The Handbook
The Handbook

16 Of The Best Exhibitions To Catch In 2020

If you hadn’t noticed we’re all over London’s cultural scene at the moment, whether it’s pinpointing the best new theatre shows rocking their way to the West End or spilling the goss on the Oscar nominations, we just can’t get enough! This time round, we’re steering towards the art scene, rounding up the very best exhibitions to grace London’s fine museum scene in 2020.

Mary Quant

Wondering who was the legend to bring in hot pants and illuminous tights?

Make sure you catch the exceptional workings of Mary Quant, the woman who redefined the world of high street fashion in Britain, at the Victoria and Albert museum this month before the exhibition finishes. Spanning over 200 breathtaking pieces and accessories, you’ll also be able to enjoy a sneak peak into some of Mary Quant’s unseen works from her own intimate archive.

Running until 16th February 

Where: Victoria and Albert Museum
Website: www.vam.ac.uk

Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2019

From elevating young photographers into the limelight to showcasing established professionals, the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2019 showcases outstanding portrait photography from budding photographers across the globe. Add this one to your January must-see list.

Running until 16th February 2020

Where: National Portrait Gallery
Website: www.npg.org.uk

Picasso and Paper

Of course, we all know Picasso for his surrealist paintings, but his work was more than just meets the eye. He tore, burnt, cut and even made three-dimensional figures out of paper, so you know a far cry from his ‘Guernica’ masterpiece. From printmaking to wallpapering, explore Picasso’s masterpieces in the Royal Academy of Arts’ latest exhibition.

Running 25th January – 13th April 2020

Where: Royal Academy of Arts
Website: www.royalacademy.org.uk

Meet Vincent Van Gogh

Whether you were a dab hand with watercolours, an expert with a paintbrush or a complete novice who just loves to paint by numbers (no shame, we love an easy win too), there’s one artist we’re all familiar with. Famous for his iconic yellow sunflowers, golden hay bales, and the fact that he allegedly cut off his own ear, the nineteenth century artist Vincent Van Gogh has become world renowned and, rightly so, his works have since become iconic. Which is why decades later, we’re still obsessing over his monumental body of work, and now you can live like the man himself at the all new Meet Vincent Van Gogh exhibition.

Art lover or not, Meet Vincent Van Gogh is bursting with multisensory activities fit for all ages. You’ll be able to explore Van Gogh’s most cherished works, understanding how his techniques, materials and tools guided him to create his renowned speckled style. Delve inside the Yellow House, sit upon his bed or take a seat at the Potato Eaters table and enjoy an art class taught in the man’s own words.

Running from Friday 7th February to Thursday 21st May

Where: 99 Upper Ground, South Bank, SE1 9PP
Website: www.meetvincent.com

Tim Walker: Wonderful Things

There are two types of people in this wild world. People who can concoct up the wildest of projects, making their wondrous imaginations a reality, and there’s those who, quite frankly, quiver at the thought of it. If you’re like me, stuck in the latter, ignite your imagination through the help of Tim Walker and his whacky new exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum.

Running until the 8th of March, explore the marvellous and extraordinary creative process of one of the world’s most inventive photographers in his new exhibition, Wonderful Things, showcasing his pictures, films, photographic sets and wildly interesting installations.

Running until 8th March 2020

Where: Victoria and Albert Museum
Website: www.vam.ac.uk

Masculinities: Liberation Through Photography

What does it mean to be masculine? Is it a man head to toe in a tuxedo, a male with protruding muscles busting it out at the gym, or something even more socially constructed?

In an era of #MeToo, the question of masculinity has come into focus more prominently, from toxicity to fragility portrayed in the media today. Masculinities: Liberation Through Photography explores over 50 artists from across the world and the contradictory representations of masculinity portrayed from the 1960s to today, including hyper masculinity, queer identity and female perceptions of men.

Running 20th February – 17th May 2020

Where: Barbican Art Gallery
Website: www.barbican.org.uk

Cao Fei: Blueprints

Explore the mind boggling world of technology and its epic advances in Cao Fei’s multi-media portrayal at The Serpentine Gallery this Spring. Using film, photography and social changes happening across China, Cao Fei’s work asks major questions surrounding ever changing technology in today’s world.

Running 4th March – 17th May 2020

Where: Serpentine Gallery
Website: www.serpentinegalleries.org

Aubrey Beardsley

When a Victorian artist explores both eroticism and elegance through their work, you know it’s likely to shock their current audience. Flash forward to 2020, however, and it’s a whole other story. Aubrey Beardsley’s statement illustrations have done just so, and the new exhibition hitting Tate Britain this Spring is his largest in 50 years. Expect bold statements and captivating illustrations.

Running 4th March – 25th May 2020

Where: Tate Britain
Website: www.tate.org.uk

Cecil Beaton's Bright Young Things

You know his name, you know his work, but do you know his story?

While the exhibition explores the wonderful world of the twenties and thirties, Cecil Beaton’s Bright Young Things underlines his own transformation the little middle-class schoolboy to the iconic Vogue star we’ve grown to love.

Running 12th March – 7th June 2020

Where: National Portrait Gallery
Website: www.npg.org.uk

Andy Warhol

Love him or hate him, Andy Warhol is one artist’s techniques we all remember recreating in art class. Watch the magic unfold right before your very eyes at Tate Modern’s latest exhibition of Warhol’s iconic designs. You’ll even get to see his classic Marilyn Monroe feature adorning the walls.

Running 12th March – 6th September 2020

Where: Tate Modern
Website: www.tate.org.uk

Artemisia

Perhaps known among the art set as being the most celebrated female painter of her time, Artemisia Gentileschi was marvellously the first woman to ever gain membership to the artists’ academy in Florence. This Spring, uncover her body of work as public and private collections from all over the world come together showcasing prime pieces from Artemisia’s career.

Running 4th April – 26th July 2020

Where: The National Gallery
Website: www.nationalgallery.org.uk

Zanele Muholi

Having shone to fame for her work which helps provide a canvas for envisioning black LGBTQ+ communities, and cast a different view to the typical victim and deviant portrayals shown in media. Zanele Muholi’s embodiment of work hopes to challenge the male dominated patriarchal representations and ideologies, through showcasing individuals who’ve faced prejudice and violence baring all and their scars.

Running 29th April – 18th October 2020

Where: Tate Britain
Website: www.tate.org.uk

Alice: Curiouser and Curiouser

Prepare to make a trip down the rabbit hole later this year as a mind-bending exhibition will hit London.

Over the story’s 158-year history, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland has inspired the likes of The Beatles, Walt Disney, Little Simz and Dali. From 27 June 2020 – 10 January 2021, you can join Alice, the Cheshire Cat, the Mad Hatter et al at The V&A’s Alice: Curiouser and Curiouser exhibition. In the words of the White Rabbit himself, it’s set to be “a very important date” indeed.

Running 27 June 2020 – 10 January 2021

Where: Victoria and Albert Museum
Website: www.vam.ac.uk

Beautiful People: The Boutique in 1960s Counterculture

Explore the works of the Chelsea boutiques that helps ignite a fashion revolution in the 1960s at the Beautiful People exhibition. We’re talking plush velvet trousers, extravagant patterns and Moroccan influences. Landing at the Fashion and Textile Museum this Summer, Beautiful People gives you an inside look at the names who helped create the free spirit fashion revolution worn by the Beatles, Rolling Stones and even Jimi Hendrix himself.

Running 3rd July – 4th October 2020

Where: Fashion and Textile Museum
Website: www.ftmlondon.org

Marina Abramović: After Life

If performance art is your bag, you’ll already be acquainted with Marina Abramović and her slightly peculiar antics. If you aren’t, a quick Wiki search will leave you realising just how bizarre she really is. Intrigued? Catch her largest work to date as After Life lands at the Royal Academy of Arts this Autumn. We wouldn’t be surprised if she rocked up and displayed herself in some form…

Running 23rd September – 8th December 2020

Where: Royal Academy of Arts
Website: www.royalacademy.org.uk

Prada. Front and Back

Another day, another fashion exhibition. This time we’re headed to the Design Museum to explore the creatives behind one of the world’s largest fashion houses, Prada. Following the story of Miuccia Prada, the woman who helped spearhead her families business into a global sensation, Front and Back explores fashion on a surface level and the creative thought process behind it.

Opens September 2020

Where: Design Museum
Website: www.designmuseum.org

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