Looking for a dose of culture? Want to know what's hot on London's exhibition scene? Read on.
A GIANT CATAPULT: A giant catapult is ready to fire the Earth right across New Bond Street. This colossal sculpture is in keeping with Lorenzo Quinn's style of going big in scale and heavy on symbolism. His completely over the top style does divide people, but his works are always superbly crafted and visually stunning. Lorenzo Quinn: Actions Not Words at Halcyon Gallery, 144-146 New Bond Street, W1S 2PF. Until 22 December, free. ★★★☆☆ (Monday-Sunday)
BLINDING THEATRES: Theatres are photographed in black and white with a long exposure so the architecture draws the eye, while the screen becomes a brilliant white like a portal into another world. It's taken over the length of a film and a true reflection of life today where so much visual culture is consumed every day very little is remembered — who hasn't started watching a film, and halfway through realised we've seen it before? Hiroshi Sugimoto: Snow White at Marian Goodman, 5-8 Lower John Street, W1F 9DY. Until 22 December, free. ★★★★☆ (Tuesday-Saturday)
MARILYN & CACTI: Two Andy Warhol works, depicting Marilyn Monroe and a gun, face each other across a room full of cacti. Throw in a mirror by Roy Lichtenstein and we have ourselves an impressive slice of Americana in the heart of Mayfair. Marilyn, Flowers, Lips, Gun, Mirror, Cactus at Ordovas, 25 Savile Row, W1S 2ER. Until 16 December, free. ★★★☆☆ (Tuesday-Saturday)
LIGHT VS DARK: Two shows looking at works made with light upstairs, and works in black downstairs, are a lovely contrast that works perfectly. Upstairs there is a chair surrounded by flashing bulbs and a surreal bent over lamppost that looks like it’s trying to touch its toes, while downstairs is an amorphous entity that sucks in the light from around it, and blackened tree stumps that feel like the aftermath of a forest fire. We think it's just coincidence that a show on light and dark closes on the premiere day of the new Star Wars film — though that would be a clever tie-in. Light & Dark are on at Annely Juda Fine Art, 23 Dering Street, W1. Until 14 December, free. ★★★★☆ (Monday-Saturday)
A WOMAN'S EYE: Six female artists combine to explore the theme of the human form. Annie Attridge confronts us with heavily sexualised ceramic figurines while the works of Heloise Delegue are hidden by a veil added on top of the paintings, referencing both that veils have historically been used to keep women hidden and that historically women weren't allowed to view nude models. All the styles are very different and the result is a strong showing of six contrasting approaches to exploring the human body. Body at Kristin Hjellegjerde, 533 Old York Road, SW18 1TG. Until 21 December, free. ★★★☆☆ (Monday-Saturday)
BLOOD, BUGS & ASH: An excellent pop-up gallery has a permanent home in Peckham and it has opened with a fabulous show. Tessa Farmer creates skulls crawling with bugs, Suzanne Moxhay creates gloomy abandoned interiors and other works are made from human blood and ashes. The results are works that hold a powerful message around mortality and are also visually fun to engage with. Nature's Alchemy at bo.lee Gallery, 222 Rye Lane, SE15 4NL. Until 6 January, free. ★★★★☆ (Wednesday-Saturday)
GOING AT IT LIKE RABBITS: Minotaurs, hares and wild boars beautifully sculpted out of bronze have taken over both the gallery in Shepherd Market and nearby St. James's Square. The gallery is filled with her works — and head downstairs to find they have multiplied like rabbits with dozens in the basement — some of them actually in the act of copulating. Tepozteco: Sophie Ryder at St. James's Square & Hignell Gallery, 12-14 Shepherd Street, W1J 7LF. Until 3 January, free. ★★★☆☆ (Monday-Saturday)
THE TIDAL THAMES: Photographer Nadav Kander has made the Thames Estuary the focus of his latest photographic series, capturing both its serene side and its crashing waves. Found objects from the estuary appear in receptacles as if emerging from the deep, and the artist himself rises from the water in an atmospheric video piece. This is a beautifully lit and moving exhibition. Nadav Kander: Dark Line - The Thames Estuary at Flowers East, 82 Kingsland Road, E2 8DP. Until 13 January, free. ★★★★☆ (Tuesday-Saturday)
NOT A PHOTOGRAPH: The large paintings by James White are so photo-real that many people walk away thinking they're photographs. It's an illusion that's only broken when you get right up to the works. It's stunning how accurate his work is, and though we've seen his works many time before, it never fails to impress us. James White: Bodies at Blain|Southern, 4 Hanover Square, W1S 1BP. Until 13 January, free. ★★★☆☆ (Monday-Saturday)
ATMOSPHERIC VIOLENCE: It's hard to find beauty in violence but this one room display at The British Museum shows how it has been done in history. A gorgeous Greek vase shows Achilles killing the queen of the Amazons, and a detailed frieze depicts an Assyrian soldier about to execute an Elamite general, with many corpses in the background. Top billing is reserved for a more modern work by Farideh Lashai as her versions of Goya's disasters of war series only becomes populated with ghostly people when a roving light shines on it — add in the tinkling soundtrack and we have a hauntingly beautiful artwork. On Violence and Beauty: Reflections on War at Room 3, The British Museum. Until 21 January, free. ★★★★☆ (Monday-Sunday)
CHILDISH PAINTINGS: Rose Wylie may be in her 80s but she paints with a childlike style. capturing times in her life from football matches in the park to a second world war bombing raid. Her art lacks depth which is not always a bad thing, but her naive painting style just doesn't give us enough to really engage with. We left this show disappointed but we note almost all the other critics disagree with us on this show. Rose Wylie: Quack, Quack at Serpentine Sackler Gallery. Until 11 February, free. ★★☆☆☆ (Tuesday-Sunday)
WOUNDED WARRIORS: Paddy Hartley sensitively recounts the stories of war veterans and the injuries they suffered through his artworks. Stories are stitched on to uniforms while items such as a solitaire board are used to mark a game that a man could no longer play after his hands were badly damaged by burns. The works are scattered throughout the museum and Hartley captures the difficulties with returning to the world after life changing injuries. Works by Paddy Hartley are on display at National Maritime Museum. Until 2019, free. ★★★★☆ (Monday-Sunday)
BURNT WOOD & WARPED GLASS: Glass sculpture distorts under iron beams as if it's about to explode, burnt wood is growing out of the walls and colourful industrial sculptures emit strange noises. This group show of sculpture with strong architectural elements combines six impressive artists all showing innovative use of materials in their art. Combining Materials at Rosenfeld Porcini, 37 Rathbone Street, W1T 1NZ. Until 10 February, free. ★★★★☆ (Monday-Saturday)
All images are copyright the artist and the gallery, unless otherwise stated.