The Top Exhibitions To See In London: March 2024

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Last Updated 01 March 2024

The Top Exhibitions To See In London: March 2024

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Looking for an awesome London exhibition this March? Here's our roundup of must-see shows in the capital, plus two additions from outside of London.

1. Female founder: Angelica Kauffman at Royal Academy of Arts

A self-portrait of the artist hesitating between choosing art or music. Photo: © National Trust Images/John Hammond

The Royal Academy of Arts was founded in 1768 by mostly men, but two women were present — one of them, Angelica Kauffman. Showcasing 30 artworks, including rare international loans, this exhibition traces Kauffman's remarkable evolution from child prodigy, to her training in Rome — and onwards trajectory to becoming a pioneering figure on the European art scene.  

Angelica Kauffman at Royal Academy of Arts. 1 March-30 June, £17.

2. Post-colonial architecture: Tropical Modernism at V&A

© Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Tropical Modernism was an architectural style developed in West Africa in the 1940s. It was strikingly different from the colonial era buildings that came before it, and also better suited for the hot and humid conditions of the country. The V&A's exhibition charts the story of British architects Jane Drew and Maxwell Fry and their involvement in this movement. Models, drawings, letters, photographs, and archival ephemera chart the key figures and moments of the Tropical Modernist movement, bringing this vibrantly chic slice of architectural history to life.

Tropical Modernism: Architecture and Independence at V&A. 2 March-22 September, £14.  

3. Power of protest: Acts of Resistance at South London Gallery

A work by Sethembile Msezane. Photo: courtesy of the artist

What is the role of photography in feminist resistance? South London Gallery has curated works by 16 artists and collectives who all use cameras to examine the role of women, whether in South Africa, Iran, the US or here in the UK. It's about provoking dialogue on gender equity, intersectionality, and the role of activism in shaping our society — and fittingly it opens on International Women's Day.

Acts of Resistance: Photography, Feminisms and the art of Protest at South London Gallery. 8 March-2 June, free.

4. Recycled art: Tatiana Wolska at MAC, Birmingham

Sculptor Tatiana Wolska refers to herself as a 'junk collector': plastic bottles, rusty nails, salvaged timber, old mattress foam and abandoned furniture are turned into sculptures including bulbous forms that look like they could come alive; and sheltered sanctuaries for conversations or quiet contemplation are created from the jetsam. Wolska's work is all about embracing leisure as resistance; she advocates for a slower, mindful life through art, community engagement and environmental stewardship.

Tatiana Wolska: Leisure as Resistance at MAC, Birmingham. 9 March-2 June, free.

This is a sponsored inclusion on behalf of Affordable Art Fair.

Find a masterpiece of your own to take home at Affordable Art Fair!

Image: Gagliardi Gallery at Affordable Art Fair Autumn Edition 2023 © Graham Turner

Over a hundred contemporary galleries, thousands of fresh artworks — all under one roof? Oh, Affordable Art Fair, you do spoil us! The spring edition takes place Wednesday 6 March to Sunday 10 March in the heart of Battersea Park. Among other things, it offers you a chance to replace that dog-eared poster on your bedroom wall with something truly special – and for much less than you might think.

At Affordable Art Fair, you’ll find pieces from as little as £50 (going up to £7,500 for all you seasoned collectors). But it’s not all about shopping — with special exhibitions celebrating International Women’s Day and interior design trends, plus a monumental new installation by Argentinian artist Alejandro Propato to ogle, it’s a brilliant day out in its own right.

Be the first to see it all with a weekday ticket (fret not, 9 to 5-ers – After Dark Lates run 6pm-9pm). Alternatively, bring the kids on Saturday or Sunday and take advantage of Family Hour, which features a fun-filled tour of the fair by its resident art history wizards. General admission starts at £14 for adults and kids go free — not bad for such a jam-packed arty odyssey!

Affordable Art Fair, 6-10 March at Evolution London, Battersea Park. Tickets here.

5. Humanless world: Liane Lang at The Whitaker Museum, Lancashire

© Liane Lang

Can we imagine what the landscapes around us would look like without any more human intervention? That's what Liane Lang's sculptures that incorporate photography evoke, with images of nature re-wilding manmade objects, including repurposed industrial items. Elements of human bodies also appear to remind us of the impact of human activity that has become an inseparable part of the world around us.

Liane Lang: Touch Stone at The Whitaker Museum, Lancashire. 14 March-26 May, free.

6. Photographing Ukraine: Polly Braden at The Foundling Museum

Sofiia, 17, in Gipf-Oberfrick, Switzerland. © Polly Braden.

Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, six million people have been displaced; Polly Braden has been travelling around Europe photographing the women and children who've had to relocate, including to the UK. Rather than focussing on war casualties, this project looks at the complex challenges faced by those forced to leave their homes, fitting in in foreign lands away from family, and working jobs they wouldn't have dreamed of doing in Ukraine.

Polly Braden: Leaving Ukraine at The Foundling Museum. 15 March-1 September, £10.50.

7. Portrait photography: Francesca Woodman and Julia Margaret Cameron at National Portrait Gallery

I Wait by Julia Margaret Cameron. Image courtesy J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles.

Francesca Woodman and Julia Margaret Cameron are two photographers separated by 100 years, but the National Portrait Gallery draws parallels between them and the personal portraits they snapped. Both Woodman and Cameron produced work deeply rooted in mythology and storytelling, and each made portraits of those close to them to represent these narratives. They were also both active over a short period — neither worked for more than 15 years

Francesca Woodman and Julia Margaret Cameron: Portraits to Dream In at National Portrait Gallery. 21 March-16 June, £8.50.

8. Immersive Anatomy: Jason and the Adventure of 254 at The Wellcome Collection

One of the artist's anatomical paintings. © Jason Wilsher-Mills.

Artist Jason Wilsher-Mills was diagnosed with an autoimmune condition, triggered by contracting chickenpox at the age of 11 that led to him being paralysed from the neck down until he was 16. Reimagining the gallery space as a hospital ward, Wilsher-Mills has turned it into an immersive space that incorporates his own memories; we're joined by oversized plastic toy soldiers delivering the virus, inflatable germs that hang in the air and a 30-metre illustrative wallpaper depicting significant episodes from the artist’s life.

Jason and the Adventure of 254 at The Wellcome Collection. 21 March 2024-12 January 2025, free.

Short run events

Cecilia Charlton's work from Collect 2023. Photo: David Parry, PA Media.

There are plenty of art fairs to keep us busy in March, kicking off with Collect 2024 at Somerset House (1-3 March, £21-£27) bringing together top tier contemporary craft and design — beautiful objects abound. If your taste lies more with emerging artists, you can buy direct from them at The Other Art Fair at Truman Brewery (7-10 March, £8) or from an international array of galleries at Affordable Art Fair, Battersea (6-10 March, £14, more details above). We end the month back at Somerset House for the London Original Print Fair (21-24 March, £18) which specialises in prints from emerging artists right through to big names like Grayson Perry and David Hockney.

If exhibitions are more your jam, head to Bermondsey Project Space for the brilliantly titled Transparent as a Dragonfly (4-9 March, free), named after a line from a book by Italo Calvino and organised by Arte Borgo and ArtCan* to mark 100 years since Calvino's birth. It brings together a mix of almost 40 artists based across Europe.

CasildArt open a new gallery space in Connaught Village, and to celebrate the opening they've invited women from diverse backgrounds to launch a salon hang exhibition to kick off their programme (15-24 March, free)

* The author of this article is a trustee of ArtCan