We look ahead to London art and exhibitions, museum and gallery openings for November and December 2018 and select our must-see exhibitions to help you end a year of culture in the capital.
Traditional landscape painting meets that inverted city scene from Inception in these paintings by Jane Ward. Cities and landscapes break apart, de-materialise and re-materialise. There's no clear horizon as land, sky and water morph into one another and there are lots of tiny details to spot when up close. It's extreme digital manipulation and the scenes created are magnificent.
Jane Ward: The Reconstructed Romantic at James Freeman Gallery. 2-24 November 2018, free.
What's it like to arrive in Britain for the first time? The Migration Museum creates an immersive room where the public can sit down, relax and take in the stories of the struggles and excitement of settling in a new country. There are rooms where we can root through drawers and cupboards to discover these stories. Every exhibition we've been to since the Migration Museum opened has been great, so we have high hopes for this one.
Room to Breathe at Migration Museum. 1 November 2018-28 July 2019, free.
1918 was a major year in Vienna's history as the Austro-Hungarian empire fell. It was also the year two fantastic Austrian artists died — painter of beauty Gustav Klimt, and artist of scandalous confrontational nudes, Egon Schiele. Mentor and mentee are reunited in this rare display of drawings. Those of a sensitive nature may want to avert their eyes as there's bound to be a lot of nudity on display.
Klimt/Schiele: Drawings from the Albertina Museum, Venice at Royal Academy of Arts. 4 November 2018-3 February 2019, £18.
What does the home of the future look like? What furniture will our robot butlers have to navigate around (we're assuming we'll all have robot butlers...)? See what people of the 1950s and 1960s thought the future would look like, in an exhibition that promises a satirical mechanised home that turns on its occupants. The exhibition is in partnership with the IKEA Museum — we imagine we'll all have something from IKEA in the future too (perhaps those wardrobes will finally build themselves?).
Home Futures at Design Museum. 7 November 2018-24 March 2019, £16.
Let there be light
Add some light to these dark nights at Lauren Baker's exhibition. Positive messages are spelled out in light — including her famous "Everything Is Going To be Fucking Amazing" neon — while diamond dust pulls us into works inspired by auras, the Aurora Borealis and other dimensions. We've been fans of Baker's work for some time, and can't wait to see the new works she's created for this show.
Lauren Baker: Electric at Box Galleries. 9-30 November 2018, free.
Food glorious food
Elephant West is a new gallery to open in West London. Building on the excellent programme of the now closed Griffin Gallery, Elephant West is in a more prominent space in White City and it's housed within an old petrol station. The sensual photography of Maisie Cousins is the opening exhibition, featuring her close-ups of food in all their gloopy, sticky glory. It's both delicious and disgusting at the same time.
Maisie Cousins: Dipping Sauce at Elephant West. 10 November-2 December 2018, free.
The Royal Family of Britain and the Russian former equivlaent are very closely intertwined and related — so much so that when the Last Tsar of Russia's body — and those of him family — was found, Prince Phillip's DNA was used to identify them. The Queen's Gallery is going back to the diplomatic ties of the two families through art and historic events — including Peter the Great's visit to London in 1698.
Russia, Royalty & The Romanovs at The Queen's Gallery. 9 November 2018-28 April 2019, £12.
If Jacky Tsai's floral skull motif looks familiar, it's probably because it was used in the work of late fashion designer Alexander McQueen. Tsai's work is bold and floral — and distinctive, thanks to his use of skulls in paintings and sculpture... or rather, skullpture. A giant skull will be suspended in the gallery, alongside a full variety of his paintings where he mixes Western pop art with traditional Chinese imagery.
Jacky Tsai: Reincarnation at Unit London. 9 November-22 December 2018, free.
What's it like to flee your country? Millions across the world have. This exhibition brings together illustrations by refugees and those who have witnessed the hardships first hand — whether it be in Syria or Calais — and drawings by those who have been in war zones and detention camps. Includes the work of one man who was smuggled to London inside a refrigerator.
Journeys Drawn Illustrations From The Refugee Crisis at House of Illustration. 9 November 2018-31 March 2019, £8.25 (ticket covers all exhibitions on at the time)
Old toys, watches and thousands of recycled elements have gone into the whizzing array of coloured lights that make up Oskar Krajewski's work. It feels like looking into a city, and is just one of the kinetic contraptions created by the talented artist. We've been avid followers of his work for years and this solo show is in response to his winning the It's Art Call 2018 prize (the writer of this article was on the judging panel for the prize).
It's Art Call 2018 winner: Oskar Krajewski at After Nyne Gallery. 21-26 November 2018, free.
A stag, a lion and a unicorn
Returning to Trafalgar Square for the first time in 160 years is The Monarch of the Glen, Sir Edwin Landseer's majestic painting of a regal looking stag. It's temporary home in the National Gallery is close to the lions at the foot of Nelson's Column, which were also designed by Landseer. The Monarch is on loan from the National Galleries of Scotland so to further the link to Scotland there will be a film by talented young artist Rachel Maclean that takes an irreverent look at the relationship between Scotland and England. For more on Maclean, read our five star review of her larger exhibition that's on at the moment.
Landseer's The Monarch of the Glen & Rachel Maclean: The Lion and the Unicorn are both on at The National Gallery. 29 November 2018-3 February 2019, free.
A new cast
One of our favourite treasures in V&A are the cast courts — fantastic replicas of some of the world's greatest architecture tucked away in South Kensington. We wrote about the fantastic refurbishment of one of the cast courts and we're looking forward to the grand reveal of the second court. It will contain a replica of Trajan's column, which at 35 metres tall is the largest item in the V&A's collection, plus the base will be opened up so visitors can step inside this massive structure.
Cast Courts re-opening at V&A. 1 December onwards, free.
Bot the builder
Get up close to the robot that may well be able to replace humans — in the building trade, at least. A prototype robot at Sir John Soane's Museum will be constructing and deconstructing a dome based on John Soane's own design. Welcome to the future — surely Skynet isn't too far off now?
Code Builder: A Robotic Choreography by Mamou-Mani at Sir John Soane's Museum. 5 December 2018-3 February 2019, free.
Art fairs in London: November 2018
Because it's not all about the exhibitions...
Roy's People's Art Fair (1-4 November, free) returns to Oxo Bargehouse, brimming with fantastic emerging artists. We bought work from the fair last year, and own work by the two artists running the fair this year, so it gets a ringing endorsement from us.
Wimbledon Art Fair (15-18 November, free) is another excellent fair. It's a chance to glimpse inside artist studios and see where the magic happens. It's the best run open studios we've come across with hundreds of artists to visit. If something takes your fancy, it can often be snapped up for much better prices than these artists would sell for in galleries.
If prints are your thing, head to the Woolwich Contemporary Print Fair (22-25 November, £4.50-£7) to catch the only London art fair that specialises only in contemporary printmaking.
For more art:
- Most of our must-see September exhibitions are still open.
- We've also rounded up and reviewed 25 exhibitions across London to cater for lovers of all types of art.
- Plus check out our other reviews of the major exhibitions on right now.