8 Love It

London art exhibitions calendar

Our handy calendar of the must-see art shows coming to town in 2016

© Tina Barney

Get your diary out for a new season of must-see exhibitions in 2016, which include Tate Modern's 'Performing for the Camera', Barbican's 'Strange and Familiar', the National Gallery's 'Delacroix and the Rise of Modern Art', the V&A's 'Botticelli Reimagined' and the Royal Academy's David Hockney exhibition.

Art shows opening in February 2016

Betty Woodman

Critics' choice

Ceramics was art's hottest trend of 2015 – and in 2016, that trend looks set to continue, with museums getting in on the act like the ICA, meanwhile, is giving Betty Woodman her first UK show. The US sculptor has worked with clay since the 1950s – long before the current vogue for art-ceramics – to create jazzy mixed-media pieces that combine ceramics and painting techniques. Concentrating on work produced over the past decade, this show will fill the ICA galleries with Woodman's unabashedly decorative, celebratory work that samples everything from Minoan and Egyptian art to the paintings of Bonnard, Picasso and Matisse.

Read more
ICA , St James' Until Sunday April 10 2016

Painting Norway: Nikolai Astrup (1880-1928)

Critics' choice

The name ‘Nikolai Astrup’ doesn’t mean much over here but in his native Norway he’s as famous as his contemporary Edvard Munch. You won’t find any anguished ‘Screams’ in this show of the painter and printmaker, though. Astrup, who trained in Paris as a young man before returning for good to his birthplace in Jølster, western Norway, focused on a handful of motifs including lakes, mountains, meadows of marsh marigolds and midsummer night bonfires. 

Read more
Dulwich Picture Gallery , Dulwich Village Until Sunday May 15 2016

Vogue 100: A Century of Style

This landmark exhibition celebrates 100 years of the fashion bible British Vogue, which launched in 1916 amid WWI, when American Vogue couldn't ship to the UK. Featuring early original magazines, vintage prints and Condé Nast archival material, the show, curated by Robin Muir, is a stylish feast for the eyes. Work by renowned photographers including Cecil Beaton, Lee Miller, David Bailey, Irving Penn, Mario Testino, Tim Walker, Herb Ritts and Patrick Demarchelier will demonstrate the magic, passion, verve and vision of the publication. So get ready to strike a pose.

Read more
National Portrait Gallery , Leicester Square Until Sunday May 22 2016

Delacroix and the Rise of Modern Art

Critics' choice

French Romantic painter Eugène Delacroix (1798-1863) played a small but very important role in two of 2015’s biggest shows: ‘Inventing Impressionism’ at the National Gallery, and ‘Rubens and His Legacy’ at the Royal Academy. In the latter, Delacroix’s debt to Rubens was examined in his tumultuous ‘The Lion Hunt,’ (1858), but in the National Gallery’s first blockbuster of 2016, it’s the influence of Delacroix on his contemporaries and subsequent generations of artists that is explored.

Read more
National Gallery , Trafalgar Square Wednesday February 17 2016 - Sunday May 22 2016

Performing for the Camera

Critics' choice

Selfie culture isn’t the subject of this spring 2016 Tate Modern blockbuster but, considering self-identity and self-expression in photography, it certainly strikes a chord with our times. Beginning by looking at photography’s crucial role in capturing ephemeral performance art for posterity – by artists such as Yves Klein and Yayoi Kusama – the show goes on to consider how the photographic image has moved centrestage to become a means of acting out roles, posing and performing in its own right. 

Read more
Tate Modern , South Bank Thursday February 18 2016 - Sunday June 12 2016

Art shows opening in March 2016

Hilma af Klint: Painting the Unseen

Critics' choice

One of the most fascinating – and strange – artists of the past 100 years is the subject of one of the most anticipated shows of 2016. Strait-laced, and appearing rather stern looking photographs, the Swedish artist Hilma af Klint was nonetheless an extreme painter, whose work was inspired by a lifelong interest in spiritualism and the occult. In addition to be an artist, she was a clairvoyant and a medium, a follower of the theosophical teachings of Madame Blavatsky, who made over a thousand paintings in secret, insisting that they should not be publicly show until 20 years after her death (in 1944). 

Read more
Serpentine Gallery , Knightsbridge Thursday March 3 2016 - Sunday May 22 2016

Botticelli Reimagined

Bringing together the biggest haul of Botticellis we’ve seen in London for decades, the V&A’s spring 2016 blockbuster is a chance to marvel at the strange, otherworldly beauty of the master, while looking at his influence, not just on art, but on film, photography, fashion and design. Included are works by René Magritte, Andy Warhol and Cindy Sherman.

Read more
V&A , Brompton Saturday March 5 2016 - Sunday July 3 2016

Strange and Familiar: Britain as Revealed by International Photographers

Martin Parr has spent his career casting a quizzical eye over Britain, so he’s the ideal person to curate a show that looks at how international photographers from the 1930s to today have captured the social, cultural and political identity of the UK through the camera lens. There’s a stellar cast involved – including Henri Cartier-Bresson, Paul Strand, Garry Winogrand, Tina Barney and Bruce Gilden.

Read more
Barbican Centre , Barbican Wednesday March 16 2016 - Sunday June 19 2016

Paul Strand: Photography and Film for the 20th Century

The American photographer Paul Strand (1890-1976) was one of the first to make a photographic abstraction (intentionally). Inspired by the latest trends in European art – which he saw in shows of Cézanne, Picasso, Matisse and others in New York – he was applied a new-fangled language of geometric surface design, and a new way of looking at the modern world, initially to objects such as furniture (and its shadows), then to the streets of Manhattan.                         

Read more
V&A , Brompton Saturday March 19 2016 - Sunday July 3 2016

Guerrilla Girls

Founded in 1985 by an anonymous group of artists to expose the inequality of the male dominated art world, culture in general and politics, the feminist activist group casts its critical eye over this east London institution’s history of exhibiting female artists including Sophie Calle, Nan Goldin, Sarah Lucas and Bridget Riley.

Read more
Whitechapel Gallery , Whitechapel Saturday March 19 2016 - Sunday September 4 2016

Art shows opening in April 2016

Conceptual Art in Britain 1964-1979

Ignore the somewhat dry title of this survey of British art. Taking in the period of Harold Wilson’s Labour government and the election of Margaret Thatcher, there’s plenty of switched-on politically-motivated (and often angry) work on offer by artists who, thinking beyond the limits of conventional art, used text and photography to pose questions about the world around them.

Read more
Tate Britain , Westminster Tuesday April 12 2016 - Monday August 29 2016

Deutsche Börse Photography Prize

The most prestigious photographic award exhibition in the country, which gives a top prize of £30,000 for the best exhibition or publication of the past year by a living photographer of any nationality, returns with four new nominees: Laura El-Tantawy, Erik Kessels, Trevor Paglen and Tobias Zielony. This year’s diverse shortlist reflects upon political concerns, identity and migration.

Read more
Photographers' Gallery , Soho Saturday April 16 2016 - Sunday June 26 2016

The Tate Britain Commission 2016: Pablo Bronstein

The Turbine Hall over at Tate Modern may get the lion’s share of coverage, but Tate Britain’s annual commission for its central Duveen Galleries is often a highlight of the cultural year. Mark Wallinger, Phyllida Barlow and Fiona Banner are big names to have taken on the galleries in previous years. This spring, the Buenos Aires-born, London-based artist Pablo Bronstein will make an, as yet unspecified, site-specific work for the galleries.

Read more
Tate Britain , Westminster Tuesday April 26 2016 - Sunday October 9 2016

Further ahead

Mona Hatoum

Mona Hatoum made a name for herself in the 1980s with performances including a gruelling hour-long barefoot trudge through the streets of Brixton with DM boots attached to her ankles. Since then, her work has been a no-holds-barred exploration of human fragility and strength, often inspired by her own story (born in Beirut in 1952 to a Palestinian family, she settled in England in the mid-1970s after war broke out in Lebanon).

Read more
Tate Modern , South Bank Wednesday May 4 2016 - Sunday August 21 2016

Photo London

After the huge success of last year’s Photo London, the photography-dedicated fair returns to Somerset House for a second installment that promises to be bigger and better than the inaugural showcase. A plethora of photographic practices by celebrated names and emerging talent will be showcased by the 76 international and London-based exhibitors and as part of the extended public programme, legendary war photographer Don McCullin has been named Photo London Master of Photography 2016 and will be honoured in a special exhibition.

Read more
Somerset House , Temple Thursday May 19 2016 - Sunday May 22 2016

Mary Heilmann

Critics' choice

Arriving like a heady blast of ozone comes this retrospective of the US artist who, for the past five decades, has dazzled with witty, exuberant, sensuous paintings. Heilmann, born in San Francisco in 1940, has forged a singular path, riffing on various styles of abstraction – hard-edge painting, expressionist brushwork, the dot, the splodge, the stripe, the dribble – in a deceptively casual manner. In one sense, she’s an avid recycler – a re-inventor of the modernist wheel, if you like. But it’s Heilmann’s insouciance and the apparent spontaneity of her art that elevates it and makes her such a unique voice in contemporary art. 

Read more
Whitechapel Gallery , Whitechapel Wednesday June 8 2016 - Sunday August 21 2016

Opening of the new Tate Modern

Critics' choice

On June 17, a new Tate Modern will be unveiled when its extension, known as The Switch House opens to the public. Designed by Herzog & de Meuron, the Swiss architects behind the original transformation of Bankside power station 15 years ago the building will provide 60 per cent more exhibition space, and allow for a ‘progressive rehang’ of Tate Modern’s permanent collection. The new building features a viewing level on the top floor, a restaurant, and three new floors of galleries to show works acquired since Tate Modern opened in 2000, including an installation of giant burlap sacks by Magdalena Abakanowicz.

Read more
Tate Modern , South Bank Friday June 17 2016

David Hockney RA: 79 Portraits and Two Still Lifes

Critics' choice

After his mega 2012 RA show, David Hockney returns to the Royal Academy with a smaller show in the Sackler Wing of portraits made in Los Angeles over the past three years. The aquas and blues of the backgrounds immediately recall his seminal swimming pool paintings of the 1960s. Instead of bare-bummed beach boys, however, these relative small works are populated by Hockney’s current friends, family and acquaintances – including Barry Humphries, Lord Jacob Rothschild and super-gallerist Larry Gagosian. 

Read more
Royal Academy of Arts , Mayfair Saturday July 2 2016 - Sunday October 2 2016

Georgia O'Keeffe

Critics' choice

Landscape painter, flower painter, feminist artist… Georgia O’Keeffe (1887-1986) was all of these and more. She is also one of the most popular and accessible artists on the planet – her work being among the most widely reproduced of any twentieth century artist. It’s possibly due to the former that O’Keeffe has suffered critically over the decades; straitjacketed by categories that only partly explain her influence, she struggles to attain a singular presence in the history of modern. The latter, meanwhile, ensures that she is snubbed to an extent by the snobbish art world. Tate Modern’s retrospective aims to reconcile these aspects of a forceful, though sometimes conflicted artist. 

Read more
Tate Modern , South Bank Wednesday July 6 2016 - Sunday October 30 2016

Abstract Expressionism

Critics' choice

Autumn 2016 at the RA is all about New York in the 1940s and ’50s, as this blockbuster survey of abstract expressionism brings together the big deals, bad boys and prodigious boozers of the era. It’s sure to be a swaggeringly audacious show. Abstract expressionism, with its love of spontaneity, automatic and unconscious forms, marks the moment when America took over from Paris as the crucible of modern art (whether or not you believe the theories about CIA involvement in its post-war rise to prominence). 

Read more
Royal Academy of Arts , Mayfair Saturday September 24 2016 - Monday January 2 2017

Ragnar Kjartansson

Critics' choice

If you missed one of the standout shows of 2015, the Vinyl Factory’s presentation of Ragnar Kjartansson sensational musical installation, ‘The Visitors’, fear not as you’ll be able to experience it at the Barbican’s summer exhibition dedicated to the young Icelandic artist who has brought fun back to art. For his recent show at Palais de Tokyo, he transformed the galleries into living entities where the lines between fact and fiction were blurred. He’s played guitar naked in a bath, been the crooner of a big band, become a captain of a boat, and dressed up as a knight. As Kjartansson says, ‘Sometimes you need to add a little theatre to life and vice versa.’ So this first UK survey of the multi-talented artist will not disappoint as it includes ten performers singing throughout the lower galleries for ‘Take me here by the Dishwasher: Memorial for a Marriage’ and the ongoing film project, ‘Me and My Mother’ in which Kjartansson’s mother spits at him. 

Read more
Barbican Centre , Barbican Thursday July 14 2016 - Sunday September 4 2016

Turner Prize

Over the years the coveted art prize’s annual exhibition has caused quite a stir. It’s been criticised for being sexist, politically incorrect, elitist and out of touch. Lack of sponsorship funds threatened the continuation of the prize in 1990 until Channel 4 stepped in to save the day. And Martin Creed’s winning exhibit in 2001 ‘The lights going on and off’ divided the art-loving nation. Celebrating its 32nd year, the Turner Prize returns to Tate Britain with four shortlisted artists all competing for the £25,000 prize money.

Read more
Tate Britain , Westminster Tuesday September 27 2016 - Sunday January 8 2017

Beyond Caravaggio

Critics' choice

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 of rebels the world over. 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. He set his scenes in recognisable contemporary surroundings and, by making his images appear like an extension of real space, places you, the viewer, right in the picture. 

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

Comments

0 comments