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Latest art reviews
From blockbuster names to indie shows, Time Out Art cast their net far and wide in order to review the biggest and best exhibitions in the city. Check 'em out below or shortcut it to our top ten art exhibitions in London for the shows that we already know will blow your socks off.
Top 10 art exhibitions in London
London’s major galleries and museums are all open as usual, but check on the galleries’ websites before visiting, you may need to book a slot in advance. 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. Post-Covid, London’s museums are all back to normal, and the city’s independents have been back in business for ages. So here, we've got your next art outing sorted with the ten best shows you absolutely can't miss.
Top photography exhibitions in London
There's so much more to London art than just painting or sculpture. Instead, 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
Free art in London
Looking at great art needn’t cost the same as buying great art. With a shed-load of free art exhibitions in London, wandering through sculptures, being blinded by neon or admiring some of the best photography in London doesn’t cost a penny. Here’s our pick of the best free art exhibitions this week and beyond. RECOMMENDED: explore our full guide to free London
Top 20 public sculptures in London
Galleries and museums are great, sure. But can you get a sunburn while wandering around them? How about drenched? Can you get caught in a biblical downpour while meandering past the Dutch flower paintings at the National Gallery. No, you can't, so put some weather-based risk back into your art-loving life by going out and discovering art out in the real world. London does a fine line in public sculpture, from giants of art history like Barbara Hepworth and Eduardo Paolozzi all the way through to a park filled with reptilian weirdos, we've got it all. And when the city's in full summer-y bloom, how could you say no? We put together a shortlist of the best public sculptures in the city and then got you, the art-loving people, to vote on it. Stand by for the results...
The 100 best paintings in London: Wallace Collection
The Wallace Collection contains an exceptional collection of eighteenth-century French furniture, paintings and objets d'art. Galleries are hung with paintings by Titian, Velázquez, Fragonard, Gainsborough and Reynolds. CHECK THIS OUT: The best paintings to see at the Courtauld Gallery
The 100 best paintings in London: Courtauld Gallery
The Courtauld has one of Britain's greatest collections of paintings, and contains many works of world importance. Although there are some outstanding works from earlier periods, the collection's strongest suit is its holdings of impressionist and post-impressionist paintings. CHECK THIS OUT: The best paintings to see at the National Gallery
The 100 best paintings in London: Imperial War Museum
Another of London’s great museums, IWM is an attention- grabbing repository of major artefacts: guns, tanks and aircraft hung from the ceiling but it also contains a fine collection of art by the likes of Paul Nash, John Singer Sargent and Percy Wyndham Lewis. CHECK THIS OUT: The best paintings to see at the National Gallery
The 100 best paintings in London: Dulwich Picture Gallery
Lending weight to the idea that the best things come in small packages, the bijou Dulwich Picture Gallery is home to a small but outstanding collection of work by Old Masters, offering a fine introduction to the baroque era through works by Rembrandt, Rubens, Poussin and Gainsborough. CHECK THIS OUT: The best paintings to see at Courtauld Gallery
Book your tickets to London's massive Banksy exhibition
Banksy fans rejoice (Banksy phobes, avert thy gaze). There’s about to be a whole lot more of the artist's work in London. ‘The Art of Banksy’, the world’s largest touring exhibition of the street artist’s work, opens on May 20 2021 in a huge, 12,000-square-foot warehouse space in Covent Garden (formerly occupied by Belgian mussel merchants Belgo). The exhibition was due to open in April last year following a global tour that has so far taken in Melbourne, Tel Aviv, Auckland, Toronto, Miami, Gothenburg and Sydney – but obviously its opening in London was pushed back. The show contains the largest collection of official works by the artist, made from 1997 to 2008, including now-iconic images like ‘Girl and Balloon’ and lesser-known pieces. The artworks are all on loan from private collections and the show is entirely unauthorised by the artist – as organisers put it, this exhibition is ‘completely non-consensual’. Tickets are going fast, so book now to avoid disappointment. ‘The Art of Banksy’ opens on May 20 at 50 Earlham Street. Find out more and book tickets here. Exhibitions an art fanatic cannot wait to see in London. Discover more ‘street art’ on your next London walk.
Shady AF: the Caravaggio exhibition has the best side-eye on earth
So we reviewed the new Beyond Caravaggio exhibition at the National Gallery and thought it was pretty damn great. Those baroque ’n rollers sure knew how to paint. But one thing seriously stood out: side-eye. Not just the amount of it – and trust us, there was a lot – but the quality. This is some of the shadiest painting in history. Look at this flute player who has had enough of your shit: Cecco del Caravaggio, ‘Interior with a Young Man holding a Recorder’, 1615-20. © Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford You literally made him stop playing the flute with your dumb bullshit. Then there’s this dude, who also thinks you’re full of it, but more on the sly: Cecco del Caravaggio, ‘A Musician’, about 1615. The Wellington Collection, Apsely House, London © Historic England And then there's these angry ladies who think everyone around them is basically total trash. Georges de La Tour, 'The Cheat with the Ace of Clubs', about 1630-34. Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth, Texas. Oh and then there’s this guy, who has absolutely zero side-eye game, but you know you want to invite him to your party. ‘Hey guuurl, I brought peach schnaaaapps!’ Northern follower of Caravaggio, possibly Dirck van Baburen, 'A Man with a Wine Flask', about 1620. Stourhead, The Hoare Collection (The National Trust) © National Trust Images. Thanks Baroque painters, you're the best. Want more cool art stuff? We asked David Shrigley to give a thumbs up or thumbs down to some impo
The scariest Chicago gangster you've never heard of
RECOMMENDED: Our complete guide to Halloween in Chicago Employees of the old jail on Illinois and Dearborn were tough to scare. Stories of the jail being haunted circulated from time to time, and an old parade of serial killers and multi-murderers were held there over the years. But there was one guy who really gave the jailers the creeps: Sam Cardinella, a gang leader who had been known around the South Side as "Il Diavolo"—The Devil. Cardinella seems like a guy who read Oliver Twist as a how-to manual. He ran a pool hall on 22nd Place where he'd lure boys, initiate them into his gang, then send them out on robbery jobs, from which he'd take most of the money. One of the kids, Nicholas Viana, walked into the pool hall one afternoon on the way home from choir practice and committed his first of his several murders only days later. Viana cursed Cardinella just before he was hanged on his 19th birthday. Vianna's body was placed in a wire basket and driven away in an ambulance instead of a hearse. Jailers thought it was weird, but shrugged and got on with their jobs. Months later, Cardinella himself was brought before the noose, after months of pacing in his cell, refusing food and scaring the heck out of the guards. The night before his hanging, it's said that he was uttering the name "Viana" repeatedly as he had his final meeting with his family. On the scaffold, though, he lost his nerve completely. He collapsed, and had to be hanged while tied to a chair. His body, too, was
William Wrigley, Jr. could have 'Trumped' his name on his Chicago building, but he didn't
You can say what you will about the presumptive GOP nominee, but his Adrian Smith-designed tower is a masterpiece of architecture, managing to fit in perfectly between Van der Rohe's IBM tower and the Wrigley Building, despite being exponentially larger than either. To fit in so well between black and white buildings is quite a feat. Of course, now that the owner's name is there in giant letters, the building has become a popular site at which to take selfies with one's middle finger exposed. In the shadow of the building sits Taft's statue of George Washington, with a base quoting our first president as saying that our government will "give to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance." Buried in the archives of the Tribune is an interesting bit about the next-door neighbor, the Wrigley Building, with its lovely clock tower and gleaming white terra cotta facade. When it was built in 1920, it had the whole of Michigan Avenue above the river to itself—it was an area populated by bohemian dives and gas stations. Its construction was the beginning of the Magnificent Mile. On April 4, 1920, the Tribune published an article praising Mr. Wrigley for not putting his name on the building in giant letters. Even though it would be "the most commanding site" in the midwest for an advertisement, like the ones for which Mr. Wrigley was paying a fortune in New York, it would only feature a small brass plaque that said "Wrigley Building." Nothing more. "Mr. Wrigley's modesty and r
Did the Civic Opera House inspire Orson Welles?
One of the most durable urban myths of Chicago architecture is that turn-of-the-century utilities mogul Sam Insull designed the Civic Opera House to look like an armchair with its back facing east—so that if he were sitting in it, he'd be turning his back on New York. The whole opera house, the story goes, was built after his wife was rejected by the New York Opera companies. A cursory glance at the facts would show that the story has no basis. In fact, Mrs. Insull was about 60 when the Civic Opera was built, and she was never an opera singer. However, before their marriage, she had been a professional actress, and staged a small comeback in 1925. Most reviews of her were rather polite, but screenwriter Herman Mankiewicz later said that he passed out drunk trying to write a scathing review for the New York Times, a scene he then wrote into Orson Welles' classic film Citizen Kane after Kane builds an opera house for his new wife, Susan Alexander. It's generally agreed that the character of Susan Alexander is mostly based on Marion Davies, William Randolph Hearst's girlfriend, and her film career. But Welles did say that Insull was part of the inspiration for Kane, too. And after Mrs. Insull's New York stint, Insull did lease the Studebaker Theater so she could start a repertory theater there. Work on the Civic Opera started right around the time that repertory project failed. There's more to the story on Mysterious Chicago Interested in blogging for Time Out? Contact us here
Looking back on one of Chicago's first female lawyers
Kate Kane was the second woman to be accepted to the bar in Wisconsin, and then the 13th in Illinois, and she's largely forgotten now. But as perhaps the only female lawyer in practice in Chicago for much of her career, she was famous in her day for defending the high profile “trunk murderers” in 1885. Early in her career, she made national news when, tiring of a judge’s sexist comments, she threw water in his face. Outbursts like this would become something of a trademark of Kane's. She was frequently written up in the press, both locally and nationally, and a great many of the article s were about her hitting people with parasols, her shoes and, in some cases, with her fists. When she took her daughter to work (as she often did) and someone stepped on the young girl’s foot, Kate took it as an intentional assault and clobbered the guy. Some of her comments recorded in the press over the years aren’t exactly 21st century-friendly (to put it mildly), but it’s possible to be a pioneer and still be a product of your time (or even to be a pioneer and sort of a jerk). Either way, Kane deserves to be remembered for the trails that she blazed in Chicago. You can read more on Kane at the Mysterious Chicago blog. Recommended feature See the best things to do this week in Chicago
Looking back on Chicago's female Sherlock Holmes
The press called her "Chicago's Woman Sherlock Holmes." Her publisher called her "The Mistress of Mysteries." It's a shame, really, that there isn't a chapter on Mary E. Holland in every anthology of Chicago history stories. Hers is one of those fantastic stories that fell through the cracks before anyone could really learn enough about her. Mary was the assistant editor of Detective, a magazine for police officers, and did a lot of investigative work herself. She studied fingerprint sciences at Scotland Yard, then helped train law enforcement agencies in the United States, using dusting powders she invented herself. In 1910, she was one of the experts called to the stand in the first modern trial where a murderer was convicted based on prints. Only bits and pieces of her work have come to light, most notably her notes on the "Bate Murder"—the first case in which a person was killed in a car. Billy Bate was found slumped over the steering wheel of a 1904 touring car; the man who hired it, "Mr. Dove," was gone without a trace. She examined the automobile and wrote up her notes for a Chicago paper. “There exists in the blood stains on the automobile the unmistakable evidence that some person or some heavy object has been dragged from the rear seat over the right side of the machine,” she wrote. “This was done when the blood was warm. I cannot be mistaken in this. The hands of the person, whose finger prints still remain on the front portion of the machine and on the brass of th
The ten brightest art exhibitions of 2016
Banish the January blues with our guide to the most colourful cultural offerings of the year ahead. 1. Electronic Superhighway You’d expect YouTube, Instagram, image manipulation and the Dark Web to feature in a show about how the invention of computers and the internet have impacted on artists and irrevocably changed the terrain of contemporary art. And they do, in work by current art world darlings such as Jon Rafman, Ryan Trecartin and Hito Steyerl. What the Whitechapel’s ambitious first show of 2016 also offers, however, is a surprisingly extensive history of the subject. The exhibition kicks off with the very recent stuff before taking you back to the paleolithic period (1966), when the group Experiments in Art and Technology (EAT), founded by engineers Billy Klüver and Fred Waldhauer and including artists such as Robert Rauschenberg and Andy Warhol, staged ‘9 Evenings: Theatre and Engineering’ in New York, a groundbreaking series of events that challenged the conventions of art by incorporating new technology. Whitechapel Gallery. Jan 29 to May 15. Wassily Kandinsky, 'Murnau The Garden II', 1910. Photo © Merzbacher Kunststiftung 2. Painting the Modern Garden: Monet to Matisse Blossoming with over 120 works by Claude Monet and his near contemporaries, including Pierre Bonnard and Wassily Kandinsky, this bountiful show reveals how artists have been inspired by gardens and how gardens helped to shape the development of art from the 1860s to the 1920s. Royal Academy
Is all that stuff about H.H. Holmes true?
H.H. Holmes was recently in the news again, as reports circulated that Scorsese and DiCaprio will soon bring The Devil in the White City to the big screen. But the news has a few local historians cringing: Devil in the White City is a gripping book, but it's more of a novel than a work of nonfiction. If you read the endnotes, Erik Larson is very upfront about how much of the stuff about H.H. Holmes simply came out of his imagination. Indeed, many of the stories that have become common about Holmes are based more on tabloids and pulps than on primary sources. Holmes is certainly known to have killed a number of people, but the 27 he confessed to were probably an exaggeration (a few of the people were still alive). The idea that he killed hundreds of people was first mentioned in a couple of 1930s pulps and wasn't taken seriously at the time. His famous "murder castle" (which was often just called The Holmes Castle until the 1930s) did indeed have a number of secret rooms and secret passages, but the city knew all about them before the World's Fair even opened. In March 1893, there was a large article about them in the Tribune after Holmes was caught using hidden rooms to hide furniture he'd bought on credit and never paid for. Stories of medieval torture equipment in the basement come mainly from a game of "telephone." For about a week in 1895, when investigators were tearing the building up, papers would announce that he'd been hanging victims because they found a rope, that
5 lesser-known haunted places in Chicago
It’s no secret that Chicago is home to dozens of places that are said to be haunted, and we have plenty of haunted tours to back those up. Whether the ghosts are real in any of these spots is above my pay grade, but I’ve spent years researching the history at these locations, as well as tracking down firsthand accounts of ghost sightings. Some places, like Bachelor’s Grove Cemetery and the former Excalibur Club, are fairly well-known for their ghost lore (despite the fact that the backstories don’t always check out), but here are a few lesser-known haunts around the city. Macy's The former Marshall Field’s location is said to have served as a morgue after the deadly 1903 fire at the nearby Iroquois Theater. It was more of a hospital, really, but many victims died there. An employee recently told me some of her co-workers didn’t like to go to one particular floor because they sometimes saw apparitions like ominous coffins. Fine Arts Building A grim backstory on this building is hard to come by (unless you count the fact that H.H. Holmes’s daughter Lucy had a wedding here in the 1920s), but several people have told me they've seen people dressed in “old-fashioned” clothes who appear and disappear before their very eyes. Bethania Cemetery Overshadowed in ghostlore by the nearby Resurrection Cemetery, this graveyard in Justice is said to be home to the ghost of an elderly woman who appears by the gates and cusses people out. This is the kind of ghost every Chicagoan shoul
Frieze London and Frieze Masters 2015: the condensed highlights
Frieze London, the diamond-encrusted juggernaut of international art fairs, celebrates its thirteenth year in the capital this year, while its younger (though more sedate) sibling Frieze Masters notches up four years on the other side of Regent’s Park. It’ll take you at least a day to see both, but we’ve been as busy as the Regent’s Park squirrels to round-up the best art to make a beeline for. Here are just a few exhibits not to miss. Hello kitty &amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;img id="3ee2ec5f-9c1e-89eb-afed-8bc7a9e89824" data-caption="" data-credit="" data-width-class="" type="image/jpeg" total="1086848" loaded="1086848" image_id="102911984" src="http://media.timeout.com/images/102911984/image.jpg" class="photo lazy inline"&amp;amp;amp;amp;gt; Cats are massive at Frieze London this year. And none are bigger than Turner Prize winner Mark Leckey’s inflatable Felix on the Galerie Buchholz stand (D8). The feline theme continues over at Sadie Coles (D2), where our favourite YBA Sarah Lucas’s slinky black moggies lurk in an installation painted the same shade of custard yellow as her Venice Biennale show earlier this year. In other cat news: Ryan Trecartin’s collaged kitten sits trapped in a ‘Cage of Desire’ at Sprüth Magers (C5). Mee-ouch. Signs of irony &amp;amp;amp;lt;img id="6636d90f-7a90-4597-529a-ad51b58719b0" data-caption="" data-credit="" data-width-class="" type="image/jpeg" total="844057" loaded="844057" image_id="102912007" src="http://media.timeout.co
In pictures: Ai Weiwei's journey from Beijing to London
The Chinese artist and activist has been allowed to leave his home country for the first time in four years. Here, he exclusively shares his Instagram pics documenting his momentous trip from Beijing to London, via Munich, for the opening of his retrospective at the Royal Academy. July 22 Ai Weiwei is reunited with his passport having been banned from leaving China for over four years. It was confiscated by officials at Beijing airport in April 2011, as part of wider crackdown on activists in the country. July 25 A tender moment on Skype as the artist tells his son Ai Lao, who lives in Germany, that he's received his passport and can travel abroad again. July 29 At the gates of the US Embassy in Beijing. Having got his passport back, Ai can apply for a visa. July 30 Ai Weiwei's passport with his UK visa, with a duration of 20 days. The visa has since been extended to six months after an intervention by the Home Secretary. <img id="1407ae57-b8e4-f9ee-ab21-d2f072348460" data-caption="" data-credit="" data-width-class="" type="image/jpeg" total="388494" loaded="388494" image_id="102866333" src="http://media.timeout.com/images/102866333/image.jpg" class="photo lazy inline">È July 30 With Ai Lao and partner Wang Fen after arriving at Munich airport. July 31 Swimming in the hotel pool of Bayerischer Hof in Munich after being reunited with his son. The six-year-old and his mother have been living in the Germany for the past year, after Ai asked them to le