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TOP 20 LONDON EXHIBITIONS THIS JULY

The Capital's Unmissable Art Shows this July 2024
Taylor Swift V&A

The two poster girls for women's empowerment, Barbie and Taylor Swift take over the art scene this July, with two major exhibitions.


There's also a blockbuster Tate Modern show from the Godfather of immersive exhibitions, as well as the Glastonbury of the art world - The RA's Summer Exhibition - and Naomi Campbell's big V&A show.


This month also sees powerful and provocative photography exhibitions, from a big Princess Diana retrospective, to Sir Elton John and David Furnish's photography collection, and a moving show about the journeys of displaced Ukrainian refugees.


Naturally, there are also some wonderfully playful and immersive experiences, including Francis Alÿs' beautiful show celebrating child's play; a trippy journey through spiritual worlds, a celebration of art and sound, cartoonish hospitals, LEGO art, trips to the moon with Tom Hanks and a journey through Japanese art and design.


So point your eyes at our top 20 London exhibitions this July and then take them there.

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Taylor Swift
FREE Taylor Swift Exhibition Launches at V&A

If there hasn’t been enough Swift mania engulfing your feeds, news and world, The V&A will launch a FREE Taylor Swift exhibition this month.

Fourteen looks from the 14-time Grammy winner’s personal collection will be showcased, in the theatrical, Taylor Swift - Songbook Trail.

The pop juggernaut’s career is traced through iconic costumes, accessories, instruments, awards, storyboards and previously unseen items, on loan from Swift’s personal archive.

Taylor Swift - Songbook Trail, V&A South Kensington, Cromwell Road, London SW7 2RL. 27 July - 8 September 2024. FREE


Barbie exhibition
Barbie: The Exhibition

The wonder doll (and society’s) evolution is charted in this luminous exhibition, which opened this month, to coincide with Barbie’s 65th birthday.

Exploring her story through a design lens including fashion, architecture, furniture and vehicle design, her plastic-fantastic universe has engulfed the Design Museum, showing changing attitudes to women’s careers - Barbie has had more than 250 jobs -  race, sexuality, fashion and body image.

Highlights include a rare first edition of the very first doll released by Mattel in 1959, the first Black, Hispanic and Asian dolls to bear the Barbie name, as well as dolls that reflect today’s diverse, multicultural society, including the first Barbie with Down Syndrome, the first to use a wheelchair, and the first to be designed with a curvy body shape.

Design Museum, 224-238 Kensington High St, London W8 6AG. 5 July - 23 February 2025. Adult from £14.38. Children from £7.19


Francis Alys
Francis Alÿs: Ricochets

A new immersive exhibition celebrating the universality and ingenuity of play: Ricochets is the largest institutional show in the UK by internationally renowned artist Francis Alÿs in almost 15 years.

For the past two decades, Alÿs has travelled the world to film the critically acclaimed series Children’s Games: from ‘musical chairs’ in Mexico, to ‘leapfrog’ in Iraq, ‘jump rope’ in Hong Kong, and ‘wolf and lamb’ in Afghanistan.

Ricochets transforms The Barbican into a cinematic playground: throughout the exhibition, with multi-screen film installations focussing on children’s games.

The Barbican, Silk St, Barbican, London EC2Y 8DS. Until 1 September


Solid Light Tate
Anthony McCall - Solid Light at Tate Modern

The Godfather of immersive exhibitions, Anthony McCall brings his extraordinary, Solid Light show to Tate Modern on 27 June, inviting visitors to bring artworks to life through movements and interactions.

Beams of light projected through a thin mist create large, three-dimensional forms in space, which slowly shift and change. As you move through these translucent light sculptures, you’ll create new, airy sculptures.

Occupying a space between sculpture, cinema, drawing, and performance, McCall is known for his innovative installations of light. In 1973, his seminal work Line Describing a Cone redefined the possibilities of sculpture and this show is set to be the Tate’s next big blockbuster.

Anthony McCall: Solid Light. Tate Modern, Bankside, London SE1 9TG From 27 June to 27 April. Tickets £10 pp.


Summer Exhibition
Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy

It’s the Glastonbury of the art world, with works by art titans and emerging artists in every conceivable medium and style, so there is something for everybody.

This year, more than 1,200 artworks will spill out onto their courtyard and Piccadilly, coordinated by sculptor Ann Christopher RA and her committee of leading British artists and architects. Most of the paintings, prints and sculptures will be available to buy, with a number of works available for less than £250.

Sales from the Summer Exhibition support the exhibiting artists and RA's charitable work in the arts.

RA Summer Exhibition, Burlington House, Piccadilly, London W1J 0BD. 18 June - 18 August


suspended states serpentine
Suspended States at Serpentine Galleries

For more than 30 years, Yinka Shonibare CBE has used Western culture to explore national identities. Suspended States is his first London solo exhibition in more than 20 years. It showcases new works, exploring how power affects sites of refuge, debates on public statues, the ecological impact of colonialisation and the legacy of imperialism on conflict.

It includes two new major installations, like Sanctuary City, comprised of miniature buildings representing places of refuge, and The War Library, which is constructed from 5,000 books bound in Dutch wax print, representing conflicts and peace treaties.

Suspended States. Serpentine South Gallery, London W2 3XA. Until 1 September. FREE.


entheon illusionaries
Entheon at Illusionaries 

Illusionaries, Canary Wharf's new multi-sensory art space, invites us on a journey through three immersive rooms and installations, designed to engage the senses through soundscapes, animation, projection and colour.

The UK premiere of the Entheon show sees international artists Alex and Allyson Grey explore the human condition, with kaleidoscopic pieces, showing the interconnectedness of the physical and spiritual worlds.

Alex and Allyson are also the co-founders of Chapel of Sacred Mirrors (CoSM), a non-profit organisation dedicated to fostering creativity, spirituality and contemplation through art. 

Entheon. Illusionaries, Crossrail Pl, London E14 5AR. From 14 June.


Naomi Campbell
NAOMI in Fashion at V&A

The V&A will transform into the ultimate catwalk for a celebration of supermodel Naomi Campbell’s 40 year career, from 22 June. The show features more than 100 stunning outfits as well as iconic shots by some of the world’s biggest photographers, telling her extraordinary story and celebrating her creative collaborations, activism and far-reaching cultural impact.

Victoria & Albert Museum, Cromwell Rd, London SW7 2RL. 22 June - 6 April 2025


Princess Diana
Princess Diana: Accredited Access Exhibition

The nation’s fascination with Princess Diana isn’t going away any time soon. And a new exhibition promises to give a behind-the-scenes journey through her life, via art installations and 75 life-sized photographs by her official photographers.

They include the famous image of her sitting alone outside the Taj Mahal and the 'revenge dress' she wore the night King Charles admitted adultery. Her story is told through the lenses of Anwar Hussein and his two sons, Samir and Zak, her longest standing photographers, who share what they heard and witnessed during these iconic moments, in the accompanying audio guide.

Princess Diana: Accredited Access Exhibition. Dockside Vaults, Ivory House, London E1W 1AT. 25 May - 2 September. Tickets: £17/adult, £15/child.


V&A exhibition
Fragile Beauty 

Sir Elton John and David Furnish are sharing their extraordinary private collection of more than 300 rare prints from over 140 photographers, for V&A’s new, summer blockbuster. The show features photographers including Cindy Sherman, Ai Weiwei and Robert Mapplethorpe and includes portraits of Marilyn Monroe and Miles Davis.

It spans from the Fifties to the present day, covering the civil rights movement and AIDS activism to 9/11 and has eight themes, from the male body to fashion and celebrity. The show will be the gallery’s largest temporary exhibition of photography to date.

Fragile Beauty: Photographs from the Sir Elton John and David Furnish Collection in partnership with Gucci. Victoria & Albert Museum, Cromwell Rd, London SW7 2RL.  from 18 May to 5 January 2025. Tickets £20 pp.


Vinyl Factory Reverb
The Vinyl Factory: REVERB

The Vinyl Factory explores the intersection of art and sound with a major new multimedia exhibition at 180 Studios. Bringing together more than 100 artists and musicians working across visual arts, music, film and live performance, the show features 18 installations, including audio visual pieces and sonic experiences. There will also be a chill out space to listen to vinyl, plus live performances, talks and UK premieres of many ambitious new artworks.

The Vinyl Factory, 180 Studios, 180 Strand, Temple, London WC2R 1EA. 23 May - 28 September. 


Jason and the Adventure
Jason and the Adventure of 254

Artist Jason Wilsher-Mills presents his major (and FREE) solo exhibition, which transforms the gallery into a cartoonish hospital ward, full of surreal humour and kaleidoscopic colour, exploring his experience of becoming disabled as a child. The joyful show is perfect for all ages - you are invited to touch everything. Highlights include a giant installation of a figure in a hospital bed, Seb Coe with a TV for a head, huge calliper boots and penny arcade inspired dioramas.

Wellcome Collection183 Euston Rd, London NW1 2BE. FREE. 21 March - 12 January 2025


Polly Braden
Polly Braden: Leaving Ukraine

Polly Braden has used her camera to document the lives of women, children and babies scattered across Europe since the outbreak of the war in Ukraine. And this deeply moving exhibition uses photography and film to share their extraordinary journeys, from job interviews, first days at school, trips to buy wedding dresses and poignant family reunions. Following four central stories, we see teenagers grow into young adults and babies into toddlers. 

Foundling Museum, Brunswick Square, London. £12.75. 21 and under go free. 15 March - 1 September


Myths to Manga
Japan: Myths to Manga at Young V&A

Take a trip through Japan and explore how landscape and folklore have influenced Japanese art, technology and design, featuring a seal shaped robotic comforter, Hello Kitty paraphrenalia, draw your own Manga characters and learn nifty facts about Sylvanian Families toys being born out of hundreds-of-years old netsuke animal sculptures.

Young V&A Museum, Bethnal Green, Tower Hamlets, Cambridge Heath Rd, Bethnal Green, London E2 9PA. General Museum access, free. Until 8 September


Yoko Ono Boat
Yoko Ono: Music for the Mind

Spanning more than seven decades and featuring over 200 artworks, this is the UK’s largest exhibition celebrating Ono’s groundbreaking, multidisciplinary career, from the mid-1950s to now – including her years in London where she met her future husband and longtime collaborator John Lennon.

It includes her Instruction Pieces, which you can interact with - shaking hands with a stranger through a hole; making a peace wish and tying it to a tree; drawing on a boat installation; completing tasks inside a black bag and playing chess with all-white pieces as well as her most famous pieces, like the banned Bottoms film and Cut Piece, where people were invited to cut off her clothing.

Tate Modern, Bankside, London SE1 9TG. Until 1 September. £20 per adult. Free for under 12s.


Lego Dinosaur
Immersive Lego Exhibition

Aptly opening on Brick Lane, The Art of Brick brings its Lego masterpieces to London, following tours of more than 100 cities in 24 countries.

The exhibition features artist Nathan Sawaya's Lego recreations of some of the world’s most famous artworks, from Michelangelo’s David to Van Gogh’s Starry Night and Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. Among the wonders, visitors will also find a 6-metre-long reproduction of a Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton

Kids (and big kids) can also make their own masterpieces at the play and build area.

The Boiler House, 152 Brick Lane, London, E1 6RU. Until 31 August


Tom Hanks and Space Ship
The Moonwalkers: A Journey with Tom Hanks

Lightroom leapt inside David Hockney’s brain for his juggernaut retrospective and now turns its immersive technology to space, with added Tom Hanks.

The Apollo 13 star narrates the audio-visual experience, which offers a unique new perspective on humankind’s past and future voyages to the moon.

Telling the stories of the Apollo missions in intimate detail, The Moonwalkers also provides an insight into the impending return of crewed surface missions by going behind-the-scenes of the Artemis programme, including interviews between Hanks and Artemis astronauts.

If your own trip to the moon is looking unlikely, the immersive gallery promises the next best thing, with its tech-wizardry taking visitors on a voyage to our closest celestial neighbour.

Lightroom, 12, Lewis Cubitt Square, London N1C 4DY. Until 13 October 2024. Tickets from £25


Elvis Exhibition
Direct from Graceland: Elvis

Elvis is in the building - not Graceland, but Arches London Bridge. This retrospective of the King of Rock is bulging with 400 artefacts from his Memphis home, charting his humble beginnings and meteoric rise to fame.

It includes his prized Ferrari Dino, gold-plated telephone, jazzy, Vegas era jumpsuits, Aviators and iconic gold lamé suit.

Super-fans can even opt for the White Glove Experience, to hold the gold microphone used in his 1969 Vegas shows, and his Gold International Belt.

It’s easier than a trip to Memphis and has been such a hit, they’ve extended it until 14 April.

Arches London Bridge8 Bermondsey St, London SE1 2ER. Until 1 September 2024 Tickets from £19.90 pp

Frameless Gallery
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


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