From 17 May 2021
Booking has re-opened at London’s galleries and museums, but which exhibitions are at the top of our list? These are the shows we’re planning to see as soon as we can, both in and out of town.
Bags: Inside Out at the V&A 19 May – 16 January 2022
Just to wander around the V&A again will be wonderful. But after a long time with little wardrobe action, we’re going to be heading straight for the handbags at one of their three opening exhibitions, Bags: Inside Out. This show has been delayed twice, opened briefly and then closed; finally, it’s opening for a long run until next January. See the ‘It bags’ of the ages including Fendi’s baguette bag, Mulberry’s Alexa bag and Jane Birkin’s original Hermès Birkin bag. There’s also Alice: Curious and Curiouser opening on 22 May, Epic Iran opening on 29 May, and the newly refurbished Raphael Court with its Raphael Cartoons to enjoy.
Wildlife Photographer of the Year at Natural History Museum 17 May – 1 August 2021
From over 49,000 entries, the winners have been chosen and will be on display for the 56th Wildlife Photographer of the Year show at the Natural History Museum. See People’s Choice winner, Robert Irwin’s photograph of the Australian bushfires captured by drone, amongst 25 others. You can also book Lates on 20 May, 27 May and 3 June where you can see the Wildlife Photographer of the Year as well as Fantastic Beasts: The Wonder of Nature exhibition and explore the museum after hours.
The Making of Rodin at the Tate Modern 18 May – 31 October 2021
Book your tickets as soon as you can for this must-see. In a unique collaboration with the Musée Rodin the show will focus on the artist’s use of plaster taking inspiration from his exhibition at the Pavillon de l’Alma in 1900 with some of its star exhibits reunited such as Balzac 1898 and La Meditation 1896. Later this summer we can look forward to Sophie Taeuber-Arp opening on 15 July and Paula Rego opening at Tate Britain in July. If you missed Lynette Yiadom-Boakye’s show at Tate Britain it’s briefly re-opening until 31 May, tickets here.
James Barnor and Jennifer Packer at the Serpentine Gallery 19 May – 22 August 2021
Two exhibitions are opening simultaneously at the Serpentine Gallery this May. There’s a timely show from artist Jennifer Packer of drawings and paintings depicting Black lives, from intimate portraits of friends and family to politically charged flower paintings. It’s the artist’s first exhibition outside of the US. Also centring on Black lives, this time via portraits and photojournalism is the retrospective of British-Ghanaian photographer, James Barnor. Barnor’s work spans six decades of social and political changes between London and Accra. Both exhibitions are free but you’ll need to book a timed slot.
Lee Miller: Fashion in Wartime Britain at Farleys House and Gallery 20 May – 8 August 2021
Many images in this show haven’t been seen since they were first published in British Vogue during the Second World War. Thanks to the work of the Lee Miller archives some 3500 negatives have been processed, the best of which are on display now at Farleys Gallery, a new space adjacent to Farleys House, the home of Lee Miller and Roland Penrose. You can either book a ticket for the Galleries and Garden, which will allow you into the exhibition and the sculpture garden, or we recommend the House, Galleries and Garden ticket which includes a tour inside the house where you can spot the Picasso tile in the kitchen and more surprises. Open Thursdays and Sundays only.
Masterpieces in Miniature, Pallant House Gallery 26 June 2021 – spring 2022
If lockdown brain fog has descended then bring yourself up to speed with British art at this show at Pallant House Gallery that spans over 80 years of art – in miniature. The 2021 Model Art Gallery includes new and original artworks from 34 contemporary artists including Damien Hirst, Rachel Whiteread, Magdalene Odundo and Grayson Perry. These dinky pieces will be housed in a dollhouse-sized 18th century Queen Anne townhouse with a modern white cube extension and will be displayed alongside two other mini galleries – The Thirty Four Gallery with works by Vanessa Bell and Paul Nash, and The Model Gallery 2000 with works by Sir Peter Blake, Antony Gormley and Eduardo Paolozzi.
Barbara Hepworth: Art and Life at Hepworth Wakefield 21 May – 27 February 2022
A major show to mark Hepworth Wakefield’s 10 year anniversary. The exhibition will span the artist’s entire life from her upbringing in Yorkshire to the development of her ideas up to her death in 1975. Some of her most famous works from both private and public collections will be on display including Three Forms 1935, created soon after her triplets were born and becoming a motif she returned to throughout her career. There will also be new works from contemporary artists Tacita Dean and Veronica Ryan shown alongside.