Top 10 London Art Exhibitions

By March 10th, 2017 Exhibitions

The most exciting London art exhibitions in 2017 from the Hockney retrospective at Tate Modern to Inside Matisse’s Studio…

Where to start when it comes to choosing the best upcoming London art exhibitions for 2017? There are so many fascinating, provocative and inspiring visual experiences headed to the UK’s capital this year.

Whether you visit the fastest selling show in the Tate’s history or dig deep into the art of African American artists I hope you find a show you love from the list below.

While my home town of Edinburgh throws up some excellent art exhibitions London’s iconic galleries and museums hold a special place in the art shaped part of my culture loving heart. I’ll be adding exhibitions from the rest of the UK on MoMa whenever the art world throws up something to good to ignore.

These London art exhibitions are listed in chronological order by opening date.

David Hockney - Tate Britain Exhibition

David Hockney Tate Britain, 9 Feb – 29 May

If you ever want to feel bad about your productivity just compare yourself with Hockney’s prolific six decade long career covering groundbreaking work in painting, drawing, print, photography and video! If ever an artist deserved a grand scale British retrospective it’s the soon to be eighty year old Bradford born artist. London’s Tate Britain hosts his most comprehensive exhibition to date. Look out for any new posters or print releases for the Tate exhibition on our dedicated Hockney Posters page.
David Hockney Exhibition

London Art Exhibitions - Gillian Wearing and Claude Cahun

Gillian Wearing & Claude Cahun Wolfson Gallery, 9 Mar – 29 May

I first came across the work of French artist, writer, photographer, actress and political activist, Claude Cahun at the Royal Botanics In Edinburgh. It was a haunting and moving exploration of an artist fascinated with ideas of identity and gender. The perfect foil for Gillian Wearing’s ever questioning studies on self-image and self depiction. ‘Behind the mask, another mask’ should be a mind bending foray into masquerade and performance.
Gillian Wearing & Claude Cahun Exhibition

Adventures in Moominland

Adventures in Moominland Southbank Centre, 11 Mar – 20 Aug

With 5 star reviews from Londonist and TimeOut this interactive exhibition is sure to make many children’s (big or small) dreams come true. Climb into the world of the Moomins, the brainchild of Tove Jansson, the writer and artist behind the wonderful world of Moominland. Enchanting, inspiring and a completely unique trip down the rabbit hole of the Moomins universe. It’s the art world, but not as you know it.
Adventures in Moominland Exhibition

Howard Hodgkin - Absent Friends

Howard Hodgkin: Absent Friends Portrait Gallery, 23 Mar – 18 Jun

The sad passing of Howard Hodgkin on the 9th of March is sure to leave an almighty gap in the British art world. Known for his fantastically rich layers of colour, unconstrained by frames and boundaries Hodgkin was also a great painter of portraits. This exhibition of his portraits is sure to be a tender and timely celebration of one of England’s greatest painters who continually challenged traditional forms of representation.
Howard Hodgkin Exhibition

Fahrelnissa Zeid London Art Exhibition

Fahrelnissa Zeid Tate Britain, 13 Jun – 8 Oct

Some of the best art exhibitions I’ve been to in London involved discovering artists I wasn’t previously familiar with. Princess Fahrelnissa Zeid was a Turkish artist, trained in Istanbul and Paris whose intricate, geometrical paintings I’m curious to see more of. Islamic, Byzantine, Arab and Persian influences point to this show being a refreshing diversion from the blockbuster shows of more familiar Western European artists.
Fahrelnissa Zeid Exhibition

BP-Portrait-Award-2017 - London Art Exhibitions

BP Portrait Award 2017 National Portrait Gallery, 22 Jun – 24 Sep

Usually catch this annual show when it makes its way up to Edinburgh and it’s always a fascinating glimpse into the ever evolving genre of contemporary portraiture. It’s always fun to go with friends and argue over the rightful winners of the top prizes and young artist award. Here’s the 2016 Award Winners to whet your appetite for this years show.
BP Portrait Award Exhibition

UK Art Exhibitions - Soul Of A Nation

Soul Of A Nation Tate Modern, 12 Jul – 22 Oct

Covering the years 1963–83, ‘Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power’, in the words of Tate Modern, “explores how the category ‘Black Art’ was defined, rejected and redefined by artists across the United States.” Showing the works of Romare Bearden, Norman Lewis, Lorraine O’Grady, Betye Saar and Frank Bowling this promises to be a powerful showcase of African American artists working in pivotal times.
Soul Of A Nation Exhibition

London Art Exhibitions - Matisse Studio

Matisse In The Studio Royal Academy, 5 Aug – 12 Nov

The exhibition spaces at London’s Royal Academy are so good it’s almost impossible to imagine this exhibition built around Matisse’s treasure trove of a studio not shining brightly on the exhibition calendar. This glimpse into the artist’s studio will showcase the eclectic collection of art and artefacts by an artist who took inspiration from all corners of the globe. What should make this Matisse exhibition extra special is that his paintings and sculptures will be shown alongside the work that inspired it. Two creatively joyous exhibitions for the price of one.
Matisse In The Studio Exhibition

Basquiat: Boom for Real

Basquiat: Boom for Real Barbican 21 Sep – 28 Jan

The first major UK solo show of American artist Jean-Michel Basquiat who took the eighties New York art world by storm before his tragic death at the age of 27. Featuring over 100 works including a partial reconstruction of the first body of work that Basquiat exhibited, made for Diego Cortez’s watershed group show New York / New Wave at PS1 in 1981. It’s takena long time to get here but should be well worth the wait.
Basquiat Exhibition


Cézanne Portraits National Portrait Gallery, 26 Oct – 11 Feb

The Wolfson and Lerner Galleries will house over 50 of Cézanne’s portraits including self portraits and portraits of the artist’s wife Hortense Fiquet. Portraits of Uncle Dominique and Cézanne’s Vallier. The exhibition will explore Cézanne’s interest in complementary pairs and multiple versions of the same subject.
Cézanne Portraits Exhibition

That’s our top 10 London art exhibitions countdown completed. Of course that’s just the tip of the iceberg so whichever of these exhibitions you choose to explore – enjoy!

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