What’s On At The Best Art Galleries In London
Last updated: 7th January 2020 | Main image: Tim Walker: Wonderful Things
Ever since cavemen graffitied their bedrooms, art has played a key role in our culture. But with so much of it about, it’s hard to know what to look for. One man’s trash is, literally, another’s Turner award-winning installation. Luckily, the capital curates some of the finest collections on earth, and with this comprehensive guide you’ll be surveying Cezannes and pointing out Picassos like a pro.
It’s time to brush up…
JUMP TO: CENTRAL | NORTH | SOUTH | EAST | WEST
CENTRAL LONDON ART GALLERIES
A temporary home for the British Academy of Film and Television Arts while their grand pile gets done up next door, BAFTA Piccadilly is hosting a free exhibition showcasing costumes, sketches, notes and other memorabilia from some of the most iconic winners of BAFTA awards over the years. You’ll see Villanelle’s voluminous pink dress from Killing Eve; initial concept drawings for the indie puzzle game Monument Kingdom; hair and make up designs from The Favourite; and notes made by Chiwetel Ejiofor as research for his award-winning performance in 12 Years A Slave.
Address: BAFTA Piccadilly, 194 Piccadilly, W1J 9LN | Opening Hours: Weekdays 8am-6pm, weekends 12-6pm | Entry: Free
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.
Bridget Riley | Until 26th January 2020
Britain’s most celebrated pop-art painter is given a huge retrospective, with hypnotic ’60s geometric designs spread over large-scale canvases. It also includes some of her more recent works, including Continuum, the only 3D piece she’s ever created.
Address: Southbank Centre, 337-338 Belvedere Road, SE1 8XX | Opening Hours: Wed-Mon 11am-7pm, Thursdays until 9pm | Entry: Free / Exhibitions from £14.50
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. Even if it’s just the second Rochelle Canteen restaurant. READ MORE
Honey-Suckle Company: Omnibus | Until 12th January 2020
A retrospective over the 25 years of Berlin-based collective Honey-Suckle, who describe themselves as a cultural movement who have developed a ‘novel holistic healing method’ born out of the post-reunification, pre-internet squatter and rave culture of 90s Berlin.
Check out screenings, talks and more HERE
Address: The Mall, St James’s, SW1Y 5AH | Opening Hours: Tue-Thurs 12pm-11pm, Fri-Sat 12pm-12am, Sun 12pm-11pm | Entry: £1
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.
FBA Futures 2020 | Until 18th January 2020
The cutting edge of figurative art and portraiture, exploring themes from modern feminism to global identities.
Address: The Mall, St. James’s, SW1Y 5AH | Opening Hours: Tue-Sun 10am-5pm (closes 1pm last day of exhibitions) | Entry: Free / Exhibitions £4/£6 with a catalogue
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 artists are represented in some way or another here, making it an absolute mecca for Art History bingo. READ MORE
Leonardo: Experience A Masterpiece | Extended until 26th January 2020
How do you make an art exhibition immersive, you ask? By taking a deep dive into one of the Western art world’s most iconic paintings. Through four different recreated settings, this exhibition takes you through the ideas behind the creation of Leonardo da Vinci’s The Virgin Of The Rocks, including a projection studio revealing the layers beneath the finished painting.
Gauguin Portraits | Until 26th January 2020
An exhibition entirely dedicated to the French artist’s figurative paintings, from self-portraits with different personas to multiple depictions of the same sitter in different media, many of which have been brought together from private collections spread across the world.
Young Bomberg and the Old Masters | Until 1st March 2020
A free display showing, for the first time, the early work of the modernist artist David Bomberg alongside some of the works that inspired him, from Botticelli to Michelangelo.
Address: Trafalgar Square, WC2N 5DN | Opening Hours: Sat-Thurs 10am-6pm, Fri 10am-9pm | Entry: Free / Exhibitions from £10
A nosy, mouthy, (and eye-y) neighbour of the National Gallery, the NPG has been serving up strong face in every corner of its four storey building ever since 1896. It’s fairly commonplace to feel like you’re being watched with over 195,000 faces looking out from within frames or atop busts. The most celebrated visage is that of William Shakespeare, but the entire gallery is a veritable who’s who of history and makes the perfect spot to come face to face with England’s ancestors.
Pre-Raphaelite Sisters | Until 26th January
A seminal exhibition focussing on the impact of 12 female artists on the Pre-Raphaelite movement of the late 19th century.
Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2019 | Until 16th February
An arresting collection of nearly 60 shortlisted contemporary photographic portraits, many displayed for the first time.
Address: St. Martin’s Place, WC2H 0HE | Opening Hours: Sat-Thur 10am-6pm, Fri 10am-9pm | Entry: Free / Exhibitions from £14
After snapping up a tea bar in Covent Garden, founder and director Sue Davies quickly developed it into the UK’s first dedicated space for photography and photographers. It’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. READ MORE
Shot In Soho | Until 9th February 2020
A love letter to London’s pocket of defiance and diversity, featuring candid photographs shot over the past half-century.
Feast For The Eyes – The Story of Food In Photography | Until 9th February 2020
In an age where food probably gets photographed as much as people, this exhibition takes a look at the history of the genre, and how it’s been informed by social and political contexts.
Address: 16-18 Ramillies Street, W1F 7LW | Opening Hours: Mon-Sun 10am-6pm, Thursday lates 5-8pm | Entry: Free / Exhibitions £4 – free daily after 5pm
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.
George IVth: Art and Spectacle | Until 3rd May
Gouty, womanising, and shockingly bad with money, George IVth is the most easily caricatured of the historic English royals. But as this exhibition shows, he was also a highly influential tastemaker in art, design and fashion – and was one of the most conscientious art collectors of the entire royal lineage.
Address: Buckingham Palace, Buckingham Palace Road, SW1A 1AA | Opening Hours: Mon-Sun 9:30am-5:30pm | Entry: £12
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.
Lucian Freud: The Self-Portraits | Until 26th January
Brought together for the first time, these self-portraits spanning nearly 70 years give intriguing insights not just to Freud’s technical development as a painter, but the shifts in his own psyche and the process of ageing.
Eco-Visionaries | Until 23rd February
An often beautifully pensive, if bordering on frustratingly non-pragmatic, exhibition bringing together artists and architects in an elegy to our vanishing planet, including photography by Olafur Eliasson, a tank full of jellyfish and an AI-simulated extinct male northern white rhinoceros.
Address: Burlington House, Piccadilly, Mayfair, W1J 0BD | Opening Hours: Sat-Thurs 10am-6pm, Sun 10am-10pm | Entry: Free / Exhibitions from £14
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.
NOTE: The Courtauld Gallery is currently closed for major renovation works until at least 2020. Watch this space.
24/7 | Until 23rd February
An exhibition exploring the non-stop modern world and the impact on technology on our sleep, work and leisure time – with walk-in installations including a twinkling meditation chamber and a pop up hotel room. READ MORE
Address: Strand, WC2R 1LA | Opening Hours: Mon-Sun 8am-11pm | Entry: Free/£14+ for exhibitions
The epicurean, slightly dotty uncle of the Tate Modern is concerned with one thing only – The Land of Hope and Glory (and the artists who come from within it). It’s quite the line up, so expect all the big names from 1500 to the present day; Turner, Constable, Bacon, Blake, and Emin. Quite the knees-up.
William Blake | Until 2nd February
An epic, critically acclaimed exhibition showcasing the dramatic, otherworldly works of the British printmaker and poet. Includes such classics as Newton, The Ghost of a Flea, and Satan Smiting Job With Sore Boils.
Address: Millbank, SW1P 4RG | Opening Hours: Mon-Sun 10am-6pm | Entry: Free / 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. READ MORE
Nam June Paik | Until 9th February 2020
A multi-sensory retrospective of the artist who embraced technology throughout his five decade career, from a garden where TVs grow to his award-winning Sistine Chapel installation of 1993.
Dora Maar | Until 15th March 2020
A stunning collection of photographs taken in the 1930s, from candid shots to surrealist photomontages, and touching on Maar’s artistic influence both on and from Picasso during their relationship.
Dóra Maurer | Until 5th July 2020 | Free
A year-long, free exhibition of the works of Hungarian artist Dóra Maurer, who was a teacher and artist in the underground bohemian community growing up during socialist Hungary.
Address: Bankside, SE1 9TG | Opening Hours: Fri-Sat 10am-10pm, Sun-Thurs 10am-6pm Entry: Free / Exhibitions from £16
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.
Forgotten Masters: Indian Painting For The East India Company | Until 19th April
A striking collection of botanical and animal paintings commissioned for the East India Company, showcasing the rarely credited talents of local Indian artists in compiling the company’s comprehensive studies in natural history.
Address: Hertford House, Manchester Square, W1U 3BN | Opening Hours: Mon-Sun 10am-5pm | Entry: Free
NORTH LONDON ART GALLERIES
Ben Uri Gallery
Founded over 100 years ago in the formerly Jewish area of Whitechapel by Russian immigrant Lazar Berson, this art museum has always focused on the lives, careers, and works of refugee artists. True to its heritage, the gallery packed its bags and migrated to St John’s Wood, where now its 1300 works – covering 30 separate mediums – continue to showcase the artistic output of immigrant communities, as well as housing an extensive art library with resources on Jewish artists.
New exhibition opens 15th January 2020.
Address: 108A Boundary Road, NW8 0RH | Opening Hours: Weekdays 10am-5.30pm (8pm Wednesdays) | Entry: Free
Camden Arts Centre
Credit: Hydar Dewachi
What began as a local Arts scheme providing the Hampstead community with classes in everything from painting to pottery, grew, over the past 50 years, into an internationally acclaimed centre for the arts. Housed on the leafier side of Swiss Cottage this enclave of ever rotating, multi disciplinary artistry is a small and quaint affair with an onsite bookshop, cafe, and garden to boot.
Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art
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.
Umberto Boccioni: Recreating the Lost Sculptures | Until 22nd December
Umberto Boccioni was one of the most influential sculptors of the Futurist movement. But ten years after he died, in 1927, many of his sculptures were deliberately demolished by a studio owner who needed more room. Almost 100 years later, artists Matt Smith and Anders Rådén have studied vintage photographs of the originals to digitally map and 3D print replicas of those lost works…
Tullio Crali: A Futurist Life | 15th January – 11th April
Another key figure of the Futurist artistic movement gets a sprawling retrospective here, focussing on his striking paintings inspired by flight and space, with multiple simultaneous viewpoints, dynamic perspectives and vibrant colours.
Address: 39A Canonbury Square, N1 2AN | Opening Hours: Wed-Sat 11am-6pm, Sun 12pm-5pm | Entry: £6.50/£4.50 (Concession)
House of Illustration
London’s only public gallery dedicated to graphic art was founded by a man who undoubtedly etched his creations onto your childhood, Sir Quentin Blake. As Dahl’s illustrator, his work has found itself onto almost every bookshelf in Britain and a small collection of his drawings are on permanent display in the House of Illustration. Set within the old granary buildings just north of Kings Cross, this museum is a dais to doodles – proving that even sketches have their place up on the wall. READ MORE
Designed In Cuba: Cold War Graphics| Until 19th January
The image that spawned a thousand Camden t-shirt stalls: Che Guevara and other Latin American revolutionary icons are brought together in a striking collection of graphic propaganda created between 1965 and 1992.
W.E.B. Du Bois: Charting Black Lives | Until 1st March
The 20th century activist for African American rights is best known for his pioneering literary works. But this exhibition showcases the potent visual arguments Du Bois made to back up his claims, with boldly designed infographics designed to shatter some of the racist notions held in turn-of-the-century North America.
Address: 2 Granary Square, King’s Cross, N1C 4BH | Opening Hours: Tue-Sun 10am-6pm | 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.
Jason Wason | Until 21st December
Striking metal work that recalls ancient craftsmanship.
Ann Christopher RA: If You Stop Asking Questions… | Until 21st December
Bold, abstract sculptures inspired by natural formations and ancient monoliths.
Address: Kings Place, 90 York Way, N1 9AG | Opening Hours: Mon-Sat 10am-6pm | Entry: Free
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.
Gallery closed until 29th January.
Address: 16 Wharf Road, N1 7RW | Opening Hours: Tue-Sat 10am-6pm | Entry: Free
William Morris Gallery
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.
Pioneers: William Morris and the Bauhaus | Until 26th January 2020
A gallery exploring the links between the English Arts & Crafts movement and the German Bauhauslers, with over 60 beautifully designed objects on display – including dresses donated by designer Mary Katrantzou.
Address: Lloyd Park, Forest Road, E17 4PP | Opening Hours: Tues-Sun 10am-5pm | Entry: Free
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.
Closed for installation – reopens on 16th January with No horizon, no edge to liquid
Address: 176 Prince of Wales Road, NW5 3PT | Opening Hours: Thurs-Sun 12-6pm | Entry: Free
SOUTH LONDON ART GALLERIES
An unusual little gem in Bermondsey, where work from emerging artists is displayed inside a whitewashed house, complete with fireplaces and radiators. Here you’ll find contemporary art at the cutting edge; from mixed-media portraits to site-specific installations.
Closed for winter break, reopens in February 2020 with Dear Christine.
Address: 45 Grange Road, SE1 3BH | Opening Hours: Thurs-Sun 3-7pm | Entry: Free
Dulwich Picture Gallery
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. READ MORE
Rembrandt’s Light | Until 2nd February 2020
350 years after Rembrandt’s light went out, 35 of his most striking paintings are brought together (some for the first time in the UK). The exhibition focusses on the period he spent painting in a light-filled house on Breestraat, Amsterdam, and has been created in collaboration with a Star Wars cinematographer for an epic journey through the gallery.
Address: Gallery Road, SE21 7AD | Opening Hours: Tue-Sun 10am-5pm | Entry: £16.50/£8 (concessions)
Newport Street Gallery
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.
Currently closed, first exhibition of 2020 TBA.
Address: Newport Street, SE11 6AJ | Opening Hours: Tue-Sun 10am-6pm | Entry: Free
South London Gallery
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”. It now houses a number of permanent exhibits with revolving temporary installations.
Bloomberg New Contemporaries 2019 | Until 23rd February
This annual open submission competition always receives impressively unusual works from up-and-coming student artists, and this year is no different, featuring political satire, an electronic orchestra, and a piece named ‘A House With Boobs For Roof Tiles’.
Address: 65-67 Peckham Road, SE5 8UH | Opening Hours: Tue 11am-6pm, Wed 11am-9pm, Thurs-Sun 11am-6pm | Entry: Free
White Cube Bermondsey
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.
Anselm Kiefer: Superstrings, Runes, The Norns, Gordian Knot | Until 26th January
An exhibition of new work by the esteemed contemporary artist, inspired by the unifying scientific concept of string theory and tying together his own disparate interests, from intractable problems to Norse mythology.
And over in White Cube Mason’s Yard…
Antony Gormley: In Formation | Until 18th January
If you missed Gormley’s huge exhibition at the RA last month, you can see some of his newest work here – including the new sculptural installation ‘Stacks’.
Address: 144-152 Bermondsey Street, SE1 3TQ | Opening Hours: Tue-Sat 10am-6pm, Sun 12pm-6pm | 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 radical street artist Basquiat.
Into The Night: Cabarets and Clubs in Modern Art | Until 19th January
A must-see collection of artwork inspired by the raucous, jazz-filled clubs and bars of the early 20th century. From the Weimar cabaret scene to the Mbari clubs of 60s Nigeria, it’s a fascinating look at the history of counter-culture and artistic expression. Plus, they’ve actually recreated life-style versions of some of the most iconic spaces – and towards the end of the week, they host live jazz performances and cocktail evenings inside them.
Address: Barbican Centre, Silk Street, London, EC2Y 8DS | Opening Hours: Mon-Tues 12-6pm, Wed-Fri 12-9pm, Sat 10am-9pm, Sun 10am-6pm | 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.
Imran Perretta: the destructors | 17th January – 15th March
A short film commissioned by the Chisenhale that explores the experience of young British Muslim men growing up in the wake of 9/11, and the sense of trust they are denied by the state.
Address: 64 Chisenhale Road, E3 5QZ | Opening Hours: Wed-Sun 12am-6pm | Entry: Free
Guildhall Art Gallery
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.
Currently permanent gallery only.
Address: Guildhall Yard, EC2V 5AE | Opening Hours: Mon-Sat 10am-5pm, Sun 12pm-4pm | Entry: Free
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.
A gallery running frequent exhibitions – frequently running three displays at a time – it’s a beautifully minimalist space that plays host to all kinds of abstract and provocative contemporary art, supporting a roster of emerging sculptors, photographers and painters.
Torey Thornton: Subdominion Edges Y Assumed Legalities | Until 1st February
Torey Thornton isn’t really sold on the whole idea of naming, categorising or imposing meaning on artistic forms. So don’t expect anything, and just enjoy the multimedia expressions Thornton has to offer.
Address: 50 – 58 Vyner Street, E2 9DQ | Opening Hours: Wed-Sat 11am-6pm | 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.
Anna Maria Maiolino: Making Love Revolutionary | Until 12th January 2020
A retrospective spanning six decades of the Italian artist’s politically charged work, created under the shadow of Brazil’s military regime.
Address: 77-82 Whitechapel High Street, E1 7QX | Opening Hours: Tue-Sun 11am-6pm (9pm Thursdays) | Entry: Free
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. READ MORE
Beazley Designs of the Year | Until 9th February 2020
Award-winning works of design across the categories of fashion, furniture, architecture and more.
Moving To Mars | Until 23rd February 2020
Walk through a life-size, hypothetically liveable, 3D printed Martian home, which will set off alongside the 2030 explorer missions… READ MORE
Address: 224-238 Kensington High Street, W8 6AG | Opening Hours: Mon-Sun 10am-6pm | 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. Whether it’s a growing art form or just an aberration on our city streets, it certainly packs a punch and this collection gives you a vast overview of the city’s strongest pieces – without ever making you step outside.
WHAT’S ON: Main Exhibition Only.
Address: 284 Portobello Road, W10 5TE | Opening Hours: Mon-Sun 11am-6pm | Entry: Free
Leighton House Museum and Art Gallery
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. READ MORE
WHAT’S ON: Main gallery only.
Check out talks, events and workshops HERE.
Address: 12 Holland Park Road, W14 8LZ | Opening Hours: Wed-Mon 10am-5:30pm | Entry: £9/£7 (Concessions)
A controversial centre headed by a controversial curator, the Saatchi Gallery has always sought to challenge. Thankfully, viewing its collection is no such thing – it’s the only completely free contemporary art gallery of its size in the world. 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. READ MORE
Tutankhamun: Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh | Until 3rd May 2020
An opportunity to pore over 150 stunning objects from the boy king’s tomb, 60 of which are travelling outside of Egypt for the first time. Book now; this one’ll be big.
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’s honours go to Japanese architect Junya Ishigama who’s sculpted 61 tonnes ofCumbrian slate into a huge, wave-like roof.
Albert Oehlen | Until 2nd February 2020
A madcap array of surreal paintings from the Swiss artist, like a cross between Dalí and Hieronymus Bosch.
Address: Kensington Gardens, W2 3XA | Opening Hours: Tues-Sun 10am-6pm | Entry: Free
Like the Queen whose name it bears, the V&A 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). READ MORE
Mary Quant | Until 16th February 2020
If the survey of one seminal 20th century designer isn’t enough for you, next door you’ll thankfully find over 200 objects – including clothing, make up, photographs and more – relating to 60s British designer Mary Quant, who epitomised the Carnaby Street style.
Tim Walker: Wonderful Things | Until 8th March
Vibrant, surreal and deeply creative images from the renowned fashion photographer, alongside new commissions inspired by the V&A’s permanent collection.
Cars: Accelerating The Modern World | Until 19th April
Cars. Lots of cars: beautiful, streamlined numbers from the 30s, to imagined cars of the future, and the various impacts of driving on humans, cities, and the planet.
Address: Cromwell Road, SW7 2RL | Opening Hours: Sat-Thurs 10am-5:45pm, Fri 10am-10pm | Entry: Free / Exhibitions from £12
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