9 Exhibitions To See (And 2 To Avoid) In London This Month

Tabish Khan
By Tabish Khan Last edited 7 months ago

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9 Exhibitions To See (And 2 To Avoid) In London This Month

Which art exhibitions are unmissable right now?

Image courtesy Massimo de Carlo.

A DANCING POLAR BEAR: A polar bear appears to be dancing in the window, while one sits at a desk upstairs. The main gallery is taken up by bicycle wheels of spinning feathers. A whimsical and playful exhibition. Paola Pivi: You Don’t Have To Believe Me at Massimo de Carlo, 55 South Audley Street, W1K 2QH. Until 27 May, free. ★★★★☆ (Monday-Saturday)

© Chris Ofili. Courtesy the artist and Victoria Miro, London, The Clothworkers’ Company and Dovecot Tapestry Studio, Edinburgh. Photography: Gautier Deblonde

WEAVING MAGIC: Chris Ofili has created a sumptuous, massive tapestry that sits perfectly in The National Gallery. He has combined Renaissance imagery with references to black culture. It’s a stunning centrepiece, supplemented by studies that include comparing footballer Mario Balotelli to a mythical figure. Chris Ofili: Weaving Magic at The National Gallery. Until 28 August, free. ★★★★☆

© 2017 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Courtesy Gagosian. Photo: Maurice Aeschimann

PICASSO THE MATADOR: Picasso was obsessed with bullfights, an obsession which forms the core of this exhibition. The collection of paintings, sculpture and drawings focus on bullfights, matadors and the myth of the minotaur. Picasso captures the unbridled energy of these scenes in powerful masculine paintings. A truly spectacular exhibition. Picasso: Minotaurs and Matadors at Gagosian Gallery, 20 Grosvenor Hill, W1K 3QD. Until 25 August, free. ★★★★★ (Tuesday-Saturday)

Photograph: Robert Glowacki/Copyright the artist, courtesy Sadie Coles HQ, London

A VIRTUAL REALITY BEATING: Don a VR headset and watch a man smash another’s face in with a baseball bat before stamping on his head repeatedly. It’s a shocking watch, but shock is what Jordan Wolfson deals in, with a sense of humour to boot. Across at the other Sadie Coles Gallery is a video that is less sure of itself and is nowhere near as effective as the VR beating. Jordan Wolfson: Riverboat Song at Sadie Coles, 1 Davies Street & 62 Kingly Street, W1. Until 17 June, free. ★★★☆☆ (Tuesday-Saturday)

A Red Army poster. Copyright British Library.

RUSSIAN PROPAGANDA: This exhibition covers every aspect of Russia a century ago through masses of literature, including a rare first edition of the Communist Manifesto. The real strength of this exhibition lies in the extensive collection of propaganda posters, showing all the various powers involved. The art style of these pieces is always superb. This is the best Russian Revolution exhibition of the year so far. Russian Revolution: Hopes, Tragedy, Myth at The British Library. Until 29 August, £13.50. ★★★★☆

© Sergey Ponomarev

CONFLICT IN SYRIA: It’s hard to capture the Syrian conflict as it’s still evolving, but this small exhibition provides a brilliant window into the complex politics of the country and all the factions through a short video. Alongside this, there are human stories of people’s experiences of the conflict and commemorative plates and mugs with dual portraits of Putin and Assad. Syria: A conflict Explored at Imperial War Museum. Until 3 September, free. ★★★★☆

© Dan Flavin / DACS, London 2017. Photo: Steve White Courtesy Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac: London · Paris · Salzburg

GREAT SPACE, SHAME ABOUT THE ART: A massive new Mayfair space has opened and it kicks off with four exhibitions across two floors. The gallery is worth visiting for the interior alone. For its launch, the exhibitions largely conform to a Minimalist aesthetic and for this reason they seem to get lost in the fantastic gallery space. It’s a disappointing opening but we’re expecting a vast improvement from future exhibitions. Four exhibitions at Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Ely House, 37 Dover Street, W1S 4NJ. Until 29 July, free. ★★☆☆☆ (Tuesday-Saturday)

A WONDERFUL WUNDERKAMMER: Phalluses and a unicorn horn. Similar in shape but not two things you’d expect to find in the same room. This eclectic collection of nearly 400 objects belongs to Oliver Hoare, and it’s on display in this fantastic collection of art and historic artefacts. The Islamic collection is stunning, with too many great items to list here. Every Object Tells A Story at 5 Cromwell Place, SW7 2JE. Until 5 July. ★★★★☆ (Tuesday-Sunday)

© Rinko Kawauchi, Prix Pictet 2017

GLOBAL PHOTOGRAPHY: The Prix Pictet is all about photography capturing international issues. Richard Mosse is the deserving winner for his depiction of refugee camps, but we also have beauty in Rinko Kawauchi’s controlled burning of farmland, and humour in Michael Wolf’s series of Tokyo commuters squished up against train windows. A diverse and impressive line-up. Prix Pictet: Space at V&A. Until 28 May, free. ★★★★☆

A GOLDMINE OF INTERIOR DESIGN: The Wallace Collection is known for its opulent interiors so they’ve picked the perfect exhibition for this museum, with a glittering array of gilded objects from clocks to candelabras. It’s filled with over-the-top bling, and we loved it. Gilded Interiors: French Masterpieces of Gilt Bronze at Wallace Collection. Until 30 July, free. ★★★★☆

A GUTTED GALLERY: The main galleries of the ICA, both downstairs and up, have been completely gutted stripping the floors and walls — even the plug sockets have been ripped out. It’s an ambitious, and, we imagine, expensive, project but it fails to really convey the points about agriculture and upcycling the artist is trying to make. Stuart Middleton: Beat at ICA. Until 2 July, £1. ★★☆☆☆

Last Updated 08 May 2017