exhibitions in London

Brilliant exhibitions in London that are an absolute must-see

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  • From Salvador Dali to Harry Potter...

    Words by Lisa Walden

    From Salvador Dali at the Royal Academy of Arts to glorious heritage buildings in India, explore the capital’s buzzy art scene with our round-up of the top exhibitions in London for autumn. Book now to enjoy the best of the city — there’s something here for everyone.

    exhibitions in London

    Basquiat: Boom for Real

    Open now until January 28
    Barbican Centre
    Jean-Michel Basquiat’s story is brought to life on a giant, sensorial scale at the Barbican Centre this autumn. This must-see exhibition brings together more than 100 works, focusing on the artist’s relationship with music, performance, film, television and writing. His vibrant, raw images fill to exhibition space in a celebration of the creative brilliance and emotive power of his work. Stop by to see this season’s sensational new arrival, which will transport you to the dynamism of Basquiat’s practice over the years. It’s an all-encompassing visual tale that’s set to be a sell-out show.

    Address: Barbican Centre, Silk Street, London, EC2Y 8DS
    Tickets: £16
    Website: barbican.org.uk

    exhibitions in London


    7 October – 3 January
    Royal Academy of Arts
    When Salvador Dali was 18, he began to experiment with brilliant surrealist and striking new styles. At first glance, his early works are almost unrecognisable as the Dali we know, but they certainly shaped him into one of the most prolific artists of the 20th century. In a new stellar exhibition, the Royal Academy of Arts opens its doors for a celebration of his avant-garde works and friendship with Marcel Duchamp. From some of his less familiar works, to paintings, sculptures, films, and collaborations, the retrospective throws light on their seemingly unlikely friendship.

    Address: Royal Academy of Arts, Burlington House, Piccadilly, Mayfair, London W1J 0BD
    Tickets: £15
    Website: royalacademy.org.uk

    exhibitions in London

    Impressionists in London

    2 November – 7 May
    Tate Britain
    Focussing on the British art scene during 1870, TATE Britain’s new unmissable retrospective presents captivating works by Monet, Pissarro and Tissot. The large-scale exhibition delves into how the artists engaged with English tradition and culture, bringing together the most important examples of their work. Book fast, too. You don’t want to miss this one.

    Address: Tate Gallery, Millbank, Westminster, London SW1P 4RG
    Tickets: £17.70
    Website: tate.org.uk

    exhibitions in London

    Jake & Dinos Chapman: The Disasters of Everyday Life

    4 October – 11 November
    Blain | Southern
    Over the past two decades, the Chapman brothers have created one of the most distinctive oeuvres in contemporary art. Now in their new exhibition at London’s buzzy art hub, the British visual artists delve into the violence in today’s society: “We live in an age when the American president delivers midnight tweets to taunt his foes and you can choose to see beheadings on YouTube,” explain the curators. In The Disasters of Everyday Life, the brothers turn to collage, glitter, and Goya’s disasters of war.

    Address: Blain Southern, 4 Hanover Square, Mayfair, London W1S 1BP
    Tickets: Free entry
    Website: blainsouthern.com

    exhibitions in London

    Cezanne Portraits

    Opening 26 October
    National Portrait Gallery
    Paul Cezanne’s pictorial and thematic characteristics have been thrilling art lovers since the late 1800s — and this retrospective celebrates his unique and fascinating method of building form with colour (its his small, repetitive brushstrokes that he’s most famous for). Over his lifetime, the French artist made almost 1,000 paintings — some of which have never been seen before. Stop by to see this sensational new arrival, opening late October.

    Address: National Portrait Gallery, St. Martin’s Pl, London WC2H 0HE
    Tickets: £18
    Website: npg.org.uk

    exhibitions in London

    Illuminating India: Photography 1857 – 2017

    4 October – 31 March
    The Science Museum
    There is a unique other-worldliness to India. Its glorious heritage buildings, primordial dreamscape and rich history have captured the heart of tourists for decades. When photography arrived in India in 1839, it became a medium for the locals to express their experiences. Now celebrated at The Science Museum, this vast, must-see exhibition brings to light previously overlooked photographs from the past. Creativity hangs in the air here — and it’s not just seminal artworks pulling in the crowds at this retrospective. You can expect much, much more.

    Address: Science Museum, Exhibition Road, Kensington, London SW7 2DD
    Tickets: Free entry
    Website: sciencemuseum.org.uk

    exhibitions in London

    Ferrari: Under the Skin

    15 November – 15 April
    The Design Museum
    Feel the need for speed and race through the Ferrari experience at The Design Museum, opening this November. Cars are key, of course: From hand-drawn sketches, to moving image, interviews, photographs and sculptures, the exhibition celebrates 70 years of the world’s most iconic racer. Highlights include Peter Collins’ 250 GT Cabriolet, the Ferrari 500 F2, and an immersive racing memorabilia you simply can’t miss.

    Address: The Design Museum, 224-238 Kensington High Street, Kensington, London W8 6AG
    Tickets: £16.30
    Website: designmuseum.co.uk

    exhibitions in London

    Louise Dahl-Wolfe: A Style of Her Own

    20 October – 21 January
    Fashion and Textile Museum
    The crazy-beautiful work of the pioneering photographer is bought to life this autumn in a stellar retrospective. A key focus of the exhibition is her 22 years as a leading contributor to Harper’s Bazaar, as well as tapping into how she defined the image of the independent post-war woman. Expect over 100 images spanning three decades, plus the work of Chanel, Balenciaga and Dior. Brilliantly, too, there is the chance to be the first to see the major exhibit with the museum’s afternoon tea event on Thursday 19 October.

    Address: Fashion and Textile Museum, 83 Bermondsey Street, London SE1 3XF
    Tickets: £9.90
    Website: ftmlondon.org.uk

    exhibitions in London

    Poster Girls: A Century of Art and Design

    13 October – 1 January
    London Transport Museum
    A spectacular new attraction for autumn, this knock-out exhibition showcases more than 150 original posters from female graphic artists whose work illuminated London’s transport system during the 20th and 21st century. Expect letters, books, photographs and ceramics on display from a wealth of influential designers (Dora Batty, Herry Perry, Freda Lingstrom and Laura Knight are some of the brilliant power women celebrated).

    Address: London Transport Museum, Covent Garden Piazza, London WC2E 7BB
    Tickets: Free entry
    Website: ltmuseum.co.uk

    exhibitions in London Harry Potter

    Harry Potter: A History of Magic

    20 October – 28 February

    Address: British Library, 96 Euston Roa, Kings Cross, London NW1 2DB
    Tickets: £16
    Website: bl.uk

    British Library
    Delve into the traditions of folklore at the British Library’s immersive exhibition and journey to where the magic and myth began — set to be the talking point of the year. From rare books to manuscripts and enchanting creatures, come and celebrate the 20th anniversary of the publication of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.


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