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New exhibitions in London

Get your dose of culture at one of these top new exhibitions in London

© Emma Rios

Our round-up of new exhibitions in London will help you keep updated with the dizzying array of recently opened displays and collections in London. We've also brought together the top ten museum exhibitions in London and free exhibitions going on the capital, so you'll morph into a culture vulture before you even know it. Think there's a great show we've missed? Tell us in the comments below.

RECOMMENDED: our full guide to exhibitions in London

Exciting new exhibitions in London

Missoni Art Colour

The stripey overhead lighting makes it clear that the Fashion and Textile Museum is under occupation by Missoni, the Italian family firm founded in 1953 and famous for its stripes and zig-zags.  Before you get to the meat of the exhibition, there’s a screening room – think of it as the antipasti – with films showing what it takes to make a Missoni garment. 

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Fashion and Textile Museum , London Bridge Until Sunday September 4 2016

Pre-Raphaelites on Paper: Victorian Drawings from the Lanigan Collection

Victorian painting is generally thought of as a pretty stilted, academic affair. The problem is that a lot of it looks like it wants to be more like drawing – particularly those paintings by the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood who, in harking back to some fantasy of pre-Renaissance purity, created a style that emphasised crisp outlines and fussy detail over traditional painterly effects.

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Leighton House Museum , Kensington Until Sunday May 29 2016

Undressed: A Brief History of Underwear

Get ready to have shirts and skirts stripped back to focus on the skivvies that shape the body below at this exhibition charting how underwear supports and firms the figure, as well as the sexual and sensual appeal it holds. Around 200 garments and accessories will be on display, from long cotton drawers worn by Queen Victoria's mother to an Antonio Berardi dress sported by Gwyneth Paltrow. Designs from the eighteenth century to the present day will have you blushing, among them rib-crushing corsets, steamy Agent Provocateur skimpies, Y-fronts by David Beckham for H&M and men's 'genital-enhancing' briefs by aussieBum.

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V&A , Brompton Until Sunday March 12 2017

The Other Dickens: Discovering Catherine

The author of such classics as ‘A Christmas Carol’ and ‘Oliver Twist’ might appear from his writing to be a family man at heart. Indeed, Charles Dickens and his wife Catherine produced ten children, and the couple were close to both of Catherine’s sisters. 

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Charles Dickens Museum , Holborn Until Sunday November 20 2016

Engineering the World: Ove Arup and the Philosophy of Total Design

This exhibition charts the career of Ove Arup (1895-1988), an incredibly influential engineer of the 20th century whose projects include the Sydney Opera House and Penguin Pool at the London Zoo. Large scale prototypes, building components, digital animations, models and previously unseen archive material shed light on Arup's design philosophy

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V&A , Brompton Until Sunday October 9 2016

Paul Strand: Photography and Film for the 20th Century

Critics' choice

The American photographer Paul Strand (1890-1976) was one of the first to make a photographic abstraction (intentionally). Inspired by the latest trends in European art – which he saw in shows of Cézanne, Picasso, Matisse and others in New York – he was applied a new-fangled language of geometric surface design, and a new way of looking at the modern world, initially to objects such as furniture (and its shadows), then to the streets of Manhattan.

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V&A , Brompton Until Sunday July 3 2016

This Is A Voice

Through exploration of vocal tracts, speech devices and restless minds, this exhibition sheds light on the human voice and why we make the weird and wonderful sounds we do. Live performances, demonstrations and visuals examine the voice from its beginnings within the body to the sounds that ring out in our heads. 

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Wellcome Collection , Bloomsbury Until Sunday July 31 2016

Leonardo da Vinci: The Mechanics of Genius

As you pitched up to work this morning in your driverless submersible gyrocopter, you probably didn’t stop to consider that pretty much every bit of kit at your disposal (well, some of it, at least) began life in the mind and on the drawing board of sixteenth-century painter and inventor Leonardo da Vinci. Yet, as revealed by this mind-boggling offering from the Science Museum, without Leo and his restless desire to shake up the bits of the world he knew and divine the bits he didn’t, we’d be stuck – possibly in the sixteenth century. 

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Science Museum , Brompton Until Sunday September 4 2016

Curtain Up: Celebrating 40 Years of Theatre in London and New York

This glam little exhibition makes the V&A's permanent 'Theatre and Performance' collection look positively drab with its flashing lights, sequins and showstoppers. It's a collection of posters, costumes, artefacts and recordings that represent the biggest shows in West End and Broadway history. It celebrates 40 years of the Olivier awards, and you won't forget it – most of the exhibit label space is taken up with listing exactly who won which gong and when.

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V&A , Brompton Until Wednesday August 31 2016

Above and Beyond

Experience the marvellous world of flight and aerospace innovation at 'Above and Beyond', an immersive exhibition offering a look at the past and future of the science behind flight. Expect interactive experiences using flight simulation, augmented reality and virtual reality.

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National Maritime Museum , Greenwich Friday May 27 2016 - Monday August 29 2016

Opening of the new Tate Modern

Critics' choice

You can’t miss the big art story of 2016: it’s ten storeys high. On June 17, a new Tate Modern will be unveiled when its extension, known as The Switch House (that’s the big, twisty building that’s been rising up behind the Bankside building for the past couple of years) opens to the public.

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Tate Modern , South Bank Friday June 17 2016

Mary Heilmann

Arriving like a heady blast of ozone comes this retrospective of the US artist who, for the past five decades, has dazzled with witty, exuberant, sensuous paintings. Heilmann, born in San Francisco in 1940, has forged a singular path, riffing on various styles of abstraction – hard-edge painting, expressionist brushwork, the dot, the splodge, the stripe, the dribble – in a deceptively casual manner. In one sense, she’s an avid recycler – a re-inventor of the modernist wheel, if you like. 

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Whitechapel Gallery , Whitechapel Wednesday June 8 2016 - Sunday August 21 2016

Cycle Revolution

The bicycle is the pinnacle of simple but effective human design. It has evolved from nineteenth-century push-along hobby horses through patently ridiculous penny farthing ‘ordinaries’ to the ubiquitous epitome of functionality it is today. So how do you improve on perfection? And why would you want to? This new exhibition at the Design Museum doesn’t answer those questions, but gives us plenty to think about.

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Design Museum , Bermondsey Until Thursday June 30 2016

Deutsche Börse Photography Prize

The most prestigious photographic award exhibition in the country, which gives a top prize of £30,000 for the best exhibition or publication of the past year by a living photographer of any nationality, returns with four new nominees: Laura El-Tantawy, Erik Kessels, Trevor Paglen and Tobias Zielony. This year’s diverse shortlist reflects upon political concerns, identity and migration.

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Photographers' Gallery , Soho Until Sunday July 3 2016

Find the best bits of London's museums

The seven wonders of…

The capital is packed with top London attractions and museums, but once you've decided which cultural hotspot to explore, where do you start? 

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By: Phoebe Trimingham


Lisa Hassell
Lisa Hassell

Inkygoodness presents Beermat Characters at The Coningsby Gallery, 29th April - 4th May Beermat Characters is the latest project by Inkygoodness, inviting illustrators, artists & character designers to transform a beer mat (coaster) into a character. Showcasing the talents of over 80 artists & illustrators tasked with the challenge to transform a simple beermat into a character, our latest project will launch on Tue 30th April 2013 at the Coningsby Gallery in central London, with music, plenty of drinks on offer and a great atmosphere guaranteed! Expect a diverse selection of artworks from handmade to digital, felt plush, paper-cut outs, inked & painted, 3D sculptures & much much more! http://inkygoodness.com/blog/inkygoodness-beermat-characters/