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In Plain Sight, Wellcome Collection, 2022. Photography: Steven Pocock.
In Plain Sight, Wellcome Collection, 2022. Photography: Steven Pocock.

Free art in London

See great free art in London without splashing the cash on an admission fee

Written by
Time Out London Art
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Looking at great art in London usually won't cost you penny. Pretty much every major museum is free, as is literally every single commercial gallery. That's a helluva lot of art. So wandering through sculptures, being blinded by neon or admiring some of the best photography in London is absolutely free. 'What about the really good stuff, I bet you have to pay to see that,' you're probably thinking. Nope, even some of them are free. So here's our pick of the best free art happening in London right now.

RECOMMENDED: explore our full guide to free London

Free art exhibitions in London

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Art
  • Finchley Road

Memories are hazy, foggy things. The mind twists its own images and narratives with the passage of time. Iraqi-born artist Mohammed Sami is trying to make sense of that fog in his work. The paintings here are re-worked, rehashed, re-cooked memories of life in war ravaged Iraq, of being co-opted to paint propaganda images, of fleeing, of life in a Swedish refugee camp. 

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Art
  • Fitzrovia

In the 1990s, while the UK was being lectured by the YBAs that art was cool and naughty and full of drunk people (something everyone in the artworld already knew, apart from the bit about it being cool or naughty), there was a whole load of artists plugging away, doing their thing and not worrying too much about what the Daily Star thought about sharks or Myra Hindley.

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  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Art
  • Mayfair

There’s something elemental about Antoni Tapies’ (1923-2012) art. Something basic, primal, ancient. It’s a thread that courses all through the late great Catalin artist’s work, and is all over this show of work from throughout his career, this connection with the earth and nature and hidden symbolism.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Art
  • Mayfair

You should always talk to flowers. Not to help them grow or anything, but because they might just talk back. The flowers in Jonathan Baldock’s new exhibition are more likely to do that than most, because they’re not just plants, they’re almost human.

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  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Art
  • Fitzrovia

Ever wanted to become so entwined with someone that you become one person? Rats know all about that desire. There’s the cryptid myth of the Rat King, a mass of rats whose tails have become knotted together, creating one giant, many-headed, dreaded, inseparable (and dead) mega-rat. Now that’s love, that’s togetherness.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Art
  • Mayfair

Don’t come see this show hungover. Dan Flavin’s fluorescent light installations – or ‘situations’, as the late American minimalist called them – are real eye-melters. They sting the pupils and singe the sensitive brain. And they’re totally inescapable: you can’t look away like you would with a painting; the light they pulse out fills and dominates the whole room.

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  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Art
  • Trafalgar Square

Turner on tour: it’s like lads on tour but with considerably more monumental landscape painting than the average trip to Magaluf.

 

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Art
  • Euston

This substantial – and free – exhibition uses its tight focus, the eye, to examine a great big heap of provoking ideas and quirky, fascinating things. It’s about how we see: physically, artistically, historically, medically and spiritually. It also glances at experience of becoming blind– lyrically, via an ethereally beautiful new VR artwork describing a writer’s loss of sight and cultivation of an inner eye.

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