednesday November 23 2016 - Sunday January 22 2017

Art exhibitions in December

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

Australia's Impressionists

Impressionism isn't all about cancan dancers and lilies floating on ponds – down in the southern hemisphere, Australia cultivated its own particular take on what's often considered an exclusively European movement. Much of the work on display – by artists including Tom Roberts and Arthur Streeton – has never before been seen in the UK. 

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National Gallery , Trafalgar Square Wednesday December 7 2016 - Sunday March 26 2017

Art exhibitions further ahead

Zaha Hadid

A uncompromising visionary and fearless innovator, Zaha Hadid was never far from controversy of some kind, whether it was the form her buildings took or the circumstances in which they were built. But in this retrospective, it'll be the late Iraqi-British architect's drawings and paintings on display – in, appropriately, the Sackler extension, which was designed by her firm in 2013.

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Serpentine Gallery , Knightsbridge Thursday December 8 2016 - Sunday February 12 2017

Rachel Maclean: Wot U :-) About?

Rachel Maclean's films look a bit like TV ads watched while in the middle of a very, very bad acid trip. (Seriously, if you want to get an idea of her hyperreal aesthetic then check out her website.) Using whirling graphics, greenscreen technology, prosthetics and other tricks, she makes art that satirises the quirks of pop culture and consumerism.

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Tate Britain , Westminster Monday November 14 2016 - Sunday April 2 2017

Wolfgang Tillmans

At first glance, Wolfgang Tillmans's photographs look almost throwaway. His subjects are so varied – friends, foliage, oceans, genitals – that you'd be forgiven for thinking he doesn't give them any thought. But take a step back, and you realise you're looking at one of the most distinct bodies of photographic work of contemporary times. Tillmans asks fundamental questions about how we perceive and deal with the world – and recently, with the pro-Remain posters he created ahead of the EU referendum, the political urgency in his work has come to the fore. This Tate blockbuster is one you won't want to miss.

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Tate Modern , South Bank Wednesday February 15 2017 - Sunday June 11 2017

Queer British Art

2017 marks the fiftieth anniversary of the decriminalisation of male homosexuality in England. This show charts the preceding century: a hundred years of queer artists either making deeply personal work (about lives led in necessary secrecy) or avowedly political statements. Duncan Grant, John Singer Sargent, Dora Carrington and David Hockney are among those on display. 

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Tate Britain , Westminster Wednesday April 5 2017 - Sunday October 1 2017

Alberto Giacometti

Fifty years after showing his work for the first time, the Tate is delivering a large-scale retrospective of the Italian artist. He'll always be associated with the tall, spindly, existential figures of his later years – but this exhibition should flesh out his wider career, including early dabblings in surrealism and abstraction. 

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Tate Modern , South Bank Wednesday May 10 2017 - Sunday September 10 2017

Grayson Perry: The Most Popular Art Exhibition Ever!

Wow: based on the title on this exhibition, it sounds like Grayson Perry's feeling mighty full of himself. Or is it meant with a touch of irony? The cross-dressing artist – and one of Britain's most unlikely national treasures – tends to be either denounced as a twee middlebrow populist, or a razor-sharp commentator on the foibles of our society. In any case, this major show of new works promises to look at the idea of the popular: how art can resonate with the average joe, and what it means in these uncertain post-Brexit times. 

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Serpentine Gallery , Knightsbridge Thursday June 8 2017 - Thursday September 7 2017

Basquiat: Boom for Real

The first question that everyone should be asking about the first UK retrospective of Jean-Michel Basquiat is this: why the hell has it taken so long? The artist's career was short (he died, tragically, from a heroin overdose at 27), but shone all the brighter for it. Basquiat grew up in Brooklyn, and became a graffiti artist in his teenage years. Then, coming of age in the seismic New York art scene of the '80s, he was taken under the wing of Andy Warhol and shot to fame and fortune: a glittering superstar. His paintings are bright, wild, unique and hoovered up everything from anatomical textbooks to African art as influences. To see them assembled en masse is set to be a thrilling experience.

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Barbican Centre , Barbican Saturday September 23 2017 - Sunday January 28 2018

Jasper Johns

Indisputable fact: there's no more important painter alive today than Jasper Johns. The 86-year-old artist's influence stretches so far and wide that it's practically immeasurable. He came of age in 1950s New York, in the fertile years between splashy Abstract Expressionism and ice-cool Pop, which was when he created his iconic piece 'Flag', which nodded to both movements. Iconoclastic and experimental, Johns moved the goalposts of painting.

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Royal Academy of Arts , Mayfair Friday September 29 2017 - Sunday December 10 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