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This week's best art

All the best current art exhibitions and shows to hunt down in London

Alex Hartley, 'A Gentle Collapsing II', courtesy the artist and Victoria Miro.

Fancy checking out some art this week but don't know where to start? Have a flick through our selection of the best shows on at the moment and take your pick. With galleries spread all over the city and an art scene as changeable as London's, we've divided it into areas to help keep track. Everything featured below got a shiny four or five-star review from us, but check out all the latest art reviews for more. 

Annette Messager: Avec et Sans Raisons

Some people mellow with age, but not Annette Messager. She’s only become angrier, fiercer and more bitter as she’s headed into her seventies. The French artist has been a massive figure in continental art for decades, and this new show is her at her most acerbic and surreal. 

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Marian Goodman Gallery , Soho Tuesday April 25 2017 - Saturday May 20 2017

Mat Collishaw

It’s sort of like the world’s most elaborate wedding cake. The zoetrope in one-time YBA Mat Collishaw’s new show is a tiered construction dotted with pastel flowers and preening birds. 

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Blainsouthern , Mayfair Until Saturday May 27 2017

Queer British Art

Two pieces of legislation set the timespan for this exhibition. One is the abolition of the death penalty for sodomy in 1861; the other is the partial decriminalisation of homosexuality in 1967. 

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Tate Britain , Westminster Until Sunday October 1 2017

Howard Hodgkin: Absent Friends

Although Howard Hodgkin had been creating portraits since the age of 16, this is the first time they’ve been brought together for a solo show. But he never got to see the final result: the 84-year-old British artist died just two weeks before the opening of this exhibition.

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National Portrait Gallery , Leicester Square Until Sunday June 18 2017

Fred Tomaselli: Paper

Donald Trump peers out of the uterus of ten-titted Mitt Romney, Theresa May erupts into a tree of flames and eyes, coloured shapes spill out of Benjamin Netanyahu’s mouth into a room of disembodied pixelated heads; all on the cover of the New York Times. 

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White Cube Mason's Yard , St James' Tuesday April 25 2017 - Saturday May 13 2017

Michelangelo & Sebastiano

Bad reasons for wanting to be friends with someone: 1) to use their fame to help further your career 2) to use their talent to undermine your biggest rival 3) to use their HMV staff discount card. Two out of three of those terrible friendship ingredients are in the slightly unpalatable visual soup that is Michelangelo & Sebastiano. 

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National Gallery , Trafalgar Square Until Sunday June 25 2017
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Making Nature: How we See Animals

Mental asylums. Mind-altering drugs. Dirt. The Wellcome Collection has carved out a rep for delivering exhibitions that are outlandish without ever being sensationalist. And while the premise of their latest show – the relationship between humans and animals – might not have the same WTF factor, it’s still just as quirky and enthralling.  The first room kicks off with the Enlightenment-era craze for natural classification. 

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Wellcome Collection , Bloomsbury Tuesday April 25 2017 - Sunday May 21 2017

Erik van Lieshout: Three Social Works

Erik Van Lieshout’s show feels like watching a foreign soap opera when you’re on holiday. That surreality, that sense of getting a peek into something brash, gruesome, mainstream yet totally alien emanates from every pore in this exhibition. 

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South London Gallery , Camberwell Tuesday April 25 2017 - Sunday June 11 2017

Assorted Paper

A cross-generational show of works on paper – these are not words to set the pulses racing. But The Sunday Painter has a knack for turning tedious, over-worked curatorial conceits into neat, minimal and totally surprising little triumphs. 

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Sunday Painter , Peckham Rye Thursday April 27 2017 - Saturday May 13 2017

Secundino Hernández: Paso

Build and destroy, that’s what Spanish painter Secundino Hernández does. He builds layers of paint on big canvases, then strips them away, constructs visual compositions and tears them down. 

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Victoria Miro , Hoxton Tuesday April 25 2017 - Saturday May 6 2017

Elger Esser: Morgenland

‘Morgenland’ sounds like a bleak crime drama you’ve yet to watch on Netflix, but in reality it’s an old German term for the Middle East; it means ‘morning land’, a world saturated in light. 

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Parasol Unit , Hoxton Tuesday April 25 2017 - Sunday May 21 2017

Maeve Brennan: The Drift

Ancient Levant comes to modern-day Bow in the form of Maeve Brennan’s exhibition at the Chisenhale. Her film, ‘The Drift’, was shot in Lebanon (her adopted home) and follows three individuals. 

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Chisenhale Gallery , Mile End Wednesday April 26 2017 - Sunday June 4 2017

Eduardo Paolozzi

Paolozzi wanted to produce art so badly that he faked his own madness. He was stationed on a Slough football pitch with the Pioneer Corps at the time, so who can blame him? Slough’s loss was the world’s gain: without Paolozzi there would be no pop art, and no vibrant mosaics at Tottenham Court Road.

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Whitechapel Gallery , Whitechapel Tuesday April 25 2017 - Sunday May 14 2017

Find upcoming art shows in London


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