From the Tates to the Royal Academy and the galleries of Mayfair and the Barbican, London is bursting with exciting art exhibitions at any time of year. Here are the shows not to be missed, from vibrant paintings to seemingly moving sculptures.
London’s Best Art Exhibitions 2024
Yoko Ono: Music of the Mind
She may be best known for being married to John Lennon, but there’s a lot more to Yoko Ono than her Beatles connection. The Japanese musician and performance artist, now 90, has a fascinating body of work that spans over seven decades – which is being explored in an landmark exhibition at Tate Modern. The largest show Yoko Ono’s work yet, Music of the Mind will delve into some of the most talked about works of her career, from the 1950s to the modern day. Naturally, her London years (1966 – 1971) will be a point of intrigue: the period she became intertwined with a nonconformist network of artists and musicians, including Lennon. Her banned Film No. 4 (Bottoms) will be shown, and visitors will have the chance to participate in White Chess Set, a game with solely white chess pieces believed to symbolise Ono’s anti-war stance.
Details: 15 February – 1 September 2024. tate.org.uk
Roby Dwi Antono: TUK
A solo exhibition of new works by Indonesian artist Roby Dwi Antono is on view at Almine Rech until 17 February – and it’s not to be missed. ‘TUK’ is named for one of Roby’s personal formative memories growing up in Ambarawa, central Java: to gather water, Roby and his family had to create a manmade source called a ‘Belik’, akin to a traditional well, from which a water spring, a ‘tuk’ emerges – which Roby likens here to the baby’s breast milk experience. Centring on the work Roby has created since the birth of his daughter Laut, his first child, in July 2023, TUK is inspired by his experiences as a new father and the impact of starting a family. Roby confronts the challenges, joys and anxieties of parenthood all the while nurturing his hopes and dreams for the future, expressed across rough, raw strokes and vivid colours.
Details: 11 January–17 February 2024 at Almine Rech (Broadbent House, Grosvenor Hill, London W1K 3JH), open Tuesday–Saturday, 10am–6pm. alminerech.com
A contemporary of Francis Bacon and David Hockney, Saatchi Yates is displaying the first posthumous solo exhibition of Neil Stokoe’s work since his passing in 2019, hoping to bring his remarkable paintings to a wider audience. Especially inspired by friend and contemporary Francis Bacon, Stokoe’s invigorating style transcends time, with paintings demonstrating psychologically charged interior spaces, capturing vibrancy with lush oil paints on canvas. The exhibition will feature 14 major paintings from Stokoe’s estate, some of which have never been exhibited before.
Details: 17 January–25 February 2024 at Saatchi Yates (14 Bury St, St. James’s, London SW1Y 6AL), open Monday–Saturday, 10am–6pm, and midday–6pm on Sundays. saatchiyates.com
Taylor Wessing Photo Prize
After a three-year hiatus, the annual Taylor Wessing Photo Portrait Prize will return to the National Portrait Gallery at the end of 2023, showcasing the work of both celebrated professionals and talented amateurs. Read all about this year’s exhibition here.
Details: 9 November 2023–25 February 2024 at the National Portrait Gallery (St. Martin’s Place, London WC2H 0HE). npg.org.uk
we are everything all the time always
Reflecting the cycle of life and death, Rebecca Hossack has curated and is displaying a breathtaking exhibition of Australian aboriginal objects (all produced at four communities in or off Arnhem Land, aka the ‘Top End’ of Australia’s Northern Territory, an area almost six times larger than the United Kingdom), examining how objects connect us with the spiritual dimension of life. Humankind has a universal desire to connect with the inexpressible and mysterious, and each artwork displayed as part of ‘we are everything all the time always’ was created to seek solace and confirmation through ceremony, acknowledging the importance of the spirit not merely in human kind, but in all things.
Details: 2 January–28 February 2024 at Rebecca Hossack Art Gallery (2a Conway St, Fitzroy Square, London W1T 6BA), open Monday–Saturday, 10am–6pm. rebeccahossack.com
THE HUDSONS, Family Ties
Curated by Mollie Dent-Brocklehurst, THE HUDSONS, Family Ties is a multidisciplinary, intergenerational exhibition of work by father and sons, Richard, Richard WM and Henry Hudson. It’s the first time the artists have been shown together, but their work is tied together by a deep understanding of and fascination with nature and natural forms, spanning a range of mediums and processed from clay to plasticine, scagliola to wood.
Details: 31 January–14 April 2024 at Claridge’s ArtSpace (Brook St, London W1K 4HR). Free to visit. claridges.co.uk
When Forms Come Alive: Sixty Years of Restless Sculpture
A playful exploration of movement, flux and organic growth as represented in sculpture is coming to The Hayward Gallery in early 2024. Nineteen international artists spanning 50 years of contemporary art will explore the likes of a dancer’s gesture to the breaking of a wave, from the flow of molten metal to the interlacing of a spider’s web, spotlighting how things ooze, undulate, blossom, erupt and sprawl – and the unique ways this flow can be frozen in art.
Details: 7 February–6 May 2024 at The Hayward Gallery (Southbank Centre, Belvedere Rd, London SE1 8XX). southbankcentre.co.uk
The Time is Always Now: Artists Reframe the Black Figure
In Spring 2024, the National Portrait Gallery will welcome visitors to its major exhibition of the season: The Time is Always Now: Artists Reframe the Black Figure. Gathering the work of 22 22 leading African diasporic artists working in the UK and USA, the exhibition will explore the depiction of the Black form within portraiture from 2000 to the present, considering and celebrating figuration as a means of illuminating the richness and complexity of Black life.
Details: 22 February–19 May 2024 at the National Portrait Gallery (St. Martin’s Pl, London WC2H 0HE). npg.org.uk
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Unravel: The Power and Politics of Textiles in Art
Woefully underexamined in art history, textiles weave through our everyday lives, from stitching to weaving, braiding to knotting. Opening in February 2024, Unravel: The Power and Politics of Textiles in Art will shine a light on contemporary artists keeping these tactile processes alive, exploring the transformative and subversive potential of textiles to challenge power structures, transgress boundaries, and reimagine the world around them.
Details: 13 February–26 May 2024 at the Barbican Art Gallery. barbican.org.uk
Discover Degas & Miss La La
In 2024, the National Gallery’s free-to-attend ‘Discover’ series will centre Degas’ 1879 painting Miss La La at the Cirque Fernando, a landmark impressionist painting starring circus artist Miss La La, or Anna Albertine Olga Brown. The exhibition will reveal new information about her life and career, while taking a closer look at Degas’ painting and his preparatory drawings of Brown in motion.
Details: 6 June–1 September 2024 at the National Gallery (Trafalgar Square, London WC2N 5DN). nationalgallery.org.uk
Vanessa Bell: A Pioneer of Modern Art
One of the leading artists associated with the Bloomsbury Group, Vanessa Bell was one of the 20th century’s most cutting-edge artists, and this focused display will be the first devoted to The Courtauld’s collection of her work. Visitors will see Bell’s masterpiece ‘A Conversation’, as well as the bold, abstract textile designs she produced for the Omega Workshops, led by influential artist and critic Roger Fry, which aimed to abolish the boundaries between the fine and decorative arts.
Details: 25 May–6 October 2024 at the Courtauld’s Project Space (Somerset House, Strand, London WC2R 0RN). courtauld.ac.uk
Monet and London: Views of the Thames
World renowned as the leading figure of French Impressionism, Monet is best known for his depictions of French landscapes – but some of his finest paintings were made in London. Across three stays in London, Monet depicted extraordinary views of the River Thames as it had never been seen before, full of evocative atmosphere, mysterious light, and radiant colour. He displayed them at his dealer’s gallery in Paris in 1904 and longed to show them in London a year later, but plans fell through and the paintings were never subject of a dedicated UK exhibition – until now.
Details: 27 September 2024–19 January 2025 at the Courtauld’s Denise Coates Exhibition Galleries (Somerset House, Strand, London WC2R 0RN). courtauld.ac.uk