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7 Must-See London Gallery Shows In Spring 2017

Picture of Georgina Wilson-Powell
Updated: 19 April 2017
Beat the January Blues with a fantastic selection of gallery shows coming to London in Spring 2017! From photography to paintings and sculpture by the big names in the art world, these exhibitions are set to be exciting, urgent and diverse.
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Marc Quinn – Drawn From Life – Sir John Soane Museum

March 28 – September 23 2017

If it’s sculpture you’re after this spring, you’re in for a treat. YBA Marc Quinn will be debuting ‘ethereal fragmentary’ sculptures in an exhibition called ‘Drawn From Life’, made in collaboration with his partner, a dancer, which are placed amongst the antique sculptures and casts already in the Sir John Soane museum. The museum has just finished a seven-year restoration project, which is all the more reason to visit.

Sir John Soane Museum, 13 Lincoln’s Inn Fields, London + 44 (0) 20 7405 2107

The facade of Sir John Soane's museum

Sculptures take on new forms this spring at the Sir John Soane Museum, London | © Gareth Gardner

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David Hockney – Tate Britain

Until May 29 2017

Arguably Britain’s most influential artist (ever) David Hockney hasn’t been short of exhibitions on these shores since the 1970s. This retrospective, however, feels more reverential with work brought together from his pencil sketches, videos, photos and his famous acrylic pieces. There’s also the chance to see work that’s been in private collections for decades.

Tate Britain, Millbank, Westminster, London +44 20 7887 8888

Christopher Isherwood and Don Bachardy painted by David Hockney

Hots for Hockney? © David Hockney

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Helen Johnson: Warm Ties – ICA

Until April 16 2017

Australian artist Helen Johnson is one of two female artists to have their first solo show at the ICA this spring. She imagines the relationship between the land down under and its former colonial master through acrylic paintings that re-imagine the rituals of the ‘white master’.

ICA, The Mall, St James’, London +44 20 7930 6844

One of Helen Johnson's works from Warm Ties exhibition

Discover the Warm Ties between Australia and the UK at the ICA, St. James’, this spring | © Helen Johnson

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Queer British Art – Tate Britain

From April 5 – October 1 2017

Tate Britain celebrates the 50th year anniversary since male homosexual relations were legalised in the UK, with a look back at queer artists over the last century. Personal, political and profoundly moving, the exhibition features work from Duncan Grant and Dora Carrington amongst others.

Tate Britain, Millbank, London +44 20 7887 8888

A black and white photo from the Queer British Art exhibition

Get a feel for secret lives lived © Queer British Art / Tate Britain

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The Radical Eye: Modernist Photography from the Sir Elton John Collection – Tate Modern

Until May 7 2017

Did you know Elton John is a huge modern art collector? His collection of 1920s-50s photography alone runs to 150 pieces, available to see for the first time at the Tate Modern. Man Ray and Dorothea Lange’s seminal work sits next to portraits of Picasso – it’s a fascinating look into the early years of photography.

Tate Modern, Bankside London +44 20 7887 8888

Man Ray's Glass Tears

© Man Ray

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Legacy: Photographs by Vanessa Bell and Patti Smith – Dulwich Picture Gallery

February 8 – June 4 2017

Is there nothing the legendary Patti Smith can’t do? Her photographic work comes to London’s Dulwich Picture Gallery this spring as part of an exhibition that reminisces over her stay at Bloomsbury Set thinker Vanessa Bell’s house in 2003. They’re paired with Bell’s own work from that period.

Dulwich Picture Gallery, Gallery Road, Southwark +44 20 8693 5254

A head shot of Patti Smith

Patti Smith as a photographer? © Jesse Dittmar

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Roger Mayne – The Photographers’ Gallery

March 3 – June 11 2017

Capturing London life in the tumultuous 1950s and 1960 was Roger Mayne’s bag, and a retrospective of the late photographer takes place this spring at the Photographers’ Gallery. As well as his era-defining work on London, the exhibition also includes his early work in Leeds and a wonderfully titled installation, The British at Leisure, not staged since the 1960s.

The Photographers’ Gallery, 16-18 Ramillies St, Soho, London +44 20 7087 9300

A young man takes a break from operating machinery at the Raleigh bicycle factory, Nottingham

Get a sense of the 1960s at the Photographer’s Gallery © Roger Mayne