Top 10 London Art Exhibitions To See In May

By Londonist Last edited 110 months ago

Last Updated 25 April 2015

Top 10 London Art Exhibitions To See In May

We look ahead to London art openings for May and select 10 must-see exhibitions. This month is quiet for big museums, but instead there are a lot of exciting displays taking place at smaller galleries and cultural centres.

Catlin Art Prize takes place at Londonnewcastle Project Space. Details below

Humanity After The Holocaust @ Wiener Library (6 May-1 October)
This exhibition marks the 70th anniversary since the liberation of Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. On display are never-seen-before images of the camp after its liberation in April 1945 and collections relating to the post-war relief and rehabilitation work of the Jewish Relief Unit in Bergen-Belsen and elsewhere. Free admission

Catlin Art Prize @ Londonewcastle Project Space (8-30 May)
This prize is a showcasing platform that helps young artists promote work made during their crucial first year after art school. You can vote for your favourite artist while at the exhibition: the winner will be awarded £2,000. Free admission

Fans of the Belle Époque @ Fan Museum (12 May-2 September)
Did you know that there's a museum entirely dedicated to fans in Greenwich? If you've never visited before, this might be the perfect occasion: it's hosting an exhibition dedicated to the extravagant and luxurious hand-crafted fans produced during the Belle Époque. £4/£3, turn up and pay on the door

Peter Kennard @ Imperial War Museum (14-30 May)
The first retrospective dedicated to Britain's most important political artist. His irreverent imagery has become synonymous with the modern protest movement and has inspired artists like Banksy and Mark Wallinger. Free admission

Cornelia Parker @ British Library (From 15 May)
Artist Cornelia Parker replicates in stitch the entire Wikipedia article on the Great Charter as it appeared on the document’s 799th anniversary in 2014. An unusual look at the debate on this fundamental historical document, connected to the Magna Carta exhibition currently on display at the British Library. Free admission

The Barbican Exhibition: Building a Landmark is on at Barbican Centre. Details below

The Prize for Illustration 2015: London Places & Spaces @ London Transport Museum (15 May-6 September)
What does London look like from the eyes of 100 different illustrators? Find out at the museum's annual showcase. Londonist is media partner to this exhibition: we'll bring you snapshots and stories behind the illustrations throughout the exhibition’s run. £16/£13.50, booking in advance suggested

Corin Sworn @ Whitechapel Gallery (20 May-19 July)
Winner of Max Mara Art Prize for Women, Sworn presents her latest collection of artworks inspired by Italian Commedia dell'Arte, which started the concept of improvised acting. Her installation uses performative and theatrical devices — props, lighting and costumes — to retell an infamous story of deception and imposture. Free admission

The Barbican Exhibition: Building a Landmark @ Barbican Centre Foyer (25 May-29 November)
It took almost 30 years to build the Barbican estate — from the mid-1950s to 1982. View rarely seen photographs of the construction that trace the progress of the gargantuan scheme which saw the bomb site turned into a Brutalist architectural landmark. Free admission

Shout Out! UK Pirate Radio in the 1980s @ ICA (26 May-19 July)
This archival exhibition explores the importance of the early tower block pirate radio movement which emerged during the 1980s in the UK. Broadcasting music from the roofs of residential towers, these pirate radio stations helped the celebration of black culture during that time. Free admission

Two Truths @ Griffin Art Gallery (28 May-11 July)
A key theory that underpins ancient Buddhist philosophy is the doctrine of Two Truths, which differentiates between two levels of truth: conventional and ultimate (or, relative and absolute). A group of Japanese artists based in London explore this concept with a variety of artworks. Free admission

Also try...

Photo London @  Somerset House (21-24 May)
Somerset House hosts this international photographic fair, featuring more than 70 photography galleries and publishers. The fair programme promises to be packed, too — check website for updates. £20/£17, online prebooking suggested

Art15 @ Olympia London (21-23 May)
This international art fair returns to London for its third edition: 150 of the world’s most exciting galleries from 40 countries will showcase works from leading contemporary artists. Get 2 for 1 on tickets, use code 'LONDONIST' at the check-out.

Rodin, Brancusi, Moore @ Waddington Custot (22 May-11 July)
A photographic exhibition... about sculpture. Displaying photographs taken by these famous sculptors themselves, this exhibition focuses on the importance of photography within the practice of each of the sculptors. Free admission

To find more about what's on in London, visit Londonist's Museum & Galleries and Art & Photography pages.