Worldwide icon-chevron-right Europe icon-chevron-right United Kingdom icon-chevron-right England icon-chevron-right London icon-chevron-right Free art in London

Free art in London

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

By Time Out London Art |
Advertising

Looking at great art needn't cost the same as buying great art. With a shed-load of free art exhibitions in London, wandering through sculptures, being blinded by neon or admiring some of the best photography in London needn't cost a penny. Here's our pick of the best free art exhibitions this week and beyond.

RECOMMENDED: explore our full guide to free London

Free art exhibitions in London

Jo Spence 'A Picture of Health: Property of Jo Spence?' (1982) Collaboration with Terry Dennett © The Estate of the Artist. Image courtesy of Richard Saltoun Gallery, London
Art

Jo Spence and Oreet Ashery: Misbehaving Bodies

icon-location-pin Wellcome Collection, Euston
icon-calendar

Walking into ‘Misbehaving Bodies’, the Wellcome Collection’s free exhibition of artworks by Jo Spence (1934-1992) and Oreet Ashery (b. 1966), you first notice two giant, bright pink teddy bears with extra-long arms. The terror-inducing teds sit on the floor under draping canopies of the same intestinal colour. 

Time Out says
© the Estate of László Moholy-Nagy. Image courtesy of the Estate of László Moholy-Nagy
Art

László Moholy-Nagy

icon-location-pin Hauser & Wirth, Mayfair
icon-calendar

László Moholy-Nagy set things in motion back in the ’30s that are still picking up speed today. The Hungarian modernist fused art and technology, creating a body of work that explored the base, elemental, constituent parts of our aesthetic world. This small show brings together a handful of Moholy-Nagy’s collages, paintings and sculptures, and make a tidy case for him as one of the most relevant of modernists. The first WOW moment is a set of three enamel panels comprised of simple black, yellow and red lines on white backgrounds. Moholy-Nagy had these produced industrially based on his own graph paper drawings. They’re perfect: impeccably neat, almost digitally clean – a proto-Photoshop bit of visual perfection. Next is his ‘Light-Space-Modulator’, produced with engineering firm AEG. Every hour it flicks on for three minutes, its prisms and grates sending myriad shadows dancing across the room. It’s an industrially-produced light machine, a contraption for creating untouchable shapes. It’s like the best disco ball ever. Surrounding these pivotal, influential works are experimental collages, photographs and paintings. Moholy-Nagy was relentless in toying with form, light and technology. The show’s a little weak on explanatory information, but you can see past that. If this work was made right now it would be good, but it was made way back then, so it’s really good.

Time Out says
Advertising
Luchita Hurtado 'Untitled' (1969) Image courtesy of the artist. Photo Credit: Jeff McLane
Art

Luchita Hurtado: I Live I Die I Will Be Reborn

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

The female gaze is a funny thing. Three little words used to describe everything from lesbian erotic fiction to the abstract expressionism of Lee Krasner. What’s missing from all this talk about ‘the gaze’ is any sense of a physical human being doing the looking. Enter: Luchita Hurtado.

Time Out says
Photography by Paul Salveson. Image courtesy of Nevine Mahmoud and Soft Opening, London.
Art

Nevine Mahmoud: Belly Room

icon-location-pin Soft Opening, Bethnal Green
icon-calendar

There’s stuff happening in Nevine Mahmoud’s first European solo show. Sensual, tactile stuff; sexual, bodily stuff. You feel like you’re walking in on a seriously private moment, bodies caught midway through something you maybe shouldn’t be seeing. There are just five sculptures here – all tits, butts and tongues made of marble and glass –  but they are totally lovely. 

Time Out says
Advertising
'Kathy Acker in conversation with Angela McRobbie at the Institute of Contemporary Arts' (1987). © ICA, London
Art

I, I, I, I, I, I, I, Kathy Acker

icon-location-pin ICA, The Mall
icon-calendar

The writer Kathy Acker (1947-1997) meant a lot of things to a lot of people. And she still does, as this sensory-overload of an exhibition at the ICA makes clear. Split across two floors, the show swirls together chunks of Acker’s own prolific output (mainly large segments of text or video footage of the writer talking or performing) with artworks, poems and films by an extra-long list of artists she’s inspired. 

Time Out says
'Imaginary Cities, study (London)' for British Library Labs residency (2016) © Michael Takeo Magruder
Museums

Imaginary Cities

icon-location-pin British Library, Euston
icon-calendar

 Maps: they’re lush. And the British Library has lots of them. In 2013, it extracted maps from its newly digitised collection of nineteenth-century books and put the results on Flickr. Artist Michael Takeo Magruder has now used these 1 million historical images as the basis for four new artworks. 

Time Out says
Advertising
Sean Scully Arles Abend Deep, 2017, Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris (SS3202) © Sean Scully. Photo: courtesy the artist
Art

Sea Star: Sean Scully

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

You’ve got two options with Sean Scully’s abstract paintings. You can either try to read a bunch of hefty conceptual meaning into their lines and colours, or you can take them for what they are: big bloody stripy paintings. 

Time Out says
Soroya Marchelle, Royal Vauxhall Tavern (2018). Photo by Léa L'attentive. Image courtesy of Léa L'attentive
Art

Queer Spaces: London, 1980s – Today

icon-location-pin Whitechapel Gallery, Whitechapel
icon-calendar

Like half-forgotten crushes, some lost spaces might be sweeter to remember than they ever were at the time. Whitechapel Gallery’s glance into the spaces where London’s queer communities flirted and campaigned serves up heavy doses of nostalgia. 

Time Out says
Advertising
Photo: Tate (Matt Greenwood)
Art

Mike Nelson: The Asset Strippers

icon-location-pin Tate Britain, Millbank
icon-calendar

Tate Britain is filled with the corpses of British industry, the long dead, rotting remains of this country itself. Strewn across the massive central Duveen Galleries are chunks of enormous abandoned machinery: presses, clamps, welders, cutters. Some have been left untouched, others have been piled on top of each other. 

Time Out says
Copyright Jenny Holzer and Tate
Art, Contemporary art

Artist Rooms: Jenny Holzer

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

American artist Jenny Holzer’s work is decades’ worth of statements, aphorisms, quotes and poetry. She takes words and sentences and plasters them over the streets, prints them on cups and condoms, engraves them into marble, and sends them stuttering at lightspeed along LED columns. 

Time Out says

Barnebys Ecomm Widget

More to explore

Snap up exclusive discounts in London

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

Advertising