Top 10 art exhibitions in London

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

Linda Nylind
Carsten Holler at the Hayward Gallery in London. Photo by Linda Nylind. 6/6/2015.

Fancy seeing an art show this weekend but no idea where to go? Well look no further. You can't go wrong if you head down to one of our ten favourite art exhibitions taking place in the capital right now.

1

The EY Exhibition: Sonia Delaunay

Something the Tate does very well is give unsung artistic genius the recognition it warrants. And Sonia Delaunay, the Russian artist who found her avant-garde voice in Paris at the beginning of the last century, should be lavished with as much appreciation as her extraordinary output deserves. Not wanting to fly the feminist banner too high, but this woman had one hell of an abstract flair, which she successfully applied to art, interiors and fashion.

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Tate Modern Until Sunday August 9 2015
2

Ravilious

Fair haired, tweed clad, a nice lad, Eric Ravilious (1903-42) looked like he could have bicycled straight out of one of his own paintings, perhaps waving to the stout cook outside ‘The Vicarage’ (1935) as he hastened home for tea – to crusty bread and flowers on the table. His is a uniquely comforting vision of Britishness (Englishness, really, and southern England at that) in the 1930s. A timeless one too – with its chalk giants and white horses carved into rolling Wiltshire hills and the South Downs. Which goes to explain why you can buy picnic throws, ‘Ravilious Limited Edition’ English Breakfast tea and ‘Blackcurrant Blighty Jam’ in the gallery shop. But Ravilious (the name is probably Huguenot, though he liked to affect that it was Cornish) isn’t merely a purveyor of a cosy, heritage industry idea of Britishness. 

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Dulwich Picture Gallery Until Sunday August 30 2015
3

Bruce Conner: Crossroads

Bruce Conner’s ‘Crossroads’ is one of the most beautiful, most mesmerising films you’re ever likely to see – not to mention one of the most terrifying, as well as one of the most banal. Made in 1976, it consists of archival footage of a nuclear explosion conducted by the US military 30 years earlier – part of their famous tests, codenamed Operation Crossroads, at Bikini Atoll in the Pacific Ocean – in which an atomic weapon, equivalent to 23,000 tons of TNT (identical to the bomb dropped the previous year on Nagasaki), was detonated 90 feet below the ocean’s surface. 

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Thomas Dane Until Saturday July 18 2015 Free
4

Carsten Höller: Decision

Carsten Höller’s art requires you to use your hands quite a lot. Whether it’s finding your way through pitch-black metal corridors from the entrance to the lower gallery; gripping on to the handrail of a flying machine that soars over Waterloo Bridge (above); attempting to get inside a giant die; taking a red and white pill that may or may not be a placebo or getting yourself in position before you whoosh down a slide upon exiting the show. Hands aside, the key element in the German-Belgian artist’s survey is decision-making, hence the exhibition’s title. 

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Hayward Gallery Until Monday September 7 2015
5

Victorian London in Photographs

Rapacious, unchecked development, a growing gulf between the richest and poorest and a realisation that modern life is damaging to mental health. Anyway, enough about London in 2015: here are some photos of dead people. There are plenty of contemporary resonances in these images of London from 1839 to 1901. One thing above all else drove Victorian photographers, and saw their technology evolve incredibly quickly: change. A

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London Metropolitan Archives Until Thursday October 8 2015 Free
6

Revelations: Experiments in Photography

‘Chickens scared by a torpedo’ may not be Eadweard Muybridge’s most popular work, but it’s definitely the one with the best title. In the 1870s the British photo pioneer broke new ground with his famous study of horses at full gallop. Now his shots of cluckers losing their cool are in an exhibition of science-related photos spanning the last 170 years. 

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Science Museum Until Sunday September 13 2015
7

Royal Academy Summer Exhibition

The year is 1769: James Cook lands in Tahiti, Napoleon Bonaparte is born in France and, in London, the newly-founded Royal Academy of Arts invites ‘artists of merit’ to submit paintings to its first annual open exhibition. If you’ve seen Timothy Spall’s ‘Mr Turner’ pimp his seascape to piss off John Constable in Mike Leigh’s 2014 film, you’ll have a sense of how lively this monster of a show has been over the centuries. These days you’re unlikely to witness fisticuffs over the framed prints but a spirit of competition still wafts through the oldest open-submission show in the world, now in its 247th year.

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Royal Academy of Arts Until Sunday August 16 2015
8

Zabludowicz Collection: 20 Years

Can you condense 20 years of collecting art into a coherent and engaging exhibition? Let alone capture the spirit of two philanthropic collectors and still be representative of two decades of art history? This show, which celebrates the passion, commitment and dedication to contemporary art of London residents Anita and Poju Zabludowicz, does just that. 

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Zabludowicz Collection Thursday July 9 2015 - Sunday August 16 2015 Free
9

Painting Paradise: The Art of the Garden

Part of Buckingham Palace, the Queen’s Gallery is in many ways the perfect venue for a show about gardens in art – it’s hard to tell where the floral shower bags in the gift shop end and the exhibition proper starts. Luckily, Buck House’s residents have a few knockout pictures and knick-knacks kicking around to suit the theme. Spanning 400 years of horticulturally inspired art, furniture and homeware from the Royal Collection, the show has everything from fifteenth-century painted Persian manuscripts to impossibly charming diamond-encrusted gold-and-enamel Fabergé cornflowers. 

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The Queen's Gallery Until Sunday October 11 2015
10

Pangaea II: New Art From Africa And Latin America

Nationality doesn’t seem to count for much in art today; new trends in Dakar can be assimilated in Dalston by lunchtime. Having scoured the globe over the past 30-odd years, collector Charles Saatchi must be more aware of this than most of us. Which makes the second part of his two-continent contemporary art survey a bit of a head scratcher.

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Saatchi Gallery Until Sunday September 6 2015 Free
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Comments

11 comments
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.

Ben F
Ben F

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?