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. KALEIDOSCOPE, Saatchi Gallery (until May 5)
This immersive piece by London artist Laura Buckley, called Fata Morgana, is a mesmerising experience you wander within, and best of all, it’s free to check out! Find out more here.
2. Pierre Bonnard: The Colour of Memory (until 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.
3. Don McCullin (until May 6)
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.
4. Diane Arbus: In The Beginning (until May 6)
The incomparable New York photographer has a retrospective at the Hayward Gallery currently, focusing on the first half of her career. Over 100 photographs await you, most of which have never been seen in the UK before. £15.50, also gets you into the Kader Attia exhibiton. More info.
5. Kader Attia: The Museum of Emotion (until May 6)
Running alongside the Diane Arbus exhibition is this show, the first UK survey of activist-artist Kader Attia. Exploring themes of colonialism, politics, and history, Attia’s focus on the relationship between Western and non-Western cultures gains more relevance in an increasingly divided world. £15.50, also gets you into the Diane Arbus exhibiton. More info.
6. Christian Marclay (until May 15)
The legendary video artist, best known for his seminal work The Clock, is back in the capital with a new display. Housed at White Cube Mason’s Yard, two new video installations will explore the relationship between image and text. Free! More info.
7. Only Human: Photographs by Martin Parr (until May 27)
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.
8. Harald Sohlberg: Painting Norway (until June 2)
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.
9. The Renaissance Nude (until June 2)
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.
10. Franz West (until June 2)
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.
11. Sorolla: Spanish Master of Light (until July 7)
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.
12. Magic Realism: Art in Weimar Germany 1919-33 (until July 14)
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.
13. The EY Exhibition: Van Gogh and Britain (until Aug 11)
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.
14. Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams (until September 1)
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.
15. Mary Quant (until Feb 16, 2020)
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 at the V&A. £12. 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. Stanley Kubrick: The Exhibition (opens Apr 26, until 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.
17. AI: More Than Human (opens May 16, until Aug 26)
I, for one, welcome our new super-intelligent overlords. This exhibition at the Barbican’s Curve Gallery reveals the extraordinary power of artificial intelligence in 2019 – and gives an ominous glimpse at how these digital superbrains might evolve in the very near future. Read more here.
18. The Citi Exhibition: Manga (opens May 23, until Aug 26)
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.
19. Natalia Goncharova (opens June 6, until Sep 8)
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.
20. Royal Academy Summer Exhibition 2019 (opens June 10, until Aug 12)
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.
21. Kiss My Genders (opens June 12, until Sep 8)
The Hayward Gallery’s summer show is a group exhibition, welcoming 30 artists to explore concepts of gender fluidity and intersex identities. Showcasing work from the 60s to the present, expect it to be a searching look at the human form. £15.50. More info.
22. BP Portrait Award 2019 (opens June 13, until Oct 20)
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.
23. Serpentine Pavilion (June 20, until Oct 6)
A highlight of the summer art exhibitions, the Serpentine Galleries will once again invite a guest artist to design their summer pavilion – this year, Junya Ishigami will bring a grey slate construct to Hyde Park. You can see Frida Escobedo’s 2018 effort here. Free. More info.
24. Olafur Eliasson: In Real Life (opens July 11, 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, featuring rainbow rooms, misty passages, and twisting sculptures. £18. More info.
25. William Blake: The Artist (opens Sep 11, 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.
26. Anthony Gormley (opens Sep 21, until Dec 3)
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.
27. 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.
28. Mark Leckey (opens Sep 24, 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.
29. Rembrandt’s Light (opens Oct 4, 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.
30. The Credit Suisse Exhibition: Gauguin Portraits (opens Oct 7, 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.
31. Nam June Paik: The Future Is Now (opens Oct 17, 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.
32. Pre-Raphaelite Sisters: Models, Artists, Muses (opens Oct 17, until Jan 26, 2020)
At last, it’s time for 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.
33. 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.
34. Bridget Riley (opens Oct 23, until Jan 26, 2020)
Tracing 70 years of this acclaimed British artist’s work, the Hayward Gallery will display a range of canvases – from early black and white efforts, to more expansive colour compositions later on. £16.50. More info.
35. Lucian Freud: The Self Portraits (opens Oct 27, 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.