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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 set to reopen in May with safety measures in place, here are the shows not to be missed.

The Best Art Exhibitions in London


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  • Hilary Pecis

    Piecemeal Rhythm

    Timothy Taylor Gallery

    Head to the Timothy Taylor Gallery in Mayfair this month to see the first UK solo exhibition from LA-based artist Hilary Pecis. A bright, sunny show, Piecemeal Rhythm captures the lush landscapes of California, with inspiration from early Modernist painters like Matisse.

    14 May – 26 June 2021, timothytaylor.com

  • Charlotte Colbert, Mastectomy Mameria

    Art in the Age of Now

    Fulham Town Hall

    After sitting empty for a decade, Fulham Town Hall is getting a new lease of life as an eclectic art space. Titled Art in the Age of Now, the exhibition utilises every inch of the building, showcasing works from the likes of Conrad Shawcross, Charlotte Colbert and Joe Rush, who designs the stage set for Glastonbury.

    20 May – 6 June 2021, fulhamtownhall.com

    Image: Charlotte Cobert

  • 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 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

  • The Miaz Brothers, Axis Around The Island

    The Past, The Present and The Imperceptible

    Maddox Gallery

    Viewers are challenged to use their perception and interpretation at a new exhibition launching at Maddox Gallery this May. It showcases works from Italian art duo Roberto and Renato Miaz, who are known for their dreamlike, out-of-focus works.

    20 May – 10 June, maddoxgallery.com

    Image: The Miaz Brothers, Axis Around The Island

  • Leica Gallery exhibition


    Leica Gallery

    Over a period of two decades, acclaimed street photographer Phil Penman documented the rapid flux of New York City. A selection of these are now going on display in a selling exhibition at the Leica Gallery in London, featuring everything from New York business men to colourful Harlem streets to skateboarders in Brooklyn.

    12 April – 29 May, en.leica-camera.com

  • 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.

  • Forest for Change

    Forest For Change, The Global Goals Pavilion

    Somerset House

    This June, hundreds of trees will be appearing in the Somerset House courtyard as part of the exhibition programme for this year’s London Design Biennale. Designed by Es Devlin, artistic director of the Biennale, the forest will feature 23 varieties typical to those found across the UK and Northern Europe, creating a spectacular centrepiece to the iconic space. The project, titled Forest For Change, The Global Goals Pavilion, hopes to raise awareness of the United Nations’ Global Goals for Sustainable Development – an ambitious plan to eradicate poverty, fight inequality and tackle the climate crisis. These goals will be highlighted in an installation in the central clearing of the forest.

    1 – 27 June 2021, somersethouse.org.uk

  • 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.

    Dates TBC, 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.

    Opening 20 May 2021, 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, the V&A’s highly anticipated Alice in Wonderland-themed exhibition is set to debut this March. The immersive show will take 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.

    Dates TBC, 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, undoubtedly one of the most highly anticipated art exhibitions 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.

    Spring 2021, 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.

Featured image: Fulham Town Hall, Art in the Age of Now


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