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Lux at 180 the Strand, courtesy the artist and gallery
Lux at 180 the Strand, courtesy the artist and gallery

Top 10 art exhibitions in London

Check out our critics’ picks of the ten best art shows coming up in the capital at some of the world’s best art galleries

Written by
Eddy Frankel
&
Time Out London Art
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London’s major galleries and museums are allowed to reopen from May 17. Check on the galleries’ websites before visiting, you may need to book a slot in advance.

For London’s museums and galleries it’s time to open up again. The city’s independents are already back in business, but from May 17 it’s the turn of their big brothers: the Tates, National Galleries and Haywards. Some galleries may now require booking for shows you used to be able to just rock up to, and others may have drastically reduced visitor numbers so you may have to queue, and almost all of them have changed their opening hours. Still, it’s great to be able to go and stand and gaze at some unbelievable art again. Here’s your next art outing sorted. 

The ten best art exhibitions in London

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Art
  • Bloomsbury

Forget the panpipes, because the British Museum is here to show you the real history of Peru. Ok, there are some panpipes here, but there’s also a whole lot of human sacrifice, war, cats, dancing, music and more cats. It’s a wild ride, full of beautiful objects and fascinating history, tracing thousands of years of Peruvian culture. And if you totally ignore how impossible it is to sum up a whole nation’s ancient history in one go, it’s a great exhibition. 

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  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Art
  • Soho

Helen Cammock's latest show is a love letter to cooperation. Not just the idea of getting along and doing things together, but the political movement of the same name. The Cooperative Movement was about protecting workers’ rights in the face of growing industrialisation, a bringing together of labourers and crafts people. And it has its roots in Rochdale, where Cammock went to create the film at the heart of this deeply political and engagingly conceptual exhibition. 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Art
  • Sculpture
  • Barbican

Isamu Noguchi (1904-1988) is a victim of his own success. The pivotal modernist sculptor and designer’s experiments with material and light were groundbreaking, and totally shaped how our world looks. That’s an amazing, impressive feat. But his influence also means that walking into this beautiful retrospective feels a hell of a lot like walking into the world’s fanciest Ikea. 

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  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Art
  • Painting
  • Dulwich

Woodcuts. Most of the time, they’re difficult. Rigid. Fiddly. A bit like me on my morning commute. But it turns out, they can be much more than that. They can be spontaneous, vast, and colourful. This enlightening exhibition shows exactly how.  

 

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  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Art
  • New Cross

Eugenio Dittborn was making lockdown art long before Covid. The Chilean artist spent years of his life under Pinochet’s brutal dictatorship. Travel, communication, life in general, all were tightly, suffocatingly controlled. So he turned to airmail. Using huge sheets of paper and fabric that could be folded down into envelopes, he created works that obsess over and explore ideas of movement, oppression and freedom. 

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