Artlyst has compiled a month-by-month guide to the best London art exhibitions coming in 2024. It will be a packed year of major exhibitions with solo shows of Barbara Kruger, Yoko Ono, Judy Chicago, Yinka Shonibare CBE and Sir Michael Craig-Martin. Group shows feature sculpture, textiles, the black figure and a dialogue with colonialism. Modern masters are represented by the portraits of Francis Bacon and the charcoal drawings of Frank Auerbach. The list will continue to be updated as new exhibitions are announced.
Bloomberg New Contemporaries
Camden Art Centre
19 Jan 2024/14 Apr 2024
Bloomberg New Contemporaries features 55 of the most exciting artists emerging from UK art schools and alternative peer-to-peer learning programmes, selected by internationally renowned artists Helen Cammock, Sunil Gupta and Heather Phillipson.
Barbara Kruger: Thinking of You. I Mean Me. I Mean You.
Serpentine South Gallery
1 February – 17 March 2024
American artist Barbara Kruger (b. 1945, Newark, New Jersey, USA) is widely known for her impactful work with images and words. Drawing from an early career as a graphic designer for magazines, Kruger developed an iconic visual language that frequently borrows from the techniques and aesthetics of advertising and other media. Since the 1970s, her artworks have continually explored complex mechanisms of power, gender, class, consumerism, and capital.
Entangled Pasts 1768 – now: Art, Colonialism and Change
Royal Academy of Arts
3 February – 28 April 2024
The RA brings together over 100 major contemporary and historic works as part of a conversation about art and its role in shaping narratives of empire, enslavement, resistance, abolition and colonialism – and how it may help set a course for the future.
Artworks by leading contemporary artists including Sonia Boyce, Frank Bowling, John Akomfrah and Isaac Julien will be on display alongside works by artists from the past 250 years including Joshua Reynolds, J.M.W.Turner and John Singleton Copley – creating connections across time which explore questions of power, representation and history.
When Forms Come Alive
7 February – 6 May 2024
Spanning over 60 years of contemporary sculpture, this exhibition highlights ways in which artists draw on familiar experiences of movement, flux and organic growth.
Inspired by sources ranging from a dancer’s gesture to the breaking of a wave, from a flow of molten metal to the interlacing of a spider’s web, the artworks in When Forms Come Alive conjure fluid and shifting realms of experience.
The exhibition features work by 21 international artists: Ruth Asawa, Nairy Baghramian, Phyllida Barlow, Lynda Benglis, Michel Blazy, Paloma Bosquê, Olaf Brzeski, Choi Jeong Hwa, Tara Donovan, DRIFT, Eva Fàbregas, Holly Hendry, EJ Hill, Marguerite Humeau, Jean-Luc Moulène, Senga Nengudi, Ernesto Neto, Martin Puryear, Matthew Ronay, Teresa Solar Abboud and Franz West.
The Charcoal Heads
The Courtauld Gallery
9 February – 27 May 2024
A remarkable series of hauntingly beautiful, large-scale drawings by Frank Auerbach (born 1931), will be presented together for the first time at The Courtauld Gallery in Spring 2024.
Frank Auerbach: The Charcoal Heads will be the first time Auerbach’s extraordinary post-war drawings, made in the 1950s and early 1960s, have been brought together as a comprehensive group. They will be shown together with a selection of paintings he made of the same sitters; for him, painting and drawing have always been deeply entwined.
The exhibition will be a unique opportunity to see early masterpieces by one of the world’s most celebrated living artists.
Unravel: The Power and Politics of Textiles in Art
Barbican Art Gallery
Tue 13 Feb—Sun 26 May 2024,
Using textiles, fibre and thread, 50 international artists challenge power structures and reimagine the world in this major group exhibition.
In this major group exhibition, 50 international, intergenerational artists use textiles to communicate vital ideas about power, resistance and survival. From intimate hand-crafted pieces to monumental sculptural installations, these works offer narratives of violence, imperialism and exclusion alongside stories of resilience, love and hope.
Dulwich Picture Gallery
14 February – 2 June 2024
Featuring more than 30 contemporary works, the exhibition spans painting, photography, film, tapestry and collage from leading artists, including Hurvin Anderson, Phoebe Boswell, Njideka Akunyili Crosby, Kimathi Donkor, Isaac Julien, Marcia Michael, Mónica de Miranda and Alberta Whittle, as well as some of the most important emerging voices working today. Soulscapes will explore our connection with the world around us through the eyes of artists from the African Diaspora.
It will consider the power of landscape art and reflect on themes of belonging, memory, joy and transformation.
Yoko Ono: Music of the Mind
15 Feb – 1 September 2024
Yoko Ono is a leading figure in conceptual and performance art, experimental film and music. Developing her practice in America, Japan and the UK, she is renowned for her activism, work for world peace, and environmental campaigns. Ideas are central to her art, often expressed in poetic, humorous and radical ways.
Spanning more than seven decades, the exhibition focuses on key moments in Ono’s career, including her years in London from 1966 to 1971, where she met John Lennon.
Through her instructions and event scores, Ono invites visitors to take part in both simple acts of the imagination and active encounters with her works.
£20 / Free for Members
Zineb Sedira: Dreams Have No Titles
15 Feb – 12 May 2024
In Spring 2024, Whitechapel Gallery presents the UK debut of Zineb Sedira’s critically acclaimed exhibition Dreams Have No Titles.
Originally conceived for the French Pavilion at the 59th Venice Biennale in 2022, Dreams Have No Titles is an immersive installation comprising film, sculpture, photography and performance, that interweaves the artist’s biography with activist films produced across France, Algeria and Italy in the 1960s and 1970s, a pivotal moment in the history of avant-garde film production.
Sargent and Fashion
22 Feb – 7 July 2023
Celebrated for his striking portrait paintings, this exhibition sheds new light on John Singer Sargent’s acclaimed works. It explores how he worked like a stylist to craft the image of the sitters he painted, whom he often had close relationships with.
Almost 60 of Sargent’s paintings will be on display, including major portraits that rarely travel. Several period garments will also be showcased alongside the portraits they were worn in. The show examines how this remarkable painter used fashion to create portraits of the time, which still captivate today.
£20 / Free for Members
The Time is Always Now: Artists Reframe the Black Figure
National Portrait Gallery
22 February – 19 May 2024
A major study of the Black figure – and its representation in contemporary art.
The exhibition, curated by Ekow Eshun (former Director of the Institute of Contemporary Arts), showcases the work of contemporary artists from the African diaspora, including Michael Armitage, Lubaina Himid, Kerry James Marshall, Toyin Ojih Odutola and Amy Sherald, and highlights the use of figures to illuminate the richness and complexity of Black life. As well as surveying the presence of the Black figure in Western art history, we examine its absence – and the story of representation told through these works, as well as the social, psychological and cultural contexts in which they were produced.
The exhibition will feature the work of leading artists including Njideka Akunyili Crosby, Hurvin Anderson, Michael Armitage, Jordan Casteel, Noah Davis, Godfried Donkor, Kimathi Donkor, Denzil Forrester, Lubaina Himid, Claudette Johnson, Titus Kaphar, Kerry James Marshall, Wangechi Mutu, Toyin Ojih Odutola, Chris Ofili, Jennifer Packer, Nathaniel Mary Quinn, Thomas J Price, Amy Sherald, Lorna Simpson, Henry Taylor and Barbara Walker.
Refik Anadol – Serpentine North (February – April 2024)
Opening in February 2024, Serpentine will present a solo exhibition by Refik Anadol, an internationally renowned artist, director and pioneer in the aesthetics of data and machine intelligence. Known for his ground-breaking media works and public installations, Anadol has created digital artworks that unfold in real-time, continuously generating new and otherworldly forms that envelop viewers in a large-scale installation.
Royal Academy of Arts
1 March – 30 June 2024
Angelica Kauffman RA was one of the most celebrated artists of the 18th century. The RA traces her trajectory from child prodigy to one of Europe’s most sought-after painters in this major exhibition.
Known for her celebrity portraits and pioneering history paintings, Angelica Kauffman helped to shape the direction of European art. She painted some of the most influential figures of her day – queens, countesses, actors and socialites – and she reinvented the genre of history painting by focusing largely on female protagonists from classical history and mythology.
This exhibition covers Kauffman’s life and work: her rise to fame in London, her role as a founding member of the Royal Academy and her later career in Rome, where her studio became a hub for the city’s cultural life.
Francesca Woodman and Julia Margaret Cameron
Portraits to Dream In
National Portrait Gallery
21 March – 16 June 2024
Photographers Francesca Woodman and Julia Margaret Cameron are two of the most influential women in the history of photography. They lived a century apart – Cameron working in the UK and Sri Lanka from the 1860s, and Woodman in America and Italy from the 1970s. Both women explored portraiture beyond its ability to record appearance – using their own creativity and imagination to suggest notions of beauty, symbolism, transformation and storytelling. Showcasing more than 160 rare vintage prints, Francesca Woodman and Julia Margaret Cameron: Portraits to Dream In spans the career of both artists – and suggests new ways to look at their work, and the way photographic portraiture was created in the 19th and 20th centuries.
Yinka Shonibare CBE –
12 April – 1 September 2024
From April 2024, Serpentine will present a solo exhibition of works by Yinka Shonibare CBE RA at Serpentine South. Shonibare’s interdisciplinary practice explores cultural identity and post-colonialism within the contemporary context of globalisation. Through his signature use of ‘African’ batik fabric, Shonibare comments on the tangled interrelationship between Africa and Europe. The exhibition will include installations of sculptures, pictorial quilts and woodcuts, presenting his explorations on the ongoing effects of boundaries ‘whether psychological, physical or geographical’. Shonibare’s most recent body of works explores sites of refuge, debates about statues and their place in our cities, and the European legacy of war and consequential attempts at peace.
The Last Caravaggio
18 April – 21 July 2024
May 1610. Caravaggio is in Naples working on the last picture he’d ever paint.
Two months later, he died in mysterious circumstances. But it was during his final tumultuous years that Caravaggio made some of his most striking works.
His characteristic style includes tightly cropped scenes and dramatic lighting. He used real models with dirty feet and grimy fingernails.
Few paintings are better placed to tell the story of Caravaggio’s final years than his last-known work, ‘The Martyrdom of Saint Ursula’ (1610, Gallerie d’Italia, Naples). The painting is coming to London for the first time in 20 years.
The National Gallery will display this painting with the letter that describes its creation (Archivio di Stato, Naples), and its own late Caravaggio, ‘Salome with the Head of John the Baptist’ (about 1609-10).
Expressionists: Kandinsky, Münter and The Blue Rider
25 April – 20 October 2024
Explore the groundbreaking work of a circle of friends and close collaborators known as The Blue Rider. In the early 20th century, they came together to form, in their own words, ‘a union of various countries to serve one purpose’ – to transform modern art. The artists rallied around Wassily Kandinsky and Gabriele Münter to experiment with colour, sound and light, creating bold and vibrant art.
Expressionists is a story of friendships told through art. It examines the highly individual creatives that made up The Blue Rider, from Franz Marc’s interest in colour to Alexander Sacharoff’s freestyle performance. The women artists played a central role in the movement. Discover experimental photographs by Gabriele Münter alongside the dramatic paintings of Marianne Werefkin.
Now You See Us: Women Artists in Britain 1520-1920
16 May – 13 October 2024
Spanning 400 years, this exhibition follows women on their journeys to becoming professional artists. From Tudor times to the First World War, artists such as Mary Beale, Angelica Kauffman, Elizabeth Butler and Laura Knight paved a new artistic path for generations of women. They challenged what it meant to be a working woman of the time by going against society’s expectations – having commercial careers as artists and taking part in public exhibitions.
Including over 150 works, the show dismantles stereotypes surrounding women artists in history, who were often thought of as amateurs. Determined to succeed and refusing to be boxed in, they daringly painted what were usually thought to be subjects for male artists: history pieces, battle scenes and the nude.
The exhibition sheds light on how these artists championed equal access to art training and academy membership, breaking boundaries and overcoming many obstacles to establish what it meant to be a woman in the art world.
Judy Chicago: Revelations –
22 May – 1 September 2024
In Summer 2024, Serpentine will present an exhibition of trailblazing artist, author, educator and feminist icon Judy Chicago (b. 1939, Chicago, USA; lives and works in New Mexico, USA). Revelations will be Chicago’s first solo presentation in a major London institution. One of the most provocative and influential artists working today, Chicago came to prominence in the late 1960s when she challenged the male-dominated landscape of the art world by making work that was boldly from a woman’s perspective.
Tate Britain Commission: Alvaro Barrington
29 May – 10 November 2024
Alvaro Barrington will be the next artist to create a new installation for the Tate Britain Commission.
Discover Degas & Miss La La
6 June – 1 September 2024
Degas’s ‘Miss La La at the Cirque Fernando’ takes centre stage in this exhibition that sheds light on this work with newly discovered information about the painting and its sitter.
This radical Impressionist masterwork records an extraordinary moment and features a remarkable figure – the circus artist Miss La La, or Anna Albertine Olga Brown (1858‒1945).
6 June 2024 – 26 Jan 2025
Zanele Muholi is one of the most acclaimed photographers working today, and their work has been exhibited all over the world. With over 260 photographs, this exhibition presents the full breadth of their career to date.
Muholi describes themself as a visual activist. From the early 2000s, they have documented and celebrated the lives of South Africa’s Black lesbian, gay, trans, queer and intersex communities.
Roger Mayne: Youth
14 June – 1 Sep 2024
An exhibition of works by photographer Roger Mayne, bringing together his evocative documentary images of communities and neighbourhoods of 1950’s inner London, alongside intimate images of his own family at home in Dorset in the 1970s….
RA Summer Exhibition
Royal Academy of Arts
18 June – 18 August 2024
The world’s largest open submission exhibition will return in 2024.
Held every year without interruption since 1769, the Summer Exhibition showcases a diverse array of contemporary works, including prints, paintings, films, photography, sculpture, and architectural works.
This year’s show, coordinated by sculptor Ann Christopher RA, makes space for the best work by open-submission artists and Royal Academicians. The mix of art by household names and emerging talent is what makes the Summer Exhibition the UK’s best-loved art show.
Six Lives: The Stories of Henry VIII’s Queens
National Portrait Gallery
20 June – 8 September 2024
Tudor paintings by Hans Holbein the Younger and contemporary photography by Hiroshi Sugimoto meet in the National Portrait Gallery’s first exhibition of historic portraiture since reopening, presenting a study of the lives and afterlives of the six women who married Henry VIII.
Six Lives will chronicle the representation of Katherine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn, Jane Seymour, Anne of Cleves, Katherine Howard and Katherine Parr throughout history and popular culture in the centuries since they lived.
Barbican Art Gallery
Thu 27 Jun—Sun 1 Sep 2024
A major new exhibition by renowned Mexico-based artist Francis Alÿs – his first and largest institutional solo exhibition in the UK for over a decade.
With a career spanning over three decades, ranging from painting and drawing to video and photography, Alÿs has forged a unique and radical practice characterised by the interplay between art and geopolitical power dynamics. Working in collaboration with local communities around the world, his engagement with cross-cultural contexts from Latin America to North Africa and the Middle East operates beyond dominant, Western-centric narratives.
In the Eye of the Storm: Modernism in Ukraine 1900-1930s
Royal Academy of Arts
29 June – 13 October 2024
The modernist movement in Ukraine unfolded against a backdrop of collapsing empires, the First World War, the fight for independence, and the eventual establishment of Soviet Ukraine. Despite such profound upheaval, this became a period of bold artistic experimentation, and true flourishing of art, literature and theatre in Ukraine.
Highlighting the range of artistic styles and cultural identities that existed in Ukraine during this period, this is the most comprehensive UK exhibition to date about modern art in Ukraine. Explore over 70 works, from oil paintings and sketches to collage and theatre design. Many are on loan from the National Art Museum of Ukraine and the Museum of Theatre, Music and Cinema of Ukraine, to safeguard them during the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine.
In the Eye of the Storm brings together the work of such artists as Kazymyr Malevych, Alexandra Exter and El Lissitzky, as well as lesser-known figures like Oleksandr Bohomazov and Mykhailo Boichuk, each of whom left an indelible mark on the country’s art and culture.
Van Gogh: Poets and Lovers
14 September 2024 – 19 January 2025
Be blown away by Van Gogh’s most spectacular paintings in a once-in-a-century exhibition.
The National Gallery is bringing together your most loved of Van Gogh’s paintings from across the globe, some of which are rarely seen in public. They will be paired together with his extraordinary drawings.
Over just two years in the south of France, Van Gogh revolutionised his style in a symphony of poetic colour and texture. He was inspired by poets, writers and artists. We look at this time in Arles and Saint-Rémy as a decisive period in his career. His desire to tell stories produced a landscape of poetic imagination and romantic love on an ambitious scale.
See up-close his ‘Starry Night over the Rhône’ (1888, Musée d’Orsay) and ‘The Yellow House’ (1888, Van Gogh Museum), as well as the National Gallery’s own ‘Sunflowers’ (1888) and ‘Van Gogh’s Chair’ (1889), among many others.
tickets prices tbc
Royal Academy of Arts
21 September – 10 December 2024
Look back at the colourful career of trailblazing artist Sir Michael Craig-Martin RA.
A key figure in British conceptual art, Michael Craig-Martin is one of the most influential artists and teachers of his generation.
This will be the largest exhibition of Craig-Martin’s work in the UK. See highlights from his remarkable career, including thought-provoking installations and works that pop with colour.
Turner Prize 2024
Monet and London: Views of the Thames
27 Sep 2024 – 19 Jan 2025
An exhibition reuniting for the first time in 120 years an extraordinary group of Claude Monet’s Impressionist paintings of London, depicting Charing Cross Bridge, Waterloo Bridge, and the Houses of Parliament
Mike Kelley: Ghost and Spirit
2 October 2024 – 9 March 2025
The first major UK exhibition of American artist Mike Kelley
Discover the elaborate, provocative and imaginary worlds created by experimental artist Mike Kelley.
From the late 1970s to 2012, Kelley made a diverse body of work using drawing, collage, performance, found objects, and video. Spanning Kelley’s entire career, the exhibition features his breakthrough ‘craft’ sculptures made from textile and plush toys through to his multi-media installations such as Day Is Done.
Drawing on references from popular and underground culture, literature, and philosophy, Kelley explores how the roles we play in society are entangled with historical fact and imaginary characters from the films and images we consume.
Over a decade since his passing, Kelley’s reflections on identity and memory continue to resonate.
Francis Bacon Portraits
National Portrait Gallery
10 October 2024 – 19 January 2025
Featuring works from the 1950s onwards, this exhibition will explore Francis Bacon’s deep connection to portraiture and how he challenged traditional definitions of the genre.
From his responses to portraiture by earlier artists, to large-scale paintings memorialising lost lovers, works from private and public collections will showcase Bacon’s life story. Accompanied by the artist’s self-portraits, sitters include Lucian Freud, Isabel Rawsthorne and lovers Peter Lacy and George Dyer.
Michelangelo, Leonardo, Raphael: Florence c 1504
Royal Academy of Arts
9 November 2024 – 16 February 2025
At the turn of the 16th century, three titans of the Italian Renaissance – Michelangelo, Leonardo and Raphael – briefly crossed paths, competing for the attention of the most powerful patrons in Republican Florence.
On 25 January 1504, Florence’s most prominent artists met to advise on an appropriate location for Michelangelo’s nearly finished David. Among them was Leonardo da Vinci, who – like Michelangelo – had only recently returned to his native Florence.
Starting with Michelangelo’s celebrated Taddei Tondo, this exhibition explores the rivalry between Michelangelo and Leonardo and the influence both had on the young Raphael.
See some of the finest examples of Italian Renaissance drawing, including Leonardo’s Burlington House Cartoon and the studies by Leonardo and Michelangelo for their murals commissioned by the Florentine government for the newly constructed council hall in the Palazzo Vecchio.
Photographing 80s Britain: A Critical Decade