Art

Art reviews and listings for London's best museum exhibitions and art galleries

Photo London is back and bigger than ever
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Photo London is back and bigger than ever

The major photography fair is back for another year. Here are three reasons why you have to go

Here are some of London's best new galleries
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Here are some of London's best new galleries

The past year has seen a whole host of new gallery openings and expansions. Here are the amazing new spaces you may have missed. 

Here's all the art that's going to be on the new Elizabeth line
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Here's all the art that's going to be on the new Elizabeth line

The Whitechapel Gallery is hosting a show of sketches and proposals for new public artworks that will be installed at stations on the Elizabeth line later this year. This is underground art of the future.

Five Things To Know About: 'All Too Human'
Art

Five Things To Know About: 'All Too Human'

Tate Britain’s spring blockbuster is finally opening this week, and it’s full of big names. Here’s the lowdown

Here are the most exciting art exhibitions of 2018
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Here are the most exciting art exhibitions of 2018

Winter is almost over, so now you have all of this to look forward to.

The latest art reviews

Juno Calypso: What to do with a Million Years
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Juno Calypso: What to do with a Million Years

In the suburbs of Las Vegas is an enormous underground bunker. Seriously, like, massive: it has a pool, a house, a garden, a barbecue, everything you could need for an eternity underground. It’s the physical embodiment of the two heartbeats throbbing in America’s chest: grandiose, overblown, chintzy opulence, and abject fear of annihilation. 

Time Out says
5 out of 5 stars
Tacita Dean: Landscape
Art

Tacita Dean: Landscape

Tacita Dean’s many-headed art beast has sprouted its third and final bonce: after a show of portraiture at the National Portrait Gallery and one of still life at the National Gallery, Dean now opens the doors of the Royal Academy’ new building with a show of landscapes.

Time Out says
3 out of 5 stars
Katharina Grosse: Prototypes of Imagination
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Katharina Grosse: Prototypes of Imagination

German artist Katharina Grosse is best known for her monumental painty interventions: chromatic collisions where colour covers whole walls, buildings, trees, patches of grass, roads, possibly the odd dozing pensioner. She’s not some street-art saddo just territorially pissing paint, though. Her abstractions transform environments, teasing the eye, dramatically refiguring the landscape.

Time Out says
4 out of 5 stars
Susan Collis
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Susan Collis

If being around fragile objects gives you the sweats and fills you with the fear that you’re seconds away from tripping over and accidentally destroying someone’s life’s work, this exhibition may not be for you. 

Time Out says
4 out of 5 stars
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Must-see art exhibitions in London

Anthea Hamilton
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Anthea Hamilton

Imagine you’re a squash – as in, a butternut squash. Now imagine what kind of art you would most like, based on your squashy-brained characteristics. For her 2018 Tate Britain Commission for the Duveen Galleries, Anthea Hamilton has created a squash-human hybrid, performed each day by an individual dressed in one of seven outfits inspired by various strains of curcubita (that’s for you, ‘Gardeners’ World’ fans). She then picked a collection of nine sculptures from the Tate’s existing collection, plus one from The Hepworth Wakefield, that might be of liking to the squash. The pumpkin-friendly artworks are bulbous, ballooning mounds of sculpture – the kind you want to sneakily squeeze. Because, the artist reasons, squashes can’t see well so choose their art based on touch. Bonkers, right? But ridiculous as the idea sounds, Hamilton’s takeover is a brilliant and irreverent response to basically everything the Tate, as the grand old dame of establishment art, represents and displays. The dark floor of the pretty, neoclassical gallery is covered with over 7,000 white squares, with the sculptures inside various tiled blocks. It looks like a high-end swimming pool, which is the last place you’d expect to find some hard-skinned vegetables (technically fruit, but shh!) doing whatever the hell they want. There are no rules: they can even take a nap. Which is the attitude that makes the whole thing so much fun. The mishmash of sculptures shoves the modernist curves of Henry Moore

Time Out says
5 out of 5 stars
Users say
2 out of 5 stars
Another Kind of Life: Photography on the Margins
Art

Another Kind of Life: Photography on the Margins

From its earliest days, photography has probed the hidden: from porn to politics, it’s been there and brought back the evidence. Beyond that, though, is a shadowy place where photographers become so tangled up in what they’re chronicling that roles become blurred. These are not just the margins of society, they’re the margins of creativity. That’s what ‘Another Kind of Life’ is about. 

Time Out says
5 out of 5 stars
Surface Work
Art

Surface Work

The history of art is full of old dead white blokes. We’ve had centuries of western men dominating the stuff we put in our eyes. Modern and contemporary abstract art is no different – it’s all Kandinsky and Pollock and Rothko, as if a woman never picked up a paintbrush and did some squiggles on a canvas. But – guess what, bozos – they did. 

Time Out says
4 out of 5 stars
Users say
3 out of 5 stars
Joseph Beuys: Utopia at the Stag Monuments
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Joseph Beuys: Utopia at the Stag Monuments

Here’s the Joseph Beuys myth: the hugely influential German artist was a pilot in World War II. He crashed his Stuka over the Crimea and was found by a tribe of nomadic Tartars who wrapped him in fat and felt to keep him warm. They saved his life. Out of that fable came a whole career based on felt, fat, electricity and medicine – the building blocks of survival, used to help deal with his country’s tormented recent past. 

Time Out says
4 out of 5 stars
Rodin and the Art of Ancient Greece
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Rodin and the Art of Ancient Greece

One look at Medusa would turn flesh to stone. Auguste Rodin was sort of the opposite, dedicating his life and radical art instead to somehow turning stone into living, breathing, rippling flesh. His revolutionary sculptures feel quiveringly close to bursting alive and writhing with movement.

Time Out says
4 out of 5 stars
Users say
4 out of 5 stars
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Dorothea Lange
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Dorothea Lange

You’ll surely know Dorothea Lange’s photograph ‘Migrant Mother’: an intimate yet tough image of a mother and her starving children, tuning away from the camera, it encapsulated the hardship of the Great Depression in 1936 and became that rare thing, a genuinely iconic image. A tough cookie herself, Lange (1895-1965) continued to train her camera on human suffering, starkly revealing the human stories behind economic crises, war, displacement and migration. So this should be a tartly timely retrospective at the Barbican; expect Lange's black and white images to still speak potently today.

The EY Exhibition Picasso 1932: Love, Fame, Tragedy
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The EY Exhibition Picasso 1932: Love, Fame, Tragedy

Did you know that Tate Modern has never held a Picasso exhibition? This, their first, is an exploration of a pivotal year in his career is indeed their first. 1932 was when Picasso made many of his most-loved paintings, sculptures and drawings. This show will include a whopping 100 of these and promises to take you on a month-by-month visual tour of what is known as his 'year of wonders'.  

Klimt/Schiele: Drawing
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Klimt/Schiele: Drawing

Klimt and Schiele were both working in Vienna in the early 1900s and saw the world changing around them. Both known for their particular drawing and painting styles, as well as controversial for their very sexually explicit nudes, they were friends and shared a love of drawing. This collaboration between the Royal Academy and the Albertina Museum in Vienna marks 100 years since both these great artists died.

Tacita Dean: Landscape
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Tacita Dean: Landscape

There’s not one, not two, but three Tacita Dean shows on this year; the RA hosts the ‘Landscape’ branch, while the National Gallery shows ‘Still Life’ and the National Portrait Gallery offers ‘Portrait’, funnily enough. The centre of ‘Landscape’ will be a major new experimental video work ‘Antigone’ – featuring poet Anne Carson and actor Stephen Dillane – and combining multiple places and geologies into one analogue cinematic image. The show is housed in the newly opened Gabrielle Jungels-Winkler Galleries, and will also feature a massive drawing on a blackboard and a series of cloudscapes in chalk on slate. Dreamy stuff.

See more upcoming art exhibitions

See more art in London

The 40 best photos of London ever taken
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The 40 best photos of London ever taken

Our (almost) definitive list of the best photographs ever taken of the capital

Free art in London
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Free art in London

See all London's free art exhibitions this week

Latest art interviews
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Latest art interviews

We speak to the biggest names and emerging talent in the art world

The 100 best paintings in London

The 100 best paintings in London

Our expert guide to the best paintings in the capital

Read the latest Time Out art features

What's on at

Barbican Centre
Cinemas

Barbican Centre

The Barbican Centre, a vast concrete estate of 2,000 flats and a leading arts complex, is a prime example of brutalist architecture, softened a little by time and rectangular ponds of friendly resident ducks. The lakeside terrace and adjoining café are good spots to take a rest from visiting the art gallery, cinema, theatre, concert hall or library within the complex. The art gallery on the third floor stages exhibitions on design, architecture and pop culture, while on the ground floor, the Curve is a free exhibition space for specially commissioned works and contemporary art. At the core of the music roster, performing 90 concerts a year, is the London Symphony Orchestra (LSO). The annual BITE season (Barbican International Theatre Events) continues to cherry-pick exciting and eclectic theatre companies from around the globe. The Barbican regularly attracts and nurtures experimental dance, and the Pit Theatre is a perfectly intimate space.

Users say
4 out of 5 stars
National Gallery
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National Gallery

Founded in 1824 to display a collection of just 36 paintings, today the National Gallery is home to more than 2,000 works. There are masterpieces from virtually every European school of art. The modern Sainsbury Wing extension contains the gallery’s earliest works: Italian paintings by early masters like Giotto and Piero della Francesca. The basement of the Sainsbury Wing is also the setting for temporary exhibitions. In the West Wing are Italian Renaissance masterpieces by Correggio, Titian and Raphael; in the North Wing, seventeenth-century Dutch, Flemish, Italian and Spanish Old Masters. In the East Wing (reached via the street-level entrance in Trafalgar Square) are some of the gallery’s most popular paintings: works by the French Impressionists and post-Impressionists, including on of Monet’s water lily paintings and one of Van Gogh’s sunflowers series. You can’t see everything in one visit to the National Gallery, but the free guided tours and audio guides will help you make the most of your time. There’s also a wonderfully atmospheric café stocked with Oliver Peyton goodies, and a fine-dining restaurant, the National Dining Rooms.

Users say
5 out of 5 stars
National Portrait Gallery
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National Portrait Gallery

Portraits don't have to be stuffy. The National Portrait Gallery has everything from oil paintings of stiff-backed royals to photos of soccer stars and gloriously unflattering political caricatures. The portraits of musicians, scientists, artists, philanthropists and celebrities are arranged in chronological order from the top to the bottom of the building. At the top of the escalator up from the main foyer are the earliest works, portraits of Tudor and Stuart royals and notables. On the same floor, the eighteenth-century collection features Georgian writers and artists, with one room devoted to the influential Kit-Cat Club of Whig (leftish) intellectuals, Congreve and Dryden among them. More famous names here include Wren and Swift. The Duveen Extension contains Regency greats, military men such as Wellington and Nelson, as well as Byron, Wordsworth and other Romantics. The first floor is devoted to the Victorians (Dickens, Brunel, Darwin) and, in the Duveen Extension, the twentieth century. One of the NPG's most popular highlights is the annual BP Portrait Award where the best entrants for the prestigious prize are exhibited.

Users say
5 out of 5 stars
Tate Britain

Tate Britain

Tate Modern gets all the attention, but the original Tate Gallery, founded by sugar magnate Sir Henry Tate, has a broader and more inclusive brief. Housed in a stately Portland stone building on the riverside, Tate Britain is second only to the National Gallery when it comes to British art. The historical collection includes work by Hogarth, Gainsborough, Reynolds, Constable (who gets three rooms to himself) and Turner (whose works are displayed in the grand Clore Gallery). Many contemporary works were shifted to Tate Modern when it opened in 2000, but Stanley Spencer, Lucian Freud, David Hockney and Francis Bacon are well represented here, and the Art Now installations showcase up-and-coming British artists. The gallery also hosts the controversy-courting Turner Prize exhibition (Oct-Jan). The gallery has a good restaurant and a well-stocked gift shop, and the handy Tate-to-Tate boat service zips along the Thames to Tate Modern.

Users say
5 out of 5 stars
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Tate Modern

Tate Modern

The permanent collection draws from the Tate’s collections of modern art (international works from 1900) and features heavy hitters such as Matisse, Rothko and Beuys – a genuinely world-class collection, expertly curated. There are vertiginous views down inside the building from outside the galleries, which group artworks according to movement (Surrealism, Minimalism, Post-war abstraction) rather than by theme.

Users say
4 out of 5 stars
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Whitechapel Gallery
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Whitechapel Gallery

This East End stalwart reopened in 2009 following a major redesign and expansion that saw the Grade II listed building transformed into a vibrant, holistic centre of art complete with a research centre, archives room and café. Since 1901, Whitechapel Art Gallery has built on its reputation as a pioneering contemporary institution and is well remembered for premiering the talents of exhibitions by Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko and Frida Kahlo among others. Expect the rolling shows to be challenging and risqué.

Users say
3 out of 5 stars