Fargo - (Josie), by David Yarrow - 2020, Courtesy of Maddox Gallery

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.

The Best Art Exhibitions in London


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Amy Winehouse, The Design Museum

Amy: Beyond The Stage

The Design Museum

The first major retrospective of Amy Winehouse goes on show at The Design Museum this month, coinciding with the 10-year anniversary of her death. Viewers are invited backstage to relive iconic performances, plus explore both her creative process and her eclectic style – including the story behind her trademark beehive. The exhibition will also delve into the musical artists who influenced Amy, from Frank Sinatra to Dinah Washington. From 26 November, designmuseum.org

Get The Fxxx Off My Boat, David-Yarrow 2021. Courtesy of Maddox Gallery

Changing Lanes

Maddox Gallery

A collection of works from Scottish photographic artist David Yarrow are going on display at Maddox Gallery this week, showcasing some of his most iconic shots alongside new works captured during the pandemic. 19 November – 10 December 2021, maddoxgallery.com

Image: Get The Fxxx Off My Boat, David-Yarrow, 2021. Courtesy of Maddox Gallery.

Cut, Pleat, Repeat by Richard Sweeney

Cut, Pleat, Repeat

Deirdre Dyson Gallery

Richard Sweeney is showcasing his exquisite paper artistry skills at Lady Deirdre Dyson’s gallery in Chelsea, with eight new paper sculptures on display alongside a large-scale window installation. Nature is a constant source of inspiration for Deirdre, and Richard’s works are inspired by birds in flight, embracing the theme of pleats. 1 November 2021 – 14 January 2022, deirdredyson.com

Image: Richard Sweeney

Once Upon A Turquoise Past

Once Upon A Turquoise Past

LINLEY Belgravia

This November, LINLEY will be showcasing the talents of London-based artist Maryam Eisler in a new solo exhibition. The series of artworks on show represent ‘a voyage into the past, propitiously centred on the present’, with images captured at Leighton House (the iconic Victorian Kensington home of Orientalist Lord Leighton). Expect to find images that blur the boundaries between the impossible and the real, full of swirling patterns and colours. Merging cultural references from Europe and Eisler’s home country of Iran, the series is a wonderful mix of visual delights that will transport viewers into an unseen world.

4 – 28 November 2021, davidlinley.com

Image: Courtesy of Maryam Eisler and LINLEY 

Lizard, 2019, Damien Hirst


Claridge’s ArtSpace

Launched to coincide with this year’s Frieze London, Claridge’s has opened a new gallery. The first exhibition showcases a collection of works by Damien Hirst, long-time friend of the hotel, including a series of the artist’s pipe cleaner animals and examples of his colour chart series. Designed by John Pawson, ArtSpace is one of the largest galleries in Mayfair, and will next year house a café and art store alongside the exhibition space. The programme for 2022 will soon be announced, with a different curator for each show alongside a series of interactive talks and events.


Image: Lizard, 2019, Damien Hirst

Richard Young: Nightclubbing in Studio Fifth Floor

Richard Young: Nightclubbing in Studio Fifth Floor


Star-studded party shots from celebrity photographer Richard Young are on display as part of a month-long celebration of technology at Harrods. Running in collaboration with Leica, Nightclubbing in Studio Fifth Floor is inspired by iconic Manhattan nightclub Studio 54, a hotspot for the rich and famous. The show features images from Young’s new book, Nightclubbing, a collection of snaps taken over the years from the ‘70s to the ‘00s.


Image by Richard Young

Rob and Nick Carter's Yinka Shonibare Robot Painting

Royal Academy Summer Exhibition 2021

Royal Academy of Arts

Returning this September is the Royal Academy’s acclaimed Summer Exhibition, this year featuring over 1,300 works selected by coordinator Yinka Shonibare alongside a panel of artists. The theme for 2021 is ‘Reclaiming Magic’, with works from the likes of Njideka Akunyili Crosby, Michael Armitage, Jade Montserrat, Hew Locke, Rita Keegan and Alvaro Barrington. A highlight is the Yinka Shonibare Robot Painting by Rob and Nick Carter (represented by Ben Brown Fine Arts), which is the world’s first artwork to go from blank canvas to finished painting without being touched by human hands.

22 September 2021 – 2 January 2022, royalacademy.co.uk

Image: Yinka Shonibare Robot Painting by Rob and Nick Carter 

Peter Blake, Queen Elizabeth II

Pop Goes The Arts Club: The World of Peter Blake

The Arts Club

Often billed the godfather of British pop art, Peter Blake is perhaps best known for creating the album cover for The Beatles’ Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band in 1967. His work is being honoured in a new show at The Arts Club, featuring his recent portrait series Girl with a Disney Tattoo, plus depictions of Queen Elizabeth II, Meghan Markle and his long-time pop icon Marilyn Monroe.

27 September 2021 – 15 January 2022, theartsclub.co.uk

Image: Peter Blake, Queen Elizabeth II (Radio Times Diamond Jubilee Royal Souvenir Cover), 2012, Courtesy Waddington Custot

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

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

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 Seven Dials, featuring a vast array of prints, canvasses and sculptures from the mysterious political activist.


Image: Art of Banksy London Ltd.

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.


Main image: Fargo – (Josie) by David Yarrow, 2020. Courtesy of Maddox Gallery.


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