Sex And Bling: December's Most Talked About Art Exhibitions

Tabish Khan
By Tabish Khan Last edited 35 months ago
Sex And Bling: December's Most Talked About Art Exhibitions

The year is nearly over but there are still some art openings that have caught our eye. We’ve picked a mixture of ones that are grabbing the headlines and others we think are worth a look. All but two are free to visit. As some galleries will be closed over the holiday period, make sure you check the website for opening times before visiting.

Gilbert & George. Controversial, probably not. Lazy, definitely yes.

Gilbert & George: The Banners at White Cube, Bermondsey
The art duo are back with random statements such as decriminalise sex and fuck the planet. It's like they've just stolen hateful comments from the internet and are selling them to make money. This is about as lazy as art gets. Visitors are better off visiting the other exhibition at the same gallery, Tightrope walk. It's also flawed but contains some great works. Until 24 January, free.

Londonist Rating:

★☆☆☆☆

Susan Philipsz: War Damaged Musical Instruments at Tate Britain
Music and war go hand in hand; think marching bands. The large central space of the Duveen galleries is now filled with the notes from instruments damaged in war. A sad and mournful The Last Post emanates from speakers as these wounded instruments echo the pain and suffering of those killed and injured in conflicts — a very moving piece. Until 3 April, free.

Londonist Rating:

★★★★☆

The Photographers 2015 at Osborne Samuel & Beetles + Huxley
This annual exhibition returns with some great images, across these two Mayfair galleries. Highlights include some powerful war time photography right through to Michael Kenna's minimalist landscapes. It's a nice touch that the entire selection at Osborne Samuel is in black and white, including the works by modern photographers. Until 24 December, free.

Londonist Rating:

★★★☆☆

This Elvis shrine is easily the strongest piece in Peter Blake's exhibition.

Peter Blake: Portraits and People at Waddington Custot
The pop artist dials it down a notch and shifts his focus to portraiture. It's not a good move as the works here are largely awful. Thankfully we get a nice slice of old school Blake with a shrine to Elvis in the far corner of the gallery — a work in his signature busy style. Until 30 January, free.

Londonist Rating:

★★☆☆☆

Rose English: A premonition of the act at Camden Arts Centre
Sit inside a darkened room and listen to an opera that throws random words into the mix. All the while visitors are surrounded by images relating to Chinese acrobats, with videos of these acrobatics in the other two rooms. It's a bizarre amalgamation that loosely holds together yet somehow works as an enjoyable experience. Until 6 March, free.

Londonist Rating:

★★★☆☆

Yoan Capote: Isla at Ben Brown Fine Arts
These subtle seascapes need to be seen in person to have their full effect. The waves and darker patches of the sea are made from fish hooks. It's a remarkably simple concept that packs a punch. Empty waters from overfishing and humanity's long history with the sea are summed up beautifully. Until 29 January, free.

Londonist Rating:

★★★★☆

A ceremonial sword with a jewelled hilt. Courtesy The Al Thani Collection © Servette Overseas Limited, 2014. Photograph: Prudence Cuming Associates Ltd

Bejewelled Treasures at V&A
The Al Thani collection spans from the 17th century to modern day. There is plenty of eye catching bling here, from brooches through to dagger boxes. But we were expecting a more extensive display and some insight into the evolution of jewellery making, considering the ticket price. Until 28 March, £10.

Londonist Rating:

★★★☆☆

Keep me updated your holiness at Gazelli Art House
We love the Recycle Group for their humorous and mildly irreverent art. Here they take styles usually reserved for religious icons and transfer it to technology. Sculptures include the Facebook logo as if it's been immortalised in stone and a relief dedicated to the selfie. Until 10 January, free.

Londonist Rating:

★★★☆☆

Paintguide at The Unit London
A unique and intelligent exhibition where a large selection of portraitists all have one work on display. The thread that ties them together is they are all very active on Instagram, just like the gallery is. We may not have liked all the work, but there's something for everyone in this diverse show, as the traditional medium of portrait painting meets the new world of Instagram in this creative juxtaposition. Until 20 December, free.

Londonist Rating:

★★★☆☆

Bloomberg New Contemporaries 2015 at ICA
This annual selection of graduate artists has had its ups and downs, but this is its worst year yet. There was nothing that stood out for us, and it all seemed derivative and stale. There are plenty of great graduate artists, you just won't find them here. Until 24 January, £1.

Londonist Rating:

★☆☆☆☆

Last Updated 14 December 2015

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