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Top ten art exhibitions in London

Check out our critics' pick of the best art currently on show in the capital at some of the world's best art galleries

Courtesy The Whitworth, University of Manchester © Trustees of the Paolozzi Foundation, licensed by DACS

Shortcut it straight to the good stuff by heading to one of the very best art exhibitions taking place in the capital right now. From modern and fancy, to classical and serene, we've got your next art outing sorted. Or, if you're skint until pay day, how about trying one of London's many free exhibitions instead?

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The ten best art exhibitions in London

1

David Hockney

Some paintings are like celebrities. You’ve read about them, studied them from afar, obsessed over them for years, but never actually seen them in the flesh. So when you actually come face to face with one, you get all wobbly-kneed and fluttery-eyed.

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Tate Britain , Westminster Until Monday May 29 2017
2

Richard Mosse: Incoming

There’s two things you need to know about this show. One: it will make you rethink the European refugee crisis. And two: it contains some of the most beautiful images you will see in a gallery this year. Or ever. 

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Barbican Centre , Barbican Until Sunday April 23 2017
3

Ibrahim Mahama: Fragments

Filthy black and brown jute sacks are draped across the pristine walls of London’s White Cube. Young Ghanaian artist Ibrahim Mahama has been using them in his art for years, sewing them together, repurposing and reimagining them into abstract canvases of dirt and history. This is the torn aesthetic of economics. 

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White Cube Bermondsey , The Borough Until Thursday April 13 2017
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4

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
5

America After The Fall: Painting in the 1930s

Fear, paranoia, anger, poverty, conservatism, unemployment. Sound familiar? 1930s America bears a worrying resemblance to 2017 America: a bubbling cauldron of toxic ingredients, an angry, disenfranchised population, crushed by failure and trying desperately to pull themselves out of the mire. 

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Royal Academy of Arts , Mayfair Until Sunday June 4 2017
6

Wolfgang Tillmans

It’s almost like Wolfgang Tillmans has a problem with photography. Everything the Turner Prize-winning German artist does kicks against the traditional view of the camera as a tool for documenting the world. It’s a nice idea, but it’s a total failure. 

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Tate Modern , South Bank Until Sunday June 11 2017
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7

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 Until Sunday May 14 2017
8

A World View: John Latham

A showreel of films opens this exhibition. One of them, ‘Unclassified Material’, features the pages of dozens upon dozens of encyclopaedias flipping across the screen at dizzying speed. It turns out to be a smart move; the sense of being overloaded with ideas and information acts as a forewarning of what you should expect in this survey of the late British conceptualist John Latham. 

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Serpentine Gallery , Knightsbridge Until Sunday May 21 2017
9

Vanessa Bell (1879-1961)

Vanessa Bell spent her life surrounded by famous people, and has come to be remembered primarily as Virginia Woolf’s sister. But she was one of the most interesting characters of her day and – from the look of this exhibition – one of its finest artists too. 

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Dulwich Picture Gallery , Dulwich Village Until Sunday June 4 2017
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10

Robert Rauschenberg

Recommended

If there are no original ideas left in art, it’s probably because Robert Rauschenberg had them all. Over the course of his 60-year career (he died in 2008 aged 82), he reinvented, reused, recycled and revolutionised himself so many times that walking around this retrospective feels like stumbling through a textbook on twentieth-century art history. 

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Tate Modern , South Bank Until Sunday April 2 2017

Next up: the best photography shows

Photography in London

Addicted to Instagram or permanently attached to your SLR? Even if your camera roll is totally empty, you'll find a way to appreciate London photography; we have the widest variety of styles in some of the best exhibitions at the most beautiful galleries. Find them in a flash with our guide to photography in London.

Read more
By: Time Out London Art

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Comments

13 comments
Caroline L
Caroline L

I totally agree with the comments made below. I would also like to see a listing of a wider range of galleries not just the critics choice. Time out in the past was my life line for information on new spaces and galleries. The days of Sarah Kent are well gone !! Please if the magazine is now free include more gallery listings, not just the critics choice

e c
e c

as a gallery owner and someone who found many artistic wonders over the years thanks to timeout the current incarnation makes me very sad - noone from Timeout ever even comes to my gallery which is one of the largest in the east end because there is no endeavour to find the new any more - there is a cost to giving away magazines for free - the magazine is guilty but so are we all

Liz D
Liz D moderator Staff Writer

@e c Hi there, please send any upcoming exhibition info to art@timeout.com

Claire M
Claire M

Agree with all the postings below.  Used to love the many pages of listings which I found led me to all sorts of unexpected delights.  I read the broadsheets to get the reviews of a few big shows, & thought of Time Out as the way to explore & find out what's going on.  The nearest things now are the weekend Guardian Guide - can others suggest good alternatives?

Robert F
Robert F

Totally agree with other recent posts. Listings should be centre stage - the backbone of TO's offering.

Jan G
Jan G

Non less than the World are expecting listings from TO. It made us find our way through the most incredible Metropolis over decades. All over now?

Jan from Germany

k f
k f

I don't usually add comments to any sites, but I feel compelled to voice my agreement with all the comments below. I want to see the wide range of art events that are on in London not just the ones the critics are telling me I should see. Time out used to be the first point of call - I won't use it any more.

BenFlash
BenFlash

45 isn't old or is it? I find the Internet has all the visual charm and clarity of those dreadful jelly sweet game apps that even intelligent people seem to become hooked on. The layout of the web seems to have become an explosion of headlines and adverts mashed into an impenetrable visual splash of confusion. With the galleries own websites - the simple question of what's on seems unanswerable. One is met with a deluge of screen filling design and information jumping around the simple need to know what, when and where. So with Timeout the desire of the user to know what's on and further more the added all important opinion of what's on seems impossible to find in a editorially controlled manner i.e the simple top 10 list. A world influenced by the majestic mess of Facebook. Is this our lot?

D H
D H

Please please please please. This website is near useless now. You can't search for anything. We're dependent on Editors making a list anything outside of those lists essentially is impossible to find. It seems given the tonnes of comments to this effect something akin to commercial suicide is happening at T.O towers. We still love you. Don't give up!

Segun L
Segun L

Oh for heavens sake, where are the listings? Talk about shooting yourself in the foot. Time Out is, by definition, a listings magazine, is it not? So, where are they? Ohhhh.... Now, I've seen all the other comments for the last six months. You obviously don't care anymore about user experience. Is this obliqueness an advertiser requirement or just sheer editorial bloodymindedness?