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Eddy Frankel

Eddy Frankel

Art & Culture Editor

Art & Culture Editor

Eddy Frankel joined Time Out way back in 2012 as a lowly listings writer and has somehow survived, like a cockroach with a degree in art history. He has been Time Out's Art & Culture Editor and art critic since 2016. His whole schtick is writing simply about complicated art, and being rude about Antony Gormley. He has reviewed so many Picasso and David Hockney shows that if he has to see one more painting by either of them his eyes are very likely to crumble to dust. What he lacks in maturity, he more than makes up for in his ability to wear shorts long into the winter months.

Connect with him on Twitter @eddyfrankel or Instagram @eddyfffrankel

Articles (116)

Free art in London

Free art in London

Looking at great art in London usually won't cost you penny. Pretty much every major museum is free, as is literally every single commercial gallery. That's a helluva lot of art. So wandering through sculptures, being blinded by neon or admiring some of the best photography in London is absolutely free. 'What about the really good stuff, I bet you have to pay to see that,' you're probably thinking. Nope, even some of them are free. So here's our pick of the best free art happening in London right now. RECOMMENDED: explore our full guide to free London

The best action movies of all time

The best action movies of all time

Many cineastes turn their noses up at the action genre, but let’s be real: if you don’t like action movies, do you really like cinema? Because if the main point of film is to make you feel something, well, what produces more visceral feeling than a good action flick?  The best action movies choreograph violence with almost balletic grace, and can karate kick your heart harder than any romantic drama. This list of the greatest action films ever made is proof that the genre is more versatile than it appears. We polled over 50 experts in the field, from Die Hard director John McTiernan to Machete himself, Danny Trejo, along with Time Out’s writers, and the results show just how awesome and unique the best action movies can be when done correctly. Written by Eddy Frankel, Eddy Frankel, Yu An Su, Joshua Rothkopf, Trevor Johnston, Ashley Clark, Grady Hendrix, Tom Huddleston, Keith Uhlich, Dave Calhoun, Phil de Semlyen, Dave Calhoun and Matthew Singer Recommended: 🔥 The 100 best movies of all-time😬 The 100 best thrillers of all-time🪖 The 18 greatest stunts in cinema (as picked by the greatest stunt people)🥋 The 25 best martial arts movies of all-time

Top 10 art exhibitions in London

Top 10 art exhibitions in London

This city is absolutely rammed full of amazing art galleries and museums. Want to see a priceless Monet? A Rothko masterpiece? An installation of little crumpled bits of paper? A video piece about the evils of capitalism? You can find it all right here in this city. London’s museums are all huge and amazing, and the city’s independents are tiny and fascinating. So we’ve got your next art outing sorted with the ten best exhibitions you absolutely can’t miss. 

13 best family day trips from London to do with the kids (or the dog)

13 best family day trips from London to do with the kids (or the dog)

While London has stacks of family-friendly things to do – from parks and museums to play areas and activity centres – it’s always nice to treat the kids (and yourself) to a day trip. Luckily, you'll find fresh air and adventure just an hour or two outside the city's hectic centre. Whether you’ve got a Saturday, half term or summer holiday to fill, we’ve got plenty of ideas for London day trips with kids, by train or by car. You’ll find brilliant ideas for animal lovers, daring adventurers and youngsters (and parents) who just want to run free in the great outdoors. From ancient castles and retro theme parks to enchanted trains and real-life steam engines, these are London’s best family-friendly day trips, all within easy reach of the capital.   RECOMMENDED: The best day trips from London RECOMMENDED: The best areas of natural beauty near London

Top photography exhibitions in London

Top photography exhibitions in London

There's so much more to London art than just painting or sculpture. Instead of boring old brushstrokes and dull old canvases, you can lose yourself in all kinds of new worlds by tracking down the best photography exhibitions in London. From sweeping landscape scenes to powerful portraits captured by daring individuals, photography in London offers a full-exposure of thought-provoking, visually captivating art. Look away from the Instagram feed for just a minute and go explore. RECOMMENDED: Check our complete guide to photography in London  

The 50 best art galleries in London

The 50 best art galleries in London

Art plays an essential role in London’s unparalleled and inimitable culture scene. It’s one of the city’s greatest and most vibrant creative scenes, and you can see it almost everywhere. There are an estimated 1,500 permanent exhibition spaces in the capital, most of them free. Whether you’re looking for contemporary or classical, modernism or old masters, there’s a gallery catering to your next art outing. But after you’ve exhausted the latest art exhibitions in London, choosing a gallery can be tricky business. So we’ve created a shortlist of all the London galleries you need to visit, including institutions like the National Gallery and independent stalwarts like the White Cube, we present the 50 best galleries in London.  RECOMMENDED: All the best art, reviews and listings in London.

15 exhibitions worth travelling for in 2024

15 exhibitions worth travelling for in 2024

It’s set to be another blockbuster year for art. There’s Kahlo in Paris and Munch in Oslo. Horror in Melbourne and hip hop in Toronto. Graphic design in Tokyo and Navajo tapestries in New York. Whatever your cup of tea, 2024 has a little bit of something for everyone. So if you’re planning a city break, why not plan it around one of these must-see art shows? These are 2024’s biggest and best exhibitions, all over the world. RECOMMENDED:🗺️ The 24 best things to do in the world in 2024🌃 Europe’s best city breaks for 2024

What’s up with the spate of London gallery closures?

What’s up with the spate of London gallery closures?

The bitter winds of Brexit, Covid and economic downturn finally blew a terrifying gale across London last year, claiming multiple gallery victims. It’s been a tough few years that many galleries have survived, but Simon Lee, Fold, and Darren Flook in Mayfair and Fitzrovia didn’t manage to endure. The Zabludowicz Collection and the Jewish Museum also closed, as did Gagosian’s Britannia Street branch. Are these the end times for London’s art scene?  Simon Lee, founded in 2002, was one of London’s most successful major galleries, specialising in the upper end of the art market: big artists making big art for big money. They had spaces in Hong Kong and New York, they represented painters and photographers like Christopher Wool, Dexter Dalwood, Rachel Howard, George Condo and Michelangelo Pistoletto, taking them to art fairs around the world. And they did interesting, adventurous stuff too, not just rampant commercial painting shows. In 2014 they held a wildly popular sale of Larry Clark photos that allowed visitors to rifle through boxes of his test prints and pick one up for just £100 (I bought one so full-frontally raunchy I’m almost too embarrassed to have it on display), they showed mythical queer black art by April Bey and hyper-militaristic weirdness by Mai-Thu Perret. They were the model big gallery, in other words.  But things were not going well. In July last year, after a few months of eerie, shuttered silence, Simon Lee announced that they were going into administratio

The best gigs we went to in 2023

The best gigs we went to in 2023

This year has been a belter for live music. Our cities have come alive with pop comebacks, raging metal shows and some damn good dance tunes. We’ve fully embraced our tastes, however cringe they may be (there’s no shame in loving something). We’ve screamed out lyrics, two stepped to our heart’s content, moshed in a festival field and everything in between. Gen Zers bragged about ‘escape room pop stars’, veteran jazz fans stroked their chins to legends of the scene and some of us unleashed our inner teens by watching pop-punk superstars. Here are Time Out’s favourite live music moments of 2023 – taking in picks from all over our huge, juicy global network of editors.  RECOMMENDED: 🎬 The best movies of 2023🕺 The 23 best songs of 2023🎵 The 30 best albums of 2023

The 15 best books of 2023

The 15 best books of 2023

From head-spinning literary debuts to masterful novels from authors at the height of their power, big-name autobiographies to binge-worthy cultural histories, here are our editors’ favourite page-turners of 2023. Add these lot to your ‘to read’ pile, stat. RECOMMENDED: 🎬 The best movies of 2023📺 The best TV shows of 2023🎵 The best albums of 2023

Free art galleries and museums in London

Free art galleries and museums in London

London can be a pretty expensive place to go out in, and there's the small matter of the deepening cost of living crisis to boot. But there's no need to lock yourself away, because almost all the art here is free to see. Most of London's major museums – as well as many of its smaller institutions and literally every commercial gallery – are free to enter, so you can see world-class art and artefacts without getting out your wallet. From the Tate to Gagosian, the National Gallery to Camden Art Centre, you've got your choice of literally hundreds of amazing art spaces, all free. Want to see masterpieces by Raphael and Turner, or contemporary abstraction by future art stars? You can, and you don't have to pay.  Our list of brilliant, and totally free, art galleries and museums in London covers the four corners and centre of the city, so wherever you live, there’s a gratis cultural experience near you. Go forth and enjoy, and save your pennies for something else. RECOMMENDED: The best free things to do in London.

The 16 best things we ate in London in 2023

The 16 best things we ate in London in 2023

Well, we ate a hell of a lot this year, didn’t we? As always, London got a whole load of brand-new restaurants, so we’ve been a little bit spoilt for choice for seriously good food. But if you’re anything like us, there’s a few dishes you just can’t shut up about. Here at Time Out, we’ve rounded up every fantastic thing we feasted on in 2023, so you can get out there and try ’em for yourself. You’ll find everything from Speedboat Bar’s insanely hot curry to Mount St’s cheese and haddock omelette. It’s spicy, it’s chewy, it’s saucy, and it’s right here for your viewing (and eating) pleasure. Here are the best things we ate this year.  RECOMMENDED:😜 The best restaurants in London🎶 The best new albums of 2023🎤 The best new songs of 2023🎧 The best podcasts of 2023

Listings and reviews (443)

Robert Rauschenberg: ‘ROCI’

Robert Rauschenberg: ‘ROCI’

4 out of 5 stars

Can art save the world? Can it lead to world peace? Nah, probably not, but Robert Rauschenberg (1925-2008) believed it could. In the 1980s, the giant of post-war American art launched ROCI (Rauschenberg Overseas Cultural Interchange, pronounced ‘Rocky’ like his pet turtle), an initiative that saw him travel to countries gripped by war and oppression in an ambitious act of cultural diplomacy. He visited places like Cuba, Chile, the USSR, touring a retrospective of his work and making new art in response to all the visual stimuli he encountered. The results are on display here in the first gallery show dedicated to ROCI since 1991, and it’s all classic late-period Rauschenberg. Overlapping, clashing screenprints are a chaotic mess of imagery: architecture, road signs, animals, monuments, flags. Symbols of statehood are overlaid with symbols of everyday life: a bust of Lenin, a topless bather, a squealing boar, the Twin Towers, machinery, newsprint. Rauschenberg is documenting the visual reality of 1980s life under oppressive regimes around the world. By touring the work around those very countries, he hoped to offer a way out, a path towards liberation. It’s a very old fashioned and now-problematic form of cultural outreach. It’s the Western artist as saviour, it’s Rauschenberg thinking that showing his art in oppressed nations will help free their people. It’s naive, arrogant American imperialism under the guise of art. He’s left no space for the artists of these countries, it

Expressionists: Kandinsky, Münter and The Blue Rider

Expressionists: Kandinsky, Münter and The Blue Rider

3 out of 5 stars

There was a sense that anything could happen in turn-of-the-century Germany: a fizzing, crackling energy of potential. When it did finally burst into life, it was in the form of brutal, global warfare. But on the walls of Tate Modern’s latest exhibition is another kind of potential: radical, beautiful artistic expression. The Blue Rider was a Munich-based art collective revolving around Wassily Kandinsky and Gabriele Münter, the original modern art power couple. Artists from countless backgrounds and disciplines congregated around them from all over Europe, drawn to their borderlessness, openness, genderlessness. The Blue Rider embraced everything new. As a result, there’s not a whole lot of aesthetic cohesion going on here. The opening rooms feature blocky semi-abstraction by Robert Delaunay, shimmering hot pink interiors by Kandinsky, stark architectural geometricism by Lyonel Feininger, beautiful vulnerable portraiture by Elisabeth Epstein, neatly composed street photography by Münter and everything in between. Portraits play on ideas of gender, interiors are intimate and private, street scenes show the encroaching tide of modernity; some artists strive for emotion and movement, others for pushing the form of painting as far as humanly possible. The Blue Rider was a mishmash, a hodgepodge, and sure, a bit of a mess.  And that was by design. Because what was happening in 1911 Munich was the forging of new possible paths towards the future. They were figuring things out.  Th

Barbara Kruger

Barbara Kruger

4 out of 5 stars

It’s all getting a bit nihilistic for Barbara Kruger. The American art icon’s show of new work at Sprüth Magers is full of existential dread, hefty pessimism and grim monochrome.  It’s her usual ultra-bold statement art, but in fading shades of grey. ‘End of World’ greets you as you walk in, ‘forget to remember’, ‘long life, crazy desire’ and ‘being and nothingness’ hang in the next room. It’s introspective, gloomy, almost morbid. It’s weird – though not necessarily in a bad way – to see the trademark aggression and energy drained from her work to be replaced with fatalism and misery.  The early black and white collage works upstairs are more familiar, and totally brilliant, full of righteous ire, political invective, poetic meanderings, sneering sarcasm and acerbic wit. ‘We are not sugar and spice’ it says over an image of pigtails, ‘who speaks? who is silent?’ over a cupped ear, ‘make my day’ over a cat trailing raw meat from its mouth. Direct, confrontational, immediate.  Despite being so small, the show ends up being a lot more satisfying than Kruger’s big recent Serpentine exhibition. Seeing the work so simply makes you realise how overthought, over-egged, less immediate and infinitely more disappointing that show was. It seemed OK at the time, but in retrospect it didn’t work. Kruger’s art doesn’t need to be adapted to fit on TV screens, or animated, or interpreted, or rehashed. It felt like a greatest hits show without any of the hits. Her art is best when it’s like th

Kati Heck: ‘Tip-Toe-Echo’

Kati Heck: ‘Tip-Toe-Echo’

4 out of 5 stars

Hidden somewhere in the endless maze of symbols and art historical allusions of Antwerp-based painter Kati Heck’s new show is a very simple, comprehensible point. I just haven’t figured it out yet.  On a curved grey wall, Heck has laid out a serpentine journey through art history. There are riffs on Durer and Cranach, nods to mythology and the Old Testament. A wild-haired young woman sits at her notebook, thorned pen in hand. Another woman (or the same, but older maybe?) sits wistfully at a table, cicadas crawling over her arms. A ripped canvas shows ’60s superstar Donovan on a crumbling wall. Adam and Eve stand fruitless beneath a tree. A naked figure stares at her younger self in a mirror. One canvas is filled with cartoon-y scenes of Donald Trump, the Count from ‘Sesame Street’, a mother wiping her toddler’s arse. It’s all unfollowable, dizzying, a whorl of clashing symbolism.  It wouldn’t work if it wasn’t so brilliantly painted, a collision of Hieronymous Bosch, De Chirico and Alice Neel. Every choice is so clearly deliberate, but left entirely unexplained. As you grasp for the meaning of the woman with the flute, the sprouted potato or the smudge of black in a pink sky, you’re sent searching from work to work, scrabbling for narrative, for timeline, for sense. And – I think, I guess – that's the point. This is a meditation on life’s purpose, on the meaning of desire, temptation, politics and, more than anything, the inexorable march of time, the unstoppable tide of agei

‘The Last Caravaggio’

‘The Last Caravaggio’

5 out of 5 stars

The arrow has only just pierced her heart, but the blood has already drained from Ursula’s fragile body. She is pallid, ashen, aghast at the mortal wound in her chest. All around her mouths are agape in shock, men grasp to hold her up, a hand tries – too late – to stop the arrow. This miserable, chaotic, sombre depiction of feverish violence is the last painting of one of history’s most important artists, Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio. He painted like he lived. Caravaggio’s short existence was full of the drama of his art. When he wasn’t making a name for himself as the leading artist of his generation he was fighting in the streets, drinking in the bars, and generally being a superstar agent of chaos. In 1606, he killed a man and was sentenced to death. So he fled, and got in more trouble in Malta and Sicily, before heading to Naples where he painted this scene for a Genoese nobleman whose daughter was about to become a nun.  The legend goes that Saint Ursula was a Christian princess whose 11,000 holy virgin followers were murdered by the Huns in Cologne. The Hun prince offered to spare her life in exchange for her hand in marriage. You can see how he took her rejection: it’s him who loosed the arrow in her chest.  A maelstrom of movement and brutality and morbidity. It’s incredible. Caravaggio’s last painting (the main attraction in this tiny free exhibition) isn’t in the best state of repair; big chunks are smudged and foggy, other parts look messily overpainted. Is th

Anne Hardy: ‘Survival Spell’

Anne Hardy: ‘Survival Spell’

4 out of 5 stars

Like a weed growing through a crack in concrete, Anne Hardy is finding ways to survive in this hard, inhospitable world. The British artist’s latest show is based on time spent on a residency in the Texan desert, where the weather-worn detritus of humanity litters the rubble and sand. The gallery is filled with rust and dirt. Wires reach skywards out of foraged scrap metal discs like improvised discarded flowers. Wood, rope and screws lie on a bed of earth. A whorl of rusted cables emerges from a pair of blue jeans, hands made of rocks are splayed in prayer before a lightbulb, its brightness controlled by the weather in Texas.  Hardy is treading a fine line between trash and art, crap and concept, but just about pulls it off. You just want more of it, to be enveloped in the environment a bit more, it’s a bit too slight and minimal. But you still get a sense of post-apocalyptic sculpturalism out of it, of art made for heat-soaked dystopias, an exhibition of Mad Max-ian survival in a world that’s falling apart. Hardy describes these sculptures as spells, alchemical potions for this broken society. It might all be crumbling, but there’s still hope, still a weed growing out of the concrete, if you can reach through the cracks.

Yinka Shonibare CBE: ‘Suspended States’

Yinka Shonibare CBE: ‘Suspended States’

4 out of 5 stars

Britain is littered with symbols of death and exploitation; not hidden away shamefully, but raised up, celebrated and gloried. Public sculptures of controversial historical figures are everywhere, and now they’re in the Serpentine too, because Yinka Shonibare CBE has put them there.  The Nigerian-British art megastar has filled the gallery with recreations of statues of Churchill, Kitchener, Queen Victoria and Clive of India. But they’re scaled down, their power diminished, minimised, undermined. They’re puny now, smaller than you, weak. And of course, they’re covered in Shonibare’s signature Dutch wax print (colourful fabric inspired by Indonesian printing traditions, traded by the Dutch, ubiquitous in Africa, and now used by Shonibare as visual shorthand for the complex history of colonialism). This is what Yinka Shonibare CBE – that Commander of the British Empire title matters – does, what he’s always done: highlight, tear apart and subvert the legacy of British imperialism with directness, colour and wit. The debate around public statues of figures like Churchill and Clive – whose accomplishments came at a terrible human cost, who caused so much pain to the people over whom they ruled – has been raging for years now, and it feels like the flames of its anger abated a while ago. But Shonibare’s installation is a clever, almost joyful reappropriation of historical pain, injustice and trauma.  It makes for grim if colourful viewing Shonibare has filled the central gallery w

Richard Serra: ‘Six Large Drawings’

Richard Serra: ‘Six Large Drawings’

4 out of 5 stars

In case you weren’t already aware, you are small, pitiful and insignificant. And if you should ever forget that, all you need to do is go find one of Richard Serra’s vast, deep-black, monumental drawings. Serra, who died only last month, was one of the most important figures in modern American art. He dealt in the void, the primal, the universal, the immense. His rusted steel sculptures made him famous, but this show (the last conceived while he was alive) focuses on his drawings.  There are only six on display; four oblong compositions made of abutting slabs of black and two splattered circles. All are done with thick, noxious paintstick. They’re tar-like, viscous voids, they feel chemical, inorganic, like poisonous elements that should never have been dug out from deep within the earth.  The circle works are the least successful, a bit too obviously cosmic and black hole-y. But the slabs are unbelievably good: huge, suffocating voids that threaten to leach off the canvas and embrace you into their nothingness. There are cracks of bare white canvas showing through - is it light beginning to emerge, or light being slowly swallowed by the darkness? That these drawings share so much of the power of his enormous sculptural work is testament to how good Serra was.  It feels like the latter, like Serra is looking out into the universe and realising it’s there to consume him, that we puny humans can’t fight the vastness of time and cosmic infinitude. To look at these drawings is to

Fabian Ramirez: ‘Firing of the Idols’

Fabian Ramirez: ‘Firing of the Idols’

4 out of 5 stars

Unholy desecration, heathenistic violence, sacrilegious iconoclasm; the very flames of hell are licking the walls and ancient wooden beams of this church in Islington (the new home of Castor Gallery), and it’s all because of Fabian Ramirez. This is the Mexican painter’s act of revenge, this is how he gets back at the colonisers for using Christianity as a weapon of conquest and oppression. The works are vast, flame-singed paintings on wood done with encaustic (an ancient method of painting with heat and wax), filled with images of writhing bodies, fires and symbols of religion. In the central altarpiece, a priest and an angel watch on as indigenous gods tumble in flames and snakes coil across the panels. Symbols of christianity battle with Mayan and Aztec gods, nude figures copulate and fornicate. It’s all heady, violent, sensual and deeply spiritual. But this isn’t sacrilegious iconoclasm for the sake of worshipping Satan or anything. This is about righting historical wrongs. In Mexico, indigenous communities have taken to Christianity all while maintaining their native spiritual practices. Ramirez’s work is a violent testament to endurance in the face of oppression, to how culture survives, even when it has been set aflame.

Leo Costelloe: ‘Special Day’

Leo Costelloe: ‘Special Day’

4 out of 5 stars

It’s a nice day for a white wedding on the Cambridge Heath Road. In Leo Costelloe’s small exhibition, the young Irish-Australian artist is taking a critical deep dive into the tropes of weddings: the superstitions, the pressures, the meanings, the aesthetics. Costelloe sees the ‘wedding’ as a deeply contrived system of societal pressure, designed to form a specific feminine identity and perpetuate specific feminine norms.  A creepy 1930s doll stares out of the window, a veil covering her face, perfect lace squeezing her tiny body. Two blonde wigs hang off a wall opposite twisted, impossibly fragile wedding totems; silver cutlery wrapped in ribbon and flowers, the old something borrowed, something blue. There’s a Polaroid of a dove, another of an androgynous bride, on frames of etched silver.  It’s all perfect, white, fragile, petite, and satisfyingly beautiful in its own way. It’s sort of like the world’s most austere bachelorette party. You could argue that marriage as an institution isn’t something desperately in need of critical discourse in 2024. But Costelloe is adapting it and twisting it to their own needs, to explore how one person’s perfect day is another’s intentional, oppressive and nefarious shaping of gender norms.  

Albert Oehlen: ‘New Paintings’

Albert Oehlen: ‘New Paintings’

4 out of 5 stars

Albert Oehlen lets it all hang out. The heftily post-modern contemporary German artist’s approach to painting has always been to strip it back, expose it, lay it bare. What's left, whether good or bad (and ‘bad’ is something he’s always been a big exponent of), is painting at its basest, most obvious.  These new works are heavily gridded, the picture planes clearly, visibly divided. There are repeated elements, fragments that fracture and stutter across the works, like they’re constantly being reworked, reconsidered. Each grid is its own mini-abstract painting, a little burst of clashing colour and technique. Pull back and look at them from afar and they coalesce into a cohesive whole - a well-composed abstract, a nude in repose - or they don’t, they fail, they’re ugly, bad.  But whatever the result, it feels intentional, like it’s all part of Oehlen exploring what painting is. He’s making the hidden processes of painting visible, exposing painting’s guts. He’s saying this is how the sausage gets made: it’s not magic, it’s not sublime, it’s just grids and lines and colour, it’s basic. Art is simple.  Obviously, this is painting for its own sake, it’s not about big themes like capitalism or colonialism or whatever, it’s not trying to say anything. It’s just painting, and even when it’s bad it’s still pretty good.

Betty Parsons

Betty Parsons

3 out of 5 stars

Success isn’t always enough. Betty Parsons (1900-1982) was a success and a leader in her field, it just wasn't the right field. Her eponymous New York gallery was one of the most important galleries in the world. She championed Rothko and Pollock, and gave Robert Rauschenberg and Clyfford Still their first solo shows. She mattered, she changed art history. But despite all that, she still said ‘I would give up my gallery in a second if the world would accept me as an artist.’ Boohoo, poor successful, multimillionaire Betty, right? Well, the world just wasn’t a friendly place for female artists. So she made her bold, bright, colourful abstraction largely in private, largely as a hobby, always as an afterthought to her career as a gallerist.  Her big acrylic paintings here are pretty unsuccessful. Rough, messy, throwaway, a bit ugly, a bit formless, a bit unfinished. The medium and size just don’t suit her; it’s like she’s constantly fighting them, and constantly losing. How does this admittedly small sample size of her career compare to the greats of her era? To Lee Krasner, Helen Frankenthaler, Clyfford Still, Willem de Kooning and so on? Not well. Her smaller works, especially the gouaches, are way better; more accomplished, better composed, hectic, joyful. But the paintings on found wood, closer to sculptures than anything else, are great. Colourful, clever, improvised compositions that hint at forms but never go full figurative. You’d happily take a full show of them. But t

News (370)

The National Gallery has just bought an amazing Eva Gonzales painting, here's why that matters

The National Gallery has just bought an amazing Eva Gonzales painting, here's why that matters

To celebrate what would have been artist Eva Gonzales’s 177th birthday, the National Gallery has just picked up a stunning work by the French impressionist called ‘La Psyché’.  In the beautifully composed painting, a woman – the artist’s sister Jeanne – stands with her back to the viewer, a red flower in her hand as she gazes into a mirror. The setting is drab, dour, grey and brown, the whole painting is almost monochrome. This kind of gloomy interior setting was a common theme among the female impressionists, who weren’t able to paint outside with the freedom of the men. Instead, they depicted life inside the salons and bedrooms of their lives, they painted their families, their children; it gives a more intimate, private, reserved view of the lives of these artists. The National Gallery regularly comes in for heavy criticism for having only 20 female artists in its collection. To an extent, it’s not totally the gallery’s fault. Art – as a profession – was dominated by men for centuries. Women were relegated to painting or sculpting as a hobby at best; being a professional artist just wasn’t an avenue open to most women in history up until relatively recently. That’s why the majority of the National Gallery’s collection is of art by men; it’s the result of centuries of gender inequality and injustice. But they’re taking steps to begin to redress the balance, and the purchase of this Eva Gonzales work is a big, beautiful leap.  The National Gallery is celebrating its 200th bi

London’s newest art gallery is in a huge Grade II-listed church

London’s newest art gallery is in a huge Grade II-listed church

A beautiful listed church smack dab in the heart of Islington has just become London’s newest art gallery. Castor Gallery, which was formerly in Fitzrovia and even more formerly in Deptford, has taken up residence in Holy Trinity Church in Cloudesley Square.  It’s a pretty staggering transformation. The church had been in a poor state up until recently, but it has now been deconsecrated and had its vast roof repaired, which has paved the way for Castor to swoop in. Castor Gallery The church was built between 1827-29, designed by Charles Barry who later became the principal architect of Houses of Parliament. The church closed for Anglican worship in the 1970s and between 1980 and 2017 was leased by the Celestial Church of Christ. The construction of the gallery spaces was done single-handedly by Castor’s director Andy Wicks. ‘My vision for Castor at Holy Trinity was to create a series of white cubes within the church, each with a unique look whilst taking away the visual noise of a busy interior which I feel could be too overpowering for most artists,’ he says.  The result is a series of white-walled rooms-within-a-room. There are two main gallery spaces: a smaller one as you walk in and a bigger room with a dramatically angled ceiling.  There are hints of the church’s past everywhere, with the build leaving space for stained glass, war memorials, cracked floor tiles and wooden crucifixes to poke through. ‘Keeping these existing moments creates that balance and reminds the a

Why has the Barbican been wrapped in pink cloth?

Why has the Barbican been wrapped in pink cloth?

Ibrahim Mahama has draped the Barbican Centre in vast reams of pink fabric. It’s a super-colourful new installation that’s part of the Barbican’s recent ‘Unravel’ textile exhibition. The huge 2,000 square metre work was produced in the city of Tamale in Ghana, where Mahama is based, by a team of 1000 weavers and seamstresses, all working by hand in the city’s stadium.  ‘It started as a joke,’ Mahama told the Guardian in reference to the use of pink. ‘I thought, “The British weather is always very grey, why not pick a colour that contrasts with the sky?”’ The work is also covered in traditional Ghanaian robes called Batakaris, which Mahama bartered with locals for, offering them new ones in exchange for their used clothes. ‘They don’t just give it to you like that,’ he says. ‘Some of them will have to pee on it first because they believe that pee or human excrement is a way of desacralising the material.’ The ultra-bright colours are a step away from Mahama’s usual approach to textiles, which sees him reusing old jute sacks previously used for transporting cocoa, but the brightness is no less full of narrative and ideas. And it’s helped cheer up this drizzly city no end. Ibrahim Mahama: ‘Purple Hibiscus’ is at the Barbican until Aug 18. Free. More details here. Want more art? Here are the top 10 art exhibitions in London. Stay in the loop: sign up to our free Time Out London newsletter for the best of the city, straight to your inbox.

One of London’s oldest and most successful art galleries is closing

One of London’s oldest and most successful art galleries is closing

Marlborough Gallery, which has been at the forefront of the London commercial art world for 80 years, is due to close in the coming months. All of its locations in London, New York, Barcelona and Madrid will be closed by the board of trustees in a decision taken after ‘long and careful consideration’.  The gallery was founded in 1946 and went on to represent some of the most important artists of the post-war era, including Francis Bacon, Lucien Freud, Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth. In the 1960s, it opened a space in New York and got itself right to the front of the abstract expressionist movement. Marlborough also represented the estates of many important artists, including Jackson Pollock and Ad Reinhardt, and developed a reputation for selling works by big names like Cezanne and Rothko. Serious art stuff. But with the death of its founders, Marlborough has more recently been plunged into a messy fight for succession. There were family feuds and court cases, and even though a spokesman told The Art Newspaper the family issues ‘were resolved’ and had ‘nothing to do with this decision to wind down the business’, the business suffered. Turnover dropped, profits fell. And now Marlborough Gallery is shutting up shop for good, and its whole artistic legacy is going up in smoke.  Want to see art in galleries which aren’t closing? Here are the top ten exhibitions in London. Stay in the loop: sign up to our free Time Out London newsletter for the best of the city, straight to you

First look: inside the UK’s first ever circus museum in Blackpool

First look: inside the UK’s first ever circus museum in Blackpool

Roll up, roll up, because Blackpool has just opened its first museum, and it’s a heady celebration of the circus, as well as a look at the whole history of British seaside entertainment.  Showtown tells the story of the history of the nation’s first mass seaside resort and the impact it had on the birth of modern entertainment in this country. Six gallery spaces, filled with displays and interactive games, explore ideas of seaside, illuminations, fun and dance, with objects also loaned from the V&A.  Blackpool, and seaside resorts in general, haven’t had a great time of it lately. Holidays abroad have become increasingly affordable, while prices in the UK have done nothing but go up; combine that with the difference in weather between Blackpool and, you know, Spain, and you have a recipe for UK tourism disaster. Who’d choose Bognor over the Algarve? Our seaside towns have been abandoned, left derelict and dilapidated.  But Showtown is part of a wider regeneration program in Blackpool that will see extensive investment in the town’s tourism infrastructure, so things are on the up. Here are a few pics of the museum.  Image courtesy of Casson Mann and Showtown Blackpool ©Hufton+Crow Image courtesy of Casson Mann and Showtown Blackpool ©Hufton+Crow Image courtesy of Casson Mann and Showtown Blackpool ©Hufton+Crow Showtown is open now, tickets are free for residents, but £15 for tourists. More details here. Did you see that King Charles will soon let visitors into the Scotti

Six London exhibitions we can’t wait to see in April 2024

Six London exhibitions we can’t wait to see in April 2024

Looking forward to the big art shows of next month is a bit like looking into the past. Major figures of post-war painting, minimalist sculpture and the renaissance are all being celebrated – it’s as though the past 30 years never happened. But hey, it’s better than there being no art to see at all, right?  Six London art exhibitions opening in April 2024 © Richard Serra/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York Courtesy the artist and David Zwirner Richard Serra: ‘Six Drawings’ Richard Serra was one of the greatest sculptors of the modern era – a genuine master of spectacle, form, material – and he died only a few weeks ago. He is a huge loss to the art world, but this show at David Zwirner should be a fitting, if sadly timely, tribute. It won’t feature  any of his monumental steel sculptures, but will focus instead on six large scale drawings.  Richard Serra: ‘Six Drawings’ is at David Zwirner, Apr 9-TBC. Free. More details here. Georg Baselitz: ‘A Confession of My Sins’ One of the biggest names in post-war painting is still at it and still going strong: German artist Georg Baselitz is doing his thing (painting people upside down) and no one can stop him. ‘A Confession of My Sins’ is a show of all new paintings by Baselitz, though no word yet on if the confession of the title is him admitting to doing the same thing for half a century. Georg Baseltiz: ‘A Confession of My Sins’ at White Cube, Apr 10-Jun 16. Free. More details here.   Yinka Shonibare CBE. Courtesy of the arti

It’s your last chance to see these seven London art exhibitions before the end of April

It’s your last chance to see these seven London art exhibitions before the end of April

It’s finally starting to look like spring, which means it’s time for all the big museums and galleries to close their winter shows and get ready for summer. So you’ve only got a month left to catch great winter exhibitions you may have missed. There’s a bit of everything: cute kittens, angry women, Tudor royalty, Arctic beasts, huge sails and demons in leather. Something for everyone.  Seven London exhibitions closing soon Gina Birch, still from Three Minute Scream, 1979. Courtesy the artist ‘Women in Revolt!’ at Tate Britain, closing Apr 7 If anger is an energy, there’s enough here to power the Tate for decades. The gallery is buzzing with the violent ire and shrieking fury of second-wave feminism, because after all the freedom and liberation promised by the Swinging Sixties, British women in the 1970s had to deal with the reality: that not much had changed. And they were furious. This is an exhibition of 100 feminist artists and collectives kicking violently against the system. Read the review here.  Hello Kitty installation. Photo credit : David Parry/PA Wire. ‘Cute’ at Somerset House, closes Apr 14 Cuteness here is presented as a cultural powerhouse, an internet language that’s spread its grammar throughout society, a contemporary aesthetic force with almost no equal. There are missteps and flubs here. It’s way too full of stuff, some of the art is so tangential to the theme that it’s hard to figure out why it’s there, and at points it goes too far in pandering to w

The next two sculptures for Trafalgar Square’s Fourth Plinth have just been announced

The next two sculptures for Trafalgar Square’s Fourth Plinth have just been announced

Less than a month after the shortlist was announced, and models put on display at the National Gallery, the next Fourth Plinth sculptures have already been chosen. The first to take up residency, going on display in 2026, will be Tschabalala Self’s vast striding woman in blue. She’s meant to bring a contemporary ‘everywoman’ to the middle of London, ‘a walking icon of the everyday, rather than an idol representing the adulation of one.’ The idea is that public statues are usually of people we venerate and celebrate, so Self is asking why can’t we just venerate and celebrate normal people? Well, normal people aren’t 10 feet tall and made out of bronze, for a start.  Coming hot on big blue’s heels in 2028 will be Andra Ursuţa’s spectral horseman. Outwardly, the work plays on the history of public equine statuary – all those men in uniform on horseback given pride of place in town squares around the world – but this feels somehow more apocalyptic, darker and maybe even more morbid than that implies.  You’ll have to wait a while to see either of those in place, but in the meantime we haven’t even had 2024’s Fourth Plinth sculpture. That’s due to be unveiled in September, and is Teresa Margolles’s work made out of the casts of 850 trans people.  The next Fourth Plinth sculpture goes on display in September. More details here.  Want more? Here are the top ten exhibitions in London right now.  Listen to Time Out’s brilliant podcast ‘Love Thy Neighbourhood’: the newest episode with A

This big new modern art museum will open in London this summer

This big new modern art museum will open in London this summer

London is full of amazing free museums, all stuffed with world class art. But forget them, because what we really need is a new museum you have to pay for with worse art. That’s what’s now officially on the cards, what some have called a ‘major modern art museum’ will open this summer in Marble Arch. Called Moco, it aims to take over a huge 1920s building at the top of Oxford Street, filling three floors with art by the likes of Kaws, Yayoi Kusama and Banksy.    Now that planning permission has been granted (they had to change the space’s designated use from retail to learning and art), this will be Moco’s third site in Europe. Their other two outposts – one in Amsterdam, the other in Barcelona – apparently attract a million visitors a year. Those are both ticketed venues, with adult tickets costing €14.95 (£13) in Barcelona and €21.85 (£19) in Amsterdam. The museum’s focus seems to be pop, street art, graffiti and NFTs, with displays of work by the likes of Banksy, Stik and Kaws. The Moco website also says it shows art by Basquiat, Warhol and Kusama; big names, but it doesn’t specify what works it has in its collection, which should be a slight cause for concern (if you have a really good Basquiat, you shout about it). Photograph: Luke Walker Oxford Street’s had a rough time of it lately, with major brands closing their stores, footfall plummeting and rent going through the roof. So never mind that you can see major works by the best of these artists for free at the Tate a

The front of Tate Britain is being transformed into a beautiful garden

The front of Tate Britain is being transformed into a beautiful garden

The front of Tate Britain is currently framed by two boring, dull, plain, green lawns. It’s a big old horticultural yawn. But not for long, because those two little patches of grass are about to be transformed into gorgeous wildlife-filled gardens designed by Tom Stuart-Smith Studio and architects Feilden Fowles and the Royal Horticultural Society. Previously, the space has been used to display outdoor sculptures, and was even used as allotments by staff in WWII, but now the landscape is being permanently transformed. It’s all thanks to a grant from the Clore Duffield Foundation, and the space will be called the Clore Garden. Jai Monaghan. (c) Tate. Tom Stuart-Smith said ‘We are thrilled to have the opportunity to transform this underused but important space. Since this area was last redesigned, the world has changed and we all feel that public spaces in the heart of our cities need to work harder. Mown lawns and clipped hedges are hard pressed to do this on their own. We hope to make Tate Britain a haven for wildlife, and bring beauty, complexity and joy into this garden in the heart of London.’ Details for the Clore Garden will be announced soon, find out more here.  Want more art? Here are the top ten exhibitions in London. Listen to Time Out’s brilliant podcast ‘Love Thy Neighbourhood’: the newest episode with Iain Stirling in Shepherd’s Bush is out now. Stay in the loop: sign up for our free Time Out London newsletter for the best of the city, straight to your inbox. 

It’s your last chance to see these five London art exhibitions

It’s your last chance to see these five London art exhibitions

How’d you spend your January and February? Going out exploring the city, living a healthy cultural life, seeing the sights, painting the town red? Or did you, like all sensible people, cloister yourself away, wrapped in a thousand blankets, to wait out the end of winter like an agoraphobic hermit? Well, if you did the latter you might have missed some amazing art exhibitions. Massive audiovisual installations, feminist ire, conceptual cleverness, classical painting and loads of adorableness, there’s something for everyone. But be quick, you’ve only got a few weeks left to catch these shows.  Five London art exhibitions closing soon Edgar Degas, 'Dancer Seen From Behind', collection of David Lachenmann ’Impressionists on Paper‘ at the Royal Academy, closing Mar 10.  At some point, we’ll all realise that there’s just nothing left to say about impressionism and we’ll stop trying to reframe this one tiny window of art history in a million different ways just to sell more tickets to ‘Gardeners’ Question Time’ listeners from Surrey. But today is not that day, because the RA is looking at how that revolutionary group from nineteenth century France used paper. Unnecessary? Hugely. But, begrudgingly, quite good, because this show is full of intimate, small-scale beauties.    Read the review here.  Douglas Gordon at Gagosian Gallery, © Studio lost but found/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn, Germany 2024 Photo: Lucy Dawkins Courtesy Gagosian Douglas Gordon at Gagosian, closing Mar 16. The

The shortlist for the next Fourth Plinth has just been announced

The shortlist for the next Fourth Plinth has just been announced

We’ve had whipped cream, we’ve had ships in bottles, we’ve had horse skeletons and we’ve had a big thumbs up: and now, we know what (might be) next, because the shortlist for the next sculpture to take pride of place on Trafalgar Square’s Fourth Plinth has just been announced. Picked from this list will be two sculptures, one unveiled in 2026, the other taking its place two years later in 2028.  The seven artists shortlisted for the Fourth Plinth Ruth Ewan, Photo: James O Jenkins Ruth Ewan Cutesy trinket or omen of bad luck? Ewan’s enormous black moggy is both adorable and threatening, acting as an paean to the Suffragists (who were often called catty by the misogynistic media of the era) and Trafalgar Square’s history as a place of conflict. Veronica Ryan, photo by James O Jenkins   Veronica Ryan This huge sweet potato ‘island’ by Turner Prize-winner Ryan is intended to highlight how ‘food, famine, and economic power structures define our interwoven histories over time, and space’. Who knew lunch had so much to say?  Andra Ursuta, photo by James O Jenkins Andra Ursuţa Is Ursuţa’s ghostly shrouded statue a satire of the history of equestrian statuary, as seen all over the city, or is she just horsing around?  Chila Kumari Singh Burman MBE, photo by James O Jenkins Chila Kumari Singh Burman MBE This ultra-colourful psychedelic vehicle pays homage to Kumari Singh’s father’s ice cream van, acting as a container of both childhood memory and a more universal story of migra