EXHIBITIONS

Don’t miss out on the best exhibitions in London. From the latest blockbuster art shows to up-and-coming artists to free exhibitions in London, you’ll find them all right here.

Highlights

There are so many great museums and galleries in London which means there are some incredible shows to see, from interactive exhibitions to art installations to photography exhibitions on in the city right now. And if you like to just drop into something last minute, there are a whole host of free exhibitions in London too. Current exhibitions include the 57th Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition at the Natural History Museum, with awarded images selected from over 50,000 entries; the largest collection of privately owned Banksy works in the world; a major exhibition on Turner Prize-winning artist Lubaina Himid at Tate Modern; and a new show of Francis Bacon paintings at the Royal Academy.

The Horniman Museum and Gardens is untangling the world of hair with their latest exhibition Hair: Untold Stories, proving just how much more there is to the stuff that we wash, cut and blowdry. The Design Museum is diving into the world of waste with Waste Age: What Can Design Do?, an exhibition that showcases how design can tackle the problem of waste, with over 300 objects across fashion, construction, food, electronics, and packaging that eliminate waste and create a more circular economy on display.

If you’re a fan of an interactive exhibition, there’s one based on the life and work of Vincent Van Gogh open in London right now, and Yayoi Kusama is back at the Tate Modern with another one of her immersive exhibitions featuring an Infinity Room. Whether you’re looking for exhibitions today, exhibitions this weekend or you want to stay on top of all upcoming art exhibitions, we’ve got you covered.

TITANIC | THE EXHIBITION

7th December 2021 – 20th March 2022
Dock X, Canada Water, Surrey Quays Road, London, UK

After touring Europe and America, the immersive Titanic: The Exhibition is sailing into London this winter. And when we say immersive, we don’t mean you’ll be ending up in the drink and doing your best Kate Winslet impression clinging onto a wooden door, rather the exhibition lets you into the world of the Titanic through life-size recreations of some of the ship’s interiors and audio guides detailing its history. Over 200 objects, including photographs, keepsakes, handwritten letters and other personal belongings, many of which haven’t been seen in the UK before, will bring the stories of the passengers to life and transport you back to that fateful day in 1912.

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KAWS | NEW FICTION

Until 27th February 2022
Free
W Carriage Dr, London W2 2AR, UK
OPENING HOURS
  • Monday: Closed
  • Tuesday: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Wednesday: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Thursday: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Friday: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Saturday: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Sunday: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM

KAWS, aka artist Brian Donnelly best known for his cartoon characters with signature X eyes, has a solo show on at Serpentine Galleries which mixes the physical and digital worlds. As well as seeing the sculptures and paintings in person, you can view them in augmented reality throughout Kensington Gardens via the Acute Art app, and even in the video game Fortnite, so you don’t even have to leave your bedroom to check the exhibition out.

LEIGH BOWERY | TELL THEM I'VE GONE TO PAPUA NEW GUINEA

Until 6th February 2022
Free
2 Pearson Square, London W1T 3BF, UK
OPENING HOURS
  • Monday: Closed
  • Tuesday: Closed
  • Wednesday: 11:00 AM – 4:00 PM
  • Thursday: Closed
  • Friday: Closed
  • Saturday: Closed
  • Sunday: Closed

Fitzrovia Chapel, which is the last remaining building of the Middlesex hospital where Leigh Bowery died from AIDS on New Year’s Eve in 1994, is hosting an exhibition on the life and work of the performance artist. A range of Bowery’s iconic looks and costumes will be on display, alongside a short film featuring interviews with his close friends including Nicola Bateman, Sue Tilley, Boy George and Les Child.

THE REALITY IN WHYTCH YOU CREATE

14th January - 17th February 2022
Free
216 Kensington Park Rd, London W11 1NR, UK
OPENING HOURS
  • Monday: Closed
  • Tuesday: 12:00 – 5:00 PM
  • Wednesday: 11:00 AM – 5:00 PM
  • Thursday: 11:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Friday: 11:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Saturday: 11:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Sunday: Closed

Notting Hill gallery Studio West is hosting its first group show The Reality In Whytch You Create, featuring some of London’s most exciting emerging artists who all have an interest in dreams, alternative realities and surreal worlds. The exhibition features paintings from Alfie Rouy, Anna Woodward, Lydia Makin and Sholto Blissett, and a sound & vision installation from Salomé Wu, and it’s wonderfully trippy.

FRANCIS BACON | MAN AND BEAST

29th January - 17th April 2022
Burlington House, Piccadilly, London W1J 0BD, UK
OPENING HOURS
  • Monday: Closed
  • Tuesday: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Wednesday: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Thursday: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Friday: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Saturday: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Sunday: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM

The Royal Academy is hosting an exhibition on Francis Bacon that focuses on his fascination with animals and how they influenced his approach to depicting the human body, blurring the line between man and beast. The show will explore how Bacon was impacted by animal movement, which he observed during trips to the wilds of South Africa and also took inspiration from Eadweard Muybridge’s 19th-century photographs. Pieces from across Bacon’s 50-year career will be on display, including his last-ever painting and a trio of bullfight images that will be exhibited together for the first time.

HAIR | UNTOLD STORIES

4th December 2021 - 19th June 2022
Free
100 London Rd, London SE23 3PQ, UK
OPENING HOURS
  • Monday: 10:00 AM – 5:30 PM
  • Tuesday: 10:00 AM – 5:30 PM
  • Wednesday: Closed
  • Thursday: 10:00 AM – 5:30 PM
  • Friday: 10:00 AM – 5:30 PM
  • Saturday: 10:00 AM – 5:30 PM
  • Sunday: 10:00 AM – 5:30 PM

The Horniman Museum and Gardens is untangling the world of hair with their latest exhibition Hair: Untold Stories. Proving just how much more there is to the stuff that we wash, cut and blowdry, the exhibition showcases the use of hair as a material, used in everything from mops to armour; the cultural significance of hair; the global hair trade; and our complex relationship with what’s on our head and on other people’s. There’ll also be a hair shop installation from Korantema Anyimadu, exploring the experiences of Black women and non-binary people in the UK with their hair.

LIFE BETWEEN ISLANDS | CARIBBEAN-BRITISH ART 1950s-NOW

1st December 2021 - 3rd April 2022
Millbank, London SW1P 4RG, UK
OPENING HOURS
  • Monday: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Tuesday: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Wednesday: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Thursday: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Friday: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Saturday: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Sunday: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM

This landmark exhibition at Tate Britain covers half a century of art from Caribbean artists living in Britain and British artists exploring their Caribbean heritage and culture, celebrating how the Caribbean communities in post-war Britain transformed its society. The display will feature works from over 40 artists, including Sonia Boyce, Aubrey Williams, Claudette Johnson, Donald Locke, Peter Doig, Grace Wales Bonner, Horace Ové, Hurvin Anderson, and Alberta Whittle.

LYDIA CHAN | YOUR SHIP HAS LANDED

Until 6th March 2022
Free
The Gateway Pavilions, Peninsula Square, Soames Walk, London SE10 0SQ, UK
OPENING HOURS
  • Monday: Closed
  • Tuesday: 10:00 AM – 7:00 PM
  • Wednesday: 10:00 AM – 7:00 PM
  • Thursday: 10:00 AM – 7:00 PM
  • Friday: 10:00 AM – 7:00 PM
  • Saturday: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
  • Sunday: 11:00 AM – 4:00 PM

Set designer and multidisciplinary artist Lydia Chan has transformed Greenwich’s NOW Gallery into a futuristic fantasy landscape with her free immersive installation Your Ship Has Landed. Featuring vivid colours, trippy patterns and an AR experience, the display is Chan’s way of bridging the gap between the digital and the natural, and it’s out of this world.

ANICKA YI | IN LOVE WITH THE WORLD

Until 6th February 2022
Free
Bankside, London SE1 9TG, UK
OPENING HOURS
  • Monday: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Tuesday: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Wednesday: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Thursday: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Friday: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Saturday: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Sunday: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM

Korean-born artist Anicka Yi has let loose a bunch of floating jellyfish machines inside the Turbine Hall at Tate Modern, to encourage us to think about how machines could inhabit the world. The battery-powered aerobes, a mixture of bulbous and see-through tentacled objects, hover around the hall, which has also been filled with changing scentscapes designed by Yi inspired by smells from different periods in the history of Bankside.

AMY | BEYOND THE STAGE

26th November 2021 - 10th April 2022
224-238 Kensington High St, London W8 6AG, UK
OPENING HOURS
  • Monday: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Tuesday: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Wednesday: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Thursday: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Friday: 10:00 AM – 9:00 PM
  • Saturday: 10:00 AM – 9:00 PM
  • Sunday: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM

It’s been ten years since Amy Winehouse died and now the Design Museum is honouring the anniversary with the Amy: Beyond The Stage exhibition. The display will take you inside the life of Winehouse and focus on her style, musicianship, influences and creative process, with teenage notebooks, early recordings, many of her stage outfits and never-before-seen personal items, including her first electric guitar and handwritten lyrics being exhibited. There’ll also be an installation inspired by Metropolis Studios, where Winehouse recorded part of her Back To Black album, and an immersive animated experience featuring archive handwritten material.

PERFORMANCE

3rd November 2021 - 31st January 2022
Free
8-9 Long Acre, London WC2E 9LH, UK
OPENING HOURS
  • Monday: 11:00 AM – 7:00 PM
  • Tuesday: 11:00 AM – 7:00 PM
  • Wednesday: 11:00 AM – 7:00 PM
  • Thursday: 11:00 AM – 8:00 PM
  • Friday: 11:00 AM – 8:00 PM
  • Saturday: 11:00 AM – 8:00 PM
  • Sunday: 12:00 – 6:00 PM

Rankin and FUJIFILM are celebrating the talent and resilience of the city’s theatre industry with free exhibition PERFORMANCE, on display at hte FUJIFILM House of Photography in Covent Garden. The show features almost 150 portraits of performers, writers, directors, musicians, technicians, dressers, designers, voice coaches and more, from nearly 60 of London’s top shows and venues, all shot by Rankin.

LUBAINA HIMID

25th November 2021 - 3rd July 2022
Bankside, London SE1 9TG, UK
OPENING HOURS
  • Monday: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Tuesday: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Wednesday: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Thursday: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Friday: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Saturday: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Sunday: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM

Tate Modern is hosting a major exhibition on the Turner Prize-winning artist and cultural activist Lubaina Himid. Inspired by her interest in theatre – Himid initially trained in theatre design – the exhibition will be set out like a sequence of scenes, featuring works from across her career, including her contributions to the Black British arts movement and her figurative paintings, as well as recent pieces being shown for the first time.

WASTE AGE | WHAT CAN DESIGN DO?

Until 20th February 2022
224-238 Kensington High St, London W8 6AG, UK
OPENING HOURS
  • Monday: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Tuesday: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Wednesday: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Thursday: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Friday: 10:00 AM – 9:00 PM
  • Saturday: 10:00 AM – 9:00 PM
  • Sunday: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM

Opening to coincide with COP26, this exhibition at the Design Museum showcases how design can tackle the problem of waste, with over 300 objects across fashion, construction, food, electronics, and packaging that eliminate waste and create a more circular economy on display. There’ll be a large-scale waste tracker, so you can see how rubbish moves across the globe; pieces where waste is recycled into new resources; and experimental designs that make use of grown materials like coconut, algae and corn husks.

WILDLIFE PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR

15th October 2021 - 5th June 2022
Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, London, UK

The 57th Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition is being hosted at the Natural History Museum. The display features awarded images selected from over 50,000 entries and it showcases the beauty and diversity of the natural world, with everything from parakeet chicks to deep sea shrimps to Iberian lynxes depicted in the photographs.

AMAZÔNIA

13th October 2021 - March 2022
Exhibition Rd, South Kensington, London SW7 2DD, UK
OPENING HOURS
  • Monday: Closed
  • Tuesday: Closed
  • Wednesday: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Thursday: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Friday: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Saturday: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Sunday: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM

Sebastião Salgado’s exhibition Amazônia, a series of more than 200 black-and-white photographs of twelve different indigenous communities in the Brazilian Amazon and the landscapes in which they live taken over six years, is being displayed at the Science Museum accompanied by a soundtrack from Jean-Michel Jarre. The photos offer an insight into the rainforest as it approaches a crucial point in the fight against climate change.

BEANO | THE ART OF BREAKING THE RULES

21st October 2021 – 6th March 2022
Strand, London WC2R 1LA, UK
OPENING HOURS
  • Monday: 10:00 AM – 7:00 PM
  • Tuesday: 10:00 AM – 7:00 PM
  • Wednesday: 10:00 AM – 7:00 PM
  • Thursday: 10:00 AM – 7:00 PM
  • Friday: 10:00 AM – 7:00 PM
  • Saturday: 10:00 AM – 7:00 PM
  • Sunday: 10:00 AM – 7:00 PM

Beano: The Art of Breaking the Rules is a celebration of the world’s longest-running weekly comic (and also coincides with the 70th birthday of Beano icon Dennis) and explores the impact of Beano’s spirit of mischief and rebellion on alternative pop culture. Curated by artist and lifelong Beano fan Andy Holden, the exhibition will feature original drawings and rare archive artefacts alongside contemporary works and new commissions from the likes of Bedwyr Williams, Hardeep Pandhal, Heather Phillipson, Holly Hendry, Lindsey Mendick, Sarah Lucas, Simeon Barclay and Martin Rowson. There’ll also be a Beanotown Museum showcasing how the creators came up with the original characters, recreations of places like Bash Street School and Bunkerton Castle, and an interactive workshop space where you can unleash your own creative spirit

VAN GOGH | THE IMMERSIVE EXPERIENCE

9th July 2021 – 6th February 2022
Commercial Street, London E1 6LZ, UK

Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience has been a hit in the States in the US and Europe and now it’s coming to Spitalfields. The exhibition will see more than 300 of Van Gogh’s works projected across a floor-to-ceiling two-storey space so you’ll be able to soak up the art from all angles. There’ll also be a drawing studio and a VR experience that takes you through a day in the life of the artist and explores the inspiration behind some of his most iconic paintings. 

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THE ART OF BANKSY

Until May 2022
50 Earlham St, London WC2H 9LJ, UK

A massive Banksy exhibition is coming to London featuring 80 of the artist’s original works. The Art of Banksy, which has toured from Melbourne to Miami, is not authorised by the artist and therefore not curated in collaboration with him (not really Banksy’s style is it?) so all the pieces on show are loans from private collectors. In fact, the exhibition will display the world’s largest collection of privately owned Banksy works. Prints, screenprints, sculptures, canvasses and other unique pieces from 1997 – 2008 will be on show, ranging from the iconic ‘Girl and Balloon’ ‘Flower Thrower’ and ‘Rude Copper’ to artworks rarely seen by the public.

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YAYOI KUSAMA | INFINITY MIRROR ROOMS

18th May 2021 - 12th June 2022
Bankside, London SE1 9TG, UK
OPENING HOURS
  • Monday: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Tuesday: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Wednesday: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Thursday: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Friday: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Saturday: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Sunday: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM

After her pumpkin-filled Infinity Room caused lengthy queues at the Victoria Miro gallery in 2016, Yayoi Kusama returns with another major exhibition, this time at the Tate Modern. Two of her installations – the large Infinity Mirrored Room – Filled with the Brilliance of Life and Chandelier of Grief, which gives the illusion of endless rotating chandeliers – this year. The rooms will be presented alongside a small collection of photographs, some of which will be going on display for the very first time.

OUR FUTURE PLANET

19th May 2021 – 4th September 2022
free
Exhibition Rd, South Kensington, London SW7 2DD, UK
OPENING HOURS
  • Monday: Closed
  • Tuesday: Closed
  • Wednesday: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Thursday: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Friday: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Saturday: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Sunday: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM

The Science Museum is hosting a major exhibition on carbon capture and storage, which will be open in the run up to COP26. Our Future Planet will showcase some of the cutting-edge tech and nature-based solutions being developed to hep remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and reduce the impact of climate change, and explore how carbon can be held in storage or used to create everyday items like toothpaste or vodka. Objects on display include the Climeworks Direct Air Capture machine, the first prototype mechanical tree that absorbs CO2 from the atmosphere, and apparatus from the UK’s BIFoR FACE experiment, which models the impact of climate change on forest ecosystems.

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