Art

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

Here are some of London's best new galleries
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Here are some of London's best new galleries

The past year has seen a whole host of new gallery openings and expansions. Here are the amazing new spaces you may have missed. 

Here's all the art that's going to be on the new Elizabeth line
News

Here's all the art that's going to be on the new Elizabeth line

The Whitechapel Gallery is hosting a show of sketches and proposals for new public artworks that will be installed at stations on the Elizabeth line later this year. This is underground art of the future.

Five Things To Know About: 'All Too Human'
Art

Five Things To Know About: 'All Too Human'

Tate Britain’s spring blockbuster is finally opening this week, and it’s full of big names. Here’s the lowdown

Here are the most exciting art exhibitions of 2018
News

Here are the most exciting art exhibitions of 2018

Winter is almost over, so now you have all of this to look forward to.

Six things you need to know about Amedeo Modigliani
News

Six things you need to know about Amedeo Modigliani

Here’s the rundown on what you need to know about the bohemian bad boy ahead of his full Tate retrospective

The latest art reviews

Taryn Simon: An Occupation of Loss
Art

Taryn Simon: An Occupation of Loss

Deep in the bowels of an empty underground concrete cavern in Islington, a dozen-odd professional mourners are singing their lamentations. If watching that sounds like a weak way to spend a gorgeous spring evening, I feel you. But forget the weather and the friends and the beer, Simon’s work is everything art should be, and it’s the best show of the year by far. 

Time Out says
5 out of 5 stars
Joseph Beuys: Utopia at the Stag Monuments
Art

Joseph Beuys: Utopia at the Stag Monuments

Here’s the Joseph Beuys myth: the hugely influential German artist was a pilot in World War II. He crashed his Stuka over the Crimea and was found by a tribe of nomadic Tartars who wrapped him in fat and felt to keep him warm. They saved his life. Out of that fable came a whole career based on felt, fat, electricity and medicine – the building blocks of survival, used to help deal with his country’s tormented recent past. 

Time Out says
4 out of 5 stars
Hermann Nitsch: Das Orgien Mysterien Theater
Art

Hermann Nitsch: Das Orgien Mysterien Theater

Down in a Mayfair basement, a video shows hands rummaging through burbling innards and blood dripping across naked bodies as an immense, heaving, discordant clash of notes screams out of a church organ. Austrian artist Hermann Nitsch is not a man you want to take home to mum and dad. 

Time Out says
4 out of 5 stars
Surface Work
Art

Surface Work

The history of art is full of old dead white blokes. We’ve had centuries of western men dominating the stuff we put in our eyes. Modern and contemporary abstract art is no different – it’s all Kandinsky and Pollock and Rothko, as if a woman never picked up a paintbrush and did some squiggles on a canvas. But – guess what, bozos – they did. And this show of abstract art by women shows tha they were making some of the best abstraction in the biz in the process. 

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

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
2 out of 5 stars
Another Kind of Life: Photography on the Margins
Art

Another Kind of Life: Photography on the Margins

From its earliest days, photography has probed the hidden: from porn to politics, it’s been there and brought back the evidence. Beyond that, though, is a shadowy place where photographers become so tangled up in what they’re chronicling that roles become blurred. These are not just the margins of society, they’re the margins of creativity. That’s what ‘Another Kind of Life’ is about. 

Time Out says
5 out of 5 stars
Mark Dion: Theatre of the Natural World
Art

Mark Dion: Theatre of the Natural World

‘Wunderkammer’ is a neat little German word. It means a ‘room of wonder’, filled with incredible, awe-inspiring objects and trinkets. Now imagine if that wonder was replaced with something much darker: the truth of humanity’s legacy. US artist Mark Dion has been replacing wonder with ecological misery for his whole career. He’s sort of like a little kid with a butterfly net who gave up catching bugs decades ago, and instead started catching ideas. His retrospective show here is full of the symbols and signifiers of academic research – leather-bound books, mahogany cabinets, anatomical drawings – but instead of science, he’s delving into ideas of human impact, of the nature of the quest for knowledge, of futility and frustration. It starts with four hunting blinds, enormous structures for hiding yourself away and laying in wait for your prey. Each is filled with books, trophies and chairs or laid out for a dinner party. The prey here, metaphor fans, is knowledge itself. One of the blinds has fallen and collapsed. It’s a futile pursuit. In the centre of the room, 22 beautiful little zebra finches flit about in an aviary/library. You can enter and stand among the poor things as they swoop and dip, stopping only to rest and take dumps on piles of nature books. They’re literally shitting on our acquired knowledge. Dion’s not subtle. More books and nature drawings follow, tracing lines between art and academia. There’s a closed-off office filled with objects collected in Manch

Time Out says
4 out of 5 stars
Surface Work
Art

Surface Work

The history of art is full of old dead white blokes. We’ve had centuries of western men dominating the stuff we put in our eyes. Modern and contemporary abstract art is no different – it’s all Kandinsky and Pollock and Rothko, as if a woman never picked up a paintbrush and did some squiggles on a canvas. But – guess what, bozos – they did. 

Time Out says
4 out of 5 stars
Users say
3 out of 5 stars
Joseph Beuys: Utopia at the Stag Monuments
Art

Joseph Beuys: Utopia at the Stag Monuments

Here’s the Joseph Beuys myth: the hugely influential German artist was a pilot in World War II. He crashed his Stuka over the Crimea and was found by a tribe of nomadic Tartars who wrapped him in fat and felt to keep him warm. They saved his life. Out of that fable came a whole career based on felt, fat, electricity and medicine – the building blocks of survival, used to help deal with his country’s tormented recent past. 

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All future art exhibitions in London

Dorothea Lange
Art

Dorothea Lange

You’ll surely know Dorothea Lange’s photograph ‘Migrant Mother’: an intimate yet tough image of a mother and her starving children, tuning away from the camera, it encapsulated the hardship of the Great Depression in 1936 and became that rare thing, a genuinely iconic image. A tough cookie herself, Lange (1895-1965) continued to train her camera on human suffering, starkly revealing the human stories behind economic crises, war, displacement and migration. So this should be a tartly timely retrospective at the Barbican; expect Lange's black and white images to still speak potently today.

The EY Exhibition Picasso 1932: Love, Fame, Tragedy
Art

The EY Exhibition Picasso 1932: Love, Fame, Tragedy

Did you know that Tate Modern has never held a Picasso exhibition? This, their first, is an exploration of a pivotal year in his career is indeed their first. 1932 was when Picasso made many of his most-loved paintings, sculptures and drawings. This show will include a whopping 100 of these and promises to take you on a month-by-month visual tour of what is known as his 'year of wonders'.  

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.

Tacita Dean: Landscape
Art

Tacita Dean: Landscape

There’s not one, not two, but three Tacita Dean shows on this year; the RA hosts the ‘Landscape’ branch, while the National Gallery shows ‘Still Life’ and the National Portrait Gallery offers ‘Portrait’, funnily enough. The centre of ‘Landscape’ will be a major new experimental video work ‘Antigone’ – featuring poet Anne Carson and actor Stephen Dillane – and combining multiple places and geologies into one analogue cinematic image. The show is housed in the newly opened Gabrielle Jungels-Winkler Galleries, and will also feature a massive drawing on a blackboard and a series of cloudscapes in chalk on slate. Dreamy stuff.

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
Art

Whitechapel Gallery

Venue says: “Magical objects, antiquated libraries and elaborate habitats. Explore the immersive world of Mark Dion in Theatre of the Natural World.”

Users say
3 out of 5 stars