With the National Portrait Gallery reopening after its three-year refurb, 2023 promises to be a big year for art in London. Here’s our pick of some of the key exhibitions hitting the capital’s galleries in the coming months.
Edinburgh-born painter Peter Doig will be the first contemporary artist to exhibit in the Courtauld following its reopening in 2021. Fittingly, 2021 was a big year for Doig too, as it saw his return to London after 20 years in Trinidad. This exhibition presents new work from the period straddling the move, covering themes of transition and memory. It hangs alongside the Courtauld’s impressive permanent collection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings, which Doig has described in the past as being a significant influence. These, along with a selection of Doig’s drawings and prints, present his creative process in fascinating context.
Assembling the work of over 150 artists, Beyond the Streets will be the UK’s biggest graffiti and street art exhibition to date and one of 2023’s most unmissable. For the first time in years, all three floors of the Saatchi Gallery will be dedicated to one show. Expect large-scale installations, photography, archival fashion and ‘ephemera’ curated by graffiti historian Roger Gastman to illustrate how the movement has evolved from raw public expression to a respected art form. Sponsored by adidas Originals, the exhibition will look also look at the impact of street culture on clothes, music and film with a particular focus on punk and hip-hop.
With a programme that includes Sarah Lucas at Tate Britain in September and the divisive Philip Guston at Tate Modern in October, there’s plenty to choose from at the Tate Galleries this year. First up though is Forms of Life, a joint exhibition of the work of Piet Mondrian and Hilma af Klint – two abstract artists who never met but nonetheless shared a fascination with spiritualism, science, religion and nature. With over 250 paintings and drawings presented, including mystical works af Klint didn’t want anyone to see until after her death, the show promises to bring to life the pair’s artistic responses to these contradictory themes.
The Barbican will shortly host the largest UK exhibition of Alice Neel’s intense and expressionistic portraits of 20th century American figures. Neel, who was undervalued as an artist during her lifetime, was a radical left-wing artist based in New York and inspired by the rebels, eccentrics, activists and marginalised women around her. Although unfashionable at the time, her work has grown in popularity in recent years and her pieces often now fetch in excess of $2 million. This exhibition includes in full the 1959 Beat film Pull My Daisy, which was narrated by Jack Kerouac and featured Neel just as she was beginning to penetrate New York’s art scene.
Hockney: Bigger & Closer (not smaller & further away)
Following the success of the immersive Van Gogh and Klimt exhibitions comes this digital Hockney spectacle; the inaugural show of the impressive-looking Lightroom venue due to open at King’s Cross this month. Celebrating 60 years of the artist, and with a specially composed score and commentary voiced by the man himself, Bigger & Closer will allow visitors to immerse themselves in Hockney’s greatest works via large-scale projections and augmented reality media. Take part in his experiments with perspective, journey through his most famous pieces and see newly created work for the first time – this is an experience not to be missed.
The V&A is currently paying homage to the significant space Africa holds in the fashion industry. Running until April 2023, Africa fashion is a landmark exhibition celebrating the pure craftsmanship, innovative and undeniable global impact of African fashion.
Celebrated annually since 1801 in homes across Scotland, Burns Night commemorates the life and legacy of the famous Scottish bard, Robert Burns. Arts & Culture contributor Jonathan Riley is here to tell you more about this long-held Caledonian tradition.