Here Are The Best (And Worst) Exhibitions On In London Right Now

Tabish Khan
By Tabish Khan Last edited 67 months ago

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Here Are The Best (And Worst) Exhibitions On In London Right Now

We've been to all the major exhibitions across London, to bring you the best (and worst) of London's art scene.

Alone in the Woods

© Gregory Crewdson Courtesy Gagosian Gallery

Gregory Crewdson's photographs are of people in the woods, but each scene looks slightly weird — why are there two cars and only one person? Why are her hands covered in mud? The cinematic lighting lends them this beautifully eerie aesthetic. Each work itself is fantastic, though having three floors of similar pieces does lessen the impact of each individual one. Gregory Crewdson: Cathedral of the Pines at The Photographers’ Gallery, 16-18 Ramillies Street, W1F 7LW. Until 8 October, £4 (free before midday) ★★★☆☆

Talking Heads

Photo: Thierry Bal

Floating top halves of heads are suspended from the ceiling in a darkened gallery. Duck underneath and peek inside to see what they represent, each one covering a part of our personality — including jealousy and the ego. A clever touch: they project a speech bubble of light on the floor. It's an enjoyable and playful installation from ceramic sculptor Emma Hart. Emma Hart: Mamma Mia! At Whitechapel Gallery. Until 3 September, free.  ★★★★☆ (Tuesday-Sunday)

Leonardo to Rembrandt

© The Henry Barber Trust, the Barber Institute of Fine Arts, University of Birmingham

The National Portrait Gallery has pulled together an exhibition all about drawings — and they're pulling out the big guns, including anatomical sketches by Leonardo Da Vinci and studies of heads for future paintings by masters such as Rembrandt and Albrecht Durer. But despite the big names, the works just refuse to jump out and it's all rather dull — this exhibition will only be of interest to those interested in drawing process, as the final products are a let down. The Encounter: Drawings from Leonardo to Rembrandt at National Portrait Gallery. Until 22 October, £8. ★★☆☆☆

War Horse

An exhibition dedicated to the author of War Horse, Michael Morpurgo, has cantered into the Museum of Childhood. This show charts his influences, his life and his other novels — none of which we'd personally heard of. Therein lies the challenge with this show, if you don’t know anything about Morpurgo’s writings, like us, then it lacks any appeal. A neigh from us. Michael Morpurgo: A lifetime in stories at V&A Museum of Childhood. Until 25 February, free.  ★★☆☆☆

Absurd Neon

Image copyright ARS, NY and DACS

A neon artwork flickers between violence, violins and silence. It's this cross between absurdity and a dash of truth that typifies Bruce Nauman's work — after all doesn’t violence often lead to silence? We get more of his playful art, drawings and performances in this entertaining free exhibition that is complemented by the artist's sound installation in the Turbine Hall. Artist Rooms: Bruce Nauman at Tate Modern. Until July 2018. free. ★★★☆☆

City & Country

A spinet decorated by artist and critic Roger Fry.

A double exhibition at the Courtauld gallery. Upstairs is a show dedicated to the influential Bloomsbury group of artists, including a beautiful spinet decorated by artist/critic Roger Fry. From the urban, head downstairs for the rural works of William Henry Hunt and his idyllic paintings of country folk, from gamekeepers to maids. Bloomsbury Art & Design and William Henry Hunt: Country People are both on at The Courtauld Gallery. Until 17 & 21 September, £8. ★★★★☆

Reverse Psychology Isn't Working

© Harland Miller & White Cube (George Darrell)

This is just one of the cheeky titles on these oversized book covers by Harland Miller as he promises immediate relief… coming soon. His works downstairs are a lot of fun and much stronger than the more abstract colourful paintings upstairs. Harland Miller: One Bar Electric Memoir at White Cube, Mason's Yard, 25-26 Mason's Yard, SW1Y 6BU. Until 9 September, free. ★★★☆☆ (Tuesday-Saturday)

Roots of Creativity

Courtesy and © Bill Jacklin RA

Artist Peter Blake and musician Ian Dury are linked by having both passed through the Walthamstow School of Art. See the early works of artists, musicians, filmmakers and fashion designers for a glimpse into their early creative careers before they were famous. A real highlight is by Bill Jacklin, with a bleak work looking at the perils of armed service. Be Magnificent: Walthamstow School of Art 1957-67 at William Morris Gallery. Until 10 September, free. ★★★☆☆ (Wednesday-Sunday)

A Creepy Grotto

Strange looking creatures, all hunched with rounded features are strapped to chairs, the wall and stuffed into cupboards. Welcome to the bizarre and creepy world of Francis Marshall. The whole gallery has been turned into one large grotto packed with these fascinating oddities at every turn. Francis Marshall and The Beautiful People at The Gallery of Everything, 4 Chiltern Street, W1U 7PS. Until 10 September, free. ★★★★☆ (Tuesday-Sunday)

Ancient Temple meets Tech

© The Trustees of the British Museum

A stunning double sided relief from an ancient Buddhist temple in India is the centrepiece of this small display at The British Museum. It's a beautiful piece by itself but what makes it come alive is that any user can login to the Wi-Fi and turn their mobile phone into a cursor, which can be used to point at screens and reveal more information through texts and animations. It's a smart way of bringing this slice of history to life. Virtual Pilgrimage: Reimagining India’s Great Shrine of Amaravati is on at Room 3, The British Museum. Until 8 October, free. ★★★★☆

Black & Asian Art

Photograph: © Sonia Boyce. All Rights Reserved. DACS 2015

Art made by black and Asian artists in the 1980s should make for an important exhibition. However, the work here is very dry and academic, therefore the show lacks potency and is difficult to navigate. If you want to see how the issues of race and identity can be handled effectively head to Soul of a Nation at Tate Modern. The Place is Here at South London Gallery. Until 10 September, free. ★★☆☆☆

Last Updated 16 August 2017