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11 of the Best Current Art Exhibitions in London

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11 of the Best Current Art Exhibitions in London

Including Picasso, Bacon, Freud, an improv squash an exhibition all about T-shirts...


Looking to soak up some culture in the capital? The search ends here; read our round-up of the best of the current art exhibitions in London. So whether it’s contemporary classics, shoppable pop-ups or a date with the masters that you crave, you’ll find it here. 

Best Current Art Exhibitions in London

Compliments to Lady Novelists

Compliments to Lady Novelists

A household name in the 1950’s and 60’s, Wolf Mankowitz (1924-1998) was famous as a novelist, playwright, journalist and producer. The 45 collages in the exhibition were created in the last few years of Mankowitz’s life.   His son Daniel rediscovered them last summer, buried within the entire archive that had been in storage for the 20 years since his death. The collection will be exhibited in London for the first time at Lorfords London. Until 1 June. 

Enjuku at Fiumano Clase

Takefumi Hori gold and gold no 16 152x152cm $13,800

Takefumi Hori gold and gold no 16 152x152cm $13,800

Fiumano Clase presents Takefumi Hori’s third UK solo exhibition, Enjuku. The title of the exhibition is the Japanese word for maturity, perfection and ripeness. Indeed, Hori has reached a milestone in his own creative maturity as he explores the profundity of gold both as a colour and material. The artist’s layering and revelatory technique brings dynamic depth to his work.  Gold and silver paint is applied thickly, obscuring layers of colour and gold leaf beneath it. Areas of paint are completely scratched away, creating an almost keyhole effect, inviting the viewer to peer deep into the painting underneath. Until 26 May. 

Sleep Rock at Camden Arts Centre

Sleep Rock is the first solo exhibition in the UK by New York-based artist Sadie Benning. The exhibition’s title evokes a dream state where perception is blurred by the merging of memory, vision and association. Installed sequentially in the galleries, this new body of work reads in the register of film – frame by frame – catching sight of pictures from a distance and inspecting details close up. The exhibition includes a series made with a new approach to materials: transparencies, analogue photos and digital prints are embedded within layers of resin, enamel and spray paint on wall-based panels. Until 24 June.  

Joan Jonas at Tate Modern

Joan Jonas Exhibition

, the performance and video legend, has been raised up especially by this generation’s young artists and celebrated for pushing the boundaries of art for the last five decades. This exhibition is the largest of Jonas’s work ever held in the UK. Early works from the late 1960s are shown alongside recent installations dealing with topical themes such as climate change and extinction. Her iconic installations including Lines in the Sand,  and Reanimation are on view in this exhibition’s experimental format throughout exhibition galleries, film screenings in the  and installations in the Until 5 August.

Anthea Hamilton Tate Britain Commission

Anthea Hamilton

Anthea Hamilton The Squash © Tate (Seraphina Neville) 2018

A solo performer in a squash-like costume inhabits the Duveen Galleries every day. Each element of The Squash has evolved from Hamilton’s interest in an improvisational photograph that showed a person dressed as what looks like a vegetable lying among vines. The artist has brought together tiles, structures, sculptures and costume, inviting a performer to explore their own interpretation of the image and how it might feel to imagine life as other, as vegetable. The performer selects their outfit for the day from a collection of seven elaborate costumes and is in the gallery from 10am to 6pm every day. Until 7 October. Visit .

All Too Human: Bacon, Freud and a Century of Painting Life at Tate Britain

All Too Human Bacon

, one of this year’s most highly-anticipated exhibitions, recently opened in a vivid celebration of British painters who focus on the intimate representation of human figures, relationships and surroundings. Artists include Lucian Freud, Francis Bacon, Walter Sickert, David Bomberg, as well as rarely seen work from Frank Auerbach and Paula Rego. Three important works by Francis Bacon will be shown in the UK for the first time in at least three decades. All artists have drawn inspiration from living in London in their works. Until 27 August 

Another Kind of Life: Photography on the Margins at The Barbican

The Barbican

Paz Errázuriz – From the series La Manzana de Adán (Adam’s Apple) 1983

The photographs on display at the Barbican will reflect a diverse and complex view of the world’s most marginalised groups as captured by numerous photographers. Driven by both personal and political motivations, many photographers strove to deliver an authentic representation of the disenfranchised communities with whom they spent months, years or even decades with, often conspiring with them to construct their own identity through the camera lens. Figures featured include outlaws, sexual experimenters and more from the Casa Susanna Collection, Paz Errazuriz, Pieter Hugo, Mary Ellen Mark and Dayanita Singh. Eye-opening. Until 27 May 2018 

Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize 2018

Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize 2018

This year, all four shortlisted artists examine the manipulation of images and information. From government propaganda to unreliable visual representation, they all look at modern culture with a post-Trump, post-Brexit awareness. Until 3 June, 

The EY Exhibition: Picasso 1932 – Love, Fame, Tragedy at Tate Modern


Tate Modern’s first ever solo exhibition of Picasso’s work cuts straight to the juicy part. Considered to be his ‘year of wonders’, his work in 1932 took on a heightened sensuality, leading him to even greater fame. The curators delve behind the myth of Picasso to reveal his true character in a month by month exploration of his work that year. 8 March – 9 September 2018, .

Ocean Liners: Speed and Style at the V&A

Marlene Dietrich Ocean Liners

Oh, to have cruised in the golden age of the ocean liner, epitomised by Marlene Dietrich dripping in Dior, and oceans apart from Olympic-sized kiddie pools and after-dinner cabaret. The V&A has selected 250 objects from the period, from a wooden panel fragment from the Titanic to a Cartier tiara worn by Lady Allan. Bon voyage! Until 10 June. 

Somewhere in Between at Wellcome Collection

Alien Sex Club, 2015 Camp and Furnace, Liverpool. © John Walter. Photograph Rob Battersby.

Alien Sex Club, 2015 Camp and Furnace, Liverpool. © John Walter. Photograph Rob Battersby.

Science, art, or somewhere in between? Wellcome Collection’s spring exhibition displays four contemporary artists’ collaborations with scientists. ‘Somewhere in Between’ features Martina Amati, Daria Martin, Maria McKinney and John Walter’s art that interprets human experience, sense, sexual health, bodily limitation and position on the food chain. Until 27 August.

 More culture: The London Diary


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