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17 Best London Exhibitions: Art To See In 2024

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By The Sybarite Team on 10th May 2024

As London’s vibrant art scene continues to evolve, 2024 promises an array of captivating exhibitions in London that can fascinate art enthusiasts and casual observers alike.

From photographic retrospectives to innovative sculptural displays, this year’s lineup showcases both celebrated masters and emerging talents. Look forward to the best exhibitions in 2024 across London galleries, offering a curated selection of art shows and cultural experiences.

Whether you are drawn to the dynamic worlds of street photography, the delicate narratives of contemporary sculpture, or the rich histories depicted through fashion, London’s galleries and museums offer a diverse palette of visual delights.

Here are some of the most anticipated exhibitions across the city, highlighting not only the art but also the unique stories they tell and the global cultures they represent.

1. Art of The Brick, The Boiler House, London

The Art of the Brick in London features an elaborate display of art made entirely from LEGO® bricks. Created by artist Nathan Sawaya, this exhibition is recognized globally as one of CNN's "Must-See" exhibitions. It has toured over 100 cities across 24 countries, drawing more than 10 million visitors. The collection includes over 100 unique works, including re-imagined versions of famous art masterpieces like Michelangelo’s David and Van Gogh’s Starry Night, as well as an impressive 6-metre-long replica of a Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton.

Details:

  • Dates: From March 6, 2024

  • Location: The Boiler House, 152 Brick Lane, London, E1 6RU (Entrance on Buxton Street)

  • Ticket Prices: Adults from £15.90, Children from £11.90, Children under 4 enter free

  • More Info: Art of The Brick London

2. The Art of Transformation: Ephemera Elevated, 45 Park Lane, London

The Art of Transformation: Ephemera Elevated features a collection of seven artists, whose work challenges conventional perspectives, inviting viewers to unravel the hidden meanings underneath. From decommissioned banknotes to street posters and confectionery wrappers, this is a world where nothing is as it seems. Key themes include collecting, collage, advertising and sustainability. Many artists have created works exclusively for this exhibition. Works are displayed around the hotel's lobby and art deco bar, Bar 45.

3. Hello Brain!, Francis Crick Institute

"Hello Brain!" is an immersive exhibition at the Francis Crick Institute that explores the marvellous and mysterious world inside your head. It invites visitors to find out how neurons firing inside the brain make more connections than there are stars in our galaxy. The exhibit includes interactive elements like brain-crafting activities and offers insights into phenomena such as hallucinations and lab-grown neurons.

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4. ‘The Time Is Always Now’, National Portrait Gallery

‘The Time Is Always Now’ is a major exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery that explores the representation of the Black figure in contemporary art. Curated by writer Ekow Eshun, it features the works of artists from the African diaspora, including Michael Armitage, Lubaina Himid, Kerry James Marshall, Toyin Ojih Odutola, and Amy Sherald. The exhibition delves into the richness and complexity of Black life, surveying both the presence and absence of Black figures in Western art history.

Details:

  • Dates: February 22, 2024 - May 19, 2024

5. Yoko Ono: Music of the Mind, Tate Modern

"Yoko Ono: Music of the Mind" at Tate Modern is the UK’s largest exhibition celebrating the trailblazing work of artist and activist Yoko Ono. Spanning over seven decades, the exhibition includes key moments from Ono's multidisciplinary career, from her early conceptual and participatory art to her recent works. It features over 200 works including instruction pieces, scores, installations, films, music, and photography. Highlights include the performance "Cut Piece" and the interactive installation "Wish Trees for London," inviting visitors to contribute personal wishes for peace.

Details:

  • Dates: February 15, 2024 - September 1, 2024

  • Location: Tate Modern, Bankside, London SE1 9TG

  • Ticket Prices: £22; free for Tate Members; Concessions available

  • More Info: Tate Modern - Yoko Ono

6. Unravel: The Power and Politics of Textiles in Art, Barbican

"Unravel: The Power and Politics of Textiles in Art" is a major group exhibition at the Barbican that explores the multifaceted narratives textiles weave into the socio-political fabric of our lives. Featuring 50 international, intergenerational artists, this exhibition uses textiles to challenge power structures and express ideas of power, resistance, and survival. It includes intimate hand-crafted works and large-scale installations, expressing themes of violence, imperialism, resilience, and hope, among others. The exhibition also addresses sensitive topics such as police brutality, sexual violence, colonialism, and racism.

Details:

  • Dates: February 13, 2024 – May 26, 2024

  • Location: Barbican Centre, Silk Street, London, EC2Y 8DS

  • Ticket Prices: £18 (standard admission), various concessions available

  • More Info:: Unravel at the Barbican

7. Sargent and Fashion, Tate Britain

“Sargent and Fashion” is an exhibition that explores the unique intersection of fashion, identity, and painting through the works of John Singer Sargent. This exhibition highlights how Sargent captured the essence of his era’s fashion and its societal implications within his portraits. It provides a deep dive into the painter’s approach to fashion in art and its role in shaping the identities portrayed in his works, particularly through his paintings. These paintings serve as a vibrant canvas where Sargent explores fashion and identity, showcasing his remarkable ability to depict the intricate details and textures of fabrics, thus bringing his subjects' personalities and the fashion of the time to life.

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8. Frank Auerbach: ‘The Charcoal Heads', The Courtauld

"The Charcoal Heads" by Frank Auerbach at The Courtauld Gallery presents a unique collection of large-scale charcoal drawings from the early years of Auerbach's career. Created in the 1950s and 1960s in post-war London, these drawings are known for their depth and intensity, which reflect the period's atmosphere of rebuilding and recovery. This exhibition marks the first comprehensive grouping of these works, offering insight into Auerbach's process of repeatedly creating and destroying images until achieving the desired impact.

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9. Ainu Stories: Contemporary Lives by the Saru River, Japan House London

"Ainu Stories: Contemporary Lives by the Saru River" at Japan House London offers a deep dive into the modern lives of the Ainu, the indigenous people of northern Japan, particularly around the Saru River in Hokkaido. This exhibition showcases contemporary Ainu culture through video interviews, displays of Ainu crafts like textiles and woodcarving, and performances. It also highlights the preservation efforts for the Ainu language and culture, emphasizing the engagement of younger community members in these initiatives.

Details:

  • Dates: November 16, 2023 – April 21, 2024

  • Location: Japan House London, 101-111 Kensington High Street, London, W8 5SA

  • Ticket Prices: Free admission, booking recommended

  • More Info:  Ainu Stories at Japan House London

10. Zineb Sedira: Dreams Have No Titles, Whitechapel Gallery

“Zineb Sedira: Dreams Have No Titles” at Whitechapel Gallery is an immersive exhibition originally conceived for the French Pavilion at the 59th Venice Biennale. This UK debut weaves together Zineb Sedira’s personal biography with a broader narrative of activist cinema from France, Algeria, and Italy during the 1960s and 1970s.

The exhibit transforms the gallery into a cinematic journey, featuring recreated film sets from iconic movies, alongside Sedira’s own film, “Dreams Have No Titles,” which uses these sets as a backdrop. The installation view of Zineb Sedira's exhibition at the Venice Biennale and the Whitechapel Gallery highlights the immersive and transformative aspect of the gallery space, offering visitors a unique, enveloping experience. The exhibition blurs the lines between reality and fiction, celebrating the power of cinema while reflecting on the unfulfilled promises of past revolutionary movements.

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11. When Forms Come Alive: 60 Years of Restless Sculpture

"When Forms Come Alive: 60 Years of Restless Sculpture" is a dynamic exhibition hosted at the Hayward Gallery, exploring six decades of contemporary sculpture. This exhibit showcases how artists have drawn inspiration from natural and spontaneous movements—like the gestures of a dancer or the motion of a wave. Featuring works from 21 international artists, these sculptures evoke a sense of flux, movement, and organic growth, offering viewers a tactile and immersive experience that celebrates the physicality and animation of form.

Details:

  • Dates: February 7, 2024 – May 6, 2024

  • Location: Hayward Gallery, London

  • Ticket Prices: £18 - £19, Free for members and children under 12

  • More Info: When Forms Come Alive

12. Saul Leiter: An Unfinished World, MK Gallery

"Saul Leiter: An Unfinished World" at MK Gallery showcases a selection of works by the renowned photographer Saul Leiter. This exhibition offers insight into Leiter’s unique perspective on the world through his vibrant color photography and his more introspective black-and-white images. Known for his abstract forms and radical use of colors, Leiter's work captures the complexity of urban life with a poetic and painterly eye. The exhibition is a comprehensive look at Leiter’s exploration of photography and his ongoing impact on the medium.

Details:

  • Dates: February 17, 2024 – June 2, 2024

  • Location: MK Gallery, 900 Midsummer Blvd, Milton Keynes, MK9 3QA

  • Ticket Prices: From £5.75 - £11.50

  • More Info: Saul Leiter - An Unfinished World

13. Wildlife Photographer of the Year, Natural History Museum

The "Wildlife Photographer of the Year" exhibition at the Natural History Museum showcases some of the world's best wildlife photography, capturing the beauty and fragility of the natural world in stunning detail. This prestigious competition brings together awe-inspiring images from amateur and professional photographers alike, highlighting not only the natural beauty of the planet but also the urgent need to protect it.

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14. Streetlife, David Hill Gallery

The "Streetlife" exhibition, presented by Framelines and David Hill Gallery, features compelling street photography that captures vibrant urban life through candid moments. This exhibition includes powerful images that offer glimpses into everyday occurrences and the dynamic interactions that characterize street scenes.

Details:

  • Dates: Showing until May 18th

  • Location: David Hill Gallery, 345 Ladbroke Grove, London W10 6HA

  • More Info: David Hill Gallery

15. Legion: Life in the Roman Army, The British Museum

"Legion: Life in the Roman Army" at The British Museum delves into the daily lives, duties, and challenges faced by Roman soldiers. Spanning the rise and expansion of one of history's most formidable military machines, this exhibition explores the personal and collective stories of the men who fought for the Roman Empire. Featuring a range of artifacts, including weaponry, armor, personal belongings, and military documents, the exhibition offers a look at the complexities of Roman military life and its profound impact on the regions under Roman control.
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16. Zimingzhong: Clockwork Treasures from China's Forbidden City, The Science Museum

"Zimingzhong: Clockwork Treasures from China's Forbidden City" at The Science Museum is a fascinating exhibition that showcases the exquisite mechanical ingenuity of ancient China. This exhibition allows visitors to turn back the hands of time and explore the luxurious timepieces and automated devices once prized by the emperors of the Forbidden City. These intricate clockwork treasures represent a unique blend of Chinese craftsmanship and European horological influences that flourished during the Qing dynasty.

Details:

17. Turn It Up: The Power of Music, Science Museum

"Turn It Up: The Power of Music" at the Science Museum is an immersive, interactive exhibition that explores the profound influence of music on our lives. Extended by popular demand, this landmark exhibition delves into how music shapes our experiences, emotions, and connections. Visitors can engage with various interactive displays that demonstrate the physical and psychological impacts of music, from the ways it can alter mood and memory to its role in cultural and social movements.

Details:

  • Dates: Extended until September 1, 2024

  • Location: Science Museum, Exhibition Road, South Kensington, London, SW7 2DD

  • Ticket Prices: Entry to the museum is free, but booking for the exhibition is required.

  • More Info: Turn It Up: The Power of Music

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