These are the biggest art exhibitions in London in 2018.
Below, we’ve rounded up all the current and upcoming art exhibitions from London’s major galleries and museums, from Tate Britain and Tate Modern to Somerset House, the V&A and the National Gallery. [Header photo: May Harrington.]
Art exhibitions you can visit today come first; keep scrolling for those opening later in 2018. (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 open now
1) Tate Britain: All Too Human – Bacon, Freud And A Century Of Painting Life (until Aug 27)
This art exhibition celebrates paintings of the human form from Lucian Freud, Francis Bacon, Frank Auerbach, Paula Rego and others. From £17. More info.
2) Hayward Gallery: Lee Bul (until Aug 19)
A solo show from the artist Lee Bul, expect large-scale futuristic installations: mirrored rooms, gleaming Zeppelins and cyborgs are all expected to feature. From £14.50. More info.
3) Royal Academy Summer Exhibition (Jun 16 – Aug 19)
This annual exhibition of contemporary art celebrates its 250th year in 2018. Anyone can submit work for consideration, and this year the curators, led by Grayson Perry, have curated over 1,700 works for you to marvel at. Early impressions suggest it’ll be a fresh and subversive selection that switches things up on recent years’ efforts. More info.
4) Somerset House: The Influence Project (Jun 27 – Aug 22)
Get a first look at photographic portraits of pioneers of R&B, funk, soul, Afrobeat and hip hop, created by photographer Alexis Chabala and Lorayne Crawford. Free! More info.
5) Somerset House: Print! Tearing It Up (until Aug 22)
6) Barbican: Dorothea Lange: Politics of Seeing and Vanessa Winship (until Sep 2)
This double exhibition celebrates the work of contemporary British photographer Vanessa Winship, with the American documentary work of Dorothea Lange (her of the bleak, Depression-era Dust Bowl imagery.) £13.50 for entry to both shows. More info here and here.
7) Tate Modern: Picasso 1932 – Love, Fame, Tragedy (until Sep 9)
See over 100 paintings, sculptures and drawings from the legendary artist at this major Tate exhibition. From £22. More info.
8) Dulwich Picture Gallery: Edward Bawden (until Sep 9)
London’s oldest public art gallery exhibits 160 works from the master printmaker, illustrator, watercolourist and designer. £16.50. More info.
9) Dulwich Picture Gallery: Edward Bawden (until Sep 16)
The Natural History Museum has opened a butterfly house featuring hundreds of butterflies from Africa, Asia and the Americas. £5.85. More info.
10) National Portrait Gallery: BP Portrait Award (until Sep 23)
The world’s most prestigous portrait award returns to the National Portrait Gallery for the 39th year, collecting works from some of the best portrait artists working today. More info.
11) Tate Britain: Aftermath (until Sep 23)
A curated look at the art created in the wake of WW1, and how artists depicted the psychological and physical impacts of the devastating conflict. £18. More info.
12) Tate Britain: Anthea Hamilton – The Squash (until Oct 7)
A solo performer is currently, no word of a lie, donning a squash costume every day for six months. Based on a found photograph, the performer will ‘explore their own interpretation of the image and how it might feel to imagine life as other, as vegetable.’ Free. More info.
13) National Gallery: Ed Ruscha (until October 7)
The American pop artists’ series of works from 2005 portray the industrial, utilitarian buildings of Los Angeles. Free! More info.
14) National Gallery: Thomas Cole – Eden To Empire (until October 7)
Harking back to more bucolic times, see the epic American landscapes from 19th-century painter Thomas Cole, which Ruscha’s paintings (above) are a response to. From £10. More info.
15) Serpentine Gallery: Pavillion for 2018 (until Oct 7)
A summer in London calls for a new Serpentine Pavillion in Hyde Park. This year’s design, from Frida Escobedo, seems a little more forbidding than previous installations. But you can always go get drunk in a pedalo afterwards. Free! More info.
16) Tate Modern: Shape of Light (until Oct 14)
Shape of Light is the first major exhibition to explore the relationship between photography and abstract art over the past 100 years. £18. More info.
17) National Portrait Gallery: Michael Jackson – On The Wall (until Oct 21)
A much-anticipated exhibition curates the surpriing amount of Jacko-focused work from artists across the generations. Over forty artists will participate in this show that’s sure to be a real Thriller. From £15.50. More info.
18) V&A Museum: Frida Kahlo (until Nov 4)
A major exhibition dedicated to the iconic Mexcian artist, featuring her personal artefacts and clothing. £15. More info.
19) V&A Museum: The Future Starts Here (until Nov 4)
A collection of over 100 objects that hint at the future of design and the impacts technology may have on our society. From robot sailing ships to crowdfunded satellites, the future happens here. £16. More info.
20) Museum of London: London Nights (until Nov 11)
The Museum of London has curated over 200 photographs depicting the streets of London after dark, from the late 1800s right up to today. Night time is the right time. From £10. More info.
21) V&A Jameel Prize (until Nov 25)
This biannual prize is awarded to contemporary artists inspired by Islamic tradition. The exhibition will bring together works from eight shortlisted artists from around the world. Free! More info.
22) Museum of London: Votes for Women (until Jan 6, 2019)
A display curates items from the Museum of London’s suffragette archibve, commemorating 100 years since women won their fight for the right to vote. Free. More info.
23) V&A Museum: Fashioned from Nature (until Jan 19, 2019)
The V&A investigates sustainability and fashion in this new exhibition, which pairs garments with specimens from the natural world. Groovy. £12. More info.
Art exhibitions in London opening later in 2018
24) V&A Museum: Videogames – Design/Play/Disrupt (Sep 8 – 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.
25) Tate Modern: Christian Marclay – The Clock (Sep 14 – Jan 20, 2019)
This acclaimed installation splices together film clips from thousands of films, each of which happen to depict the time on screen, then cuts them together so they tell the real time. It’ll be installed in the public galleries, so it is, blessedly… Free! More info.
26) Tate Britain: Turner Prize (Sep 25 – Jan 6, 2019)
Four artists, shortlisted for this year’s Turner Prize, will exhibit their work at the Tate Britain. £12.50. More info.
27) Dulwich Picture Gallery: Ribera – Art of Violence (Sep 26 – 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. £TBC. More info.
28) National Gallery: Mantegna and Bellini (Oct 1 – 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. £TBC. More info.
29) Tate Modern: The Mysterious Next Turbine Hall Thing (Oct 2 – Mar 30, 2019)
The swings are gone, and the Tate Modern’s cathedral-like Turbine Hall stands empty – for now. This October, artist Tania Bruguera will install the next in the Hyundai series of creative works. Her plans currently remain a mystery. Free! More info.
30) Barbican: Modern Couples (Oct 2 – Mar 30, 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 haven’t got around to yet. £16. More info.
31) Victoria Miro Gallery, Yayoi Kusama (Oct 3 – Dec 21)
Kusama – ’tis she of the illuminated pumpkins and gorgeous mirrored infinity rooms – is set to captivate Londoners (and their Instagram feeds) all over again, at this unmissable new exhibition. More info.
32) Tate Modern, Anni Albers (Oct 11 – Jan 27, 2019)
Albers textile pieces explored the technical limits of hand-weaving to pioneer innovative uses of woven fabric as art, architecture and design; Tate bring them together for a full-scale retrospective. £18. More info.
33) Tate Britain: Edward Burne-Jones (Oct 25 – Feb 24, 2019)
150 works from ‘pioneer of the Symbolist movement Burne-Jones’, including painting, stained glass and tapestry. £19.50. More info.