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12 art shows we can’t wait to see in 2017

The year ahead is looking in great artistic shape. Here’s our pick of the best art exhibitions coming to London

By Eddy Frankel

It's easy to forget how lucky we are to live in a city with such an incredible art calendar. But when you lay it out and really see what we have to look forward to, it's a little overwhelming, isn't it? There are retrospectives looking at artists who changed the shape of art forever (Hockney, Johns, Basquiat, Paolozzi, Cezanne), historical explorations (revolutionary Russia, Flemish painting), contemporary giants (Whiteread, Tillmans) and – a real relief after the relatively one-sided man-desert of 2016 – a fantastic spread of amazing female artists.

This list not only shows the luxury of choice we have to look forward to, but it's enough to get anyone properly and seriously excited for 2017.

David Hockney
David Lambert & Rod Tidnam/Tate Photography

1. David Hockney at Tate Britain

Art Painting
David Hockney’s been making a big splash since the 1960s, and now this most iconic of British painters is getting a long overdue, and totally massive, retrospective.

3. Wolfgang Tillmans at Tate Modern


Tillmans doesn’t care about your damn categories. You might think he’s a photographer, but he’s a DJ too, and a musician, and an activist – he’s anything he wants to be, and this show is going to be quite the tour de force.

4. Eduardo Paolozzi at Whitechapel Gallery

Art Sculpture

You’ll know Paolozzi from the Tottenham Court Road murals, or one of his countless public sculptures in the city. But he also helped invent pop art as we know it, and this retrospective will be full to bursting with eye-popping work.

Fahrelnissa Zeid, 'Untitled', c.1950s. Presented by Raad Zeid Al-Hussein 2015.

5. Fahrelnissa Zeid at Tate Modern


Zeid is the best abstract artist you’ve probably never heard of. Mixing western abstraction with Islamic art influences, this Turkish painter created an undulating visual vocabulary that’s as beautiful as it is unique.

Grayson Perry, 'Death of a Working Hero', 2016. © The Artist. Courtesy the Artist, Paragon Press and Victoria Miro, London. Photographer: Stephen White.

6. Grayson Perry at the Serpentine


Potter, TV presenter, author, cross-dresser, artist: Perry is a proper renaissance transvestite, and this promises to be his biggest and most fun show for years.

Rachel Whiteread, 'Untitled (Nine Tables)', 1998. © Rachel Whiteread.

7. Rachel Whiteread at Tate Britain

Rachel Whiteread, 'Untitled (Nine Tables)', 1998. © Rachel Whiteread.

She was the first woman to win the Turner Prize, and Whiteread is still a powerfully influential and immediately recognisable sculptural force. This mid-career retrospective will be a big, authoritative, immersive statement from a seriously important artist.
Jean-Michel Basquiat on the set of 'Downtown 81', ‘LIKE AN IGNORANT EASTER SUIT’. Photo: Edo Bertoglio ©New York Beat Film LLC. By permission of the estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat.

8. Basquiat at the Barbican


This young kid brought the street into the gallery and changed art forever before dying at just 27. Music, film, text, graffiti - it's all going to be here, and it's going to be amazing.

Haroon Mirza, 'Adam, Eve, others and a UFO', 2013. Installation view Lisson Gallery. Courtesy hrm199 and Lisson Gallery. Photographer: Ken Adlard.

9. Haroon Mirza at Zabludowicz Collection


Mirza smashes together light, sound and music to create immersive, stuttering, strobing installations. You’ll be left dizzy and bewildered, but hey, it’s nice when art has an impact, right?

Jasper Johns, '0 Through 9', 1961. © Jasper Johns / VAGA, New York / DACS, London 2016

10. Jasper Johns at the Royal Academy

Jasper Johns was at the forefront of pop and abstract expressionism, with an amazing eye for the iconic. He painted numbers, flags and targets, and this is the biggest show to aim for this autumn.

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