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 2017 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 exhibitions in May
The Turner Prize-nominated Mach will be creating one of his gargantuan newspaper installations, the first of its kind in 15 years. As it will largely be improvised in the gallery itself, we're not too sure what to expect – except that it will weigh a staggering 30 tonnes.
‘The Best Possible School’: Anna Freud, Dorothy Tiffany Burlingham and the Hietzing School in 1920s Vienna
This exhibition delves into the Heitzing School, which briefly flourished in interwar Vienna as a place of free, uninhibited, non-curricular learning.
Just as the Swiss artist Giacometti gets the retrospective treatment over at Tate Modern, this show presents a number of his sculptures along with stark, drama-filled, black-and-white images by Polish photographer Lindbergh.
Art exhibitions in June
In 1943, the collector Peggy Guggenheim hosted the seminal '31 Women' exhibition at her New York Gallery. It gave an exclusive, resounding voice to female artists of the time, chiefly from the surrealist and abstract expressionist scenes. This exhibition is something of a long-awaited sequel, bringing contemporary artists into the mix.
This show takes a look back to the work of black artists during the turbulent decade that was the 1980s. Against a backdrop of seismic social and political change, these artists each sought to develop unique voices that expressed their – often conflicted – senses of identity.
Part of the Tate's ongoing shift towards showcasing artists from outside the well-trodden West, this is a retrospective of a Turkish artist who lived across 90 years of the twentieth century and travelled extensively across Europe, Asia and America. Zeid's dazzling, jewel-like paintings were influenced by art of the Islamic world and Western avant-garde abstraction.
Wow: based on the title on this exhibition, it sounds like Grayson Perry's feeling mighty full of himself. Or is it meant with a touch of irony? The cross-dressing artist – and one of Britain's most unlikely national treasures – tends to be either denounced as a twee middlebrow populist, or a razor-sharp commentator on the foibles of our society. In any case, this major show of new works promises to look at the idea of the popular: how art can resonate with the average joe, and what it means in these uncertain post-Brexit times.
Although he's best known for his portraits, John Singer Sargent was also a highly accomplished watercolourist. This show will bring together a number of the dazzling landscapes he executed while doing the obligatory artist-travelling-around-Europe thing – everything from Alpine mountainscapes to the canals of Venice.
The Thameside arts institution will be hosting an olfactory extravaganza this summer, bringing together a number of contemporary perfumiers who are pushing their scents in new, exciting and occasionally rather whiffy directions. Within the show there'll be a perfume laboratory, where visitors can not only see various fragrances being made, but also concoct their own.
Art exhibitions further ahead
Not just an extraordinary painter, Henri Matisse was also an avid collector, who picked up all sorts of objects and artefacts during his travels to North Africa, Mali and the Far East. This exhibition will look at the influences these exotic acquisitions had on his art.
Twenty-three years down the line, it's easy to forget how Rachel Whiteread shocked audiences with her Turner Prize entry 'House': the concrete cast of the interior of a Victorian house in Mile End. But it won her the prize – she was the first woman to do so – and since then, Whiteread has risen to become one of the most influential figures of the art establishment. She'll always be chiefly for making casts of negative spaces, but her work stretches beyond that – this long-overdue retrospective should flesh out a highly accomplished career.
The first question that everyone should be asking about the first UK retrospective of Jean-Michel Basquiat is this: why the hell has it taken so long? The artist's career was short (he died, tragically, from a heroin overdose at 27), but shone all the brighter for it. Basquiat grew up in Brooklyn, and became a graffiti artist in his teenage years. Then, coming of age in the seismic New York art scene of the '80s, he was taken under the wing of Andy Warhol and shot to fame and fortune: a glittering superstar. His paintings are bright, wild, unique and hoovered up everything from anatomical textbooks to African art as influences. To see them assembled en masse is set to be a thrilling experience.
Thomas Ruff belonged to the Dusseldorf School of Photography: a movement of photographers who emerged in the '70s, and dispensed with any artsy, pseudo-psychological funny business in favour of taking pictures that were unfussy, deadpan and objective. This promises to be a thrilling overview of Ruff's four decade career – look out for his passport-style portraits (seriously, they're way cooler than they sound) as well as his plunderings of archival material and pornography.
Indisputable fact: there's no more important painter alive today than Jasper Johns. The 86-year-old artist's influence stretches so far and wide that it's practically immeasurable. He came of age in 1950s New York, in the fertile years between splashy Abstract Expressionism and ice-cool Pop, which was when he created his iconic piece 'Flag', which nodded to both movements. Iconoclastic and experimental, Johns moved the goalposts of painting.
Fifteenth-century Flemish artist Jan van Eyck was as much a technical pioneer as he was an artistic genius, mastering illusionistic space in his exquisitely constructed paintings. Five centuries later, his masterwork 'The Arnolfini Portrait' inspired a new wave of artists: the Pre-Raphaelites, a circle of Victorian bad boys who championed his draughtsmanship and symbolism.