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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

By Time Out London Art |
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Courtesy Cindy Sherman, Metro Pictures and Spruth Magers

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

Mayflower Primary, Tower Hamlets. Photo credit: Tate
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Steve McQueen: Year 3

icon-location-pin Tate Britain, Millbank
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Say cheese! For this brilliantly ambitious project, Steve McQueen (Turner Prize and Oscar winner) invited every single Year 3 school class in London to have their photograph taken. The resulting pics, taken in the classic ‘school photo’ format, are now on show as part of a huge installation that captures the diversity of one of the world’s largest cities. Most impressive of all, McQueen even got Darren in class 3HJ to stand still long enough to have his photo taken. Now that’s achieving the impossible. 

Nan Golding 'Sirens' (2019) © the artist. Image courtesy artist and Marian Goodman Gallery New York, Paris and London
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Nan Goldin: Sirens

icon-location-pin Marian Goodman Gallery, Soho
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This is first London solo show for legendary photographer Nan Goldin in over a decade and, damn, it looks good! Included in the exhibition will be a new digital slideshow called 'Memory Loss', exploring drug addiction and, in particular, the opioid crisis Goldin has publicly campaigned against. The same theme is picked up by 'Sirens' a new video work equating the hypnotic call of the mythological creatures with the allure of being high. Elsewhere, there's another new installation based on the biblical story of Salomé. Are we excited? Yes. Should you be? Yes.

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Patrick Staff 'The Prince of Homburg' (2019) Image courtesy of the artist and Commonwealth & Council
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Patrick Staff: On Venus

icon-location-pin Serpentine Sackler Gallery, Hyde Park
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This site-specific installation by Patrick Staff interrogates structural violence and the corrosive effects of acid, blood and hormones. What will it be like? No idea, but based on their previous work it sounds great and we can't wait to see it.  Please note: this show is on at the Sepentine Sackler Gallery. 

Charlotte Salomon 'Leben? oder Theater? Ein Singspiel' (Life? or Theatre? A Play with Music) (1941 – 42) Collection Jewish Historical Museum, Amsterdam © Charlotte Salomon Foundation. Charlotte Salomon ®
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Charlotte Salomon: Life? or Theatre?

icon-location-pin Jewish Museum, Camden Town
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Painted while hiding in occupied France from 1941-42, Charlotte Salomon's 'Life? or Theatre?' is an astonishingly beautiful, visceral and personal interrogation of her own life, mind, desires and the spread of Nazism across Europe. Using a bold palette of primary colours, the extensive collection of gouaches (London's Jewish Museum is showing 230 of a possible 700) reveal a range of influences, including the Berlin cabaret, Munch and Van Gogh. The artist also preempts the confessional tone used by many female artists and writers right up until today. 

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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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As the world gradually melts, the Royal Academy presents a slightly different exhibition to normal. Gone are the Renaissance nudes and contemporary sculptures, in their place are eco-warriors crossing over with artists. The show casts a (solar-powered) light on the artists and architects doing their bit in the fight against climate change and other assorted horrors facing the planet. Visitors will become acquainted with the people fighting the good fight head on, as well as those who are chronicling our collective doom. 

Magdalena Abakanowicz 'Group Infants' (1992) Image courtesy of the artist, Marlborough and Lance Brewer
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Magdalena Abakanowicz: Corporeal Materiality

icon-location-pin Marlborough, Mayfair
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Ahead of a major solo show at Tate Modern next summer, Marlborough gallery shows a selection of works by Magdalena Abakanowicz. The Polish artist blurred the distinction between textile artist and sculpture, while also giving pleasingly little consideration to the traditionalist categories of 'decorative' and 'fine' art. Her most famous works are the Abakans, glorious and huge woven sculptures looking like something you'd find at the very back of the mythological deep, dark forest. The exhibited artworks at Marlborough show how Abakanowicz used burlap, rope and other tactile, natural materials.  

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Alfredo Jaar 'Six Seconds' (2000) © the artist. Image courtesy of Goodman Gallery
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Alfredo Jaar: 25 Years Later

icon-location-pin Goodman Gallery, Mayfair
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25 years after the Rwanadan Genocide, Goodman Gallery exhibits a selection of works from Alfredo Jaar's 'The Rwanda Project 1994 - 2000'. In response to the wide-spread silence of the international community, the photographer travelled to Rwanda just three months after the atrocity. His images reflect the intense humanity present in Jaar's interactions with the people he met there. This is the first time the series has been on display in Britain.  

Xiao Lu 'Sperm' (2006) Archival photograph © The Artist. Image courtesyof 10 Chancery Lane Gallery, Hong Kong and Richard Saltoun Gallery, London
Art

Matrescence

icon-location-pin Richard Saltoun, Mayfair
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Dana Raphael coined the term 'matrescence' to describe the transitional state of becoming a mother, a state she understood as permanently evolving and ultimately unresolved. This is the first part of a two-part group exhibition considering maternity and motherhood in all its different guises. Featured artworks include Laia Abril's 'On Abortion', about terminating pregnancy in Poland, and Xiao Lu's performance installation 'Sperm', based on the artist's own attempts to conceive a child as an unmarried woman in China. 

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Ged Quinn 'Rest On The Flight Sundogs' (2019) © Ged Quinn. Image courtesy of the artist and Stephen Friedman Gallery, Londo
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Ged Quinn

icon-location-pin Stephen Friedman, Mayfair
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According to European folklore, inhaling the pollen of the linden tree will ensure you have sweet dreams. Ged Quinn resurrects this mythology in his painting 'Bloodstream Sub Tilia' set in the area near Nuremberg. The Cornwall-based artist's latest collection of paintings also reference and build on traditions in other ways, in particular the bucolic, hill-rambling concept of the pastoral once loved by William Wordsworth and other Old Romantics.

Hilary Lloyd 'Car Park' [still] (2019) © Hilary Lloyd. Image courtesy of Sadie Coles HQ, London
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Hilary Lloyd: Car Park

icon-location-pin Sadie Coles, Mayfair
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Monet had Paris. Munch had Oslo. Hilary Lloyd has... Thamesmead. The video artist and painter uses this perhaps unlikely setting as the starting point for in depth reflections on the urban environment and its overlooked details. Lloyd sees Thamesmead as a point where the sprawling city gives way to countryside. The large-scale works in this exhibition celebrate the unique features of the area, such as Southmere Lake, and the commonplace, for example leaf debris collected around a drain.  

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Art Opening Next Month

Bhawani Das 'A Great Indian Fruit Bat'. Image courtesy of Private Collection
Art

Forgotten Masters: Indian Painting for the East India Company

icon-location-pin Wallace Collection, Marylebone
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In the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, officials with the East India Company commissioned Indian master painters to create images capturing all aspects of life on the subcontinent. The commissions resulted in an endless stream of incredibly beautiful, detailed artworks blending together Indian, Islamic and Western traditions. This exhibition at the Wallace Collection belatedly celebrates the Indian painters and draughtsmen behind the artworks, showing works by Mughal, Marathi, Punjabi, Pahari, Tamil and Telugu artists. It's curated by writer and historian William Dalrymple. 

Future Art Exhibitions

Steve McQueen '7th Nov. 2001' Video still © Steve McQueen. Image courtesy of the artist, Thomas Dane Gallery and Marian Goodman Gallery
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Steve McQueen

icon-location-pin Tate Modern, Bankside
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This treat of an exhibition brings together immersive video and film installations by the Turner Prize- and Oscar-winning Steve McQueen made since 2000. Don't miss the chance to see 'Ashes 2002-2015', the artist's dual-screen film based on the life of a young fisherman, plus McQueen's overwhelming 'Caribs' Leap/Western Deep'.  The show overlaps with the Tate Britain's exhibition of McQueen's huge 'Year 3' project, involving photographing every Year 3 primary school child in London in the classic school photo format. 

Antonio Verrio 'The Sea Triumph of Charles II' (c.1674). Image courtesy of The Royal Collection Trust
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British Baroque: Power and Illusion

icon-location-pin Tate Britain, Millbank
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More is more. It's time to embrace the brilliant, bad and bonkers world of baroque, as it occurred on our own shores. Baroque, you say? In Britain? Admittedly far less known that its continental cousins, the 17th century saw a distinct version of baroque used to promote the power of the recently-restored monarchy. This exhibition contains several of the loans from stately homes who've got their baroques off the walls and into a public gallery for the first time. You'll also be able to see art created for Protestant and Catholic worship, plus some "heroic equestrian portraiture". 

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Pablo Picasso, 'Le Déjeuner sur l’herbe' after Manet I (1962) Photo © RMN-Grand Palais (Musée national Picasso-Paris) / Marine Beck-Coppola © Succession Picasso/DACS 2019
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Picasso and Paper

icon-location-pin Royal Academy of Arts, Mayfair
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It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single year in the London art calendar cannot pass by without a solo exhibition of for Pablo Picasso. This one, at the Royal Academy, is dedicated to the Spanish artist's use of paper. Unlike other artists who saw paper as a preliminary or draft material, Picasso made use of it in many ways including in collages and sculptures. He also used different types of paper such as newspaper cuttings and table cloths. 

Marcus Gheeraerts II 'Portrait of a Woman in Red' (1620) © Tate
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Portraying Pregnancy

icon-location-pin Foundling Museum, Bloomsbury
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Until birth control became widely available, women in Britain and Northern Europe often spent most of their adult lives pregnant and/or nursing a young infant (*shudders*). You'd expect, then, to see lots of preggers women in art of a certain age. Only you don't. Historic pictures of pregnancy are surprisingly rare and even modern ones (like that stunning photo of a heavily-pregnant Beyoncé) still cause shock and awe in equal measure. This fascinating exhibition at the Foundling Museum brings together historic and contemporary artworks, some showing pregnancy in all its bountiful glory and others that magicked out the prominent bumps of their wealthy sitters. 

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Aubrey Beardsley 'The Kiss of Judas' (1893) Image courtesy of Victoria and Albert Museum
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Aubrey Beardsley

icon-location-pin Tate Britain, Millbank
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Aubrey Beardsley's sexy and scandalous drawings are an iconic part of late-Victorian British art. The hugely talented artist produced illustrations for, among other things, Oscar Wilde's Salomé, developing his iconic black and white images which continue to inspire artists today - most recently they were included in the V&A's Tim Walker show. Sadly, he died of TB aged just 25, making his originals even more precious. 

Titian 'Rape of Europa' (1562) © Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston.
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Titian: Love, Desire, Death

icon-location-pin National Gallery, Trafalgar Square
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For the first time in over 300 years, 5 out of 6 mythological paintings by Titian, originally created as series, are reunited. Based on the Greek myths recorded by Ovid, the exhibited artworks include ‘Diana and Actaeon’ and ‘Diana and Callisto’, both favourites of the artist Lucian Freud (he once described Diana's "amazing toes" and re-painted one of his own nudes after seeing how Titian tackled a belly button). When they were painted, Titian called them "Poesie", which means they're the visual art version of poetry. Whatever word you want to use, the simple fact is this: they're stunning. Don't miss. 

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Andy Warhol 'Marilyn Diptych' (1962) Tate © 2019 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc / Artists Right Society (ARS), New York and DACS, London
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Andy Warhol

icon-location-pin Tate Modern, Bankside
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Andy Warhol once declared that, 'In the future everybody will be world famous for fifteen minutes'. The American artist has, of course, had rather more than fifteen minutes himself and his popularity is as strong as ever, as this major retrospective proves. In between the soup cans and the slebs, visitors will be able to see his lesser-known portraits of black and latinx drag queens and trans women. You can also get hair inspo (or jealously) from the display of Warhol's amazing wigs. 

Sunil Gupta 'Untitled 22' from the series 'Christopher Street' (1976) Image courtesy of the artist and Hales Gallery. © Sunil Gupta. All Rights Reserved, DACS 2019
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Masculinities: Liberation Through Photography

icon-location-pin Barbican Centre, Barbican
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From 'fragile' to 'toxic' and everything in between, 'masculinity' is a bit of a fraught topic. The Barbican gives it a thorough re-evaluation with this major exhibition of film and photography looking at what the term has meant to different people from the 1960s until today, and how these documentary and artistic practices have actually played a part in shaping the popular understanding of it. There'll be a whopping 300 works by 50 artists on display, including several by a new generation of artists just starting to make waves. 

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Introductions: Early Embodiment from A Countervailing Theory, (2019) © Toyin Ojih Odutola. Image courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York
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Toyin Ojih Odutola: A Countervailing Theory

icon-location-pin Barbican Centre, Barbican
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Drawing, for Toyin Ojih Odutola, is a form of storytelling. These new works, exhibited around the 90-metre sweep of the Barbican Curve, form part of an epic series relaying an imagined ancient myth. The artist uses pencil, pastel, ballpoint pen and charcoal to create the mega-sized portraits that are as delicate as they are beautiful. 

Nicolaes Maes 'The Old Lacemaker' (about 1655) © Mauritshuis, The Hague
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Nicolaes Maes: Dutch Master of the Golden Age

icon-location-pin National Gallery, Trafalgar Square
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Eavesdrop the 17th century Dutch way via 35 drawings and paintings by Nicolaes Maes. The artist, who was a student of Rembrandt, specialised in domestic settings, portraits and religious stories. He's also known for his fourth wall-breaking perspective, letting the viewer poke their nose into private, domestic areas. This free show contains artworks from across his whole career. 

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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.

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