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What's On At The Best Art Galleries In London

What’s On At The Best Art Galleries In London

What’s On At The Best Art Galleries In London

Last updated: 30th July 2019 | Main image: Mark Handforth at Modern Art

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 

Bastian Gallery

Freshly opened, Mayfair’s Bastian is the first international sibling to the renowned Berlin spot, which – in just over a decade of opening – has already seen works by Picasso and Anselm Kiefer hang on its walls. Its bright and airy London incarnation is set to play host to equally eminent artists from the 20th century, having kicked off with a display of Warhol polaroids.

WHAT’S ON

Ulrich Erben – Paintings | Until 10th August

It’s a collection of paintings. By Ulrich Erben. Specifically, it’s the first showing of his work in London for over three decades, and shows some of his most beautiful colour-field paintings, in which he uses gentle gradients of hues to stop the image looking ‘static’.

Address: 8 Davies Street, W1K 3DW | Opening Hours: Tuesday-Saturday, 10am-6pm | Entry: Free

Hayward Gallery

Hayward Gallery - art galleries London

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.

WHAT’S ON

Kiss My Genders | Until 8th September

A fifty year retrospective of artists whose work pushes boundaries and explores the scope of gender identities, with over 100 different works across photography, film and painting.

Address: Southbank Centre, 337-338 Belvedere Road, SE1 8XX | Opening Hours: Wed-Mon 11am-7pm, Thursdays until 9pm | Entry: Free / Exhibitions from £14.50

ICA

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.

WHAT’S ON

I, I, I, I, I, I, I, Kathy Acker | Until 4th August

A bonanza of multidisciplinary works from Acker and various other artists, writers and performers shaped by the avant-garde artist’s approach to language, politics, and identity; featuring personal documents, performative media appearances and more.

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

Phillips

Hysterical | Until 21st August

Hysterical London Art Exhibitions on now

Phillips is an auction house that’s usually somewhere you wouldn’t even think of entering without half a mill resting in your pocket. But for the summer, they’ve created an immersive exhibition with the help of set designer and artist Gary Card, who’s created backdrops for Nike and Hermes as well as album covers for Gaga and Paul McCartney. His trippy, psychedelic exhibition space is the perfect setting for equally experimental artwork by Cindy Sherman, Yayoi Kusama, and Ugo Rondinone.

You can even walk through the space virtually here.

Address: 30 Berkeley Square, W1J 6EX | Opening Hours: Monday-Saturday 10am-6pm | Entry: Free

Mall Galleries

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.

WHAT’S ON

Minerva opens 31st July.

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

National Gallery

National Gallery - art galleries in London

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.

WHAT’S ON

Bartolomé Bermejo: Master of the Spanish Renaissance | Free | Until 29th September

Bartolomé Bermejo was something of a man of mystery, with fewer than 20 known paintings. What is known, however, is that they’re all highly accomplished, with an amazing eye for textures and materials. Plus, six of the seven works displayed here have never made it to the UK before.

Address: Trafalgar Square, WC2N 5DN | Opening Hours: Sat-Thurs 10am-6pm, Fri 10am-9pm | Entry: Free / Exhibitions from £10

National Portrait Gallery

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.

WHAT’S ON

BP Portrait Award 2019 | Until 20th October

Showing at the NPG for the 40th year running, the Portrait Award is an impressive open competition showcasing portrait paintings by artists around the world.

Address: St. Martin’s Place, WC2H 0HE | Opening Hours: Sat-Thur 10am-6pm, Fri 10am-9pm | Entry: Free / Exhibitions from £14

The Photographers’ Gallery

Photographers gallery - art galleries in London

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.

WHAT’S ON

Manuel Álvarez Bravo: Photopoetry | Until 8th September

Drawing on influences from photographic journals to the avant-garde work of his artistic contemporaries in Mexico, including Frida Kahlo, Bravo has been hailed as one of the great Modernist photographers of Latin America.

Urban Impulses: Latin American Photography from 1959 to 2016 | Until 6th October

Showcasing the photography of artists from Mexico, Cuba, Colombia and beyond, this exhibition showcases half a century of artful documentary, from intimate street photography to snapshots of huge political movements and upheaval.

TPG New Talent | Until 6th October

Check out the work of emerging photographers supported by the gallery’s new mentorship scheme, ranging from candid shots to portraiture, collage and digital manipulation.

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

The Queen’s Gallery

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.

WHAT’S ON

Leonardo da Vinci: A Life In Drawing | Until 13th October

500 years after da Vinci shuffled off this mortal coil, the royal gallery’s exhibiting over 200 of his drawings and sketches, spanning elaborate designs for flying machines to studies in anatomy, architecture and cartography.

Address: Buckingham Palace, Buckingham Palace Road, SW1A 1AA | Opening Hours: Mon-Sun 9:30am-5:30pm | Entry: £12

Royal Academy

Royal Academy - art galleries in London

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.

WHAT’S ON

Summer Exhibition | Until 12th August

Celebrating its grand 251st year, the Summer Exhibition is a huge open call to artists, from Royal Academicians like Tracey Emin to new and emerging painters, sculptors and videomakers. This year, it sees over 1,500 works adorning its walls and spilling out into the iconic courtyard, including an animal-themed ‘menagerie’ in the main hall…

Address: Burlington House, Piccadilly, Mayfair, W1J 0BD | Opening Hours: Sat-Thurs 10am-6pm, Sun 10am-10pm | Entry: Free / Exhibitions from £14

Somerset House

Somerset House

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.

WHAT’S ON

Get Up, Stand Up Now | Until 15th September

A critically acclaimed exhibition of works from Black artists based in Britain and beyond, spanning artistic disciplines and generations, from Windrush generation artists to young creative talent.

Address: Strand, WC2R 1LA | Opening Hours: Mon-Sun 8am-11pm | Entry: Free/£14+ for exhibitions

Tate Britain

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.

WHAT’S ON

Van Gogh and Britain | Until 11th August

50 paintings from one of the world’s greatest artists, each telling a tale of how he inspired, and was inspired by, Britain and its artists. You should Gogh.

Address: Millbank, SW1P 4RG | Opening Hours: Mon-Sun 10am-6pm | Entry: Free / Exhibitions from £16

Tate Modern

Tate Modern - art galleries in London

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

WHAT’S ON

Natalia Goncharova | Until 8th September

Striking work by the avant-garde Russian artist whose work spanned from Russian ballet costume-making to futuristic body art and colossal religious paintings.

Takis | Until 27th October

Takis’ exhibition is a little like walking into a giant computer. Filled with the whirring, beeping and flashing of over 70 pieces by the artist (aka Panayiotis Vassilakis), it’s a multisensory bonanza of electronic art.

Olafur Eliasson: In Real Life | Until 5th January 2020

One of the most highly anticipated exhibitions in London this year, this show, set on an epic scale, features over 30 of the Scandinavian artist’s most mind-boggling installations, from indoor rainbows to a room of orange fog. READ MORE

Address: Bankside, SE1 9TG | Opening Hours: Fri-Sat 10am-10pm, Sun-Thurs 10am-6pm Entry: Free / Exhibitions from £16

Wallace Collection

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.

WHAT’S ON

An Enquiring Mind: Manolo Blahník at the Wallace Collection | Until 1st September

A fashion exhibition with a difference, with stunning shoes from the designer’s personal archives set against a backdrop of beautiful baroque art and antiques.

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.

WHAT’S ON

Main gallery only.

Address: 108A Boundary Road, NW8 0RH | Opening Hours: Currently by appointment: admin@benuri.org | Entry: Free

Camden Arts Centre

Camden Arts Centre - art galleries in London

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.

WHAT’S ON

Elizabeth Murray: Flying Bye | Until 15th September

The first UK exhibition of the prolific American painter, focussing on her epic, 3D paintings from the 80s and 90s.

Wong Ping: Heart Digger | Until 15th September

A survey of the Hong Kong-born artist’s recent digital and sculptural work, including surreal animations, a three-headed rabbit and a capitalist cow.

Address: Arkwright Road, NW3 6DG | Opening Hours: Tues-Sun 10am-6pm, Wed 10am-9pm | Entry: Free

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.

WHAT’S ON

Paolo Scheggi: In Depth | Until 15th September

Paolo Scheggi was “a protagonist of Spatialism”. Which makes him sound like some sort of futuristic astronaut, but in fact means that he created avant-garde sculptures in 60s Italy, going on to collaborate with the theatre and fashion industry.

Address: 39A Canonbury Square, N1 2AN | Opening Hours: Wed-Sat 11am-6pm, Sun 12pm-5pm | Entry: £6.50/£4.50 (Concession)

House of Illustration

House of Illustration - art galleries in London

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.

WHAT’S ON

Posy Simmonds: A Restrospective | Until 15th September

A look back at the graphic artist’s varied career, from cartoon strips for the Guardian to children’s books, pastiches and pages from the first ever British graphic novel, True Love.

Marie Neurath: Picturing Science | Until 3rd November

Depending on your age, this will either be a gallery of retro or familiar science textbooks. Either way, the graphics are iconic, and given their own platform at last.

Address: 2 Granary Square, King’s Cross, N1C 4BH | Opening Hours: Tue-Sun 10am-6pm | Entry: £7.50/£5.50 (Concession)

Pangolin

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.

Main gallery only.

Address: Kings Place, 90 York Way, N1 9AG | Opening Hours: Mon-Sat 10am-6pm | Entry: Free

William Morris Gallery

William Morris Gallery - art galleries in London

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.

WHAT’S ON

Haiku Adventure: The Craft of Games | Until 15th September

Find out exactly what video games and Japanese Edo-era woodblock prints have in common at this interactive installation detailing the development of Haiku Adventure, a new game inspired by the art of ukiyo-e prints.

Madge Gill: Myninerest | Until 22nd September

Madge Gill was a local Walthamstow artist who created Bayeux Tapestry-sized embroidered artwork through her spirit guide, Myninerest. And now many of her pieces are being exhibited for the first time…

Address: Lloyd Park, Forest Road, E17 4PP | Opening Hours: Tues-Sun 10am-5pm | Entry: Free

 

SOUTH LONDON ART GALLERIES

ArthouSE1

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.

WHAT’S ON

Playtime opens 5th September.

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

WHAT’S ON

Cutting Edge | Until 8th September

120 works from the Grosvenor School of Modern Art, showcasing the iconic style of 30s Modernist printmaking that came to prominence in a rapidly changing world.

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.    

WHAT’S ON

John Bellany and Alan Davie: Cradle of Magic | Until 1st September

A retrospective of two of the biggest artists from the Scottish Renaissance of the mid 20th century. Expect a mad, colourful mash-up of Celtic and Byzantine religious art, jazz, automatism and fishermen.

Address: Newport Street, SE11 6AJ |  Opening Hours: Tue-Sun 10am-6pm | Entry: Free

South London Gallery

South London Gallery - art galleries in London

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.

WHAT’S ON

Liz Johnson Artur | Until 1st September

A vast collection of photographs taken by Russian-Ghanaian artist Liz Johnson Artur, who’s displaying her images of typically underrepresented communities in London on huge bamboo-cane scaffolding.

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.

WHAT’S ON

The Real: Three Propositions | Until 25th August

The three painters showing here are doing something radical in the world of modern art: painting things as they actually are. And one of them, 87 year-old German artist Peter Dreher, has been painting the same empty glass almost every day since 1974.

Address: 144-152 Bermondsey Street, SE1 3TQ | Opening Hours: Tue-Sat 10am-6pm, Sun 12pm-6pm | Entry: Free

 

EAST / THE CITY GALLERIES

Chisenhale Gallery

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.

WHAT’S ON

Ima-Abasi Okon | Until 1st September

A huge, totally avant-garde, specially commissioned installation featuring audio tracks played through fans, morphine-smeared ceiling tiles and ceiling lights filled with Courvoisier.

Address: 64 Chisenhale Road, E3 5QZ | Opening Hours: Wed-Sun 12am-6pm | Entry: Free

Guildhall Art Gallery

Guildhall Art Gallery - art galleries in London

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.

WHAT’S ON: Currently Main Gallery only.

Address: Guildhall Yard, EC2V 5AE | Opening Hours: Mon-Sat 10am-5pm, Sun 12pm-4pm | Entry: Free

Maureen Paley

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.

WHAT’S ON: Main Gallery Only

Address: 21 Herald Street, E2 6JT | Opening Hours: Wed-Sun 11am-6pm  Entry: Free

Modern Art

Modern Art - art galleries London

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.

WHAT’S ON

Mark Handforth: Trash Can Candles | Until 1st September

Experience the unexpected beauty of everyday, street-bound objects, twisted, transformed and set on fire.

Address: 50 – 58 Vyner Street, E2 9DQ | Opening Hours: Wed-Sat 11am-6pm | Entry: Free

Whitechapel Gallery

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.

WHAT’S ON

Queer Spaces: London, 1980s – Today | Until 25th August

An extensive collection of archive documents and case studies charting the appearance and disappearance of LGBTQ+ focussed venues in the capital, and celebrating the community’s creative efforts to halt the increasing redevelopment of these spaces.

Address: 77-82 Whitechapel High Street, E1 7QX | Opening Hours: Tue-Sun 11am-6pm | Entry: Free

 

WEST LONDON ART GALLERIES

Design Museum

Design Museum Kensington - art galleries in London

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

WHAT’S ON

Stanley Kubrick: The Exhibition | Until 15th September

One of the year’s most hotly anticipated exhibitions has finally arrived: with over 700 artefacts, photos and interview clips, it’s a colossal survey of the cult film director and his work; the sources of his inspiration; and of course a vast array of props, models and more – including a detailed model of the ‘Centrifuge Set’ for 2001: A Space Odyssey, and costumes from A Clockwork Orange.

Address: 224-238 Kensington High Street, W8 6AG | Opening Hours: Mon-Sun 10am-6pm | Entry: Free/~£16 temporary exhibitions

Graffik Gallery

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

Leighton House Museum - art galleries in London

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: The main collection sits alongside a revolving selection of one-off events including live music, art classes, and kite workshops.

Address: 12 Holland Park Road, W14 8LZ | Opening Hours: Wed-Mon 10am-5:30pm | Entry: £9/£7 (Concessions)

Saatchi Gallery

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.

WHAT’S ON

Ibrahim El-Salahi: Pain Relief | Until 11th August

The ‘Godfather of African Modernism’, 88 year-old El-Salahi’s detailed ink illustrations are drawn on the back of the pill packets he takes for his chronic back condition, a process he finds to be the only thing that distracts him from the pain.

Beyond The Road | Until 8th September

An immersive exhibition that’s ‘a journey through light and sound’, co-created with theatre-makers Punchdrunk and featuring a continuously looping soundscape weaving through different rooms. READ MORE

Sweet Harmony | Until 14th September

Take a look back at the age of rave and the acid house revolution, through written accounts, photographs, and multimedia rooms.

Address: Duke of York’s HQ, Kings Road, SW3 4RY | Opening Hours: Mon-Sun 10am-6pm | Entry: Free

Serpentine Galleries

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. 

WHAT’S ON

Faith Ringgold | Until 8th September

In her first European show, Faith Ringgold presents a powerful collection of political posters, paintings and story quilts from her life as an artist, activist, and founder of the National Black Feminist Organization.

Luchita Hurtado: I Live I Die I Will Be Reborn | Until 20th October

A striking retrospective of the Venezuelan-born US artist Luchita Hurtado, with colourful paintings plucked from across her 80 year career.

Address: Kensington Gardens, W2 3XA | Opening Hours: Tues-Sun 10am-6pm | Entry: Free

V&A

V&A Museum - art galleries in London

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).

WHAT’S ON

Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams | Until 1st September

A showstopper of an exhibition, combining jaw-dropping evening gowns with vintage perfume bottles; rare prints; original sketches and more, celebrating one of the world’s most famous couturiers.

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.

Address: Cromwell Road, SW7 2RL | Opening Hours: Sat-Thurs 10am-5:45pm, Fri 10am-10pm | Entry: Free / Exhibitions from £12

 


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