The National Gallery is (finally) getting on board with a Baroque queen of painting, Steve McQueen is taking over Tate Modern and David Hockney’s iPad drawings are going on display: London’s blockbuster shows of 2020 have it all. Here are the ones you need to know about to stay ahead of the art-loving crowd.
Turner Prize-winning artist, Oscar-winning film director: Steve McQueen is good. But over the past few years, his art has taken a backseat to his filmmaking, so this is a chance to turn the spotlight back on his experimental, pioneering and deeply moving output. This show will bring together immersive video installations made over the past few decades, and it overlaps with his brilliant exhibition of primary school classes in Tate Britain’s Duveen Galleries.
This show includes coloured pencil portraits, iPad drawings and composite Polaroid portraits by England’s Greatest Living Artist™, David Hockney. Focusing on his drawing, it also features some of the self-portraits he completed as part of a two-month-long project in which he drew a new one every day. It’s a more intimate view of Our Dave than we’ve ever seen.
Fei’s multimedia artworks relish the dissociative weirdness of her native China’s overwhelming urban environments. This immersive, site-specific installation at the Serpentine is going to be a trippy ride through the darkest, weirdest recesses of city living.
Warhol's famous for Campbell's soup and Marylin Monroe, but there's a lot more to the artist than that. In between the product placement and the slebs, visitors to this show will be able to see his lesser-known portraits of black and Latinx drag queens and trans women. You can also get hair inspo from a display of Warhol’s own amazing wigs. The pop master remains as popular as ever.
For the first time in more than 400 years, Titian’s six mythological paintings are going to be reunited. Based on Greek myths in the work of the Roman poet Ovid, the works include ‘Diana and Actaeon’ and ‘Diana and Callisto’, both favourites of the artist Lucian Freud. Titian called them ‘poesie’, which means they’re the visual art version of poetry. Whatever word you want to use, the simple fact is this: they’re bloody gorgeous.
Drawing, for Nigerian-American artist Toyin Ojih Odutola, is a form of storytelling. These new works, exhibited around the 90-metre sweep of the Barbican Curve, form part of an epic series relaying an imagined ancient myth. The artist uses pencil, pastel, ballpoint pen and charcoal to create mega-sized portraits that are as delicate as they are beautiful.
In 2018, the National Gallery acquired its first painting by Artemisia Gentileschi, very slightly boosting its collection of works by female artists (shamefully, it only has 20 in a collection totalling 2,300). It’ now redoubling its efforts to promote the Baroque artist with this stunning, major solo show.
This mid-career survey of Zanele Muholi’s work captures the breadth and power of an artist dedicated to presenting a multifaceted view of black LGBTQ+ individuals. Muholi's experience of racial profiling inspires a series of images referencing their personal history and the political landscape of South Africa.
If you think art is just pretty paintings and ornate sculptures, this show might just blow your mind (and eardrums). The Hayward Gallery, you see, is dedicating its summer show to artists who work with sound as their primary medium. No paintbrushes or chisels here, old art fans, just stacks of speakers spilling out brain-wobbling sound by an incredible selection of names, including Oliver Beer, Allora & Calzadilla, Kahlil Joseph, Christine Sun Kim and a bunch of others. Sounds great.
Every celebrity's favourite performance artist, Marina Abramović, is back with a major exhibition spanning her groundbreaking career. The show includes ‘Imponderabilia’, where visitors squeeze between a naked man and a naked woman in a doorway. Sounds unhygienic, inconvenient and uncomfortable, but that’s performance art for you.
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It stings the heart, this installation by Edmund de Waal. The ceramicist and author has lined the walls of his room within a room in the British Museum with books by writers in exile. Albert Camus’s ‘Exile and the Kingdom’, Jean Rhys’s ‘Wide Sargasso Sea’, Ovid’s ‘Metamorphoses’. Shelf after shelf of stories written by people far from home, thinking of home.