Must-see art shows

At last, from 17th May, museums and galleries are allowed to open their doors once more.  We’ve rounded up our favourite shows to visit and who to go with.

BEST FOR: A TRIP WITH THE GIRLFRIENDS

Bags at The V&A, from 17th May

From rucksacks to despatch boxes, Birkin bags to Louis Vuitton luggage, Bags: Inside Out explores the world of the bag.

Mulberry ‘Bayswater’ and ‘Alexa’ bags from the private collections of Kate Moss and Alexa Chung, 2003 and 2010, England. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Tracey Emin and Munch at the RA, from 18th May

Tracey Emin selects masterpieces by Edvard Munch, an artist she has long had a fascination with, to show alongside her most recent paintings.

Neon. 30.6 x 115 cm. Edition of 10, with 3 Aps. Collection of Michelle Kennedy and Richard Tyler © Tracey Emin. All rights reserved, DACS 2020.

Eileen Agar: Angel of Anarchy at the Whitechapel, from 19th May

Whether dancing on the rooftops in Paris, sharing ideas with fellow artists and friends Pablo Picasso, Dora Maar and Man Ray, or gathering starfish on the beaches of Cornwall, Eileen Agar transformed the everyday into the extraordinary.

Erotic Landscape, 1942, collage on paper, 255 x 305 mm, private collection. © The Estate of Eileen Agar. Photograph courtesy Pallant House Gallery, Chichester © Doug Atfield

BEST FOR: A FASCINATING DAY OUT

Jean Dubruffet: Brutal Beauty at the Barbican, from 17th May

The first major survey of this Parisian artist in the UK for over 50 years, Dubruffet’s experimental drive and playful spirit (and love of stripes) has been hugely influential on many twentieth century artists.

Jean Dubuffet, Skedaddle (L’Escampette) 31 October 1964 STEDELIJK MUSEUM AMSTERDAM © FONDATION DUBUFFET, PARIS / ADAGP, PARIS AND DACS, LONDON 2020

The Making of Rodin at Tate Modern, from 18th May

Featuring over 200 of his works, many of which have not been seen in the UK before, this show looks at the importance of plaster in his work and evokes the atmosphere of the artist’s studio.

Auguste Rodin Main droite de Pierre et Jacques de Wissant 1885–86 Musée Rodin, S.00332

Michael Armitage: Paradise Edict at the RA, from 22nd May

Michael Armitage, a Kenyan-born artist, draws from Titian, Goya, Manet and Gauguin to explore East African culture and folklore in the exhibition of 15 of his large-scale works.

The Paradise Edict, 2019.  Oil on lubugo bark cloth. 220 x 420 cm. The Joyner / Giuffrida Collection © Michael Armitage © White Cube (Theo Christelis).

BEST FOR: A CHEERY DAY OUT

David Hockney: The Arrival of Spring, Normandy 2020 at the RA from 23rd May

116 new works created on the iPad by Hockney who spent the lockdown at his house in Normandy.

No. 241, 23rd April 2020. iPad painting. © David Hockney.

BEST FOR: A TRIP WITH THE KIDS

Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirror Rooms at Tate Modern from 18th May (for members) and for all from 14th June

Adults and kids alike will love experiencing her Infinity Mirror Rooms which were originally made for her 2012 retrospective at Tate Modern.  Tickets are selling out fast so do book quickly.

Yayoi Kusama, Chandelier of Grief 2016/2018. Tate. © YAYOI KUSAMA

Wildlife Photographer of the Year at the Natural History Museum, from 17th May

25 images shortlisted from over 49,000 entries are displayed with the winning image alongside 4 commended images. Great fun for all the family.

Alice: Curiouser and Curiouser at the V&A, from 22nd May

Exploring its origins, adaptations and reinventions over 157 years, this immersive show (including a Virtual Reality game of croquet) charts the evolution of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

Illustration from first published edition of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, illustrated by John Tenniel, 1866. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Sneakers unboxed: Studio to Street at the Design Museum, from 18th May

From the original Converse Chuck Taylor All Star to designer collaborations and sustainable creations, this exhibition explores the high-tech and designer developments of the sneaker world.

BEST FOR: A DAY TRIP OUT OF LONDON

Barbara Hepworth at the Hepworth Wakefield Gallery, from 21st May

To mark their 10th anniversary, the gallery have organised the biggest show of Hepworth’s work since her death in 1975, exhibited alongside works by Bridget Riley, Tacita Dean and Veronica Ryan.

Barbara Hepworth with the plaster prototype for the United Nations Single Form at the Morris Singer foundry, London, May 1963. Photograph by Morgan-Wells. © Bowness

Lee Miller and Roland Penrose: The Road Is Wider Than Long at Farleys House and Gallery, from 20th May

A collection of photographs from Miller and Penrose’s trip around the Balkans at the beginning of WWII.  Penrose’s photographs were made into a book but the majority of Miller’s pictures have never been published before.

What:
Exhibitions opening soon
— Francesca
12th May 2021