London Exhibitions You Should Visit Right Now

Tabish Khan
By Tabish Khan Last edited 16 months ago

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London Exhibitions You Should Visit Right Now

Which of London's most talked-about exhibitions should you visit? We've been to see them all, so you know which ones are actually worth seeing. The majority are free to visit.

Elmgreen & Dragset's playful split jail cell is on display in Protest. Photo courtesy Victoria Miro.

Protest at Victoria Miro

A group show covering the theme of protest, including the deeply political topics of anti-Semitism and the refugee crisis. The dark works upstairs are contrasted with our favourite work, where Elmgreen & Dragset exercise their usual sense of humour. A literal jail break occurs; they have created a jail cell, complete with steel toilets and prison bars.
Protest at Victoria Miro, until 5 November, free.
Londonist Rating:★★★★☆

Adriaen van de Velde: Dutch Master of Landscape at Dulwich Picture Gallery

Dulwich Picture Gallery has done a great job of bringing lesser-known artists to our attention — think Emily Carr and Eric Ravilious. The latest is van de Velde, and while he was an accomplished painter, his work was also remarkably dull.  As well as landscapes, he also painted scenes with local workers which is always going to draw comparisons with the Bruegels, and van de Velde is just not on the same level as them.
Adriaen van de Velde: Dutch Master of Landscape at Dulwich Picture Gallery, until 15 January, adults £12.50.
Londonist Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Guerilla Girls: Is it even worse in Europe? at Whitechapel Gallery

The masked art activists sent questionnaires out to European museums asking how women and ethnic minorities are represented in their collections, with the results shown here. It's an insightful study, though it's presented in a rather dry manner where visitors can browse through all the responses. The British institutions seem to come out better than their European counterparts for equal representation.
Guerilla Girls: Is it even worse in Europe? at Whitechapel Gallery, until 5 March, free.
Londonist Rating: ★★★☆☆

A Tony Cragg sculpture in his excellent show at Lisson Gallery.

Tony Cragg at Lisson Gallery

We've always admired Tony Cragg's sculptures with his trademark folds, but can he offer anything new in this exhibition? Thankfully yes and it's great to see such an established artist experimenting with different materials and styles, including sculptures made of human heads and large scale works that seem like giant insects crawling across the gallery floor.
Tony Cragg at Lisson Gallery, until 5 November, free.
Londonist Rating: ★★★★☆

Maino's Adorations: Heaven on Earth at The National Gallery

While all eyes are on the Caravaggio exhibition, visitors should also go to Room 1 in the gallery to see two stunning paintings by Juan Bautista Maino. Maino was an artist influenced by Caravaggio, and it's a rare chance to see a pair of beautiful paintings on loan from the Prado in Madrid.
Maino's Adorations: Heaven on Earth at The National Gallery, until 29 January, free.
Londonist Rating:★★★★☆

Simon Fujiwara: Joanne at The Photographers' Gallery

This is a video work looking at an influential teacher of artist Simon Fujiwara, a teacher who later got caught up in a tabloid scandal. But Fujiwara can't decide whether to humanise his former teacher or create a film that laughs at how public relations works, so the result is a bit of a mixed bag.
Simon Fujiwara: Joanne at The Photographers' Gallery, until 15 January, £4 but free before midday.
Londonist Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Donna Huanca: Scar Cymbals at Zabludowicz Collection

Nudity prevails in this exhibition where performers in sheer suits walk slowly through sand and pose in a large plastic altar. It's a memorable exhibition, but the takeaway message of exploring the nature of the human body is never clear.
Donna Huanca: Scar Cymbals at Zabludowicz Collection, until 18 December, free.
Londonist Rating:★★★☆☆

Fabulous and large scale tapestries are on show at V&A. (c) Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Opus Anglicanum: Masterpieces of English Medieval Embroidery at V&A

Think embroidery and it's easy to imagine a collection of small objects, but this exhibition of medieval embroidery contains some massive vestments and altarpieces. Many have faded over the years and the colour palette is limited to the techniques available at the time, but focus on the details and they are exquisite. Whether it be the mermaids and mermen on the funerary pall for a fishmonger, or the many biblical scenes, it all looks spectacular. V&A has also done a great job of giving some great historical context of Medieval England throughout the exhibition.
Opus Anglicanum: Masterpieces of English Medieval Embroidery at V&A, until 5 February, adults £12.
Londonist Rating:★★★★☆

Game Plan: Board Games Rediscovered at Museum of Childhood

All our favourite games are here, from chess to Monopoly. The decor in this exhibition is fantastic, including spinners on the wall, coloured square labels like you'd find in board games. and even a mock jail where you go when you do not collect £200. Unfortunately it's let down by not having enough games available to play.
Game Plan: Board Games Rediscovered at Museum of Childhood, until 23 April, free.
Londonist Rating:★★★☆☆

1920s Jazz Age: Fashion and Photographs at Fashion and Textile Museum

The roaring twenties may have ended in the Great Depression, but they started with a bang as women entered the workplace and became more liberated, while the older generation found it scandalous that women played sports. There are plenty of outfits on display, from the glittering sequined numbers for dancing, to the more plain working women's outfits. This is yet another well put together exhibition by this small museum that really captures the spirit of the decade.
1920s Jazz Age: Fashion and Photographs at Fashion and Textile Museum, until 15 January, adults £9.90.
Londonist Rating: ★★★★☆

James Richards: Requests and Antisongs at ICA

Sit in the middle of a group of speakers and be bombarded with sounds from breathing to dissonant noises. The upstairs video features a similar soundtrack as we jump from flocking birds to erotica. It's a disorientating show, confusing at times, but we remained engaged throughout.
James Richards: Requests and Antisongs at ICA, until 13 November, £1.
Londonist Rating:★★★★☆

For more exhibitions see our round up of exhibitions across Fiztrovia and Mayfair, and reviews of Philippe Parreno, Caravaggio, Picasso's portraits and the Turner Prize.

Last Updated 17 October 2016