May's Most Talked About Art Exhibitions

Tabish Khan
By Tabish Khan Last edited 42 months ago
May's Most Talked About Art Exhibitions ★★☆☆☆ 2

You might have heard the buzz surrounding these exhibitions, plus we’ve picked a few you may like — if you’re undecided about whether or not to see them, here’s our guide to which are worth it. Most are free to visit.

Polly Morgan's fox sprouts tentacles. Photo: Tabish Khan

Taxidermy Is Dead (Long Live Taxidermy) at The Horniman Museum
Polly Morgan is one of the most successful taxidermy artists and what better place to display her works then in the Natural History gallery, filled with the Horniman's collection of stuffed animals. This small display of her latest works has much of her trademark macabre surrealism as tentacles emerge from a fox's corpse and tiny hatchlings call out from inside a telephone receiver. Free, until 7 June

Londonist Rating: ★★★★☆

Y.Z. Kami at Gagosian, Britannia Street
These blurred introspective portraits are created with a talented hand but they never manage to capture the meditative and spiritual effect the artist is going for. Free, until 30 May

Londonist Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Theaster Gates at White Cube, Bermondsey
Gates is an artist known for his politically active works and this time he takes pieces of closed down buildings in his own neighbourhood to create new sculptures. The difficulty is that though some of the works, such as his tar paintings, are immersive, the entire show fails to hang together and feels all over the place. Free, until 5 July

Londonist Rating: ★★☆☆☆

An installation view of some flaming neon. Photo: Jack Hems

Los Carpinteros at Parasol Unit
Ceramic tomatoes that seem to have smashed against the wall, fiery neon and a molten drum kit. This is a playful and engaging exhibition with the best works on the ground floor. Free, until 24 May

Londonist Rating: ★★★★☆

Thomas Struth at Marian Goodman
After opening last year this top end gallery has been rolling out the big names but has yet to put together a great show. Photographer Thomas Struth starts off promisingly with his images of the intricacies of laboratory equipment. However, the majority of the show is his photos from the Holy Land, but these sparing photographs with limited human presence never capture the unseen tension Struth is trying to convey. Free, until 6 June

Londonist Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Ben Turnbull: Smells Like Teen Spirit at StolenSpace
America's lack of gun control is the target here where a locker dispenses grenades and guns are available in emergency glass cases. It's not the subtlest of political statements, but the sense of humour makes for an enjoyable visit. Free, until 17 May

Londonist Rating: ★★★☆☆

Multi-coloured stairs by Jim Lambie. Photo: Tim Bowditch

20 years at Zabludowicz collection
The Zabludowicz foundation has been around for 20 years and this celebratory exhibition wheels out all the big names in their collection — Damien Hirst, Tracey Emin, Sarah Lucas and many more. It's not always the artists' best works but it's a good showcase of how impressive the collection is. Free, until 16 August

Londonist Rating: ★★★☆☆

Looks at ICA
This exhibition sets out to tackle the self-obsessed times we live in, which seems to have hit 'peak selfie'. Stewart Uoo sums this up best with his giant replica of a Cosmo Girl magazine cover and his damaged and ragged mannequins — however the rest of the artists don't have anywhere near the same level of impact. £1 and free on Tuesdays, until 21 June

Londonist Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Converse x Dazed Emerging Artists Award at Royal Academy
The five finalists have created immersive installations that cover diverse topics and we were entranced by the oddly hypnotic process of extracting rubber from trees and converting it into tyres. Lawrence Lek is the overall winner with his reconstruction of the Royal Academy in a tropical location, where visitors can pick up a game pad and navigate it in the first person. Free, until 17 May

Londonist Rating: ★★★★☆

Modigliani: A Unique Artistic Voice at Estorick Collection
We like Modigliani's unique style of painting so we were expecting something special here. Unfortunately the exhibition is dominated by his drawings and they lack the strength found in his paintings. Tickets are £5 for adults, until 28 June

Londonist Rating: ★★☆☆☆

For more art to see in London, see our top 10 openings for May.

Last Updated 11 May 2015