These are the biggest art exhibitions in London in 2019.
For a full-on art attack, London has you covered. Below, we’ve rounded up all the current and upcoming art exhibitions from London’s major galleries and brilliant museums, from Tate Britain and Tate Modern to Somerset House, the V&A and the National Gallery.
Art exhibitions you can visit today come first; keep scrolling for those opening later in 2019. (Prices quoted are generally for adults in advance, walk-up tickets will be a few pounds more, while students and other concessionary fares may be less. Notably, under-25s can visit all Tate exhibitions for £5 when they join the free ‘Collective.’)
Art exhibitions in London open now
These art exhibitions are already here, so go check ’em out!
1. Saatchi Gallery: Black Mirror – Art As Social Satire (until Jan 27, 2019)
There’s no official connection with Charlie Brooker’s dystopian Netflix anthology; but nonetheless this exhibition riffs off similar themes of alienation, political discontent and 21st-century angst via satirical works from 25 contemporary artists. Free! More information here.
2. National Gallery: Mantegna and Bellini (until Jan 27, 2019)
‘Mantegna and Bellini’ compares the work of two Italian artists from the 15th-century Renaissance, who also happened to be related by marriage. From £14. More info.
3. Dulwich Picture Gallery: Ribera – Art of Violence (until Jan 27, 2019)
Suffering! That’s the theme behind these 45 paintings from the Spanish Baroque composer, and also the theme behind life, let’s face it. £16.50. More info.
4. Barbican: Modern Couples (until Jan 27, 2019)
You and your boo might consider a Sunday Netflix marathon time well-spent, but these artistic couples are distinguished by their creative synergy and acclaimed joint output. In the process, they ‘they forged new kinds of art and ways of living, while challenging gender stereotypes’, which is something else you probably haven’t got around to yet. £16. More info.
5. We Live In An Ocean Of Air (until February 24)
This immersive, VR-powered installation at the Saatchi Gallery has been created by digital artists Marshmallow Laser Feast. It aims to submerge users in the breatheable biome of a sequoia forest, visualising each visitor’s heart rate, breath and body temperature to depict how we rely on the air around us. Find out more.
6. Tate Britain: Art Now – Jesse Darling: The Ballad of Saint Jerome (until Feb 24, 2019)
This newly produced work from Jesse Darling revisits the legend of St Jerome and the Lion, invoking an ambivalent love story charged with new meanings. Free! Find out more.
7. V&A Museum: Videogames – Design/Play/Disrupt (until Feb 24, 2019)
Taking a look behind the scenes of video games from the past ten years, the V&A will be exhibiting concept art, early sketches, prototypes and other artefacts from the development of the games we’re all addicted to. £18. More info.
8. Tate Britain: Edward Burne-Jones (until Feb 24, 2019)
150 works from ‘pioneer of the Symbolist movement Burne-Jones’, including painting, stained glass and tapestry. £19.50. More info.
9. Tate Britain Winter Commission: Monster Chetwynd (until Feb 28, 2019)
Festive slugs are currently leaving LED light trails all over Tate Britain, and we’re weirdly into it. The illuminated critters are guarding the gallery until February, so you’ll catch them no matter how slow you move. Free! More info.
10. Good Grief, Charlie Brown! (until Mar 3, 2019)
An endearing and insightful look into the Peanuts cartoons, with original artwork and responses from contemporary artists. Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Lucy, and the whole gang await you at Somerset House. £14. More info here.
11. Museum of London: Votes for Women (until Mar 10, 2019)
A display which curates items from the Museum of London’s suffragette archive, commemorating 100 years since women won their fight for the right to vote. Free! More info.
12. Staging Jackson Pollock (until Mar 24, 2019)
Whitechapel Gallery is akin to the spiritual home of Jackson Pollock in the UK, having hosted the London premiere of his work. Sixty years later, Pollock’s Summertime 9A has returned – and best of all, it’s free. More info.
13. Tate Modern: Tania Bruguera: 10,143,898 (until Mar 30, 2019)
The swings are gone, and the Tate Modern’s cathedral-like Turbine Hall is now filled with curiosities from Cuban artist Tania Bruguera. A heat-sensitive floor, subsonic sound waves, and a room that makes you cry are some of the delights here, aiming to evoke empathy for our fellow humans. Free! More info.
PS: Once this exhibit ends, another Hyundai Commission will arrive later in 2019 – October 2nd is the date for your diaries!
14. Pierre Bonnard: The Colour of Memory (unti May 6)
‘One of the greatest colourists of the early 20th century,’ Tate Modern’s exhibition of Pierre Bonnard’s many-hued paintings is here to brighten up the tail end of winter. £18. Lovely stuff.
15. Magic Realism: Art in Weimar Germany 1919-33 (until July 14, 2019)
The Weimar Republic was a rich source of art, especially in the realm of magic realism (before Garcia Marquez & co took it to the next level). See the best of it at Tate Britain. Free. More info.
Art exhibitions in London opening later in 2019
Culture vultures rejoice, for these ace art exhibitions are coming later in the year!
16. Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams (opens Feb 2, 2019)
Legendary couturier Christian Dior was a noted Anglophile, which is why the V&A Museum are looking into the growth of his fashion house with the odd insight into his relationship with Britain. From £20. More info.
17. Don McCullin (opens Feb 5, 2019, until May 6, 2019)
Acclaimed British photographer Don McCullin has had a storied career, making his name as a war photographer in Vietnam, Northern Ireland, and Syria. Those haunting images combine with moody industrial shots and rural landscapes in the Tate’s major retrospective. £16. More info.
18. Harald Sohlberg: Painting Norway (opens Feb 13, 2019, until June 2, 2019)
Does what it says on the tin: this is an exhibition about Harald Sohlberg, a man who liked to paint pictures of Norway. He did it bloody well, mind you. £16.50. More info.
19. Franz West (opens Feb 20, 2019, until June 2, 2019)
The punk darling of the late-century art world, Franz West invited audiences to handle his creations, erasing the boundaries between object and observer. His reward is a major exhibition at the Tate, opening this February. £11. More info.
20. The Renaissance Nude (opens Mar 3, 2019, until June 2, 2019)
Not one for those with a delicate constitution. The human form, in all its naked glory, is on display in this Royal Academy show, featuring depictions of naughty bits by Raphael, Titian, Leonardo, and many more. From £14. More info.
21. Only Human: Photographs by Martin Parr (opens Mar 7, 2019, until May 27, 2019)
Parr explores Britishness in all its unique forms, so expect this show to touch on social issues, cultural identity, and the whole Brexit roadshow. From £18. More info.
22. Sorolla: Spanish Master of Light (opens Mar 18, 2019, until July 7, 2019)
Master of Light is a title I quite fancy for myself, to be honest. Imagine how good that would look on a business card! Anyway, this master of light is a Spanish Impressionist famed for his paintings of bucolic life. From £16. More info.
23. The EY Exhibition: Van Gogh and Britain (opens Mar 27, 2019, until Aug 11, 2019)
The Tate’s EY Exhibitions tend to be a Pretty Big Deal, and this is no different. 45 works by Vincent Van Gogh will trace the influence of Britain, and in particular London, on his career. It’s the biggest Van Gogh show in a decade, so you should probably Gogh along… £22. More info.
24. Mary Quant (opens Apr 6, 2019)
She’s not just the inventor of the miniskirt, you know. The landmark fashion designer left an indelible mark on the world, and this is a wonderful chance to appreciate her. £12. More info.
25. Stanley Kubrick: The Exhibition (Apr 26 – Sep 17)
This touring exhibition of Kubrickian props, shots and notes finally arrives at London’s Design Museum some 14 years after it was first staged. Come and play with us… £16. More info here.
26. The Citi Exhibition: Manga (opens May 23, 2019, until Aug 26, 2019)
The British Museum do nothing by halves – as if to prove this, they’re hosting the biggest manga exhibition ever mounted outside of Japan. Tracing manga from its historic roots to its pop culture present, it’ll be an eye-opening look into a worldwide phenomenon. £19.50. More info.
27. Natalia Goncharova (opens June 6, 2019, until Sep 8, 2019)
The Russian avant-garde gets a major show at the Tate, featuring many works that have never been seen outside of Russia before. Prices TBC. More info.
28. Royal Academy Summer Exhibition 2019 (opens June 10 2019, until Aug 12, 2019)
A year on from their Grayson Perry-curated landmark 250th anniversary, the Royal Academy will launch another summer showcase – with a lot of the pieces up for sale. £TBC. More info.
29. BP Portrait Award 2019 (opens June 13, 2019, until Oct 20, 2019)
The world’s foremost portrait painting competition is back for another year. The submission date for entries is January 21st, so there’s still time to get your efforts in! Free! More info.
30. Serpentine Pavilion (June 2019, date TBC)
A highlight of the summer art exhibitions, the Serpentine Galleries will once again invite a guest artist to design their summer pavilion. You can see Frida Escobedo’s 2018 effort here.
31. Olafur Eliasson (opens July 11, 2019, until Jan 5, 2020)
Olfaur Eliasson had a longstanding affinity with London even before he dumped blocks of polar ice outside the Tate Modern. This summer, he’ll return to the gallery for a major exhibit, and you can expect it to be quite something. £18. More info.
32. William Blake: The Artist (opens Sep 11, 2019, until Feb 2, 2020)
He’d be pretty beloved even if he’d just stuck to poetry, but his talents with both pen and brush have made him one of England’s favourite sons. The Tate will host this show, the biggest Blake exhibition since 2001. Prices TBC. More info.
33. Anthony Gormley (opens Sep 21, 2019, until Dec 3, 2019)
There are few artists who’d be allowed to flood the Royal Academy with water and mud, but when you’re arguably the most noteworthy living British artist, you clearly get a longer leash. Prices TBC. More info.
34. Tim Walker (opens Sep 21, 2019)
Photographer and filmmaker Tim Walker creates fantastic illusions with his camera, and the V&A Museum is the place to find them. Prices TBC. More info.
35. Mark Leckey (opens Sep 24, 2019, until Jan 5, 2020)
Ten years since his Turner Prize, Mark Leckey’s observances of the impact of technology on culture just keep getting ever more relevant. Prices TBC. More info.
36. Rembrandt’s Light (opens Oct 4, 2019, until Feb 2, 2020)
2019 marks 350 years since the Dutch master’s death, and so this year is officially the Year of Rembrandt. Down in Dulwich, thirty-five works will examine the painter’s greatest years and trace his evolution as an artist. Prices TBC. More info.
37. The Credit Suisse Exhibition: Gauguin Portraits (opens Oct 7, 2019, until Jan 26, 2020)
Gauguin’s portraits have never had a major exhibition – until 2019. The National Gallery hosts this retrospective of the painter’s later years, when, like so many of today’s youth, he turned his attention to mastering the selfie. Prices TBC. More info.
38. Nam June Paik: The Future Is Now (opens Oct 17, 2019, until Feb 9, 2020)
A famed visual artist who quickly grasped the importance of mass media, Nam June Paik worked at the bleeding edge, using TV and other visual mediums throughout his career. Prices TBC. More info.
39. Pre-Raphaelite Sisters: Models, Artists, Muses (opens Oct 17, 2019, until Jan 26, 2020)
There’s no set date for this one, but we do know that it’s a long-overdue examination of the women of the pre-Raphaelite movement. You can keep your Hunts, Millais’, and Rossettis, because this is all about the sisterhood. £18. More info.
40. Cars (opens Oct 19, 2019)
Sadly, this art exhibition has nothing to do with the charming Pixar film. What it will do is outline how the automobile has shaped human history, from Henry Ford to Elon Musk. Prices TBC. More info.
41. Lucian Freud: The Self Portraits (opens Oct 27, 2019, until Jan 26, 2020)
An exciting world first sees Lucian Freud’s portraits – painted over a span of 64 years – given their own show. By turning the brush on himself, Freud unveiled known and unknown truths about himself and his career, making this a pretty fascinating exhibition. Prices TBC. More info.
See more in our London arts and culture guide.
Also published on Medium.