bjork exhibition, mouth
'Bjork Digital' at Somerset House

Latest art reviews

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

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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. 

The latest London art reviews

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  • Art
  • Soho
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Recommended

‘It is an extraordinary experience to live as though life were punishment for being Black,’ says South African photographer Ernest Cole (1940-1990). An extraordinary experience that he captured the brutal daily reality of in the 1960s. 

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  • Art
  • Barbican
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Recommended

It’s a hard heart that can leave Francis Alys’s Barbican exhibition without being a little broken by it. At the Barbican, the Belgian/Mexican artist – best known for films where he performs walking actions, pushing a block of ice until it melts, kicking a flaming ball through a desolate border town – has taken himself out of the work, and turned his eye on children.

 

  • Art
  • Bankside
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Recommended

Artists spent centuries making art about light – the divine rays of the Renaissance, the shimmering seascapes of Turner, the foggy hazes of the Impressionists – but it wasn’t until the 1970s that anyone really thought to make art with light. British artist Anthony McCall was one of the first, creating pioneering films that used projectors to trace shapes in the air, somehow seeming to turn nothingness solid.

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  • Art
  • Piccadilly
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Recommended

The current war in Ukraine isn’t the country’s first major conflict. Stuck between east and west, Ukraine has been fought over and pulled apart for centuries. In the early twentieth century, it endured World War I, then a long war of independence and was eventually absorbed into the Soviet Union. And throughout all that vicious, bloody turmoil, Ukrainians made art.

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  • Art
  • South Bank
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Recommended

In 1951, an African American woman had her cells harvested while being treated for cancer. She was not asked, and she gave no consent, but the doctors took them anyway. Those cells became essential in future medical research, but she was forgotten. Her name was Henrietta Lacks, and an effigy of her floats in mineral oil in Tavares Strachan’s Hayward show.

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  • Art
  • Mayfair
  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Recommended

Swiss sculptor Alberto Giacometti, modern art maestro Pablo Picasso and conceptual pioneer Bruce Nauman walk into a gallery. It’s the setup to a joke I haven’t got a punchline for, and the basis for this exhibition of sculptures by the three of them. They’re all big dogs of art history, but do they have anything in common? Gagosian sure thinks so, but you may not leave this show all that convinced.

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  • Art
  • Vauxhall
  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Recommended

Your taste reflects your personality, so all the art in this gallery full of snark, smut and death can only be Damien Hirst’s. ‘Dominion’, curated by his son Connor in his gallery out of art from his own collection, is a portrait of a man through the art he loves, and it’s exactly what you think it’s going to be.

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  • Art
  • Mayfair
  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Recommended

In 1982, master of modern American conceptualism John Baldessari (1931-2020) was invited to India. On an artist residency in a swanky modernist villa owned by some wealthy industrialists, he set about documenting, sampling and twisting the world around him, just like he’d always done.

  • Art
  • Mayfair
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Recommended

Hajime Sorayama dares to ask the questions everyone is too afraid to know the answers to, like: ‘what if there was a sexy robot at the Hindenburg Disaster’ and ‘what if Marilyn Monroe was a sexy robot?’ and ‘what if mermaids were sexy robots?’ and ‘what if Joan of Arc was a sexy robot, but with a genital piercing?’ You’ve always wanted to know, admit it, and now the answers are all right here.

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  • Art
  • Bankside
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Recommended

‘No one can tell the story better than ourselves,’ proclaims a quote from artist-photographer Zanele Muholi as you enter this exhibition. Maybe so, but the Tate makes a decent fist of trying in this extended showcase of a visual activist who has spent more than two decades focusing their lens on the lives of the South African Black LGBTQIA+ community through vivid portraits and self-portraiture. An earlier incarnation of the exhibition in 2020 fell prey to Covid restrictions after only five weeks and in the intervening time its narrative has grown, reflecting Muholi’s importance as a creative force for change.

 

  • Art
  • Soho
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Recommended

In a 1978 American football game between the Oakland Raiders and the New England Patriots, Jack Tatum tackled Darryl Stingley so hard it left him paralysed from the neck down. It was an act of ferocious brutality that was captured on camera and replayed, reanalysed, rewatched a billion times over.

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  • Art
  • Strand
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Recommended

In a dizzying cacophony of notes and tones, The Vinyl Factory is loudly announcing that it’s back to its best. In a warren of concrete bunkers deep beneath the strand, the masters of high end immersive AV art have pulled together some big hits. ‘Reverb’ is a celebration of speakers, drums, beats, songs and noises, of the links between music and art.

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  • Art
  • Clapham
  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Recommended

Turns out, the line between erotic and bawdy is pretty thick. And right here in Clapham you’ve got Tom of Finland on one side of it, and Beryl Cook on the other. Studio Voltaire has brought the two artists together for a duo show exploring the links between Tom’s hyper-exaggerated homoerotic pornography and Beryl’s titillating seaside British comedy naughtiness.

 

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  • Art
  • South Kensington
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Recommended

Money can buy a lot of things, but it can’t buy taste. Luckily, Sir Elton John would probably know his art from his elbow even if he hadn’t become one of the world’s biggest, richest megastars. For decades now, he has been building a world class collection of photography with his partner David Furnish. It’s been shown all over the world, even at the Tate in 2017, and now it’s the V&A’s turn. 

 

  • Art
  • Millbank
  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Recommended

It wasn’t unusual for women to paint in the seventeenth century, it was just unusual for them to live off it. Art was meant to be a hobby for women of the upper classes, a leisure activity for ladies who lunched. Doing art professionally, seriously, that was for the men. But the Tate’s had enough of that bogus, patronising attitude and are hellbent on showing that anything men could do – even really ugly paintings – women could do too.

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  • Art
  • Bloomsbury
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Recommended

There was a lot of love in the last years of Michelangelo Buonarotti’s life. Already hugely successful, the Renaissance master dedicated his final decades to loving his god, his family, his friends, and serving his pope. The proof of that love is all over the walls of this intimate little visual biography of the final years of his life, filled with his drawings and letters and paintings by his followers. 

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  • Art
  • Trafalgar Square
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Recommended

The arrow has only just pierced her heart, but the blood has already drained from Ursula’s fragile body. She is pallid, ashen, aghast at the mortal wound in her chest. All around her mouths are agape in shock, men grasp to hold her up, a hand tries – too late – to stop the arrow. This miserable, chaotic, sombre depiction of feverish violence is the last painting of one of history’s most important artists, Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio.

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  • Art
  • Hyde Park
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Recommended

Britain is littered with symbols of death and exploitation; not hidden away shamefully, but raised up, celebrated and gloried. Public sculptures of controversial historical figures are everywhere, and now they’re in the Serpentine too, because Yinka Shonibare CBE has put them there. 

 

  • Art
  • Euston
  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Recommended

In a Wakefield hospital in 1980, at 2:54pm, while Sebastian Coe was running the 1500m wearing the number 254, Jason Wilsher-Mills’s parents were being told that he had only a few years to live. A bout of chicken led to his immune system attacking itself. He was hospitalised and paralysed from the neck down. But the doctors were wrong: he survived. Those years in hospital, then in recovery, stuck immobile on a ward, lost in his thoughts, awakened a deep creativity in him.

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  • Art
  • Trafalgar Square
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Recommended

It’s hard to know if Italian Renaissance master Andrea Mantegna was issuing a doom-laden warning or just a doe-eyed love letter to history. Because written into the nine sprawling canvases of his ‘Triumphs of Caesar’ (six of which are on show here while their gallery in Hampton Court Palace is being renovated) is all the glory and power of the Ancient Rome, but its eventual collapse too.

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