Top 10 art exhibitions in London

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

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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. Wed Apr 23 - Sun Sep 7
More info
2

Anna Arca

Under The Influence: John Deakin And The Lure Of Soho

  • Rated as: 5/5
  • Free

Soho is a permissive ghetto to which its inhabitants consign themselves. During the 1950s and ’60s, the photographer John Deakin was intimate with the area’s legendary drinking culture revolving around the Colony Room members’ bar, and his images formed the basis of important paintings by fellow habitué Francis Bacon.

  1. Photographers' Gallery 16-18 Ramillies St, W1F 7LW
  2. Wed Apr 23 - Sun Jul 13
More info
3

Richard Mosse: The Enclave

  • Rated as: 5/5
  • Free

At the back of the NCP car park in Soho there’s an unexpected art experience waiting for you. There’s no room for cars here, only contemplation as you take in the beguiling photographs and immersive film installation by Irish artist Richard Mosse.

  1. The Vinyl Factory Space Brewer Street Car Park, 17 Peter St, W1F 0AL
  2. Wed Apr 23 - Sat Apr 26
More info
4

Richard Hamilton

  • Rated as: 5/5

He’s always been more than daddy pop, of course, but until this mighty 18-room retrospective came along, you may have struggled to grasp just how much more. Now, Hamilton’s ‘Richard the first’ tag is revealed in wave after cool wave of innovation.

  1. Tate Modern Bankside, SE1 9TG
  2. Wed Apr 23 - Mon May 26
More info
5
Vincent Van Gogh, 'The Sunflowers', 1889

Vincent Van Gogh, 'The Sunflowers', 1889 © Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam (Vincent van Gogh Foundation)

Vincent van Gogh: The Sunflowers

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Free

Paintings don't come much more iconic than van Gogh's incredible 'Sunflowers', and this show brings two of them together for the first time in 65 years. In 1888, the Dutchman painted five versions of these blooms while waiting for the arrival in Arles, south of France, of his friend, the painter Paul Gauguin.

  1. National Gallery Trafalgar Square, WC2N 5DN
  2. Wed Apr 23 - Sun Apr 27
More info
6

The Great War in Portraits

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Free

Wars are remembered in numbers. Soldiers and civilians become figures and statistics. One hundred years after the Great War, it’s easy to lose sight of the reasons for conflict, to forget what started it all and how we justified sacrificing so many lives. The works in the National Portrait Gallery’s show of paintings from WWI put faces to the figures, but also let you make a connection to those tragedies – they help you grasp humanity a bit better.

  1. National Portrait Gallery St Martin's Place, WC2H 0HE
  2. Wed Apr 23 - Sun Jun 15
More info
7
Martin Creed at Hayward Gallery, London. 
Photo by Linda Nylind. 26/1/2014.

Martin Creed at Hayward Gallery, London. Photo by Linda Nylind. 26/1/2014. Linda Nylind

Martin Creed: What's the point of it?

  • Rated as: 4/5

He won the Turner Prize by turning the lights one and off in the gallery, Olympic runners have sprinted through the Tate Britain for him and he’s scripted musical accompaniments for the lifts in the Royal Festival Hall. Now the cacophonous works of the British artist from his earliest pieces to large-scale installation can be experienced under one roof, oh and the outdoor terrace. What's on Martin Creed's mind? Find out here.

  1. Hayward Gallery Southbank Centre, SE1 8XX
  2. Wed Apr 23 - Mon May 5
More info
8

© the artist/White Cube, photo: Jack Hems

Miroslaw Balka: Die Traumdeutung 75,32m AMSL

  • Rated as: 4/5

The whistled theme tune from ‘The Great Escape’ haunts your steps as you walk through Miroslaw Balka’s shows at the Freud Museum in Hampstead and White Cube in St James's. It’s an oddly jolly soundtrack for the noted Polish miserablist to have chosen for his first UK show since his 2009 Turbine Hall box, but then everything here is smothered in a cloud of possible interpretations.

  1. Freud Museum Maresfield Gardens, NW3 5SX
  2. Wed Apr 23 - Sun May 25
More info
9

Richard Deacon

  • Rated as: 4/5

For objects that are fixed and immobile, Richard Deacon’s sculptures are astonishingly full of life. Everywhere you look in this retrospective of the British artist there’s some monumental wooden form curving and coursing through space, some linear shape arcing or undulating, or some solid mass bulging suggestively. It’s exhilarating stuff.

  1. Tate Britain Millbank, SW1P 4RG
  2. Wed Apr 23 - Sun Apr 27
More info

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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.