Ten London exhibitions to look forward to in 2018
2018 is shaping up to be an exciting year for the art world. From the 250th anniversary of the Royal Academy and a blockbuster Picasso exhibition at Tate Modern, to a cross-institutional Tacita Dean exhibition and a sweeping survey of video games at the V&A, there’s something for everyone this year. Take a look at our picks for the year ahead.
Mark Dion: Theatre of the Natural World at Whitechapel Gallery
Start the art year off right at the Whitechapel Gallery, which is staging a solo show of work by Mark Dion. The American artist is an explorer who presents objects collected on his travels in modern-day cabinets of curiosity. Expect immersive installations that draw on narratives of scientific enquiry, museum display practices and the inexplicable pull of obsolete objects.
Mark Dion: Theatre of the Natural World is at Whitechapel Gallery from 14th February until 13th May 2018. For further information or to book visit the exhibition’s website here.
Mark Dion, The Wonder Workshop (detail), 2015
All Too Human: Bacon, Freud and a Century of Painting Life at Tate Britain
This exhibition at Tate Britain will explore the ways in which Francis Bacon and Lucien Freud (who were close, if rather unexpected, friends), alongside some of their lesser-known contemporaries, made a return to figurative painting and representing human beings in the 20th century.
All Too Human: Bacon, Freud and a Century of Painting Life is at Tate Britain from 28th February until 27th August 2018. For further information or to book visit the exhibition’s website here.
Lucian Freud, Girl with a White Dog, 1950–1
Victorian Giants: The Birth of Art Photography at the National Portrait Gallery
When photography entered the mainstream during the Victorian era, it was initially seen as a tool for scientific study and for creating a precisely accurate record of the world. Some pioneers, however, quickly recognised the medium’s potential for art-making. Victorian Giants at the National Portrait Gallery brings together four of the most important early photographic artists: Lewis Carroll, Julia Margaret Cameron, Oscar Rejlander and Clementina Hawarden.
Victorian Giants: The Birth of Art Photography is at the National Portrait Gallery from 1st March until 20th May 2018. For further information or to book visit the exhibition’s website here.
Julia Margaret Cameron, Mountain Nymph Sweet Liberty, 1866
Picasso, 1932 – Love, Fame and Tragedy at Tate Modern
1932. In this single year, Picasso produced some of the most striking artworks of the 20th century. This epic exhibition at Tate Modern takes a month-by-month through this “year of wonders”, exploring the intensive development of Picasso’s artistic style. It also brings together three paintings featuring his lover Marie-Thérèse Walter for the first time since they were created over a period of just five days in March 1932.
Picasso, 1932 – Love, Fame and Tragedy is at Tate Modern from 8th March until 9th September 2018. For further information or to book visit the exhibition’s website here.
Pablo Picasso, The Dream (Le Rêve), 1932
Tacita Dean: Still Life at the National Gallery
Part of an unprecedented trio of exhibitions being hosted across the Royal Academy, National Portrait Gallery and National Gallery in Spring 2018, this element focuses on contemporary artist Tacita Dean’s interest in still life. The exhibition is curated by the artist, and features her own work alongside that of her contemporaries.
Tacita Dean: Still Life is at the National Gallery from 15th March until 28th May 2018. For further information visit the exhibition’s website here.
Shape of Light: 100 Years of Photography and Abstract Art at Tate Modern
This exhibition intertwines the histories of abstract art and photography. It features works that deal with abstraction from the 1910s to the present day, including iconic early figures who helped to develop photography as an artistic medium such as Paul Strand and Man Ray, as well as cutting edge contemporary artists pushing new boundaries today, such as Thomas Ruff and Barbara Kasten.
Shape of Light: 100 Years of Photography and Abstract Art is at Tate Modern from 2nd May until 14th October 2018. For further information or to book visit the exhibition’s website here.
Guy Bourdin, Untitled, 1952
Ed Ruscha: Course of Empire at the National Gallery
Ed Ruscha is one of the most important distillers of American identity of the 20th century. This June sees his work come – unexpectedly – to London’s National Gallery. The installation is a response to Thomas Cole’s famous painting cycle “The Course of Empire” (1833-36), which will be on display concurrently. Free to visit, this is sure to be a highlight of 2018.
Ed Ruscha: Course of Empire is at the National Gallery from 11th June until 7th October 2018. For further information visit the exhibition’s website here.
The Great Spectacle: 250 Years of the Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts
This year, the Royal Academy celebrates its 250th anniversary. Over that time, the institution has continually shaped the course of art in the UK through its teaching programme, its cultural influence and, of course, the Summer Exhibition. The Great Spectacle tells the story of the world’s longest running annual display of contemporary art.
The Great Spectacle: 250 Years of the Summer Exhibition is at the Royal Academy of Arts from 12th June until 19th August 2018. For further information or to book visit the exhibition’s website here.
William Powell Frith, A Private View at the Royal Academy (detail), 1881
Videogames at the V&A
This ground-breaking exhibition will explore the design and culture of contemporary video games, making a case for game-design as an important cultural medium for the 21st century. Get an insight into the communities that form around gaming and the important political commentaries or movements prompted by gamers.
Videogames is at the V&A from 8th September 2018 until 24th February 2019. For further information or to book visit the exhibition’s website here.
Burne-Jones at Tate Britain
The Pre-Raphaelites tend to divide audiences: you either love them or you hate them. Burne-Jones (as arguably the most “Pre-Raphaelite” of the Pre-Raphaelites) is a particularly strong example of this. This exhibition offers a more complete image of Burne-Jones than is usually shown, uniting his paintings with his work in other media including stained-glass and tapestry.
Burne-Jones is at Tate Britain from 24th October 2018 until 24th February 2019. For further information or to book visit the exhibition’s website here.
Edward Coley Burne-Jones, Love and the Pilgrim, 1896–7