Skulls And Solar Panels: The Biggest Exhibitions To Catch In May 2018

Skulls And Solar Panels: The Biggest Exhibitions To Catch In May 2018

We look ahead to London art and exhibition openings for May 2018 and select our must-see exhibitions to help you plan your cultural diary. You're welcome.

Photography goes abstract

Jackson Pollock takes his style into photography. © ARS, NY and DACS, London 2018

When most people think of photography in galleries they think of landscapes, portraits and documentary images, whereas think of abstract art and painting springs to mind. Abstract photography is not on many people's radars, despite it having a long history. This exhibition will look back over the last 100 years to see how abstract photos started and how the art has evolved as technology has allowed it to diversify.
Shape of Light: 100 Years Of Photography And Abstract Art at Tate Modern. 2 May-14 October, £16.

Nocturnal London

Falling asleep on the bus — we've all been there. Copyright Nick Turpin.

Sticking with photography, how can we capture the energy and spirit of London after dark? That's a challenge photographers have been taking on for over 100 years. Museum of London will bring together photography from the late 19th century to today, capturing our vibrant night life, empty streets, city lights and of course those who fall asleep on a night bus... isn't that all of us?
London Nights at Museum of London. 11 May-11 November, £10-£12.

Welcome to the world of tomorrow

A photo of Masdar City, the world's first carbon neutral, waste-free city. Photo by Etienne Malapert.

Which designs are going to transform our world? Will our lives be changed by a global seed bank and a shirt that can power a smartphone? Everything from a solar powered aircraft designed by Facebook to works by independent designers promise some brilliant ideas that may or may not revolutionise the world.
The Future Starts Here at V&A, 12 May-4 November, £15.

The Royal Academy is growing

A mock up of what the new permanent collection may look like. (c) Hayes Davidson

No longer will the back and front entrances fail to meet in the middle of the Royal Academy of Arts. A massive construction effort has been happening behind closed doors to knock through the listed building and connect it all up. That means we get a new exhibition space, and more exciting is that there will now be free galleries where some of the masterpieces in the Royal Academy's permanent collection will go on display.
The New RA. Opens 19 May, free-£14.

Architectural fancy

One of Allchurch's architectural collages.

Emily Allchurch takes different architectural styles from different parts of the world and merges them into a digital collage to create beautiful visions of imagined cities. We've been massive fans of her work for years, so we're excited to see these works appear within the architectural wonder that is Sir John Soane's Museum. It's a perfect fit of artist and venue.
Emily Allchurch: Visions of Architectural Fancy at Sir John Soane's Museum. 16 May-26 August, free.

A colour explosion

A shot from her studio gives a rough idea of what we can expect. © Katharina Grosse and VG Bild-Kunst Bonn, 2018. Photo by Jens Ziehe

Katharina Grosse wowed us with her South London Gallery show where it looked like paint cans had exploded in the space and covered the walls and ceiling. We're promised more of the same in her next exhibition, where giant paintings will spill off the wall and on to the floor. It's going to be a colourful extravaganza.
Katharina Grosse: Prototypes of Imagination at Gagosian Gallery, Brittania Street. 16 May-27 July, free.

Chomp on this

A cartoon around an impressive set of false teeth.Image courtesy Wellcome Collection.

Ever dreamt of all your teeth falling out? Or dread a visit to the dentist? Our teeth are a sensitive subject, and the Wellcome Collection is pulling together an exhibition about our chompers. It will look at myths such as vampires and tooth fairies, and deal with how dental hygiene has evolved over time — we often find that period dramas are unrealistic as everyone has brilliant white teeth, which we're sure couldn't be the case. Some of the early surgical tools are guaranteed to make us wince.
Teeth at Wellcome Collection. 17 May-16 September, free.

Roman skeletons

One of the skulls we expect to come face to face with. Image courtesy Museum of London.

What can Roman ruins tell us about London's history? It keeps changing as new ruins are found. The Museum of London Docklands will be letting us into the new findings that have been unearthed. A sarcophagus, skeletons and cremated ashes await us as we're transported back in time to Londinium.
Roman Dead at Museum of London, Docklands. 25 May-28 October, free.

Pillars of time and memory

Examples of Jodie Carey's monumental pillars we've seen at other exhibitions. Image courtesy Edel Assanti.

Jodie Carey creates towering abstract pillars as part of her work and she's due to unveil some more in response to the Foundling Museum's history. Her new sculptures will examine the fragility of ties mothers had with their child once they gave them over to the Foundling Hospital and the fabrics they left to be remembered by. The sculptures may be large but they will offer a subtle look at maternal love.
Jodie Carey: Sea at The Foundling Museum. 25 May-2 September, £11.

Keep the hits coming

Courtesy: Studio Lee Bul

Hayward Gallery re-opened with a fantastic Andreas Gursky exhibition and the next show is even more ambitious. Lee Bul likes to tackle wide ranging topics from bio-engineering to manga. She also tends to place architectural interventions within the building, and if it's anything like the shiny climbable work we encountered in the past, then we're on to a winner.
Lee Bul at Hawyard Gallery. 30 May-19 August, £14.50.

Art fairs and festivals

Fancy a Hockney print? You can get one at London Original Print Fair. Copyright David Hockney, courtesy Lyndsey Ingram

PRINTS-LY: London's longest running art fair returns to the Royal Academy of Arts and it specialises in prints and editions. This means you get works by the like of Henri Matisse, Francis Bacon and David Hockney for sale. That may still be outside most people's budgets but there are plenty of affordable works on sale too.
London Original Print Fair at Royal Academy of Arts. 3-6 May, £12.

© De Morgan Foundation / Guildhall Art Gallery

CRAFTY TREATS: If you lean more towards the crafts side of art then there's a whole week of crafty goodness right across London, stretching from Ealing to Hackney. The difficult bit is deciding what to visit as there are over 200 makers, designers, brands and galleries taking part. Learn how watches are made or taste the labours of whisky tasting, the choice is yours.
London Craft Week at various locations. 9-13 May, prices vary.  

Laurence Jones is one of the artists who will be there with Rebecca Hossack Gallery. Copyright the artist.

AFFORDABLE ART: The always popular Affordable Art Fair is back in Hampstead to bring accessible art at entry level prices. With over 100 galleries it's guaranteed that traditionalists and those who like their art a little edgier will find plenty to like.
Affordable Art Fair at Hampstead Heath. 10-13 May, £10.

WE'RE OFF TO WIMBLEDON: What better way to see art then to go to where the magic happens, inside their studios. Here's a chance to meet the artists, find out how they make their works and also pick up some great art.
Wimbledon Art Fair. 10-13 May, free.

© Edward Burtynsky, courtesy Metivier Gallery, Toronto / Flowers Gallery, London

SNAP HAPPY: This huge photography fair has everything a photo fan could ever want. The variety on display in previous years has been immense. Filling every inch of Somerset House with photography, there will be an impressive nine exhibitions also taking place, so it's a great visit even for the non-buyers. We're particularly looking forward to a section on Edward Burtynsky, whose photographs beautifully capture the human impact on nature.
Photo London at Somerset House. 17-20 May, £30.

TIME TO PERFORM: If performance is your favourite genre of art then block this week out for Block Universe, a festival solely dedicated to performance art. It will be taking place across London in impressive venues including The British Museum and the Royal Academy of Art's courtyard. 26 May-3 June, prices vary.  

Last Updated 30 April 2018