Autumn is here and as we start to flock to our fireplaces and pull out our sweaters, there’s another fall trend that cannot be ignored: contemporary art in London. That’s why we’ve put together this selection of the best art exhibitions and outdoor activities you cannot miss in London this fall.
While London’s most prestigious art fair, Frieze, could not go on in its full glory, we at Art Fix can confirm that Frieze is not frozen. There’s still plenty of art to fill your autumn days, and with minimal tourists in town, the city is yours! And for those who are restricted to travel, keep an eye on our Instagram for a virtual taste of some of this list’s selection.
A reminder: always book your time slots in advance, and remember to bring your masks for indoor viewings. Masks make you claustrophobic? Don’t worry – there are still plenty of outdoor options for whenever you need some fresh air. Let’s start at Bankside and make our way down through to Kensington Gardens.
BANKSIDE, SOUTHWARK AND SOUTH BANK
There’s few artists who can say they’ve tried every type of art form, so meet Bruce Nauman. For more than five decades, Bruce Nauman has worked in almost every artistic medium, from drawing and sculpture to neon and video. In the process, he has acquired a strong influence over the art world. Londoners are now lucky enough to have Nauman as their first exhibition post-lockdown, with Nauman’s moving images, peculiar sculptures, and neon signs carrying us through our covid-blues. And, Art Fixers, we can read your mind: a candid pic of you standing next to his piece “One Hundred Live and Die”, would make a great addition to your Instagram feed!
Zanele Muholi is perhaps one of the most acclaimed photographers of our times, and her show at the Tate Modern is a must for all photography junkies and art lovers alike. Equally an activist as a photographer, Muholi uses art as a medium to project social empowerment and inclusivity.
In her work, Muholi documents the lives of South Africa’s black LGBTQIA+ communities. In doing so, the photographer has been able to inspire a large community of people who are risking their lives by living authentically and loving who they choose. This exhibition presents thought-provoking works that explore complex topics such as racism and sexual politics, so do carve out some time for Muholi if she’s part of your weekend plans. This artist is changing the way we think about art as she pushes the medium forward, and trust us, you’ll definitely want to witness it in person.
If you love pop art, don’t miss this Andy Warhol show in the Tate: a retrospective of the extraordinary life of this American legend. The show opens up with Andy’s family’s immigration card to the US and continues with his dozens of Marilyn’s, his iconic stacks of soup cans, and repeated Elvises. You may have already seen many of these works individually, but witnessing together provides a new look at the extraordinary life and work of the influential artist. Despite the very mixed reviews, we feel Andy Warhol is a show of significance and a beautiful amalgamation of Warhol’s legacy.
- Until 24 January 2021
- Free entry
Trained as a graphic artist in Hungary in the 1950s, Dóra Maurer is infamous for pushing art mediums with her experimental works, which include graphics, photographs, films and paintings. Starting her career under a communist regime is a key thread throughout her works, which demonstrate a conversation between “east meets west”.
This year-long, free exhibition presents some of her most prominent creations, and comes to an end with her most recent paintings, where she experiments with overlapping colours and floating shapes. It’s no surprise that at Art Fix we love contrasting colours and forms, and if you’re looking for a cheerful exhibition to add some positivity to a gloomy autumn day, Maurer is your go-to exhibition!
Got some extra time at the Tate? A few more works you shouldn’t miss when you’re at Bankside: check out Barbara Kruger’s work “Who Owns What” from episode 5, and Marcel Duchamp’s “Fountain” from episode 6. Both epic works in the history of contemporary art!
SOUTH LONDON GALLERY
Ann Veronica Janssens: Hot Pink Turquoise
- Until 29 November 2020
- 65-67 Peckham Rd & 82 Peckham Road
- Book your free entry here
Keep it cool in South London with Ann-Veronica Janssens’ show Untitled (Blue Glitter), an expanse of reflective, blue glitter scattered across the floor of the gallery. This glitter pool will occupy the Main Space for the first half of the show, and will be replaced by Janssens’ reflective wheeled Bikes, on October 28th. Visitors are invited to cycle round the Main Gallery on one of five custom-made bicycles with mirrored wheels, which will reflect light on the surrounding gallery walls and floor as the wheels turn — a perfect experience for an active art-lover. Across the three floors of the Fire Station at 82 Peckham Road, you will find sculptures, projections, light works and installations that embody the British artist’s exploration of perception and ephemerality.
Danh Vo – Chicxulub
The art world is never shy of some juicy drama, and the Kreuk debacle from 2015 is one not to have missed. The disagreement centered around the extent of Danh Vo’s participation in a show of Bert Kreuk’s collection at the Kunstmuseum in The Hague in 2013, which the collector curated himself. The conflict led to a six-hour negotiation in 2015 and a court-ruling with a letter from Vo to Kreuk telling him to “shove it”. Like a little gossip like this? Then you can’t miss Chicxulub at White Cube. In this new exhibition, Vo captures his take on Christianity, God, and nature. From Coca Cola logos to Christian icons and indoor trees, the artist challenges us to find the relationship between all these elements, and their interconnected nature.
If you’re unable to attend in person, you can watch a video walkthrough of the exhibition. But let’s be honest, nothing beats experiencing Vo’s works in real life!
Among the Trees
Did you have the chance to reconnect to your natural surroundings during the peak of lockdown? Keen to hold onto this now that some restrictions have lifted and exhibitions are open? Visit “Among the Trees”, an exhibition of 37 works by artists who explore our relationship with trees and forests. This exhibition shows and emphasises the climate emergency and how the environmental changes and human greed is wrecking our natural world.
One highlight of the show is a video wall, running the entire width of the Hayward Gallery. It’s an impressive six screen work of a Finnish life-size spruce tree projected horizontally, created by cinematic-installation legend Eija-Liisa Ahtila. Check out the little figure on the left in light blue to understand the scale!
An Art Fix favorite is Ugo Rondinone‘s tree titled “Cold Moon”. This sculpture was cast from an ancient olive tree grown in Southern Italy, and drifts from the artists usual colourful style. The peculiar shape is the result of centuries-long exposure to natural elements, as Rondinone puts, ”an accumulation of time”.
BARBICAN, HOXTON AND BLOOMSBURY
Toyin Ojih Odutola – A Countervailing Theory
- Until 24 January 2021
- The Curve, Silk Street, London, Level G
- Book your free entry here
If you want to know what exhibition is truly the talk of the art town, let us tell you about “A Countervailing Theory”, the newest show at the Barbican Center of Nigerian-American artist Toyin Ojih Odutola. In this magnificent show, Odutola explores the idea of drawing as a form of storytelling. Using only charcoal and pastel, Odutola takes on the role of an archaeologist who uncovers an ancient female-led civilisation in Nigeria. Udutola spent months creating these imaginary narratives through a series (chapters) of works within this ‘fantastical world’. If you want a unique experience that will challenge you to put all the pieces of the story together, you really can’t miss this incredible exhibition. Good to know: entry to this exhibition is free, so know that you can “revisit” it should you feel the works of Odutola cannot be fully appreciated in just one visit.
VICTORIA MIRO GALLERY
Grayson Perry – The MOST Specialest Relationship
We’re approaching gifting season, so let us introduce you to Grayson Perry, the artist that keeps on giving! Perry never ceases to amaze us, this time assembling another brilliant collection documenting his Big American Roadtrip. The focus of this exhibition spans around some of the biggest cultural and political dilemmas faced by Americans, which Perry has masterfully been able to stitch together in several grandiose tapestries.
The work shown here presents the artist’s perceived map of how the Culture War rages online.“The godlike figure at the top is Mark Zuckerburg, CEO of Facebook. I chose him because he is the best known face of social media power,” explains Perry. From the negative emotions that emerge from social media scrolling, to a presidential plane labelled ‘Climate Change’, this work represents the broad range of issues that the American society is facing today. If you’re missing your tips to the States, then this exhibition may be your way to get the American fix.
María Berrío – Flowered Songs and Broken Currents
If you’re looking for works that are slightly more subtle than Perry’s tapestries, check out the wonderful exhibition “Flowered Songs and Broken Currents” by Maria Berrio, also at Victoria Miro. Despite the cheerful feelings that these works depict upon first glance, the central theme of this exhibition are the modes of resilience and adaptation in the aftermath of devastation and loss. And that’s not the only thing that is deceiving: while the works are conveyed through a series of large-scale paintings crafted from layers of Japanese paper, the narrative actually takes us to South America, depicting a fictional Colombian fishing village and its process of coping with a catastrophic event. “I believe grieving is a process of opening oneself to the world in all its diversity and imperfection,” explains Berrío.
Edmund de Waal – Library of Exile
Can’t seem to find a quiet place in your home to rest and recharge? Move over London spas, because British potter Edmund de Waal has created a magnificent “space to sit and read and be”. This installation comprises over 2,000 books written by exiled authors. “It is about exile,” explains de Waal, “what it means to have to move to another country, to speak another language”.
Each book has an ‘ex libris’ label, allowing visitors to leave their names inside the books and offering them the opportunity to be part of his work. If you’re curious about de Waal’s works, check out our seventh episode “Materials Matter” to find out more about the stories behind his creations.
TRAFALGAR SQUARE AND MAYFAIR
THE NATIONAL GALLERY
As the National Gallery opens its doors again, it makes a strong comeback with the work of Artemisia Gentileschi (1593-1653), the Italian baroque painter known for her Carravagio-like use of light. We know what you’re thinking: there ain’t no contemporary in “17th century”?! Despite her not being a contemporary artist, it’s women like her that inspire us here at Art Fix.
This exceptional painter, and one of the greatest storytellers of her time, challenged the norm at a time when women artists were not easily accepted, painting strong and courageous women. She started producing her work at the age of fifteen, and is now considered one of the most accomplished artists from the 17th century. You can find some of her most famous paintings on the Sainsbury Wing, including several self portraits, and heroines from history.
GALERIE THADDAEUS ROPAC
Oliver Beer – Oma
- Until 24 October 2020
- Ely House, 37 Dover Street
- To maintain social distancing, the number of visitors to the gallery will be limited, with staggered entry.
If you’re looking to tickle some new senses on the weekend, head over to Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac on Dover Street to view Oliver Beer’s Oma. Beer presents a new sound installation seeking to explore the topic of musical inheritance, as well as the different elements of individual and collective experience.
One of the main works includes a self-playing piano that fills the gallery with music composed by Beer’s grandmother, Oma, which brought the exhibition its name. This exhibition will literally bring music to your ears!
Trevor Paglen – Bloom
This exhibition by Trevor Paglen is truly one of a kind. Paglen’s pioneering work explores the technologies that shape society, trying to answer the question: how do machines see our world? The exhibition consists of a series of photographs of flowers and plants that are imported into artificial intelligence algorithms, that then deconstruct those images into their component parts. Then, the different objects and textures in the image are assigned different colors, automating the interpretation of images. This creates an interesting conversation between us viewing the works and the works looking at us. It may seem a little odd to see all this blooming at such an intuitive time of the year, but in fact it’s a true symbol of 2020 and how its turned the world upside-down and inside-out!
If you visit this exhibition, you’ll immediately see “The Standard Head”, located at the center of the exhibition. Who’s this face based on, you may ask? In fact, this is a model of a head that “never existed”. It was a mathematical abstraction created to represent a standard head upon which facial recognition was built. Talk about how technology is changing the (art) world!
Summer Exhibition 2020
We’re always longing for summer to last a little longer, and this year the Royal Academy is making our dreams come true. For the first time in history, the “Summer Exhibition” will fall in winter. But at the RA summer is a state of mind, not a time of year.
Interested in getting a little taste of the exhibition? Watch the virtual walkthrough. Discover works by household names like Anselm Kiefer, Grayson Perry and Njideka Akunyili Crosby. We’ve been talking about #FriezeNotFrozen, but what about #SummerNotSummer?!
HAUSER & WIRTH
Rashid Johnson – Waves
At Art Fix, we love works that pair the use of diverse materials and have strong personal stories underpinning their meaning. And that’s exactly why we love Rashid Johnson’s exhibition at Hauser & Wirth on Savile Row. The influential contemporary artist’s new paintings and ceramic tile mosaics are both stunning and somewhat discomforting, much like crashing waves that are fascinating and beautiful, yet dangerous. “Waves” consists of a series of sculptural paintings in which the canvas is replaced by pieces of broken glazed ceramic, as well as wood, spray paint and mirrored tiles, among other materials. These works explore themes of anxiety. “I am interested in how these recurring themes are able to pivot in order to speak to the times we live in,” Johnson explains.
Showroom | The London Edit
- Until 6 November 2020
- New Bond Street
If you watched our last episode “Materials Matter”, you’ll know the name Bouke de Vries. This acclaimed Dutch artist, known for making artworks from broken ceramics, will be part of the Sotheby’s showroom in London. His works will be presented alongside pieces from renowned artists, jewels and watches, all available for direct purchase.
Mary Weatherford – Train Yards
At Art Fix, we often talk about “IRL” art – pieces that need to be seen In Real Life to really be appreciated. This autumn, Gagosian Gallery hosts a prime example of this effect. Mary Weatherford’s striking three-dimensional paintings need to truly be seen in person in order to experience the entirety of her work. With grounds of vinyl-based emulsion and carefully placed neon-filled glass tubes, she encapsulates urban and rural environments. Still not convinced? The exhibition features an exclusive performance by musician Thurston Moore which will please all the senses.
Nathaniel Mary Quinn
Mary Weatherford ain’t the only pull-factor for Gagosian. Meet Nathaniel Mary Quinn, one of the hottest artists of the currently London scene. Known for his unforgettable split faces, this American painter is redefining the traditional definition of a collage. Quinn’s process begins with the vision of a face from his past that he feels compelled to tangibilize. By collecting images from magazines and newspapers to comics and advertisements, he reimagines them and constructs new portraits, detaching the images from their original context. With a touch of Surrealism, and lots of imagination, Quinn presents several new works at his first solo exhibition. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to see this wonderful artist!
BEN BROWN FINE ARTS
Gilbert and George – Works From a Private Collection
An extraordinary group of pictures by British icons Gilbert & George are exhibited together for the first time from a prominent private collection.
After meeting at Saint Martin’s School of Art in London in 1967, Gilbert & George have been creating art together ever since, fully integrating all aspects of their lives into their art, making themselves ‘living sculptures’. They reflect upon their revelation to create together over 50 years ago, “Art and life became one, and we were the messengers of a new vision. At that moment that we decided we are art and life, every conversation with people became art, and still is.”
MARYLEBONE AND SOUTH KENSINGTON
Laure Prouvost: Re-dit-en-un-in-learning CENTER
This Marylebone-based gallery has paused its regular program to focus on the future, offering experiences to re-learn and re-invent ourselves through textures, sounds and smells. French artist Laure Prouvost has repurposed Lisson gallery into an educational environment where visitors can un-learn what they have forgotten and what they already know, and re-learn a new language through her works. If there has ever been a time to do some re-learning, it’s the post-pandemic world we live in today.
Lehmann Maupin’s first London gallery opened on 5 October near the Victoria & Albert Museum. Timed with its physical opening, the gallery will launch an online exhibition, “London Calling” (5-30 October), featuring iconic works by Billy Childish, Mandy El-Sayegh, Gilbert & George, Shirazeh Houshiary, Do Ho Suh, and Juergen Teller. Each of these artists have developed deep connections to London over the years, having made the city their chosen home, and even the subject or inspiration for their work.
Billy Childish – In Residence
- Until 25 October 2020
- 1 Cromwell Place
Billy Childish will take up residency at Lehmann Maupin London and develop a new series of paintings onsite inspired by a book of intimate autobiographical photographs: billy childish, photography 1974 – 2020 (BC Editions, 2020). This is a rare opportunity to meet the artist and engage with his practice firsthand.
TOTALLY CORONA PROOF: OUTDOOR
CIRCA – AI WEIWEI
- Until 31 October
- Picadilly Circus
A new art platform called Circa is promising to give our eyes a break from the constant lights and ads on Picadilly Circus, by giving the advertising space over to a different artist every month. The lights switch from ads to art for two minutes each day (between 20.20 – 20.22) until the end of the year.
Circa is kicking things off in style with international art superstar Ai Weiwei, remember him from our fifth episode? If you can’t make it to central London to see it in person, you can watch the live stream here.
- Until 18 October
- Regent’s park
And of course: it wouldn’t be autumn in London without the Frieze sculpture garden. “Frieze Sculpture” has returned to Regent’s Park featuring a dozen of works by leading international artists. It is presented as part of Frieze London, which includes both online and offline activity this year. In a world of change and lots of “new normals”, it is refreshing to experience something in a way that isn’t so different from years prior!
Our favourite from “Frieze Sculpture”? Turner-prize winner Lubaina Himid, and her work is simply ah-mazing! Great to cheer you up on a rainy day (bring an umbrella).
Heather Phillipson – The End
- Until Spring 2022
- Trafalgar Square
If you head back into central London, check out the “Fourth Plinth” on Trafalgar Square. Originally, it was supposed to hold a statue of William IV, but due to insufficient funds it remained bare for over 150 years. In 2005 the Fourth Plinth commission was led by the Mayor of London’s culture team. The new sculpture has recently been unveiled post lockdown and is titled “The End”.
Underneath Heather Phillipson’s statue, “The End”, lies a serious message. At first glance, the work might make you want ice cream. But upon taking a closer look, you’ll notice the dollop of whipped cream is actually being circled by not just an ominous fly, but also a drone: one that films and livestreams the innocent passerby on Trafalgar Square. This points to the constant state of surveillance we find ourselves in in 2020. And what can we make of the cream? “Cream is this slightly impossible substance when wet, it’s full of air so it means it’s always on the verge of collapse, which is a state I felt we were in,” said the artist. If you’re around Trafalgar Square, you better hurry up and see the Four Plinth before it melts
If you’re curious for more, check out our Story on The Plinth.
KING’S CROSS: THE OUTSIDE PROJECT
Face to Face, Ekow Eshun
- Until 1 November 2020
King’s Cross has turned into one of the largest outdoor gallery spaces in London. The best part? Always on, always free, and always open! One of our favorite exhibitions is “Face to Face”, curated by Ekow Eshun in partnership with the Fund for Global Human Rights at Kings Cross Tunnel. Although the works are all very diverse, a central theme is that each photographer has spent lots of time engaging with the communities they represent in their work, placing human experiences at the core of their work.
STIK – Holding Hands
- Hoxton Square
One of Art Fix favorite street artists, STIK, has revealed his first ever public sculpture, “Holding Hands”. This four-meter tall, bronze casted sculpture is meant to convey universal love and solidarity. Check out for yourself what all the craze in Instagram is about and be a part of this display of unity at Hoxton Square.
JR – Chronicles
- 13 November 2020 – 9 February 2021
- Duke of York’s HQ, Kings Road
- Book your tickets in advance
This November, Saatchi gallery will present the largest solo museum exhibition to this day of French street artist and photographer JR. JR is an Art Fix fave: an artist known for his black Ray-Bans and matching fedora. The exhibition will feature some of his most iconic projects, from his early works in Paris to his large-scale global projects and digitally collaged murals. Meanwhile, you can check out our first episode: “The City Is My Canvas”, to brush up on some facts about JR’s background and his most prominent works.
Tracy Emin / Edvard Munch – The Loneliness of the Soul
- 15 November 2020 — 28 February 2021
- Burlington House, Piccadilly
- Book your ticket in advance
The Royal Academy is also cooking up some exciting things for the winter. In November, the RA will present an exhibition of a major figure in contemporary art, Tracey Emin. Featuring paintings, neons and sculptures, Emin’s works will be presented alongside 19 of Edvard Munch’s oils and watercolors, carefully selected by Emin herself. Calling all neon-lovers and Scream-fans: this one’s for you.
Lynette Yiadom Boakye – Fly in League With the Night
Another exhibition that’s got us shaking in our boots is the upcoming show on Lynette Yiadom-Boakye at the Tate. This exhibition brings together around 80 works from British artist and writer. Known for her portraits of fictitious people, she invites viewers to raise questions of identity and representation. Our favorite part? Her paintings are coupled with poetic titles, allowing her to “write about the things I can’t paint and paint the things I can’t write about”.
EAT & DRINK
Granger & CO. Go for a delicious brunch and opt for outdoor seating. Great coffee, the best scrambled eggs and delicious ricotta hot cakes! Aussie style food and a buzzy vibe.
Motcombs Brasserie. Breakfast, lunch, dinner and live jazz – what more could we ask for? Motcombs offers a large range of options from all classic British to European and Asian cuisines. Did we mention it features an underground bar with live Jazz?
Vardo. A great place for lunch or dinner inside a cylindrical, stone and glass pavilion. Ideal for a refreshment after visiting Saatchi gallery!
Hush Mayfair. This iconic townhouse has private dining spaces hidden in a beautiful courtyard. A secret gem located right in the heart of Mayfair.
Cecconi’s Mayfair. Nothing beats modern day classic Italian food, especially when it comes in the form of a Sunday brunch buffet. But, in case you’re too busy discovering new exhibitions on the weekend, this superb restaurant is also open for breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days a week.
Jose Pizarro in Bermondsey Street. José Tapas Bar has a cult following in the London scene as the go to place for the best Tapas. Pizarro Bermondsey is José Pizarro’s second London restaurant one block from White Cube gallery.
Art Fix Tip: Hotels have no cancellation fees and offer 50% discount on the usual price!