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Art

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

How to do Art Night 2019
Art

How to do Art Night 2019

It's back and bigger than ever, get all-night art partying at Art Night on Saturday the 22nd of June

The 50 best galleries in London
Art

The 50 best galleries in London

Separated by size and including institutions like the National Gallery to integral upstarters like the White Cube, we present the best places to see art in London.  

Top ten art exhibitions in London
Art

Top ten art exhibitions in London

Shortcut it straight to the good stuff by heading to one of the very best art exhibitions taking place in the capital right now. 

Here are all the weird things you’ll see at the Franz West exhibition at Tate Modern
News

Here are all the weird things you’ll see at the Franz West exhibition at Tate Modern

Tate Modern’s latest solo show is dedicated to Franz West, an Austrian artist known for deliberately destroying his artworks if anyone said they were beautiful. 

Late-night opening hours at London museums and galleries
Museums

Late-night opening hours at London museums and galleries

Drinks with the dinosaurs? Partying next to a painting? London's museums and galleries cram their evening schedules with music, films, talks and more. Here's our guide to 'Lates' you'll want to turn up early to. 

The latest art reviews

Liz Johnson Artur
Art

Liz Johnson Artur

Astonishingly, this is the first UK solo show for Liz Jonhson Artur, a London-based, Russian-Ghanaian photographer, who has been documenting the African diaspora for three decades. 

Time Out says
3 out of 5 stars
Artists I Steal From
Art

Artists I Steal From

Summer group shows in London galleries are the worst. They’re just naff excuses to sell leftover art in the quiet months, helmed by some curator who’s insisted on writing something on the wall about how the show focuses on physical spatiality or the violence of poetics or some shit. Urgh. But this one, somehow, isn’t awful. 

Time Out says
4 out of 5 stars
Urban Impulses: Latin American Photography From 1959 - 2016
Art

Urban Impulses: Latin American Photography From 1959 - 2016

It’s easy to take photography for granted. In fact, it’s easy to get sick of photography. But as this show of Latin American photography from 1959 to 2016 makes clear, cameras have long served a more important function than capturing the light bouncing off an acai berry bowl. T

Time Out says
4 out of 5 stars
Oscar Murillo
Art

Oscar Murillo

Oscar Murillo is hyped. Or he was. Straight out of art school, people were buying the Colombia-born artist’s abstract paintings for huge amounts of money. He was touted as the next big thing, the future of abstraction, the saviour of painting, yadda, yadda, yadda. It was all bullshit, obviously. 

Time Out says
4 out of 5 stars
Read more Time Out art reviews

Must-see art exhibitions in London

Lee Krasner: Living Colour
Art

Lee Krasner: Living Colour

Lee Krasner (1908-1984) spent her life fighting for the right to be herself. She couldn’t be Lena Krasner, she had to become the androgynous Lee. She couldn’t be a realist or a cubist, she had to rip her work to shreds and collage it into new, unique forms. And she could never just be her, she always had to be the wife of Jackson Pollock. That’s part of the deal with mid-century modern art, it’s a sausage party; and abstract expressionism was the blokiest movement of all. So what you see in this exhibition is an artist clawing a space for herself among the fellas and nudging her way to the front of the twentieth century art class photo. Early works here deal with life drawing and cubism before diving into small canvases made of billions of marks and colours. These ‘Little Paintings’ are like explosions in a garden, thrumming with manic intensity and precision. Works from the late 1940s are more restrained, built of endless layers of geometric shapes, like feverish sheets of automatic writing. They’re all nice enough, but not the work of a fully developed artist. It took two major events for that to happen. The first was an exhibition where none of Krasner’s works sold. In anger and despondence, she tore up drawings and glued them to the canvases from the show. The result is art of anger and frustration, all tightly and aggressively composed. These blackened, vicious works look like nothing else from the period, full of clashing shapes and forms that fight and jostle, tha

Time Out says
5 out of 5 stars
Faith Ringgold
Art

Faith Ringgold

Art is a weapon. I mean, not always. Sometimes it’s just something pretty for rich people’s walls. But in the hands of octogenarian American artist and activist Faith Ringgold, art is a weapon. Art is a way of fighting back. Ringgold is a black artist, born and raised in Harlem during a time of civil unrest and social upheaval. The early paintings here show rich white bankers next to kissing interracial couples, an educated black woman near a bunch of featureless white men in suits, all captured with thick lines and flat planes of cream and blue and black. But something about straight-up painting feels too close to established art tropes to be effective here. It’s when Ringgold ditches canvas for the power and history of quilts that things really start hitting home. Influenced by Tibetan fabric art as well as the American quilt tradition, Ringgold starts combining storytelling and painting to stitch together narratives about black American history and the fight for equal rights. Panels alternate between written words and painted images. There are stories about Harriet Tubman, Martin Luther King Jr and pancake-mix icon Aunt Jemima. The images show horrifying visions of drowning slaves, but also New York subway scenes daubed with graffiti, people dancing in jazz clubs. Some of it is painfully harrowing, some of it brilliant empowering. Using the power of folk tradition and her own fighting spirit, Ringgold condenses the black American experience down into little nuggets of

Time Out says
4 out of 5 stars
A Tale of Mother’s Bones: Grace Pailthorpe, Reuben Mednikoff and the Birth of Psychorealism
Art

A Tale of Mother’s Bones: Grace Pailthorpe, Reuben Mednikoff and the Birth of Psychorealism

We’ve all got mummy issues and daddy issues. That’s the whole point of parents: they mess you up enough that you spend the rest of your life striving to prove them wrong. Hell, my parents said an art history degree would be a waste of time, now look at me! Sure, I’m poor and miserable, but I showed them. Grace Pailthorpe and Reuben Mednikoff wanted to do more than just prove their parents wrong, though, they wanted to use their work to explore childhood trauma and how it manifests throughout life. Pailthorpe was a surgeon and Mednikoff was an artist, together they embarked on a career of drawing, painting and mutual psychoanalysis. They fit perfectly into the surrealist scene of their time – dream-obsessed, sexual, scatological and totally Freudian – and created a fascinating, semi-scientific body of work. Mednikoff is the better technical artist. He paints and draws big tubes and vessels that leak and spill and lick and suck. He’s described as an ‘ex-baby’, a man filled with resentment towards his parents and sibling, longing for his mother’s love. His figures are constantly grasping for breasts, or contorted and dribbling, made of actual faeces or impossible bits of architecture. Pailthorpe is less accomplished but more interesting as a result. Her naïve figures are constricted and bundled up; she saw herself as a prisoner of the womb, a vicious pink blob kicking against restrictions from conception to death. There’s so much anger in her work. The duo also saw how the

Time Out says
4 out of 5 stars
Mike Nelson: The Asset Strippers
Art

Mike Nelson: The Asset Strippers

Tate Britain is filled with the corpses of British industry, the long dead, rotting remains of this country itself. Strewn across the massive central Duveen Galleries are chunks of enormous abandoned machinery: presses, clamps, welders, cutters. Some have been left untouched, others have been piled on top of each other. Their wires are frayed, their oils have dried, their spindles have rusted. Nelson spent months collecting these objects from salvage yards and asset strippers. As our national industries waned, debt collectors waded in, seizing equipment and discarding the humans who used it. On the one hand, Nelson has repurposed these machines and turned them into sculptures, laying bare their aesthetic qualities, their twists and turns, shapes and shadows. But on the other, the narrative of these objects is inescapable. Even when he places a concrete ring on a bed of telephone poles, or an engine on a pile of sleeping bags, you’re still haunted by the pasts of the machines. Nelson makes it a claustrophobic experience. The works tower over you, threaten to crumple on your soft, fragile body. And it never ends, there are doors to push through, spaces that unfold, an unending trip through the misery of Britain. You can see it all as a metaphor for the death of Empire and British pride, for the impact of Brexit, for the dire sadness of modern life moving forward too quickly. Or you can see it as an ageing man who is finding a reflection of his own body and mind in the cru

Time Out says
5 out of 5 stars
Leonardo da Vinci: A Life in Drawing
Art

Leonardo da Vinci: A Life in Drawing

If you’ve ever seen Leonardo da Vinci’s ‘Mona Lisa’, then you know you’ve never really seen it. What you’ve really seen is a jostling crush of irritable tourists with their cameras obscuring your view of an enigmatically grumpy Renaissance woman somewhere in the distance. Leonardo is arguably the most important artist ever. He’s a superstar, a god, a legend who once walked among us. Only a handful of his paintings have survived the 500 years since his death – many in poor shape, like the crumbling ‘Last Supper’, and one of dubious provenance, ‘Salvator Mundi’. But forget those, because the Queen has 200 of his drawings in her collection, and they offer something far more intimate than his over-popular, unreachable paintings. Pulled from an album of drawings acquired by Charles II, the works here are as private as drawings get. There are figure studies, maps, engineering and weapon designs, anatomical explorations and architectural plans. It’s all of Leonardo, spread out and put on display. There are pages filled with the same repeated face, perfect drawings of hands cradling crudely sketched fingers, a sheet combining clouds, figure studies and engineering diagrams. Some moments are breathtaking. The head studies for ‘The Last Supper’, the shower of mortars landing on a fortress, the faceless bust of the Madonna, the series of botanical drawings, the staggering abstract deluges. Leonardo was obsessive, passionate, maniacal in his need to analyse and deconstruct, and her

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

Bridget Riley
Art

Bridget Riley

Look into the painting. Look into the painting for longer. Keep looking into the painting. Look at the painting with the intensity of a heron about to catch a slippery fish. Now: stop looking at the painting. Turn around and walk in a straight line. Ah. Walking it's hard sometimes, isn't it? Bridget Riley, Queen of Op Art, gets a big solo show at Hayward Gallery in autumn 2019 and it's going to be filled with the British artist's famous perception-altering artworks from across seven decades. 

Oscar Murillo
Art

Oscar Murillo

This year's Turner Prize exhibition is held at the Turner Contemporary in Margate, which gives Londoners a nice excuse for trip to the seaside. However, you can also get ahead of the game by paying a visit to this exhibition of new abstract paintings by one of the nominees, Oscar Murillo, at David Zwirner months before that opens. The artist's layered compositions play around with the idea of how information is created and deleted at an extra-rapid pace in today's world. 

Helene Schjerfbeck
Art

Helene Schjerfbeck

Go on, say it. 'Who?' Helene Schjerbeck, that's who and, hopefully come 2019 you'll never need to ask again. Helene Schjerbeck might not be that well known outside her native Finland, but her paintings cry out for greater recognition. Over the course of a long career, Schjerbeck skipped lightly between different artistic trends and traditions, creating stunning self-portraits and many intimate images of her female friends and relatives. The Finnish Laura Knight, perhaps? Find out with this great bit of programming by the Royal Academy.

Serpentine Pavilion 2019
Art

Serpentine Pavilion 2019

The 2019 Serpentine Pavilion is the work of Junya Ishigami, a Japanese architect whose designs reflect the beauty of the natural world. A large roof made from interlocking slates houses a dark, cave-like space perfect for ducking into when you feel in need of peace and quiet. Deep breath in....

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

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
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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