Art

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

Ten amazing archive photos of London by Roger Mayne
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Ten amazing archive photos of London by Roger Mayne

Why did a young photographer spend five years obsessively photographing a single west London street? 

Top ten photography exhibitions in London
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Top ten photography exhibitions in London

Discover a world beyond Instagram at the city's best current and upcoming photography shows

Four things you need to know about Eduardo Paolozzi
Art

Four things you need to know about Eduardo Paolozzi

The essentials on one of London's most important artists

This week's best new art
Art

This week's best new art

The new shows and events you'd be mad to miss

The latest art reviews

America After The Fall: Painting in the 1930s
Art

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.

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
Mohammed Qasim Ashfaq: Black Sun
Art

Mohammed Qasim Ashfaq: Black Sun

Executed almost carelessly on an off-centre point on the gallery wall is Scottish artist Mohammed Qasim Ashfaq’s ‘Black Sun’: a solid graphite drawing of a circle, five metres in diameter. 

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
Eduardo Paolozzi

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.

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
Users say
  • 4 out of 5 stars
Richard Wilson: Stealing Space
Art

Richard Wilson: Stealing Space

Dering Street has been folded up, crumpled into a cube and stuffed into an attic. Richard Wilson (not that one) has taken a segment of this street and folded it in on itself. 

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

David Hockney
Art

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. 

Time Out says
  • 5 out of 5 stars
Users say
  • 5 out of 5 stars
Do Ho Suh
Art

Do Ho Suh

His story probably isn’t that different to yours. Do Ho Suh was born in South Korea, left to study in America, settled in New York, moved to Berlin for a bit then chose London as his home. Maybe your journey hasn’t taken you as far, but Macclesfield to Balham is still an uprooting. The point is, we’ve all moved, we’ve all had to leave ‘home’ to make new lives for ourselves at some point. 

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
Users say
  • 5 out of 5 stars
Revolution: Russian Art 1917-1932
Art

Revolution: Russian Art 1917-1932

Here, hung across these walls, is the birth of fake news. Sure, governments lied to their people for millennia before the Russian Revolution in 1917, but none took propaganda, manipulation of the media and suppression of the arts to Soviet levels.  

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
Vanessa Bell (1879-1961)
Art

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. 

Time Out says
  • 5 out of 5 stars
Gavin Turk: Who What When Where How & Why
Art

Gavin Turk: Who What When Where How & Why

Sometimes it’s hard to see beyond the shtick. Gavin Turk’s shtick especially. He’s the guy whose degree show was just a blue plaque with his name on it (he failed), the guy who thinks rubbish bags are art, the guy who reckons his signature is a masterpiece in itself, the guy who put himself on the cover of ‘Hello!’ magazine. But all those headlines obscure the truth that beyond the shtick, schlock and schmaltz, Turk is a quiet, clever, passionate and maybe even – whisper it – important artist.  Fellow YBA and shtick master Damien Hirst has been collecting Turk’s work for years, and this mini-retrospective is pulled entirely from his own collection and shown in his natty Vauxhall gallery space.  The show opens with Turk’s signature. It’s carved into thick card, laid out as a blueprint for a country garden, and scrawled across the wall. It’s even splattered across a whole room of canvasses as he does a little turn as Jackson Pollock.  Then he’s plonked himself on the cover of ‘Hello!’. Never mind that it’s handmade, out of focus and that he’d done naff all to warrant a magazine cover at this point in his career – Turk was myth-building. The massive central space in the gallery is given to ‘Cave’, the notorious blue plaque. It’s a bold, obscene, ridiculous, funny waste of space that totally undermines what a gallery’s meant to be used for. Upstairs, Turk casts himself as Sid Vicious in Warhol-esque paintings, or as statues of sailors, tramps and horseguards. There’s a huge

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
Users say
  • 4 out of 5 stars
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All future art exhibitions in London

Urs Fischer: The Kiss
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Urs Fischer: The Kiss

The madcap Swiss artist will be showing a huge plasticine version of Auguste Rodin's sculpture 'The Kiss', which viewers are free to bend and alter as they please. Expect some very immature alterations in the name of interactive art.

Fernanda Gomes
Art

Fernanda Gomes

The Brazilian artist – whose work comes in the wake of her native country's 1960s neo-concrete movement – has created a series of white-coloured works that incorporate canvas, wood and paint, but aren't quite straightforward paintings.

Screen Memory
Art

Screen Memory

The title of the show is pilfered from Freud, who used it to describe how memories often veil others lurking beneath them. The group show brings together artists that work in painting, photography, installation and video and tackle the slippery realm of collective memory.

Laura Oldfield Ford: Alpha/Isis/Eden
Art

Laura Oldfield Ford: Alpha/Isis/Eden

Oldfield Ford will be creating an installation that looks at the tide of gentrification enveloping the gallery's neighborhood – focusing on the three housing blocks Alpha, Isis and Eden. Central to the work is a sound piece, the result of a collaboration with producer Jack Latham.

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
Art

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

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

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
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
Whitechapel Gallery
Art

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