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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', Tate Britain's 'Barbara Hepworth' retrospective, 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 October

Emily Jacir: Europa

The first UK survey of the Israel artist’s poetically political works from the last two decades. Interweaving biographical narrative with various histories, Jacir confronts themes of migration, integration and her multifaceted relationship to Europe, Italy and the Mediterranean in her multi-disciplinary practice that encompasses sculpture, film, drawings, large-scale installations and photography.

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Whitechapel Gallery , Whitechapel Until Sunday January 3 2016

Jimmie Durham: Various Items and Complaints

This major survey of the American artist, poet, essayist and political activist will include new works and installation alongside a presentation of early works not seen before in the UK. Durham's multi-dimensional practice explores colonialism, Western culture, national identities and monuments through disparate paraphernalia, creating humourous interpretations of the powers that construct our world.

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Serpentine Gallery , Knightsbridge Until Sunday November 8 2015

Rachel Rose: Palisades

Winner of this year’s Frieze Artists Award, the American artist will create an immersive installation with two of her recent videos to echo our anxieties, the advancement of technology and relationship to the natural world.

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Serpentine Sackler Gallery , Knightsbridge Until Sunday November 8 2015

Burden of Proof: The Construction of Visual Evidence

Photography has proved to be the silent witness in many crimes. Providing factual evidence since the late 1800s, here, eleven case studies will be presented spanning the invention of metric photography with Alphonse Bertillon's sepia prints of crime scenes that assisted police investigations, judges and juries through to the reconstruction of a 2012 drone attack in Miranshah, Pakistan.

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Photographers' Gallery , Soho Until Sunday January 10 2016

Goya: The Portraits

The first ever show to focus on the portraits by Francisco de Goya y Lucientes, Spain’s leading artist in the late eighteenth century and one of the most psychologically revealing painters of all time. Although his famously bleak ‘Black Paintings’ are far too fragile to travel, there are two masterful and deeply moving self-portraits among the important international loans that will make this show a highlight of autumn 2015.

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National Gallery , Trafalgar Square Until Sunday January 10 2016

John Hoyland: Power Stations – Paintings 1964-1982

If you needed proof that Damien Hirst was his own man, then look no further than the first show in his immense new art museum in Vauxhall. From his 3,000-strong Murderme collection, which includes pieces by fellow YBAs including Sarah Lucas as well as his great hero, Francis Bacon, Hirst has chosen to inaugurate the space not with a famous name or a selection of greatest hits but with the paintings of the relatively unknown, late British abstractionist John Hoyland (1934-2011).

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Newport Street Gallery , Lambeth Thursday October 8 2015 - Sunday April 3 2016

Eddie Peake

For the 24th Curve commission, the young British artist will create an ambitious environment of scaffolding platforms and red velvet clad structures for a looped choreographed performance synchronised to interspersed video works about the dynamics of being in a relationship and unrequited love. Wanting to utilise the unusual architecture of the 90-metre long Curve gallery, Peake brings all the elements of his cross-disciplinary practice into action.

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Barbican Centre , Barbican Friday October 9 2015 - Sunday January 10 2016

Frank Auerbach

Considered Britain’s greatest living painter, the 83-year old artist has lived and worked in north London for the last sixty years, painting every day of the year but one. In this survey of 70 paintings, which span over half a century, you can experience Auerbach’s obsessive renderings of local scenes around Camden Town as well as portraits of close friends.

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Tate Britain , Westminster Friday October 9 2015 - Sunday March 13 2016

Jon Rafman

For his first major UK solo show, the Montreal-based artist continues to question the implications of our dependency on technological existence by blurring the line between the virtual and the real in his new film ‘Sticky Drama’ that features child Larpers (Live Action Role Players) acting out a fantasy adventue. You’ll also have the chance to try out the much-anticipated Oculus Rift virtual-reality headset within a fabricated environment where the imaginable becomes tangible.

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Zabludowicz Collection , Chalk Farm Thursday October 8 2015 - Sunday December 20 2015

The Hyundai Commission: Abraham Cruzvillegas

The Mexican artist, Abraham Cruzvillegas will inaugurate the Hyundai Commission this October in Tate Modern's monumental Turbine Hall. Still shrouded in secrecy, 'Empty Lot', which apparently will have a very particular London focus, will no doubt transform the biggest exhibition space in the capital.

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Tate Modern , South Bank Tuesday October 13 2015 - Sunday March 20 2016

Zhang Ding

For his October show in the ICA’s theatre, Zhang continues to challenge musical individuality by inviting different bands to play in unison on fabricated stages. Working with Dalston-based radio station NTS, Zhang has programmed a series of daily performances, creating a platform for creative experimentation.

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ICA , St James' Tuesday October 13 2015 - Sunday October 25 2015

The Amazing World of MC Escher

Having busted the block with its summer show of Eric Ravilious, Dulwich Picture Gallery looks set to have another hit on its hands with this survey of the Dutch graphic artist Maurits Cornelis Escher (1898–1972). He of the impossible perspectives, gravity defying waterfalls, buildings morphing into bodies and, most famously, stairs rising inexorably to nowhere is the subject of this retrospective comprising nearly 100 prints and drawings stretching across his career.

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Dulwich Picture Gallery , Dulwich Village Wednesday October 14 2015 - Sunday January 17 2016

Frieze London and Frieze Masters

The biggest contemporary carnival in London’s art calendar returns to Regent's Park. Frieze London, now in its thirteenth year caters to all your contemporary art needs with 160 galleries exhibiting solo presentations and emerging talent, special projects and a Live section dedicated to performative works. Where as Frieze Masters features over 130 international galleries selling high-end art made from the ancient era to the end of the twentieth century.

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Regent's Park , Regent's Park Wednesday October 14 2015 - Saturday October 17 2015

Lee Miller: A Woman's War

The Imperial War Museum's major autumn 2015 photography exhibition focuses on American fashion model, surrealist muse and photographer Lee Miller (1907-77). Divided into four sections, the show considers Miller's vision of women and their lives, and her own changing role in front of and behind the camera, as she moved across continents and between countries before, during and after WWII. 

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Imperial War Museum , Kennington Thursday October 15 2015 - Sunday January 31 2016

Giacometti: Pure Presence

We tend to think of Alberto Giacometti's skinny figures as embodiments of the human condition – containers of existential angst – rather than depictions of actual people. But the Swiss modernist sculptor (1901-1966) had a parallel artistic career as a portraitist. This show, which comprises over 60 works, including paintings, sculptures and drawings and which marks the fiftieth anniversary of Giacometti’s death, focuses on that parallel career.

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National Portrait Gallery , Leicester Square Thursday October 15 2015 - Sunday January 10 2016

The World of Charles and Ray Eames

You may well have sat in one of Charles and Ray Eameses iconic stack chairs and if not then your derriere has certainly sampled one of the thousand copies produced in their troves. The Eameses pioneering designs are known the world over and have been a guiding light for new generations of designers. This major retrospective focuses on their extraordinary laboratory, the Eames Office that produced more than just furniture but sought to address the demands of modern living. 

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Barbican Centre , Barbican Wednesday October 21 2015 - Sunday February 14 2016

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 Friday October 30 2015 - Sunday December 6 2015

Alexander Calder: Performing Sculpture

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 Wednesday November 11 2015 - Sunday April 3 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 Monday November 16 2015 - Friday September 30 2016

Julia Margaret Cameron

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 Saturday November 28 2015 - Sunday February 14 2016

Art shows opening this December

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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Hoxton Arches , Hoxton Friday December 4 2015 - Sunday December 6 2015


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?