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Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio. © Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art
Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio. © Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art

London art exhibitions we can’t wait to see in 2023

A year of art worth getting excited about

Written by
Eddy Frankel

Every year is a good year for art in this city, thanks to our huge number of world class museums, galleries and art institutions, and 2023 is shaping up to be a doozy. From classical painting to modern installation, feminist trailblazers to political upstarts, it's got a bit of everything. 

RECOMMENDED: The best art in London right now

London art exhibitions we can’t wait to see in 2023

Women played a major role in the development of abstract painting, and this Whitechapel show celebrates their splashy, wild, gestural impact. They’ve got big names (Lee Krasner, Helen Frankenthaler) and a whole host of smaller names too (Bertina Lopes, Wook-kyung Choi) with over 150 paintings on display. Not even one of them is of a nice bowl of fruit or a friendly smiling person.

'Action, Gesture, Paint' is at Whitechapel Art Gallery, Feb 9-May 7 2023. More details here.


Alice Neel painted the world from her New York apartment. In countless portraits, she captured the people around her, the artists and musicians, the political rebels, the poets, the lovers, and everyone else too. This show will look at her political life, and how she was monitored by the FBI for decades.

Alice Neel: Hot Off The Griddle is at the Barbican, Feb 16-May 21 2023. More details here.

Possibly the most ripped-off/influential painter working today, Peter Doig moved back to London from Trinidad in 2021, and this will be his first major exhibition in the capital for ages. These new paintings, drawings and prints explore ideas of transition and memory, but the real treat is seeing Doig side by side with works from the Courtauld’s collection of impressionist and post-impressionist art that has had such a huge influence on him. A dream come true for painting nerds.

Peter Doig is at The Courtauld Gallery, Feb 20-May 9 2023. More details here


He filled the Tate Duveen Galleries with the battered remains of Britain’s industrial past, and he turned a tiny room into one of the best exhibitions of 2022. And now, the great master of uncomfortable, immersive installation is getting the whole retrospective treatment as the Hayward Gallery takes a look back at his whole career.

Mike Nelson is at the Hayward Gallery, Feb 22-May 7 2022. More details here.

Sure, impressionism is great and all, but right after it came the serious world changers. We’re talking cubism, expressionism and abstraction, the birth of modern art as we know it, and that’s what this show is all about, the big hitters of early modern art history: Paul Cezanne, Wassily Kandinsky, Gustav Klimt and Henri Mattise.

After Impressionism is at the National Gallery, Mar 25-Aug 13 2023. More details here


Impressionism is one of the most celebrated art movements in history, with countless exhibitions dedicated to the likes of Cezanne and Monet every year, but somehow, this is the first UK show of Berthe Morisot’s work in 70 years. She was a pivotal figure in impressionism, and created some of its most gorgeous works, so it’s about damn time.

Berthe Morisot: Shaping Impressionism is at Dulwich Picture Gallery, Mar 31-Sep 10 2023. More details here

Since the thirteenth century, artists from Caravaggio and Botticelli to Antony Gormley and Andrea Büttner have found inspiration in the figure of St Francis, a religious icon adored for his spiritual radicalism and commitment to the poor. Expect mediaeval relics, renaissance masterpieces and, erm, Marvel comics.

Saint Francis of Assisi is at the National Gallery, May 6-Jul 30 2023. More details here.


This show has been in our ‘most anticipated exhibitions of next year’ lists for what feels like forever because it just keeps getting delayed. But maybe this is the year we finally get the RA’s huge, major Marina Abramovic retrospective. Or maybe the annual postponement IS the art. Marina, you so crazy.

Marina Abramovic is at the Royal Academy of Art, Sep 23-Dec 10. More details here.


This exhibition has been dogged by controversy, and has been repeatedly postponed and delayed as a result. Initially due to go on display in the USA, the show was pulled due to the inclusion of Guston’s paintings of hooded Klu Klux Klan figures, which some worried might be seen as racist. Obviously they’re not racist, they’re about racism. Very stupid, very pointless. Guston is one of the twentieth century’s best painters, and he tackled some important, hard subjects. That’s worth exploring, and it’s worth celebrating. 

Philip Guston is at Tate Modern, Oct 25 2023-Feb 25 2024. More details here.

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