London's Most Talked About Art Exhibitions

Tabish Khan
By Tabish Khan Last edited 16 months ago
London's Most Talked About Art Exhibitions

Which of London's most talked-about exhibitions are actually worth the hype? We've found out so you don't have to.

The use of colour in Olivetti advertising is brilliant. Image courtesy ICA
Olivetti: Beyond Form and Function at ICA, Fox reading room
An exhibition about typewriters may seem like an odd choice for an art gallery. But nobody merges art and design quite like the Italians. The typewriters on display may not bowl you over, but the advertising material is beautifully minimalist in this small one room show. Until 17 July, £1

Londonist Rating: ★★★★☆

Cory Arcangel: currentmood at Lisson gallery
Arcangel is one of many artists trying to take the chaos of the internet and translate it into something coherent. Unfortunately, like most who attempt this task, he doesn't succeed. The result is yet more vomit art. Until 2 July, free

Londonist Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Bettina von Zwehl: Invitation to Frequent the Shadows at Freud Museum
A psychological take on portraiture as different fragments of a silhouette portrait represent the psycho-analytical process and a fractured psyche. Freud's study is dimly lit with a red light, a nod to both von Zwehl's photographic process and also to the fact that sex featured so strongly in Freud's theories. A subtle but intelligent intervention within this overlooked museum. Until 17 July, £7

Londonist Rating: ★★★☆☆

Gonzalez-Torres is a significant artist, but visitors won't get that from this highly conceptual show seemingly curated to alienate the viewer. The fact that the exhibition is spread across three different galleries in three different countries only serves to reinforce our view this is pretentious twaddle. Until 30 July, free

Londonist Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆

We like Bill Jacklin's paintings, but we're not convinced by his prints. (c) Bill Jacklin, Courtesy Marlborough Fine Art, London
Bill Jacklin: The Graphic Work 1961-2016 at The Royal Academy of Arts, John Madejski rooms
We're big fans of Jacklin's paintings but this exhibitions is all about his prints. Unfortunately these lack the strength of his paintings and therefore this collection feels underwhelming. Until 28 August, £3

Londonist Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Edward Barber at Imperial War Museum
These black and white photographs are an important historical record of the protest against nuclear war. Demonstrations, die-ins and picketing are all tied together with a great mind map by Ed Barber. These powerful images are still relevant in today's world. Until 4 September, free

Londonist Rating: ★★★★☆

Punk 1976-1978 at The British library
The Clash, The Sex Pistols and The Ramones. A seminal and controversial period in music history is explored in depth within this small display. It's a tad niche and hard to grasp for the punk uninitiated, but music fans will love it. Until 2 October, free

Londonist Rating: ★★★☆☆

A New Childhood: Picture Books from Soviet Russia at House of Illustration
Russian books from after the October Revolution show how Socialist ideals were placed into children's story books. It's another exhibition from House of Illustration packed with interesting stories and fantastic drawings. They're on a roll. Until 11 September, £7

Londonist Rating: ★★★★☆

Alex Katz is best known for his portrait works, but this show focusses on landscapes. Image © Tristan Fewings / Getty
Alex Katz: Quick Light & Etel Adnan: The Weight of the World at Serpentine Galleries
We've never been fans of Katz's flat portraiture style, and his landscapes suffer the same fate. His nocturnal works are stronger but not enough to win us over. Over at the Serpentine Sackler, Edel Atnan has a fantastic life story but can't capture it in these bright but otherwise uneventful paintings. Until 11 September, free

Londonist Rating: ★★☆☆☆ / ★★☆☆☆  

A new gallery dedicated to the 8,645 lives lost across both sides in an historical naval battle. Diaries, propaganda, photographs and ensigns bring this battle to life in a moving tribute. Until November, free

Londonist Rating: ★★★★★

Master Strokes: Dutch and Flemish Drawings from the Golden Age at V&A, gallery 88a & 90
Fantastically detailed and glorious sketches by the likes of Rembrandt, van Dyck and Rubens in this new display tucked away within the V&A's permanent collection of paintings. Until 13 November, free

Londonist Rating: ★★★★☆

For more art, there's still time to catch many of the shows from our previous most talked about art exhibitions.

Last Updated 08 June 2016