Art

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

Five things you need to know about Edward Burne-Jones
Art

Five things you need to know about Edward Burne-Jones

Tate Britain is hosting a whole exhibition dedicated to the Pre-Raphaelite Edward Burne-Jones. But who exactly was he, and why should you care enough to visit this show?

13 art shows you can’t miss this autumn
Art

13 art shows you can’t miss this autumn

Don't go into hibernation just yet – there are loads of awesome exhibitions opening in London this month. 

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

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'
News

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. 

The latest art reviews

Flo Brooks: Scrubbers
Art

Flo Brooks: Scrubbers

Every cloud might have a silver lining, but every clean, gleaming surface in Flo Brooks’s work has a thick sheen of filth and grime. Across a handful of twisted, oddly shaped paintings, Brooks creates a universe full of double meanings, scum, hygiene issues and gender that’s so fluid it’s flowing through sewage pipes. 

Time Out says
4 out of 5 stars
Ilse D’Hollander
Art

Ilse D’Hollander

When Flemish artist Ilse D’Hollander committed suicide in 1997, at 28 years old, there had only been one solo show of her works. As with any significant biographical detail of an artist, it’s tempting to view D’Hollander’s output through the lens of that tragedy. But the canvas- and cardboard-based paintings on display at Victoria Miro’s Mayfair space are far from melancholic or suggestive of distress. 

Time Out says
3 out of 5 stars
Dara Birnbaum
Art

Dara Birnbaum

Gunshots scream and scatter through the gallery, politicians bellow and protesters chant as you stand in the shadow of a steel transmission tower. There’s war in Dara Birnbaum’s show at the Marian Goodman Gallery, but it’s not a physical one: this is a war of information.

Time Out says
4 out of 5 stars
Russia: Royalty & The Romanovs
Art

Russia: Royalty & The Romanovs

There’s an episode in Matthew Weiner’s series, ‘The Romanoffs’, where descendants of Russia’s last royal family get together on a cruise ship and re-enact the glory days of grand balls and staged entertainment. Those with Romanov DNA lap it up, while two married-in relations find the entire event slightly perplexing. Russia, Royalty and the Romanovs, a new exhibition at The Queen’s Gallery, has the potential to inspire a similar division of response. 

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

Modern Couples: Art, Intimacy and the Avant-garde
Art

Modern Couples: Art, Intimacy and the Avant-garde

Think modern love is complicated? Wait until you see this exhibition. Here’s half a century’s worth of explosive couples, transgressive throuples, affairs, gaslighting fuckboys and, mercifully, some great art to contend with. ‘Modern Couples’ wants to show how intimate relationships between artists influenced their works, but it does something even better. By giving equal visibility to women artists who have previously been reduced to ‘muses’ or ‘dilettantes’  tied to more famous men, it subverts the image of the avant-garde artist as an untouchable male genius. The usual star combos are here (Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, Dora Maar and Pablo Picasso, Lee Miller and Man Ray) along with less obvious names like Constructivists Aleksandr Rodchenko and Varvara Stepanova. They thrived in the creative bubble that existed post-Russian revolution, producing gender-flipping graphic art in the Vkhutemas (a state art school). Yet despite working as equals, art historians largely chose to erase Stepanova’s contribution. Objectifying male obsession looms large in many of these unions. Take composer Alma Mahler, whose beautiful, haunting music was suppressed by husband Gustav when his ego wouldn’t allow room for her talent. She went on to have a relationship with painter Oskar Kokoschka, who took his fixation on Alma so far, he had a lifesize doll made in her image, asking that his ‘sense of touch be able to take pleasure in those parts where layers of fat and muscle suddenly give way t

Time Out says
4 out of 5 stars
Users say
5 out of 5 stars
Oceania
Art

Oceania

Oceania is vast. Hundreds of islands spread out across thousands of square miles of ocean, each filled with countless cultures that lap and overlap. Trying to sum up the whole artistic production of a single culture, let alone multiple, is a stupid, insurmountable task. But here we are, doing just that at the Royal Academy. Let’s get this out of the way quick: a lot of what you’ll see here is totally breathtaking. A billowing sheet of woven tarpaulin flows down towards you as you walk in, a contemporary art entrance to an otherwise very old-fashioned show. There’s a mourning costume from Tahiti covered in pearlescent shells, a faceless male deity from the Caroline Islands, a brutally vicious Hawaiian island-snatching god, an amazing basalt Moai statue – all properly stunning, all with countless features that have helped shape the course of modern art. By the time Lisa Reihana’s enormous scrolling screen animates a popular old wallpaper depiction of Cook’s arrival in Oceania, injecting it with rape, fighting and theft, you start to build a strong picture of Oceanic life. That work is critical, strong and very, very necessary in amongst all of this.  The icky, sticky past of colonial loot hangs over the show, but many of these objects were gifted or traded – though obviously lots weren’t. It’s tricky, but what strikes you is that under each object you can see how it was acquired and where it now lives: a pair of decorated Maori oars were gifted to Captain James Cook in 1769 a

Time Out says
4 out of 5 stars
Users say
4 out of 5 stars
Ribera: Art of Violence
Art

Ribera: Art of Violence

Flayed skin and dislocated shoulders are two recurring themes of Jusepe de Ribera’s art. The first, normally inflicted on Christian saints as part of their martyrdoms, and the second, the result of a foul seventeenth-century torture device known as the ‘strappado’. There are also crucifixions, arrow-piercings and bindings to stakes. All of which, over the centuries, gained the artist a reputation for being unnecessarily and extremely violent in his art, and possibly in his private life too. The central point of this show at the Dulwich Picture Gallery is that we’ve been wrong about Ribera. Specifically, we’ve been silly to see him as senselessly sadistic. The darkened gallery space (so darkened, in fact, that the faces of the gallery assistants loom out like Ribera’s holy martyrs) contains a small number of his large, lushly executed paintings along with many of his drawings and a few exhibition buffer items, such as a tattooed piece of human skin that looks a bit like those pig-ear treats dogs like to gnaw on. In the age of big and small-screen violence, Ribera’s imagery perhaps isn’t shocking in the same way it once was. Yet what remains so brilliantly ‘can’t-stop-peeking-through-my-fingers’ about these gorgeous and gory pictures is the essential contrast between the shiver-inducing subject matter and the beauty of Ribera’s painting. Though you could maybe say the DPG couldn’t quite borrow enough major Ribera works to justify a full show, look away from the gruesome bi

Time Out says
4 out of 5 stars
Elmgreen & Dragset: This Is How We Bite Our Tongue
Art

Elmgreen & Dragset: This Is How We Bite Our Tongue

The Whitechapel Gallery is being turned into a luxury hotel. Sorry about that. Its galleries will be turned into suites for the moneyed hipster elite to huff designer drugs in, and its pool will become an opulent spa. You probably didn’t know the Whitechapel had a pool, but it does. Been there since 1901, in the main gallery, hugely popular in the 1970s. Hockney painted it back in the day, apparently. Or that’s what Scandi art duo Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset want you to believe. The mischievous bastards have built a full-size pool right as you walk into the gallery. It’s empty and decrepit, littered with debris and leaves, its tiles cracked and dusty. It’s lived through its fictional heyday, and now, like everything else in this city, it has been earmarked for redevelopment. You’ll still be able to swim here when it’s a hotel, sure, as long as you’re a guest or a member. It’s not subtle. It’s a jackhammer of a concept, bashing your skull in with its blunt-force indictment of gentrification and the constant loss of a city’s public, special spaces. What it lacks in subtlety it more than makes up for in brutal effectiveness. And that goes for all of Elmgreen & Dragset’s shtick. Upstairs, canvases show the names and dimensions of well-known artworks, but not the art itself. A baby in a basket has been dumped in front of a cash machine, a small child stares at a framed rifle, a maid watches over a kid huddling in a fireplace. The first two galleries of this show are br

Time Out says
4 out of 5 stars
Good Grief, Charlie Brown!
Art

Good Grief, Charlie Brown!

Anxiety, despair, dread, depression, fear, misery, alienation: a pretty standard Friday night, but an unusual recipe for a kids’ comic strip. ‘Peanuts’ is special, though. Over his tens of thousands of strips – syndicated the world over and read by millions of adoring fans – Charles M Schulz combined simple line drawings and emotional non-sequiturs into little bundles of pure, heart-wrenching modern truth. This show, looking at the history of ‘Peanuts’ and the art it inspired, starts with the development of Charlie Brown and Snoopy, based on Schulz himself and his childhood dog Spike. From the start, Schulz’s characters are forlorn, sad little things – always downtrodden, always caught on the worst possible day, but always with a bit of hope in their hearts. Then along comes Lucy, Woodstock and the gang and you start to see the birth of the world’s most popular comic strip. It’s almost shocking to be confronted with the emotional vulnerability of ‘Peanuts’ on such a scale. Charlie Brown is a loser, a sad sack. His mouth is a shaky line that seems moments away from quivering with sorrow. So raw, so vulnerable. Snoopy is a gentle, necessary foil, Lucy is a hotheaded mess, Linus is a needy wreck. It’s all too real for me, an overtired slightly hungover 33-year-old. How the hell do kids hack this? But that’s the point. Schulz made the emotional vulnerability that we all feel acceptable. These original panels are so honest and close to the bone that you want to reach out and hug

Time Out says
5 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. 

Users say
5 out of 5 stars
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

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
Art

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
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
Art

Whitechapel Gallery

Venue says: “Elmgreen & Dragset produce beguiling spatial scenarios that explore social and sexual politics and the power structures that surround us.”

Users say
3 out of 5 stars