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London art exhibitions calendar

Our handy collection of all the big, small and scary art exhibitions coming to town in 2020

By Time Out London Art

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

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

Andy Warhol

Art Tate Modern, Bankside

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. 

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

Toyin Ojih Odutola: A Countervailing Theory

Art Barbican Centre, Barbican

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. 

Art Opening Next Month

Ai Weiwei: History of Bombs

Art Imperial War Museum, Lambeth

Artist and activist, Ai Weiwei, takes over the Imperial War Museum's huge atrium with a new site-specific artwork. Although the title focuses on conflict, the work itself considers human migration as a result of war and the impact of politics on the individual. The artwork is part of the museum's 'Refugees' season.

Future Art Exhibitions

Rosa Bonheur 'Brizo, A Shepherd's Dog' (1864)
© The Wallace Collection, London

Faithful and Fearless: Portraits of Dogs

Art Wallace Collection, Marylebone

The cute and cuddly, rough and jowly splendour of the canine world comes to the Wallace Collection in an exhibition destined to show that dogs are far more preferable to look at than humans. The London gallery has a fair amount of four-legged chums in its permanent collection (if you know where to look, dogs are no stranger to a paintbrush and easel). This exhibition will go beyond that, cataloguing an obsession with fuzzy-wuzzy faces that goes back way further than pug memes.

JMW Turner 'Rain, Steam and Speed - the Great Western Railway' exhibited 1844 The National Gallery, London © The National Gallery, London

Turner’s Modern World

Art Tate Britain, Millbank

J.M.W. Turner is now one of the most famous and well-established painters to have ever come out of Britain. Which can make it hard to appreciate just what a radical Turner was during his lifetime. His loose, loose and looser-still approach to landscape painting repeatedly shocked the painterly establishment, but it wasn’t just his artistic style that was innovative. Turner was fascinated by the new inventions of the Industrial Revolution, as captured in the 100% glorious ‘Rail, Steam and Speed’. And - guess what? - you can see it irl in this show!! Which basically justifies the price of an entry ticket on its own accord. Only this being Turner, you’re also guaranteed a whole heap of other genius works too. (Can we stress enough how much we love a bit of Turner painting a train?)

Maria Bartuszová 'Untitled' (1985) Tate © Estate of Maria Bartuszova

Maria Bartuszová

Art Tate Modern, Bankside

Maria Baruszová was a Slovakian artist who lived and worked in Košice, the second-largest city in her home country. This major retrospective concentrates on her output from 1960s onwards, when she first started making plaster sculptures by pouring the liquid into rubber balloons. She would then shape plaster either by hand or by submerging it in water. This resulted in a series of beautifully delicate sculptures that often look like egg shells, spiders’ webs or birds’ nests. Others look like sexy, undressed body parts or folds of skin. The artist also liked to photograph her creations in natural settings, highlighting their connection to the rural landscape. Summary: gorgeous, one-of-a-kind art by an artist deserving greater recognition. 

Auguste Rodin 'Study for The Thinker' (1881) Musée Rodin, S.01168


Art Tate Modern, Bankside

In 2018, the British Museum staged a fascinating exhibition placing the sculptures of Auguste Rodin alongside the Ancient Greek masterpieces that inspired them. This major exhibition at Tate Modern takes a different approach, emphasizing just how radical Rodin was. In a sort-of ‘behind the scenes’ approach, the show draws attention to the artist’s use of clay and plaster in producing his best-known marble and bronze creations. For fans of Rodin (and really, who isn’t one?) this is a great opportunity to see a lot of material from France’s Musee Rodin without getting on the Eurostar. 

Marina Abramović ‘Artist Portrait with a Candle (C)’, from the series 'Places of Power' (2013) Brazil. Image courtesy of the Marina Abramović Archives © Marina Abramović

Marina Abramović: After Life

Art Royal Academy of Arts, Mayfair

Everyone’s favourite performance artist, Marina Abramovć, will return to London with a major exhibition at the Royal Academy spanning her iconic career. More than 50 works are going to be on display, including some brand new ones, including the one everyone’s talking about, ‘Imponderabilia’. The idea is simple: two naked performers, one male and one female, stand either side of a doorway. To pass through, visitors must squeeze sideways through the narrow space facing either the man or the woman. When it comes to London next autumn, the now 72-year-old Abramović will not perform it herself (the artist will be present in other ways). Instead, a selection of younger performers trained by the artist will take over proceedings. Visitors will also experience a selection of her other famous works, plus some brand new ones designed specifically for the RA. 

Jean Dubuffet 'Paysage aux argus (Landscape with Argus)' (1955) © Fondation Dubuffet, Paris / DACS, London, 2019. Image courtesy of Fondation Dubuffet, Paris

Jean Dubuffet

Art Painting Barbican Centre, Barbican

Sure, it's nice to order off the menu, but sometimes you just want to go for Dubuffet... And there'll be plenty to feast your eyes on in this ambitious retrospective of the radical French artist's painting. Over his 50 year career (he died in 1985), Jean Dubuffet pushed constantly at the boundaries of artistic representation. 

Tracey Emin 'It - didnt stop - I didnt stop' (2019) © HV-studio Courtesy the Artist and Xavier Hufkens, Brussels

Tracey Emin/Edvard Munch

Art Royal Academy of Arts, Mayfair

The highlights of London’s art exhibitions in 2019 included the British Museum’s Edvard Munch: Love & Angst and White Cube’s Tracey Emin: A Fortnight of Tears. Fast forward to 2020 and the Royal Academy has a show of not one, but both! Emin – perhaps unsurprisingly – is a long-term fan of the Norweigan Expressionist. In 1988, she created a film work titled ‘For Edvard Munch and All My Dead Children’ that opened with a clip of Emin at the same Oslo Fjord as Munch painted several of his best-known works. Emin’s recent artworks have been pretty much brilliant across the board, and this exhibition will show how Munch has long been an inspiration to her. 

Find our favourite art exhibitions on now

© Tristan Fewings/Getty Images

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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