The Best Art Exhibitions in London

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From the Tates to the Royal Academy and the galleries of Mayfair and the Barbican, London is bursting with exciting art exhibitions at any time of year. Now that cultural institutions are allowed to reopen with safety measures in place, here are the shows not to be missed.

Main image: Alan Schaller, taken from Life Must Go On at the Leica Gallery

The Best Art Exhibitions in London

 

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  • Amy In The Light

    Amy In The Light

    Brownsword Hepworth Gallery

    To mark 10 years since the passing of Amy Winehouse, her good friend and photographer Phil Griffin is showcasing never-before-seen artworks of the musician in a new exhibition. Speaking about the show, Griffin said: ‘These new works – often in mirror or dual format – each image very slightly different from the next, allow me to look at Amy as though she is both Present & Absent in the same moment, it reminds me that whilst we lost her too soon, we have her forever in so many other ways.’

    Until 14 September 2021, brownswordhepworth.co.uk

  • Maddox Gallery, One of a Kind - poster with red writing

    ONE OF A KIND

    Maddox Gallery

    The Maddox Gallery has teamed up with Teenage Cancer Trust and Tom Hingston to bring ONE OF A KIND to the public. The exhibition will celebrate the charity’s ongoing connection with the music industry, with all artworks having been created and donated by artists and musicians (keep your eyes peeled for Mark Mattock’s portrait of Stormzy). Featuring David Shrigley, Matty Bovan and James Joyce, the selection of 21 screen prints will be on display at the gallery’s Westbourne Grove space. During this time, the artworks will be available for auction online – with all proceeds going to Teenage Cancer Trust.

    23 – 31 July 2021, oneofakindshow.co.uk

    Image: YOU&ME&ME&YOU by Anthony Burrill. Courtesy of the artist and the Maddox Gallery

  • Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience, Exhibition Hub

    Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience

    Missed out on tickets to the Van Gogh experience in Kensington Gardens? Fear not: another immersive show dedicated to the artist is opening at The Old Truman Brewery in Shoreditch. A 20,000 square foot light and sound spectacular, the exhibition is designed to bring you into the world of Van Gogh, complete with a unique VR interaction which guides you through a day in the life of the artist.

    Opens 29 July, vangoghexpo.com

    Image: Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience, Exhibition Hub

  • Marcus Hodge

    Marcus Hodge

    Osborne Studio Gallery

    A new collection of works from Marcus Hodge will explore the world of the horse, inspired by the artist’s travels around the world. The paintings are unified by a common theme: festivals and religious gatherings where animals either play a part or stand by as part of the spectacle – from the Marwari horses of Rajasthan to the international circus horses of Monaco.

    5 – 27 October 2021, osg.uk.com

    Image: Marcus Hodge, Bay Horse in Jodhpur

  • Sophia Oshodin, While We Wait, 2021

    Mother of Mankind

    HOFA Gallery

    Works from 18 emerging female artists are being brought together in new exhibition at HOFA Gallery in partnership with ADA \ contemporary art gallery. The timely show focuses on Black female identity, with each artist investigating perceptions of gender, sexuality, family and society, drawing on their own personal experiences. Participating artists include Jamilla Okubo, Emma Prempeh and Sola Olulode, among others.

    22 July – 31 August 2021, thehouseoffineart.com

    Image: Sophia Oshodin, While We Wait, 2021. Courtesy of the artist, ADA and HOFA.

  • Sophie Tea lies in front of her paintings

    Sophie Tea: Love Doesn’t Stop

    ME London

    Known as the artist who broke down the traditional gallery route after selling thousands of paintings over social media, Sophie Tea is launching her residency at ME London with her latest show Love Doesn’t Stop. The artist will be showcasing a collection of ‘Hearts’ to the public, acting as a reminder to those who have struggled during the pandemic that there is always love around them.

    8 July – 6 September 2021, melondonhotel.com

  • Alan Schaller: Life Goes On

    Leica Gallery London

    Alan Schaller is a London-based artist who specialises in black and white photography, often with a surrealist feel. Life Goes On is a collection of photographs taken in the UK, predominantly in London, during the pandemic in 2020. For the series, Schaller decided to focus his attention on finding small moments of positivity and connection in such a difficult time, and merging his distinctive geometric and architectural style with natural forms.

    22 July – 15 August 2021, leica-camera.com

  • Charlotte Perriand: The Modern Life

    The Design Museum

    A new exhibition at the Design Museum shines a light on French designer Charlotte Perriand, who championed the belief that good design is for everyone. She was one of the most influential designers of the 20th century, but was – and still is – often overlooked by her male contemporaries. The show will allow visitors to sit back on iconic Perriand designs – including the chaise longue basculante – and get to know the artist’s playful and independent spirit through her personal notebooks.

    Until 5 September 2021, designmuseuum.org  

    Image: Photography by Felix Speller

  • Safe Places, Lily Lewis

    Safe Places

    Petersham Nurseries

    Artist Lily Lewis is raising awareness about domestic abuse through her new exhibition, Safe Places, which is being showcased at Petersham Nurseries this summer. The show shines the light on actors and actresses from the 30s and 40s who were struggling behind the scenes of their picture-perfect façade. It’s running in collaboration with UK charity Refuge.

    18 June – July 2021, petershamnurseries.com

  • Gods Own Junkyard

    Electric City

    Leadenhall Market

    This summer Leadenhall Market will play host to a new exhibition from neon artists Gods Own Junkyard, following on from their popular Walthamstow home. Designed to bring back colour and joy to the capital, the technicolour production will explore Gods Own Junkyard’s place in movie history, with signs on show from the likes of Batman, Tomb Raider and Eyes Wide Shut.

    26 May – 31 July 2021, electriccityleadenhall.com

  • Ryoji Ikeda

    Ryoji Ikeda

    180 The Strand

    The new London show from audio-visual Japanese artist Ryoji Ikeda is not one for the faint-hearted. Just launched at 180 The Strand, it’s his largest exhibition to date, presented by The Vinyl Factory and Fact in collaboration with Audemars Piguet Contemporary. ‘Exhibition’ doesn’t quite cut it here: this is an all-consuming and confronting immersive experience. Think blindingly bright tunnels, flickering zebra crossings and black holes, made even trippier set in the context of the imposing Brutalist venue. It’s all part of Ikeda’s aim to transform the way we experience art, pushing our senses to the extremes and challenging our understanding of our place in the universe.

    20 May – 1 August 2021, 180thestrand.com

    Image: Test Pattern, Ryoji Ikeda

  • Chiswick House & Gardens

    Bring Into Being

    Chiswick House & Gardens

    This year will see Chiswick House & Gardens transform from public space into cultural hotspot, thanks to a new programme of eclectic artist commissions and events. Head there this spring to see three new art installations: an eight channel site-specific soundscape by Ghanaian-British electronic musician and sound artist Peter Adjaye, a durational installation by Jaimini Patel and an artwork from Mark Wallinger titled British Summer Time. The programme has been curated by Mariam Zulfiqar as a way of inviting new and pre-existing audiences to connect with the iconic venue.

    27 May – 31 October 2021, chiswickhouseandgardens.org.uk

  • Secret World of Plants

    Secret World of Plants

    Kew Gardens

    What do plants mean to you? asks a new London art exhibition at Kew Gardens, launching on 1 May. Browse six large-scale ‘plantscapes’, tune into musical symphonies created by the natural sound of trees and learn more about biodiversity.

    1 May – 19 September 2021, kew.org

  • UK Art Exhibitions 2021 - Van Gogh Experience

    Van Gogh Alive

    Kensington Gardens

    A multi-sensory experience designed to immerse you in the life of Vincent van Gogh is coming to Kensington Gardens this summer. Set to be unlike anything we’ve seen before, special technology will display the artist’s works in a kaleidoscope of colour, set to a classical score of music delivered via a high-fidelity 3D sound system. Sounds, visuals and aromas will transport visitors into Van Gogh’s world, giving the sensation of walking right into his paintings. Create your own souvenirs in a walk-in representation of his Bedroom in Arles painting and take a snap in the mirrored selfie room, an Instagrammer’s dream complete with hundreds of sunflowers.

    4 June – 26 September 2021, vangoghaliveuk.com

  • Sheila Legge, Phantoms of Surrealism

    Phantoms of Surrealism

    Whitechapel Gallery

    On a summer’s day in 1936, a mystery woman dressed in a wedding dress paraded around Trafalgar Square with her head covered in red roses as a tribute to Salvador Dali. It was later revealed as artist Sheila Legge, appearing as ‘the phantom of Surrealism’ to launch the London International Surrealist Exhibition. Now, Whitechapel Gallery is bringing together works, press cuttings and scrapbooks from the original exhibition in a new archive show. It features artists such as Eileen Agar, Ruth Adams, Claude Cahun and Sheila Legge herself.

    19 May – 12 December 2021, whitechapelgallery.org

    Image: Sheila Legge as Surrealist ‘Phantom’, 1936. Photographed by Claude Cahun.

  • Beano exhibition, Somerset House

    Beano: The Art of Breaking the Rules

    Somerset House

    Somerset House’s major 2021 autumn art exhibition will celebrate the world’s longest running comic, Beano, on its 70th anniversary. Launching this October, Beano: The Art of Breaking the Rules is set to feature original comic drawings alongside works from leading artists and designers such as Heather Philippson, Bedwyr Williams and Hardeep Pandhal.

    21 October 2021 – 6 March 2022, somersethouse.org.uk

    Image: Bash Street Kids, 1982, courtesy of Beano

  • Lewis Carroll and Alice, Eileen Agar

    Eileen Agar: Angel of Anarchy

    Whitechapel Gallery

    Surrealist women came into the spotlight in 2020 – and it looks like momentum is set to continue into 2021, with Whitechapel Gallery poised to showcase the largest exhibition of Eileen Agar’s work to date.

    19 May – 29 August 2021, whitechapelgallery.org

    Image: Eileen Agar, Alice with Lewis Carroll, 1961. Courtesy of a private collection.

  • Art of Banksy

    The Art of Banksy

    50 Earlham Street

    Following tours everywhere from Tel Aviv to Miami, the world’s largest touring exhibition of Banksy artworks is coming to Covent Garden, featuring a vast array of prints, canvasses and sculptures from the mysterious political activist.

    artofbanksy.co.uk

    Image: Art of Banksy London Ltd.

  • David Hockney: The Arrival of Spring, Normandy, 2020 artwork images

    David Hockney: The Arrival of Spring, Normandy, 2020

    Royal Academy of Arts

    During the first lockdown, David Hockney created a series of artworks on his iPad at his home in Normandy. The 116 works – which Hockney ‘painted’ on the iPad then printed onto paper – chart the unfolding of spring from beginning to end, a celebration that nature continues to blossom in the darkest of times. Almost exactly a year later, the collection is being displayed as part of a new exhibition at The Royal Academy, standing as a reminder of the constant renewal and wonder of the natural world.

    23 May – 26 September 2021, royalacademy.org.uk

    Image: David Hockney: The Arrival of Spring, Normandy, 2020 artwork images.

  • Alice in Wonderland exhibition, V&A

    Alice: Curiouser and Curiouser

    The V&A

    After being postponed last summer, one of the most anticipated art exhibitions in London is set to debut this month. This is the V&A’s Alice in Wonderland-themed exhibition: an immersive show that takes visitors on a trip down the rabbit hole with an extravaganza of Alice-related fare – from the original concept art for Disney’s 1951 animated version to Johnny Depp’s Mad Hatter outfit.

    22 May – 31 December 2021, vam.ac.uk

    Image: Johan-Persson, 2011.

  • Yayoi Kusama, Infinity Room

    Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirror Rooms

    Tate Modern

    Prepare to be dazzled at Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirror Rooms, another highly anticipated London art exhibition of 2021. Going on display at Tate Modern this May after being postponed from its original date last year, the exhibition will feature two spectacular installations. The first is Infinity Mirrored Room – Filled With The Brilliance of Life, which was showcased in the Tate’s Kusama retrospective back in 2012. The second is Chandelier of Grief, a room which creates the illusion of a boundless universe of rotating Swarovski crystal chandeliers. You can expect queues round the block for this one – but it’s on display for a year, so there’s time for everyone to experience the magic.

    18 May 2021 – 12 June 2022, tate.org.uk

    Image: Infinity Mirrored Room – Filled With The Brilliance of Life, Yayoi Kusama.

    Image: Johan-Persson, 2011.

  • Helen Frankenthaler, Freefall

    Helen Frankenthaler: Radical Beauty

    Dulwich Picture Gallery

    Opening ten years after her passing, a new exhibition at Dulwich Picture Gallery will showcase the woodcuts of abstract artist Helen Frankenthaler. Works range from her first woodcut East and Beyond (1973), created on multiple blocks to avoid negative space, and her later triptych Madame Butterfly (2000), which measures over two metres in length and will occupy an entire room in the exhibition.

    15 September 2021 – 17 April 2022, dulwichpicturegallery.org.uk

    Image: Helen Frankenthaler, Freefall, 1993. Courtesy of 2020 Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, Inc. / DACS / Tyler Graphics Ltd., Mount Kisco, NY.

 

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The Best Art Exhibitions in the UK / Virtual Art Exhibitions