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
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
To mark the 70th birthday of The Prince of Wales this year, the Summer Opening of Buckingham Palace (21 July – 30 September 2018) will feature ‘Prince and Patron’: a special display of over 100 works of art personally selected by His Royal Highness. Having grown up surrounded by the Royal Collection, The Prince of Wales has enjoyed a life-long passion for art and, as Chairman of The Royal Collection Trust and Patron of several arts charities, has promoted artistic appreciation worldwide. Until 30, September, royalcollection.org.uk.
Azzedine Alaïa: The Couturier
Before his death last year, Azzedine Alaïa worked with the Design Museum to curate an exhibition of his works called The Couturier. Stories from his life are told through over 60 garments that give an insight to the designer, who very much danced to the beat of his own drum. 10 May to 7 October, designmuseum.org.
Anthea Hamilton Tate Britain Commission
A solo performer in a squash-like costume inhabits the Duveen Galleries every day. Each element of The Squash has evolved from Hamilton’s interest in an improvisational photograph that showed a person dressed as what looks like a vegetable lying among vines. The artist has brought together tiles, structures, sculptures and costume, inviting a performer to explore their own interpretation of the image and how it might feel to imagine life as other, as vegetable. The performer selects their outfit for the day from a collection of seven elaborate costumes and is in the gallery from 10am to 6pm every day. Until 7 October. Visit tate.org.
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.
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