Latest art reviews

Find out what our critics make of new exhibitions with the latest London art reviews

From blockbuster names to indie shows, Time Out Art cast their net far and wide in order to review the biggest and best exhibitions in the city. Check 'em out below or shortcut it to our top ten art exhibitions in London for the shows that we already know will blow your socks off. 

Copyright and courtesy: Dennis Oppenheim Estate
Art
Aktion: Conceptual Art And Photography (1960 - 1980)
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Forget how many words a picture is worth; what about how many ideas it’s worth? This neat little show is filled with art where ideas are captured in images. The thing you see isn’t necessarily the work, but a representation of the concept… which is the work. You follow? 
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Félix Vallotton 'Quatre torses'. Courtesy Michael Werner Gallery
Art
Vile Bodies
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In general, summer group shows are just half-arsed attempts to hock some leftovers. Come up with a concept, whack some art on the walls and hope for sales even though most of the rich bozos who normally buy your stuff have jetted off to St Tropez for the season. This Michael Werner group show is one of the better ones. 
icon-location-pin Mayfair
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© Christopher Le Brun. Image courtesy of Lisson Gallery.
Art
Christopher Le Brun
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Christopher Le Brun paints paintings about painting. Or perhaps it’s more accurate to say that he paints paintings that aren’t about anything. He just paints.
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© Angela de la Cruz. Image courtesy of Lisson Gallery.
Art
Angela de la Cruz: Bare
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If you spent your formative years in the type of school where you wore a sweatshirt and not a blazer, then chances are your memories of educational architecture involve two things: fluorescent strip lights and white, plastic blinds bashed-up and half-hanging from the window. 
icon-location-pin Lisson Grove
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Richard Prince “WHAT A KID I WAS” (3 TIMES), 1989. © Richard Prince. Courtesy of the artist and Skarstedt.
Art
Richard Prince: Early Joke Paintings
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Richard Prince isn’t a subtle artist. Smart as a whip, sure, and often infuriatingly complex, but where other artists may ease you into their ideas and aesthetics, Prince comes diving in off the top ropes, body slamming you and jabbing you in the ribs over and over again. 
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Sarah Sze Images in Debris, 2018 Installation view © Sarah Sze Courtesy the artist and Victoria Miro, London/Venice
Art
Sarah Sze
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Afterimages are the ghostly pictures that float in front of a person’s eyes after they’ve stopped looking at the actual thing. The artworks in Sarah Sze’s exhibition of the same name are made up of not just one lingering image, but hundreds of them. 
icon-location-pin Hoxton
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David LaChapelle 'An illuminating path' (1998) Courtesy of the artist
Art
Michael Jackson: On the Wall
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HIs every crotch grab sent jolts of ecstasy across the globe, his every spasmodic hip thrust left the world reeling. That’s an inhuman level of power for one human to have. It ended up being too much for Michael Jackson, and maybe too much for the rest of us too, which may explain how the National Portrait Gallery can put together a whole show of art inspired by MJ and without it being mega-cheesy or ultra-dull. 
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Photo: Wolfgang Volz © 2018 Christo
Art
Christo & Jeanne-Claude
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Cresting out of the Serpentine lake is some prehistoric, mythical, yet perfectly geometrical creature. It looks like the Bauhaus designed the Loch Ness Monster; like Malevich dreamed up the Kraken. This is Christo and his late wife Jeanne-Claude’s first real attempt at their ‘Mastaba’ – a project dreamed up in the ’70s, but so ambitious as to be impossible to realise. 
icon-location-pin Knightsbridge
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Dorothea Lange, 'Migrant Mother', Copyright the Dorothea Lange Collection, the Oakland Museum of California
Art, Photography
Dorothea Lange: ‘Politics of Seeing’
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You can see why the Barbican is running these shows of Dorothea Lange and Vanessa Winship together. There’s plenty of overlap in their work: dislocation, displacement, the way that women, children, buildings, landscapes and even cars reflect societal collapse. But I would seriously advise that you buy your ticket, check out one of them, then go and play crazy golf with a few beers or something before you come back and tackle the other. 
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© Tish Murtha
Art
Tish Murtha: 'Works 1976 - 1991'
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‘As far as most strippers and peep-show dancers are concerned, audience is too elevated a term for the men who watch. They are punters and bloody wankers to boot,’ wrote Karen Leslie, the writer and stripper who Tish Murtha collaborated with on ‘London by Night’, a project documenting the London sex industry in 1983. 
icon-location-pin Soho
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Cindy Sherman, 'Untitled #584', 2018. © Cindy Sherman Courtesy of the artist, Metro Pictures and Sprüth Magers
Art, Photography
Cindy Sherman
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For 35 years, Sherman has been the subject of her own work. She’s transformed herself into an endlessly rotating series of characters. She mocks, twists and undermines femininity and gender roles, and in this show of recent work, she’s become a bunch of fictional pre-war film stars. 
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Courtesy of Petra Cortright and Nahmad Projects
Art
Petra Cortright: Pale Coil Cold Angel
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The splodgy, stuttering, textured, joyfully colourful surfaces of Petra Cortright’s paintings are single frozen moments of digital time. Get up close and you see repeated, copy-pasted imagery – you then realise that all these ‘brushstrokes’ are pure Photoshop, that those textures are just digital effects. 
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© Alex Prager Studio and Lehmann Maupin, New York and Hong Kong
Art
Alex Prager: Silver Lake Drive
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You get an eerie sense of déjà vu in this show of American artist Alex Prager’s photography. Seeing the drunken parties, suspicious faces and elaborate beach scenes she meticulously stages, you’re certain that each scenario is familiar.
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© Miriam Escofet
Art
BP Portrait Award 2018
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Immediately on entry to the 39th year of the Portrait Award, you’re faced with a photorealistic painting – it’s amazingly impressive, and a bit dull. Exactly what you’d expect from the Portrait Award. But this year’s prize isn’t entirely filled with the usual same-y works, the ones we all gawp at for their makers’ ability to use paint like a camera. 
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Luiz Zerbini 'Erosão' (2014). Photo: Jaime Acioli.
Art
Luiz Zerbini: Intuitive Ratio
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If you’re still haunted by memories of maths class, the paintings of Luiz Zerbini might make you break into a cold sweat. The Brazilian artist paints colourful, bombastic landscapes – but nothing here is an accident. Everything looks as though it’s placed according to a precise geometry, like he’s trying to segment the wildness of Rio de Janeiro around a Fibonacci spiral. 
icon-location-pin Camberwell
Courtesy: Greene Naftali, New York.
Art
Julie Becker: I must create a Master Piece to pay the Rent
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A filthy chunk of Sunset Boulevard lies on the floor in a gallery on The Mall, thousands of miles from home, utterly isolated, totally displaced. American artist Julie Becker (1972-2016) was a displaced child herself, and a displaced adult, moving and being moved constantly. That slab of concrete of hers makes a lot of sense. 
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© Ed Ruscha / photography Paul Ruscha
Art, Contemporary art
Ed Ruscha: Course of Empire
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Made more than 20 years apart, the works here paint a portrait of a shapeshifting city (Los Angeles, Ruscha’s home), a city in the constant, ceaseless throes of change.
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Thomas Cole 'The Course of Empire: Destruction', 1836
© Collection of The New-York Historical Society, New York / Digital image created by Oppenheimer Editions
Art, Painting
Thomas Cole's Journey
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The future is scary – ecological disaster, the technological singularity, destruction, annihilation… But the future’s always been scary. Back in British-born American painter Thomas Cole’s day (1801-1848) it wasn’t AI or atom bombs that struck fear, it was the unstoppable force of industrialisation. His body of big, bold, adventurous landscape painting is a warning against greed, modernism and unchecked industrial progress. 
icon-location-pin Trafalgar Square
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Tomma Abts 'Feke' (2013) Photo: Marcus Leith. Courtesy David Zwirner, New York
Art
Tomma Abts
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There’s nothing wrong with being old fashioned, and something about German artist Tomma Abt’s art feels like it’s from another era entirely. Her work is pure, simple, direct abstraction. 
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Helen Beard 'Cyssan' (2017) © the artist.
Art
True Colours
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We no longer get upset at the idea of art being more interested in colour tones than, for example, historical accuracy. In fact, times have changed so much that Newport Street Gallery – the exhibition space owned by Damien Hirst – has programmed an exhibition of three contemporary artists, Helen Beard, Sadie Laska and Boo Saville, united through their creation of crackling chromatic artworks. 
icon-location-pin Lambeth
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© Howard Hodgkin Estate. Photo by Prudence Cuming Associates Courtesy Gagosian
Art
Howard Hodgkin: Last Paintings
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Hodgkin, considered one of Britain’s most important artists when he died in 2017, abandoned painting on canvas way back in 1972, switching instead to wooden panels, some of them with slightly raised ‘frames’ around the edges. Presented here are Hodgkin’s last works, including six he painted in India just before his death. 
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Installation view of Lee Bul, Via Negativa II, 2014 at Hayward Gallery, 2018 (interior detail) © Lee Bul 2018. Photo_ Mark Blower
Art
Lee Bul
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A huge, gloopy, multi-limbed, fleshy monster stares you out as you enter Lee Bul’s  exhibition. And it’s not alone. Suspended from the ceiling are more of its blobby buddies and a battalion of pure white cyborgs. In the corner sits a silver and black behemoth among a landscape of shattered mirrors and blinking lights. It’s up to you to figure out if the Korean artist’s sci-fi dreamscape is actually a nightmare. 
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Christopher Richard Wynne Nevinson, 'Paths of Glory' © IWM (Art.IWM ART 518)
Art
Aftermath: Art in the Wake of World War One
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Wars have a way of never ending. Long after the weapons have been dropped, the wounds in society continue to fester for decades. The waves of war ripple throughout time, and each war feels like it happens in the wake of the last one, part of some endless continuum of brutality. 
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Art
August Sander
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In the fake news era, a time when obvious lies can sway elections, it seems odd to think that the truth might actually be the most powerful weapon. But it was threatening enough in inter-war Germany to get August Sander’s photographs banned by the Nazis.
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Pipilotti Rist, 'Trust me' (2016). Courtesy of the artist and Hauser & Wirth
Art
Spiegelgasse (Mirror Alley)
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Turns out, it’s not all cuckoo clocks, chocolate and ruthless efficiency over in Switzerland. The tiny European nation is also funny, surreal, sexy, weird and very creative. This show of Swiss art from surrealism through to today – named after the street where Dadaism was invented in Zurich – paints a bizarre, twisted and hugely expressive picture of Swiss visual culture. 
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Edward Bawden, '[Aesop’s Fables] Gnat and Lion'. Copyright Estate of Edward Bawden.
Art
Edward Bawden
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Bawden (1903-1989) had many fave topics: the gorgeous greenery of the British landscape and famous London landmarks being just two. Much of his work was created for commercial commissions. He designed everything from Christmas cards to menus, and you can still see his tiles prettifying the walls at Tottenham Hale and Victoria tube stations. 
icon-location-pin Dulwich Village
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Tacita Dean. Photo credit: Fredrik Nilsen Studio.
Art, Contemporary art
Tacita Dean: Landscape
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Tacita Dean’s many-headed art beast has sprouted its third and final bonce: after a show of portraiture at the National Portrait Gallery and one of still life at the National Gallery, Dean now opens the doors of the Royal Academy’ new building with a show of landscapes.
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© Katharina Grosse and VG Bild-Kunst Bonn, 2018. Photo Jens Ziehe
Art
Katharina Grosse: Prototypes of Imagination
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German artist Katharina Grosse is best known for her monumental painty interventions: chromatic collisions where colour covers whole walls, buildings, trees, patches of grass, roads, possibly the odd dozing pensioner. She’s not some street-art saddo just territorially pissing paint, though. Her abstractions transform environments, teasing the eye, dramatically refiguring the landscape.
icon-location-pin St Pancras
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Copyright Lisa Brice
Art, Painting
Art Now: Lisa Brice
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John Everett Millais’s ‘Ophelia’ is the unofficial poster girl of Tate Britain. Most recently her soggy image was slapped on the cover of the book of Tate ‘highlights’ overflowing on the gift shop stands. Lisa Brice, a South African-born artist now living in London, was commissioned to paint a response to the famous pre-Raph portrait as part of her ‘Art Now’ exhibition. 
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Auguste Rodin, 'The Kiss'. Copyright Musée Rodin.
Art
Rodin and the Art of Ancient Greece
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One look at Medusa would turn flesh to stone. Auguste Rodin was sort of the opposite, dedicating his life and radical art instead to somehow turning stone into living, breathing, rippling flesh. His revolutionary sculptures feel quiveringly close to bursting alive and writhing with movement. 
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Cedric Morris 'May Flowering Irises No. 2' (1935) © Philip Mould & Company Courtesy the Cedric Morris Estate
Art
Cedric Morris: Artist Plantsman
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London is currently home to two exhibitions of art by British painter Cedric Morris. The first, at the Garden Museum, concentrates on his dual identity as an artist and an award-winning gardener. Floral still lifes and the English countryside don’t exactly set the world on fire as the subject of an art exhibition. But ‘Cedric Morris: Artist Plantsman’ turns this tranquil topic on its head.
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The Houses of Parliament, Fog Effect (Le Parlement, effet de brouillard), 1904 © Collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg, FL
Art
Monet and Architecture
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How much can anyone be bothered to say, let alone bloody listen to, about Claude Monet any more? The impressionist master is one of the great names of art history, a revolutionary, a game-changer, yada, yada, yada. He’s the defining nineteenth-century French artist, a man who has had so much written about him and whose art we have seen so many times that most sane people must be pretty bored of him by now. 
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Anthea Hamilton The Squash, install view Photo: © Tate (Seraphina Neville)
Art, Sculpture
Anthea Hamilton
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Imagine you’re a squash – as in, a butternut squash. Now imagine what kind of art you would most like, based on your squashy-brained characteristics. For her 2018 Tate Britain Commission for the Duveen Galleries, Anthea Hamilton has created a squash-human hybrid, performed each day by an individual dressed in one of seven outfits inspired by various strains of curcubita (that’s for you, ‘Gardeners’ World’ fans). 
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Joan Jonas, 'They Come to Us without a Word II'. Copyright Joan Jonas: Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York: DACS, London. Photograph: Moira Ricci.
Art
Joan Jonas
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Thunder cracks, kites are frozen in the wind overhead, giant drawings of birds line the walls and videos show performers dancing in forests. This is Joan Jonas world, a thriving maelstrom of sound, movement and vision, cut through with myth that’s indistinguishable from reality.
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'GB. England. Dorset. From West Bay' (1996) © Martin Parr - Magnum Photos
Museums
The Great British Seaside
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With summer beckoning like a mermaid in a sailor’s wet dream, the Royal Maritime Museum in Greenwich has turned its main gallery over to an exhibition of photographs taken at the seaside resorts of Britain. Four major names in coastal snapping are represented: Martin Parr, Tony Ray-Jones, David Hurn and Simon Roberts. 
icon-location-pin Greenwich
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Pablo Picasso, 'Woman on the Beach', the Penrose Collection. Copyright Succession Picasso. /DACS London 2018
Art, Painting
Picasso 1932: Love, Fame, Tragedy
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This exhibition focuses entirely on 1932, a pivotal and prolific year for Pablo. In its summer, a major retrospective of his work was held, but instead of feeling like he’d made it,  he fretted about being past it. 
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Maria Mckinney
Art
Somewhere in Between
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Semen straws are used to artificially inseminate cattle as part of a process to breed the best and beefiest bulls. But artist Maria McKinney has another use for them: building sculptures. The artist’s photos of moody-looking bulls wearing these sculptures make up the first room of ‘Somewhere in Between’. McKinney’s stud-farm snaps, titled ‘Sire’, are part of an exhibition that looks at the point where science and art meet.
icon-location-pin Bloomsbury
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Jenny Saville, 'Reverse'. Copyright Jenny Saville. Courtesy of the artist and Gagosian.
Art
All Too Human: Bacon, Freud and a Century of Life Painting
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There are two main characters in this big show: the human body, and London. Both of them come across as lonely and isolated; bitter, violent and lost. This is an exhibition of figure painting through the twentieth century – a time of upheaval and pain – and the art made in response to all that is as tortured as you’d expect, and hugely influential. 
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