London art exhibitions calendar

Our handy collection of all the big, small and scary art exhibitions coming to town in 2018
Courtesy Cindy Sherman, Metro Pictures and Spruth Magers
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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 2018 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

Luciano Castelli 'His Majesty the Queen' (1973). Image courtesy of Christophe Gaillard, Paris
Art

DRAG​: Self-portraits and Body Politics

icon-location-pin South Bank
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Drag Race fans, here's a summer exhibition for you. This Hayward Gallery show is made up of self-portraits showing the many faces of drag, old and new. 'Don't miss' moments include the works of Robert Mapplethorpe and Cindy Sherman, plus contemporary pieces by Adam Christensen and Victoria Sin. And the best part is it's completely free to visit.

Art Opening Next Month

© The Samuel Courtauld Trust, The Courtauld Gallery, London
Art

Courtauld Impressionists: From Manet to Cézanne

icon-location-pin Trafalgar Square
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In September 2018, the Courtauld Gallery at Somerset House closes its doors for a period of major refurbishment. But this won't stop Londoners from being able to see the gallery's famous collection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist works, which are being shipped along The Strand to the National Gallery. This major exhibition mixes together the Courtauld's collection with works owned by the NG and contains some of the most iconic images created during the period - notably, A Bar at the Folies-Bergére by Manet and several others by Cézanne, Toulouse-Lautrec, Renoir and Seurat (you know the ones: the dotty bathers, the naked picnicers... it's all here). 

© Elmgreen & Dragset. Image courtesy of Whitechapel Gallery
Art

Elmgreen & Dragset: This Is How We Bite Our Tongue

icon-location-pin Whitechapel
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A large-scale installation and figurative sculptures from iconic arty duo Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset. Witty, surreal and enjoyably unsettling, E&D artworks are always worth seeing up close and personal. Go. 

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Justin John Greene 'Welcome to Our Mess' (2018) Image courtesy of the artist and Simon Lee
Art

Justin John Greene: Welcome to Our Mess

icon-location-pin Mayfair
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The first solo exhibition of art by Justin John Greene in the UK. The attraction of the Los Angeles-based artist to fans depends on his ability to capture a disconcertingly dark view of Americana. Sun-soaked images of communal living acquire a sinister edge when glimpsed through Greene's sliding, topsy-turvy lens.

© Anish Kapoor/DACS 2018
Art

Space Shifters

icon-location-pin South Bank
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The Hayward Gallery close their 50th anniversary year with a major exhibition of sculptures large and small that will make you go: wooooaaaaaaahhhh..... and then probably stumble around a bit. This isn't the exhibition to attend after a sneaky lunchtime gin (or maybe it is). Mirror, glass, acrylic and other materials are employed in creating works that distort the hell out of the gallery space. Names to look out for include Anish Kapoor, Yayoi Kusama and Larry Bell. 

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Gary Simmons 'Hamtree' (2018). Image courtesy of the artist and Simon Lee
Art

Gary Simmons

icon-location-pin Mayfair
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Simon Lee presents a series of 'erasure drawings' by the Gary Simmons. The artist uses the act of rubbing out to look at how the names of African-American actors in silent films and early 'talkies' have too-often been wiped from the history books. 

Installation view of Amy Sillman: ein Paar at Capitain Petzel, 2017 Photo: Jens Ziehe © the artist
Art

Amy Sillman

icon-location-pin Frognal
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Drawings, paintings, digital and silkscreen prints, video animations, and zines are all find a home in this exhibition of works by the prolifically creative American artist Amy Sillman. Her abstract images cleverly twist the traditions of painting, using a warm wit and humour. 

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Gabriel Hartley 'Oranges' (2018) © Damien Griffiths. Image courtesy of Seventeen
Art

Gabriel Hartley: Landscapes

icon-location-pin De Beauvoir Town
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Think landscape: bucolic Capability Brown Englishness, rounded trees and bunny wabbits hopping across the green... or, not. This new exhibition of paintings by Gabriel Hartley is made up of the artist's gorgeous, textured abstract works. Expect a beautiful expanse of colour without a bush or lake in sight. 

© Conrad Shawcross. Image courtesy of the artist and Victoria Miro
Art

Conrad Shawcross: After the Explosion, Before the Collapse

icon-location-pin Mayfair
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Science and art combine in this new set of sculptures and images by Conrad Shawcross. One of the most intriguing parts of the exhibition is a collection of pictures made by exposing photographic paper to a laser after the beam has passed through a small piece of glass. Balanced somewhere between destruction and preservation, the show sees the artist carry on with his 'paradigm' series, a group of sculptures based on the tetrahedron. 

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Image courtesy of Daniel Silver and Frith Street Gallery
Art

Daniel Silver

icon-location-pin Soho
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From the sinuous sculptures of Ancient Greece to the faceless mannequins filling high street windows, the human form as rendered in marble, plastic and everything in between is as consistent a part of art and daily life as they come. Daniel Silver's latest exhibition of sculptures and installations makes use of all parts of it, creating works both ancient and modern, classic and H&M-worthy.  Held at the gallery's Soho Square and Golden Square venues.

© IWM
Art

African Soldier

icon-location-pin Kennington
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Multi-screen installation by John Akomfrah commemorating the often-forgotten contribution millions of African men and women made during the First World War. The artist has combined historic footage with newly shot film from locations across the globe.

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Future Art Exhibitions

Egon Schiele, 'Seated Female Nude, Elbows Resting on Right Knee'. Courtesy the Albertina Museum, Vienna.
Art, Painting

Klimt/Schiele: Drawing

icon-location-pin Mayfair
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Klimt and Schiele were both working in Vienna in the early 1900s and saw the world changing around them. Both known for their particular drawing and painting styles, as well as controversial for their very sexually explicit nudes, they were friends and shared a love of drawing. This collaboration between the Royal Academy and the Albertina Museum in Vienna marks 100 years since both these great artists died.

© Yayoi Kusama
Art

Yayoi Kusama

icon-location-pin Hoxton
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The Queen of the polka dots is back in London. The last time Victoria Miro held a Yayoi Kusama exhibition (2016), the queues stretched around the block and back - something, it's fair to say, that doesn't happen with many contemporary art exhibitions. This time, the Japanese artist's works are being shown in the gallery's two spaces, plus its waterside garden. Expect all the things that have made Kusama's artwork so beloved to fans: pumkins, flowers and endless dots. The REALLY BIG DEAL, however, is a brand new infinity mirror room involving paper lanterns. 

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Joaquín Sorolla 'The Pink Robe (La bata rosa)' (1916) © Museo Sorolla, Madrid
Art

Sorolla: Spanish Master of Light

icon-location-pin Trafalgar Square
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The name Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida doesn't regularly trip off the tongues of London art fans. Very few of the Valencian's paintings are in UK public collections and he's nowhere near as well known as his fellow countrymen Goya, Velázquez and Picasso. But that just makes this major spring exhibition at the National Gallery more worth a visit. His numerous landscapes, seascapes, garden and bathing scenes are fairly classical in subject and style, but you can also spot similarities in Sorolla's practices with the (then) new-fangled impressionist movement happening at the same time in France. 

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Art

Tracey Emin

icon-location-pin The Borough
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From *that* unmade bed to the recent fluoro lettering stretching waaaaay across St Pancras station, Tracey Emin has established herself as one of the most famous artists in Britain. The whole of White Cube Bermondsey is being given over to former YBA in 2019. It's going to be MAJOR as art shows go, and you need to see it.

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© Constant Dullaart. Image courtesy of the Photograhers' Gallery
Art

All I Know Is What’s On The Internet

icon-location-pin Soho
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In the era of Instagram and Twitter, the idea of a photo printed out on a square of paper and mounted on a gallery wall is quaintly old-school. The Photographers' Gallery, an institution that specialises in precisely this is embracing the times with the times via this new exhibition of photos by artists exploring a digital age where one image is never enough - we need more, more, more. See how the art of photography sits within this new world order of constant snapping and continual saturation of images. 

© Olafur Eliasson. Photo: Jens Ziehe. Boros Collection, Berlin, Germany.
Art

Olafur Eliasson

icon-location-pin South Bank
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In 2003, visitors to Tate Modern went mad for Olafur Eliasson's Turbine Hall installation 'The Weather Project'. The artist is now back at the same galley with a big exhibition and an outside artwork. He's even taking over the Terrace Bar, turning it into a vegetarian canteen. 

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© Georg Baselitz
Art

Georg Baselitz: Paintings from the 80s

icon-location-pin Mayfair
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Georg Baselitz turned the art world upside down (sorry). See a collection of seminal works by the German painter famous for depicting figures turned 180 degrees and balancing on their heads. 

© The State Tretyakov Gallery
Art

Natalia Goncharova

icon-location-pin South Bank
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In her lifetime, Russian artist Natalia Goncharova helped found avant garde modern art movements, worked with Sergei Diaghilev at the Ballet Russes, designed dresses, created theatre set designs and much, much more. This exhibition at Tate Modern is overdue and should help to resurrect her reputation as a major artist you should know about.

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© Frank Bowling
Art

Frank Bowling

icon-location-pin Westminster
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Frank Bowling gets a much-deserved major exhibition at Tate Britain. The artist's long-running career has seen him develop a unique style fusing abstraction with elements of figurative art. Londoners are in for a treat with this show which includes the artist's stunning 'map paintings' and his 'poured paintings' (created by literally pouring paint down a canvas). Whatever you do, don't miss the opportunity to see these gorgeously-coloured artworks in all their glory. 

© Franz West Privatstiftung
Art

Franz West

icon-location-pin South Bank
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Art galleries can be scary places. The walls are so white, the rooms are so silent and the eagle-eyed gallery attendants are just there to bark orders at you like 'PLEASE DON'T TOUCH THE ARTWORKS.' Enter Franz West and his Passstücke (Adaptives): papier-mâché sculptures designed to be handled. These irreverent, abstract works and many others are included in this major retrospective of West at Tate Modern. So go in, pick them up, move around and make some noise. It's what the artist would have wanted. 

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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.

Art, Galleries

Whitechapel Gallery

icon-location-pin Whitechapel

This East End stalwart reopened in 2009 following a major redesign and expansion that saw the Grade II listed building transformed into a vibrant, holistic centre of art complete with a research centre, archives room and café. Since 1901, Whitechapel Art Gallery has built on its reputation as a pioneering contemporary institution and is well remembered for premiering the talents of exhibitions by Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko and Frida Kahlo among others. Expect the rolling shows to be challenging and risqué.

Time Out says
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