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September is full of amazing art exhibitions

And most of them are totally free, too

Eddy Frankel
Written by
Eddy Frankel

August has been a quiet month for gallery goers, but don’t worry, it’s just the calm before the art storm, because September is promising a torrent of incredible exhibitions. 

It kicks off with some young painters in big galleries, like the lovely figurativeness of Sofia Mitsola at Pilar Corrias, the thick brushstrokes and deep colours of Doron Langberg at Victoria Miro and the super colourful portraiture of Kudzanai Violent-Hwami, also at Victoria Miro. Miro’s Kudzanai Violet-Hwami show is timed to coincide with September’s biggest exhibition: the Hayward Gallery’s ‘Mixing It Up: Painting Today’. Opening on the ninth, the Hayward has pulled together some of the best names in contemporary painting for this survey show, and plenty of them would be worth the price of admission on their own, but all together? Bargain.

There’s even more painting the week after, with master of photorealism Richard Estes at Damien Hirst’s Newport Street Gallery and intense, dreamy visions by Florian Krewer at Michael Werner. And make sure you save brain space for abstract expressionist master Helen Frankenthaler at Dulwich Picture Gallery, who are showing her rarely seen woodcuts.  

That’s not it though, because there are more young painters to catch, like Dale Lewis at Block 336 and Olivia Sterling at GCCA. Then there’s cheeky old master Frans Hals at the Wallace Collection, and right at the end of the month is Rachel Howard’s first show with Simon Lee Gallery. That’s a lot of painting.

Once you’ve had enough of art on canvases, there’s Phoebe Collings-James with her first big UK institution exhibition, showing sensual sculptures and immersive sound work at Camden Arts Centre. Simeon Barclay comes back to London for the first time since his excellent Tate Art Now display a few years back for a show of new work at Workplace gallery. 

For bigger names, the Barbican is doing a huge retrospective of American minimalist Noguchi’s sculpture and design and the Whitechapel Gallery is showing clay works by the brilliant American conceptualist Theaster Gates. There’s also - please, try to remain calm - at least two Marina Abramović exhibitions. I know, I know, it’s very exciting. Relax. It’ll be ok, breathe. 

And then, to cap it all off, it’s the return of the RA’s Summer Exhibition (except it’s in Autumn, but whatever). If all of that doesn’t get you excited for the end of this damp excuse for a summer, then...well, you probably just don’t like art very much, which is fair enough. 

All these exhibitions take place this September, but there's even more to see throughout the Autumn.

Can’t wait? Here are the top ten exhibitions you can see in London right now.

Can’t wait, won’t pay? Here are the best free exhibitions you can see in London right now

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