London art exhibitions calendar

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

Get your diary out for a new season of must-see exhibitions in 2015, which include the National Gallery's 'Inventing Impressionism', Tate Britain's 'Barbara Hepworth' retrospective, Tate Modern's 'The World Goes Pop' and the Royal Academy's Ai Weiwei exhibition.

Art shows opening this January

Adventures of the Black Square: Abstract Art and Society 1915-2015

Picking up where Tate Modern’s tremendous 2014 Malevich exhibition left off, this international survey looks at the legacy of the Russian artist’s suprematist black square paintings and how abstraction has been used to channel political ideas over the past 100 years. If that sounds like hard work, don’t be deterred. With paintings, sculptures, films and photographs by Piet Mondrian, Eva Hesse and Isa Genzken on display, the show looks set to be as beautiful as it is brainy. And, for a surefire anti-SAD experience, you can bathe in the glow of David Batchelor’s colourful blocks of light installation ‘Brick Lane Remix’.

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Whitechapel Gallery Until Sunday April 5 2015

Rubens and His Legacy: Van Dyck to Cézanne

The Royal Academy usually scores the first blockbuster of the year, so expectations are high for this exhibition of Flemish baroque painter Peter Paul Rubens – an artist who painted everything from family portraits to ceilings (like the one at Banqueting House in Whitehall) but is best-known for his sensuously fleshy female nudes and the term they spawned: ‘Rubenesque’.

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Royal Academy of Arts Until Friday April 10 2015

Joao Maria Gusmao and Pedro Paiva: Papagaio

For their first major show in London, the Portuguese duo will create an immersive environment of twenty-seven 16mm films that poses philosophical and scientific questions. The kaleidoscopic environment comes from their manipulation of film techniques, shooting at one speed to then project at another, which alters our perception and highlights the inconsistencies of reality.

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Camden Arts Centre Until Sunday March 29 2015 Free

Art shows opening this February

Marlene Dumas: The Image as Burden

Enter a Marlene Dumas exhibition and you never know who you might meet. Among the subjects of the South Africa-born, Amsterdam-based painter’s work over the past few years are Jesus, Princess Diana, Phil Spector, Amy Winehouse and Osama bin Laden. Dumas is the painter-doyenne of dark undercurrents, tragic lives and falls from grace. ‘I have always been interested in how you can depict suffering without being heavy-handed,' she told us when we spoke in 2011. Dumas avoids heavy-handedness with a free-flowing style and wraith-like portraits that seem to float like apparitions. Despite being among the world’s most prominent painters, the sixty-something artist is not well known in the UK. This retrospective looks set to change that. Big time. 

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Tate Modern Thursday February 5 2015 - Sunday May 10 2015

Human Rights Human Wrongs

Through photography, world issues including political upheavals, racial discrimination and war have been conveyed to an international audience. This exhibition of over 200 original press prints focuses on the important role photojournalism has played in providing a voice to critical moments in social history and raising awareness on a global scale. Featuring a selection of work from the Black Star photo agency, whose roster of photographers have included Robert Capa, Bill Brandt and Henri Cartier-Bresson, the show relays pivotal events from 1945 to the 1990s through enigmatic, intriguing and captivating prints. The old adage ‘A picture is worth a thousand words’ couldn’t be more appropriate.

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Photographers' Gallery Friday February 6 2015 - Monday April 6 2015 Free

History is Now

Ahead of the general election, the Hayward Gallery has invited seven UK-based artists and duos, John Akomfrah, Simon Fujiwara, Roger Hiorns, Hannah Starkey, Richard Wentworth and Jane and Louise Wilson to curate works that define certain periods of our recent history. Over 250 objects have been selected from public and private collections, archives, libraries and local museums. As part of the Southbank Centre’s ‘Changing Britain' festival, this group show will create unexpected connections between events and look at how we remember from individual and collective perspectives.

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Hayward Gallery Tuesday February 10 2015 - Sunday April 26 2015

Made in China: A Doug Fishbone Project

Could you spot a fake old master painting from the original? Well now’s your chance as the Dulwich Picture Gallery will replace one of their prized Old Master paintings with a Chinese replica from Feb 10. The brainchild of London-based artist Doug Fishbone, a Chinese artist from the Dafen Village has been commissioned to copy a painting from the gallery’s collection. But can you be foiled? Well you have until April 26 to guess which painting is the forgery. Then on April 28 the counterfeit will be unveiled and hang next to the original so we can compare the artistry.

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Dulwich Picture Gallery Tuesday February 10 2015 - Sunday July 26 2015

Magnificent Obsessions: The Artist as Collector

Tune into your inner hoarder with the Barbican’s spring blockbuster ‘Magnificent Obsessions’. Showcasing 14 artists’ collections including Arman’s tribal masks, Damien Hirst’s skulls, Dr Lakra’s bizarre LP covers, Martin Parr’s Soviet space dog memorabilia and Andy Warhol’s kitsch cookie jars, the exhibition will be a veritable cornucopia of all things eccentric, rare and curious.

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Barbican Centre Thursday February 12 2015 - Monday May 25 2015

Sargent: Portraits of Artists and Friends

Few artists got around as much as John Singer Sargent. The son of an American surgeon, he was born in Florence in 1856 and spent his childhood touring Europe, settling in Paris, then moving to London (after the furore over his sensational ‘Madame X’ portrait at the 1884 Paris Salon), where he died in 1925. He remained an American citizen his whole life, but such was his international reputation that memorial exhibitions were held in Boston, New York and London. 

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National Portrait Gallery Thursday February 12 2015 - Monday May 25 2015

Art shows opening this March

Inventing Impressionism

It may seem surprising that there was a time when the works of Claude Monet, Camille Pissarro and Pierre-Auguste Renoir were not fashionable. Just like any ground-breaking art movement that went against the grain, it took considerable time and endless promotion before a lasting impression would be made. This was the fate for the Impressionists. But thankfully a nineteenth century Parisian art dealer, Paul Durand-Ruel knew talent when he saw it.

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National Gallery Wednesday March 4 2015 - Sunday May 31 2015

Leon Golub: Bite Your Tongue

The late-figurative painter, who was shunned for many years by the American establishment, is celebrated in this survey of his rugged, politically charged work that spans the Vietnam War and 1990s dystopian urban scenes.

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Serpentine Gallery Wednesday March 4 2015 - Sunday May 17 2015 Free

Beard

Calling all pogonophiles, this exhibition of over 80 portraits by Mr Elbank is just for you. Here, all manner of facial tufts come under the spotlight from John Hurt's wiry fisherman’s whiskers to Harnaam Kaur’s unexpected beard, which she’s been growing since she was sixteen when she was diagnosed with polycystic ovaries. 

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Somerset House Thursday March 5 2015 - Sunday March 29 2015 Free

Joshua Reynolds: Experiments in Paint

This spring the Wallace Collection will reveal a more radical side to the British eighteenth century portraitist who founded the Royal Academy. Bringing together fascinating archival material, x-rays and twenty paintings, Reynolds’ unconventional technical approach will be unearthed. Enthralling detective antics aside, it’s also the perfect chance to appreciate his magnificent portraits of London’s colourful elite.

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Wallace Collection Thursday March 12 2015 - Sunday June 7 2015 Free

Comments

7 comments
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? http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.2642977811187.71152.1757875344&type=3 http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.2805850882912.72528.1757875344&type=3

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