Sunday, April 25, 2021

Art Exhibitions in London opening in May 2021

This post summarises the art exhibitions at the large art galleries and museums in London which will reopen on or after 17th May 2021 - which is the date indoor entertainment venues can reopen after lockdown.

The galleries and museums covered below are:

  • Royal Academy of Arts
  • National Gallery
  • Tate Britain
  • Tate Modern
  • Wallace Collection
  • Hayward Gallery
  • Dulwich Gallery
  • Whitechapel Gallery
Infinity Mirrored Room - Filled with the Brilliance of Life, 2011 
accessioned by the Tate 2019

LINKS TO EXHIBITION WEBPAGES are embedded in the title of the exhibition

Private / commercial art galleries reopened - as part of the reopening of non-essential retail - on 12th April

It would be wrong to suggest things are back to "normal".  Normal may still be some way off. 
  • All visits will need to be booked 
  • There are additional precautions to maintain social distancing / health and safety.
  • You can visit in a group of up to 6 people (remember when you used to be able to talk to friends at an exhibition!)
The government in its roadmap out of lockdown commented as follows
The arts, entertainment and recreation sector (excluding sports, amusement and recreation) has been hit very hard by the pandemic. Pre-COVID-19, this sector was worth £18.3 billion GVA UK wide (£15.5 billion in England) and had 473,000 jobs (400,000 in England). GVA output in the arts, entertainment and recreation sector as a whole compared to February fell by 46% in April, and subsequently to 33% in November; in no month since March has output been above 77% of pre-pandemic levels.[footnote 70] The sector as a whole has also had a high take-up of the furlough scheme, with 455,000 furloughed at peak in spring, and 293,000 furloughed at the end of November. Between 25 January and 7 February, 44% of businesses in the arts, entertainment and recreation sector have paused trading.[footnote 71] Reopening these sectors can allow these businesses to recover revenues and bring back employees.
In other words - get out there and visit some art exhibitions!

Royal Academy

We intend to reopen 18 May when lockdown restrictions have lifted.

If planning to visit more than one exhibition I recommend you read the visiting constraints carefully first - and book your most preferred exhibition first.
We are continuing to prioritise exhibition access for Friends and supporters. However, capacity in our galleries is greatly reduced and sadly we can’t guarantee access if time slots are fully booked.

David Hockney: The Arrival of Spring, Normandy, 2020


All works by David Hockney. © David Hockney
All works by David Hockney. © David Hockney
Clockwise from top left: 
No. 125, 19th March 2020. iPad painting. No. 340, 21st May 2020. iPad painting. No.186, 11th April 2020.
iPad painting. No. 118, 16th March 2020. iPad painting. No. 316, 30th April 2020.
iPad painting. No. 88, 3rd March 2020. iPad painting. No. 370, 2nd May 2020. iPad painting. No. 259, 24th April 2020.
iPad painting. No. 133, 23rd March 2020. iPad painting.
  • 23 May — 1 August (Main Galleries) SOLD OUT(?) from what I can make out - I couldn't find a ticket
  • 11 August - 26 September 2021 (Gabrielle Jungels-Winkler Galleries) - most of August sold out; I'd act quick if you want a ticket
  • same artwork in both galleries 
  • Book now 
This is an exhibition of 116 new artworks - all created by Hockney on his digital tablet. 

Tracey Emin / Edvard Munch: The Loneliness of the Soul

Dates: 18 May – 1 August
This is the exhibition which should have opened last November - but was nobbled Tier 4 restrictions and then by lockdown.  
  • Emin has been a major figure in contemporary art for over 25 years
  • Munch pioneered a radical new style known as Expressionism. 
  • Emin selects masterpieces by Edvard Munch to show alongside her most recent paintings.
Having viewed the image sheet for the exhibition it's amazing how much similarity there is between the two artists.

Michael Armitage: Paradise Edict

Dates: 22 May – 19 September
Michael Armitage draws from Titian, Goya, Manet and Gauguin to explore East African culture and folklore.  The visit seems to be limited to a time slot of 50 minutes. 

National Gallery

The National Gallery website gives me the distinct impression of a gallery which has decided to cut its losses and definitely is NOT taking any chances with booking art for the first half of 2021 and paying for transport for an exhibition which might be cancelled if another lockdown happens....

Just ONE exhibition opening in May - and it's NOT "a name"

Conversations with God - Jan Matejko’s Copernicus

Dates: 21 May – 22 August 2021 (Room 46)
a rare opportunity to see one of Poland’s most loved works of art.

You have to wait until much later for leading artists.

AUTUMN 2021: 
The first major UK exhibition of German Renaissance artist Albrecht Dürer in nearly 20 years.


Tate Britain

Tate’s four galleries hope to reopen on 17 May. Plan Your Visit or go to our FAQ page for additional information.
Most of the exhibitions are reopening i.e. ones which closed due to Tier 4 and then the lockdown
  • Timed tickets must be booked before visiting
  • All visitors including Members need to book a ticket
  • This ticket includes access to the British art collection routes
The exhibitions include:

Ongoing exhibitions - which are open all the time and are FREE (but you still have to book a ticket) include:

Tate Modern

The reopening of Tate Modern

Exhibitions reopening

NEW Upcoming Exhibitions

  • Beuys’ Acorns  Until 14 Nov 2021 (FREE) - should have been open from the beginning of May (hence listed first) IF Tate Modern had been open!

  • Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirror Rooms (18 May – 21 November 2021) - 2020 was supposed to be a big long Yayoi Kusama exhibition for TM's 20th anniversary - but it was not to be. Instead it's now in 2021 - for its 21st - and we now have:

Tate presents a rare chance to experience two of Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirror Rooms. These immersive installations will transport you into Kusama’s unique vision of endless reflections

Wallace Collection

Rubens: Reuniting the Great Landscapes

Dates: opens on 21 April 2021. (No closing date given)

For the first time in over two hundred years, Peter Paul Rubens’s (1577-1640) two great masterpieces of landscape painting, The Rainbow Landscape (The Wallace Collection) and A View of Het Steen in the Early Morning (The National Gallery) will be reunited as part of an exhibition at the Wallace Collection.


Hayward Gallery

Dates: 19 May – 25 July
It features:
  • a series of imposing and intricate sculptures cast from fallen trees 
  • over 40 engravings and electroplated copper plates. 
The Hayward Gallery presents the artist’s first solo museum presentation in the UK in over a decade, featuring the UK premiere of a ‘breathtakingly beautiful’ new feature-length film.

Dulwich Gallery

Unearthed: Photography's Roots

Dates: Re-opening 19 May subject to COVID-19 restrictions, until 30 August 2021
the pioneering story of photography from the 1840s to today, told through stunning still lifes of plants and botany.


Whitechapel Gallery

Phantoms of Surrealism

Dates: 19 May – 12 December 2021
This archive exhibition will examine the pivotal role of women as both artists and as behind-the-scenes organisers within the Surrealist movement in Britain in the 1930s.


and finally......

An unauthorised exhibition of the largest private collection of artworks by Banksy 

will be on show at 50 Earlham Street. It opens 20th May for a limited period - who knows for how long?

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