September 2013

1 – Richard Avedon: Women

This Gagosian Gallery exhibition might contrast quite interestingly with the Somerset House Miles Aldridge show which was recommended last month. Try not to be put off by the passé title, this imaginative and inventive fashion photographer has a lively and dynamic body of work to his name so this should definitely be worth visiting. On display from 6th September until 26th October 2013. Free entry.

2 – Bacon and Moore: Flesh and Bone

Slightly further afield than normal, this recommendation stems from the vast ambition and scope of this exhibition project. The Ashmolean in Oxford haven’t played safe, bringing together some of each artist’s largest works in terms of scale and popularity. A one-off kind of event, this is on display from 12th September 2013 until 19th January 2014. Adults £8, concessions available.

3 – Mira Schendel

Opening right at the end of the month this one woman retrospective solo show follows in the vein of the big exhibitions Tate Modern has staged this year. This will be too dense and philosophical for some visitors but the Tate team will no doubt try and make this artists work as accessible as possible, and there are some never displayed works on offer. On display from 25th September 2013 until 19th January 2014. Adults £11, concessions available.  

Henry Moore, Woman (1957-8). © Tate

Henry Moore, Woman (1957-8). © Tate

August 2013

1 – Miles Aldridge: I Only Want You to Love Me

You’ll have seen this one advertised in the press, these gorgeously slick images of beautiful damaged women sell themselves brilliantly. Aldridge combines all of the elements we can’t get enough of: sexual glamour, barely concealed violence, and the fallen woman who populates film noir, fairytale and modern cinema. On display at Somerset House until 29th September 2013. Adults £6, concessions available.

2 – Recent acquisitions Arcimboldo to Kitaj

A real hidden gem which will get overshadowed by bigger and bolshier exhibitions, this varied display contains 130 prints and drawings acquired by the British Museum over the past five years. This number represents a small fraction of the works on paper that have been added to the collection in that time. Some lovely, curious and important pieces, including highlights from R.B. Kitaj’s estate. On display until 1st September 2013. Free entry.

3 – Michael Landy: Saints Alive

Now that the furore about this exhibition has died down slightly you might avoid the worst of the queues; admissions into the display area are controlled. This quirky artist has reinvented historical saints for the modern age, here at the National Gallery you’ll meet seven of his mobile creations and get to see some of the madcap sketches behind the engineering. On display until 24th November 2013. Free entry.

Miles Aldridge, Home Works #3 (2008).

Miles Aldridge, Home Works #3 (2008).

July 2013

1 –Psycho Nacirema

The British press have been very curious over the past couple of years of the standing of James Franco as Hollywood actor and credible artist. Why shouldn’t it be possible to be both? Visit this Pace Gallery exhibition, presented by Douglas Gordon and re-visiting Hitchcock’s Psycho, and consider for yourself. On display until 27th July 2013. Free entry.

2 – Laura Knight Portraits

Opening this month and sure to be well received, the National Portrait Gallery will be celebrating the work of this popular British twentieth-century painter. It should be a bright and diverse collection of works, likely to bring the Knight’s work a new audience. On display until 13th October 2013. Adults £6.30 (without donation), concessions available.

3 – Leaps Jumps and Bumps

Perhaps the polar opposite of the above, the Serpentine Gallery presents a solo show of the American artist Sturtevant. She draws on popular culture and modern art production, questioning our consumption of both. Most famous for her “copies” of the work of other contemporary artists, the show will also reveal her more recent forays into video art and photography. On display until 26th August 2013. Free entry.

Installation view of the work of Sturtevant at the Serpentine Gallery. © 2013 Jerry Hardman-Jones

Installation view of the work of Sturtevant at the Serpentine Gallery. © 2013 Jerry Hardman-Jones

June 2013

1 –Nobuyoshi Araki

Michael Hoppen is showing work by this richly suggestive, sometimes controversial Japanese photographer. The body of work is entitled Kinbaku, the Japanese art of bondage, which gives more than a hint towards the content. On display until 8th June 2013. Free entry.

2 – Gert & Uwe Tobias

You have two weeks left to see the work of the Romanian brothers at Whitechapel Gallery. On offer are large-scale woodcuts and wall drawings which dominate the space with folklore-based geometric and floral patterns. On display until 14th June 2013. Free entry.

3 – Lowry and the Painting of Modern Life

It could be wise to book ahead if you want to see this newest Tate Britain exhibition in its opening month. We’re all familiar with the work of L.S. Lowry; his stick-like, darkly dressed bodies bent against the rain are synonymous with the industrial North. Opens 26th June 2013. Adults £15 (without donation), concessions available.

See the work of Lancashire-born L.S. Lowry on display at Tate Britain at the end of the month.

See the work of Lancashire-born L.S. Lowry on display at Tate Britain at the end of the month.

May 2013

1 – Deutsche Börse Photography Prize 2013

A bit of a mouthful, this annual competition has been running for 17 years and this year the four shortlisted finalists are on display at the Photography Museum in London. Broomberg & Chanarin, Mishka Henner, Chris Killip, and Cristina De Middel provide varying visual descriptions on topics as wide ranging as space travel, prostitution and war. The winner will be revealed on June 10th. On display until 30th June 2013. Free entry.

2 – Museums at Night

It’s back and it promises to be bigger and better than ever, make the most of these few evenings of out-of-hours talks, exhibitions, parties and events. Check out the website for something near you:, I like the look of Late Night at the Benjamin Franklin House and Screening Nature at the Whitechapel Gallery. Thursday May 16 – Saturday May 18 2013. Prices vary by event and location.

3 – Ellen Gallagher: AxME

Tate Modern showcases the first major solo exhibition of the Gallagher’s work in the UK, be one of the first to see it (opens 1st May). If you’re not familiar with her work, this American artist works across a variety of mediums to create often delicate and intricate mythscapes and coded narratives about race, identity and gender. On display until 1st September 2013. Adults £10 (without donation), concessions available.

Also recommended and closing this month: The Light Show, Hayward Gallery, until 6th May; Sony World Photography Awards Exhibition, Somerset House, until 12th May; Barocci Brilliance and Grace, National Gallery, until 19th May; Rachel Whiteread Detached, Gagosian Gallery London, until 25th May; Man Ray Portraits, National Portrait Gallery, until 27th May.

Ellen Gallagher, Bird in Hand (2006)

Ellen Gallagher, Bird in Hand (2006)

April 2013

1 – Light Show

Escape the dismal spring weather in this celebration of all things illuminating at the Hayward Gallery. This show promises to be immersive and stimulating, leaving you feeling brighter and providing a glorious antidote to all the present grey fug and lack of sunshine. A must see for your inner-child, there is a primordial impulse in all of us which draws us to the light. On display until 6th May 2013. Adults £11, concessions available.

2 – Keywords

Iniva have worked with Tate Liverpool to put together a varied and challenging exhibition of works based on Raymond William’s seminal book, Keywords – a vocabulary of culture and society. If you’re not the literary type don’t be put off by the heavy theorising, there is much here for everybody to see with accessible works by artists such Chris Ofili, Rachel Whiteread and Julian Opie. On display until 18th May 2013. Free entry.

3 – Designs of the Year 2013 at the Design Museum

Time for your brain to come out of winter hibernation? The innovative and stunning designs in this competition should help the grey cells to come zinging back to life. One of the entrants from Architecture, Digital, Fashion, Furniture, Graphics, Transport or Product will walk away with the overall prize, pick your favourite to win on your visit and be inspired. On display until 7th July 2013. Adults £10.85 (£11.85 with donation), concessions available.

Head to the Design Museum this month for samples of creatives and designers at the top of their respective fields.

Head to the Design Museum this month for samples of creatives and designers at the top of their respective fields.

March 2013

1 – Lichtenstein: A Retrospective

Poptastic! Come to Tate Modern to gaze at gorgeous tearstained gals and chiselled monosyllabic hunks, in various shades of punchy primaries and monochrome. Pow! It’ll knock your socks off, slick and high energy. On display until 27th May 2013. Adults £14, concessions available.

2 – Manet: Portraying Life

One of the hottest tickets in town, get your hands on one if you can. The RA do these huge, lavish retrospective shows like nobody else can. A painterly painter with a subtlety of touch and a velveteen finish, you won’t see the likes of this again in London. On display until 14th April 2013. Adults £15, concessions available.

3 – Gaiety is the Most Outstanding Feature of the Soviet Union and Breaking the Ice: Moscow Art, 1960-80s

For something slightly edgier if you like your art fresher and more challenging, head to the Saatchi Gallery this month for all things Soviet. Two shows are running currently, together they give a strong and engaging picture of the Russian scene towards the end of last century and today. On display until 9th June and 28th March 2013 respectively. Admission is free to both exhibitions.

Lush Lichtenstein pop classics, like Drowning Girl (1963), on show at Tate Modern.

Lush Lichtenstein pop classics, like Drowning Girl (1963), on show at Tate Modern.

February 2013

1 – Schwitters in Britain

Just opened, be one of the first to see the works of this early pop visionary at Tate Britain. The story of the artists life is almost more moving than the exhibits, there is a lot to learn here. On display until 12th May 2013. Adults £10, concessions available.

2 – Man Ray Portraits

An even more recent offering, this iconic exhibition has been years in the making and has been pulled together under the intelligent eye of curators Terence Pepper and Helen Trompeteler. There hasn’t been anything like this before in terms of this photographer, so don’t miss out. On display until 27th May 2013. Adults £14, concessions available.

3 – Rain Room at the Barbican

Rumours of three hour queues on the weekend abound, this still promises to be a unique experience (so hard to come by nowadays) so could be worth the waiting. The chance to stand in a room full of rain and not get wet will appeal to the child in all of us. On display until 3rd March 2013. Free entry.

The Rain Room at the Barbican, visit before it closes on 3rd March.

The Rain Room at the Barbican, visit before it closes on 3rd March.

January 2013

A new year, you should be feeling refreshed, invigorated and ready to catch these shows at the last minute!

1 – Pre-Raphaelites: Victorian Avant-Garde

Head to Tate Britain soon, and expect to queue. This sumptuous offering showcases paintings, sculpture and applied art works and will leave your head spinning with the beauty of it all. On display until 13th January 2013. Adults £14, concessions available.

2 – Antony Gormley, Model

White Cube’s Bermondsey site plays hosts to the artist’s newest and most interactive work to date. These impressive figures and hulks of metal sit perfectly well in the stark, clean lines of the gallery space, and provide intrigue for the curious mind. On display until 10th February. Free entry.

3 – Tom Wood, Men and Women

Big Fat Gypsy Wedding crashes into Desperate Scousewives circa 1980, and culminates in this mesmerising and thought provoking solo show at the Photographers’ Gallery. The result is quietly pervading. On display until 6th January. Free entry.

Tom Wood, Not Miss New Brighton (1978/79)

Tom Wood, Not Miss New Brighton (1978/79)

December 2012

1 – Seduced by Art

Read the Artdrum blog (December 2nd) not Sewell’s review, and go to the National Gallery with the expectation of seeing a lovely, competent selection of works. Make sure to stop in the Christmas gift shop on the way out, the aesthetically pleasing ethic doesn’t end after the exhibition.  On display until 20th January 2013. Adults £12, concessions available.

2 – Turner Prize 2012

Tate Britain doesn’t disappoint in the display of this always interesting, sometimes challenging, often bonkers competition. See work by the four worthy finalists from this year: Spartacus Chetwynd, Luke Fowler, Paul Noble and Elizabeth Price. Make time to watch the entirety of Price’s video piece, you won’t regret it. On display until 3rd January 2013. Adults £10, concessions available.

3 – Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2012

Sixty images are on display in this eagerly anticipated annual exhibition. Look out for the usual suspects: naked mottled white flesh, the one token smile and the ubiquitous ginger girl. On display until 17th February 2013. Adults £2, free entry for children under 12.

Tom Hunter, Death of Coloti (2011). On display at the National Gallery.

Tom Hunter, Death of Coloti (2011). On display at the National Gallery.

November 2012

1 – The Lost Prince

A small, but thoughtful exhibition detailing the short life and briefer death of Henry Stuart, this is one of the best shows that the NPG has put on in recent years. It is an intelligent and captivating look into this boy prince and his courtly existence, the priming for him to become the adored future king. One criticism, I think the pricing has been set slightly too high. On show until 13th January 2013. Adults £11.80, concessions available.

2 – Shakespeare staging the world

Another historical exhibition, but it’s the last month to see this epic Shakespearean masterpiece. This show doesn’t concentrate solely on the bard himself, but frames London as seen through his works, and portrays the world that opened up before people’s eyes as they attended the playhouse. Unique, hugely ambitious and shouldn’t be missed. On display until 25th November 2012. Adults £14, concessions available.

3 – Night Paintings

An atmospheric display, perfect for the cold winter as the nights are drawing in. This exhibition is the culmination of Paul Benney’s residency at Somerset House and showcases his painterly talents, in varying degrees. On display until 9th December 2012. Free entry.

Paul Benney, Levitation (2005), on display at Somerset House.

October 2012

1- Hollywood Costume

You don’t have long to wait before you can feast your eyes on this sumptuous offering from the V&A, celebrating iconic cinematic costume in all its dramatic glory. Promises to brighten up your cold autumnal months with some pomp and vibrancy. On show from 20th October until 27th January 2013. Adults £14, concessions available.

2 – The Queen: Art and Image

It’s your last chance to catch this lively and engaging regal exhibition in its final showing at the National Portrait Gallery, after a year long tour of venues around the UK. A small show which packs a punch, this display is very fitting for the 2012 celebratory year and contains some real gems. On show until 21st October 2012. Adults £6.60, concessions available.

3 – The Tanks

This is the month to visit the Nationals, with many exhibitions coming to an end in October. The doors to Tate’s Tanks will close this month, with this the last chance to see works by Juan Downey, Lis Rhodes, Suzanne Lacy, Filmaktion, Aldo Tambellini and Sung Hwan Kim in their underground setting. Exhibitions on display until dates between 14th and 28th October, check Tate Modern website for more details. Free entry.

Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones in Raiders of the Lost Ark. The iconic Indie costume is just one of the sartorial treats which will be on display at the V&A this month in ‘Hollywood Costume.’

September 2012

1- To The Light

You have a few days left to catch Yoko Ono’s solo show at the Serpentine; the mood matches the early autumn sunshine perfectly. All of Ono’s greatest hits are here, along with rarely seen works. On show until 9th September 2012. Free entry.

2 – Superhuman

If you’ve never visited the Wellcome Collection before, now is the time to go out of your way. Exhibitions here are always intelligent and often surprising, this one packs a punch with some intriguing, curious and sometimes gruesome exhibits on the theme of human enhancement. Highly recommended. On show until 16th October 2012. Free entry.

3 – Damien Hurst at Tate Modern

Again, you only have a few days left to catch another great show of the moment. This infamous artist’s blockbuster show promises to be thought provoking and slickly executed, if not the most cheery. An important show, you should attempt to see this. On show until 9th September. Adults £14, concessions available.

Francesca Steele, still from ‘Cycle’ (2012). Currently on display as part of ‘Superhuman’ at the Wellcome Collection.

August 2012

1- Summer Exhibition 2012

This eclectic show at the RA, much derided by critics and a good proportion of the museum going public, could be worth a last look if you’re in a frivolous mood. There’s plenty to see with an even fuller show than normal. On show until 12th August 2012. Adults £10, concessions available.

2 – The Mountain is Still a Mountain

Chinese Artist Zhang Huan in an impressive solo show at White Cube Bermondsey. Monumental scenes sit alongside family and State portraits, perfectly framed within this cavernous blank space. On show until 26th August 2012. Free entry.

3 – David Nash at Kew

A slight cheat here, as I haven’t yet made it down to Kew to see the David Nash, but having caught his large body of work at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park I know this will be worth a visit. With four completely new works on display, this is a good one for the summer months. On show until 14th April 2013. Adults £14.50 entry to the Gardens, concessions available.

A small selection of the works on show at the Summer Exhibition 2012, The Royal Academy.

July 2012

1 – Design Season at the V&A: British Design 1948-2012

Let your eyes be bedazzled and drawn from shiny object to glossy image and back again. You’ll never look at Blur’s Country House pop video in the same way again. A huge scale all-encompassing show of the ilk that this museum does the best. On show until August 12th 2012. Adult £12 (£13.50 with donation), concessions available.

2 – Scott’s Last Expedition

After the stylish show across the road, head over to the Natural History Museum for a more grounding, pared down experience. This intelligent and well curated exhibition marks the centenary of Scott reaching the South Pole. Highlights include pickled specimens and a to-scale representation of the Antarctic  living quarters. On show until September 2nd 2012. Adults £9, concessions available.

3 – BP Portrait Award 2012

A more thoughtful selection and a fantastic Travel Award painting by Jo Fraser ensure this is one of the best BP Portrait exhibitions in recent years. The show only went up at the end of last month, so prepare for big queues and crowding at weekends; this always proves to be one of the most popular draws at the National Portrait Gallery. On show until September 23rd 2012. Free entry.

Jo Fraser, BP Travel Award Winner 2011: painting depicting weavers in the Cuzco region of Peru

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