Best London Art Exhibitions in 2018

 
 
 
 
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Andreas Gursky

Gursky, Amazon, copyright: Andreas Gursky, VG BILD-KUNST, Bonn

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Andreas Gursky
Charles I: King and Collector
All Too Human: Bacon, Freud and a Century of Painting Life
Joan Jonas
Tate Britain Commission: Anthea Hamilton
The Credit Suisse Exhibition: Monet & Architecture
Lee Bul: Wayward Wander
Works on Paper Fair
Thomas Cole's Journey
The Great Spectacle: 250 Years of the Summer Exhibition
Michael Jackson: On the Wall
Christian Marclay: The Clock
RA250: The New Royal Academy of Arts
 

 

Picasso, Monet, Freud and Bacon can all be found on London's 2018 art programme along with the more contemporary Anthea Hamilton, Lee Bul and Andreas Gursky. Read on to discover LondonTown's pick of the best art exhibitions taking place this year.

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Andreas Gursky

This major retrospective launches the gallery's 50th anniversary year.

The Hayward Gallery, Belvedere Road, London, SE1 8XZ

Tube: Waterloo Station , Embankment Underground Station

 

Dates: 25th January - 22nd April 2018

 

Kicking off the gallery's 50th anniversary year, 2018 sees the Hayward Gallery host the first major retrospective in the UK of the work of Andreas Gursky. Considered one of the most significant photographers of our time, the German artist is known for pushing the boundaries with his large-scale pictures that portray scenes of the global economy and contemporary life. The exhibition will include some of Gursky's best-known works including Paris, Montparnasse, an iconic photo of a seemingly endless block of flats; Rhine II, a digitally tweaked vision of the river as a contemporary minimalist symbol; and May Day IV, which depicts hundreds of revellers at Germany's Mayday techno music festival.

 
 
 

Charles I: King and Collector

A rare chance to discover the art acquired and commissioned by King Charles I.

Royal Academy of Arts, Burlington House, London, W1J 0BD

Tube: Green Park Station , Piccadilly Circus Station

 

Dates: 27th January - 15th April 2018

 

During his reign, from 1625 until his execution in 1649, King Charles I acquired and commissioned masterpieces from the fifteenth to the seventeenth century. In January 2018, the Royal Academy of Arts, in partnership with Royal Collection Trust, presents Charles I: King and Collector, a landmark exhibition that reunites the most exceptional art collection. It's a chance to discover the royal art collection which includes sculptures, Baroque paintings and miniature and monumental tapestries, including works by Van Dyck, Rubens, Holbein, Titian and Mantegna now in collections such as the Musee du Louvre and the Museo Nacional del Prado.

 
 
 

Works on Paper Fair

The art fair returns for 2018 with a packed programme.

Royal Geographical Society, 1 Kensington Gore, London, SW7 2AR

Tube: South Kensington Station

 

Dates: 01st - 04th February 2018

 

Augustus John, creator of unforgettable nonsense Edward Lear, and 'The Art of Gardens' are just three topics in a packed talks programme at the 2018 Works on Paper fair where drawings and prints, photographs and posters are presented for sale. Pictures drawn by hand, in ink, pencil, crayon, chalk, pastel, gouache or charcoal can be seen at the fair which returns to the Royal Geographical Society this year. Ranging in price from the affordable (at £500 and less) to the majority on offer from £750 to £7,500, and plenty above £10,000, works include early, modern and contemporary art as well as museum quality pieces. Highlights this year include a watercolour by Edward Seago, a 1740s etching of The Library, Venice, by Canaletto and a 1960s poster by Mark von Arenberg.

 
 
 

Murillo: The Self Portraits

The gallery reunites the only two known self-portraits by Murillo for the first time in 300 years.

National Gallery, Trafalgar Square, London, WC2N 5DN

Tube: Charing Cross Station , Leicester Square Station, Embankment Underground Station, Piccadilly Circus Station, Covent Garden Station

 

Dates: 24th February - 21st May 2018

 

Reuniting the only two known self-portraits by Murillo for the first time in over three hundred years, this free National Gallery exhibition marks the 400th anniversary of the artist's birth. One of the most celebrated painters of the Spanish Golden Age, Bartolome Esteban Murillo is well known for his religious paintings and depictions of street children. He was also an ingenious portraitist though this has been less frequently studied. The first 'Self-Portrait' (from about 1650-55) in the Frick Collection shows Murillo in his thirties while the second was painted roughly twenty years later. The two portraits are hung alongside ten other works, some by Murillo and others reproductions of the two paintings, showing their fame in Europe.

 
 
 

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

A display of over 100 pieces by some of the most celebrated modern British artists.

Tate Britain, Millbank, London, SW1P 4RG

Tube: Pimlico Station

 

Dates: 28th February to 27th August 2018

 

A large-scale painting by Francis Bacon of his friend and artistic rival Lucian Freud is part of Tate Britain's landmark exhibition, All Too Human, which begins in February 2018. The work, not exhibited for over half a century, is one of 100 pieces by some of the most celebrated modern British artists. With a focus on Freud and Bacon, the exhibition reveals how their art captures personal and immediate experiences and events. Featuring major works by Walter Sickert, Stanley Spencer, Frank Auerbach, Paula Rego and many others, this exhibition makes poignant connections across generations of artists and tells the story of figurative painting in the 20th century.

 
 
 
 

Picasso 1932: Love, Fame, Tragedy

A month-by-month journey through 1932 - Picasso's 'year of wonders'.

Tate Modern, Bankside Power Station, 25 Sumner Street, London, SE1 9TG

Tube: Blackfriars Underground Station

 

Dates: 8th March to 9th September 2018

 

Described by the gallery as one of the most significant shows it has ever staged, Tate Modern hosts Picasso 1932 - Love, Fame, Tragedy in 2017. The landmark exhibition takes visitors on a month-by-month journey through 1932 - known as Picasso's 'year of wonders' - through a display if 100 paintings, sculptures and works on paper, including the famous Le Reve (The Dream), which has never before been shown in the UK. From confident colour-saturated portraits to surrealist drawings, visitors will be able to see the works that cemented Picasso as the most influential artist of the early 20th century.

 
 
 

Joan Jonas

An exploration of the artist's personal items and passion for story-telling.

Tate Modern, Bankside Power Station, 25 Sumner Street, London, SE1 9TG

Tube: Blackfriars Underground Station

 

Dates: 14th March to 5th August 2018

 

Five decades of performance art by influential American artist Joan Jonas go on display in an immersive exhibition taking over Level 2 of Tate Modern's Blavatnik Building and in The Tanks. Originally trained as a sculptor, Jonas began experimenting with performance art, video and props after meeting choreographers Trisha Brown and Yvonne Rainer in the 1960s. The exhibition explores her personal items and her passion for story-telling, from the retelling of a Brothers Grimm fairytale to references to contemporary political events. Jonas is also the subject of this year's BMW Tate Live Exhibition, a ten day programme of live performance art in the Tanks.

 
 
 

Tate Britain Commission: Anthea Hamilton

The Turner Prize-shortlisted artist undertakes this year's commission.

Tate Britain, Millbank, London, SW1P 4RG

Tube: Pimlico Station

 

Dates: 22nd March to 7th October 2018

 

Shortlisted for the Turner Prize in 2016, Anthea Hamilton is the next artist to undertake the Tate Britain Commission. Renowned for her bold, often humorous works, she will create a new artwork combining sculpture and performance in response to Tate Britain's grand Duveen Galleries. Known for her provocative and playful works, she has used subjects as diverse as art nouveau design to 1970s disco and her Turner Prize nominated exhibition Lichen! Libido! Chastity! - "One of the most bizarre art works in New York" (The New Yorker) - put an eighteen-foot-tall sculpture of a man's buttocks on a brick wall.

 
 
 

The Credit Suisse Exhibition: Monet & Architecture

A look at how buildings played an important and unexpected role in Monet's work.

National Gallery, Trafalgar Square, London, WC2N 5DN

Tube: Charing Cross Station , Leicester Square Station, Embankment Underground Station, Piccadilly Circus Station, Covent Garden Station

 

Dates: 09th April - 29th July 2018

 

Monet maybe best known for his paintings of lilies - impressionistic images of the floating flowers immediately spring to mind - but buildings played important and unexpected roles in his pictures. With Monet & Architecture the National Gallery presents the great French master in a new light. The first exhibition devoted to Monet's relationship with architecture, it shows over 70 works of the built environment from villages to modern cities - including the Houses of Parliament, Waterloo and Charing Cross bridges in London. Bridges and buildings of suburban Paris are displayed along with strikingly modern paintings of the Gare Saint-Lazare, ending with his monumental series of Rouen Cathedral.

 
 
 

RA250: The New Royal Academy of Arts

The RA's two buildings, Burlington House on Piccadilly and Burlington Garden, are linked for the first time.

Royal Academy of Arts, Burlington House, Mayfair, London, W1J 0BD

Tube: Green Park Station , Piccadilly Circus Station

 

Dates: 19th May 2018

 

On 19th May 2018 the Royal Academy of Arts opens the doors to new spaces for displays, a 250-seat lecture hall, immersive architecture installations, projects by students from the RA art school and one two-acre campus, unified for the first time. Celebrating its 250th birthday in style, the RA's two buildings, Burlington House on Piccadilly and Burlington Garden, will be linked together for the first time. Inaugurating the new galleries will be an exhibition on the pioneering landscape work of Tacita Dean. You can also visit two free exhibitions on 'The Making of an Artist', one showinghighlights from the gallery's collection, the other showing plaster casts from the early years of the RA Schools in The Vaults. From September 2018, Bob and Roberta Smith will explore the subject of gender in the history of the RA in The Ronald and Rita McAulay Gallery.

 
 
 
 

Lee Bul: Wayward Wander

London's first retrospective of the South Korean artist.

The Hayward Gallery, Belvedere Road, London, SE1 8XZ

Tube: Waterloo Station , Embankment Underground Station

 

Dates: 30th May to 19th August 2018

 

The Southbank Centre's Hayward Gallery hosts a mid-career survey of the work of acclaimed South Korean artist Lee Bul. The first retrospective of the artist in London, Wayward Wander explores the artist's extensive investigation into the body and its relationship to architectural space. Lee Bul has explored questions of intimacy, gender, technology and class during South Korea's transition from military dictatorship to democracy, drawing on science fiction, bioengineering and visionary architecture to look at these topics through a focus on the body. The exhibition will showcase her performance, drawing, painting and large-scale immersive installations.

 
 
 

Aftermath: Art In The Wake Of World War One

This moving exhibition looks at the physical and psychological scars left on Europe after WWI.

Tate Britain, Millbank, London, SW1P 4RG

Tube: Pimlico Station

 

Dates: 5th June to 16th September 2018

 

A century since the end of WWI Tate Britain takes a look at how artists responded to the physical and psychological scars left on Europe. A fascinating and moving exhibition, Aftermath: Art in the Wake of World War One features works by George Grosz, Otto Dix, Picasso, Winifred Knights, Fernand Leger and CRW Nevinson. It shows the different ways in which artists reacted to memories of war. George Grosz and Otto Dix exposed the unequal treatment of disabled veterans in post-war society, we saw the birth of new art forms in dada and surrealism, Pablo Picasso and Winifred Knights returned to tradition and classicism while others imagined future cities as society began to rebuild itself.

 
 
 

Thomas Cole's Journey

Discover one of America's leading painters of the mid-19th century.

National Gallery, Trafalgar Square, London, WC2N 5DN

Tube: Charing Cross Station , Leicester Square Station, Embankment Underground Station, Piccadilly Circus Station, Covent Garden Station

 

Dates: 11th June to 7th October 2018

 

The National Gallery stages the first exhibition to establish British-born Thomas Cole, one of America's leading painters of the mid-19th century, as a major global figure in 19th-century landscape art. Displaying Cole's paintings alongside those of his contemporaries, including Turner and Constable, among others, we get a better understanding of how his exposure to European painting informed his artistic identity. Paintings on display include works resulting from Cole's trips to England and Italy between 1829 and 1833, the monumental painting cycle 'The Course of Empire' and 'The Oxbow', a founding masterpiece of American landscape painting, never previously shown in the UK. This exhibition in the Ground Floor Galleries runs concurrently with Ed Ruscha: Course of Empire in Room 1.

 
 
 

Royal Academy Summer Exhibition

Grayson Perry coordinates the exhibition in its 250th year.

Royal Academy of Arts, Burlington House, Mayfair, London, W1J 0BD

Tube: Green Park Station , Piccadilly Circus Station

 

Dates: 12th June to 19th August 2018

 

The Royal Academy's annual Summer Exhibition celebrates its 250th anniversary in 2018, and, to mark the occasion, the exhibition will be coordinated by Grayson Perry. Anyone can submit to the exhibition which gives it a wonderful element of surprise. Over 12,000 pieces are sifted through from relative unknowns to famous artists and members of the RA. The fun part for visitors is choosing a favourite and, with the majority of works on sale at varying price ranges, you can even buy one if you really fall in love with it. First held in 1769, the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition is the largest regular contemporary art exhibition in the world. It's an impressive show that gives an excellent cross-section of contemporary art every summer and each year a prominent sculpture greets visitors to the exhibition as they walk through the Royal Academy's great courtyard.

 
 
 

The Great Spectacle: 250 Years of the Summer Exhibition

The story behind the world's longest running annual display of contemporary art.

Royal Academy of Arts, Burlington House, Mayfair, London, W1J 0BD

Tube: Green Park Station , Piccadilly Circus Station

 

Dates: 12th June to 19th August 2018

 

Held every year since 1769, the Royal Academy's Summer Exhibition is the world's longest running annual display of contemporary art. Staged to coincide with the 250th Summer Exhibition, The Great Spectacle tells the story of the annual show by featuring highlights from the past 250 years, on display in the RA's The John Madejski Fine Rooms. The exhibition includes works by the Royal Academy's first president, Joshua Reynolds, rival Thomas Gainsborough and fellow artist John Constable. Everyone from J.M.W. Turner to John Singer Sargent, Peter Blake to Zaha Hadid is included in the review.

 
 
 
 

Michael Jackson: On the Wall

Over 40 works by contemporary artists show the continuing appeal of the King of Pop.

National Portrait Gallery, St Martin's Place, London, WC2H 0HE

Tube: Leicester Square Station , Charing Cross Station, Piccadilly Circus Station, Embankment Underground Station, Covent Garden Station

 

Dates: 28th June to 21st October 2018

 

Almost a decade after his death, and coinciding with what would have been his 60th birthday, on 29th August 2018, Michael Jackson: On the Wall sees the National Portrait Gallery stage a major exhibition on the man in the mirror. Over 40 works by an extraordinary array of leading contemporary artists from Andy Warhol to Grayson Perry are included in the display. A 1998 photograph by David LaChapelle and the King of Pop on horseback in Kehinde Wiley's Equestrian Portrait of King Philip II are both in the exhibition which breaks new ground for the gallery - both in the subject matter and in the artists who have been invited to participate.

 
 
 

Art Night London 2018

The festival is curated by the Hayward Gallery for the first time.

The Hayward Gallery, Belvedere Road, London, SE1 8XZ

Tube: Waterloo Station , Embankment Underground Station

 

Dates: 07th July 2018

 

A night of free art, performance and music, Art Night partners with the Hayward Gallery for the first time. The festival will be curated by the Southbank gallery, to coincide with the its 50th anniversary in July 2018. Promising its most ambitious art trail to date, follow the route along the Thames from Southbank Centre through Vauxhall and Nine Elms to Battersea. Art Night will also feature commissions and artists' projects in iconic and off-the-beaten-track venues for just one night.

 
 
 

Christian Marclay: The Clock

This unique installation brings together thousands of images of clocks.

Tate Modern, Bankside Power Station, 25 Sumner Street, London, SE1 9TG

Tube: Blackfriars Underground Station

 

Dates: 14th September 2018 to 20th January 2019

 

Sees Christian Marclay's unique installation, The Clock, at Tate Modern this autumn. Twenty-four hours long, the mesmerising piece is a montage of thousands of film and televisions images of clocks, edited together to show the actual time. Several years of rigorous and painstaking research and production led to the piece, with the final result showcasing a vast range of narratives, settings and moods with the space of a few minutes. Visitors will be able to see the installation for free during the day while once a month the gallery will remain open throughout the night to allow the full 24-hour installation to be shown.

 
 
 

Renzo Piano

The Shard architect is the subject of the first exhibition in the RA's Architecture Studio.

Royal Academy of Arts, Burlington House, London, W1J 0BD

Tube: Green Park Station , Piccadilly Circus Station

 

Dates: 15th September 2018 to 20th January 2019

 

He has designed some of the most striking buildings in our modern cities, from the Pompidou Centre in Paris to The Shard in London and the new Whitney Museum of American Art in New York. In September 2018, Renzo Piano is the subject of the first annual architecture exhibition in theRoyal Academy of Arts' newly refurbished galleries in Burlington Gardens. The first survey exhibition on the 'starchitect' in London for almost 30 years, the display will document his early days as a young architect working with Richard Rogers and move on to more recent projects. See his landmark buildings through rarely displayed drawings, models and full-scale maquettes in an exhibition which reveals the process behind his best-known creations.

 
 
 

Turner Prize 2018

The most notorious prize in the world of contemporary art.

Tate Britain, Millbank, London, SW1P 4RG

Tube: Pimlico Station

 

Dates: 25th September 2018 to 6th January 2019

 

Set up in 1984, the Tate's Turner Prize has been courting controversy ever since. The most notorious prize in the world of contemporary art, carries a large cash prize - there's £25,000 in the pot - and instant fame for the winner who must be a British artist and have staged an 'outstanding' exhibition of work completed within the year. The shortlist always seems to feature conceptual art of the most difficult-to-understand sort. But despite the uproar from stuffier elements in the tabloids, this show is always great fun. Since 2011 the Turner Prize exhibition has been staged somewhere other than at Tate Britain which now plays host every other year and in 2018 it's back in London.

 
 
 
 
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