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London art exhibitions calendar

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

© Tokyo Gallery+BTAP
Ushio Shinohara, 'Doll Festival', 1966

Get your diary out for a new season of must-see exhibitions in 2015, which include Tate Modern's 'The Ey Exhibition: Sonia Delaunay', Hayward's 'Carsten Holler: Decision', Tate Britain's 'Barbara Hepworth' retrospective, the National Gallery's 'Goya: The Portraits', Tate Modern's 'The World Goes Pop' and the Royal Academy's Ai Weiwei exhibition.

Art shows opening this August

Vivian Maier

Incorrigibly private, Vivian Maier’s secret life as a photographer wasn’t discovered until boxes of over 100,000 negatives and undeveloped film rolls were bought at auction two years before her death. Thanks in part to the documentary film ‘Finding Vivian Maier’, she is no longer an unknown photographic talent and joins the ranks of Brassai, Cartier-Bresson and Walker Evans. It was Maier’s day job as a nanny that enabled her, either on her days off or with the children in tow, to trawl the streets of Chicago and New York for unsuspecting subjects who she captured with her Rolliflex. Here, Maier’s curious eye is revealed in many previously unseen captivating black-and-white images that pay as much attention to the downtrodden as to the well-heeled.

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Beetles & Huxley, Mayfair Monday August 31 2015 - Saturday September 5 2015

Thomas Ruff: Nature Morte

In the age of digital photography, the influential German artist’s new photograms of floral subjects herald the importance of the film negative.

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Gagosian Davies St, Mayfair Monday August 31 2015 - Saturday September 26 2015

Celina Teague: I think therefore I #

For all their bright flare, Teague’s latest paintings actually have a dark undertone as they respond to the global atrocities reported via social media. Consumed by the proliferation of news stories about abductions, beheadings, uprisings and riots abound on the Internet, Teague began interpreting the growing number of hashtags used to alert more people to the unbelievable events to question what happens once the hashtag has lost its potency.

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Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery, Wandsworth Tuesday September 1 2015 - Saturday September 5 2015

Art shows opening this September

The EY Exhibition: The World Goes Pop

Critics' choice

The pop art phenomenon entranced artists all over the world from Latin America to Asia, throughout Europe and the Middle East. Although popular culture including advertising, movies, music and packaging gave artists the impetus to create visually stimulating and engaging works that celebrated consumer culture, it also gave them the means to critique the political and social climate. This exhibition of over 200 works created between the 1960s and 1970s reveals how artists from different countries put their individual spin on pop art.

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Tate Modern, South Bank Thursday September 17 2015 - Sunday January 24 2016

Astronomy Photographer of the Year

Once again you can expect to see remarkable feats of astrophotography at the seventh Astronomy Photographer of the Year exhibition. It’s a chance to see magical views of both our own night sky and of galaxies far, far away. The winning spacey visions come from dozens of professional and amateur snappers in various categories including ‘Planets, Comets and Asteroids’, ‘Stars and Nebulae’, ‘Galaxies’ and ‘Young Astronomy Photographer of the Year’ for under-16s.

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Royal Observatory, Greenwich Friday September 18 2015 - Wednesday December 23 2015

Jumana Manna

Music and politics merge in the Berlin-based, Palestinian artist’s first UK solo show. Within a sculptural installation, Manna will screen her new film. Based on her research of broadcast radio during the British mandate in Palestine, Manna will use contemporary music to explore the cultural traditions of Jerusalem.

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Chisenhale Gallery, Mile End Friday September 18 2015 - Sunday November 22 2015

Ai Weiwei

Critics' choice

He may still not be allowed to travel out of China, but that doesn’t stop Beijing-based Ai Weiwei from exhibiting all over the world. Known for his openly critical opinion of the Chinese government, he remains one of the countries most important artistic exports and a voice for a generation disenchanted by oppressive political regimes. In 2011 the Royal Academy made him an Honorary Academician and will celebrate his visionary approach to art making with this, the first extensive British survey. Ai’s three-decade career will be mapped through his work that’s informed by personal experiences such as his 2011 detention and emphasises the importance of creative freedom.

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Royal Academy of Arts, Mayfair Saturday September 19 2015 - Sunday December 13 2015

Prem Sahib: Side On

You may know Sahib from his occasional club night Anal House Meltdown organised with fellow artists Eddie Peake and George Henry Longly that were hosted in sweaty basement spaces in Dalston and Haggerston. Unsurprisingly Sahib’s artistic practice draws upon the encounters in such establishments and the way these architectural locations actively bring people together. For his first institutional show, the London-based artist will present new and recent work that reflects upon sexuality, intimacy and the gay community.

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ICA, St James' Thursday September 24 2015 - Sunday November 15 2015

Deptford X

The established South London art-fest returns with another ambitious line-up of exhibitions and events in galleries, studios and other venues across Deptford. This year's lead artist, Janette Parris – who is creating a new mural about safer cycling for Peckham – has invited local and international artists to create works relevant to the area that will be included in 'Deptford Conversations' exhibition hosted at the festival’s first permanent HQ in a former distillery.

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Venues in Deptford, Deptford Friday September 25 2015 - Sunday October 4 2015

LAPADA Art & Antiques Fair

105 distinguished members of the Association of Art and Antiques Dealers gather in Berkeley Square to sell a wide variety of art, furniture, textiles, jewellery, decorative arts, paintings, sculpture, ceramics and design pieces . With prices starting at £500 and reaching £500,000, the fair caters for both the specialist collector and the first time buyer.

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Berkeley Square, Mayfair Monday September 21 2015 - Sunday September 27 2015

Art shows opening this October

Goya: The Portraits

Critics' choice

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 Wednesday October 7 2015 - Sunday January 10 2016

John Hoyland: Power Stations – Paintings 1964-1982

Critics' choice

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. This survey of 70 paintings that span the over half a century you can experience his 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

Zhang Ding

In 1991, the UK’s hard rock and heavy metal festival, Monsters of Rock, showcased Pantera, Metallica, AC/DC and The Black Crowes in Moscow. Shanghai-based new media artist Zhang Ding got Chinese bands to recreate this important concert in 2014. Here, ‘Orbit of Rock’ will transform the ICA’s theatre into a music stage so historically significant London gigs can be recreated.

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

The Amazing World of MC Escher

Critics' choice

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

The biggest contemporary carnival in London’s art calendar hits its thirteenth year in 2015. With last year's redesign and rebranding (now Frieze London), the fair returns to the south end of Regent's Park with 160 international galleries from over 25 countries exhibiting special presentations and emerging talent.

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

Frieze Masters

While Frieze London sells work made mostly after 2000, this sister fair, now in its fourth year, 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 - Sunday October 18 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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Thu Oct 15 - Sun Jan 31
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Art shows opening this November

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

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


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?