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Dominic Watson, Goldsmiths Centre for Contemporary Art. Courtesy Goldsmiths CCA. Photo: Rob Harris.
Dominic Watson, Goldsmiths Centre for Contemporary Art. Courtesy Goldsmiths CCA. Photo: Rob Harris.

Top 10 art exhibitions in London

Check out our critics’ picks of the ten best art shows coming up in the capital at some of the world’s best art galleries

Written by
Eddy Frankel
&
Time Out London Art
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London’s major galleries and museums are all open as usual, but check on the galleries’ websites before visiting, you may need to book a slot in advance.

This city is absolutely rammed full of amazing art galleries and museums. Want to see a priceless Monet? A Rothko masterpiece? An installation of little crumpled bits of paper? A video piece about the evils of capitalism? You can find it all right here. Post-Covid, London’s museums are all back to normal, and the city’s independents have been back in business for ages. So here, we've got your next art outing sorted with the ten best shows you absolutely can't miss. 

The ten best art exhibitions in London

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Art
  • Barbican

This exhibition is a premonition, a warning. In all the heaving, dark, post-apocalyptic paint and steel created by the artists in Britain in the wake of World War II, you see a roadmap for how our own lives could be after war today, and it’s brutally harrowing.

 

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  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Art
  • Piccadilly

Francis Bacon’s art is a physical experience. It assaults you, it leers off the walls at you. Every figure in this exhibition is twisted and contorted, every face is screaming, every orifice is bleeding. It’s claustrophobic, violent, and properly overpowering. And it’s totally brilliant. 

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Art
  • South Bank

It’s like a nightmare in M&S, this show of late fabric works by the great Louise Bourgeois. Nightdresses hang from animal bones, a doll is pinned to a chair with spider legs, mannequins in neat dresses are locked in rusty cages, others are giving birth or shagging each other, there are needles and silks and cottons spilling out everywhere. It’s like Hellraiser’s haberdashery.

 

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  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Art
  • Finchley Road

Allison Katz is in relentless pursuit of what she calls ‘genuine ambiguity’. Not that fake stuff you get off dodgy websites, but the pure, uncut, good shit: top grade ambiguity.

So the Canadian artist’s paintings are - as you can guess - pretty ungraspable things, filled with symbols and concepts that mean multiple things, that signify contrasting ideas. They are, in other words, ambiguous AF. 

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  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Art
  • Painting
  • Dulwich

Woodcuts. Most of the time, they’re difficult. Rigid. Fiddly. A bit like me on my morning commute. But it turns out, they can be much more than that. They can be spontaneous, vast, and colourful. This enlightening exhibition shows exactly how.  

 

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  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Art
  • Piccadilly

Devoting a whole show to a nineteenth-century model and muse is pretty niche, even by art history standards. But the reverse psychology of this RA exhibition is compelling, and by the end of it what emerges is not just a portrait of the artist, but of the strange morality and tastes of a whole age.

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