16 UNMISSABLE LONDON EXHIBITIONS THIS NOVEMBER
The Capital's Best Art Shows this November 2023
Female artists earn 90% less on average than male artists. So we are pleased to see that women are ruling the art scene this month, which is hopefully a small step towards closing the art world's gender gap.
November's show's include Tate Modern's major survey of feminist art by more than 100 women artists; a major Sarah Lucas exhibition; Marina Abramović's first big UK show (which shockingly doubles as the first solo female exhibition at the RA's Main Galleries) and a glorious retrospective of style alchemist, Coco Chanel.
Meanwhile, tech continues to wield its power, with animatronic creatures made from found materials; mixed reality butterfly installations; optimistic AI shows exploring caring robots, and a gaggle of immersive exhibitions beckoning us to leap inside paintings by some of the most influential artists of the 20th Century.
So point your eyes here and then take them there
David Hockney: Drawing From Life
The pesky pandemic scuppered David Hockney’s Drawing From Life show in 2020. But fans of the bespectacled national treasure can rejoice, because it has been restaged with intimate portraits he’s created over the past six decades of his mother, friend Celia Birtwell, curator Gregory Evans, printer Maurice Payne and himself, in a range of mediums and styles. These are joined by 30 new pieces of friends and visitors to his Normandy studio between 2021 and 2022, including the Harry Styles portrait that broke the internet. National Portrait Gallery, St. Martin's Pl, London WC2H 0HE. Until 21 January 2024
The Forest Visits: Tim Lewis
Fancy seeing an animatronic Echidna made from Christmas trees? How about a giant, mechanical red snake, which slithers and then disintegrates in a continuous loop? Or an uncanny, robotic lemur?
Then head down to the brilliantly eccentric and creative, The Forest Visits exhibition of Tim Lewis’s new, zoomorphic works.
The artist creates kinetic sculptures from repurposed, found objects and materials and his past pieces have included an emu with an opera glove for a head and a bear that draws itself.
Tim Lewis: The Forest Visits at Flowers, 21 Cork Street, London W1S 3LZ. 30 November - 6 January 2024. Free.
Women in Revolt!
Tate Britain’s major survey of feminist art by more than 100 women artists working in the UK is the first of its kind.
It explores how women used radical ideas and rebellious methods to make an invaluable contribution to British culture. Through their creative practices, women’s liberation was forged against the backdrop of extreme social, economic and political change. The show covers the women's liberation movement, domesticity, punk, the AIDS pandemic and visibility of Black and South Asian Women Artists. And currently, for every £1 a male artist makes, a female artist makes 10p, so the show couldn’t have come at a better time.
Women in Revolt! Art and activism in the UK 1970-1990 at Tate Britain. Until 7 April 2024, £17.
The Cult of Beauty
Wellcome’s fascinating new exhibition explores notions of beauty across time and cultures.
It investigates the myth of universal beauty, and what drives us to achieve it despite its evolving nature.
The show features more than 200 items, including historical objects, artworks, films and new commissions including an ancient Egyptian mirror and an AI-generated animation showing an endlessly morphing human figure that never repeats.
The Wellcome Collection, 183 Euston Rd., London NW1 2BE. Until 28 April 2024
Wildlife Photographer of the Year
The 59th Wildlife Photographer of the Year tells the story of a planet under pressure. The show harnesses the power of photography to help the Natural History Museum advance scientific knowledge, spread awareness of important issues and nurture a global love for nature, via donations to the exhibition.
It features astonishing photographs selected from more than 50,000 entries, including a golden, tri-spine horseshoe crab (pictured above) snow leopards hunting in China and seals in Greece.
Natural History Museum, Cromwell Rd, South Kensington, London SW7 5BD. Until 30 June
The Butterfly Trail at Outernet
Enter the world’s first mixed reality experience, where you can hold your own butterfly on the tip of your finger in a beautiful collaboration with Pixel Artworks. Visitors are guided through explorer Professor Peter Pelgrin’s Botanical Workshop and Glass House, an indoor jungle, where they can release magical, AR butterflies and trigger animations, using their smartphones. The installation uses groundbreaking tech against the vast canvas of Outernet’s four-storey, 16K wraparound screens - the most advanced in the world. And it’s open every day between 12pm and 6pm.
Outernet, Charing Cross Rd, London WC2H 8LH. Until early 2024. Free.
The World’s Biggest Disney Exhibition
It all began with a mouse and now, 100 years later, a major new exhibition launches in London, inviting fans to experience the iconic characters, stories and experiences that touched the lives of audiences around the world. Disney100: The Exhibition arrives at London ExCel on 13 October, featuring 10 themed galleries bulging with more than 250 iconic props, costumes and treasures including the actual carousel horse that Dick Van Dyke rode in Mary Poppins, the glass slipper from Cinderella (2015), the Iron Man helmet from Avengers: Infinity War, original artwork from One Hundred and One Dalmatians and the red dress from the 2021 Cruella film. The 20,000 sq ft beast of a show has 14 interactive installations and themed galleries allowing you to dive into classics like Snow White and Encanto as well as the new additions to the Disney family, like Pixar, Star Wars and Marvel movies.
Disney100: The Exhibition. ExCeL London, Royal Victoria Dock, 1 Western Gateway, London E16 1XL. Tickets on sale now, starting from £16.50 off-peak for children. 13 October 2023, until 2024.
Sarah Lucas : Happy Gas
The work of the brilliantly bold and irreverent Brit Art icon, Sarah Lucas is celebrated in a major exhibition at Tate Britain.
The show will bring together more than 75 works spanning four decades of her career, exploring the human body, mortality and the terribly British experiences of sex, gender and class. As well as her greatest art hits, like the raunchy hosiery sculptures, giant sandwich and chairs made from tits, it will also feature ten completely new sculptures made in the past few years.
Tate Britain, Millbank, London SW1P 4RG. 28 September - 14 January
The doyenne of performance art, Marina Abramović finally brings her first major UK show to the Royal Academy - the first solo show by a woman in the RA’s Main Galleries. Her most famous works include inviting audience members to freely interact with her - resulting in a loaded gun being pointed at her head - and living without food in a gallery for 12 days. This exhibition looks back at her 50-year career, embracing pain, exhaustion and possible death, via archive footage and with four of her most famous works being recreated by performance artists trained in the Marina Abramović method.
Royal Academy, Burlington House, Piccadilly, London W1J 0BD. 23 September - 1 January 2024
Gabrielle Chanel : Fashion Manifesto
The V&A hosts the first UK exhibition dedicated to the work of French couturière, Gabrielle 'Coco' Chanel, charting the establishment of the House of CHANEL and the evolution of her iconic design style, which continues to influence the way women dress today.
Covering her career from the opening of her first millinery boutique to her final collection in the Seventies, the show will feature more than 180 looks, jewellery and accessories, exploring her legacy and the way she redefined fashion forever.
V&A, Cromwell Rd, London SW7 2RL. 16 September - 25 February
Rebel: 30 Years of London Fashion
This landmark collaboration between the British Fashion Council and The Design Museum celebates the 30th anniversary of BFC’s NEWGEN program, supporting emerging fashion talent. The show celebrates the work of designers like Christopher Kane, Erdem, Molly Goddard and Wales Bonner, who transformed the world of fashion. Highlights of the show - featuring more than 100 iconic garments - include Bjork’s swan dress and a replica of Sam Smith’s inflatable latex suit famously worn to this year’s BRITs. The Design Museum, 224-238 Kensington High St, London W8 6AG. 16 September - 11 February 2023.
AI: Who's Looking After Me?
If you’re not awake at night, worrying about robots taking over the world, are you even human?
This show might allay some of your concerns, by offering a refreshingly optimistic spin on AI.
The exhibition delves into the positive impact it is having on our lives now and in the near future, across healthcare, dating, travel and law.
It includes self-driving cars, AI romance experiments, a robotic arm that cares for cats and learns about their needs and Wesley Goatley’s eerie installation, featuring twenty malfunctioning and abandoned Alexa Voice Assistants singing to each other and telling stories about the world that created them.
AI: Who's Looking After Me? Science Gallery, Great Maze Pond, London SE1 9GU. Until 20 January 2024
V&A's Blockbuster DIVA Exhibition
Drop your mic, polish your sequins and sashay over to the V&A for DIVA, its latest, blockbuster exhibition. More than 250 personal items, including 60 outfits are on display from legends including Sir Elton John, Cher, Prince, Marilyn Monroe and Grace Jones. Many of these will be on show to the public for the first time. The new show celebrates the drive, power and creativity of some of the most iconic divas, past and present, and how they shaped popular culture. Highlights include celeb designer Bob Mackie’s creations for Cher, Tina Turner and Pink; the Oscar-winning, fringed black dress rocked by Marilyn Monroe in Some Like it Hot and Sir Elton’s Louis XIV inspired 50th birthday look, complete with powdered wig and train. Fans can also admire the diamanté-studded wellies and couture, pink Julien MacDonald gown worn by Dame Shirley Bassey for her 2007 Glastonbury set.
BBC Earth Experience
Travel the world and seven continents in one, visually delicious immersive experience through the hit BBC series, Seven Worlds, One Planet. With bespoke narration from Sir David Attenborough himself and hosted at Earl’s Court's purpose-built Daikin Centre, you will experience the incredible diversity of the seven continents through multiple, multi-angle, 360-degree screens, meeting the extraordinary animals which inhabit them. The event - suitable for all age groups - also boasts breakout zones where you can dive into the depths of Water World, marvel at the sweeping landscapes of the Vista Stage, and test your bravery by getting close to creepy crawlies in the Micro Life zone.
BBC Earth Experience. The Daikin Centre, Earl’s Court, Hammersmith, London SW6 1TR. Until 7 January 2024. Adult £28.50 children under three go FREE
Immersive art experiences are beckoning us to leap into paintings all over the world, but Frameless is art immersion on steroids. Situated in Marble Arch, it is the largest, permanent multi-sensory experience in the UK. Boasting four, themed galleries - Beyond Reality, Colour In Motion, The World Around Us and The Art Of Abstraction - with some of the world’s greatest works of art exploding across the walls, floors and ceilings of a 30,000 sq ft space. You can step inside more than 43 masterpieces by 28 artists, including Kandinsky, Monet, Van Gogh, Klimt, Munch, Monet, Rembrandt, Dali and Cezanne with musical scores accompanying each brushstroke.
Frameless, Marble Arch, London W1H 7FD, UK
Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirror Rooms
The Instagram-friendly Infinity Mirror Rooms have no doubt saturated your social media pages for the past few months. But if you’re late to the party, the run has been extended until June to check out one of the most talked about shows of the past year.
The immersive installations of endless reflections include Kusama's Chandelier of Grief, a room which creates the illusion of a boundless universe ofrotating crystal chandeliers.
A small presentation of photographs and moving image – some on display for the first time – provide historical context for the global phenomenon that Kusama’s mirrored rooms have become today.
Tate Modern. Bankside, London SE1 9TG, UK. Until 28 April 2024.