Online exhibitions are all well and good, but we’re starting to get the itch for more. We miss strolling from gallery to gallery, uncovering the history, artwork and installations popping up at some of London’s greatest galleries.

While we’re eagerly waiting for galleries and museums to reopen their doors again, we’ve handpicked the best exhibitions arriving to book in for as soon as they are given the green light. 

Disclaimer: Due to the ongoing lockdown and closures, exhibitions and their dates are subject to change so do check on the specific websites for updates.

Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors, Tate Modern 

You’ll fall back in love with art galleries as soon as you step foot inside Tate Modern’s exhibition, Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors. 

Shown in two immersive installations, each will guide you through the Japanese contemporary artist’s vision of endless possibilities. The first installation, named The Brilliance of Life, is one of Kusama’s largest installations to date and showcases life in all of its forms through dazzling sparkles. While the second, titled Chandelier of Grief, “creates the illusion of a boundless universe of rotating crystal chandeliers”. The exhibition should hopefully be able to be enjoyed for a full year long exhibition.

The exhibition will guide you through the Japanese contemporary artist’s vision of endless possibilities.

Chandelier of Grief 2016/2018 Yayoi Kusama

Spring 2021,

Alice: Curiouser and Curiouser, Victoria & Albert

Fall back in love with the curious characters as a huge Alice in Wonderland exhibition finally arrives in London this Spring. 

Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland has inspired so many stories, songs and memories, including The Beatles, Disney, Little Simz and Dali for almost 160 years. Uncover the secrets of the Mad Hatter, the Cheshire Cat and, of course, Alice as you fall down the rabbit hole and into the V&A’s glorious exhibition, Alice: Curiouser and Curiouser. 

Highlights of the exhibit will include Lewis Carroll’s original handwritten manuscript, some of the first illustrations by Disney and the photos of the magical Vogue fashion shoots taken by Tim Walker.

Although postponed due to COVID twice already, when the time finally comes it’ll definitely be a ‘very important date’ indeed.

Spring 2021,

Lubaina Himid, Tate Modern

See as Lubaina Himid’s influential career comes to life at Tate Modern’s large exhibition exploring her recent and most poignant works. 

Despite originally training in theatre design, Himid is most recognised and known for her unusual approach to painting and social engagement. The retrospective, due to arrive in November (subject to change) and run for six months, draws inspiration from her theatre career and places the visitor centre-stage and backstage of where the magic on stage happens. 

Autumn 2021,

James Barnor, Serpentine Gallery

Explore the pivotal career of British-Ghanaian photographer, James Barnor in the Serpentine Gallery’s Spring-Summer exhibition. 

Barnor’s career spanned six decades and focused on studio portraits, photojournalism and Black lifestyle photography, as well as documenting the social and political changes arising in London and Accra. His work is known for portraying more than just the subject matter, delving into the wider social issues and stories going on within. 

Watch one of the most influential artists of our time’s work unfolds before you, from his magazine photography through to his family portraits.

Sick Hagemeyer shop assistant, Accra, c. 1971 © James Barnor
Constance Mulondo, London University, published in Drum magazine, August 1967 © James Barnor

Manjit Thapp: My Head is a Jungle, Now Gallery 

Chances are, you’re already following Manjit Thapp, the UK based illustrator, on Instagram already. If you aren’t, head over now to fall in love with her intricate designs which centralise around female characters before Now Gallery reopens with an exhibition dedicated to her beautiful work. 

Thapp’s canvas draws on inspiration from popular culture in music and fashion, and with the influences, she combines digital and traditional media by layering patterns and textures to create striking illustrations. 

Right now, there’s no date confirmed for the exhibition but we’re certain it’ll be one her thousands of followers flock to as soon as they can.

Matthew Barney: Redoubt, Hayward Gallery

The Hayward Gallery at the Southbank Centre typically hosts a whole range of exhibitions, but this year, they’re switching it up a little with the UK premiere of a new feature-length film, Matthew Barney: Redoubt.  

Set to arrive this year, the film follows “a sharp-shooter in her pursuit of wolves across the winter wilderness of Idaho’s Sawtooth Mountains”. Already hailed as ‘breathtakingly beautiful’ by the New York Times, the film hopes to encompass the challenging relationship between humanity and the natural world, and the role of artistic creation. 

It’s Matthew Barney’s first solo museum presentation in the UK in over a decade, and is definitely well worth catching if you are nearby.

David Hockney: The Arrival of Spring, Normandy, Royal Academy of Arts 

While most of us spent lockdown binging through episodes of Tiger King, baking banana bread and picking up a pair of knitting needles for the first time, David Hockey chose to use his artistic craft to create a series of new and optimistic works. 

The household name is famed for his innovative style and became one of the leading pioneers to the pop art movement during the 1960s. Along with the changing times and technology advancements, nowadays you can find him residing in Normandy delicately painting the ever-changing beauty of spring on his humble little iPad.

The collection will span the ever-changing world of nature, documenting the unfolding of spring, from beginning to end. It demonstrates that even though 2020 may have been the bleakest year in modern history, nature is constantly changing and renewing, and that this is something which should be celebrated.

JR (French, born 1983). Migrants, Mayra, Picnic across the Border, Tecate, Mexico-U.S.A., 2017.

JR: Chronicles, Saatchi Gallery

Travel the world through art as the Saatchi Gallery’s JR: Chronicles explores one of the most influential artists of our generation, JR. 

This is the largest solo exhibition to date of the French artist, JR, renowned internationally for his large scale photography installations. Explore some of his most iconic projects spanning the last fifteen years of his career, from his early documentation of graffiti artists in Paris to his large-scale architectural interventions in cities worldwide and recent digitally collaged murals that create collective portraits of diverse communities.

Second Version of Triptych 1944, 1988. Francis Bacon

Francis Bacon: Man and Beast, Royal Academy of Arts

You’ll have no doubt studied Francis Bacon during your GCSE art, but his work stems further than meets the eye. 

One thing that’s often apparent in Bacon’s bountiful work is his fascination with animals, from their shapes to how they resemble human parts too. In his exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts, date to be confirmed, explore his work, ‘where the line between human and animal is constantly blurred’.

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