Culture

The best art exhibitions to see in London right now

Quick question: how often do you double-tap on art-related Instagram posts to show your appreciation? If you’re fond of attaining some quick cultural enlightenment, we’ll confidently guess at least once a day. But in London, you’re never short of choices when it comes to where to go or what to see. In need of some (real) artistic enlightenment? You’ll find it at these exhibitions...

18

Cindy Sherman

Cindy Sherman’s photography has been vital to the development of a modern visual because, across her body of work, she seeks to subvert stereotypical representations of women. Now, thanks to the National Portrait Gallery, you can explore the unfolding of her career in a retrospective exhibition. Tracing her photographic development from the mid-Seventies right through to today, an impressive 150 images span the walls, tapping into the film and fashion industries in the process. For a much-needed insight into one of the most important living photographers, head to Charing Cross now. Cindy Sherman is on until 15 September at the National Portrait Gallery, St Martin’s Place, London WC2.

28

Olafur Eliasson: In Real Life

We hate to say it, but you're bound to have caught a glimpse of this one on your Instagram feed. It's not just "for the ’gram", though; Olafur Eliasson’s work crucially appeals to the senses, and that's the main reason why Tate Modern has titled this exhibit In Real Life. In this unmissable series of installations, Eliasson proves his mastery in making us aware of our (real) surroundings: there's plenty of colour and smoke, sure, but he also uses his creativity to explore climate change, energy and migration. His work may make for a great picture but, in the flesh, it's an even better experience. Olafur Eliasson: In Real Life is on until 5 January 2020 at Tate Modern, Bankside, London SE1.

38

Stanley Kubrick: The Exhibition

There are countless reasons why Stanley Kubrick sits among the masters of cinema and each of them can be found in this extensive exhibition. Twenty years after the filmmaker's death, the Design Museum has taken to honouring his legacy. Its displaying more than 700 rare objects, films, letters, photos and interviews, as well as recreating iconic scenes from his most loved movies, such as The Shining, A Clockwork Orange and 2001: A Space Odyssey. Bridging the gap between our favourite films and the mind of the man who made them, Stanley Kubrick: The Exhibition is a must for all film fanatics. Just make sure to book in advance: tickets for this are in high demand. Stanley Kubrick: The Exhibition is on until 15 September at the Design Museum, 224 Kensington High Street, London W8.

48

Lee Krasner: Living Colour

It's not easy to escape a successful partner's shadow (especially when your husband is Jackson Pollock), but Lee Krasner did just that. As a pioneer of abstract expressionism in America, Krasner's work vibrantly captured the hope and spirit that flowed through New York following the Second World War. The Barbican's latest exhibition displays that fact perfectly, relaying the story of this woman and her work through an impressive selection of her striking self-portraits and dynamic paintings. Most of those on display have never been seen in the UK, providing a fresh lens for us to understand early 20th-century art. Lee Krasner: Living Colour is on until 1 September at Barbican Centre, Silk Street, London EC2.

58

Leonardo Da Vinci: A Life In Drawing

Quite possibly the creator of the most famous painting in the world (shout-out to Miss Mona Lisa), Leonardo Da Vinci's life and work are as vital to art today as they were during his lifetime. This year marks 500 years since the Renaissance master's death and to celebrate his esteemed portfolio The Queen's Gallery is displaying more than 200 of his finest drawings. Not a painting in sight, it's a different lens with which to view Da Vinci and actually the largest exhibit of his work in over 65 years. With subjects spanning from architecture to anatomy, engineering to geology, this is a faithful ode to the artist's remarkable life. Leonardo Da Vinci: A Life In Drawing is on until 13 October at The Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace Road, London SW1.

68

Mary Quant

The Sixties were "swinging" thanks to a youthful energy that revolutionised culture. Smack dab in the centre of this supernova stood Mary Quant, the fashion designer who redefined attire for the masses. Her intention was always to make fashionable clothes available to everyone and these designs have continued to influence subcultural mindsets right through to today. Now, you can see them for yourself at the V&A. With more than 200 designs on display, this is the place to go for a history lesson on the origins of modern British fashion. For existing fans of Quant, there are also unseen pieces from the archive. Mary Quant is on until 16 February 2020 at the V&A, Cromwell Road, London SW7.

78

Van Gogh And Britain

Vincent Van Gogh was heavily inspired by Britain. The post-impressionist painter actually lived in England when he was young, immersing himself in fiction by Charles Dickens and George Eliot. Their artistic approach to writing was one he subsequently began to follow and, across his extensive career, he produced a collection unlike any other artist in history. Van Gogh And Britain displays some of the artist's most credited works, including "Sunflowers", "At Eternity's Gate" and "Starry Night On The Rhône". The running thread also presents a selection of British artists who were inspired by Van Gogh (Francis Bacon included). For a specific lens into the Dutch painter's life, you won't want to miss this; modern art in Britain owes a lot to Van Gogh. Van Gogh And Britain is on until 11 August at Tate Britain, Millbank, London SW1.

88

Christian Dior: Designer Of Dreams

Ask anyone to name the most renowned fashion houses and it's likely Dior will be one of the first to spring to mind and for good reason. The French brand has a narrative like no other, setting the benchmark for style since 1947. Now, the V&A has taken to exposing all the intricacies of the house's story through an extensive retrospective, tracing the impact of the couturier and its vital relationship with Britain. Christian Dior was a big fan of this country, after all, applauding the traditions, the architecture, the politeness and, inexplicably, the cooking. This is the largest and most comprehensive Dior exhibition in UK history, so make sure to set aside a good couple of hours for exploring. Christian Dior: Designer Of Dreams is on until 1 September at the V&A, Cromwell Road, London SW7.

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