Art

Art reviews and listings for London's best museum exhibitions and art galleries

9 exhibitions to get excited about this autumn
Art

9 exhibitions to get excited about this autumn

After a long, slow, barren summer, the art world is ramping back up for autumn. The Time Out Art team picks nine shows you can’t miss

The Hayward Gallery has a new exhibition and it's all about drag
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The Hayward Gallery has a new exhibition and it's all about drag

‘Drag: Self-portraits and Body Politics’ is opening on August 22 at the Hayward and here's why you need to pay it a visit.

Ten of the best arty weekends
Art

Ten of the best arty weekends

We've compiled a list of the best mini-breaks from London based on the top art galleries and sculpture parks you need to visit. Because there's nothing like dodging sheep poo in search of contemporary sculptures hidden in woodland.

Five things you need to know about 'Magic Realism: Art in Weimar Germany 1919-33'
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Five things you need to know about 'Magic Realism: Art in Weimar Germany 1919-33'

This month the gods of the Tate are smiling favourably upon cash-strapped Londoners, opening an exhibition of art from Weimar Germany that’s completely free to pop in and see. 

Five thing to see at 'Banksy, Greatest Hits: 2002-2008'
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Five thing to see at 'Banksy, Greatest Hits: 2002-2008'

Street art maverick Banksy is the nation’s graffiti sweetheart. For decades now he’s been covering walls around the world with his razor-sharp political observations. From kissing coppers to Molotov cocktails filled with flowers, Banksy – whoever the mysterious man is – has created images intended to both entertain and make you think. He’s divisive, though. Some people despise him with hatred so powerfully and overwhelmingly all-consuming that it makes them wish they didn’t have eyes. Other people adore him, and are desperate to plaster their flats with prints and editions of his wry observational art. Now Lazinc gallery in Mayfair has pulled together a show of his greatest hits from the years 2002 to 2008, in many ways one of Banksy’s golden eras – his equivalent of Picasso’s Blue Period, perhaps. Here are just five highlights from this small but packed exhibition.  Image courtesy of Lazinc  ‘Tesco Value Soup’  A play on Andy Warhol’s classic Campbell’s soup can, but with a Tesco twist. His Waitrose version isn’t quite as good.   Image courtesy of Lazinc Sunflowers from Petrol Station’ Van Gogh’s famous flowers have been left to wilt, a cathartic statement on the inevitability of death, surely. Image courtesy of Lazinc ‘Bronze Rat’ Here, Banksy has rendered one of his trademark rats in bronze, alluding to the famed bronzes of Edgar Degas, perhaps.    Image courtesy of Lazinc ‘Kissing Coppers’ It’s impossible to tell you how disappointing it is

The latest art reviews

Marcia Farquhar: DIFFIKUΛT
Art

Marcia Farquhar: DIFFIKUΛT

CGP’s Marcia Farquhar exhibition isn’t difficult to love, but it is difficult to define. Staged across the gallery’s two Southwark Park spaces, it’s basically a retrospective of a career spent creating indefinable pieces of performance art, installations and sculptures, lots of which wouldn't normally be in a gallery space. 

Time Out says
4 out of 5 stars
Courtauld Impressionists: From Manet to Cézanne
Art

Courtauld Impressionists: From Manet to Cézanne

Short of Banksy reinterpreting ‘Guernica’ accompanied by bottomless prosecco, it’s hard to think of a more solid banker of a show than this. The Courtauld Gallery is being refurbed for two years, but the decorators have hardly had time to stick the radio on, than its greatest impressionist hits are back on display, with support from iconic works from the National Gallery. 

Time Out says
4 out of 5 stars
Mika Rottenberg
Art

Mika Rottenberg

Argentinian artist Mika Rottenberg knows all about stuff, capitalism, consumerism and all that business. Her show here at the brand new Goldsmiths Centre for Contemporary Art is rammed full of videos and installations that needle, twist and poke at economics, consumerism and commodities. 

Time Out says
4 out of 5 stars
Renzo Piano: The Art of Making Buildings
Art

Renzo Piano: The Art of Making Buildings

What you see is what you get with Renzo Piano. Literally. His buildings are all about guts-on-the-outside, glass-for-days clarity. And the Italian architect is a behemoth of his art form. From the eviscerated shock and awe of the Centre Pompidou to the shimmering, looming blade of The Shard, Piano’s buildings have a habit of defining a city. 

Time Out says
3 out of 5 stars
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Must-see art exhibitions in London

Michael Jackson: On the Wall

Michael Jackson: On the Wall

HIs every crotch grab sent jolts of ecstasy across the globe, his every spasmodic hip thrust left the world reeling. That’s an inhuman level of power for one human to have. It ended up being too much for Michael Jackson, and maybe too much for the rest of us too, which may explain how the National Portrait Gallery can put together a whole show of art inspired by MJ and without it being mega-cheesy or ultra-dull. 

Time Out says
5 out of 5 stars
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Anthea Hamilton
Art

Anthea Hamilton

Imagine you’re a squash – as in, a butternut squash. Now imagine what kind of art you would most like, based on your squashy-brained characteristics. For her 2018 Tate Britain Commission for the Duveen Galleries, Anthea Hamilton has created a squash-human hybrid, performed each day by an individual dressed in one of seven outfits inspired by various strains of curcubita (that’s for you, ‘Gardeners’ World’ fans). She then picked a collection of nine sculptures from the Tate’s existing collection, plus one from The Hepworth Wakefield, that might be of liking to the squash. The pumpkin-friendly artworks are bulbous, ballooning mounds of sculpture – the kind you want to sneakily squeeze. Because, the artist reasons, squashes can’t see well so choose their art based on touch. Bonkers, right? But ridiculous as the idea sounds, Hamilton’s takeover is a brilliant and irreverent response to basically everything the Tate, as the grand old dame of establishment art, represents and displays. The dark floor of the pretty, neoclassical gallery is covered with over 7,000 white squares, with the sculptures inside various tiled blocks. It looks like a high-end swimming pool, which is the last place you’d expect to find some hard-skinned vegetables (technically fruit, but shh!) doing whatever the hell they want. There are no rules: they can even take a nap. Which is the attitude that makes the whole thing so much fun. The mishmash of sculptures shoves the modernist curves of Henry Moore

Time Out says
5 out of 5 stars
Users say
4 out of 5 stars
Ed Ruscha: Course of Empire
Art

Ed Ruscha: Course of Empire

Five big black and white canvases hang high up on a wall in the National Gallery. They show a tire shop, a tool shop, a trade school, a chemical plant and a telephone box. Under each, the exact same views in technicolour show what those places have become. 

Time Out says
4 out of 5 stars
Alex Prager: Silver Lake Drive
Art

Alex Prager: Silver Lake Drive

You get an eerie sense of déjà vu in this show of American artist Alex Prager’s photography. Seeing the drunken parties, suspicious faces and elaborate beach scenes she meticulously stages, you’re certain that each scenario is familiar – is it a classic American film you’ve seen a thousand times but can’t quite remember? Is it an old 1970s Coke ad? A vintage sitcom? It’s none of these things, it’s all fake. 

Time Out says
4 out of 5 stars
Mika Rottenberg
Art

Mika Rottenberg

We’re a gluttonous species, us humans. All we want is stuff. Stuff to fill our flats with, stuff to wear, stuff to stuff our faces with. The whole world is geared towards making stuff, selling stuff and buying stuff. Pretty sure that’s the first thing you learn in economics class. Argentinian artist Mika Rottenberg knows all about stuff, capitalism, consumerism and all that business. Her show here at the brand new Goldsmiths Centre for Contemporary Art is rammed full of videos and installations that needle, twist and poke at economics, consumerism and commodities. One film finds rows of Chinese women sorting pearls, in turn powering a wheel which puffs flower pollen at a woman with hay fever; every time she sneezes, she produces a plate of noodles. It’s a cycle of production for the sake of consumption where women are used and exploited. Again, it’s just economics, and it happens over and over in Rottenberg’s films here, whether it’s a woman hawking her wares along the US/Mexico border or female wrestlers forming a production line that turns fingernails into maraschino cherries. It all just repeats and repeats. A lot of care has been taken here. You enter the pearl film through a pearl shop, the border film through a tunnel, a film about bingo via a giant rotating bingo machine. It’s smart, it frames the films and sucks you into their worlds. Not going to lie though, I preferred the installations to the films. An air conditioner steadily drips water into a pot plant, a

Time Out says
4 out of 5 stars
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All future art exhibitions in London

Olafur Eliasson
Art

Olafur Eliasson

In 2003, visitors to Tate Modern went mad for Olafur Eliasson's Turbine Hall installation 'The Weather Project'. The artist is now back at the same galley with a big exhibition and an outside artwork. He's even taking over the Terrace Bar, turning it into a vegetarian canteen. 

Klimt/Schiele: Drawing
Art

Klimt/Schiele: Drawing

Klimt and Schiele were both working in Vienna in the early 1900s and saw the world changing around them. Both known for their particular drawing and painting styles, as well as controversial for their very sexually explicit nudes, they were friends and shared a love of drawing. This collaboration between the Royal Academy and the Albertina Museum in Vienna marks 100 years since both these great artists died.

Yayoi Kusama
Art

Yayoi Kusama

The queen of the polka dots is back in London. The last time Victoria Miro held a Yayoi Kusama exhibition (2016), the queues stretched around the block and back - something, it's fair to say, that doesn't happen with many contemporary art exhibitions. This time, the Japanese artist's works are being shown in the gallery's two spaces, plus its waterside garden. Expect all the things that have made Kusama's artwork so beloved to fans: pumkins, flowers and endless dots. The REALLY BIG DEAL, however, is a brand new infinity mirror room involving paper lanterns. 

Elmgreen & Dragset: This Is How We Bite Our Tongue
Art

Elmgreen & Dragset: This Is How We Bite Our Tongue

A large-scale installation and figurative sculptures from iconic arty duo Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset. Witty, surreal and enjoyably unsettling, E&D artworks are always worth seeing up close and personal. Go. 

See more upcoming art exhibitions

See more art in London

The 40 best photos of London ever taken
Art

The 40 best photos of London ever taken

Our (almost) definitive list of the best photographs ever taken of the capital

Free art in London
Art

Free art in London

See all London's free art exhibitions this week

Latest art interviews
Art

Latest art interviews

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

The 100 best paintings in London

The 100 best paintings in London

Our expert guide to the best paintings in the capital

Read the latest Time Out art features

What's on at

Barbican Centre
Cinemas

Barbican Centre

The Barbican Centre, a vast concrete estate of 2,000 flats and a leading arts complex, is a prime example of brutalist architecture, softened a little by time and rectangular ponds of friendly resident ducks. The lakeside terrace and adjoining café are good spots to take a rest from visiting the art gallery, cinema, theatre, concert hall or library within the complex. The art gallery on the third floor stages exhibitions on design, architecture and pop culture, while on the ground floor, the Curve is a free exhibition space for specially commissioned works and contemporary art. At the core of the music roster, performing 90 concerts a year, is the London Symphony Orchestra (LSO). The annual BITE season (Barbican International Theatre Events) continues to cherry-pick exciting and eclectic theatre companies from around the globe. The Barbican regularly attracts and nurtures experimental dance, and the Pit Theatre is a perfectly intimate space.

Users say
4 out of 5 stars
National Gallery
Art

National Gallery

Founded in 1824 to display a collection of just 36 paintings, today the National Gallery is home to more than 2,000 works. There are masterpieces from virtually every European school of art. The modern Sainsbury Wing extension contains the gallery’s earliest works: Italian paintings by early masters like Giotto and Piero della Francesca. The basement of the Sainsbury Wing is also the setting for temporary exhibitions. In the West Wing are Italian Renaissance masterpieces by Correggio, Titian and Raphael; in the North Wing, seventeenth-century Dutch, Flemish, Italian and Spanish Old Masters. In the East Wing (reached via the street-level entrance in Trafalgar Square) are some of the gallery’s most popular paintings: works by the French Impressionists and post-Impressionists, including on of Monet’s water lily paintings and one of Van Gogh’s sunflowers series. You can’t see everything in one visit to the National Gallery, but the free guided tours and audio guides will help you make the most of your time. There’s also a wonderfully atmospheric café stocked with Oliver Peyton goodies, and a fine-dining restaurant, the National Dining Rooms.

Users say
5 out of 5 stars
National Portrait Gallery

National Portrait Gallery

Portraits don't have to be stuffy. The National Portrait Gallery has everything from oil paintings of stiff-backed royals to photos of soccer stars and gloriously unflattering political caricatures. The portraits of musicians, scientists, artists, philanthropists and celebrities are arranged in chronological order from the top to the bottom of the building. At the top of the escalator up from the main foyer are the earliest works, portraits of Tudor and Stuart royals and notables. On the same floor, the eighteenth-century collection features Georgian writers and artists, with one room devoted to the influential Kit-Cat Club of Whig (leftish) intellectuals, Congreve and Dryden among them. More famous names here include Wren and Swift. The Duveen Extension contains Regency greats, military men such as Wellington and Nelson, as well as Byron, Wordsworth and other Romantics. The first floor is devoted to the Victorians (Dickens, Brunel, Darwin) and, in the Duveen Extension, the twentieth century. One of the NPG's most popular highlights is the annual BP Portrait Award where the best entrants for the prestigious prize are exhibited.

Users say
5 out of 5 stars
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Tate Britain

Tate Britain

Tate Modern gets all the attention, but the original Tate Gallery, founded by sugar magnate Sir Henry Tate, has a broader and more inclusive brief. Housed in a stately Portland stone building on the riverside, Tate Britain is second only to the National Gallery when it comes to British art. The historical collection includes work by Hogarth, Gainsborough, Reynolds, Constable (who gets three rooms to himself) and Turner (whose works are displayed in the grand Clore Gallery). Many contemporary works were shifted to Tate Modern when it opened in 2000, but Stanley Spencer, Lucian Freud, David Hockney and Francis Bacon are well represented here, and the Art Now installations showcase up-and-coming British artists. The gallery also hosts the controversy-courting Turner Prize exhibition (Oct-Jan). The gallery has a good restaurant and a well-stocked gift shop, and the handy Tate-to-Tate boat service zips along the Thames to Tate Modern.

Users say
5 out of 5 stars
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Tate Modern

Tate Modern

The permanent collection draws from the Tate’s collections of modern art (international works from 1900) and features heavy hitters such as Matisse, Rothko and Beuys – a genuinely world-class collection, expertly curated. There are vertiginous views down inside the building from outside the galleries, which group artworks according to movement (Surrealism, Minimalism, Post-war abstraction) rather than by theme.

Users say
4 out of 5 stars
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Whitechapel Gallery
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Whitechapel Gallery

This East End stalwart reopened in 2009 following a major redesign and expansion that saw the Grade II listed building transformed into a vibrant, holistic centre of art complete with a research centre, archives room and café. Since 1901, Whitechapel Art Gallery has built on its reputation as a pioneering contemporary institution and is well remembered for premiering the talents of exhibitions by Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko and Frida Kahlo among others. Expect the rolling shows to be challenging and risqué.

Users say
3 out of 5 stars