Worldwide icon-chevron-right Europe icon-chevron-right United Kingdom icon-chevron-right England icon-chevron-right London icon-chevron-right Nine autumn art exhibitions to get really excited about

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 exhibitions you can’t afford to miss

Copyright Kara Walker, photo Jason Wyche
By Eddy Frankel and Rosemary Waugh |
Advertising

Whether you’re captivated by Dutch masters or prefer to salivate over contemporary video artists, autumn 2019 is a bumper season for excellent exhibitions opening left, right and centre. We’ve rounded up the biggest and best shows at London’s major galleries so you can start planning how you’re going to see them all.

And while you’re at it, keep up to date with our critics’ pick of London’s top art exhibitions on now

Don’t miss art exhibitions for autumn 2019

United Visual Artists Installation view of Vanishing Point at Towner Art Gallery, 2013-14
Art, Contemporary art

United Visual Artists: 'Other Spaces'

icon-location-pin 180 The Strand, Strand
icon-calendar

A few years back, United Visual Artists filled the Barbican Curve gallery with a mesmerising symphony of swinging lights and hypnotising sound. Now, the group are bringing three of their large-scale immersive audiovisual works to the cavernous spaces of 180 The Strand. This venue has hosted some of the best AV shows of the past few years, so UVA have some big shoes to fill. But with lasers, soundscapes and kinetic sculptures, they just might pull it off.

180 The Strand. Tube: Temple. Oct 1-Dec 9. Free.

Philemon and Baucis, 1658, oil on panel transferred to panel, National Gallery of Art, Washington.
Art

'Rembrandt's Light'

icon-location-pin Dulwich Picture Gallery, Dulwich
icon-calendar

In a year filled to the brim with Rembrandt events (it’s the 350th anniversary of the Dutch artist’s death), Dulwich Picture Gallery gets its slice of the pie with an exhibition spotlighting (ahem) how he revolutionised the painting of light. Highlights (sorry) include ‘Philemon and Baucis’, a loan from Washington’s National Gallery of Art, on show in the UK for the first time. 

Dulwich Picture Gallery. West Dulwich rail. Oct 4-Feb 2 2020. £TBC.

Advertising
Bridget Riley 'Blaze 1' National Galleries of Scotland. Long loan in 2017. © Bridget Riley (2016) All Rights Reserved. Image courtesy of Karsten Schubert, London.
Art

Bridget Riley

icon-location-pin Hayward Gallery, South Bank
icon-calendar

Look into the painting. Look into the painting for longer. Keep looking into the painting. Look into 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 the Hayward in autumn 2019 and it’s going to be filled with the British artist’s famous perception-altering artworks from across seven decades. 

Hayward Gallery. Tube: Waterloo. Oct 23-Jan 26 2020. £16.50-£18, £8.25-£14 concs.

(c) Kara Walker, photo by Jason Wyche
Art, Contemporary art

Kara Walker

icon-location-pin Tate Modern, Bankside
icon-calendar

The latest artist to take on Tate Modern’s daunting annual Turbine Hall commission is the brilliant Kara Walker. The American artist has forged a powerful path of fierce, political art, dealing with topics like slavery and identity through shadow puppetry, painting and installation. What’s she going to do with the Turbine Hall? Haven’t a clue. But we’re seriously excited about seeing it. 

Tate Modern. Tube: Southwark. Oct 2-Apr 5 2020. Free. 

Advertising
Lucian Freud 'Reflection (Self-portrait)' (1985) © The Lucian Freud Archive / Bridgeman Images.
Art

'Lucian Freud: The Self-portraits'

icon-location-pin Royal Academy of Arts, Mayfair
icon-calendar

Lucian Freud isn’t especially known for his self-portraits, but it turns out he did quite a few of them – enough to fill an exhibition, anyhow. Famed for his unremitting and, according to artist Celia Paul, ‘clinical’ gaze, Freud’s images of himself are sharply observant and, taken as a set, capture the effects of age with precision and poignancy. 

Royal Academy of Art. Tube: Piccadilly Circus. Oct 27-Jan 26 2020. £16-£18, £14-£15 concs.

Nam June Paik 'TV Garden' 1974-7 (2002). Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen (Düsseldorf, Germany) © Estate of Nam June Paik
Art

Nam June Paik

icon-location-pin Tate Modern, Bankside
icon-calendar

Long before the streets became filled with human dodgems bouncing off each other while struggling to combine staring at a screen with forward movement, Korean 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 man credited with inventing video art.

Tate Modern. Tube: Southwark. Oct 17-Feb 9 2020. £13, £5-£12 concs.

Advertising
Albert Oehlen, Sachen aus Glas, 2002, Acrylic paint and oil on canvas, 209.5 x 301.5cm, Photo: Archive Galerie Max Hetzler, Berlin | Paris © Albert Oehlen
Art, Contemporary art

Albert Oehlen

icon-location-pin Serpentine Gallery, Hyde Park
icon-calendar

There’s something about big paintings that just gets German men going. Georg Baselitz, Sigmar Polke, Gerhard Richter… they’re all giants of modern German art, and they all bloody love a massive experimental painting. Well, you can add Albert Oehlen to that Teutonic list. The Switzerland-based artist has been mashing abstraction, figuration and conceptual cleverness together since the ’80s, creating an artistic smoothie that sets him up as successor to all those other big German names. Sehr gut. 

Serpentine. Tube: Lancaster Gate. Oct 2-Jan 12 2020. Free.

Paul Gauguin 'Self-Portrait Dedicated to Carrière' (1888 or 1889). Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon (1985.64.20) Image courtesy of the Board of Trustees, National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC.
Art

'Gauguin Portraits'

icon-location-pin National Gallery, Trafalgar Square
icon-calendar

Paul Gauguin is one of the biggest names in art history, and this is your chance to see him leap from impressionism into the murky seas of symbolism on his journey through portraiture. From when he lived in Provence to his problematic time in Tahiti, his work is some of the most influential painting of the past couple of centuries. 

National Gallery. Tube: Charing Cross. Oct 7-Jan 26 2020. £20-£24.50, £11-22.50 concs.

Advertising
Elizabeth Peyton 'Portrait at Opera'. © the artist. Image courtesy of National Portrait Gallery
Art

Elizabeth Peyton 'Aire and Angels'

icon-location-pin National Portrait Gallery, Charing Cross Road
icon-calendar

Kurt Cobain, Liam Gallagher, Frida Kahlo, Napoleon, Queen Elizabeth II, David Bowie and many others all feature in the artworks of Elizabeth Peyton. The artist, who is famous for her small-scale portraits, gets a solo show at the National Portrait Gallery. Part of the exhibition will involve her contemporary works being displayed alongside historic paintings from the gallery’s own collection, showing how Peyton’s modern practice references and develops traditional ways of painting a sitter’s portrait. 

National Portrait Gallery. Tube: Charing Cross. Oct 3-Jan 5 2020. Free.

Snap up exclusive discounts in London

Time Out's handpicked deals — hurry, they won't be around for long...

Advertising