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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

Luchita Hurtado 'Untitled' (1969) Image courtesy of the artist. Photo Credit: Jeff McLane
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Luchita Hurtado: I Live I Die I Will Be Reborn

icon-location-pin Serpentine Gallery, Knightsbridge
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In 2018, the LA Times declared Luchita Hurtado the 'hot discovery' of that year's Hammer's 'Made in LA' biennial. The joke is that the artist is 97-years-old and has been creating art for a significant chunk of that. Like many female artists, Hurtado's reputation has often been sidelined by her marriages to well-known male ones. Luckily, the art world is now starting to catch up with her talent, as this solo show at London's Serpentine demonstrates. The Venezuelan artist specialises in clever perspective work, making familiar scenes look completely new. 

Sarah Cockings & Harriet Fleuriot 'Plasma Vista' (2016) © the artists
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Sarah Cockings & Harriet Fleuriot: Another Funny Turn

icon-location-pin Block 336, Stockwell
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How did you cope with the stresses of being a teenager? Slamming doors? Stealing beer? Creeping behind the bike sheds when you should have been revising? Or just watching a massive amount of horror movies? In this new sound and video installation, artists Sarah Cockings and Harriet Fleuriot revisit their teenage selves in order to see if how they acted then will help them cope with being a thirty-something now. 

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Lee Krasner 'Icarus' (1964) Thomson Family Collection, New York City. © The Pollock-Krasner Foundation. Image courtesy of Kasmin Gallery, New York. Photo: Diego Flores
Art

Lee Krasner: Living Colour

icon-location-pin Barbican Centre, Barbican
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Retrospective of the innovative abstract expressionist artist Lee Krasner. As the title suggests, one reason for buying a ticket is to check out Krasner's vivid, large-scale canvases that explode in fireworks of colour. But that not all. You'll also be able to see her superb charcoal drawings and some early self-portraits. The Barbican aims to stop Krasner always being mentioned in the same breath as her husband (also an artist). So we're not even going to say his name.

© Frank Bowling
Art

Frank Bowling

icon-location-pin Tate Britain, 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. 

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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
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This is the first European solo show for Nevine Mahmoud and if you don't already know her name, you absolutely need to. The artist makes sculptures of individual body parts and suggestive objects (peaches feature highly) from hand-blown glass and carved marble. The results are very sexy and very disconcerting - in equal measure. This show concentrates on her continued interest in the parts of a female body and their objectification. 

Bénédicte Kurzen and Sanne De Wilde, from their series ‘Land of Ibeji’ © the artists. Image courtesy of the artists and TJ Boulting
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Bénédicte Kurzen & Sanne De Wilde: Land of Ibeji

icon-location-pin TJ Boulting, Fitzrovia
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West Africa, and the Yoruba region in particular, has the highest rate of twin births anywhere in the world (ten times more twins than other regions, to be precise). This is the first exhibition of a photography project by Bénédicte Kurzen and Sanne De Wilde documenting the cultural significance of twins in Yoruba society. Starting with the word 'Ibeji', meaning 'the inseparable two', the artists use twins as a metaphor for duality in everything from a single individual to the entire world. 

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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
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Jo Spence and Oreet Ashery: Misbehaving Bodies

icon-location-pin Wellcome Collection, Bloomsbury
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Wellcome Collection brings together the work of two excellent artists whose practices communicate the experience of chronic illness and treatment. Jo Spence's famous photographic series 'A Picture of Health' will be on display, along with Oreet Ashery's 'Revisiting Genesis', a digital artwork about artists with life-limiting illnesses. The show will look at how illness disrupts a person's identity and sense of self. 

© Yngve Holen. Image courtesy of the artist and Modern Art
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Yngve Holen: Corpus Quality

icon-location-pin Modern Art, Old Street
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'The Legends of Chima' were a fairly short-lived brand of action figures once sold by LEGO. There was also a CGI series for Cartoon Network based on the same little guys. These super animal cyborgs were all in competition for CHI, the vital LIFE FORCE. Artist Yngve Holen has created seven new bronze sculptures based on the characters, partly because: animal cyborgs are very cool. And partly as a way of exploring the concepts young children who play with LEGO toys and watch cartoons are introduced to, and the result this has on their still-developing brains.

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Theaster Gates in front of his work 'Bathroom Believer' (2018) © Julian Salinas
Art

Theaster Gates: Afro Mingei

icon-location-pin White Cube Mason's Yard, St James'
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The focus of this exhibition of new works by Theaster Gates is the artist's continued interest in black identity and Japanese culutre. 'Mingei' roughly translates as 'the art of the people' and it aims to appreciate the beauty of, say, just your average pottery bowl made by just your average potter to contain just your average breakfast cereal. See Gates' interpretation of this philosophy at White Cube's Mason's Yard space. 

'A portrait of Leonardo', attributed to Francesco Melzi, (c.1515-18) Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2019
Art

Leonardo da Vinci: A Life in Drawing

icon-location-pin The Queen's Gallery, St James's Park
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Marking the 500th anniversary of the death of Leonardo da Vinci, the Queen's Gallery shows off one of the Royal Collection's crown jewels. Following an extensive UK tour to galleries across the country, over 200 images will be exhibited in London. Along with studies for his famous paintings, the drawings demonstrate Leonardo's claim to fame as the original Renaissance man, a polymath with his fingers in mechanical pies, architectural pies, botanical pies, zoological pies... pretty much every pie you can think of (apart from actual pies). Don't miss the chance to see these drawings - they're genuinely stunning. 

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Art Opening Next Month

Faith Ringgold 'Working Women' (1996) © 2018 Faith Ringgold / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York, Courtesy ACA Galleries, New York
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Faith Ringgold

icon-location-pin Serpentine Gallery, Knightsbridge
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Born in 1930 in Harlem, New York, Faith Ringgold's artistic career has spanned painting, prints, storybooks and some seriously beautiful quilts. This exhibition at the Serpentine marks the first time a major gallery in Europe has shown her works - and London audiences are in for a treat because Ringgold's work is interesting every which way you look at it: politically, historically, artistically... it's got it all. Make this a must visit for summer 2019. 

© The State Tretyakov Gallery
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Natalia Goncharova

icon-location-pin Tate Modern, 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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Michael Rakowitz 'The invisible enemy should not exist (NW Palace of Nimrud)' (2018) Image courtesy of the artist. Photo by Robert Chase Heishman
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Michael Rakowitz

icon-location-pin Whitechapel Gallery, Whitechapel
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The man behind the giant winged bull currently occupying the Forth Plinth in Trafalgar Square gets his first major exhibition at a European gallery. And the themes of the show are basically the same as those characterising his career in general: history, ritual, Iraq, cuisine and loss. The show will also feature artworks created as part of Rakowitz's continued project to recreate all the 7,000 objects destroyed or looted from the Iraq Museum in 2003. He's a fascinating artist and this is well worth a visit. 

Caroline Walker 'Wishlist' (2019) © Caroline Walker. Image courtesy of the artist and Victoria Miro, London/Venice and GRIMM Amsterdam/ New York
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María Berrio, Caroline Walker, Flora Yukhnovich

icon-location-pin Victoria Miro, Hoxton
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Victoria Miro team up with The Great Women Artists, an instagram account set up by Katy Hessel to celebrate the work of fantastic female artists every single day. This exhibition focuses on just three: María Berrio, Caroline Walker and Flora Yukhnovich. All young artists reconfiguring traditional (read: male) genres of painting, the works featured here loosely congregate around themes of migration, the workplace and gender. And your homework, after reading this listing is to look at Caroline Walker's Nail Bars paintings, because they're ACE. 

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Félix Vallotton 'The Bathing on a Summer Evening' (1892-93) Kunsthaus Zürich, Gottfried Keller Foundation, Federal Office of Culture, Berne, 1965
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Félix Vallotton

icon-location-pin Royal Academy of Arts, Mayfair
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Swiss-French artist Félix Vallotton is remembered as a member of Les Nablis, a group of artists hanging out in gay Paris when it was considered 'the place to be' for European arty types. But despite his affiliation with a group, Vallotton's paintings and woodcuts (he was very into those) never quite look like they're made by anyone but him. Heavily inspired by Japanese artworks, Vallotton's pictures look a lot more modern than their date stamps suggest. Couple that with a lush colour scheme and a talent for judging when 'less is more', and you've got some pretty nice works of art happening. Not the most obvious hit show of 2019, but well worth taking a punt on. 

Lil Marvel. Image courtesy of Hayward Gallery
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Kiss My Genders

icon-location-pin Hayward Gallery, South Bank
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Summertime means group shows, and the Hayward Gallery's offering for the sunshine-filled months is a collection of artworks from 1960s onwards all connected to gender fluidity, non-binary, trans and intersex identities.

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© Cindy Sherman. Image courtesy of National Portrait Gallery.
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Cindy Sherman

icon-location-pin National Portrait Gallery, Leicester Square
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Long before 'selfie-culture' became a thing, Cindy Sherman was already experimenting with creating an endless collection of photos of herself in different outfits, identities and settings. This major retrospective at the National Portrait Gallery demonstrates how the artist's practice has developed since the 1970s and features Sherman's seminal series 'Untitled Film Stills' 1977-80'. There's so much to potentially love about this show, starting with the simple fact it's entirely filled with works by one of the more intelligent, inspiring and intriguing artists of the last 40 years.

Armet Francis, ‘Fashion Shoot Brixton Market’ (1973). Image courtesy of the artist
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Get Up, Stand Up Now

icon-location-pin Somerset House, Temple
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'Monster' © 1995 Naoki URASAWA / Studio Nuts
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This is Manga: The Art of Urasawa Naoki

icon-location-pin Japan House, Kensington
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For fans of manga there's no better city to be in this summer than London. Along with the British Museum's major Manga exhibition, there's also the chance to see this: a retrospective of Urasawa Naoki, acclaimed manga artist. The exhibition will feature over 400 original artworks and storyboards.

Oscar Murillo 'Untitled (news)' (2016 - 19) © Oscar Murillo. Image courtesy of the artist and David Zwirner
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Oscar Murillo

icon-location-pin David Zwirner, Mayfair
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This year's Turner Prize exhibition is held at the Turner Contemporary in Margate, which gives Londoners a nice excuse for trip to the seaside. However, you can also get ahead of the game by paying a visit to this exhibition of new abstract paintings by one of the nominees, Oscar Murillo, at David Zwirner months before that opens. The artist's layered compositions play around with the idea of how information is created and deleted at an extra-rapid pace in today's world. 

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Future Art Exhibitions

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

Helene Schjerfbeck, 'Self-Portrait, Black Background' (1915)Herman and Elisabeth Hallonblad Collection. Finnish National Gallery / Ateneum Art Museum; photo: Finnish National Gallery / Yehia Eweis
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Helene Schjerfbeck

icon-location-pin Royal Academy of Arts, Mayfair
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Go on, say it. 'Who?' Helene Schjerbeck, that's who and, hopefully come 2019 you'll never need to ask again. Helene Schjerbeck might not be that well known outside her native Finland, but her paintings cry out for greater recognition. Over the course of a long career, Schjerbeck skipped lightly between different artistic trends and traditions, creating stunning self-portraits and many intimate images of her female friends and relatives. The Finnish Laura Knight, perhaps? Find out with this great bit of programming by the Royal Academy.

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

icon-location-pin Tate Modern, 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. 

Paul Gauguin 'Self-Portrait Dedicated to Carrière' (1888 or 1889). Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon (1985.64.20) Image courtesy of the Board of Trustees, National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC.
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Gauguin Portraits

icon-location-pin National Gallery, Trafalgar Square
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The art of Paul Gauguin isn't exactly unknown (to say the least), yet there's never been an exhibition exclusively of his portraiture - until now. See how the artist put his own twist on the traditional genre of painting as he walked away from impressionism and dove into the murky seas of symbolism. 

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William Blake 'Newton' (1795 – c.1805) © Tate
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William Blake: The Artist

icon-location-pin Tate Britain, Westminster
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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'. 

Antony Gormley 'LOST HORIZON I' (2008) Photograph by Stephen White, London © the artist
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Antony Gormley

icon-location-pin Royal Academy of Arts, Mayfair
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Major new exhibition of Antony Gormley sculptures that should provide a neat overview of his career to date, showing how his best-known and most-recent works developed out of his earlier practice. The thing with Gormley is that however many times you seen those little men, it's always worth seeing more of them, again. Why? Not sure, they just get you like that. 

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

Mark Leckey 'Made in ‘Eaven' (2004) Tate © Mark Leckey
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Mark Leckey

icon-location-pin Tate Britain, Westminster
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New art from Turner Prize winner Mark Leckey. We know a sum total of zilch about this latest work, but his previous output has been about everything from dance subcultures to semi-invented memories.

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Lucian Freud 'Reflection (Self-portrait)' (1985) © The Lucian Freud Archive / Bridgeman Images.
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Lucian Freud: The Self-portraits

icon-location-pin Royal Academy of Arts, Mayfair
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Lucian Freud isn't especially known for his self-portraits, but it turns out he did quite a few of them - enough to fill an exhibition, anyhow. Famed for his unremitting and - according to artist Celia Paul - 'clinical' gaze, Freud's images of himself are sharply observant and, taken as a set, capture the effects of age with precision and poignancy. 

Nam June Paik 'TV Garden' 1974-7 (2002). Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen (Düsseldorf, Germany) © Estate of Nam June Paik
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Nam June Paik: The Future is Now

icon-location-pin Tate Modern, South Bank
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Long before the streets were filled with human-shaped dodgems bouncing off each other as they struggled to combine staring at a screen with forward movement, artist Nam June Paik was predicting how technology would soon be influencing our lives. This Tate show brings together works made across five-decades by the artist credited with inventing video art.

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Find our favourite art exhibitions on now

© Tristan Fewings/Getty Images
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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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