Butterflies To Shakespeare: London's Most Talked About Art Exhibitions

Tabish Khan
By Tabish Khan Last edited 22 months ago
Butterflies To Shakespeare: London's Most Talked About Art Exhibitions

What's the verdict on these new exhibitions? We’ve picked a mixture of ones that are grabbing the headlines and others we think are worth a look. Many are free to visit.

A double bill of bold paintings across the two Victoria Miro galleries. Jules de Balincourt (left) and John Korner (right). Images copyright the artists and the gallery.

John Korner & Jules de Balincourt at Victoria Miro

A double header of searingly bright paintings across the Mayfair and Wharf road spaces. De Balincourt’s are aesthetically pleasing but it’s Korner who is the stronger of the two. It may not be as immersive as his 2013 show but it’s still full of playful and surreal paintings, where apples fall from the sky like bombs. Until 14 May, free

Londonist Rating:

★★★★☆ / ★★★☆☆

Michael Dean at South London Gallery

Subversion runs amok with visitors forced to take a circuitous route into the gallery via the garden. The traditional entrance is blockaded with only peepholes offering glimpses into the show, which is full of contorted sculptures. However, it’s all crying out for a thread to tie it all together, as Dean’s theme of ambiguity is seriously lacking in bite. Until 22 May, free

Londonist Rating:

★★☆☆☆

An immersive sculptural installation by Finbar Ward in Fitzrovia. Image courtesy Fold.

Finbar Ward: In Absence at Fold Gallery

300 white structures protrude from the gallery walls outlined and sculpted by hand so no two are exactly alike. Their white colour means they are subtle on their own, but together project contradicting sensations of meditation and claustrophobia. Until 7 May, free

Londonist Rating:

★★★★☆

James Macneill Whistler prints at Fine Art Society
Fantastic drawings of London and its people by the American born, yet British based, artist. These may be small but they are remarkably evocative. Whether it be the lull of boats on the Thames in Chelsea or the energy in a man walking through a storm. Until 28 April, free. Monday to Friday only

Londonist Rating:

★★★★☆

Who doesn't love butteflies? Maria Merian definitely did. Royal Collection Trust / (C) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016.

Scottish artists 1750-1900 & Maria Merian’s Butterflies at The Queen’s Gallery

A diverse double header of exhibitions. Scottish painters offer accomplished but unspectacular paintings, the exceptions being an Impressionist painting of haystacks and an almost magical rendering of a flock of sheep in the snow. Butterflies is where art meets science as a recording of species of birds, insects, lizards and plants on an expedition to Suriname. The larger animals don’t look particularly lifelike but it’s a pretty exhibition — one to combine with the Dutch flowers. Until 9 October, £10.30

Londonist Rating:

★★★☆☆ / ★★★☆☆

The Experience of Colour at The Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art
This is the last exhibition before the Estorick closes for a refurb, and it’s great one. This is abstract art at its most beautiful. Bold colours and simple forms invite the viewer to sit and meditate in front of these glorious paintings. Until 31 July, £5 / £3.50

Londonist Rating:

★★★★☆

Alas poor Yorick! A curator faces off with a skull that was used as a prop in early versions of Hamlet, on loan from the V&A. Photo: Clare Kendall.

Shakespeare in Ten Acts at The British Library
The Bard, his career and his legacy neatly summed up in 10 plays. We get to see the first performance of Hamlet, the first black actor to play Othello and a rather remarkable pair of sisters playing Romeo and Juliet. We loved how this exhibition was accessible to even Shakespeare newbies with helpful short summaries of the plays being discussed. This is yet another well researched, educational and fascinating exhibition, and nobody does that better than The British Library. Until 6 September, adults £13.50

Londonist Rating:

★★★★☆

Emotional supply chains at Zabludowicz Collection
Internet art is all the rage and there’s plenty of it here. We even have a full size Predator prop from the movie, with a great story behind it. A lot of work clamours for the visitors' attention but most of it feels very superficial, much like the internet itself. Until 17 July, free

Londonist Rating:

★★☆☆☆

Artist Mikhail Karikis sculpts sounds with his voice. Courtesy the artist and Wellcome Collection

This is a Voice at Wellcome Collection
The Wellcome Collection must be congratulated for continually trying new approaches in their exhibitions. This time they’ve chosen to focus on the first ever musical instrument — the human voice. The show can often be perplexing and the experimental art installations are very hit and miss. But it's another fascinating exhibition, even if this one isn't as strong as previous shows. Until 31 July, free

Londonist Rating:

★★★☆☆

Deutsche Borse Photography Prize 2016 at The Photographers’ Gallery
A really strong showing where three of the finalists cover big issues with all three having a political slant to them. But the strongest showing is actually a personal one. Erik Kessels uses his father's unfinished rebuilding of a Fiat 500 as a metaphor for his unfinished relationship with his father. It’s a deeply moving and loving tribute. Until 3 July, free before 12pm, £3 after

Londonist Rating:

★★★★☆

Last Updated 18 April 2016