Best Exhibitions in London

Don’t miss out on the best exhibitions in London. From the latest blockbuster art and museum exhibitions to up-and-coming artists showing for the first time, you’ll find them all right here. There are so many great museums and galleries in London, which means there are some incredible shows to see; you can take your pick from interactive exhibitions, art installations, photography exhibitions and more, all 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 an exhibition dedicated to skateboards, a show exploring notions of beauty across different time periods and different cultures, and an exhibition that explores the modernist architecture of tropical countries.

Jet off to outer space without leaving London (or the ground for that matter) with the immersive Moonwalkers experience narrated by Tom Hanks at Lightroom. There’s a major new show from British-Nigerian artist Yinka Shonibare at the Serpentine exploring the legacy of imperialism, and you can dive into the world of Wes Anderson with the latest exhibition from the Accidentally Wes Anderson crew.

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.

UMBRO 100 | SPORTSWEAR x FASHION

Until 28th April 2024
Ambika P3, Marylebone Road, London

The Westminster Menswear Archive is exploring 100 years of British sportswear and its relationship with global fashion with this exhibition all about Umbro. The Manchester brand is celebrating its centenary this year and this display, featuring over 120 pieces, dives into the influence the brand has had on sportswear, particularly through its collaborations with the likes of Kim Jones, Paul Smith, Virgil Abloh, Supreme, Palace, Vetements, Aries, Christopher Raeburn and Aitor Throup (whose 2011 Archive Research Project has its own section in the show). You’ll also be able to see sportswear pieces created for rowing, boxing, athletics, basketball and hockey from 1936 to today, and replica football shirts for Manchester City, Manchester United, AFC Ajax, England and Scotland.

YINKA SHONIBARE CBE | SUSPENDED STATES

12th April - 1st September 2024
Serpentine Gallery, London

British-Nigerian artist Yinka Shonibare has a major solo show – his first in London for over 20 years – on at Serpentine South Gallery. Suspended States explores the legacy of imperialism, the ecological impact of colonisation and the relationship of power to refuge by reimagining Western iconography. The show includes installations like ‘Decolonised Structures’, statues of colonial figures painted with Dutch wax print patterns; ‘Sanctuary City’, made of miniature buildings that represent places of refuge for the persecuted; and ‘The War Libraray’, where 5000 books covered in Dutch wax print represent conflicts and peace treaties.

GEORG BASELITZ | A CONFESSION OF MY SINS

10th April – 16th June 2024
144, 152 Bermondsey Street, London SE1 3TR

German artist Georg Baselitz is hosting an exhibition at White Cube Bermondsey, his first at the gallery for eight years, featuring new work produced over the last year. At 86, Baselitz is still going strong and his new pieces, both large-scale paintings and works on paper, reflect on his 60-year-plus career, nodding to his key inspirations over the years and sketches he created in his youth.

RONG BAO IS ME

Until 12th May 2024
Saatchi Gallery, King's Rd, London

Step into the surreal and playful world of Chinese artist Rong Bao at the Saatchi Gallery. The RCA graduate’s debut exhibition Rong Bao Is Me is a showcase of her sculptural practice, where she transforms familiar objects into mischievous, sensorial and interactive artworks. Her installations stretch our perception of the physical and foster a sense of fun as a pushback against the norms of society.

THE QB PAPERS

10th - 28th April 2024
Cromwell Place, 4 Cromwell Place, London SW7 2JE

Sir Quentin Blake, the renowned illustrator best-known for his work with Roald Dahl, is hosting his second commercial exhibition in a matter of months at the Arc Gallery at Cromwell Place. The QB Papers features work Quentin created between 2017-2019, much of which has never been seen before. And if you like what you see, you can actually purchase one of his original artworks.

THE ART OF THE BRICK

6th March - 12th May 2024
The Boiler House, 152 Brick Lane, London E1 6RU

The Art of The Brick, appropriately opening on Brick Lane, will feature more than 90 LEGO sculptures – that amounts to over a million bricks – that reinterpret some of the most recognisable artworks on the planet, including Michelangelo’s ‘David’, Van Gogh’s ‘Starry Night’, Da Vinci’s ‘Mona Lisa’, Gustav Klimt’s ‘The Kiss’ and Edvard Munch’s ‘The Scream’. The exhibition is the work of artist Nathan Sawaya, who is also displaying some of his original pieces in the show, like a giant version of his ‘Yellow’ sculpture and ‘Perniciem’, which showcases endangered species in their natural environments. The works will be accompanied by 3D video mapping and a musical score, and there’ll also be a play and build area where you’ll be able to make your own LEGO creations.

THE ART OF BANKSY

11th April 2024 - January 2025
100 Charing Cross Road, London WC2H 0JG

The Art of Banksy first landed in London in the spring of 2021 after touring the world, popping up in cities from Melbourne to Miami, and following another international jaunt, it returned to the capital in 2023. After closing at the start of this year, the exhibition is on its way back for a third run, this time opening in a new space in Soho. The show 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 official Banksy works from 1997 – 2008. This time around, over 150 pieces will be on show, including the iconic ‘Girl and Balloon’ ‘Flower Thrower’ and ‘Rude Copper’ as well as artworks from Dismaland, ones that reference the war in Ukraine and some going on public display for the first time.

TROPICAL MODERNISM | ARCHITECTURE AND INDEPENDENCE

2nd March – 22nd September 2024
Victoria and Albert Museum, Cromwell Road, London

The V&A is hosting a major architectural exhibition highlighting the style of Tropical Modernism by architects Jane Drew and Maxwell Fry from their work in the 1940s. The style, which focused on practicality over beauty in a hot and dry climate, developed in West Africa and came to symbolise a postcolonial future in countries like Ghana and India after they gained independence. The exhibition dives into the origins of Tropical Modernism along with its connection to colonisation, and how it spread representing progressiveness in a country.

A SEAT AT OUR TABLE

9th March – 12th October 2024
10 Oakfield Rd, Ilford IG1 1ZJ

Photographer Kenneth Lam is hosting his first solo exhibition A seat at our table at SPACE Ilford, inviting audiences to explore the dishes and memories of their own cultural identities. Taking inspiration from classical still life and the the stories of Redbridge residents, Lam explores the table as a symbol of home and the way food can express heritage and be used as a common language between cultures.

POLLY BRADEN | LEAVING UKRAINE

15th March - 1st September 2024
Foundling Museum, Brunswick Square, London

Around six million Ukrainians are now displaced as a result of the Russian invasion of the country on 24th February 2024. Photographer Polly Braden has been documenting the lives of some of the women and children who have now been scattered across Europe and you can see her work at the Foundling Museum. Leaving Ukraine showcases the journeys that these women have had to undertake, the care they still have to provide for their families, the impact that the war has had on their lives and the way it is shaping their futures through photos, film and aural testimonies.

AN IDEA OF A LIFE

9th March - 21st December 2024
Women's Museum, Barking Wharf Square, Barking

Female artists Meera Shakti Osborne, Lesley Asare, and Sarina Mantle will be featured in An Idea of a Life exhibit at the Women’s Museum in March. The exhibit will showcase the history of communities led by the Abbess and nuns from c.666AD to the early 16th Century near Barking Abbey and will show their everyday history. It will also include objects excavated from the area that demonstrated how women were connected to significant historic places.

WHEN FORM COMES ALIVE

7th February - 6th May 2024
Hayward Gallery, Belvedere Road, London

The Hayward Gallery is looking back over the past 60 years of contemporary sculpture with its major exhibition When Form Comes Alive, exploring how artists interpret movement, flow and growth. Featuring works from 21 international artists, the show presents these dynamic and energetic sculptures that physically bloom across the space in contrast to the increasing digitisation of our everyday life, reminding us that the world is always shifting and transforming.

FRANK AUERBACH | THE CHARCOAL HEADS

9th February - 27th May 2024
Courtauld Gallery, Strand, London

Frank Auerbach: The Charcoal Heads at The Courtauld Gallery marks the first time that the artist’s post-war portrait heads drawn in charcoal have been displayed together as a group. The large-scale drawings are from early in Auerbach’s career, produced in the 1950s and early 1960s, with his process of working and reworking, breaking and patching the pieces reflecting the time period, where people were remaking their lives after the destruction wrought by the war. In the exhibition, the charcoal drawings will be presented alongside the paintings he produced of the same sitters.

BERT HARDY | PHOTOJOURNALISM IN WAR AND PEACE

23rd February – 2nd June 2024
The Photographers' Gallery, Ramillies Street, London

The Photographers’ Gallery is looking back on the four-decades-long career of Bert Hardy this spring with this Photojournalism in War and Peace exhibition. This retrospective covers his work at Picture Post magazine, including his portrayal of post-war life in Britain and the way he revealed the social conditions and working-class lives of the time. His photographs taken during the Blitz, the liberation of Bergen-Belsen and the war in Southeast Asia will also be on show alongside archival material like press passes, diaries, and correspondence.

LEGION | LIFE IN THE ROMAN ARMY

1st February - 23rd June 2024
British Museum, Great Russell Street, London

This major exhibition at the British Museum explores what it was like to be part of the Roman army, one of the most elite fighting forces of all time. Legion: Life in the Roman Army features stories of men from across the empire who became Roman soldiers and the impact this had on their daily life and on their families. These are told through more than 200 objects, including letters; military objects like the world’s only intact legionary shield, the oldest, most complete Roman segmental body armour, and preserved trumpets and swords from Pompeii; and other items, like the remains of a soldier from Herculaneum who is reunited with his belt and equipment for the first time outside Italy.

ZHENG BO | BAMBOO AS METHOD

22nd February – 28th April 2024
Somerset House, Strand, London

Zheng Bo is the latest artist to be given Somerset House’s courtyard commission and they’re turning the space into a bamboo garden. Bamboo as Method is an expression of Zheng’s eco-queer approach and looks to redistribute the power that humans are assumed to have over nature. Made of 300 locally sourced bamboo, the garden will give visitors a chance to disconnect from the hustle of normal life and immerse themselves in nature by spending time sketching one of the ten different species of bamboo. Biodegradable paper will be provided for the drawings, which will then be composted into the soil to fertilise the garden, to complete the cycle of creativity and ecology.

ZIMINGZHONG 凝时聚珍 | CLOCKWORK TREASURES FROM CHINA'S FORBIDDEN CITY

1st February – 2nd June 2024   
Science Museum, Exhibition Road, London

More than 20 clockwork treasures collected by Chinese emperors in the 1700s are coming to the Science Museum from the Palace Museum in Beijing. The Zimingzhong 凝时聚珍 : Clockwork Treasures from China’s Forbidden City  exhibition will explore the luxury goods trade and the early cultural exchanges between London, Guangzhou and Beijing and spotlight the intricate craftsmanship required to make such ornate and technical clocks. This show marks the first time these pieces have been displayed together in the UK, with most of them never having been outside of China before, and with a pay-what-you-can ticket price, you could see them for as little as a quid.

REWIND | THIS IS CROYDON'S MUSIC

8th February - 8th September 2024
Museum of Croydon, Katharine Street, Croydon

To celebrate Croydon’s time as the London Borough of Culture, the Museum of Croydon is hosting the Rewind: This is Croydon’s Music exhibition. Croydon has a rich musical heritage, with dubstep icons Skream and Benga hailing from the area, as do The Damned’s Captain Sensible, Desmond Dekker, Kirsty MacColl and Nadia Rose. The show will explore this musical diversity with objects, photographs, stories and more relating to record stores, music shops and venues in the borough and the artists and producers who created and performed music in Croydon.

UNRAVEL | THE POWER AND POLITICS OF TEXTILES IN ART

13th February - 26th May 2024
Barbican Centre, Silk Street, London

Stitching, weaving, braiding, beading; who doesn’t love the magical world of textiles? That’s why we can’t wait to see the Barbican’s next landmark exhibition, Unravel: The Power and Politics of Textiles in Art, that looks at the transformative and subversive potential of textiles. Bringing together over 100 works by 50 international, intergenerational artists, the exhibition explores the various ways in which artists have used textiles to tell stories that challenge power structures, transgress boundaries and reimagine the world around them. Expect to see works from textile art powerhouse Sheila Hicks, a leader of the fibre art movement in the 1960s; Igshaan Adams, who explores themes such as race, religion and sexuality in his intensely crafted work; and Feliciano Centurión, who embroidered poetic reflections onto found fabrics to process his HIV diagnosis in 1993. Yinka Shonibare CBE RA’s figurative sculpture ‘Boy On A Globe’, Cecilia Vicuña’s spatial installation ‘Quipu Austral’ and Harmony Hammond’s large-scale work ‘Bandaged Grid #9’ are on show, alongside eye-catching pieces by Tracey Emin, Tschabalala Self, Jeffrey Gibson, Mounira Al Solh and the late Mrinalini Mukherjee.

THE MOONWALKERS | A JOURNEY WITH TOM HANKS

Until 13th October 2024
12 Lewis Cubitt Walk, London N1C 4DY

Immersive gallery Lightroom is following David Hockney with Tom Hanks. The Moonwalkers: A Journey With Tom Hanks, which tells the story of humankind’s exploration of the moon, is being narrated by the Oscar-winning actor, with an original score by Anne Nikitin. Hanks, who is a big space fan (pretty fitting that he starred in Apollo 13 then) has co-written the script with BAFTA-nominated writer-director Christopher Riley. As well as footage from the previous Apollo missions, the experience will feature interviews with Hanks and astronauts on the Artemis programme, which is preparing for the return of crewed surface missions to the moon. And all of that is gonna be projected using Lightroom’s cutting-edge tech.

ACCIDENTALLY WES ANDERSON | THE EXHIBITION

Until 12th May 2024
85 Old Brompton Road, South Kensington, London SW7 3LD

Accidentally Wes Anderson is coming back to London IRL with an exhibition featuring over 200 photos of buildings and landscapes from around the world that look as though they could be backdrops in a Wes Anderson flick. The show will be spread out across seven themed rooms, including ‘Classic Facades’ ‘Transport’, ‘Maritime’ and ‘Hotels/Motels’, each filled with photographs that evoke Wes Anderson’s distinct style in different ways, whether through Art Nouveau exteriors, pastel hues, vintage modes of transportation or an abundance of symmetry. The second to last room – ‘The London Room’ – will centre around Accidentally Wes Anderson photos of the city and guests will be able to submit their own photos for the chance to be featured.

THE CULT OF BEAUTY

26th October 2023 - 28th April 2024
Wellcome Collection, Euston Road, London

The Wellcome Collection is exploring notions of beauty across different time periods and different cultures with major exhibition The Cult of Beauty. The display explores the influence of morality, health, age, status, race and gender on the evolution of established norms of beauty, by looking at the ideals of beauty over time, the relationship between medicine and cosmetics, and how beauty can be used to subvert social constructs. Over 200 items will be on show, including an ancient Egyptian mirror, products by Rihanna’s Fenty brand, a powder compact designed by Salvador Dali, photographs of hair traditions in Nigeria and an AI-generated installation of a morphing human body created from a range of datasets from different bodies.

HOW TO MAKE A POSTER

20th October 2023 - 2025
London Transport Museum, London

The London Transport Museum is opening its Global Poster Gallery, its first permanent gallery dedicated to the history of poster art and design, with the How to Make a Poster exhibition. The inaugural display will explore poster commissioning and creativity in the pre-digital age, with more than 110 pieces on show. The Underground’s first ever pictorial poster, John Hassall’s 1908 work ‘No need to ask a p’liceman’ by John Hassall alongside posters by designers and artists like Edward McKnight Kauffer, Man Ray, Hans Unger, Abram Games, Tom Eckersley, Paul Catherall, and Dora M Batty. The various techniques used in poster production will also be showcased in the exhibition as well as the way the posters were displayed and the reception they received from both London travellers and the art world.

SKATEBOARD

20th October 2023 - 2nd June 2024
224-238 Kensington High St, Kensington, London W8 6AG

All you skaters will wanna roll down to the Design Museum to catch Skateboard, the first major UK exhibition to explore the history of skateboard design from the 50s to today. Author, designer and skater Jonathan Olivares is curating the show, which’ll chart the evolution of the skateboard from its homemade beginnings to professional advancements and its acceptance into wider culture. Over 90 rare and unique boards will be on display, including Laura Thornhill’s Logan Earth Ski 1970s pro model, Tony Hawk’s first ever professional model skateboard, and Sky Brown’s first pro model, alongside hardware, safety equipment, VHS tapes, mags and DVDs.

WILDLIFE PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR

13th October 2023 - 30th June 2024
Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, London

The 59th Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition is being hosted at the Natural History Museum. The display features awarded images selected around 50,000 entries and it showcases the beauty and diversity of the natural world, with everything from snow leopards hunting in China to seals in Greece to snow bisons in the US depicted in the photographs.

DELIGHT

Until 26th May 2024
Borough Yards, Stoney St, London SE1 9AD

A slice of Seoul is landing in London with Delight, an exhibition about the city’s heritage and culture. The show has been produced by Seoul-based artist Gyoungtae Hong and director Younsook Im, and curated by Daehyung Lee, as a way for Londoners to experience Seoul in a new way – or for the first time. The exhibition is designed to be fully immersive and is presented as a series of multimedia installations. Expect to see 12 large-scale pieces that represent Korean deities, distinctive landmarks (such as Gwanghwamun, the main gate of Gyeongbok Palace), and contemporary cultural hubs. The works exhibited include major digital displays, including one comprising 631 glowing lights, but there are also excerpts from works of literature that tell stories of the city’s history, life, and identity.

VAN GOGH | THE IMMERSIVE EXPERIENCE

Until 9th June 2024
Commercial Street, London E1 6LZ

Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience has been a hit in the States and in Europe and now it has come to Spitalfields. The exhibition sees 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’s also 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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YAYOI KUSAMA | INFINITY MIRROR ROOMS

Until 28th April 2024
Tate Modern, Bankside, London

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.

FRAMELESS

Marble Arch, London W1H 7FD

We’re no strangers to immersive art experiences in London but Frameless is taking things to a whole new level. It’s the capital’s first permanent digital art experience, featuring some of the world’s most iconic artworks spread across the walls, floors and ceilings of a 30,000 sq ft space. You can get up close and personal with over 40 works from 28 artists, including the likes of Klimt, Munch, Kandinsky, Monet, Rembrandt, Dali, Cezanne and van Gogh. The Frameless experience is spread across four different themed galleries – Beyond Reality, Colour In Motion, The World Around Us and The Art Of Abstraction – with bespoke musical scores accompanying the displays.

TWIST MUSEUM

248 Oxford St, London W1C 1DH

Dive into a world of illusions and discover the science behind how they work at Twist Museum. Created in collaboration with experts from the worlds of art, psychology and neuroscience, Twist blends immersive multi-sensory experiences with education and technology to help you understand what happens to the brain when your senses are deceived and how different stimuli shape your sense of reality. There are over 60 exhibits inside, including the Ames Room, which creates the feeling of shrinking; the Life Without Colour Room, where you can experience a world without colour; the Sound Lab, where you can unlock the extrasensory power of your ears; and the Kaleidoscope Room, which reacts and refracts to your presence.

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