Top 10 art exhibitions in London

Our critics' pick of the must-see exhibitions this season

0

Comments

Add +
1
Head of a Peasant', 1928-29, by Kazimir Malevich

Head of a Peasant', 1928-29, by Kazimir Malevich © The State Russian Museum, St Petersburg

Malevich

  • Rated as: 5/5

If you know one thing about Kazimir Malevich (1879-1935), it’s that he is the creator of the suprematist ‘Black Square’, the first and last word in abstraction, painting’s absolute zero. Knowing this lends a fair amount of anticipation to the initial rooms of this compelling retrospective. When is it going to come, this avant-garde fetish object?

  1. Tate Modern Bankside, SE1 9TG
  2. Tue Jul 29 - Sun Oct 26
More info
2

British Folk Art

  • Rated as: 5/5

My wife once painted a sign for a local pick-your-own strawberry farm, and it got stolen within a week. It got stolen because it was good. This is by way of illustrating the very basic transaction at work in this Tate Britain show. It is full of brilliantly executed, unselfconscious works of sublime creativity.

  1. Tate Britain Millbank, SW1P 4RG
  2. Tue Jul 29 - Sun Sep 7
More info
3
Percy Wyndham Lewis, A Battery Shelled, 1919

Percy Wyndham Lewis, A Battery Shelled, 1919 digitised by Ted Dearberg (IWM)

Truth and Memory: British Art of the First World War

  • Rated as: 5/5
  • Free

The war was just too big, confided William Kennington after he had completed his masterpiece ‘The Kensingtons at Laventie’ in 1915, one of the first things you’ll see in the ‘Memory’ section of this captivating two-part show. The authorities had hoped that Kennington would make more paintings to rival his pin-sharp, quietly devastating depiction of his unit – knackered, wounded, each soldier caught in a moment of reflection after their march back to billets from the trenches. But he couldn’t do it. The war was just too big.

  1. Imperial War Museum Lambeth Rd, SE1 6HZ
  2. Until Sun Mar 8
More info
4

Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs

  • Rated as: 5/5

When illness took its toll and that giant of twentieth century French art Henri Matisse could no longer paint, he turned to to scissors and paper. The works he created in this very late period become some of his most iconic. Though he may have lost his ability to handle a paintbrush, he lost none of his brilliant vision and compositional know-how. The 120 works on display here will be amongst the best you will see in this country this year. Mad for Matisse: leading contemporary artists pay tribute to the master here. Read about all the reunited masterpieces in London this year here.

  1. Tate Modern Bankside, SE1 9TG
  2. Tue Jul 29 - Sun Sep 7
More info
5

Gilbert & George: Scapegoating Pictures for London

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Free

Never have kisses seemed more self-consciously sardonic than in Gilbert & George’s ‘Scapegoating Pictures for London’. Each multi-panel photomontage bears the artists’ signatures along with a couple of Xs. These are constants in a shifting sea of inflammatory signifiers. It’s the old contemporary art ‘light touch paper, stand well back’ trick, repeated, scaled up and repeated again for good measure.

  1. White Cube Bermondsey Bermondsey Street, SE1 3TQ
  2. Tue Jul 29 - Thu Aug 28
More info
6

Art and Life: Ben Nicholson, Winifred Nicholson, Christopher Wood, Alfred Wallis, William Staite Murray, 1920-31

  • Rated as: 4/5

First there were Ben and Winifred, just married, painting the same scenes side by side like proto-modernist peas in a pod. Then along came Christopher, troubled and ambitious, who’d been to Paris to meet Picasso and wanted to be the most famous painter in Britain. Together, Ben and Winifred Nicholson and Christopher ‘Kit’ Wood made the kind of faltering steps towards modernism that render Britain’s early twentieth-century art history such a pleasant if slightly plodding affair. Throw in some biographical detail, some letters and diary entries, though, and you end up with something far pacier.

  1. Dulwich Picture Gallery Gallery Rd, SE21 7AD
  2. Tue Jul 29 - Sun Sep 21
More info
7

Dennis Hopper: The Lost Album

  • Rated as: 4/5

Many stars claim that had they not been actors, they’d have been hooligans; by all accounts Dennis Hopper (1936-2010) managed to be both. In 1955 aged 19, he appeared in ‘Rebel Without a Cause’. In 1961, wife-to-be Brooke Hayward gave him a camera and for the next few years, until distracted by writing and directing the 1969 film ‘Easy Rider’, he interspersed his acting roles and drug-related insanity with thousands of black-and-white photographs.

  1. Royal Academy of Arts Burlington House, Piccadilly, W1J 0BD
  2. Tue Jul 29 - Sun Oct 19
Buy tickets
8
Giulio Paolini ESSERE O NO ESSERE Macro - Roma a cura di Bartolomeo Pietromarchi

Giulio Paolini ESSERE O NO ESSERE Macro - Roma a cura di Bartolomeo Pietromarchi © ph. Luciano Romano 2012

Giulio Paolini: To Be Or Not To Be

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Free

Right at the start of this excellent retrospective is a lifesize image of Giulio Paolini, arms folded, wearing some cool shades). He’s facing you, except he stands partially hidden behind the bars of a wooden stretcher. Dating from the mid-1960s, it’s a typically stylish, typically thought-provoking piece by the seventysomething Italian conceptualist, encapsulating ideas that have occupied him throughout his career: that the artist is largely irrelevant; that the only important thing to consider is the object that you see before you.

  1. Whitechapel Gallery 77-82 Whitechapel High St, E1 7QX
  2. Tue Jul 29 - Sun Sep 14
More info
9

Constant Dullaart: Stringendo, Vanishing Mediators

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Free

In 1987 John Knoll took a picture of his wife Jennifer on holiday. He didn’t keep this beautiful, private snapshot to himself. No, he used it as the demonstration image in his pioneering photo software. That familiar image of Jennifer sat topless in the surf of a tropical beach has now been twisted and manipulated by countless users as they learned the ropes of Photoshop. And it’s all over this show of young Dutch artist Constant Dullaart’s work.

  1. Carroll/Fletcher 56-57 Eastcastle St, W1W 8EQ
  2. Tue Jul 29 - Thu Jul 31
More info
10

Yvonne Rainer: Dance Works

  • Rated as: 4/5

How do you freeze-frame a moment or capture everyday activities in a dance piece? The New York-based dancer, choreographer, filmmaker and writer Yvonne Rainer might have some top tips, seeing as she revolutionised contemporary dance to do just that. Focusing on Rainer’s output between 1961 and 1972 this exhibition of stunning black-and-white photographs and grainy videos of various performances, along with her writings and diagrammatical instructions, reveals how she successfully expanded the parameters of conventional dance.

  1. Raven Row 56 Artillery Lane, E1 7LS
  2. Wed Jul 30 - Sun Aug 10
More info

Top art features

Latest art reviews

Find out what our critics make of London's new exhibitions

Top 10 art exhibitions

Our critics' pick of the must-see art exhibitions in town this season

London art exhibitions calendar

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

Art interviews

We talk to the biggest names and emerging talent in the art world


Users say

8 comments
Daryoush
Daryoush

Agree with all the commentators the new listing system is really hard to understand.

mark de novellis
mark de novellis

One of the bext exhibitions of 2013 is the Madge Gill: Medium & Visionary exhibition at Orleans House Gallery. This free retrospective brings together over a hundred stunning works by the UK's leading outsider artist - many of which have never been shown to the public before. There is still time to see it - it ends on 26 January 2014.

David I
David I

Totally agree with the comments here. London no longer has a proper listings magazine, which is a major loss, and the website is terrible. Cluttered, utterly confusing to navigate, I am frequently defeated just trying to find out what's on in the major galleries or where a particular film is showing. It's totally unfit for purpose. Bring back the magazine with listings.

Lamaline
Lamaline

Couldn't agree more. No more top 10. The essential and that's it!

robspackman
robspackman

A little of me died when i first saw the gutted form of the Timeout I love on my return to London after two years in South Africa. At least I thought I could still find the listings online. I was wrong. What have you done with them? Sitting with a pencil planning what to do in this wonderful but at times bewildering city was once one of the highlights of my week. No more. Why?

Liz Eyres
Liz Eyres

I agree with Nik Wood totally. I was so upset when Time Out in its old form (IE you could buy it from newsagents) ceased to be as it was the art listings that I mainly bought it for. Not only is it almost impossible for me to get a copy of it now as I am never in central London when it is distributed, but it lacks the straightforward and comprehensive listings that were in the old incarnation of the magazine. Please can you reintroduce them.

Nik Wood
Nik Wood

Why don't you do a list of what's on any more? I don't want "Top 10". I don''t want "Critics' Choices". I don't want "Opening today". I just want a comprehensive list of what shows are running now so that I can make up my own mind which to go to.