London Art Exhibitions Preview A Month By Month Guide 2020

Andy Warhol Tate Modern

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and its unprecedented impact worldwide, many of these exhibitions and events have been postponed or canceled.

We’ve just welcomed in not only a new year but a new decade. So let’s look forward to the exciting exhibitions that will be on offer in London during 2020. From Raphael and Titian through Beardsley and Beaton to Warhol, Steve McQueen and Marina Abramovic, not to leave out Turner, Cezanne, Rodin and Dubuffet – 2020 will keep you inspired and enthused. Here’s a month by month exhibitions preview guide to the highlights of this year’s major museum and gallery shows, as recommended by Sara Faith.


Portraying Pregnancy: From Holbein to Social Media
The Foundling Museum
24 January – 26 April 2020

Portraying Pregnancy is a major exhibition exploring representations of the pregnant female body through portraits, over 500 years.
Until the twentieth century, many women spent most of their adult years pregnant. Despite this, pregnancies are seldom apparent in surviving portraits. This exhibition brings together images of women – mainly British – who were depicted at a time when they were pregnant (whether visibly so or not). Through paintings, prints, photographs, objects and clothing from the fifteenth century to the present day, discover the different ways in which pregnancy was, or was not, represented; how shifting social attitudes have impacted on depictions of pregnant women; how the possibility of death in childbirth brought additional tension to such representations; and how more recent images, which often reflect increased female agency and empowerment, still remain highly charged.


For more info see here

Picasso and Paper Royal Academy of Arts
Picasso and Paper Royal Academy of Arts  London Art Exhibitions Preview

Picasso and Paper 
Royal Academy of Arts
Main Galleries
25 January – 13 April 2020

In January 2020, the Royal Academy of Arts will present Picasso and Paper, the most comprehensive exhibition devoted to Picasso’s imaginative and original uses of paper ever to be held. Bringing together over 300 works and encompassing Picasso’s entire prolific 80-year career, this ground-breaking exhibition will focus on the myriad ways in which the artist worked both on and with paper, and will offer new insights into his creative spirit and working methods.

For more info see here


British Baroque Power and Illusion
Tate Britain
4 February – 19 April 2020

This is the first time that Tate has staged a show devoted to the later 17th century and the first to explore baroque art in Britain. It will be a chance to encounter a rich, sophisticated but overlooked era of art history. Many of the works will be on display for the first time – some borrowed from the stately homes they have hung in since they were made.
From the Restoration of Charles II in 1660 to the death of Queen Anne in 1714, the late Stuart period was a time of momentous change for Britain. From the royal court as the brilliant epicentre of the nation’s cultural life to the rise of party politics, the exhibition will look at the magnificence of art and architecture as an expression of status and influence.


For more info see here

Radical Figures: Painting in the New Millennium

Whitechapel Art Gallery
6 February – 10 my 2020

Radical Figures: Painting in the New Millennium brings together a new generation of artists who represent the body in radical ways to tell stories and explore vital social concerns. Presenting for the first time this new direction in painting, the exhibition features ten painters at the heart of this zeitgeist: Michael Armitage, Cecily Brown, Nicole Eisenman, Sanya Kantarovsky, Tala Madani, Ryan Mosley, Christina Quarles, Daniel Richter, Dana Schutz and Tschbalala Self.

For more info see here

Steve McQueen Tate Modern
Steve McQueen Tate Modern London Art Exhibitions Preview

Steve McQueen
Tate Britain
13 February – 11 May 2020

The first major exhibition of Steve McQueen’s artwork in the UK for 20 years
Steve McQueen is one of the most important artists, film-makers and screenwriters working today. Over the last 25 years McQueen has been influential in expanding the way in which artists work with film. He has been the author of some of the most seminal works of moving image designed for gallery-based presentation, as well as four films for cinematic release, Hunger (2008), Shame (2010), 12 Years a Slave (2013) and Widows (2018).
McQueen’s works are poignant provocative portraits of time and place, which turn his unflinching eye to urgent contemporary issues.
This exhibition will bring together the immersive video installations he has made since 2000. It will include large-scale video installations including Caribs’ Leap/Western Deep 2002, alongside recent films such as Ashes 2002–15.


For more info see here

Masculinities: Liberation through Photography
Barbican Art Gallery
20 February – 17 May 2020

Through the medium of film and photography, this major exhibition considers how masculinity has been coded, performed, and socially constructed from the 1960s to the present day.
Examining depictions of masculinity from behind the lens, the Barbican brings together the work of over 50 international artists, photographers and filmmakers including Laurie Anderson, Sunil Gupta, Rotimi Fani-Kayode, Isaac Julien and Catherine Opie.
In the wake of #MeToo the image of masculinity has come into sharper focus, with ideas of toxic and fragile masculinity permeating today’s society. This exhibition charts the often complex and sometimes contradictory representations of masculinities, and how they have developed and evolved over time. Touching on themes including power, patriarchy, queer identity, female perceptions of men, hypermasculine stereotypes, tenderness and the family, the exhibition shows how central photography and film have been to the way masculinities are imagined and understood in contemporary culture.


For more info see here

Léon Spilliaert 
Royal Academy of Arts
The Jillian and Arthur M. Sackler Wing of Galleries
23 February – 25 May 2020

The Royal Academy of Arts will present the first monographic exhibition in the UK of Léon Spilliaert, a Flemish artist who remains surprisingly unknown outside of his native Belgium, where his work is widely admired and collected. Featuring some 90 works, the exhibition will provide a rare opportunity to view his intriguing and often mysterious work. As a young man Spilliaert was fuelled by existential angst, captured in a sequence of visionary self-portraits and atmospheric night-time scenes of his hometown, the North Sea resort Ostend. He moved to Brussels in 1920 and lived between the two cities for the rest of his life. In Brussels he created a series of tranquil views of the surrounding beech woods. His visual explorations of the self and potent images of solitude and melancholy align Spilliaert with Nordic artists such as Edvard Munch, Vilhelm Hammershøi and Helene Schjerfbeck, among others. Throughout his career Spilliaert surprised, disconcerted, rethought and reinvented, leaving an indelible mark on Belgian art of the first half of the twentieth century.

For more info see here

British Surrealism

Dulwich Picture Gallery
26 February – 17 May 2020

The exhibition explores British Surrealism as a fundamental movement in the history of art over a fascinating 170 year period, pre-dating the international movement’s beginnings in the early 1920s. British Surrealism 1783–1952 will bring together over 30 artists including Eileen Agar, John Armstrong, Francis Bacon, Edward Burra, Leonora Carrington, Henry Moore, Paul Nash and Graham Sutherland, featuring 70 eclectic works, from paintings and sculptures to prints and etchings.
Curated by Dr David Boyd Haycock, the show will be the first British surrealism exhibition in London for over 80 years. Exploring themes of the unconscious and uncanny as well as anarchy, radical politics, war and sexual desire, the exhibition will suggest the roots of surrealism in Britain lie as far back as the work of Henri Fuseli and William Blake, through until the post-war era of the 1950s. Surrealism had an enormous influence on many British artists in the 1930s and ’40s following the nightmare of the First World War – which Nash and Moore experienced first-hand.


for more info see here

David Hockney National Portrait Gallery
David Hockney National Portrait Gallery  London Art Exhibitions Preview

David Hockney: Drawing from Life 
National Portrait Gallery, 
27 February – 28 June 2020

The National Portrait Gallery, London is to stage the first major exhibition devoted to David Hockney’s drawings in over twenty years. David Hockney: Drawing from Life (27 February – 28 June 2020), will explore Hockney as a draughtsman from the 1950s to now, by focussing on his depictions of himself and a small group of sitters close to him: his muse, Celia Birtwell; his mother, Laura Hockney; and friends, the curator, Gregory Evans, and master printer, Maurice Payne. The exhibition will feature new portraits of some of the sitters and previously unseen early works, including working drawings for his pivotal A Rake’s Progress etching suite (1961-63), inspired by the identically named series of prints by William Hogarth (1697-64), and sketchbooks from Hockney’s art school days in Bradford in the 1950s.
Featuring around 150 works from public and private collections across the world, as well as from the David Hockney Foundation and the artist, the exhibition will trace the trajectory of his practice by revisiting these five subjects over a period of five decades. The intimate portraits are rendered in pencil, pastel, ink and watercolour, using both traditional and non-traditional drawing equipment including coloured pencil, pen, the Polaroid camera and apps found on the iPhone and iPad.


for more info see here

Kimono: Kyoto to Catwalk 
Supported by GRoW @ Annenberg
29 February – 21 June 2020
The ultimate symbol of Japan, the kimono is often perceived as traditional, timeless and unchanging. Kimono: Kyoto to Catwalk will counter this conception, by presenting the garment as a dynamic and constantly evolving icon of fashion. The exhibition will reveal the sartorial, aesthetic and social significance of the kimono from the 1660s to the present day, both in Japan and in the rest of the world. Rare 17th and 18th century kimono – shown for the first time in the UK – will be displayed, along with early examples of cross-cultural clothing, kimono-inspired couture, film and performance costumes, and the work of the new generation of Japanese kimono designers. Paintings, prints, film and dress accessories will provide additional context to examine the style and seduction of these remarkable garments. Exploring creativity and consumption, status and identity, impact and influence, Kimono: Kyoto to Catwalk places the kimono at the heart of a fascinating story of global fashion exchange.

for more info see here


Aubrey Beardsley Tate Britain
Aubrey Beardsley Tate Britain  London Art Exhibitions Preview

Aubrey Beardsley
Tate Britain
4 March – 25 May 2020

Aubrey Beardsley shocked and delighted late-Victorian London with his sinuous black and white drawings. He explored the erotic and the elegant, the humorous and grotesque, winning admirers around the world with his distinctive style.
Spanning seven years, this exhibition will cover Beardsley’s intense and prolific career as a draughtsman and illustrator, cut short by his untimely death from tuberculosis, aged 25. Beardsley’s charismatic, enigmatic persona played a part in the phenomenon that he and his art generated, so much so that Max Beerbohm dubbed the 1890s the ‘Beardsley Period’.
This will be the first exhibition dedicated to Beardsley at Tate since 1923, and the largest display of his original drawings in Europe since the seminal 1966 exhibition at the V&A, which triggered a Beardsley revival.
The over 200 works include his celebrated illustrations for Le Morte d’Arthur, Lysistrata and Oscar Wilde’s Salomé. It will also show artworks that were key inspirations for Beardsley, including Japanese scrolls and watercolours by Edward Burne-Jones and Gustave Moreau.


For more info see here

Among the Trees and Reverb: Sound into Art . Among the Trees 
Hayward Gallery
4 March – 17 May 2020

Among the Trees brings together artworks that explore our multifaceted relationships with trees and forests. Drawing on the beauty and visually arresting character of trees – including their complex spatial and architectural forms – the works in this exhibition invite us to consider trees as symbols and living organisms that have helped to shape human civilisation. Beginning with influential works from the late 1960s – a decade that saw the emergence of the modern environmental movement in Europe and the United States – Among the Trees surveys a remarkably expansive terrain, encompassing a wide range of artistic approaches from the past 50 years whilst reflecting on myriad aspects of this rich subject. The exhibition includes painting, drawing, photography, sculpture and video installations that range in scale from the monumental to the intimate. By turns poetic, adventurous and thought-provoking, the exhibition celebrates the tree’s enduring resonance as a source of inspiration for some of the most significant contemporary artists of our time, among them Robert Adams, Eija-Liisa Ahtila, Tacita Dean, Peter Doig, Anya Gallaccio, Giuseppe Penone, Robert Smithson and Pascale Marthine Tayou. The exhibition is curated by Hayward Gallery Director Ralph Rugoff.

For more info see here

Andy Warhol Tate Modern
Andy Warhol Tate Modern  London Art Exhibitions Preview

Andy Warhol
Tate Modern
12 March – 6 September 2020

This major retrospective is the first Warhol exhibition at Tate Modern for almost 20 years. As well as his iconic pop images of Marilyn Monroe, Coca-Cola and Campbell’s soup cans, it includes works never seen before in the UK. Twenty-five works from his Ladies and Gentlemen series – portraits of black and Latinx drag queens and trans women – are shown for the first time in 30 years. Visitors can also play with his floating Silver Clouds and experience the psychedelic multimedia environment of the Exploding Plastic Inevitable.
Popularly radical and radically popular, Warhol was an artist who reimagined what art could be in an age of immense social, political and technological change.​


For more info see here

Cecil Beaton’s Bright Young Things 
National Portrait Gallery,
12 March – 7 June 2020

Cecil Beaton’s portraits from a golden age will be brought together the first time in a major new exhibition opening at the National Portrait Gallery, London, in March 2020. Featuring around 150 works, many of which are rarely exhibited, Cecil Beaton’s Bright Young Things will explore the extravagant world of the glamorous and stylish ‘Bright Young Things’ of the twenties and thirties, seen through the eye of renowned British photographer Cecil Beaton. Through the prism of Beaton’s portraits the exhibition will present the leading cast, to many of whom he would become close, and who in these early years helped refine his remarkable photographic style – artists and friends Rex Whistlerand Stephen Tennant, set and costume designerOliver Messel, composer William Walton, modernist poetsIris Tree and Nancy Cunard, glamorous socialites Edwina Mountbatten and Diana Guinness (née Mitford), actresses and anglophiles Tallulah Bankhead and Anna May Wong, among many others. Brought to vivid life each of them has a story to tell. There are the slightly less well known too –style icons Paula Gellibrand, the Marquesa de Casa Maury and Baba, Princesse de Faucigny-Lucinge, the eccentric composer and aesthete Lord Berners, modernist poet Brian Howard, part model for Brideshead Revisited’s mannered ‘Anthony Blanche’, ballet dancer Tilly Losch and Dolly Wilde Oscar’s equally flamboyant niece. Also featured are those of an older generation, who gave Beaton’s career early impetus: outspoken poet and critic Edith Sitwell, the famously witty social figure Lady Diana Cooper, artist and Irish patriotHazel, Lady Lavery, and the extraordinary, bejewelled Lady Alexander, whose husband produced Oscar Wilde’s comedies and who became an early patron of Beaton’s.


For more info see here

Titian National Gallery
Titian National Gallery London Art Exhibitions Preview

Titian: Love, Desire, Death
National Gallery
16 March – 14 June 2020

Titian’s epic series of large-scale mythological paintings, known as the ‘poesie’, will be brought together in its entirety for the first time since the late 16th century at the National Gallery next March.
From the original cycle of six paintings, the exhibition will reunite ‘Danaë’ (1551–3, The Wellington Collection, Apsley House); ‘Venus and Adonis’ (1554, Prado, Madrid); Diana and Actaeon (1556–9) and Diana and Callisto (1556–9), jointly owned by the National Gallery and the National Galleries of Scotland; and the recently conserved ‘Rape of Europa’ (1562) from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston.

All the paintings revolve around love and desire:, their fruits and perils. Combining Titian’s remarkable talent as both artist and storyteller, the mythological scenes capture moments of high drama; a fatal encounter, a shameful discovery, a hasty abduction. In these paintings Titian expertly manipulates paint and colour to dazzling effect; capturing luminous flesh, sumptuous fabrics, water and reflection, as well as atmospheric, almost enchanted, landscapes. His characters show very human, and relatable, emotions: euphoria, concern, guilt, surprise, shame, desperation, anguish, and terror.

For more info see here

Gauguin and the Impressionists: Masterpieces from the Ordrupgaard Collection 
The Gabrielle Jungels-Winkler Galleries 
29 March – 14 June 2020

In Spring 2020, the Royal Academy will present Gauguin and the Impressionists: Masterpieces from the Ordrupgaard Collection. The exhibition will showcase 60 works drawn from one of the finest collections of Impressionist painting in Northern Europe, assembled in the first decades of the twentieth century by wealthy Danish couple Wilhelm and Henny Hansen. It will include masterpieces by Degas, Manet, Monet, Morisot, Pissarro, Renoir, and Sisley. The Collection also features preImpressionists such as Corot, Courbet, Dupré and Daubigny, who were associated with the Barbizon School, and a number of post-Impressionist works that include an exceptional group of eight paintings by Paul Gauguin, all of which will be in the exhibition. The Collection was assembled by the Hansens in consultation with Théodore Duret, the eminent art critic and early champion of Impressionism, as well as notable dealers like Ambroise Vollard. This will be a unique opportunity to view these works in the UK while the Ordrupgaard Museum, located outside Copenhagen, is closed for redevelopment.

For more info see here


National Gallery
4 April – 26 July 2020
Sainsbury Wing

For the first time in the UK, a major monographic exhibition of the work of Artemisia Gentileschi (1593–1654, or later), will open at the National Gallery in April 2020.
At the centre of the exhibition will be the Gallery’s recently acquired ‘Self Portrait as Saint Catherine of Alexandria’ (about 1615–17), which will be displayed alongside other closely related works by Artemisia for the first time since its discovery in 2017.

Artemisia Gentileschi is considered one of the most accomplished followers of Caravaggio, whom she must have known personally through her father, Orazio Gentileschi. At a time when women artists were not easily accepted, she was exceptional for becoming the first female member of the Accademia delle Arti del Disegno in Florence and for enjoying a long and successful career, spanning more than forty years.
Artemisia will bring together around thirty-five works by the Italian Baroque artist from both public institutions and private collections around the world. The exhibition will present a highly selective survey of Artemisia’s career – from her youthful training in Rome, where she learnt to paint under the guidance of her father, to her formative years in Florence and her return to Rome just a few years later. The exhibition will end with Artemisia’s brief trip to London, to join her dying father, and the establishment of her studio in Naples, where she lived for the last 25 years of her life.
Key loans will include Artemisia Gentileschi’s ‘Self-Portrait as a Lute Player’ (about 1615–18) from the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art in Hartford, Connecticut, painted around the same time as the National Gallery’s own painting.

For more info see here

National Gallery
15 April – 5 July 2020
Room 1
Admission free

The first exhibition in the UK exploring sin in art will be staged at the National Gallery next spring.

‘Sin’ will bring together paintings from across the National Gallery’s collection with modern and contemporary works by Andy Warhol, Tracey Emin, and Ron Mueck.
Sin is defined universally as a regrettable fault, offence or omission, which everyone can relate to. It is a concept that pervades human life and history. Although sin’s origins lie far further back, Christianity considers sin a transgression against divine law. Many of the world’s major religions have similar concepts.
‘Sin’ will provoke people to think about their own definition of sin, and explores this problematic and ambiguous concept through art. It will show how sin is fundamental to our visual culture, and permeates our lives. An idea of sin is universal, yet its specifics are highly personal.
Even a brief walk through the Gallery confirms that sin is an omnipresent theme in the history of art, but that its story has never been coherently told. In its broadest sense, sin has been on artists’ minds almost continuously. ‘Sin’ brings together paintings that explicitly explore complex theological ideas – the story of Adam and Eve and the fall of man, to ideas of Original Sin, redemption, atonement, the seven deadly sins, the Immaculate Conception, and confession – but also implicit depictions of ‘sinful’ everyday behaviour that blur the boundaries between religious and secular art.

For more info see here

Tantra: enlightenment to revolution
British Museum
23 April – 26 July 2020
From around the 6th century AD a number of Sanskrit texts named Tantras emerged which radically transformed India’s religious, cultural and political landscape. These ancient texts revealed the meditational and philosophical practices of Tantric Hinduism and Buddhism, which centred on the power of fierce gods and goddesses.

Tantra transformed South Asia’s major religions, challenged society’s norms, inspired revolution, and from the 20th century onwards has been reimagined as a means of liberating society from convention.

This exhibition will set out to introduce the philosophies of Tantra, tracing the history and influence of the movement in India, from its origins, major beliefs and artistic expressions, to its global reach today. It will showcase over 100 objects, from centuries-old sculpture to contemporary art installations, as well as masterpieces of painting, prints, manuscripts and ritual objects drawn from the British Museum’s collection and important international loans.

Bags V&A
Bags V&A  London Art Exhibitions Preview

Bags: Inside Out
25 April 2020 – 31 January 2021 T

Bags: Inside Out will explore the style, function, design and craftsmanship of bags from around the world, from the 16th century to today. The exhibition will showcase around 300 objects used by both men and women, varying in scale from tiny purses designed to be carried on a finger to sizable trunks made to protect the contents of travellers’ voluminous wardrobes. It will explore how throughout history these desirable and ubiquitous accessories have inhabited a very special space, both private and public, highlighting the nature of the bag as an object for both display and concealment, adornment and utility. The exhibition will deconstruct bags to explore the often complex and skilled processes necessary to make these everyday items, which can become highly covetable and valuable objects. From rucksacks to despatch boxes, Birkin bags to Louis Vuitton luggage, Bags: Inside Out will explore the history of the ultimate accessory.

For more info see here

Zanele Muholi
Tate Modern
29 April – 18 October 2020

Tate Modern presents the first major mid-career survey of visual activist Zanele Muholi in the UK
Born in South Africa, Muholi came to prominence in the early 2000s with photographs that sought to envision black lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer and intersex lives beyond deviance or victimhood.
Muholi’s work challenges hetero-patriarchal ideologies and representations, presenting the participants in their photographs as confident and beautiful individuals bravely existing in the face of prejudice, intolerance and, frequently, violence.
While Muholi’s intimate photographs of others launched their international career, their intense self-portraits solidified it. This exhibition will present the full breadth of Muholi’s photographic and activist practice.

For more info see here

London Original Print Fair
RA Main Galleries
30 April – 3 May 2020

As the world’s longest running specialist fair dedicated to prints, The London Original Print Fair 2020 will welcome exhibitors from around the world, covering all periods of printmaking from Old Masters through to contemporary artists.

For more information visit:


Renaissance Watercolours: from Dürer to Van Dyck

16 May – 20 September 2020

Renaissance Watercolours will bring together 200 rarely-seen masterpieces to present this exquisite medium as a unified art form for the first time. Examining the development of watercolour painting during the Renaissance and the Age of Discovery, the exhibition will explore its pivotal role in understanding, interpreting and documenting the natural world. Centred on the three fundamental genres of landscape, natural history and portraiture, the exhibition will present highly-finished works as well as vibrant sketches, life-like portrait miniatures and manuscript illuminations by seminal painters including Albrecht Dürer, Hans Holbein, Jacques le Moyne, Nicholas Hilliard, and Anthony van Dyck.

During the Renaissance, watercolour painting was a versatile and progressive European art form, yet it remains surprisingly little known. Due to their light-sensitivity these works are rarely displayed and have traditionally been separated into different specialist fields across multiple collections. Renaissance Watercolours will finally bring together these wonderful works from the V&A, as well as works from renowned UK and international collections. The exhibition will chart the medium’s emergence from the margins of illuminated manuscripts to an independent art form in its own right, reaching as far afield as the New World and the court of the Mughal emperor.

For more info see here

Lynette Yiadom-Boakye Tate Britain London Art Exhibitions Preview

Lynette Yiadom-Boakye
Tate Britain
19 May – 31 August 2020

The first major survey of the celebrated London-based painter
Widely considered to be one of the most important painters of her generation, Lynette Yiadom-Boakye is a British artist and writer acclaimed for her enigmatic portraits of fictitious people.
Her paintings often allude to historic European portraiture – notably Francisco de Goya, John Singer Sargent and Édouard Manet – yet in subject matter and technique her approach is decidedly contemporary. Through her focus on the depiction of imagined black characters Yiadom-Boakye’s paintings raise important questions of identity and representation.
This exhibition will bring together over 80 paintings and works on paper from 2003 to the present day in the most extensive survey of the artist’s career to date.

For more info see here

Arctic: culture and climate
British Museum
28 May – 23 August 2020
Sainsbury Exhibitions Gallery

The Arctic has been home to people for nearly 30,000 years with a rich and diverse cultural legacy. This exhibition presents the history of the circumpolar Arctic through the lens of climate and weather, celebrating the innovative and creative ways that Arctic people have adapted to dramatic seasonal fluctuations, varied climates and frozen weather conditions.

From Russia, Canada and the USA to the Scandinavian nations, the peoples of the region share stories of endeavour, using the natural materials at hand to create items that are both practical and flawlessly crafted. Arctic peoples have thrived within this ever-changing and evolving landscape but through the disastrous effect of man-made climate change, existence as they know it is severely threatened.

Displaying the British Museum’s world-class Arctic collection together with unique and spectacular objects from international lenders, this exhibition will reveal a wealth of artistic expression and ecological knowledge, from the past to the present. It will tell inspirational stories of human achievement while celebrating the region’s natural beauty, as well as exploring the interconnected nature of environments around the world and encouraging debate about the future of this globally significant landscape.

for more info see here


RA Summer Exhibition 2020
Royal Academy of Arts
9 June – 16 August 2020

The Royal Academy’s annual Summer Exhibition, the world’s largest open submission contemporary art show, is now in its 252nd year. It provides a unique platform for emerging and established artists to showcase their works to an international audience, comprising a range of media from painting, printmaking and photography, to sculpture, architecture and film. It has been held each year without interruption since 1769. Around 1200 works will go on display, the majority of which will be for sale offering visitors an opportunity to purchase original work.

for more info see here

Michael Clark Exhibition
Barbican Art Gallery
Fri 12 Jun—Sun 30 Aug 2020,

The first major exhibition of dancer and choreographer Michael Clark. This exploration of Clark’s work establishes his radical presence in British cultural history.
Looking back to his meteoric rise as a young choreographer in the 1980s, the exhibition presents a comprehensive vision of Clark’s career to date. It will showcase his unique multi-disciplinary approach that incorporates a wide range of subcultural influences. Film, photography, and material from Clark’s practice will be presented alongside his legendary collaborations across visual arts, music, fashion and film.
New works include Charles Atlas revisiting the acclaimed Hail the New Puritan (1986), which featured Leigh Bowery and The Fall, as an immersive film installation, along with work by Sarah Lucas, Wolfgang Tillmans, Cerith Wyn Evans, Peter Doig, Silke Otto-Knapp, Duncan Campbell and more.


for more info see here

Reverb: Sound into Art Hayward Gallery
Reverb: Sound into Art Hayward Gallery London Art Exhibitions Preview

Reverb: Sound into Art
Hayward Gallery
24 June – 6 September 2020

Reverb: Sound into Art invites visitors to experience sound in an immersive multi-sensory way. Bringing together 15 international artists who work with sound as their primary medium, this ambitious group show redefines how we interact with an artist’s work. Reverb considers the many different ways sound can make us feel – both physically and emotionally – and relate to the spaces around us. Featuring monumental sculptures that surround you with noise, as well as contrasting moments of silence, the exhibition includes newly commissioned installations that respond to Hayward Gallery’s brutalist architecture, as well as sound-based artworks situated across the wider Southbank Centre site. Artists in the show include Tarek Atoui, Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller, Christine Sun Kim and Oliver Beer. The exhibition is curated by Hayward Gallery Senior Curator Zoé Whitley.

For more info see here

Alice: Curiouser and Curiouser
27 June 2020 – 10 January 2021

In Summer 2020, the V&A will open a major exhibition on one of the most inspirational, iconic and imaginative stories of all time: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. This theatrical staging will provide an immersive and mind-bending journey down the rabbit hole into Alice’s fantastical and extraordinary world. Detailing its origins, adaptations and reinventions over 157 years, the exhibition will chart its evolution from manuscript to a global phenomenon beloved by all ages. From the original illustrations by John Tenniel to early concept art for Walt Disney’s iconic 1951 film adaptation to Salvador Dali’s surrealist sketches, the V&A exhibition will reveal the impact of Alice across all artistic disciplines spanning art, film, performance, fashion and photography. The most comprehensive exhibition ever staged on this iconic story, it will detail why Alice has become one of the world’s most famous characters and why Wonderland is an important source of inspiration for many leading creatives.

for more info see here

Angelica Kauffman
RA The Jillian and Arthur M. Sackler Wing of Galleries
28 June – 20 September 2020

In June 2020, the Royal Academy of Arts will present a major survey devoted to Angelica Kauffman (1741–1807), one of the most successful artists of her time and a founding member of the Royal Academy. Born in Switzerland in 1741, Kauffman was quickly recognised as a child prodigy, before receiving formal artistic training in Italy. Arriving in London in 1766, she enjoyed an unprecedented career as a history painter and portraitist before moving to Rome in 1782, where her studio became a hub of the city’s cultural life. The exhibition will focus on Kauffman’s work at the height of her public acclaim, tracing the life and work of this celebrated artist.

For more info see here

Becoming Britain: Photography 1945-79
Tate Britain
30 June – 27 September 2020

This exhibition explores documentary photography from the end of the Second World War to the election of Margaret Thatcher in 1979.
This 35-year period was a time of hope and change for many as Europe’s empires collapsed in Africa and Asia. It was a time of painful struggle and new oppressions during the Civil Rights and Cold War era. Britain was changed profoundly – reshaped by immigration and deindustrialisation at home; and by the struggle for political independence abroad.
The post-war period was also a golden age for photography in Britain: it marked the apogee of the illustrated press with magazines such as Picture Post and the Sunday Times Magazine, the birth of the first independent agency Magnum in 1947, and the emergence of documentary photographers working with a new artistic freedom.
This exhibition brings together the work of photographers who captured these turbulent times – from the Korean War to the Winter of Discontent. It includes some of the biggest names in 20th century photography as well as lesser-known photographers. It will be a moving and unforgettable journey through events which have shaped what Britain is today.

For more info see here


Cezanne: The Rock and Quarry Paintings
RA The Gabrielle Jungels-Winkler Galleries
12 July – 18 October 2020

In July 2020, the Royal Academy of Arts will present a selective exhibition of Cézanne’s rock and quarry paintings, the first devoted exclusively to this subject. Cézanne was fascinated with geology and throughout his career sought sites characterised by rocky terrain: the Forest of Fontainebleau forty miles to the southeast of Paris; the cliffs at the bay of L’Estaque west of Marseilles; and in his native Aix-en-Provence, the rock-strewn grounds of the nearby Chateau Noir and the abandoned Bibémus quarry. Groups of closely related works will present Cézanne’s exploration of these different sites over time. Particularly resonant are the later Provençal views of the Château-Noir and the Bibémus quarry. Devoid of human presence, these deserted sites that show the artist at his farthest reach from civilisation are silent and passionate meditations on landscape and the passage of time.

For more info see here


Marina Abramović, RA
Marina Abramović, RA  London Art Exhibitions Preview

Marina Abramović
RA Main Galleries
26 September – 8 December 2020

In September 2020 the Royal Academy of Arts will present a solo exhibition of the internationally acclaimed performance artist Marina Abramović Hon RA. The exhibition will be Abramović’s first major survey in the UK, bringing together over 50 works spanning her entire career. The exhibition will explore how Abramović captures and defines performance art through photographs, videos, objects, installations and live re-performances of her work, reflecting Abramović’s interest in the legacy of performance art. A number of new works conceived especially for the exhibition will also be presented. This exhibition continues the Royal Academy’s strand of programming that has showcased some of the most important living artists.

For more info see here

Jean Dubuffet
Barbican Art Gallery
Wed 30 Sep 2020—Sun 17 Jan 2021

An exhibition celebrating Jean Dubuffet, one of the most powerful and provocative voices in the post-war avant-garde.
Spanning more than four decades in the studio, this exhibition brings together powerful work by the French artist Jean Dubuffet (1901-1985). This show is the first in the UK in more than 50 years, highlighting Dubuffet’s radicalism as he experimented with materials and aimed to create what he described as:
‘an art that is directly plugged into our current life, that immediately emanates from our real life and our real moods.’
Dubuffet was one of the first to champion ‘Art Brut’ – a phrase he coined, which literally translates as ‘raw art’. The exhibition explores his lifelong pursuit of authentic expression, featuring rarely exhibited pieces from international museums and private collections.

For more info see here

Turner Prize 2020
Tate Britain
30 September 2020 – 3 January 2021

The prestigious prize for contemporary art returns to Tate Britain
One of the best-known prizes for the visual arts in the world, the Turner Prize aims to promote public debate around new developments in contemporary British art. Established in 1984, it is awarded to a British artist for an outstanding exhibition or other presentation of their work. The prize is presented in alternate years by Tate Britain and by a UK partner venue. In 2020 it returns to London for an exhibition of work by the four shortlisted artists. The winner of the prize will be announced at an award ceremony in December 2020.

For more info see here


Raphael National Gallery
Raphael National Gallery London Art Exhibitions Preview

The Credit Suisse Exhibition: Raphael
National Gallery
3 October 2020 – 24 January 2021
North Galleries

A painter, draughtsman, architect, archaeologist, and poet who captured in his art the human and the divine, love, friendship, learning, and power, who gave us quintessential images of community and civilisation: Raphael’s life was short, his work prolific, and his legacy immortal.
In the year that marks the 500th anniversary of Raphael’s death, the National Gallery will present one of the first-ever exhibitions to explore the complete career of this giant of the Italian Renaissance.
In his brief career, spanning just two decades, Raffaello Santi (1483–1520) shaped the course of Western culture like few artists before or since. This exhibition will examine not just his celebrated paintings and drawings – but also his not so widely known work in architecture, archaeology, poetry, and design for sculpture, tapestry, prints, and the applied arts. The aim is to do something no previous Raphael exhibition has ever done – explore every aspect of his multimedia activity.
‘The Credit Suisse Exhibition: Raphael’ will demonstrate why Raphael plays such a pivotal role in the history of Western art, and seek to understand why his work remains relevant to us today. There will be more than ninety exhibits, with focus on autograph works and those in media he did not practice himself but for which he provided designs.

For more info see here

Bruce Nauman
Tate Modern
6 October 2020 – 17 January 2021

Bruce Nauman is a restlessly inventive artist. Since the late 1960s he has continually tested what an artwork can be, by reshaping old forms and creating new ones. His ground-breaking works using sound, film, video, neon, holograms and 3D have influenced generations of artists.
This is the first major exhibition of his work in London in more than 20 years. It will allow visitors to engage with the artist’s universe through immersive installations with a strong emphasis on sound and moving image, as well as poetic sculptures and neon pieces.

For more info see here

Thomas Becket
British Museum
15 October 2020 – 14 February 2021
The Joseph Hotung Great Court Gallery
Supported by The Hintze Family Charitable Foundation
Supported by The Ruddock Foundation for the Arts
Supported by Jack Ryan and Zemen Paulos

The assassination of Thomas Becket on 29 December 1170 changed the course of history. Becket was one of the most powerful figures of his time, serving as Royal Chancellor and later as Archbishop of Canterbury. Initially a close friend of King Henry II, the two men became engaged in a bitter dispute that culminated in Becket’s shocking murder, reportedly on Henry’s orders.

Taking place on the 850th anniversary of this dramatic crime, this major exhibition will present Becket’s tumultuous journey: from London merchant’s son to Archbishop; and from a revered saint in death, to a ‘traitor’ in the eyes of Henry VIII, 350 years later.

The exhibition will showcase an incredible array of objects associated with Becket, including manuscripts, jewellery, sculpture and sacred reliquaries. It will feature artefacts from the Museum’s collection as well as important objects from other major collections from the UK and around the world.

For more info see here

Epic Iran
17 October 2020 – 3 May 2021

Epic Iran will explore 5,000 years of art, design and culture, bringing together 300 objects from ancient, Islamic and contemporary Iran. It will be the UK’s first major exhibition on Iranian art and culture in more than 90 years that presents an overarching narrative from 3000 BCE to the present day. From sculpture, ceramics and carpets, to textiles, photography and film, the exhibition will comprise rarelyseen objects from the V&A alongside international loans and significant private collections, including The Sarikhani Collection. Revealing new discoveries, this landmark exhibition will offer a fresh perspective on a country that is so often seen through a different lens in the news. Epic Iran will shine a light on one of the greatest historic civilisations, its journey into the 21st century and its monumental artistic achievements, which remain unknown to many.

for more info see here

Rita Angus: New Zealand Modernist
RA The Jillian and Arthur M. Sackler Wing of Galleries
18 October 2020 – 24 January 2021

Rita Angus (1908 – 1970) is justly considered one of New Zealand’s most important early modern artists. She was a pioneer in celebrating the rich and powerful landscapes of the country in a bold new way. Throughout her often-turbulent life she produced an ongoing series of introspective selfportraits as well as portraits of several notable friends. Fifty years after her death, this will be the first ever monographic exhibition of Rita Angus’s work outside New Zealand. Fiercely independent and a committed pacifist, Angus was a key part of the fledgling intellectual world of New Zealand in the twentieth century. In 1927, she became a member of The Group, an association of young experimental artists who wanted to break away from academic tradition. Included in the exhibition will be Cass, 1936, depicting a small railway station in the Canterbury region of the South Island which challenged the prevailing attitudes to landscape painting, creating a new nationalist language that challenged long established conventions and appealed to ordinary New Zealanders. In a 2006 public poll, Cass, 1936 was voted New Zealand’s most popular painting and has come to symbolise the natural beauty and independent spirit of the country.

For more info see here

Rodin Tate Modern
Rodin Tate Modern  London Art Exhibitions Preview

The EY Exhibition: Rodin
Tate Modern
21 October 2020 – 21 February 2021

This major exhibition will present Auguste Rodin as a radical artist who rebelled against sculptural traditions and invented new ways of making sculpture.
This exhibition will offer a unique insight into Rodin’s processes, highlighting the crucial role of plaster in his work. Visitors will be able to meander through the exhibition, which will evoke the informal atmosphere of the studio, discovering lesser-known pieces and new aspects of Rodin’s masterpieces.
The realisation of this landmark exhibition is possible due to a unique collaboration with the Musée Rodin, who have offered Tate unprecedented access to their collection. It features over 150 works, many of which have not been seen outside of France before.
Although Rodin is best known for his bronze and marble sculptures, his genius was as a modeller, who captured movement, emotion, light and volume in pliable materials such as clay and plaster. A stockpile of plaster body parts allowed him to experiment with fragmentation, assemblage and repetition, exploring infinite groupings and poses. Unlike his predecessors, his finished works include traces of their creation, challenging conventional conceptions of beauty.

For more info see here

Turner’s Modern World
Tate Britain
28 October 2020 – 7 March 2021

One of Britain’s greatest artists, J.M.W. Turner lived and worked at the peak of the industrial revolution. Steam replaced sail; machine-power replaced manpower; political and social reforms transformed society.
Many artists ignored these advances but Turner faced up to these new challenges. This exhibition will show how he updated the language of art to produce revelatory interpretations of modern subjects.
Beginning in the 1790s, when Turner first observed the effects of modern life, the exhibition will follow his fascination for new industry and technology through to his famous paintings of steam boats and railway engines of the 1840s. It also looks at his engagement with the Napoleonic War and the other major political events of his lifetime, including the 1832 Reform Act and the campaign against slavery.
This landmark exhibition will bring together major works by Turner from around the world, including The Fighting Temeraire 1839 and Rail, Steam and Speed 1844. It will explore what it meant to be a modern artist in his lifetime and present an exciting new perspective on his work and life.

For more info see here


Nero: life and legacy
British Museum
12 November 2020 – 28 March 2021
Sainsbury Exhibitions Gallery

Nero (r. AD 54–68) is known as one of the most notorious rulers from Roman history. The last male descendant of Rome’s first emperor Augustus, he succeeded to the throne aged only 16 and died a violent death at 30. His turbulent reign saw momentous events like the Boudicca rebellion in Britain and the Great Fire of Rome, the murder of his mother and first wife, grand projects and extravagant excesses. Abandoned by the senate and parts of the military, Nero’s end came swiftly. His name was vilified; his memory excised from official records.

Drawing on the latest research, this major exhibition will question the traditional narrative of the ruthless tyrant and eccentric performer, revealing a different Nero behind the layer of hostile historical sources, a populist reformer at a time of great change in Roman society. Through some 200 spectacular objects from luxury arts to precious papyri, from the imperial palace in Rome and the streets of Pompeii to destroyed cities and battlefields, visitors can follow the young emperor’s rise to power and witness his dramatic actions as a ruler, his triumphs and setbacks. So who was Nero? A young, still inexperienced ruler trying his best to operate within a sharply divided society and a political and institutional system no longer fit for purpose, or a merciless, matricidal megalomaniac?

For more info see here

Tracey Emin/Edvard Munch: The Loneliness of the Soul
RA The Gabrielle Jungels-Winkler Galleries
15 November 2020 – 28 February 2021

The Royal Academy of Arts will present an exhibition of work by Tracey Emin RA, revealing her longstanding fascination with the artist Edvard Munch, of whom she states: ‘I’ve been in love with this man since I was eighteen’. Throughout her career, Emin has been drawn to Munch’s expressionism and shares his concern with exploring the complexity of the human psyche. As early as 1998, Emin referenced Munch in both the title and location of the film work HOMAGE TO EDVARD MUNCH AND ALL MY DEAD CHILDREN, which opens with a naked Emin curled in a foetal position on a wooden jetty on the edge of the Oslo Fjord in Asgardstrand where Munch painted several well-known works. This exhibition will reveal the way in which Munch has been a constant inspiration and will showcase Emin’s wide-ranging skills as an artist.

For more info see here

London Art Exhibitions Previews 2019 


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