Thursday, December 21, 2017

Major Art Exhibitions in London over the Festive Season

This is a list of some of the Art Exhibitions in London which can be seen in the major Art Galleries and Museums over the Festive Season (December 2017 - January 2018).
  • Each is listed against its host museum or gallery with a short summary 
  • Click the link in the title of the exhibition to find out more details.
The National Gallery and Trafalgar Square at Christmas

Earlier this year, the statistics reported an overall drop in visits to museums - and the problem with that is if visitor numbers drop then so will the funding in due course.

We certainly can't take museums and art galleries for granted - especially during times of funding constraints.

Neither should museums take visitors for granted and some of them, in my opinion, need to do better in terms of the type of exhibitions they put on.  That's because I'm one of those who have been visiting museums and art galleries less in recent times...

Major Art Galleries and Museums in the UK


British Museum

http://www.britishmuseum.org | Great Russell Street, London, WC1B 3DG
(6,420,395 visitors in 2016 #3 most visited museum in the world)

The British Museum was founded in 1753, the first national public museum in the world. From the beginning it granted free admission to all 'studious and curious persons'.
  • The BP exhibition: Scythians warriors of ancient Siberia 14 September 2017 – 14 January 2018 - This major exhibition explores the story of the Scythians – nomadic tribes and masters of mounted warfare, who flourished between 900 and 200 BC.
  • Living with gods: peoples, places and worlds beyond 2 November 2017 – 8 April 2018 - By looking at how people believe through everyday objects of faith, this exhibition provides a perspective on what makes "believing" a vital part of human behaviour.
  • The business of prints 21 September 2017 – 28 January 2018 (Room 90) - focuses on some of the complexities of the process, the varied nature of the prints themselves, and the ways in which buyers used or collected them.
  • A physician's cabinet: Sir Hans Sloane’s practices of collecting and cataloguing Until 11 January 2018 - This small display brings together an array of prints, drawings and objects, all related to medicine, that were collected by the founder of the British Museum, Sir Hans Sloane (1660–1753). 

National Gallery 

http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk | Trafalgar Square London WC2N 5DN
(6,262,839 visitors in 2016 #4 most visited museum in the world)

You can see over 2,300 masterpieces for FREE.

Room 34 - Great Britain 1750-1850 - walls of Turners, Constables and Gainsboroughs etc
  • Drawn in Colour: Degas from the Burrell 20 September – 7 May 2018 (Ground Floor Galleries) - The Burrell Collection holds one of the greatest collections of Degas’s works in the world. Rarely seen in public, this exhibition marks the first time the group of 20 pastels has been shown outside of Scotland, since they were acquired.
  • Reflections: Van Eyck and the Pre-Raphaelites - 4 October 2017 – 2 April 2018 (Sunley Room) - Discover how van Eyck’s 'Arnolfini Portrait' was one of the beacons by which the Pre-Raphaelites forged a radical new style of painting
  • Monochrome: Painting in Black and White - 1 November 2017 – 18 February 2018 (Sainsbury Wing) - Explore the tradition of painting in black and white from its beginnings in the Middle Ages through the Renaissance and into the 21st century
  • Lake Keitele: A Vision of Finland15 November 2017 – 4 February 2018 (Room 1) - See all four versions of Gallen-Kallela's Lake Keitele; one of the most popular paintings in the National Gallery

Tate Modern  

http://www.tate.org.uk/modern | Bankside, London SE1 9TG
(5,839,197 visitors in 2016 #6 most visited museum in the world)

Based in an ex Power Station next to the Thames, this is the single most popular dedicated contemporary Art Gallery in the UK. It focuses on international contemporary and modern art post 1900.
  • A Russian theme at Tate Modern to mark the centenary of the October Revolution
    • Ilya and Emilia Kabakov - 18 Oct 2017 – 28 Jan 2018 Russian-born conceptual artists
    • Red Star Over Russia - 8 Nov 2017 – 18 Feb 2018 - explores artworks made by Russian and Soviet artists over five decades, from the first revolution of 1905 to the death of Stalin in 1953
  • Modigliani - 23 Nov 2017 – 2 Apr 2018 - The most comprehensive UK survey of Amedeo Modigliani’s work; also includes works by his contemporaries including Brancusi and early Picasso
  • Hyundai Commission: Superflex one two three Swing! - Until 2 Apr 2018 
Swing! invites us to realise this potential together. Swinging as three, our collective energy resists gravity and challenges the laws of nature.

Tate Britain

http://www.tate.org.uk/visit/tate-britain | Millbank, London SW1P 4RG
(1,081,542 visitors in 2016; #60 most visited museum in the world)

The home of British art from 1500 to the present day
I am completely horrified at how the funds/marketing/attention goes into Tate Modern and Tate Britain is left to languish such that visitor numbers now diverge in a very significant way.  It's about time somebody started holding the people responsible for the Tate to account for ignoring the home of British Art....


View of one of the galleries in the Impressionists in London exhibition

Victoria & Albert Museum

http://www.vam.ac.uk | Cromwell Road, London, SW7 2RL
(3,022,086 visitors in 2016 #6 most visited museum in the world)

The V&A is staging a month-long musical celebration of Christmas across its South Kensington and V&A Museum of Childhood (in Bethnal Green) sites. The festive period will be celebrated through music from opera to Christmas number ones - but most of this has already happened.
  • Winnie the Pooh - Exploring a Classic - Until 8 April 2018 - Winnie-the-Pooh is one of the best-loved and most successful children’s characters of all time. 
  • Opera: Passion, Power and Politics - Until 25 February 2018 - Together the V&A and the Royal Opera House present a landmark exhibition exploring a vivid story of opera from its origins in late-Renaissance Italy to the present day
  • Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion - Until 18 February 2018 - Discover how Cristóbal Balenciaga's exquisite craftsmanship and innovative designs shaped modern fashion

National Portrait Gallery 

http://www.npg.org.uk | St Martin’s Place London WC2H 0HE
(1,949,330 visitors in 2016 #30 most visited museum in the world)

The National Portrait Gallery is completely dedicated to portraiture and holds the most extensive collection of portraits in the world.

View of the Cezanne Portraits exhibition

Royal Academy of Arts

http://www.royalacademy.org.uk | Burlington House, Piccadilly London W1J 0BD
(1,285,595 visitors in 2016 #42 most visited museum/art gallery in the world)

The Royal Academy is home to the most prestigious art society in the UK. Noted more for its blockbuster exhibitions and summer exhibition than visitor numbers on
a routine basis.
  • From Life - 11 December 2017 - 11 March 2018 - this exhibition takes a look at the tradition of drawing from casts and life models and how this relates to the practice of artists today.
  • Dalí / Duchamp - 7 October 2017 - 3 January 2018 - Salvador Dalí and Marcel Duchamp maintained a lasting bond of friendship and mutual admiration throughout their careers. This is the first exhibition to throw light on their surprising relationship and its influence on the work of both artists.
  • Etching: The Infernal Method (Art Sales at the RA) 15 September 2017 - 19 February 2018 - This selection of works for sale by Royal Academicians is curated by Norman Ackroyd. Invited artists celebrate the diversity of contemporary etching practice. 
Burlington House - home of the RA

Serpentine Galleries

http://www.serpentinegalleries.org/ | Kensington Gardens, London W2 3XA (Closed on 24, 25, 26, 31 Dec & 1 Jan)
(1,187,621 visitors in 2016; #49 most visited museum in the world)

Two galleries in Kensington Gardens

Saatchi Gallery

http://www.saatchi-gallery.co.uk/ |
(1,003,376 visitors in 2016 #66 most visited museum in the world)

I'm not a fan and I've never visited - but that's because I have an aversion to marketing which is too clever for its own good.  Saatchi still hasn't managed to offload the running costs to the government via a capital 'gift'.
Work from some of the most deliberately provocative and wonderfully troublesome artists working in Russia
  • Bricklive: The Ultimate Interactive Lego® Adventure25 November 2017 - 7 January 2018 - "the perfect trip out for the entire family. "
  • Salon 003: Calder on Paper: 1960 - 1976 - 27 September 2017 - 7 January 2018 - A collection of earlier works on paper by Calder dating from 1939 - 1959 - simultaneously displayed at Omer Tiroche Gallery in Mayfair, Londonso that  two separate time periods in his career, in two separate locations create a comprehensive retrospective. 


Courtauld Gallery 

http://www.courtauld.ac.uk/ |  Somerset House, Strand, London WC2 0RN

A small gallery near Somerset House with a very impressive collection of art.  Make the most of it prior to its closure for refurbishment - see my blog post Closure of the Courtauld Gallery - more details
  • Soutine’s Portraits: Cooks, Waiters & Bellboys - 19 October 2017 – 21 January 2018 - Soutine was one of the leading painters in Paris in the 1920s and 1930s and was seen by many as the heir to Vincent van Gogh. This major exhibition is the first time he has been exhibited in the United Kingdom in 35 years.
  • Drawing Together 30 September 2017 – 2 January 2018 (The Drawings Gallery) - Drawing Together seeks to stimulate new insights by presenting unexpected pairings of drawings from The Courtauld Gallery’s collection and by living artists. These pairings reveal inevitable contrasts, but also highlight underlying similarities in the exploratory processes of artists across centuries.

Wallace Collection

http://www.wallacecollection.org/ | Hertford House, Manchester Square, London W1U 3BN

The Wallace Collection is an art collection in London open to the public in a square just north of Oxford Street and Bond Street tube.

Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art 

https://www.kew.org/kew-gardens/attractions/shirley-sherwood-gallery | Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew.


A gallery dedicated to the display of botanical art and artwork related to botanicals.

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