The Handbook
The Handbook

Art. A far-off concept that we once embraced before we got used to endless hours of Netflix and mind-numbing Instagram scrolling. But it’s coming back, and we’ve hunted down the best places to soak it up, in all its colourful, crazy glory.

From traditional classics to the downright weird, discover new artists and step into the vivid imaginations of some of the world’s best creatives (that is, of course, as soon as we get out of lockdown on 2 December).

RA: Summer Winter Exhibition

For the first time in the RA’s history they’ve had to move their famous summer exhibition to the winter because of lockdown 1. As bad luck would have it, we’re now in lockdown 2.

You can enjoy a free virtual tour of it now, but that sounds a bit boring. So hold off a little while longer and you can see an eclectic mix of works by some of the most exciting artists  in real life. There are a few  pieces by Royal Academicians, such as Isaac Julien and Cornelia Parker, as well as some others works you might not have stumbled across, like bold linocuts from Mary Collett and Kit Boyd.

Where: The Royal Academy of Arts, Burlington House, Mayfair, W1J 0BD

John Gribben
627 – GLAIKIT, 2020

You can sniff breast milk in Tasha Marks' sculpture 5318008, which, when turned upside down, playfully reads 'Boobies'.

Yinka Shonibare
Refugee Astronaut, 2015

The Wellcome Collection: Being Human

This diverse exhibition explores what it’s like to be human in the 21st century. It outlines our hopes, dreams and advancements in medicine, as well as our fears for the world around us. There’s a jukebox that plays songs related to illnesses and epidemics, such as the chart classic “Ebola in Town”. You can sniff breast milk in Tasha Marks’ sculpture 5318008, which, when turned upside down, playfully reads ‘Boobies’. You can also watch a video of a branch of McDonalds be flooded (sadly it’s just a model of the store). A weird and wonderful collection of pieces about the weird and wonderful world we find ourselves living in.

Where: Wellcome Collection, 183 Euston Road, NW1 2BE

The National Gallery: Artemisia

Artemisia Gentileschi was just 15 when she started producing professional paintings. It was a rare thing for a woman to be so successful in the 17th century, even more so a young girl. This inspiring exhibition follows the story of Artemisia and how she challenged conventions and defied expectations to become one of the greatest visual storytellers of her time. And she certainly doesn’t shy away from gruesome subjects. You can see the violent Judith Beheading Holofernes, as well as some self-portraits, and read some of her intriguing personal letters.

Where: The National Gallery, Trafalgar Square, WC2N 5DN

Artemisia Gentileschi
Judith Beheading Holofernes, about 1612–13.

A pretty ambitious project, McQueen invited every Year 3 pupil in London to have their photograph taken.

X77406. Year 3 Project, Steve McQueen, Tate Britain. Hackney, Tyssen Community Primary School, N166LR

Tate Modern: Steve McQueen Year 3

Everyone remembers their school photo. The picture normally ends up in the downstairs loo and has more than one child picking their nose or sneezing. Well, the Turner Prize-winning artist and Oscar-winning filmmaker Steve McQueen has taken his own photos of London’s Year 3 pupils.

A pretty ambitious project, McQueen invited every Year 3 pupil in London to have their photograph taken by a team of specially trained Tate photographers. They included children from state primaries, independent schools, faith schools, special schools, pupil referral units and home-educated pupils. It aims to provide a glimpse of the capital’s future and a hopeful portrait of a generation to come. The collection also makes a great loo souvenir for parents across the city.

Where: Tate Modern,  Bankside, SE1 9TG

The House Of Fine Art: Inner Escape

The title of this exhibition seems very apt, and as soon as we’ve made our great escape from lockdown we’ll be running straight to see it. With the aim of supporting global emerging talent, this collection of works provides a platform for female artists. The artists exhibiting include Lucile Gauvain, Kidd Murray, Keren Schwarz, Emily Stollery and Lise Stoufflet. Each creative works in unique ways to produce bold, vibrant pieces, like this Jackson Pollock-esque painting from Meguira.

Where: The House of Fine Art, 11 Bruton Street, Mayfair, W1J 6PY

Keren Schwarz Meguira
Synesthesie, 2020

Jennifer Packer
Jess, 2018

The Serpentine Gallery: Jennifer Packer – The Eye Is Not Satisfied With Seeing

The dates for this exhibition on Jennifer Packer’s paintings haven’t been announced yet, but it will be sometime in December. Packer creates intimate portraits of black friends and family members that bring about a certain melancholy. She states that these feelings are related to loss, her response to the tragedies of state and institutional violence against Black Americans. Thirty-five of her works will be on show, including some drawings that Parker uses as studies. This exhibition provides a tender and beautiful lens to look through – an opportunity that’s not to be missed.

Where: Serpentine Galleries, Kensington Gardens, W2 3XA

The Design Museum: Electronic – From Kraftwerk to The Chemical Brothers

Ahhh… the feeling of beats vibrating on your skin, the sweat clinging to your T-shirt, inappropriate stares across the dance floor with a stranger…. Will we ever relive the experiences of a good night out? The answer is yes, thanks to the Design Museum’s latest exhibition that evokes the experience of being in a nightclub. Through art, design, 3D shows, and photography, explore electronic music, from the early pioneers to household names, with the familiar strobe lighting and moody atmosphere of a late night on the tiles. It’s time (finally) to have a good rave.

Where: Design Museum, 224-238 Kensington High Street,  W8 6AG

Will we ever relive the experiences of a good night out? The answer is yes, thanks to the Design Museum's latest exhibition.

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