We don’t often visit art galleries.
They always tell us off for taking pictures.
Nevertheless, London is awash with art – and so we’ve put together a running list of all the major (and quite a few independent) art galleries in London, complete with opening hours and the run-down on their latest exhibitions. Most galleries still require you to book a ticket in advance – even if you’re just going for a nose around the free collections – so we’ve added in all the links you’ll need.
But enough of all that – here are all the exhibitions you can visit now:
JUMP TO: CENTRAL | NORTH | SOUTH | EAST | WEST
CENTRAL LONDON ART GALLERIES
Set in the concrete subterranean labyrinth of an iconic Brutalist building, 180 Studios is building a name for itself as the home for innovative, large-scale, tech-infused audio-visual art installations.
Future Shock | Until 28th August | £20
Turns out, the future’s not orange.
It’s really more of a hot pink, with parallel lines shooting off into the unknowable expanses of infinite space.
At least, that’s according to this new exhibition inspired by our ‘near future’, featuring infinite reflections, 3D laser projections, and a ‘labyrinth of the subconscious’…
Address: 180 Studios, 180 The Strand, WC2R 1EA | Opening Hours: Daily, 10am-6pm | Entry: Exhibitions ticketed individually, from £10-25
A recently established twin to the Berlin gallery of the same name, shining a light on 20th century and postwar artists through a rotating series of solo exhibitions.
Paul Wallach: TRUTHAT | Until 30th April
Parisian-based artist Paul Wallach creates wall-mounted sculptures that are essentially fine art renditions of inspirational quotes, only designed to address fundamental concepts of time, truth and gravity.
Address: 8 Davies Street, London W1K 3DW | Opening Hours: Tues-Sat, 10am-6pm | Entry: Free, drop-in
Back open after the biggest refurbishment in its history, the Courtauld has an incredible collection of art particularly known for its trove of Impressionist paintings including Manet’s A Bar at the Folies Bergère and Van Gogh’s Self-Portrait with Bandaged Ear. The permanent collection could keep you occupied for hours, but the gallery often plays host to visiting exhibitions, too. Book ahead
Edvard Munch: Masterpieces from Bergen | Until 4th September | £18
The influential Edvard Munch has inspired a great many artists, most notably Macaulay Culkin in Home Alone. But this exhibition at the Courtauld brings together nearly 20 of his paintings that have never been shown here before, as they were snapped up by an avid contemporary collector who lived in Bergen, Norway. The critically acclaimed exhibition is awash with anguish, in ways that are strikingly different to The Scream – it’s one not to miss.
Address: Somerset House, Strand, London WC2R 0RN | Opening Hours: Monday-Sunday 10am-6pm | Entry: £9-13 (students & concessions free) / Exhibitions from £16
A Brutalist and, quite frankly, brutal concrete metropolis is home to the Hayward Gallery; an exhibition space designed to receive touring work and host major modern collections. Sat within the cultural playground that is the Southbank Centre, there’s a dazzling array of art on offer within its walls, and that of its neighbours. Its visual policy is painted with broad brush strokes, and previous exhibits have included everything from Van Gogh to Gormley – but recently it’s the recent which has taken centre stage.
Louise Bourgeois: The Woven Child | Until 15th May | £15
In what has to be the most creative way of doing a good wardrobe clear-out, artist Louise Bourgeois spent the last two decades of her career crafting sculpture out of old clothes. This chapter is examined in detail at the Hayward’s exhibition, with dramatic textile representations of identity, pregnancy and childbirth.
Address: Southbank Centre, 337-338 Belvedere Road, SE1 8XX | Opening Hours: Wed 11am-9pm, Thurs-Sat 11am-7pm, Sundays 10am-6pm | Entry: Free / Exhibitions from £12
ICA | St James
The errant, wayward child of the RA, the ICA was established as a space for artists and scientists to discuss ideas freely and without limitation. An avid promoter of the avant-garde, it’s been an epicentre of experimental work ever since. With galleries, a theatre, and two cinemas you’re bound to find something, in some medium, that suits your fancy.
Decriminalised Futures | Until 22nd May
This pioneering show is a celebration of the sex workers’ movement for workers’ rights and an end to exploitation. The multimedia, group exhibition represents a wide range of experiences and issues, and it’s all accompanied by a programme of talks and live events.
Check out screenings, talks and more HERE
Address: The Mall, St James’s, SW1Y 5AH | Opening Hours: Tue-Sun 12pm-9pm | Entry: Free on Tuesday, £6 Wed-Sun
A little green house on Pall Mall goes for £100, and a big red hotel will set you back £1000. Unfortunately, the work on offer here will cost a little bit more. Home to the Federation of British Artists, this Regency-style gallery has art for browsing, and for buying, with a real variety gracing its walls.
The Royal Society of Portrait Painters: Annual Exhibition opens 5th May.
Address: The Mall, St. James’s, SW1Y 5AH | Opening Hours: Open daily, 10am-5pm | Entry: Free / Exhibitions £5 (free for U25s)
A Mayfair gem founded in 1946 by a pair of Austrian émigrés who met as soldiers in the British Army. Originally specialising in Old Masters and Impressionist paintings, this modern gallery now shines a spotlight on boundary-pushing contemporary artists.
Figuration | Until 29th April
This group exhibition reads like a who’s-who of major Western figurative artists from the 20th century: catch pieces by Frank Auerbach, Paula Rego, Lucian Freud, Leon Kossoff and others, all in one place, for free.
Christopher Bramham | Until 29th April
Speaking of Freud, the artist he considered to be his ‘only true heir’ is getting a solo exhibition here at the same time, with his beautifully hued British landscape paintings on display.
Address: 6 Albemarle Street, W1S 4BY | Opening Hours: Weekdays 10am-5.30pm, Saturday 10am-4pm | Entry: Free
Sister gallery to the Modern Art in Old Street, this dinky viewing space opened its doors for the first time in 2020. As the name suggests, they’re concerned with artists from the 20th century onwards, running solo exhibitions for both emerging and established names.
Ricky Swallow: Sand In My Joints | Until 14th May
Swallow’s sculptural pieces are all cast from real original objects, then painstakingly hand-painted back in the studio as a kind of meditative art practice. And something about them is quite soothing to view, too.
Address: 7 Bury Street, St. James’s, SW1Y 6AL | Opening Hours: Weds-Sat 11am-6pm | Entry: Free
Pride of place in London’s art scene, presiding over the four lions of Trafalgar Square, is the National Gallery. Amongst the most visited art museums in the world, the National Gallery has a premier league roll call of great works. Van Gogh’s Sunflowers, Turner’s The Fighting Temeraire and Da Vinci’s The Virgin of the Rocks all adorn its walls. Most major Western artists are represented in some way or another here, making it an absolute mecca for Art History bingo.
Raphael | Until 31st July | £26
Raphael was really the definition of a Renaissance man – besides being an architect, plumber, poet and archeologist, he made one of the most significant contributions to Western Art in a career of just two decades. This sprawling retrospective has gathered 5* reviews by the bucketload – don’t miss it.
Address: Trafalgar Square, WC2N 5DN | Opening Hours: Daily, 10am-6pm (9pm Fridays) | Entry: Free / Exhibitions from £10 – book ahead
NOTE: The National Portrait Gallery (just behind the National Gallery) is now closed for refurbishment until 2023.
After snapping up a tea bar in Covent Garden, founder and director Sue Davies quickly developed the space into the UK’s first dedicated space for photography and photographers. The gallery’s now moved into an old textiles factory, but continues to act as a centre of excellence, and research, into the 20th century’s iconic medium.
When you think about it, it’s kind of crazy that album artwork hasn’t had its own dedicated exhibition before. The Photographers’ Gallery is here to remedy that, showcasing some of the most iconic covers in vinyl history, and celebrating the photographers’ roles in shaping the image of bands and musicians.
If you’re looking for cutting-edge contemporary photography, look no further: this prestigious annual prize takes entries from around the world, and you can see images from this year’s four talented shortlisters here, where the winner will be announced at a special ceremony on the final day.
Address: 16-18 Ramillies Street, W1F 7LW | Opening Hours: Tues-Sat, 10am-6pm (8pm Thurs/Fri), Sun 11am-6pm | Entry: £5
Once upon a time an exclusively royal affair but these days awash with the unwashed, the Queen’s Gallery is the dictionary definition of a fine art gallery – “a place that houses work created primarily for aesthetic and intellectual purposes”. The collection is, unsurprisingly, fit for a king (or queen) and contains a revolving exhibit of works owned by the royals to ensure their protection for, and presumably from, the Great British public.
Japan: Courts and Culture | Until 26th February 2023
When nations exchange gifts for diplomatic reasons, they don’t just send over any old rubbish. So at this exhibition you’ll see the jaw-droppingly beautiful items that Japan has gifted to the British monarchy over a period of 350 years, from 17th century Samurai armour to silk screens for Edward VIIth.
Address: Buckingham Palace, Buckingham Palace Road, SW1A 1AA | Opening Hours: Thurs-Mon, 10am-5.30pm | Entry: £17
Perhaps in a moment of his famed “madness”, King George III dipped into his own pocket to establish the RA in order to raise the professional status of artists and foster a national school of art. Off his rocker or not, it proved a big success and lives on to this day as a privately funded institution training, and promoting, artists and art appreciation. The RA has moved with the ebbs and flows of artistic taste, and its annual summer exhibition showcases the best new art on the scene. Its exhibitions have ranged from Hogarth to Hockney, whilst its permanent collection samples something from throughout Art History.
Kyōsai: The Israel Goldman Collection | Until 12th June | £17
Well, if you enjoyed the exhibition at Buckingham Palace, you’ll love this too. It’s a collection of pieces by the 19th century Japanese artist Kawanabe Kyōsai, whose artwork continues to influence manga and tattoo artists today.
Address: Burlington House, Piccadilly, Mayfair, W1J 0BD | Opening Hours: Tues-Sun, 10am-6pm | Entry: Free / Exhibitions from ~£15
Originally the Tudor crib to end all cribs, this imposing residence on the river Thames became a Stuart royal palace, a brief home of the Royal Academy, and now holds the offices of over a hundred creative organisations and artists, alongside numerous exhibition spaces for a range of different media. The Duke of Somerset, despite being executed before it was completed, would no doubt lose his head over how brilliant it’s become.
Sony World Photography Awards Exhibition 2022 | Until 2nd May
As names go, The Sony World Photography Awards Exhibition 2022 isn’t winning any prizes for snappiness. But it will be doling out a few awards of its own, to professional, amateur, and junior photographers from over 200 countries – and you can see the very best among them on the walls of Somerset House this month…
Address: Strand, WC2R 1LA | Opening Hours: Sat, Sun & Tue 10am-6pm, Wed-Fri 11am-8pm | Entry: Free/£15+ for exhibitions
The epicurean, slightly dotty uncle of the Tate Modern is concerned with one thing only – old Blighty (and the artists who come from within it). Expect to see all the big names from 1500 to the present day; Turner, Constable, Bacon, Blake, and Emin. Quite the knees-up.
Walter Sickert | Until 18th September | £18
Walter Sickert is seen as one of the nation’s most influential artists. A close associate of Degas, his spellbinding paintings of music hall performers are the British answer to all those ballerinas. His early career in the theatre and a fascination with the rise of celebrity culture throughout the 20th century give his paintings of everyday scenes a dramatic quality, and this major retrospective – the first in over six decades – shows off some of his finest.
Cornelia Parker | Until 16th October | £16
You’ve probably seen Cornelia Parker’s work somewhere. She’s the installation artist who delights in squashing, smashing, or bursting things, and suspending them in mid-air. And this major show includes some of her biggest hitters, including exploding sheds; the flattened tubas of a 60-piece brass band and a doll sliced in two by the same guillotine that executed Marie Antoinette.
Hew Locke: The Procession | Until 22nd January 2023 | Free
Joe Humphrys for Tate Britain
Visual artist Hew Locke says he aims to create artwork that’s “colourful and attractive, but strangely, scarily surreal” – and he’s certainly achieved that in this detailed and mysterious sculptural parade winding through the Tate’s corridors.
Address: Millbank, SW1P 4RG | Opening Hours: Daily, 10am-6pm | Entry: Free (book ahead) / Exhibitions from £16
Some people think modern art is just a load of Pollocks. And they’d be right. But he’s not the only artist you’ll find in this behemoth of modern and contemporary works. It holds the British Collection of pieces from 1900 to the present day, and is one of the largest modern art museums in the world. Housed within the old Bankside power station, it has become an iconic landmark on the Thames’ riverscape. The old turbine hall dwarfs its visitors and holds specially commissioned, larger-than-life exhibits.
Lubaina Himid | Until 3rd July | £16
The staging of the Turner prize-winning artist’s sprawling retrospective has been criticised by some as being ‘mildly disappointing’. But while the exhibition may not tie together to create a strong enough statement in itself, this is still a great opportunity to immerse yourself in Himid’s colourful, charged work, addressing topics from colonial legacies to gender.
Surrealism Beyond Borders | Until 29th August | £18
Sure, everyone loves a bit of Dali, Magritte, and MC Escher. But you know what would be truly surreal? If it were only the Europeans exploring this mind-bending realm of art. Which of course, they weren’t. So the Tate Modern is showing us all of the giraffe-melting art happening in places like Japan, Argentina, Egypt and Mexico as well.
Address: Bankside, SE1 9TG | Opening Hours: Daily 10am-6pm | Entry: Free / Exhibitions from £13
Vigo is all about emerging and up-and-coming artists, though big names like Gavin Turk have graced the gallery in the past. They regularly loan out works to major institutions, including Tate Modern and the British Museum, but their independent exhibitions put both British and international artists in the spotlight, with an emphasis on supporting creatives of the African diaspora.
Johnny Abrahams: You & I are Earth 1661 opens 4th May.
Address: 7 Masons Yard, St. James’s, London SW1 | Opening Hours: Monday – Friday, 10am-6pm; Saturday, 11am-6pm | Entry: Free
A collecting hobby that got a little out of hand is now a major collection of 18th and 19th century works collected by subsequent Marquesses of Hertford, and bequeathed to the public. Housed within a imposing regency townhouse, the Wallace is famed for its triumphant collection of French decorative arts; the grandest one outside of Gaul. It’s a fancy family’s fancy private collection, so expect gilded frames, suits of armour, and offensive levels of wealth to dominate your surroundings on your sojourn through the wings.
Inspiring Walt Disney | Until 16th October | £14+
This inventive exhibition has quite an unusual slant to it: it’s concerned with the inspiration Disney’s studios have found in French decorative arts from the 18th century. Flush with a spring-like palette of lilacs, pinks, sage greens and baby blues, it displays rococo clocks with costume sketches for Cogsworth; home movies of Walt and his brother exploring Versailles in 1935; meticulous sketches of Cinderella’s ballgown transformation in a cloud of individual, hand-drawn twinkles of magic. And The Wallace Collection’s gilded rooms are the perfect setting for it.
Address: Hertford House, Manchester Square, W1U 3BN | Opening Hours: Mon-Sun 10am-5pm | Entry: Free / £14 for exhibitions
NORTH LONDON ART GALLERIES
What began as a local Arts scheme providing the Hampstead community with classes in everything from painting to pottery, has grown, over the past 50 years, into an internationally acclaimed centre for the arts. Housed on the leafier side of Finchley this enclave of ever rotating, multi disciplinary artistry favours edgy, young contemporary artists and has a bookshop, cafe, and garden to boot.
Closed until 29th April – book for their upcoming exhibition, Lily van der Stokker, HERE.
Address: Arkwright Road, London NW3 6DG | Opening Hours: Tues-Sun 11am-6pm, late opening Thursday until 9pm | Entry: Free
The frontage exudes the class and posture of Georgian England, but step inside and you’ll tumble down into the kaleidoscopic world of Italian Futurist Art. Futurism was one of Italy’s most significant contributions to the 20th century and this museum is Britain’s only one dedicated to the movement. Expect sculptures, paintings, landscapes, and the downright bizarre – all from a young nation looking to find la dolce vita.
Archipenko and the Italian Avant-Garde opens 4th May.
Address: 39A Canonbury Square, N1 2AN | Opening Hours: Wed-Sat 11am-6pm, Sun 12pm-5pm | Entry: £7.50/£5.50 (Concession)
Dedicated totally to the three dimensional, the Pangolin details the historic development of British sculpture as well as showcasing the, ahem, cutting-edge of modern contemporary work.
Eilis O’Connor: Breath Becomes Air | Until 21st May
This collection of contemporary sculpture is exactly what you’d picture when imagining artwork inspired by air – lots of lovely sinuous, abstract forms, crafted in marble, rare stones, and polished bronze.
Curve and Form | Until 21st May
A group exhibition bringing together sculpture in a variety of styles and materials, linked purely by their sinuous, curving properties.
Breon O’Casey: Painting is Another Language | Until 27th August
A striking collection of abstract paintings, sculpture and even jewellery by the late playwright (and painter, sculptor, and jeweller).
Address: Kings Place, 90 York Way, N1 9AG | Opening Hours: Mon-Sat, 10am-6pm | Entry: Free, book ahead to visit
Representing 40 established and emerging artists, Victoria Miro is one of the largest commercial spaces in London – and a great place to wile away the afternoon pretending you can afford to buy even one item. The Wharf Road gallery is a converted furniture factory and now houses Grayson Perry’s 15m Walthamstow Tapestry amongst numerous other works including the garden itself, landscaped personally for the gallery.
John Kørner: Cosmopolitan Super Fruits | Until 7th May
Colourful, painterly artwork of everyday scenes from the Danish artist, fresh off the back of his first solo US exhibition.
Celia Paul: Memory and Desire | Until 7th May
A series of wistful paintings to tie in with the artist’s new book, a series of letters to her muse, the late painter Gwen John.
Address: 16 Wharf Road, N1 7RW | Opening Hours: Tue-Sat 10am-6pm | Entry: Free
The original hipster, Morris eschewed Victorian trends in favour of more “retro” Medieval vibes – before going on to propagate the socialist movement in Britain and then sow the seeds of fantasy literature by translating Icelandic epic poetry. His life was as intricate and interconnected as his infamous wallpaper designs, and this delightful museum celebrates every facet of his fascinating existence.
Althea McNish: Colour is Mine | Until 11th September | Free, suggested donation £5
A landmark retrospective of the pioneering textile designer Althea McNish – one of the first designers of Caribbean descent to be internationally recognised, and a groundbreaking artist who shook up the world of British fabric design and frequently showed printers how to make the impossible possible.
Joy and Solace: Frank Brangwyn and Music | Until 2nd April 2023
The artist and craftsman who helped to found the gallery gets his own semi-permanent display here, showing recently restored paintings and sketches on the theme of music. Many are on show for the first time in living memory, and you’ll also spot pieces from his own collection by figures like Walter Sickert and Frederic, Lord Leighton.
Address: Lloyd Park, Forest Road, E17 4PP | Opening Hours: Tues-Sun 10am-5pm | Entry: Free, book to visit here
Housed in a Victorian Methodist chapel-turned drama school-turned exhibition space, the Zabludowicz Collection is one of North London’s most varied contemporary art galleries. Driven by philanthropic endeavours, their aim is to bring emerging artists to a wide audience, and frequently commission works by rising talent around the globe. They’re also the first London gallery with a dedicated room for 360° VR artwork.
Among The Machines | Until 17th July
This group exhibition is exactly as post-apocalyptic as it sounds: 13 artists (including Anicka Yi, fresh off the back of her floating robots installation at Tate Modern) consider how humanity will respond as machines evolve to be more capable than us. Case in point: the accompanying AR app that adds another layer to reality that only machines can see…
Address: 176 Prince of Wales Road, NW5 3PT | Opening Hours: Thurs-Sun 12-6pm | Entry: Free
SOUTH LONDON ART GALLERIES
The oldest public art gallery in England, this imposing Regency triumph stands proud in well-to-do Dulwich. Home to an impressive collection of historical works, this is a classic gallery experience. Expect Dutch paintings of cows on bridges, splendid nudity in reenactments of Greco Roman mythology, and a handful of Italian masters.
Reframed: The Woman in the Window opens 4th May.
Address: Gallery Road, SE21 7AD | Opening Hours: Wed-Sun 10am-5pm | Entry: £16.50/£8 (concessions)/£5 18-30s
A Bermondsey treasure specialising in contemporary fashion design, founded by the legendary Dame Zandra Rhodes. Rather than house a permanent collection, they stage exhibitions on particular designers, printmakers, or fashion periods and trends, gathering items from around the globe.
150 Years of the Royal School of Needlework | Until 4th September | £12.65
In 1872, there were concerns that needlework might become a lost art. 150 years later, it’s still going strong thanks to the establishment of the Royal School of Needlework. This exhibition traces its surprisingly interesting social history alongside dozens of stunning examples of their work, from stunning appliqué tapestries to embroidered sushi.
Address: 83 Bermondsey Street, London SE1 3XF | Opening Hours: Tues-Sat 11am-6pm | Entry: £12.65/£10.45/£11.55 (students/concessions) – free for under 12s
Formaldehyde-bathed bovines and spin-painted pictures, sharks sliced in half, and a golden hooved calf, mountains of artwork all tied up with string, these are a few of Damien Hirst’s favourite things. As one of the richest living artists and most enthusiastic collectors, Hirst is no stranger to the contemporary scene and his personal collection, on show at the Newport Street Gallery, contains over 3,000 works from Bacon, Banksy, Emin and even Picasso.
Keith Cunningham: The Cloud of Witness | Until 21st August
One for the abstract fans, introducing the Aussie artist who studied at the RCA in London in the mid-50s and later worked alongside the likes of Frank Auerbach and Leon Kossoff. It’s very much part of the gloomy British postwar style, with congealed paint, dynamic brushstrokes and dark, morbid subjects.
Address: Newport Street, SE11 6AJ | Opening Hours: Wed-Sun 10am-5pm | Entry: Free
NOW Gallery is, unsurprisingly, all about cutting-edge, contemporary art; but it’s also art that’s accessible and unpretentious, often taking the form of large-scale, walk-through installations.
Joy Yamusangie: Feeling Good | Until 5th June
A collection of colourful illustrations and paintings that celebrate jazz and trans identity, housed in a jazz bar that feels like walking round a real life pop-up book. There’s also a jazz soundtrack playing, and a piano you can jump on if you’d rather make your own music.
Address: The Gateway Pavilions, Peninsula Square, London SE10 0SQ | Opening Hours: Tues-Fri, 10am-7pm, Sat 10am-5pm, Sun 11am-4pm | Entry: Free
Camberwell’s contemporary art gallery has always been at the forefront of the South London art scene. Originally the gallery of a local working men’s college, it has always sought to celebrate current artists. That trend continued and, in 1995, it was the first venue to showcase Emin’s infamous “tent”. Now spread across two listed buildings, the SLG houses a number of permanent exhibits with revolving temporary installations.
Alice Theobald: Il Y Aura (There Will Be) | Until 5th June
An absurdist short film inspired by an Ionesco play, with the shaky, grainy style of a home movie.
Céline Condorelli: After Work | Until 5th June | Fire Station Galleries
An exhibition that considers the relationship between work and free time, inspired by a local playground that the gallery commissioned Condorelli to design in 2019.
Shut The Club Down | Until 5th June | Fire Station Galleries
This dinky display is a love letter to two of Peckham and Camberwell’s clubs in the 1990s: pioneering indoor rave venue Lazerdrome, and artist incubator Imperial Gardens.
Shamica Ruddock: Deciphering A Broken Syntax | Until 12th June
A 30 minute soundscape inspired by the history of Black sound culture through the lens of spiritualism and sci-fi, played in a specially designed listening booth inspired by the calabash gourd.
Address: 65-67 Peckham Road, SE5 8UH | Opening Hours: Tues-Sun 11am-6pm (9pm Weds/last Fri of the month) | Entry: Free
Europe’s biggest commercial gallery has come under its fair share of criticism. Owned and run by an old Etonian and known for displaying works in a cold and clinical manner, it’s easy to see why. But representing the likes of Tracey Emin and Damien Hirst, you can guarantee that the stars of British contemporary art will shine bright on any visit. The whitewashed walls, and strip lighting, can make it feel like a bit like a trip to the hospital (or asylum, depending on your view of the work), but this institution of the ever fractious art scene is well worth a wander.
No current exhibitions.
Address: WCB: 144-152 Bermondsey Street, SE1 3TQ | WCMY: 25-26 Mason’s Yard, SW1Y 6BU | Opening Hours: Tues-Sat 10am-6pm, Sun 12-6pm/MY closed | Entry: Free
EAST / THE CITY GALLERIES
One of the city’s Brutalist icons, the Barbican isn’t just home to theatre, cinemas, concert halls (and an unexpected urban jungle). It also boasts a two-storey gallery space that has hosted exhibitions on everything from AI to Japanese architecture, and a retrospective of the pioneering street artist Basquiat.
Postwar Modern: New Art in Britain 1945 – 1965 | Until 26th June | £18
WW2 changed a lot of things. But the Barbican’s new exhibition is focusing specifically on the artistic side of things, and how artists tried to make sense of the new world they found themselves in. It’s absolutely huge, bringing together around 200 works from almost 50 painters, sculptors and photographers, including Lynn Chadwick, Lucian Freud, Gillian Ayres and Frank Auerbach.
Address: Barbican Centre, Silk Street, London, EC2Y 8DS | Opening Hours: Sun-Thurs 10am-6pm, Fri & Sat 10am-8pm | Entry: Free/Exhibitions from £15
Sat inside a 1930s veneer factory, Chisenhale Gallery produces and commissions contemporary art in the heart of the East End. Its focus is on emerging and under-represented artists, so expect the new and the different in this champion of the people.
Rachel Jones: say cheeeeese | Until 12th June
The artist’s first solo institutional show, say cheeeeese incorporates painting, installation and performance to express ‘that which can be seen and sensed rather than uttered’.
Address: 64 Chisenhale Road, E3 5QZ | Opening Hours: Wed-Sun 12am-6pm | Entry: Free
Established in 1886 as ‘a collection of art treasures worthy of the capital city’, the Guildhall Gallery is exactly that – a sumptuous assembly of art that you’d expect the captains of industry from centuries past to have amassed. Big sexy frames, portraits of gentlemen with enormous wigs, and an impressive number of Pre-Raphaelite masterpieces are the mainstay of their throng which seeks to show off in telling the story of London town.
Inspired! | Until 11th September
Fresh from a refurb, the gallery’s back with a sprawling exhibition showcasing artwork inspired by other media – literature, theatre and music. It’ll reveal all the easter eggs hidden in paintings that a Victorian audience would have clocked, but that might go unnoticed today…
Address: Guildhall Yard, EC2V 5AE | Opening Hours: Daily 10.30am-4pm | Entry: Free, but book ahead
Paley was a bit of a pioneer in the contemporary art scene, being the first to exhibit in London’s East End. Now representing over 40 individuals, her gallery showcases their work and makes for a varied stroll through some of the UK’s most exciting and decorated contemporary artists. There are two Turner prize winners and even more nominees on show. Which should turn heads.
Jane & Louise Wilson: The Toxic Camera | Until 5th June
The Wilson twins have worked together for more than 30 years. 2022 marks the tenth anniversary of their 21-minute film, The Toxic Camera, inspired by the work of Ukrainian filmmaker Vladimir Shevchenko who documented the clean-up in the aftermath of the Chernobyl disaster. The Toxic Camera refers to the camera he used, buried after filming and still bearing traces of radioactive particles.
Address: 60 Three Colts Lane, London E2 6GQ | Opening Hours: Wed-Sun 11am-6pm | Entry: Free
A gallery housing frequent exhibitions – often running three displays simultaneously – in a beautifully minimalist space. Modern Art plays host to all kinds of abstract and provocative contemporary art, supporting a roster of emerging sculptors, photographers and painters.
Mohammed Sami | Until 3rd May
Large scale paintings on linen that evoke an incredible sense of unease through the suggestion of danger in shadows and outlines of everyday objects. One not to miss.
Address: 4–8 Helmet Row, London EC1V 3QJ | Opening Hours: Wed-Sat 11am-6pm | Entry: Free
An eclectic East London venue dedicated to showcasing the work of local artists, and incubating new talent through residencies and workshops. Surrounded by artists’ studios, it’s set in an old 19th century convent, and has an excellent café for mulling over the exhibits with an Allpress coffee.
Matilda Ellis | Until 30th June
A mixed media illustrative display, inspired by ancient Greek poetry and artwork.
Address: 181 Bow Road, E3 2SJ | Opening Hours: Tues-Sun, 10am-4pm | Entry: Free
Founded in 1901, this gallery set out to give great art to the masses. Since then it’s had some pretty impressive mates round for tea. Picasso’s Guernica popped by; Pollock, Hockney, and Lucian Freud all logged stays; and currently it displays a mix of modern and contemporary masters.
Christen Sveaas Art Foundation: The Travel Bureau | Until 8th May
Artist Paulina Olowska has selected works from this Norwegian collection that transform the gallery space into a kind of travel agents, with pieces by the likes of Marina Abramović, Brian Alfred and Rosson Crow acting as portals to other worlds.
Simone Fattal: Finding A Way | Until 15th May | Free
This commission is Fattal’s first solo exhibition in the UK, and ranges from ceramic art to etchings, watercolours and bronze sculpture, all themed around ideas of ascension and emancipation.
A Century of the Artist’s Studio: 1920 – 2020 | Until 5th June
Getting an insight into the spaces where artists have worked might not sound like the most thrilling invitation, when you could just be looking at… well, their actual work. But this dynamic, jostling exhibition takes you on a surprisingly fascinating journey across the globe, into Parisian attics and Canadian huts via Frida Kahlo’s sickbed and an empty art school.
Address: 77-82 Whitechapel High Street, E1 7QX | Opening Hours: Tue-Sun 11am-6pm, 9pm Thursdays | Entry: Free (book ahead) / Exhibitions from £9.50/£7.50 concessions
WEST LONDON ART GALLERIES
Nominated for European Museum of the Year in 2018, the Design Museum is, as you’d expect, very well put together. In the bustling cultural quarter of Kensington, its three floors and two basements serve up permanent exhibitions, learning centres, glass-walled design studios and temporary gallery spaces. The permanent gallery is the only one in the UK to be dedicated completely to contemporary design.
Football: Designing the Beautiful Game | Until 19th August | £16.80
An epic exhibition dedicated to the design behind football kits, boots, stadia, posters and more, with a staggering 500+ objects on display – including items worn by Maradona, Messi, and others.
Address: 224-238 Kensington High Street, W8 6AG | Opening Hours: Sun-Thurs 10am-6pm, Fri-Sat 10am-9pm | Entry: Free/~£16 temporary exhibitions
Street art off the street is the focus of this gritty and urban gallery. Derived from the Italian to scratch, this ancient form of expression has taken on a new lease of life in our modern times. This collection gives you a vast overview of the city’s strongest pieces – without ever making you step outside. Unless, of course, you want to try your hand at one of their graffiti workshops…
WHAT’S ON: Main collection only.
Address: 284 Portobello Road, W10 5TE | Opening Hours: Wed-Sun 11am-6pm | Entry: Free
When a noted painter and lord of the realm commissions you to design his house, you’d better bring your A-game. Well, George Aitchison did just that and his creation is now a Grade II listed building, widely revered for its Orientalist and aesthetic interiors – and the home of the Leighton House Museum. The permanent gallery, predictably, contains numerous works from Leighton himself; so expect to cast your eye over lavish oil panoramas of Greek myths, lords and ladies, and ecclesiastical scenes.
WHAT’S ON: Main gallery only.
Check out talks, events and workshops HERE.
Address: 12 Holland Park Road, W14 8LZ | Opening Hours: Weekends 10am-5:30pm | Entry: £9/£7 (Concessions)
A controversial centre headed by a controversial curator, the Saatchi Gallery has always sought to challenge. Its guiding principle has always been to operate as the quirkier B-side to places like the Tate Modern – so expect to find new and unknown works from artists all hoping to be the Hockney of tomorrow.
Vision & Virtuosity by Tiffany & Co. opens 10th June.
Address: Duke of York’s HQ, Kings Road, SW3 4RY | Opening Hours: Mon-Sun 10am-6pm | Entry: Free/Exhibitions from £24.50
These two contemporary galleries connect thanks to a snaking bridge that crests the Serpentine – hence the name. In celebration of their idyllic, Eden-esque setting, every summer the gallery commissions a temporary outdoor pavilion – this year it’ll be designed by American urbanist Theaster Gates.
Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster: Alienarium 5 | Until 4th September
A leading artist of her generation with wide-reaching ideas, Gonzalez-Foerster invites you into a surreal ‘speculative environment’ that allows you to imagine encounters with extraterrestrials through 360º collages, VR, and, er – alien smells.
Address: Kensington Gardens, W2 3XA | Opening Hours: Tues-Sun 10am-6pm | Entry: Free
V&A | South Kensington
Like the Queen whose name it bears, the Victoria & Albert is imposing, vast, and spans decades. With 145 galleries and over 5,000 years of art in its collection, it really is an encyclopaedia of design. Since its inception in 1852, the museum has always adopted a policy of “wide art”; attempting to inspire, dazzle, and entertain with its eclectic collection. Today is no different and you can travel the world and back without ever leaving the building (except to look at the courtyard).
Fabergé in London | Until 8th May | £18
The Russian goldsmith Carl Fabergé really cracked the world of luxury crafts. His famous eggs are just one part of what he created, and here you can see luxurious cigar boxes, jewellery and trinkets, whose world renown meant the firm were able to open a London branch in 1903.
Beatrix Potter: Drawn to Nature | Until 8th January 2023 | £14
Beatrix Potter was a skilled mycologist, a scientific illustrator, an ardent conservationist, and the reason that there’s a cocky CGI bunny voiced by James Corden on the side of every London bus. And you’ll find some of her wonderful work on display at the V&A’s latest retrospective…
Fashioning Masculinities | Until 6th November | £20
Jean-Baptiste Belley – Omar Victor Diop (2014)
If you’re interested in the relationship between fashion and gender, the V&A’s new exhibition’ll suit you. Through three gallery spaces, it looks at men’s fashion through the centuries and how it’s both constructed and subverted ideas of masculinity, bringing together outfits worn by figures like David Bowie; clothing designed by Gucci; film; photography; and historic treasures from the rest of the V&A’s collection.
Address: Cromwell Road, SW7 2RL | Opening Hours: Wed-Sun 10am-5.45pm | Entry: Free / Exhibitions from £12
Last updated: 28th April 2022
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