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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
  • Finchley Road

Allison Katz is in relentless pursuit of what she calls ‘genuine ambiguity’. Not that fake stuff you get off dodgy websites, but the pure, uncut, good shit: top grade ambiguity.

So the Canadian artist’s paintings are - as you can guess - pretty ungraspable things, filled with symbols and concepts that mean multiple things, that signify contrasting ideas. They are, in other words, ambiguous AF. 

  • 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. 

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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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  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Art
  • Euston

Happiness isn’t hip. We like tortured artists, not happy ones. Think of the countless millions of sad songs about loneliness, heartbreak and misery. Then think of the happy ones. It’s ‘Walking on Sunshine’ and that’s it. Well, the Wellcome Collection doesn’t care, it absolutely loves Katrina and the Waves, and its new shows are all about happiness.

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