Explore London

Picture perfect: this summer’s best art exhibitions

Georgia O’Keeffe at the Tate

While best known for her for her paintings of bold, arresting flowers, O’Keeffe depicted quite a variety of subjects, ranging from animal skulls to New Mexico landscape more akin to Gerhard Richter’s early works. This retrospective showcases over 100 works in a display described by the Independent as, “An extraordinary show… long overdue in this country.”

When: Until 30th October

Admission: Adult £19 (Concession £17)

Abstract expressionism at the Royal Academy

To many the term ‘modern art’ draws up images of the shark tanks of Damien Hirst or Tracey Emin’s ‘My Bed’. It’s a testament to the power and popularity of Abstract Expressionism that the paint-drips of Jackson Pollock or Mark Rothko’s expanses of colour have retained such connotations since the movement’s birth in the 1950s. The Royal Academy describe this as the first major retrospective since 1959: while that bold statement may stretch a little far, the exhibition will display an extraordinary selection of artists ranging from big-hitting names to lesser-known figures.

When: 24th September-2nd January, 2017.

Admission: £12-£19 (under 16s free)

Terence Donovan at The Photographers’ Gallery

Mixing with the social elite of the sixties, Donovan provided intimate and yet still striking portraits of London’s post-war boom in cultural expression. In addition to his more famous pieces there are previously unpublished prints, as well as a range of Donovan’s studio notes, diaries, magazine spreads and the master’s camera itself.

When: Until 25th September

Admission: Free entry before 12, then £2.50 (£2).

The Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy

A jamboree of visual art unmatched in its variety and breadth, the annual Summer exhibition pits established arts alongside amateurs and unknown gems. With over 1,200 works from painting to video, there will be something here that takes your fancy. It may be hidden in the corner, but it’s there.

When: Until 21st August

Admission: £13

Raqib Shaw at the White Cube

Shaw takes inspiration from works from the Old Masters and before the Renaissance and transforms them with reference to his own life. Born in Kolkata and raised in Kashmir, he blends the artistic traditions of his upbringing with the current surroundings of his studio in Peckham to form a new style of remarkable detail and originality. In ‘The Purification of the Temple (After Venusti) II’ Shaw transforms Marcello Venusti’s Baroque architecture to make a colourful stage for the Hindu God Shiva.

When: Until 11th September

Admission: Free

Mr. Men and Little Miss exhibition at the Oxo Tower

These childhood favourites are coming to a temporary exhibition to celebrate this August on the bottom floor of the Oxo Tower. While the show will be aimed at children – including placing images at a suitable height – it seems likely the nostalgia-hunters amongst us will make the audience will have a distinctly grown-up hue. Visitors are encouraged to upload images of their favourite items to a virtual archive to create a simultaneous online exhibition of the Mr Men.

When: 25th-29th August

Admission: Free

OKER: Going Against the Grain at StolenSpace

The inaugural show of one of London’s leading street artists focuses on a life’s experience making graffiti. OKER covered the whole city and spent a short period in New York before returning to the UK, bringing the Big Apple’s ‘bombing’ style of graffiti with him. Despite being sentenced for graffiti twice, in 2000 and 2013, his art can now be shown freely in this exclusive retrospective.

When: 5th-28th August

Admission: Free

Serpentine Gallery Pavilion: Bjarke Ingels at the Serpentine Gallery, Hyde Park

“Cavernous” is how Dezeenmagazine describes this summer’s pavilion at the Serpentine, and they capture perfectly the feeling of the sculpture. Made up of fibreglass boxes, it gives the impression of a sail, floating above the grass, while the Danish architect himself sees it as a wall that has been pulled apart.

When: until 9th October

Admission: Free

Beyond Caravaggio at The National Gallery

The exhibition explores the influence of Caravaggio on those whom he inspired. The dark realism and sumptuous emotions of his paintings capture brilliantly the emotions of his subjects, leading him rightly to be regarded as one of the finest painters of all time. After his first public commission in 1600, artists from across Europe flocked to Italy to learn his ‘Caravaggism’; with their works displayed alongside those of Caravaggio himself, we can imagine the British public will be making a similar journey this Autumn to the National Gallery.

When: 12th October-15th January 2017

Admission: £14 (£7-£12)