top of page

18 UNMISSABLE LONDON EXHIBITIONS THIS JANUARY

The Capital's Best Art Shows this January 2024


The London art scene got the “cheer us the chuff up” January memo, and has responded with a barrage of brilliantly weird and fun exhibitions.


They include the world’s first balloon museum, bursting with giant rabbits and psychedelic ball pits; a fascinating exploration of London’s toilet art; an impossibly jolly, major show celebrating the irresistible force of cuteness, and an explosion of Wes Anderson pastels and symmetry.


You can also enjoy shows by some of the most exciting women in art, from Jenny Saville to Sarah Lucas as well as the first major survey of feminist art.


If that’s not enough to tickle your pickles, we’ve got AI robots caring for cats, the last chance to catch Hockney’s show, exciting fashion exhibitions and moving shows about the extraordinary animals which inhabit our planet.


So point your eyes here and then take them there.

____________________



Balloon Museum: EmotionAir

The world’s first inflatable art museum has opened in East London, after attracting two million visitors on its stops in Paris, Rome, Milan and Madrid.

The Balloon Museum launched with huge fanfare and giant queues for the EmotionAir exhibition, featuring works by 20 artists, in which air is a distinctive element.

Expect sound trapped in floating bubbles, giant pink rabbits, huge, otherworldly ball pits, psychedelic balls you can swing and monstrous weebles in a show you are invited to immerse yourselves in through play and touch.

1 Old Billingsgate Walk, London EC3R 6DX. Until 18 February. Tickets from £28.10 per person




Sh!t Show

Guerilla artist Karma Khazi travelled across London, visiting 250 pub toilets in five days, photographing every message, drawing and mark he found on the cubicle walls. And now he’s creating a whole show based around the daft, offensive and downright ridiculous comments he saw. 

Sh!t Show will open in Shoreditch on January 26th and centres around a single, black door with 63 of the capital’s best pieces of graffiti scrawled on the front. He’s also created around 50 canvases and paintings - each one dedicated to a single piece of toilet graffiti - plus pub signs and promises an environment at his show where visitors can create their own scribbles, adding to our city’s rich and celebrated tapestry of cock drawings and swear-words.

The artist was followed on his quest by double BAFTA-winning filmmaker, Lee Philips, who created a short film about the whole shebang and headed to Courtyard Studios in Oxfordshire (made famous by some little pop group called Radiohead) to record a soundtrack for the show, before mixing it at the legendary Abbey Road.

The FREE show explores free speech in a fascinating new way and provides a rich and unique insight into our capital.

FREE ENTRY, Sh!t Show, 133, Bethnal Green Road, London, E2 7DG. January 26 - 28




Cute exhibition

A major new exhibition exploring the irresistible force of cuteness opens at Somerset House from 25 January, featuring a games arcade for all ages and celebrating the 50th anniversary of Hello Kitty.

The show brings together contemporary artworks and cultural phenomena from emojis to internet memes, video games to plushie toys, food to loveable robotic design, exploring how cuteness has take over the world.

Somerset House, Embankment Galleries, South Wing. 25 January - 14 April. £18.50pp. Concessions from £11. 




Accidentally Wes Anderson: The Exhibition

Expect pleasingly symmetrical, pastel hues and whimsical locations in Accidentally Wes Anderson: The Exhibition.

The Instagram hit and best-selling book has been transformed into a show, exploring seven continents and featuring more than 200 photos of buildings and landscapes which look like sets for a Wes Anderson film.

The exhibition is divided into seven themed rooms, including ‘Hotels/Motels’, ‘Maritime’, ‘Classical Facades’, and includes ’The London Room’, which focuses on Accidentally Wes Anderson images from the Big Smoke and invites guests to submit their own images to be featured.

Accidentally Wes Anderson, 81-85 Old Brompton Road, South Kensington, SW7 3LD. Until 17 February. Tickets from £11 per adult, £7.19 per child.




Jenny Saville: Ekkyklema

Legendary YBA painter Jenny Saville has launched an exhibition of new paintings and works on paper, featuring her trademark, large scale nudes and inspired by the giant digital display screens employed at stadiums.

In this show, Saville compartmentalizes body parts into angular screenlike panels, like desktop windows.

She drew the works’ palette from watercolour studies, produced over the past two years, of the changing light and colors of the Greek sky at sunset.

Ekkyklema. Gagosian, 17-19 Davies St, London W1K 3DE. Until 10 February. 




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


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 World’s Biggest Disney Exhibition

It all began with a mouse and now, 100 years later, a major exhibition is showing in London, inviting fans to experience the iconic characters, stories and experiences that touched the lives of audiences around the world. Disney100: The Exhibition features 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. Until 21 January 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 brings 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




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 features more than 180 looks, jewellery and accessories, exploring her legacy and the way she redefined fashion forever.

V&A, Cromwell Rd, London SW7 2RL. Until 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 last year’s BRITs. The Design Museum, 224-238 Kensington High St, London W8 6AG. Until 11 February 2024.




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.

Head here for more info. DIVA, V&A Museum, Cromwell Road, London, SW7 2RL. Until 30 April 2024. Tickets £20




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




Frameless

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.




Like what you've read? Why not subscribe to our free, monthly newsletter?

bottom of page