Art

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

The greatest hits of Marc Quinn
Art

The greatest hits of Marc Quinn

A golden Kate Moss and ten pints of blood – we pick some of the one-time YBA's greatest works

Five reasons to see John Latham's work at the Serpentine
Art

Five reasons to see John Latham's work at the Serpentine

The late grandaddy of British conceptual art will leave you puzzled but mindboggled

Here's a map of all Banksy's work in London
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Here's a map of all Banksy's work in London

Catch these murals while you can – you never know how long they'll last

Ten amazing archive photos of London by Roger Mayne
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Ten amazing archive photos of London by Roger Mayne

Why did a young photographer spend five years obsessively photographing a single west London street? 

The latest art reviews

Anish Kapoor
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Anish Kapoor

As the Lisson Gallery reaches the grand old age of 50, it celebrates in the form of an exhibition from one of its longest represented artists: sculptor, painter, Olympic monument-builder Anish Kapoor.

Time Out says
  • 3 out of 5 stars
The Japanese House: Architecture and Life after 1945
Art

The Japanese House: Architecture and Life after 1945

Snaking your way through the Barbican’s latest exhibition you will probably be met with an almost overwhelming desire to take off your shoes, so accurate is the 1:1 recreation of Ryue Nishizawa’s Moriyama House.

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
Users say
  • 5 out of 5 stars
Christopher Williams: Open Letter – The Family Drama Refunctioned? (From the Point of View of Production)
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Christopher Williams: Open Letter – The Family Drama Refunctioned? (From the Point of View of Production)

Christopher Williams studied under the legendary West Coast artist John Baldessari, and boy, does it show. His work has that exact same balance of conceptual rigour and too-cool-for-school styling, as revealed in this sly little headache of an exhibition.

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
Cerith Wyn Evans: The Tate Britain Commission 2017
Art

Cerith Wyn Evans: The Tate Britain Commission 2017

A neon glow is juddering through Tate Britain’s Duveen Galleries. Cerith Wyn Evans’s new sculpture is a storm of monotone rays, dominating the natural daylight, arrogantly filling the space with artificiality. 

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

David Hockney
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David Hockney

Some paintings are like celebrities. You’ve read about them, studied them from afar, obsessed over them for years, but never actually seen them in the flesh. So when you actually come face to face with one, you get all wobbly-kneed and fluttery-eyed. 

Time Out says
  • 5 out of 5 stars
Users say
  • 5 out of 5 stars
Revolution: Russian Art 1917-1932
Art

Revolution: Russian Art 1917-1932

Here, hung across these walls, is the birth of fake news. Sure, governments lied to their people for millennia before the Russian Revolution in 1917, but none took propaganda, manipulation of the media and suppression of the arts to Soviet levels.  

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
Users say
  • 5 out of 5 stars
Vanessa Bell (1879-1961)
Art

Vanessa Bell (1879-1961)

Vanessa Bell spent her life surrounded by famous people, and has come to be remembered primarily as Virginia Woolf’s sister. But she was one of the most interesting characters of her day and – from the look of this exhibition – one of its finest artists too. 

Time Out says
  • 5 out of 5 stars
Making Nature: How we See Animals
Art

Making Nature: How we See Animals

Mental asylums. Mind-altering drugs. Dirt. The Wellcome Collection has carved out a rep for delivering exhibitions that are outlandish without ever being sensationalist. And while the premise of their latest show – the relationship between humans and animals – might not have the same WTF factor, it’s still just as quirky and enthralling.  The first room kicks off with the Enlightenment-era craze for natural classification. On display is Swedish zoologist Carl Linnaeus’s ‘Systema Naturae’ from 1735, which listed and filed the animal kingdom, humankind included (albeit as a kind of exception to the rule: this was pre-Darwin). So is Charles Bonnet’s ‘Scale of Natural Being’ from 1783, a league table of best to worst in which humans, naturally, come out top. Older manuscripts show delightfully crap engravings of camel-like beasts the size of houses. Rooms two and three focus on our urge to observe and display animals. Maquettes of the Crystal Palace dinosaurs – the first ever models of an extinct species – show us a Victorian wonder of the big bad lizards that’s never waned since. Dioramas of taxidermied foxes, intended to place them in their natural habitats, seem hopelessly twee and antiquated. Mind you, so do modernist architect Hugh Casson’s early-’60s designs for a radical new type of elephant house. They might replace the painted fakery with concrete, but ultimate still treat the poor pachyderm as little more than a circus spectacle. These are historical curios, but the

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
Users say
  • 4 out of 5 stars
Robert Rauschenberg
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Robert Rauschenberg

If there are no original ideas left in art, it’s probably because Robert Rauschenberg had them all. Over the course of his 60-year career (he died in 2008 aged 82), he reinvented, reused, recycled and revolutionised himself so many times that walking around this retrospective feels like stumbling through a textbook on twentieth-century art history. 

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

Josiah McElheny: The Crystal Land
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Josiah McElheny: The Crystal Land

'Anti-vortex' drawings, films about socialites in Indonesia and aluminium models of the universe all figure into the American artist's new show, as he casts an eye over the murky legacies of modernism. 

Force of Nature
Art

Force of Nature

Mile End's arts space is being given over to a group show about all things to do with nature. The exhibiting artists are both established and up-and-coming, and work across a range of media, but all share a common interest in how art can act as a prism for the natural world, and also reflect mankind's tricky relationship with it.

Peter McDonald: Mushrooms of Language
Art

Peter McDonald: Mushrooms of Language

The title of this exhibition comes from a 1973 essay about the usage of psychedelics with shamans in Mexico – and it's this that the London and Tokyo-based painter has based his latest series of work around. Our advice: take someone you feel safe with when you visit.

Maggi Hambling: Edge
Art

Maggi Hambling: Edge

For her eighth show at Marlborough, the bold and fearless expressionist is showing a series of works that deal with big themes like the fragility of existence, featuring images of melting polar icecaps and the like.

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See more art in London

The 40 best photos of London ever taken
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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
Art

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
Art

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