What's New On The London Art Scene?

Tabish Khan
By Tabish Khan Last edited 18 months ago

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What's New On The London Art Scene?

Which of London's most talked-about exhibitions should you visit? Which shouldn't you bother with? We've been to see them all.

Animal works abound in the group show Animality in Soho. Photo: Thierry Bal

Animality at Marian Goodman
This monster group show has created a menagerie of animal related artworks in this excellent Soho gallery space. The works span centuries from Albrecht Durer's rhinoceros through to a whole host of contemporary artworks, including a tiny mouse door by Maurizio Cattelan with a cheeky bin outside — it's a tricky one to spot. This is a fantastic exhibition and of the quality you'd expect from a larger museum exhibition. Until 17 December, free

Londonist rating:★★★★★

Traces of War at King's College London, Inigo Rooms, Somerset House
A mixture of artworks all relating to war includes views of the English countryside snapped by a drone, referencing the images of footage we see on the news but from a different angle. The high impact work here is a virtual reality experience where we stand in a claustrophobic garage and watch an ex-soldier strip and rebuild an assault rifle blindfolded. Until 18 December, free

Londonist rating:★★★★☆

Ardizzone & Laura Carlin at House of Illustration
A double header includes the illustrations by Ardizzone in the main space, covering classics such as Stig of the Dump and Treasure Island. Over in the smaller gallery are the playful sculptures of Laura Carlin; animals file two by two into an ark and miniature figures admire the Carlin sculptures that tower over them. Two solid showings join the ongoing exhibition on The Tale of Kitty in boots. Ardizzone until 22 January & Laura Carlin until 5 February, £7.50 for entrance to all exhibitions

Londonist rating:★★★☆☆

East meets West in this image of a drone, which can be found at Imperial War Museum. Copyright Mahwich Chishty.

A World to Win: Posters of Protest and Revolution at William Morris Gallery
A small but brilliant exhibition that covers topics like war, politics and nuclear disarmament. The breadth is fantastic; we get propaganda posters from Nazis, Viet Cong and the Iranian Revolution. The UK based ones cover racism, anti-union laws and gender equality. To top it off there is a jukebox filled with songs about protest ranging from Joni Mitchell to Anthrax. Until 15 January, free.

Londonist rating:★★★★★

Rodin and Dance: The Essence of Movement at The Courtauld Gallery
This is a very different side to the Rodin of The Kiss and The Thinker. Here his late works explore a more dynamic exploration of dance. The difficulty is that all we have are some loose drawings and no sculptures to show — therefore losing the essence of everything that makes Rodin the artist he is. Until 22 January, £9.50 adults

Londonist rating:★★☆☆☆

Intrigue: James Ensor by Luc Tuymans at Royal Academy of Arts
These bizarre paintings are a revelation. James Ensor constructs macabre works, where two skeletons fight over a pickled herring with their mouths and a skeleton is in the studio with an easel with nothing to paint on. The addition of other artists works, including those by Tuymans, are a let down compared to the brilliance of Ensor. Halloween may be over but there's still plenty of time to catch this exhibition. Until 29 January, £11.50 for adults

Londonist rating:★★★★☆

One of several rather creepy paintings by James Ensor. (c) www.lukasweb.be - Art in Flanders vzw. Photography: Hugo Maertens / (c) DACS 2016

Mahwish Chishty at Imperial War Museum
Drones are a very prescient issue given the artist's American-Pakistani heritage. The paintings of drones fuse Eastern and Western styles. Plus drone models coloured like toys draw attention to how drone strikes may be a world away from us, yet it's all too real for others. Until 19 March, free

Londonist rating:★★★★☆

Flaming June: The Making of an Icon at Leighton House Museum
Frederic Leighton's masterpiece Flaming June forms the centrepiece of this exhibition and it is exquisite. Dressed in orange, June is curled up in an unnatural position as the lines of her body become lost in the contours of her clothing. The other paintings can't match the strength of this one, and the drawings that make up most of this exhibition are a little dull. Until 2 April, £12 adults

Londonist rating:★★★☆☆

Emma Hamilton: Seduction and Celebrity at National Maritime Museum
This exhibition shows Hamilton to be far more than just Nelson's mistress, covering her rise from humble beginnings to mixing with aristocracy. What's great about this show is it portrays Hamilton as a human with all her strengths and flaws. It's a tragic journey filled with great insight on this lesser known historical figure. Plus the portraits of Emma by George Romney are sublime. Find out more about Emma Hamilton in our piece about her. Until 17 April, £12.60 adults

Londonist rating:★★★★☆

Portrait of the Artist at Queen's Gallery
Artists often paint portraits of themselves or one another, and this is the focus of the latest exhibition at Queen's gallery. An intense Lucian Freud stares back at us in one work, and paints the Queen as she poses for her portrait. One of favourite pairings is of a melancholy Rembrandt next to a confident Rubens, in two contrasting self-portraits. Until 17 April, £10.30 adults

Londonist rating:★★★★☆

Last Updated 09 November 2016