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London art exhibitions calendar

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

The World Goes Pop at Tate Modern. Photo: Joe Humphrys

Get your diary out for a new season of must-see exhibitions in 2015, which include Tate Modern's 'The World Goes Pop', Barbican's 'The World of Charles and Ray Eames', the National Gallery's 'Goya: The Portraits', the Science Museum's 'Julia Margaret Cameron' survey and the Royal Academy's Ai Weiwei exhibition.

Art shows opening this November

Chantal Akerman: Now

Coinciding with the UK premiere of her new film, No Home Movie, the internationally celebrated filmmaker and artist presents an extraordinary large-scale exhibition. Including seven works, Now an eight channel video installation originally commissioned for this year’s Venice Biennale about areas of violence and conflict, forms the show’s centerpiece.

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Ambika P3 , Marylebone Tuesday December 1 2015 - Sunday December 6 2015

Visions of Paradise: Botticini's Palmieri Altarpiece

This free exhibition brings together three years of research into the monumental alterpiece by Francesco Botticini. Commissioned in the fifteenth century by Florentine philosopher, historian and friend to the Medici’s, Matteo Palmieri for his funerary chapel in San Pier Maggiore, the astounding work reflects the Dante inspired ode Palmieri wrote in 1465, ‘Città di Vita (City of Life). Exploring Palmieri’s fascinating life and his collaboration with Botticini, this display also showcases sculpture, drawings, and manuscripts connected to the alterpiece.

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National Gallery , Trafalgar Square Until Sunday February 14 2016

Richard Dadd: The Art of Bedlam

The world’s oldest psychiatric hospital, Bethlem Royal Hospital, was once a busy public attraction, most famously portrayed in William Hogarth’s ‘A Rake's Progress’. It looked after a number of famous patients including artist Louis Wain and Victorian painter Richard Dadd. Dadd, an acclaimed artist suffered from delusions whilst on a Middle Eastern tour in 1843 that led him to kill his father with a knife upon his return. First detained at Bethlem as a ‘criminal lunatic’ and later moved to Broadmoor Hospital, where he died, Dadd produced some of his most celebrated works, like 'The Fairy Feller's Master-Stroke' whilst incarcerated. This survey exhibition includes rarely seen sketches and paintings and a series of watercolours made on his eastern travels.

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Bethlem Gallery and Museum of the Mind , West Wickham Until Friday February 5 2016

Alexander Calder: Performing Sculpture

Critics' choice

The man who made sculpture a truly moving experience gets his first major UK show for over 50 years. Alexander Calder (1989-1976) came of age in the early decades of the twentieth century and, capturing the era’s fascination with speed, he created an art of movement for a dynamic new society. The show brings together more than 100 works. Einstein was transfixed by his work, but kids are just as likely to be enthralled. The breeze of, doubtless, thousands of visitors will keep these enchanting works in perpetual motion.

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Tate Modern , South Bank Until Sunday April 3 2016

Ragnar Kjartansson: The Visitors

Ahead of the Icelandic artist's major survey at the Barbican next year, The Vinyl Factory present his nine-screen installation, 'The Visitors' shot on location in a grand dilapidated house in New York state. Members of Sigur Ros, other Icelandic musicians, Ragnar himself, his friends, and residents all perform a 'feminine nihilistic gospel song' in different rooms of the two-hundred-year-old villa to create a spellbinding installation where reality and fiction merge.

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The Vinyl Factory Space , Soho Until Sunday December 6 2015

Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize

The prestigious photographic portrait award returns with a showcase of the most talented and exciting photographers from around the world all competing for the £12,000 prize . From over 2,000 submissions this annual exhibition showcases portraits by students, amateurs and established professionals, who each illustrate ambitious experimentation and traditional approaches to photographic portraiture today.

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National Portrait Gallery , Leicester Square Until Sunday February 21 2016

Masters of the Everyday: Dutch Artists in the Age of Vermeer

Critics' choice

There’s nothing ordinary about this exhibition of 27 seventeenth century Dutch paintings from the Royal Collection. Although the works focus on everyday life activities from preparing food and quiet domesticity to drinking in taverns and enjoying music, the meticulous attention to detail is extraordinarily illuminating of the moral messages encoded in these scenes of modest and exuberant lifestyles. 

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The Queen's Gallery , St James's Park Until Sunday February 14 2016

Art and Alcohol

Once it was healthier to drink gin rather than the water in London. Thankfully – or not – those days are long gone, but the act, or should that be the art of drinking, remains a constant source of creative inspiration. This BP spotlight display curated by David Blayney Brown, who curated last year’s phenomenal Late Turner show, charts Britain’s relationship with alcohol from George Cruikshank’s temperance-themed 'Worship of Bacchus' to Gilbert & George’s ‘Drinking Sculpture’.

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Tate Britain , Westminster Until Friday September 30 2016

Michael Craig-Martin: Transience

Critics' choice

He transformed this year’s Royal Academy Summer Exhibition with bright walls of pink and turquoise, bringing the 247 year-old show exploding into the twentieth century. Remarkably this is the first survey of the British artist since 1989 and will bring together works from the 1981 to 2015. In his distinctly graphic style, Craig-Martin transforms everyday objects including a mobile phone, a light bulb and kitchen utensils from functional commodity into conceptual ciphers.

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Serpentine Gallery , Knightsbridge Tuesday December 1 2015 - Sunday February 14 2016

Julia Margaret Cameron

Critics' choice

This exhibition presents 100 photographs by Julia Margaret Cameron, an important figure in nineteenth-century experimental photography. Sir Henry Cole, the V&A's founding director presented the first exhibition of her work, and this new show documents her relationship with him and the museum. Letters, diary entries and technical experiments will be on display in this exhibition marking the bicentenary of Cameron's birth.

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V&A , Brompton Until Sunday February 14 2016

Art shows opening this December

The Inoperative Community

This free group exhibition of experimental film and video from the 1970s explores ideas of social relations and community. Curated by film specialist Dan Kidner, the show will present a varied programme of works by over 20 artists including Stephen Dwoskin, Luke Fowler, Jean-Luc Godard, Stuart Marshall and Yvonne Rainer, who were concerned with radical movements and political activism between 1968 and 1984. 

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Raven Row , Spitalfields Thursday December 3 2015 - Sunday February 14 2016

The London Illustration Fair

London’s only illustration-dedicated fair returns with a 3-day event of artist led stands, workshops, live djs and pop-up food stalls. Showcasing the most innovative and exciting illustrators, printmaker’s and draftsman working in London today, this is the perfect place to pick up a pre-Christmas present as prices start at £5.

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Bargehouse , South Bank Friday December 4 2015 - Sunday December 6 2015

Independent Ceramic Market

Organised by the people behind the DIY Art Market and Hackney Flea Market, this free weekend market will showcase over 50 ceramicists. With a diverse range of original ceramics for sale from lamps, tableware and vases to sculptures and unique pieces, this is the ideal location for discovering a new wave of ceramic artists including Amy Worrall, El Aich Designs, Concrete Jungles and Sean Roy Parker.

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Saturday December 5 2015 - Sunday December 6 2015

Heman Chong: An Arm, a Leg and Other Stories

The Singaporean artist, whose practice incorporates photography, performance and writing, will cover the floor of the South London Gallery’s main space with  ‘Monument to the people we've conveniently forgotten’, an installation of one million blacked out business cards that explores codes of behavior.

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South London Gallery , Camberwell Friday December 11 2015 - Sunday February 28 2016

Rose English: A Premonition of the Act

For the past decade, the celebrated performance artist, Rose English has been working with Chinese acrobats, filming their performances and rehearsals. At Camden, she will present a three channel video installation of her footage alongside a 70-minute sound installation of operatic voices and percussion. 

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Camden Arts Centre , Frognal Saturday December 12 2015 - Sunday February 21 2016

Further ahead

Champagne Life

To mark the Saatchi Gallery’s thirtieth birthday, it will present its first exhibition of all-female artists. Over the last three decades, Charles Saatchi has been collecting the work of emerging and established artists including Jenny Saville, Paula Rego, Tracey Emin, Alice Anderson and Phoebe Unwin. Here, that extensive collection will celebrate the rich and diverse practices of female artists without making a feminist point.

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Saatchi Gallery , Chelsea Wednesday January 13 2016 - Sunday March 6 2016

London Art Fair

The celebrated fair dedicated to Modern British and contemporary art returns to the Business Design Centre for its 28th edition. Continuing with their museum partnership, this year's fair partner, the Jerwood Gallery in Hastings will show important works from their collection in a specially curated show, 'Coast'. 'Dialogues', a collaborative initiative bringing together invited galleries and their emerging artists, will be curated this year by Natasha Hoare. And Photo50 will showcase photographic works loosely based on Jean-Luc Godard's film, Masculin Féminin. 

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Business Design Centre , Angel Wednesday January 20 2016 - Sunday January 24 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.

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National Portrait Gallery , Leicester Square Thursday February 11 2016 - Sunday May 22 2016


Luci S
Luci S

I would also REALLY appreciate such a thing. 

Mary G
Mary G

It would be really good if you could produce an easily printable listing of all the art events/galleries/shows that are on in London.  It is quite hard to get an overview from your listings as the listings seem to have been bundled into a short list under separate headings.  I would envisage a full list of both contemporary and traditional art - whether at museums, public or private galleries - etc.  Basically a fully comprehensive list - which can be printed off easily.  Any chance?