Looking to soak up some culture in the capital? The search ends here; read our round-up of the best of the current art exhibitions in London. So whether it’s contemporary classics, shoppable pop-ups or a date with the masters that you crave, you’ll find it here.
Best Current Art Exhibitions in London
Human Stories: Another England
NOW Gallery on Greenwich Peninsula will show Human Stories: Another England – a photographic exhibition surveying historical and contemporary narratives in Black and Asian Heritage in England, in partnership with Historic England. Available for all to view for free, the third iteration of Human Stories will present photographs and research generated by Historic England’s Another England: Mapping 100 Years of Black and Asian History. Until 11 November. nowgallery.co.uk
The Showroom: Women on Aeroplanes
Women on Aeroplanes will present new work by artists Lungiswa Gqunta, Pamela Phatsimo Sunstrum and Emma Wolukau-Wanambwa, observing the largely unrecognised role of women in struggles for liberation, their participation in transatlantic networks and key voices in revolutionary socio-political movements that helped to achieve postcolonial nation-states in Africa. What makes it possible for certain individuals’ stories to prevail, while others remain invisible or disappear into oblivion? What are the intricacies of institutional or structural erasure? And how does the unveiling of such silenced narratives contribute to collective thinking? Until 26 January. theshowroom.org
We are Bess at Hardwick Hall
The life of one of Tudor England’s most remarkable women, Elizabeth Talbot, Countess of Shrewsbury, aka Bess of Hardwick, will be seen through the eyes of modern women – including historian Professor Dame Mary Beard, period poverty teenage activist Amika George, and broadcaster Cathy Newman in a new exhibition at Hardwick Hall in Derbyshire. In the late sixteenth century, Bess became the second richest woman in the country after Elizabeth I. Along the way she experienced great loss and hardship – two children and four husbands died. At times, she had massive debts and lawsuits against her, while her last, broken marriage became a national scandal. Until 4 November. nationaltrust.org.uk/wearebess.
Jameel Prize 5
The Jameel Prize is an international award for contemporary art and design inspired by Islamic tradition. Experience eight exceptional contemporary artists and designers working in fields as diverse as fashion, multi-media installation, and painting in the Jameel Prize 5 showcase. Until 25 November. vam.ac.uk
Staging Jackson Pollock
The revolutionary painting of American Abstract Expressionist Jackson Pollock (1912–1956) was premiered in the UK in 1958 at the Whitechapel Gallery. Travelling to Europe from New York’s Museum of Modern Art after Pollock’s untimely death, the show provoked bewilderment and excitement. Six decades on, Pollock’s masterpiece Summertime 9A (1948) returns to the Whitechapel. Until 24 March 2019. whitechapelgallery.org
In 1952, when Aubrey Williams was twenty-six, Guyana was nearing the end of its time as a British colony and Williams sailed to London, initially on six months paid leave, to become a painter and began life drawing at St Martins School of Art. Williams’ paintings have always resisted classification, evolving through many distinct phases over the course of his career. From immaculately accomplished depictions of birds, to figurations, to explosive, vibrant abstracts, Williams drew influence from abstract expressionism. Until 27 October. octobergallery.co.uk
Frida Kahlo: Making Her Self Up
Frida Kahlo (1907 – 1954) is one of the most iconic women in history, known for her exploration of identity, gender, class, and race in Mexican society. Her revolutionary self-portraits have grown her a large following – if this includes you, be sure not to miss this exhibit. Expect to see an extraordinary collection of Frida’s most intimate personal belongings, artefacts and clothing. Locked away for 50 years after her death, this collection has never before been exhibited outside Mexico. So now you need not travel to Mexico to get your Frida Kahlo fix. Until 4, November. vam.ac.uk
Censored! Stage, Screen, Society at 50
Exploring theatre, film and music, this display examines the regulation of theatre in the 17th century through to the time of Kubrick’s provocative A Clockwork Orange and the Sex Pistols’ God Save the Queen, as well as censorship’s role today. Until 27 January 2019, vam.ac.uk
Magic Realism: Art in Weimar Germany 191-33
Tate Modern explores the art of the Weimar Republic (1919-33) in a year-long, free display, drawing upon the rich holdings of The George Economou Collection. This presentation of around seventy paintings and works on paper addresses the complex paradoxes of the Weimar era, in which liberalisation and anti-militarism flourished in tandem with political and economic uncertainty. 30 July 2018 – 14 July 2019 tate.org.uk
First Amongst Equals at the Foundling Museum
As part of The Foundling Museum’s year-long programme of exhibitions and events to mark the centenary of female suffrage and International Women’s Day, Maker Not Muse is a series of talks which rewrites the narrative of women as artists and creators rather than subject of matter. About time too. Until 13 Jan 2019, foundlingmuseum.org.uk.
Modern Couples at The Barbican
Explore modern art and modern love at the Barbican’s new exhibition, Modern Couples. Featuring over 40 artist couples such as Lee Miller and Man Ray, the exhibition showcases creative relationships across photography, sculpture, architecture, poetry, music and dance. Until 27 January, Shangri-La Hotel At The Shard are offering a Modern Couples experience to pair with the exhibition, which involves a one-night stay in one of their luxurious rooms, two tickets to the exhibition and cocktails in their romantic GONG Bar. 10 October-27 Jan. For more information visit shangri-la.com
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