October's Most Talked About Art Exhibitions

Tabish Khan
By Tabish Khan Last edited 28 months ago
October's Most Talked About Art Exhibitions

October was a busy month for art openings and included the overwhelming Frieze week. We’ve also picked a few others you may like — if you’re undecided about whether or not to go, here’s our guide to which are worth it. All but two are free to visit.

A massive organic sculpture by Leonardo Drew. Courtesy Vigo Gallery.

Leonardo Drew at Vigo Gallery
Organic forms made from wood and roots resemble charred cities and create rippling forms that almost feel like they are still growing. There is captivating ambiguity to these forms, which only adds to their intrigue. Until 13 November

Londonist Rating:

★★★★☆

Ben Rivers: Earth Needs More Magicians at Camden Arts Centre
One of the art world's favourite video artist is back, and unfortunately his newer work feels just as pretentious and ponderous as his older works on display. Topics include the artist Rose Wylie, feral masked children and Vanuatu; however the slow pace and poor choice of grainy film only detracts from these slow burning movies. Until 29 November

Londonist Rating:

★☆☆☆☆

Ludic at Herrick Gallery
There are paintings and sculpture in this show but the best work sits downstairs; don a virtual reality headset and enter the model house in front of you. It's well edited, surreal and includes some clever nods to early cinema. Until 21 November

Londonist Rating:

★★★☆☆

These interiors are sumptuous. Copyright Candida Hofer

Candida Hofer at Ben Brown Fine Arts
Hofer is back with another photography exhibition of sumptuous interiors, this time it's of St. Petersburg, including the decadent architecture of the Hermitage. Yes, it's very much in the style of the artist's previous work but these images are breathtaking. Until 27 November

Londonist Rating:

★★★★☆

Cy Twombly at Gagosian, Grosvenor Hill
The world's biggest art dealer has finally opened the large Mayfair space he's been wanting for some time. Fabulous though it is, it opens with a safe show of an established artist. For those familiar with Twombly's work, this feels rather stale, though we're expecting bigger and better things from this gallery in future shows. Until 10 December

Londonist Rating:

★★☆☆☆

Roderick Tye: The Human Presence at UCL Art Museum
The sculptor's works and drawings are scattered throughout this small museum, and the way Tye is able to insert emotion into each work is remarkable. It's a lovely, if macabre, touch that the museum also has genuine preserved body parts and models of body parts alongside the work so visitors can compare and contrast art and its inspiration. Until 18 December.

Londonist Rating:

★★★★☆

Emily Jacir: Europa at Whitechapel Gallery
A hard-hitting political exhibition looking at the assassination of a Palestinian writer by Mossad, and how Arab culture is viewed around the world. However, the exhibition provides very little contextual information, therefore it's hard to get into Jacir's work despite it obviously having much depth. A real missed opportunity. Until 3 January

Londonist Rating:

★★☆☆☆

Kara Walker's trademark silhouettes. Get up close and witness the violence. Courtesy Victoria Miro.

Kara Walker: Go to Hell or Atlanta, Whichever Comes First at Victoria Miro, Wharf Road
Walker is an artist who doesn't hold back, and this exhibition is no exception, covering sex, racism and slavery with her trademark silhouettes. This isn't as accomplished as her Camden Arts Centre exhibition but it's still a powerful show.

Londonist Rating:

★★★☆☆

Lucio Fontana at Tornabuoni Art
This new Mayfair gallery opens with a fantastic exhibition of Fontana's work. It shows him to be more than a slasher of canvases — with holes, burns and other manipulations of surface and materials in this well rounded, museum quality display. Until 5 December

Londonist Rating:

★★★★★

Soaring Flight: Peter Lanyon's Gliding Paintings at The Courtauld Gallery
Lanyon was a keen glider so these works depict the landscape rushing by as he glides past. It's all a blur of colour but Lanyon's style never captures it and he has ended up caught between trying to be expressive and restrained in his use of form and colour. The end result is a range of abstract and chaotic paintings that fail to make any impact on the viewer. Until 17 January, £8.50 for adults

Londonist Rating:

★☆☆☆☆

Burden of Proof: The Construction of Visual Evidence at The Photographers' Gallery
A strange but successful departure for The Photographers' Gallery with a look at forensic techniques and how they have evolved over time. It's a wide ranging and fascinating exhibition covering everything from using aerial photographs to determine First World War defences, facial features to identify the corpse of Nazi scientist Josef Mengele, right through to identifying the location of mass graves in modern war zones. Until 10 January, £3 entry but free before 12pm

Londonist Rating:

★★★★☆

For more art see our reviews of Bob and Roberta Smith, Jon Rafman, Ai Weiwei, Goya' Portraits, MC Escher, Giacometti, Auerbach, the World goes Pop and a special misty experience.

Last Updated 23 October 2015