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13 of the Best Current Art Exhibitions in London

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13 of the Best Current Art Exhibitions in London

Including contemporary, surrealist and abstract art...


Looking to soak up some culture in the capital? The search ends here; read our round-up of the best current art exhibitions in London. So whether it’s contemporary classics, abstract showcases or breathtaking photography that you crave, you’ll find it here. 


Best Current Art Exhibitions in London

Patrick Rougereau’s Exhibition at Marconi Gallery, ME London

Patrick Rougereau's Exhibition at Marconi Gallery, ME London

Food is art. Don’t believe us? Visit this exhibition of Patrick Rougereau’s works, one of the most renowned food photographers, and prepare for mouth-wateringly creative photographs set in London’s ME Hotel. Plus, once you’re finished, head up to the rooftop bar and enjoy food and drink with views over the capital. Until 25 March,

Daria Martin: Tonight the World at The Curve, Barbican

Daria Martin: Tonight the World at The Curve, Barbican

After fleeing the Holocaust, Daria’s grandmother kept a dream diary for 35 years for psychoanalysis treatment. Now her granddaughter, with gaming technology, has recreated her childhood home in former Czechoslovakia to explore five dreams that were recorded in that 10,000-page journal. Fascinating. 31 Jan to 7 April.

Tracey Emin, ‘A Fortnight Of Tears’ at White Cube Bermondsey, The Borough

Tracey Emin

© Tracey Emin. All rights reserved, DACS 2017. Photo © White Cube (Theo Christelis) Courtesy White Cube

Tracey Emin is back with her most personal and honest exhibition to date. Through series of paintings, drawings, sculptures, neon, films and photography, Emin explores emotions arising from loss, anger, love and pain, drawing on experiences from her own life. Upon entering the gallery, you’ll be met with 50 double-hung self portraits taken at different periods during Emin’s insomnia – an unsettling viewing, capturing feelings of utter torment and desperation. Many works express Emin’s grief following her mother’s recent death, including I Could Feel You (2018), Bye Bye Mum (2018), I Prayed (2017) and Can you hear me (2017), all of which are placed against melancholy grey walls. A powerful, poignant exhibition depicting the rawness of suffering. 6 February-7 April.

Diane Arbus, ‘In the Beginning’, Hayward Gallery, Tate Britain

The Hayward Gallery’s new exhibition focuses on early works from iconic photographer Diane Arbus, renowned for her black and white photographs of New York outsiders and eccentrics.  The exhibition takes an in-depth look at the first half of Arbus’ career from the years of 1956-1962, during which she developed the direct style of photography she has become so widely celebrated for. Over 100 works will be on show, with more than two thirds never seen before in the UK, with works including Boy stepping off the curb, NYC (1957–58); The Backwards Man in his hotel room, NYC 1961; and Jack Dracula at a bar, New London, Conn. (1961). 13 Feb-6 May.

Pierre Bonnard’s ‘The Colour of Memory’ at Tate Modern

Electric - Lauren Baker at Tate Modern

Bonnard’s dreamy views of everyday life see beauty in the ordinary; they are nostalgic for the fleeting moment. His vibrant use of colour creates a bridge to abstraction and reportedly influenced Rothko’s palette; now it illuminates the 21st century – fresh, and yet familiar. Expect to crave golden hour in Provence afterwards. 23 Jan-6 May.

Polaroid Photos by Andy, 1971-1986 at Bastian Gallery

Polaroid Photos by Andy, 1971-1986 at Bastian Gallery

Berlin-based Bastian Gallery is coming to W1. Its launch exhibition shows Andy Warhol was an Instagram addict before it became A Thing. ‘My idea of a good picture is one that’s in focus and of a famous person,’ he once quipped. Luckily, he hung out in 70s and 80s New York. Going out every night, he photographed David Bowie, Giorgio Armani, Robert Rauschenberg and Muhammad Ali – sometimes using the resulting prints as the impetus for painted portraits. These intimate shots show stars as their true selves – adventurous and hopeful in a changing metropolis. Lovely. 2 Feb-13 April.

‘Patrick Hughes: A New Look At Perspective’ at Alon Zakaim Fine Art

'Patrick Hughes: A New Look At Perspective' at Alon Zakaim Fine Art

British pop artist and surrealist Patrick Hughes brings a new exhibit to the Alon Zakaim Fine Art gallery this February, showcasing colourful surrealist paintings spread over 2 floors of the gallery. The exhibition will take viewers on a journey through the canals of Venice graffiti-filled streets, pressing them to look twice and look closely, as what first appears as two-dimensional isn’t so… 4 February – 29 March 2019,

Sea Nomads, Horniman Museum and Gardens

Sea Nomads © James Morgan

Sea Nomads © James Morgan

Photography exhibition ‘Sea Nomads’ opens this month in Forest Hill’s Horniman Museum and Gardens. In the exhibition, the public will be introduced to The Bajau Laut, part of the Malay origin, who are some of the last true marine nomads, by photographer James Morgan. A unique and intimate look into the lives of those we might never have known about otherwise…26 January – Sunday 23 June.

Staging Jackson Pollock

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.

Michael Lau: Oh…My Toy!

Michael Lau: Oh…My Toy!

Hong Kong-born artist Michael Lau will host his first solo exhibition at Duddell’s London from October 2018. As part of the restaurant’s ongoing arts programme, Lau has been commissioned to create new works. Expect large scale sculptures and wall-mounted pieces inspired by the position of art, toys and religion in western pop culture. Until April 14 2019,


What’s On in London? The Town Culture Diary

Seen & Heard: Victorian Children in the Frame

Seen & Heard: Victorian Children in the Frame

Seen & Heard, held at Guildhall Art Gallery, will feature 50 Victorian paintings that explore the role of children in Victorian Britain. For an intriguing insight into a crucial time in British history, visit the exhibition and be taken on an emotive journey… Until 28 April 2019, admission is £8/£6, kids under 12 go free.

Magic Realism: Art in Weimar Germany 191-33

Albert Birkle, The Acrobat Schulz V 1921

Albert Birkle, The Acrobat Schulz V 1921

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

Kaleidoscope at Saatchi Gallery


The Saatchi Gallery’s upcoming new exhibition, Kaleidoscope, features the work of nine international contemporary artists working across a variety of mediums, all of which delve into the distortion of human perception, moving from domestic spaces to turbulent vistas to complete abstraction. The centre piece will be Laura Buckley’s spectacular interactive kaleidoscope Fata Morgana, an immersive exploration of distortion through sequences of colourful works which the audience can walk into. Dazzling and disorientating, you’ll be absorbed into the work through its mirrored walls, changing imagery and audio. Also on display will be Florence Hutchings’ vivid still-life paintings and Whitney Bedford’s tempestous seascapes, as well as works from Tillman Kaiser, Pierre Carreau, and Mia Feuer. All works in the exhibition explore our relationship with our surroundings. 15 March-5 May 2019

Listen to our episode of the What’s On Podcast with an audio curator’s tour of this year’s Picasso exhibition with Nancy Ireson, here 

 More Culture: The London Diary


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