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London art exhibitions calendar

Our handy collection of all the big, small and scary art exhibitions coming to town in 2019

Courtesy Cindy Sherman, Metro Pictures and Spruth Magers
By Time Out London Art |
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Hello eager art friend, want to do some planning ahead? Well, you've come to the right place with our one-stop shop for all the art exhibitions, big or small, coming to London in 2019 over the next couple of months. From exciting new gallery openings to upcoming London photography shows, keep your eyes peeled and your paintbrush poised for as much art as your diary can handle. Or, if you can’t wait that long, here's the best new art in London this week to satisfy those creative cravings sooner. 

Art Opening This Month

Courtesy: Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, Corvi-Mora, London and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York
Art

Lynette Yiadom-Boakye

icon-location-pin Corvi-Mora, Lambeth
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Ahead of her major solo show at Tate Britain next spring, this small exhibition of Lynette Yiadom-Boakye reveals the latest evolutions to the artist's practice. Famed for her portraits of imagined black men and women, the British artist's paintings only ever involve characters she believes to be strong: "If they are pathetic, they don’t survive; if I feel sorry for someone, I get rid of them. I don’t like to paint victims”.

Charlotte Edey 'Garden' (2019) © the artist
Art

Charlotte Edey: Echolocation

icon-location-pin PUBLIC Gallery, Hackney
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Blue-tinted, gorgeously feminine artworks by Charlotte Edey. The artist makes richly detailed tapestries, embroideries and silk georgettes, all of which will leave you in awe of Edey's sensual, dreamy imagination. 

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Benedict Drew 'Trapped in a sticky shed with side chain compression' (2019) © the artist
Art

Benedict Drew: Trapped in a Sticky Shed with Side Chain Compression

icon-location-pin IMT Gallery, Bethnal Green
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Here's an exhibition that looks good. Paintings, videos and reel-to-reel artworks from the pleasingly downbeat Benedict Drew. In 2017, the artist had a show at the Whitechapel Gallery based on the theory of 'trickle-down wealth'. It's hard to predict what exactly this one is about, but it looks cool so hey - why not pay it a visit?

Credit: Laura Cugusi, 2019
Art

Sophia Al-Maria: Beast Type Song

icon-location-pin Tate Britain, Millbank
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Art Now is Tate Britain's regular series of free exhibitions showcase the talents of up-and-coming artists. This one is a little bit different to their recent ones because it's an immersive video installation. Filmed in the former Central St Martins campus, the work uses a sci-fi background to explore the legacy of colonialism and expressions of trauma.  

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William Blake 'Newton' (1795 – c.1805) © Tate
Art

William Blake: The Artist

icon-location-pin Tate Britain, Millbank
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William Blake didn't think much of London when he was alive, commemorating it as an industrialist Hell where he would 'mark in every face I meet / Marks of weakness, marks of woe.' Who knows what he would have thought of it come 2019, but here's something that might help put a smile on the face of the average downtrodden Londoner: a major retrospective of Blake's idiosyncratic artworks. The man who wrote 'The Tyger' truly was one of a kind and his art is filled with beauty, mystery and fear. See it whilst you can, at Tate Britain on the banks of Blake's 'charter'd Thames'. 

Bahia Shebab 'We Love Life' (2019) © Bahia Shehab. Image courtesy of the artist
Art

Bahia Shehab: At the Corner of a Dream

icon-location-pin Aga Khan Centre, King’s Cross
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Five new digital artworks by Bahia Shehab that feed off the artist's earlier project painting the words of Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish onto walls in locations including Cairo, New York, Beirut and Marrakesh. The films were created in the same locations as the murals and respond to the wider political situation occurring in the areas.  Shehab is a Lebanese-Egyptian artist, poet, educator and activist who created a street art protest series titled 'A thousand times no' during the Arab Spring. This the first solo show this fascinating artist has had in the UK, and we recommend checking it out. 

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Co Westerik 'Handkiss and leaves / Handkus met bladeren' (2012) © Co Westerik Foundation. Image courtesy of Sadie Coles HQ, London. Photography: Robert Glowacki
Art

Co Westerik: Body and Landscape

icon-location-pin Sadie Coles HQ, Soho
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Co Westerik's most famous painting shows an intense close-up of a human thumb being cut by a blade of grass. The image found its way onto the Dutch railway system as a public artwork but was later removed because commuters found it too disturbingly visceral. These same qualities  – everyday events and zoomed-in body parts made weird and unsettling – reoccur throughout this exhibition of his late works. The Dutch artist is less well-known among British art fans than those in his home country but his enjoyably unsettling paintings are worth getting to know. 

Kelly-Anne Davitt 'Princess of Power Dolls' (2019) © the artist. Image courtesy of Gallery 46
Art

The Most Powerful Woman In The Universe

icon-location-pin Gallery 46, Whitechapel
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Punk and pop-infused group show of contemporary female artists. See works by Nancy Fouts, Nina-Mae Fowler, Kelly-Anne Davitt, Salena Godden, Bex Massey, Hanne Jo Kemfor, Clancy Gebler Davies and Sara Pope. 

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Dolly Sen, 'Help the Normals' © the artist. Image courtesy of Bethlem Gallery
Art

Art and Protest: What's there to be mad about?

icon-location-pin Bethlem Gallery and Museum of the Mind, Borough of Bromley
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This group exhibition overlaps with the Museum of the Mind's exhibition Impatient! Stories of Service Users. Curated by Dolly Sen, artist and activist, the show is about the role of art in people-led protest against the metal healthcare system and harm caused to individuals. 

Goshka Macuga 'Discrete Model 041' (2019) © the artist
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Goshka Macuga

icon-location-pin Kate MacGarry, Bethnal Green
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Collages and tapestries inspired by pioneers of computer programming such as Ada Lovelace. By working with intricate methods of weaving, Goshka Macuga cleverly references how Lovelace and Charles Babbage were inspired by the mechanics of automated looms when completing their groundbreaking work in computing. Macuga's artworks also reference the ongoing ecological crisis and future of the planet. 

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Art Opening Next Month

(c) Kara Walker, photo by Jason Wyche
Art, Contemporary art

Kara Walker

icon-location-pin Tate Modern, Bankside
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The latest artist to take over Tate’s always-daunting annual Turbine Hall commission is the brilliant Kara Walker. The American artist has forged a powerful path of fierce, political art, dealing with topics like slavery and identity through shadow puppetry, painting and installation. We have no clue what she’s going to do with the Turbine Hall, but we’re seriously excited about seeing it.

United Visual Artists Installation view of Vanishing Point at Towner Art Gallery, 2013-14
Art, Contemporary art

United Visual Artists: Other Spaces

icon-location-pin 180 The Strand, Strand
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A few years back, United Visual Artists filled the Barbican Curve gallery with a mesmerising symphony of swinging lights and hypnotising sound. Now, the group is bringing three of large-scale its immersive audio visual works of art to the cavernous spaces of 180 The Strand. This venue has hosted some of the best a/v shows of the past few yours, so UVA have some big shoes to fill, but with lasers, soundscapes and kinetic sculptures, they just might pull it off.

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Song Dong 'Eating the City' (Vienna 03, 2007) © Song Dong, Courtesy Pace Gallery
Art

Song Dong: Same Bed Different Dreams

icon-location-pin Pace Burlington Gardens, Mayfair
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'Edible' isn't normally the first quality applied to a work of art. Not so, with this exhibition by Chinese artist Song Dong at PACE. Throughout the opening week of the show – which coincides with this year's Frieze art fair – visitors will be invited to start nibbling away at a model city made entirely of sweets, biscuits and other tasty tidbits. The installation, titled 'Eating the City', is designed to explore how quickly Asian cities are destroyed and rebuilt thanks to our insatiable appetite for new experiences in the urban environment. If you get there too late to snack on the cityscape, or go later in the run, you can still see the artist's other (more permanent) works, including two videos shot in contemporary China and several other artworks made from spices, pulses and seeds. This is, we assure you, one of the few times it will be acceptable to taste an artwork. 

Albert Oehlen, Sachen aus Glas, 2002, Acrylic paint and oil on canvas, 209.5 x 301.5cm, Photo: Archive Galerie Max Hetzler, Berlin | Paris © Albert Oehlen
Art, Contemporary art

Albert Oehlen

icon-location-pin Serpentine Gallery, Hyde Park
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There’s something about big paintings that just gets German men going. Georg Baselitz, Sigmar Polke, Gerhard Richter – they’re all giants of modern German art, and they all bloody love a massive experimental painting. You can add Albert Oehlen to that teutonic list too. The Switzerland-based artist has been mashing abstraction, figuration and conceptual cleverness together since the 80s, creating a artistic smoothie that sets him up as the successor to all those other big German names. Zehr gut.

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Henning Strassburger 'Transfer-Spirit' (2019). Image courtesy the artist and BlainSouthern. Photo Simon Vogel
Art

Henning Strassburger: Karma Mansion

icon-location-pin Blainsouthern, Mayfair
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How often do you find a reference to Justin Bieber in a contemporary art gallery? Not all that often, we'll bet, Well you'll have to work hard to actually see Bieber himself on the walls of BlainSouthern, but you will find the walls papered with a photo montage made up of images originally showing Bieber and Hayley Baldwin. Over the top hang a collection of vibrant abstract paintings by German artist Henning Strassburger, his first solo show in a UK gallery.

Jenn Nkiru 'REBIRTH IS NECESSARY' (2017) © the artist
Art

Transformer: The Rebirth of Wonder

icon-location-pin 180 The Strand, Strand
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Group show curated by Jefferson Hack featuring Doug Aitken, Sophia Al-Maria & Victoria Sin, Korakrit Arunanondchai, Donna Huanca, Juliana Huxtable, Evan Ifekoya, Dozie Kanu, Quentin Lacombe, Lawrence Lek, Jenn Nkiru, Chen Wei and Harley Weir & George Rouy. The exhibition takes its name from a Lawrence Ferlinghetti poem and considers how we can make the world that little bit better. It's running at the same time as the immersive exhibition 'Other Spaces', giving you double the reason to run along to 180 The Strand this autumn (although you shouldn't really need us to provide another incentive, pretty much every exhibition they put on here is worth giving a go). 

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Bridget Riley 'Blaze 1' National Galleries of Scotland. Long loan in 2017. © Bridget Riley (2016) All Rights Reserved. Image courtesy of Karsten Schubert, London.
Art

Bridget Riley

icon-location-pin Hayward Gallery, South Bank
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Look into the painting. Look into the painting for longer. Keep looking into the painting. Look at the painting with the intensity of a heron about to catch a slippery fish. Now: stop looking at the painting. Turn around and walk in a straight line. Ah. Walking it's hard sometimes, isn't it? Bridget Riley, Queen of Op Art, gets a big solo show at Hayward Gallery in autumn 2019 and it's going to be filled with the British artist's famous perception-altering artworks from across seven decades. 

Honey-Suckle Company, 'So Last Season','collection, 2003. Procession on the occasion of ESWERDE at Künstlerhaus Stuttgart, 2003. Image courtesy of Honey-Suckle Company
Art

Honey-Suckle Company: Omnibus

icon-location-pin ICA, The Mall
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Berlin-based art collective Honey-Suckle Company take their name from a flower remedy by Dr Bach, the guy behind Rescue Remedy. According to the flora-based theory, honeysuckle helps people to learn from past mistakes and start trusting in the future (it also smells pretty spectacular too). Over the past 25 years since their inception, the group have made clothing, installations, performances and much more. This show at the ICA recaps all of it, giving a neat introduction to their ever-evolving output. 

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Michael Simpson 'Squint 65' (2019) Image courtesy of the artist and BlainSouthern. Photo: Peter Mallet
Art

Michael Simpson: New Paintings

icon-location-pin Blainsouthern, Mayfair
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In medieval and Renaissance England, leper squints were built into churches so that 'undesirables' could watch the sermon separate from the main congregation. Michael Simpson's collection of 'squints' paintings use the architectural quirk as the basis for considering exclusion of all forms, and how this is (sometimes literally) built into the world around us. See them, and more of the artist's recent work, in this solo show, the first time the artist has exhibited in London for over a decade.  

Unknown photographer ‘Slide on the Razor’, performance as part of the Haller Revue ‘Under and Over’, Berlin, (1923) Courtesy Feral House
Art

Into the Night: Cabarets and Clubs in Modern Art

icon-location-pin Barbican Centre, Barbican
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As the nineteenth century drew to a close, a whole collection of French artists discovered that absinthe rather than abstinence was the key to better artistic output (and who could blame them?). This major show at the Barbican looks at this classic combination of art and a good drinking spot by showcasing the favoured cabarets and clubs frequented by artists from 1880 - 1960. The exhibition demonstrates the close ties between visual artists, performers and musicians, along with profiling famous, and not-so-famous locations. Along with the European hotspots of Paris and Berlin, there are also sections on Mexico City and Ibadan in Nigeria. 

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Future Art Exhibitions

Celia Paul 'My Sisters in Mourning' (2015 - 16) © Celia Paul. Image courtesy of the artist and Victoria Miro, London/Venice.
Art

Celia Paul

icon-location-pin Victoria Miro, Islington
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The death of Celia Paul's mother in 2015 informs several of the paintings featured in this show including a striking recent work called 'My Sisters in Mourning'. Paul is known for her contemplative, quiet portraits and evocative landscapes, and basically this show is more of the same. But while it might not convert new fans, it will almost certainly please existing ones. The opening coincides with the release of the artist's memoir, 'Self-Portrait'. 

Unknown Fields 'The Breast Milk of the Volcano' (video still) (2016-2018) In association with the Architectural Association. Courtesy of the artists.
Art

Eco-Visionaries

icon-location-pin Royal Academy of Arts, Mayfair
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Slightly different offering from the Royal Academy to normal, this thoroughly modern exhibition looks at artists and architects doing their bit in the fight against climate change and other assorted horrors facing the planet. The show focuses on creatives who are coming up with clever ways of addressing the problems, as well as chronicling them. 

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Unknown photographer, 'David Bomberg painting' (c.1912–14) © Tate Archive
Art

Young Bomberg and the Old Masters

icon-location-pin National Gallery, Trafalgar Square
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Imitation is, they say, the greatest form of flattery. But the best artists do more than simply copy. In this interesting-sounding free exhibition, the National Gallery shows the works of modernist painter David Bomberg alongside the Old Masters (Botticelli, Michelangelo and co.) that provided inspiration. 

Dora Maar 'Untitled (Main Shell)' Centre Pompidou, MNAM-, Dist. RMN - Grand Palais/Jacques Faujour
Art

Dora Maar

icon-location-pin Tate Modern, Bankside
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Tate Modern continues its commitment to giving female artists the recognition they deserve with the biggest retrospective of Dora Maar ever held in Britain. Maar's surrealist works centre on an extensive archive of photographs and photomontages, but her career has been somewhat overshadowed by her relationship with Picasso. This exhibition plans to situate Maar's creations alongside those of her contemporaries, but hopefully not (for once) just ol' Pablo. 

Find our favourite art exhibitions on now

© Tristan Fewings/Getty Images
Art

Top ten art exhibitions in London

Fancy seeing an art show this weekend but no idea where to go? Well look no further. You can't go wrong if you head down to one of our ten favourite art exhibitions taking place in the capital right now.

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