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Top ten art exhibitions in London

Check out our critics' pick of the best art currently on show in the capital

'The Infinite Mix' at 180 the Strand

Shortcut it straight to the good stuff by heading to one of the very best art exhibitions taking place in the capital right now. From modern and fancy, to classical and serene, we've got your next art outing sorted. Or, if you're skint until pay day, how about trying one of London's many free exhibitions instead?

The ten best art exhibitions in London

1

Abstract Expressionism

Recommended

If you don’t leave this show feeling completely overwhelmed and totally breathless, you’re either blind, dead or a bit of a dick. The RA has pulled together room after room of paintings and sculptures from probably the most important art movement of the twentieth century and it’s staggering. The abstract expressionists tore painting apart and restructured it into something bigger than it ever had been: more abstract, more passionate, bigger, bolder. 

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Royal Academy of Arts , Mayfair Until Monday January 2 2017
2

Olivia Plender

The Kibbo Kift Kindred (no connection to the KKK) were a British outdoorsy social movement set up in 1920 as a non-militaristic, co-educational alternative to the Boy Scouts. It was pretty weird – they hoped that nature play would eventually lead to world peace – and it’s referenced by London-born Olivia Plender as part of her new solo show in photographic ink drawings that depict the brethren waving flags in the countryside in full regalia.

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Maureen Paley , Bethnal Green Wednesday September 28 2016 - Saturday October 1 2016
3

Giuseppe Penone: Fui, Saro, Non Sono (I was, I will be, I am not)

Getting old is the worst. I’m only 31 but I know it’s all been downhill since I turned 18. So I can only imagine how Giuseppe Penone feels. The dude’s almost 70 now, and it’s weighing on him: age, ageing, time flitting by, youth evaporating. And that’s what this big, spacious show by the founding member of the Italian Arte Povera movement is all about. You’re greeted by a mesh wall filled with spruce leaves.

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Marian Goodman Gallery , Soho Until Friday October 21 2016
4

The Infinite Mix

Video art is so fucking boring. Okay, not always. Some of it’s great. Loads of it, even. But invariably, gallery shows of video art, especially group shows, involve countless hours of over-long, over-complicated, poorly shot nonsense in black and white, with loads of naked people reciting Baudelaire and rubbing ketchup into each other’s boobs. Not at ‘The Infinite Mix’, though.

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180 the Strand , Temple Tuesday September 27 2016 - Sunday December 4 2016
5

Jack McConville: Capital Depths

Recommended

‘Invest in your future, don’t dilute your finances, 401k, make sure it’s low risk, then get some real estate, 4.25 percent thirty-year mortgage.’ That bit of sound financial advice doesn’t come from Forbes or The Financial Times, but from Kendrick Lamar in the song 'YOLO'. Fiscal savviness: it’s hip, it’s now, and it’s everywhere. It’s in music. It’s even in art, because life is all about that cash money. Young Jack McConville knows.

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Ibid Gallery , Fitzrovia Until Saturday October 1 2016
6

Dorothea Tanning

You wait decades for an exhibition of erotically-tinged flower paintings by important twentieth-century American female artists (don’t you?), and then two show up at once. Like sexy, arty buses. The Tate has its Georgia O’Keeffe retrospective, and now Alison Jacques Gallery has just opened a show of surrealist Dorothea Tanning’s late-career paintings.

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Alison Jacques , Fitzrovia Tuesday September 27 2016 - Saturday October 1 2016
7

Dinh Q Le: The Colony

You think your job’s shit? You’ve got nothing on the labourers who harvest guano on the Chincha Islands off the coast of Peru. Every few years they head across the ocean to these barren rocks to collect sack-loads of guano – bird shit – to sell as fertiliser.  But the trade in guano isn’t what it used to be. Once, nations went to war over these shitty islands because of how valuable guano was.

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Bussey Building , Peckham Wednesday September 28 2016 - Sunday October 9 2016
8

William Eggleston Portraits

Legendary Memphis photographer William Eggleston has created a whole genre of psychologically ambiguous Americana, much of it centred on apparently mundane bits of his home town. I expected that isolating his portraits from the rest of his work wouldn’t work. How would they fare, without all those existential landscapes and unanswered questions to problematise them? 

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National Portrait Gallery , Leicester Square Until Sunday October 23 2016
9

Georgia O'Keeffe

Recommended

Forty-four million dollars is a lot of money. That’s how much someone spent on a painting by the American artist Georgia O’Keeffe (1887-1986) in 2014. It set a record for a work of art by a woman. That last part there is important, because the most ever paid for a work of art by a man is around $300m. O’Keeffe doesn’t even make the top 50, not even close.

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Tate Modern , South Bank Until Sunday October 30 2016
10

Jeff Koons: Now

Jeff Koons is why people loathe modern art. According to the haters, the American superstar is a cynical artistic oligarch, using shock and pop culture to make his pile: he made porn-art, he ripped off comic books, he did balloon sculptures – and he’s become one of the most expensive living artists in the process. So it’s no surprise that Damien Hirst has a massive collection of Koons originals, which he is displaying here in his fancy gallery. Hirst and Koons, a match made in hell.

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Newport Street Gallery , Lambeth Tuesday September 27 2016 - Sunday October 16 2016

Next up: the best photography shows

Photography in London

Addicted to Instagram or permanently attached to your SLR? Even if your camera roll is totally empty, you'll find a way to appreciate London photography; we have the widest variety of styles in some of the best exhibitions at the most beautiful galleries. Find them in a flash with our guide to photography in London.

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By: Time Out London Art

Comments

13 comments
Caroline L
Caroline L

I totally agree with the comments made below. I would also like to see a listing of a wider range of galleries not just the critics choice. Time out in the past was my life line for information on new spaces and galleries. The days of Sarah Kent are well gone !! Please if the magazine is now free include more gallery listings, not just the critics choice

e c
e c

as a gallery owner and someone who found many artistic wonders over the years thanks to timeout the current incarnation makes me very sad - noone from Timeout ever even comes to my gallery which is one of the largest in the east end because there is no endeavour to find the new any more - there is a cost to giving away magazines for free - the magazine is guilty but so are we all

Liz D
Liz D moderator Staff Writer

@e c Hi there, please send any upcoming exhibition info to art@timeout.com

Claire M
Claire M

Agree with all the postings below.  Used to love the many pages of listings which I found led me to all sorts of unexpected delights.  I read the broadsheets to get the reviews of a few big shows, & thought of Time Out as the way to explore & find out what's going on.  The nearest things now are the weekend Guardian Guide - can others suggest good alternatives?

Robert F
Robert F

Totally agree with other recent posts. Listings should be centre stage - the backbone of TO's offering.

Jan G
Jan G

Non less than the World are expecting listings from TO. It made us find our way through the most incredible Metropolis over decades. All over now?

Jan from Germany

k f
k f

I don't usually add comments to any sites, but I feel compelled to voice my agreement with all the comments below. I want to see the wide range of art events that are on in London not just the ones the critics are telling me I should see. Time out used to be the first point of call - I won't use it any more.

BenFlash
BenFlash

45 isn't old or is it? I find the Internet has all the visual charm and clarity of those dreadful jelly sweet game apps that even intelligent people seem to become hooked on. The layout of the web seems to have become an explosion of headlines and adverts mashed into an impenetrable visual splash of confusion. With the galleries own websites - the simple question of what's on seems unanswerable. One is met with a deluge of screen filling design and information jumping around the simple need to know what, when and where. So with Timeout the desire of the user to know what's on and further more the added all important opinion of what's on seems impossible to find in a editorially controlled manner i.e the simple top 10 list. A world influenced by the majestic mess of Facebook. Is this our lot?

D H
D H

Please please please please. This website is near useless now. You can't search for anything. We're dependent on Editors making a list anything outside of those lists essentially is impossible to find. It seems given the tonnes of comments to this effect something akin to commercial suicide is happening at T.O towers. We still love you. Don't give up!

Segun L
Segun L

Oh for heavens sake, where are the listings? Talk about shooting yourself in the foot. Time Out is, by definition, a listings magazine, is it not? So, where are they? Ohhhh.... Now, I've seen all the other comments for the last six months. You obviously don't care anymore about user experience. Is this obliqueness an advertiser requirement or just sheer editorial bloodymindedness?