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Art

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

The best young artists in London right now
Art

The best young artists in London right now

London is full of young artists, but it can be hard to separate future Picassos from future Shitassos. Art Editor Eddy Frankel joins forces with industry experts to pick the ones to watch

11 must-see exhibitions opening in October
Art

11 must-see exhibitions opening in October

Looking to top up your culture levels this autumn? You're in luck

London Art Fairs 2019
Art

London Art Fairs 2019

It’s that beautiful time of the year where the art world heads out of galleries and into some really big tents. In time for Frieze, here’s our round-up of the London art fairs

Nine autumn art exhibitions to get really excited about
Art

Nine autumn art exhibitions to get really excited about

After a long summer break, the art world is waking up with a vengeance. Here are the autumn exhibition you can't afford to miss. 

Five London galleries in weird spaces
Art

Five London galleries in weird spaces

Forget the hallowed white-walls of most London galleries and head to these unusual spaces dotted around the city for a totally different art experience instead

The latest art reviews

I've Grown Roses in This Garden of Mine
Art

I've Grown Roses in This Garden of Mine

More exhibitions should have long, poetic, ambiguous names. I’m bored of the classic ‘Somebody Artist: Works 1987-2006’ and welcome a title that doesn’t immediately reveal what’s inside the show. It makes it more of a pass-the-parcel affair. ‘I’ve Grown Roses In This Garden of Mine’ is the heading of this group show, the first at the new London branch of South Africa’s Goodman Gallery,  and one video work within it. 

Time Out says
3 out of 5 stars
Hogarth: Place and Progress
Art

Hogarth: Place and Progress

With impeccable timing, Sir John Soane’s Museum has gathered together for the first time all of William Hogarth’s series, including ‘A Rake’s Progress’ and ‘Marriage A-la-Mode’. The timing is great because the highlight here is ‘Humours of an Election’ (1754), in which a bogus general election goes from bad to worse, amid corruption, violence and national division, and in which literally every other character looks like Boris Johnson, including some of the animals. 

Time Out says
5 out of 5 stars
Inspired by the East: How the Islamic World Influenced Western Art
Art

Inspired by the East: How the Islamic World Influenced Western Art

It might seem like it sometimes, but European art didn’t evolve in a bubble. For centuries, millennia even, western art existed in dialogue with art from the east. In the same way that black pepper made its way over from India and set European palates on fire, so the colours, shapes and intricacies of the East lit a flame under European culture. This small exhibition aims to show the Islamic influence on Western art.

Time Out says
3 out of 5 stars
Into the Night: Cabarets and Clubs in Modern Art
Art

Into the Night: Cabarets and Clubs in Modern Art

The problem when people show you their holiday photos isn’t that it’s boring, it’s that you weren’t there. You didn’t experience that cocktail, that beach, that sunburn, so the photos have no nostalgic power over you. This is a whole exhibition of that feeling. 

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

United Visual Artists: Other Spaces
Art

United Visual Artists: Other Spaces

At one point in their show, United Visual Artists make your stomach turn. The walls of the room collapse around you, or split wide open, or spin sickeningly. But it’s not real. It’s a trick of perspective that reaches through your eyes and tickles your brain. 

Time Out says
4 out of 5 stars
Gauguin Portraits
Art

Gauguin Portraits

It’s not easy to like Paul Gauguin. He was, in almost every way, an absolute prick. He abandoned his wife and five kids, liked to paint himself as Jesus, called provincial French people ‘savages’, married a child, used his Western dominance to shag half of Tahiti and died of syphilis as a miserable, lonely old man. So how do you deal with his art (in this case his portraiture)? 

Time Out says
4 out of 5 stars
Olafur Eliasson: In Real Life
Art

Olafur Eliasson: In Real Life

Olafur Eliasson does epic like few others. The Danish-Icelandic artist was last at Tate Modern in 2003 with 'The Weather Project', a monumental installation that transformed the Turbine Hall into a pulsating, hazy sunset. This time, they’re showing 40 works, including many large-scale installations, made throughout his career. 

Time Out says
5 out of 5 stars
Hogarth: Place and Progress
Art

Hogarth: Place and Progress

With impeccable timing, Sir John Soane’s Museum has gathered together for the first time all of William Hogarth’s series, including ‘A Rake’s Progress’ and ‘Marriage A-la-Mode’. The timing is great because the highlight here is ‘Humours of an Election’ (1754), in which a bogus general election goes from bad to worse, amid corruption, violence and national division, and in which literally every other character looks like Boris Johnson, including some of the animals. 

Time Out says
5 out of 5 stars
Helene Schjerfbeck
Art

Helene Schjerfbeck

If you’re British, Helene Schjerfbeck (1862-1946) is a relatively unknown artist. If you’re Finnish, Helene Schjerfbeck is a very famous artist. This show of 60 paintings is the first chance London audiences have had to join the Schjerfbeck fan club. Separating her output into themed categories – including early work in France and Cornwall, pictures of contemplative women and sartorially focused poses – the exhibition repeatedly shows how her style morphed from French-influenced naturalism to looser, fuzzier modernism. Ignoring painting style for a moment, there’s a ‘modern’ aspect to many of Schjerfbeck’s images. Right from the off, the women in her portraits look alive, real and healthy in a way they almost never do in comparable early twentieth-century British art. Looking at the smiling girl painted in St Ives or the hazy-edged and self-possessed women with downcast eyes is a bit like seeing a contemporary actress in a period drama. It makes the past seem less… past. And wearing yards of lace around your neck seem perfectly normal. That said, the more her artwork slipped into modernism, the more interesting it became; the early works are often ‘lovely’ but not all that memorable. One of the very best paintings here is ‘The Sailor (Einar Reuter)’, a chalky ochre and denim-blue portrait that’s as sexy an image of a sailor as Jean-Paul Gautier ever dreamed up (a reference the fashion-loving Schjerfbeck would surely appreciate). The soft-edged depiction of his muscled nec

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

Feast for the Eyes – The Story of Food in Photography
Art

Feast for the Eyes – The Story of Food in Photography

You know that person who always photographs their plate before eating anything from it? The one who seems to enjoy photographing it more than actually eating anything from it? Well, they're certainly not alone in wanting to take a snap or two of their spag bol. Food photography, as this large exhibition at the Photographers' Gallery shows, started way before Instagram. You'll be able to see the works of Cindy Sherman, Nan Goldin, Martin Parr, Man Ray and others, all while contemplating what visual feasts can tell us about status, desire, race, class, and more. The perfect - or maybe worst - exhibition to see prior to a dinner date.

Mary Sibande: I Came Apart at the Seams
Art

Mary Sibande: I Came Apart at the Seams

Photographs and sculptures starring Sophie, avatar of Mary Sibande. The South African artist constructs Sophie's transformation from housemaid into a range of different, empowered characters, upsetting the stereotypical image of black women in the artist's home country. The exhibition coincides with the 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair, held at Somerset House 3 - 6 October.

Nam June Paik: The Future is Now
Art

Nam June Paik: The Future is Now

Long before the streets were filled with human-shaped dodgems bouncing off each other as they struggled to combine staring at a screen with forward movement, artist Nam June Paik was predicting how technology would soon be influencing our lives. This Tate show brings together works made across five-decades by the artist credited with inventing video art.

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. 

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
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

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