Victoria’s Top London Art Shows for 2018!


Hello everybody, how are you all doing? Now, I know you are all faithfully devoted to my monthly round-ups of art shows to see around the capital each month – and, indeed, why wouldn’t you be? But a couple of you have asked for a bit of a heads-up as to what lies in wait for us in 2018 so, to help you out, I thought I’d pull this quick overview together on what is already catching my eye.

Now, it’s really only the big galleries that announce their shows so far in advance – the independents etc. keep their cards close to their chest with shows only announced a couple of weeks ahead so there may well be plenty more shows that thrill to come during the year – so keep an eye out for my monthly round ups (or sign up to receive the newsletter straight to your inbox here) to ensure you don’t miss out.

Anyway, enough with the waffle. In chronological order….

Andreas Gursky, Hayward Gallery

25 January – 22 April 2018

Hallelujah! The Hayward Gallery returns! And, frankly, it’s been missed in the two years it has been closed for extensive refurbishment. In fact, so notable was this that it’s one off-site show in that whole period – The Infinite Mix – was one of the best shows of 2016. But it’s back now and first up in its redesigned galleries is the first major UK retrospective of the work of acclaimed German photographer Andreas Gursky. Andreas is known for his large-scale, often spectacular pictures that portray emblematic sites and scenes of the global economy and contemporary life, (such as the photo of Amazon’s operations above) and is widely regarded as one of the most significant photographers of our time.

Charles I: King and Collector, Royal Academy

27 January – 15 April 2018

The RA is kicking off the year with an ambitious one for this exhibition sets out to reunite one of the most extraordinary and influential art collections ever assembled. During his reign, Charles I (1600-1649) acquired and commissioned exceptional masterpieces from the fifteenth to the seventeenth century, including works by Van Dyck, Rubens, Holbein, Titian and Mantegna, amongst others. After the man was executed, the collection was broken up with the paintings sold across Europe. Many were retrieved by Charles II during the Restoration, others now form the core of collections such as the Musée du Louvre and the Museo Nacional del Prado. This show will reunite around 150 of the most important works for the first time since the seventeenth century, providing an unprecedented opportunity to experience the collection that changed the appreciation of art in England.

Another Kind of Life: Photography on the Margins, Barbican Art Gallery

28 February – 27 May 2018

At a time when individual rights are being contested and those on the fringes of society feel ever more marginalised from mainstream political and social narratives, this exhibition celebrates and explores photography’s enduring relationship with individuals and communities who operate on the margins or openly flout social conventions through the work of photographers including Paz Errazuriz (whose work I adore, see above), Casa Susanna Collection, Mary Ellen Mark, and Pieter Hugo amongst others. Driven by motivations both personal and political, many of the photographers on display sought to provide an authentic representation of disenfranchised communities–from transgender to bikers, street urchins to junkies, gang members to survivalists – often conspiring with them to construct their own identity through the camera lens.

All Too Human: Bacon, Freud and a Century of Painting Life, Tate Britain

28 February – 27 August 2018

Please, God, let this show be as fantastic as it sounds… A landmark exhibition that will celebrate how artists have captured the intense experience of life in paint through one hundred artworks by some of the most celebrated modern British artists, with Lucian Freud and Francis Bacon at its heart. It will reveal how their art captures personal and immediate experiences and events, distilling raw sensations through their use of paint, as Freud said: ‘I want the paint to work as flesh does’. Bringing together major works by Walter Sickert, Stanley Spencer, Michael Andrews, Frank Auerbach (hurrah!), R.B. Kitaj, Leon Kossoff, Paula Rego, Jenny Saville (woo hoo!!), Lynette Yiadom-Boakye and many others, this exhibition will make poignant connections across generations of artists and tell an expanded story of figurative painting in the 20th century.

Victorian Giants: The Birth of Art Photography, National Portrait Gallery

1 March -20 May 2018

I absolutely adore Julia Margaret Cameron, so I cannot wait for this one, which will be an exhibition of photographs by four of the most celebrated figures in art photography, including previously unseen works: Lewis Carroll (1832–98), Julia Margaret Cameron (1815–79), Oscar Rejlander (1813–75) and Lady Clementina Hawarden (1822-65). The show will be the first to examine the relationship between the four ground-breaking artists. Drawn from public and private collections internationally, it will feature some of the most breath-taking images in photographic history, including many which have not been seen in Britain since they were made.

Picasso 1932: Love, Fame, Tragedy, Tate Modern

8 March – 9 September 2018

I’ve no doubt this will be the blockbuster of the year, yet, remarkably, this will also be Tate Modern’s first ever solo exhibition of Pablo Picasso’s work. The show will focus, specifically, on 1932 – a time so pivotal in the great man’s life and work that it has been called his ‘year of wonders’. It was an extraordinary year for Picasso, even by his own standards. His paintings reached a new level of sensuality and he cemented his celebrity status as the most influential artist of the early 20th century. More than 100 outstanding paintings, sculptures and works on paper will demonstrate his prolific and restlessly inventive character. They will strip away common myths to reveal the man and the artist in his full complexity and richness. Expect to find me queuing in a sleeping bag outside to get in for this.

Joan Jonas, Tate Modern

14 March – 5 August 2018

Next spring, Tate Modern will present the largest survey of Joan Jonas’s work in the UK. Joan is regarded as a pre-eminent figure in performance art who continues to influence a younger generation of artists. She originally trained as a sculptor but quickly began experimenting with performance art, video and props after meeting influential choreographers Trisha Brown and Yvonne Rainer in the 1960s. Her revolutionary early practice in New York’s downtown arts scene would inspire a generation of performance artists and thinkers. This survey will be the first of its kind at Tate, combining a gallery exhibition, a ten-day live performance programme in the Tanks which will feature live performances by Joan herself, and a film retrospective. It will show her powerful impact on contemporary art and her dedication to pushing boundaries to this day.

Frida Kahlo’s Wardrobe, Victoria & Albert Museum

16 June – 4 November 2018

In 1954, following Frida Kahlo’s death at the age of 47, Diego Rivera sealed her possessions in the Blue House in Mexico City, where Frida was born, lived and died. Fifty years later, in 2004, these cupboards were opened and found to contain an extraordinary collection, including her distinctive, colourful Tehuana outfits. The V&A’s exhibition will include key self-portraits that show her wearing many of the costumes discovered in the Blue House along with medical corsets, jewellery, accessories, photographs and letters, thus offering a fresh perspective on Kahlo’s compelling life story. The exhibition offers a unique opportunity to see material that, apart from the paintings, has never before been exhibited outside Mexico.

Modern Couples: Art, Intimacy and the Avant-Garde, Barbican Art Gallery

10 October 2018 – 27 January 2019

As the notion of a ‘couple’ evolves with society’s changing approach to marriage, partnerships, family, parenthood and gender, the Barbican wanted to explore the creative output resulting from the exclusive or polyamorous relationships between artist couples in the first half of the 20th Century. And the list of artists on display reads like a roll call of the great and the good: Dora Maar and Pablo Picasso, Lee Miller and Man Ray, Gabriele Münter and Wassily Kandinsky, Claude Cahun and Marcel Moore, Eileen Gray and Jean Badovici, Dorothea Tanning and Max Ernst, Barbara Hepworth and Ben Nicholson, Vanessa Bell, Roger Fry and Duncan Grant, Virginia Woolf and Vita Sackville-West… It’s just extraordinary. The show will question the history of modern art as one largely defined by solitary genius, and will reveal how creative individuals came together to variously transgress the constraints of their time, reshaping art, redefining gender stereotypes and forging new ways of living.

Klimt/Schiele, Royal Academy

4 November 2018 – 3 February 2019

2018 marks the centenary of the deaths of two celebrated figures of twentieth century art: Gustav Klimt (1862–1918) and Egon Schiele (1890–1918). To commemorate this, this will be the first exhibition in the UK to focus exclusively upon the fundamental importance of drawing in the relationship between Austria’s two most famous artists. There will be about 100 unique works on paper from both these artists on display – including sketches for allegorical paintings, landscapes, portraits, nudes and erotic drawings – as well as sketchbooks, graphic designs, lithographs and photographs. These rarely loaned works are all drawn from the exceptional holdings of the Albertina’s world-renowned collection, and, following the exhibition at the RA, due to their sensitivity to light, they will not be loaned again for many years to come.

And one to see that’s not in London….

Life in Motion: Egon Schiele and Francesca Woodman, Tate Liverpool

24 May – 23 September 2018

Right, now Tate Liverpool is a bit out of town, I know, but – friends – I think I’ll be organising a coach trip to get us all to this one. Originally this was going to be a solo Schiele show (try saying that out loud) but there was an unexpected announcement about a month ago that this was now developed into a joint show with pioneering photographer (and outright goddess), Francesca Woodman – and I just died right there on the spot. What links the two? They were both renowned for their nude portraits and self-portraits, both laying bare their subject’s emotional state in intimate work. This could be one of the shows of the year… Fingers crossed.

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