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Eight art exhibitions to see in London post-Brexit

Adjust to life after Brexit with a solidarity trip to one of these amazing European art shows

By Phoebe Trimingham
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Just because the UK has voted to leave the EU doesn’t mean you can’t get your fill of European art. We’ve pulled together our favourite current shows by European artists, and one by a Scottish artist who just thought Europe was pretty damn great, so you can get your head around Brexit with the best panacea there is: paintings and photographs. Unless you voted Leave – which is fine too, totally fine, no honest – but then no Botticelli for you.

© National Gallery, London

1. Dutch Flowers at the National Gallery

Art Painting
© National Gallery, London

Country of origin: The Netherlands, but ages ago

Why go? There are just 22 paintings, many of them tiny, in this free, one-room show, which highlights how flowers are never actually just flowers. The bouquets in this display of Dutch painting from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries quickly become symbols of passion, wealth, fashion and empire.
© Jorge Otero-Pailos: The Ethics of Dust

2. Jorge Otero-Pailos: The Ethics of Dust

Art
© Jorge Otero-Pailos: The Ethics of Dust

Country of origin: Spain

Why go? Spanish preservationist and artist Jorge Otero-Pailos has filled Westminster Hall in the Houses of Parliament with one of the best sculptures you’ll see this summer. The idea is simple: in the process of cleaning the site’s walls, he covered them in latex and peeled it off to trap centuries of pollution, dust and dirt.
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 Francis Towne (1739-1816),  Inside the Colosseum ,  1780
 Francis Towne (1739-1816),  Inside the Colosseum ,  1780
Francis Towne (1739-1816), Inside the Colosseum, 1780 © The Trustees of the British Museum

3. Light, Time, Legacy: Francis Towne’s Watercolours of Rome

Art
Francis Towne (1739-1816), Inside the Colosseum, 1780 © The Trustees of the British Museum

Country of origin: British painter on a trip to Italy

Why go? Towne took a painting trip to Rome in 1780. He considered the works he produced there to be the most important in his career and gave them to the British Museum. Individually, they're rarely astonishing. Collectively, though, they're a record of an artist looking for validation by his peers and by posterity.
William Morris, John Henry Dearle, Morris & Co: 'The Orchard', 1890. © Victoria & Albert Museum

4. Botticelli Reimagined at the V&A

Art Renaissance art
William Morris, John Henry Dearle, Morris & Co: 'The Orchard', 1890. © V&A

Country of origin: Italy (and the rest of the world)

Why go? The V&A dishes up a sweeping survey of sexy Botticelli-influenced art and design via Dolce & Gabbana, Gaga, Warhol and countless Victorian acolytes before, finally, showing the biggest haul of Botticelli masterpieces we’ve seen since the 1930s.
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5. Scottish Artists 1750-1900: From Caledonia To The Continent

Art Painting
James Giles: 'A View of Lochnagar', 1848. © Royal Collection Trust/Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016

Country of Origin: Scotland AKA Caledonia

Why go? Fine formal studies in universality and exoticism are explored, as well as domestic moments showcasing the fantastical everyday of Caledonia (the Latin name the Romans gave to Scotland) such as pub mayhem and a penny wedding.
Wolfgang Tillmans The State We’re In, A unframed inkjet print
Wolfgang Tillmans The State We’re In, A unframed inkjet print
© Wolfgang Tillmans, courtesy Maureen Paley, London

6. Wolfgang Tillmans at Maureen Paley

Art
© Wolfgang Tillmans, courtesy Maureen Paley, London

Country of Origin: Germany

Why go? You can see why leaving the EU is so particularly threatening to Tillmans: his is a genuinely European vision, a kind of extreme anti-extremism. Poised between high and low culture, his work challenges both with its subtlty and vividness.
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Ragnar Kjartansson, From the series 'Scenes From Western Culture', 2015

7. Ragnar Kjartansson at the Barbican Centre

Art
Ragnar Kjartansson, From the series 'Scenes From Western Culture', 2015

Country of Origin: Iceland

Why go? Opening in mid-July, this is the first UK survey of the internationally acclaimed Icelandic artist who has brought fun back to art. As Kjartansson says, ‘Sometimes you need to add a little theatre to life and vice versa.’ Head to the Barbican from July 14 to see how his motto pans out.

Cheer yourself up with some freebies

Aerial photo of the Shard and Thames at night.
© Vincent Laforet - AIR

Photography in London

Art Photography

Addicted to Instagram or permanently attached to your SLR? Even if your camera roll is totally empty, you'll find a way to appreciate London photography; we have the widest variety of styles in some of the best exhibitions at the most beautiful galleries. Find them in a flash with our guide to the best photography London has to offer.

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This week's best art

Art

Fancy checking out some art this week but don't know where to start? Have a flick through our selection of weird and wonderful shows on at the moment and take your pick. With galleries spread all over the city and an art scene as changeable as London's, we've divided it into areas to help keep track. 

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