New exhibitions in London

Get your dose of culture at one of these new and upcoming museum exhibitions in London
Grapefruit, The British Museum of Food
© Emma Rios
By Time Out London Things To Do |
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Our round-up of new and upcoming exhibitions in London will help keep you updated with the dizzying array of displays in London. If planning ahead isn't your thing, we've also brought together the top ten museum exhibitions in London and free exhibitions going on the capital, so you'll morph into a culture vulture before you even know it.

RECOMMENDED: our full guide to exhibitions in London

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Things to do, Exhibitions

Brick Wonders

icon-location-pin Horniman Museum, Forest Hill
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Lego lovers can get a first look at the Horniman Museum’s Brick Wonders exhibition, which kicks off on the first day of half-term. There are about 50 Lego models on display – that’s about half a million bricks if you’re counting – covering everything from ancient pyramids to the International Space Station. There are interactive play areas and a mini-cinema showing LEGO animation shorts, and you can buy a combi ticket if you fancy ticking off the aquarium and Butterfly House while you’re here.

Katie Wilson 'Bedrooms of London - Amelie' (2017) © Katie Wilson
Museums

Bedrooms of London

icon-location-pin Foundling Museum, Bloomsbury
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This fascinating - and very timely - new documentary photography series by Katie Wilson captures the London homes of impoverished children. With nowhere near enough social housing available, these images show what the 700,000 kids below the poverty line are having to cope with. 

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© Gunther von Hagens
Museums

Body Worlds

icon-location-pin London Pavillion, Piccadilly Circus
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Gunther von Hagens' famous collection of **REAL BODIES** preserved via his own 'plastination' technique find a permanent home bang in the centre of London. That's right, en route to Chinatown or Theatreland you can now stop off for a quick reminder of what lurks beneath your own skin. Von Hagens' calling card might seem like something for living Draculas to get high on, but visitors report finding the skinless cadavers sincerely life-affirming, sometimes even spurring them on to give up the booze and start exercising. 

© Isak Pretorius / Wildlife Photographer of the Year
Museums

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

icon-location-pin Natural History Museum, Brompton
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Now in its fifty-fourth year, the renowned and celebrated annual wildlife photography competition exhibition returns to the Natural History Museum with images of the most extraordinary species on the planet captured by professional and amateur photographers. This year saw more than 45,000 entries from across the globe, with 100 selected for what is always a highlight in the NHM's calendar.

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Museums

Haiku Adventure: The Craft of Games

icon-location-pin William Morris Gallery, Walthamstow
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Traditional Japanese woodblock printing and video games probably don't seem like they have much in common. But this exhibition at the William Morris Gallery sees videogame creators Small Island Games present 'Haiku Adventures' alongside the ancient Japanese prints that inspired its intricately crafted images. 

Cecil Beaton 'Princess Margaret' (1949) © Cecil Beaton, Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Museums

Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams

icon-location-pin V&A, Brompton
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'Designer of dreams': has an exhibition ever been so appropriately named? The V&A goes bigger than a post-war circle skirt with this massive retrospective of Christian Dior. Famous for the 'New Look' which threw out wartime austerity in favour of tiny waists and more, more, more fabric, Dior's creations really are the fuel of fantasy.  This is the biggest fashion exhibition the South Kensington museum has staged since the hugely popular Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty in 2015. The French designer's anglophile tendencies are explored, along with the very different creatives who have succeeded Dior at the house bearing his name. 

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Yan Yongsheng 'Unite for Greater Victory!' (Sep 1974) People’s Fine Arts Publishing House (est. in 1951), (publisher) Lithograph © Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford
Museums

Cultural Revolution: State graphics in China from the 1960s to the 1970s

icon-location-pin William Morris Gallery, Walthamstow
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From hail and hearty peasants working tirelessly in the fields, to Chairman Mao Zedong smiling beneficently upon the workers, the artworks of China's Cultural Revolution uniformly conformed to the Communist cause. See a fascinating selection of posters and artworks from the period on display at the William Morris Gallery in Walthamstow. 

Mary Quant outside her shop Bazaar on the Kings Road, 1960s. Vintage Publicity Photograph, Courtesy of a Private Collection
Museums

Swinging London: A Lifestyle Revolution

icon-location-pin Fashion and Textile Museum, London Bridge
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The bright young things of the 'Chelsea set' inspire this show which brings together eveything a person once needed to be considered part of Swinging London. See clothes, furnishings and assorted accessories from 1952 - 1977 and revisit the era of Mary Quant, Terence Conran and others. Then buy a miniskirt and head to the King's Road...  

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Things to do, Exhibitions

Spare Parts: Rethinking Human Repair

icon-location-pin Science Gallery, London Bridge
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Explore the future of organ and tissue transplants at this indepth exhibit cover the arts, science, ethics and tech. Highlights include body parts created from fabrics and 3D-printed models of hearts, as well as a video and sound installation focusing on the impact of organ donations.

Image courtesy of Archivio Ugo La Pietra, Milano
Museums

Home Futures

icon-location-pin Design Museum, Kensington
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The problem with futuristic design is how quickly it looks, well, old. This fascinating exhibition at the Design Museum displays the forward-thinking domestic designs architects of the past thought would characterise our modern lives. Items on display include the Pratone, a 1970s rethink on the humble chair that imagined a future where we'd shun solid seats in favour of a large block of malleable green grass made to support the whole body. The idea never caught on, perhaps because - as the picture on the DM's website shows - it made the person sitting in it look a bit of a fool. Who could have predicted that an invention almost literally named 'prat' could make the user look silly? 

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Further ahead

Higashimura Akiko 'Princess Jellyfish' © Akiko Higashimura / Kodansha Ltd
Museums

Manga

icon-location-pin British Museum, Bloomsbury
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The biggest manga exhibition to have ever been held outside of Japan, this show charts the history of manga and demonstrates how it's grown into a multi-billion pound industry, taking in gaming, cosplay and anime. Visitors to the show can try on cosplay outfits and head inside a special video booth promising to leave them manga-fied.  

© Tim Walker
Museums

Tim Walker

icon-location-pin V&A, Brompton
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When Tim Walker took over Somerset House with his 'Story Teller' exhibition in 2012, the gallery was filled with, among other things, a 10ft tall baby doll and an orchestra of oversized bugs. Seven years later and the photographer, a long-time contributor to British Vogue, now gets a show at the V&A. The venue isn't incidental. Walker has long used the South Kensington museum as a source of inspiration for his photography and this show contains a collection of brand new photos created in response to its archives. 

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© Stanley Kubrick. Image courtesy of the Design Museum
Museums

Stanley Kubrick: The Exhibition

icon-location-pin Design Museum, Kensington
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Must-see exhibition for fans of iconic filmmaker Stanley Kubrick. Famous for A Clockwork Orange, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Dr Strangelove and others, the director's movies involve some of the most ambitious sets ever created. See props, costumes, photographs and other memorabilia at London's Design Museum. 

Photograph of William Marriot in Pearson’s Magazine. Image from the Harry Price Library of Magical Literature, Senate House Library, University of London
Museums

Smoke and Mirrors: The psychology of magic

icon-location-pin Wellcome Collection, Bloomsbury
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'Fair is foul, and foul is fair; Hover through the fog and filthy air'. Gather your newt eyes, fetch the cauldron and dust down the tarot cards: Wellcome Collection has a new exhibition exploring the magic of magic. If the revamp of Sabrina the teenage witch got you hot under the collar, this is the 2019 exhibition for you. But it does more than just celebrate the dark arts. This being the Wellcome Collection the interest is on how magic meets science, specifically psychology. Learn about the vital role of the female assistant to a magician ['Quick, look at the pretty lady! Ooooh where's the card gone?' etc.], study a ghost-detection kit and marvel at the head of a gorilla costume once worn by Derren Brown. A show to visit with your weird sisters.

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Nutcracker in shape of Fagin © Jewish Museum London
Museums

Jews, Money, Myth

icon-location-pin Jewish Museum, Camden Town
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When the Director of London’s Jewish Museum looked up ‘Jew’ in her parents’ dictionary, she found a verb: “To cheat or overreach”. This exhibition at London's Jewish Museum in Camden delves into the origins of myths and stereotypes that link Jews to money, taking in well-known figures like Shylock and Fagin, while also exploring the ethical role of money in Jewish life. Items on display include Rembrandt's 'Judas Returning the Thirty Pieces of Silver' and a new commission from contemporary artist Jeremy Deller.

GB. London. Freud Museum. Emma Smith, visual artist with a social practice creating public platforms for experimentation, research and action through site-specific events and installations. 2019. Photography: Thomas Farnetti © Wellcome
Museums

Wunderblock

icon-location-pin Freud Museum London, Frognal
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The years after WWII saw an increase in studies looking at the potential of psychiatrists and other adults to influence children. This new exhibition at the Freud Museum by Emma Smith turns this idea on its head, asking how kiddiwinks have had an impact on adults.

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'AI: More Than Human 2065 (preview)' by Lawrence Lek Courtesy the artist and Sadie Coles HQ, London
Museums

AI: More Than Human

icon-location-pin Barbican Centre, Barbican
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Think you're clever? Be prepared for a bit of a knock to your confidence with this interactive exhibition at Barbican. The show brings together the latest in Artificial Intelligence, calmly showing how the cleverest (or maybe stupidest) thing humans have ever done is create machines that outwit us all. 

© PA Prints 2008
Museums

Mary Quant

icon-location-pin V&A, Brompton
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Even if you were born too late to enjoy strutting down the King's Road wearing a mini skirt and coloured tights, there's a good chance Mary Quant influences what you wear. The British designer revolutionised the high street and the public's access to fashion (so if you get a kick from so-called 'fast fashion', you're benefitting from what Quant started).  When the V&A announced the spring blockbuster exhibition, they did so with a public call out asking people to search their own wardrobes in the hope of locating rare and iconic Quant pieces. Don't miss seeing the fruits of this labour when it opens - the V&A fashion shows are nearly always big hits.

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'honey & bunny' (Sonja Stummerer & Martin Hablesreiter) Daisuke Akita
Museums

Food

icon-location-pin V&A, Brompton
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In an era where it's not worth eating if it's not worth also Instagramming, it's hardly surprising the V&A have decided there's no better topic for an exhibition than food, glorious food. But whilst a visual feast of actual feasts surely awaits, the real point of this show is to suss out how our avocado and almond milk habits are screwing up god's green Earth. Much like the V&A's 2018 blockbuster 'Fashioned from Nature' this show dares to imagine a time when trees, animals and rivers aren't always the losers. Food for thought, right there. 

Mars by NASA
Museums

Mars

icon-location-pin Design Museum, Kensington
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Bored of Brexit? Tired of Trump? Had it with hearing about how humanity has destroyed the rainforests/rivers/reindeers and so forth? Well, nevermind. Soon it will all be over and we can move to a (fingers-crossed) friendlier corner of the solar system. To get with the space age programme, London's Design Museum is showcasing inventions connected to every stage of the most ambitious version of Relocation, Relocation, Relocation ever staged.

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Check out our favourite museum shows

Museums

Top ten museum exhibitions in London

Get ready culture vultures: some of London's best museums are showcasing an abundance of cracking exhibitions on now and throughout the year's events calendar. Whatever the day, week or season, there's always an exciting show to delve into, on subjects as varied as history, fashion, art and the natural world. 

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