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Josiah McElheny, 'Interactions of the Abstract Body', 2012
Josiah McElheny, 'Interactions of the Abstract Body', 2012 | © the artist and White Cube. Photo: Hugo Glendinning
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Don’t Miss These Blockbuster Exhibitions in London

Picture of Freire Barnes
Art & Design Editor
Updated: 19 September 2018
London’s art calendar is full to the brim this autumn with major retrospectives and thought-provoking group shows. So if you’re an Impressionist buff or want to know about the liaisons of the avant-garde set, Culture Trip has you covered.

‘Courtauld Impressionists’ at the National Gallery

While the Courtauld Gallery undergoes a major transformation project, the National Gallery will display a number of key Impressionist and Post-Impressionist works from Samuel Courtauld’s (1876-1947) prized collection. Charting the development of French painting from the 1860s, the exhibition focuses on a number of prominent artists including Manet, Renoir, Cézanne and Bonnard, while also revealing the personal tastes of the industrialist who collected pieces for himself and his wife, but also for the nation through an acquisition fund. Highlights include Renoir’s La Loge (1874) and Manet’s A Bar at the Folies-Bergère (1882).

Courtauld Impressionists: From Manet to Cézanne is at The Wohl Galleries, National Gallery, Trafalgar Square, London WC2N 5DN from 17 September 2018-20 January 2019. £7.50.

Courtauld X10262-A5
Paul Gauguin (1848-1903), ‘Te Rerioa’, 1897 | © The Samuel Courtauld Trust, The Courtauld Gallery, London

‘Ladies of Quality & Distinction’ at the Foundling Museum

Overlooked and under represented for many years are the women of ‘quality and distinction’ who supported Captain Coram’s 1735 petition for the establishment of Foundling Hospital, a home for abandoned children. With 2018 marking 100 years of female suffrage, the Foundling Museum honours the duchesses who put pen to paper to change history by hanging their portraits (from private and public collections around the UK) together for the first time, temporarily replacing the portraits of the male governors.

Ladies of Quality & Distinction is at the Foundling Museum, 40 Brunswick Square, Bloomsbury, London WC1N 1AZ from 21 September 2018-20 January 2019. £7.50-11.

Portrait of Henrietta, Duchess of Bolton as a Shepherdess, 1721.
‘Portrait of Henrietta, Duchess of Bolton as a Shepherdess’, 1721 | Photo © National Gallery of Ireland

Turner Prize at Tate Britain

Returning to London after its sojourn in Hull last year, the Turner Prize 2018 at Tate Britain presents the work of this year’s four finalists. After what Tate Britain’s director Alex Farquharson called a “thoughtful and rigorous debate”, this year’s jury selected Forensic Architecture, Naeem Mohaiemen, Charlotte Prodger and Luke Willis Thompson for the coveted £25,000 prize. The practices and work of these four artists have been chosen because they are “tackling the most pressing political and humanitarian issues of today,” says Farquharson.

Turner Prize 2018 is at Tate Britain, Millbank, London SW1P 4RG from 25 September 2018-6 January 2019. £10-13.

Naeem Mohaiemen, ‘Tripoli Cancelled’, 2017 | Commissioned by documenta 14. Co-commissioned by Sharjah Art Foundation and Art Jameel

‘Space Shifters’ at the Hayward Gallery

Get ready for your sense of space to be disrupted at the Hayward Gallery’s group exhibition of 20 international artists, including Yayoi Kusama, Jeppe Hein, Larry Bell, Anish Kapoor, Fred Sandback and Richard Wilson. The perception-altering sculptures and immersive installations will not only transform your experience of the gallery’s architecture, but also provide a more playful perception of minimalism.

Space Shifters is at the Hayward Gallery, Southbank Centre, 337-338 Belvedere Rd, London SE1 8XX from 26 September 2018-6 January 2019. £7.50-16.50.

Richard Wilson
Richard Wilson, ‘No Numbers’, 2013 | Photo: Eiji Ina

Elmgreen & Dragset at the Whitechapel Gallery

The Berlin-based duo who put a golden boy riding a hobby horse on Trafalgar Square’s fourth plinth and created a faux apartment in the V&A museum finally get their first major retrospective at East London’s Whitechapel Gallery. Works created by the artists’ during their 20-year collaboration will be showcased with a new site specific-installation (taking over the ground floor gallery) that explores the gentrification of the East End, along with six new sculptures.

Elmgreen & Dragset: This Is How We Bite Our Tongue is at the Whitechapel Gallery, 77-82 Whitechapel High Street, London E1 7QX from 27 September 2018-13 January 2019. £9.50-£15.

Elmgreen & Dragset
Elmgreen & Dragset, ‘One Day’, 2015 | Courtesy María José Jove Fundación. Photo: Holger Honck

‘Oceania’ at the Royal Academy of Arts

The Royal Academy’s mammoth autumn blockbuster celebrates Oceanic art hailing from the Pacific region. Highlights include a 14th-century wood carving (one of the oldest known objects to be found in New Zealand); canoe paddles collected during Captain James Cook’s first voyage; a Fijian double-headed whale-ivory hook; and a panoramic video by New Zealand multimedia artist Lisa Reihana.

Oceania is at the Royal Academy of Arts, Piccadilly, Mayfair, London W1J 0BD from 29 September-10 December 2018. £18-20.

key 4 (details)
Lisa Reihana, ‘In Pursuit of Venus [infected]’, 2015-2017 (detail) | Courtesy of the artist and ARTPROJECTS

‘Mantegna and Bellini’ at the National Gallery

Rare loans from around the world will tell the fascinating story of the influential Italian Renaissance painters and brothers-in-law Andrea Mantegna and Giovanni Bellini. From creative camaraderie to family rivalry, the exhibition charts how the self-made Mantegna, a promising artist from Padua, married into the great artistic Bellini family in Venice, and how the two painters shaped the Renaissance movement with their innovative approaches to colour, atmosphere and symbolism.

Mantegna and Bellini is at the National Gallery, Trafalgar Square, London, WC2N 5DN from 1 October 2018-27 January 2019. £10-16.

The Death of the Virgin, about 1460–64
Andrea Mantegna, ‘The Death of the Virgin’, c. 1460-4 | © Photographic Archive Museo Nacional del Prado

‘Modern Couples’ at the Barbican

The relationships of art’s most avant-garde characters are unearthed in this fascinating exhibition that puts the intimate, platonic, life-long and obsessional pairings of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, Lee Miller and Man Ray, and Barbara Hepworth and Ben Nicholson, among others, under the spotlight. Delving into what made these legendary duos tick by presenting their work and personal artefacts, the exhibition challenges “the idea that the history of art was a singular line of solitary, predominantly male geniuses.”

Modern Couples: Art, Intimacy and the Avant-Garde is at the Barbican Art Gallery, Silk Street, London, EC2 from 10 October 2018-27 January 2019. £10-16.

Dorothea Tanning and Max Ernst with his sculpture, Capricorn, 1947 © John Kasnetsis copy
Dorothea Tanning and Max Ernst with his sculpture, ‘Capricorn’, 1947 | © John Kasnetsis

Anni Albers at Tate Modern

Discover the entrancing work of Anni Albers (1899-1994) in the UK’s first survey of the German printmaker and textile artist. Although Albers was a student of the Bauhaus, where gender equality was championed to a degree, women were still discouraged from learning certain disciplines such as painting during the artist’s lifetime, which led her to textile weaving. Having fled Germany with her husband Josef Albers in 1933 due to the rise of Natzism, Albers taught at the Black Mountain College in the US and was inspired by her many travels to Central and South America, where she visited locations such as Chile, Mexico and Peru. This extraordinary exhibition reveals how Albers quite literally wove together ancient techniques and modern art ideologies.

Anni Albers is at Tate Modern, Bankside, London SE1 9TG from 12 October 2018-13 January 2019. £15-18.

Anni Albers, ‘TR II’, 1970 | Courtesy The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation

You Might Also Like: The Best Photography Exhibitions to See in London

‘I object’ at the British Museum

Private Eye Editor Ian Hislop champions the little guy in this exhibition that considers how and who determines what history is. Scouring through the British Museum’s collection, Hislop has uncovered a host of dissenting objects that explore satire and subversion. Expect one of the pussyhats worn by women’s rights activists at marches in 2017, Chinese teapots with politicised imagery and James Gillray’s brilliant caricatures poking fun at London’s amoral 18th-century society.

I object: Ian Hislop’s search for dissent is at the British Museum until 20 January 2019. £10-12.

James Gillray
James Gillray, ‘A Voluptuary under the horrors of Digestion’, UK, 1792 | © The Trustees of the British Museum

Frida Kahlo at the V&A

For an artist whose life was an endless source of inspiration, this collection of some of Frida Kahlo’s most treasured personal possessions – many of which have not left Mexico before – is the most revealing and evocative showcase of the painter’s life to date. Displays of Frida’s dresses, her delicate hand-painted corsets, her prosthetic leg and her toiletries are shown alongside iconic self portraits and family photography to create a unique perspective on the artist.

Frida Kahlo: Making Her Self Up is in Gallery 38 at the V&A, Cromwell Road, London SW7 2RL until 4 November 2018. £13-16.

Frida Kahlo on a bench, carbon print, 1938, photo by Nickolas Muray © The Jacques and Natasha Gelman Collection of 20th Century Mexican Art and The Verge,Nickolas Muray Photo Archives copy
Frida Kahlo on a bench, 1938 | Photo: Nickolas Muray / © The Jacques and Natasha Gelman Collection of 20th Century Mexican Art and The Verge, Nickolas Muray Photo Archives

Michael Jackson at the National Portrait Gallery

The king of pop would have celebrated his 60th birthday this year and, to honour him, the National Portrait Gallery’s exhibition spaces have been given over to art inspired by Jackson. On the Wall brings together works by leading contemporary artists including Candice Breitz, David LaChapelle, Paul McCarthy, Rashid Johnson and Andy Warhol to explore Jackson’s cultural kudos and influence. The exhibition includes Kehinde Wiley’s equestrian portrait of the pop legend.

Michael Jackson: On the Wall is in the Wolfson and Lerner Galleries at the National Portrait Gallery, St Martin’s Place, London WC2H 0HE until 21 October 2018. £15.50-£22.

Portrait of Michael Jackson by Andy Warhol
Andy Warhol, ‘Michael Jackson’, 1984 | Courtesy National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, Washington D. C.

Want to see more art? This is the one artwork you need to see this month.