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Best art exhibitions in London 2021

Don't miss out on the best London art exhibitions in reopened galleries, or plan ahead for future exhibitions.
A lady, wearing a face covering, holds an exhibition catalogue while  staring up at artwork. More of Van Gogh's works are projected onto the walls behind.
Van Gogh Alive at Kensington Gardens, London. Photo: Pamela Raith. Image courtesy of Van Gogh Alive

The wide range of galleries in London have an exciting lineup of exhibitions allowing you to get your art fix. 

Returning and new exhibitions in London

Get ready to admire amazing artworks with some of these top exhibitions in London.

1. Igshaan Adams: Kicking Dust at Hayward Gallery

Explore ideas related to race, religion and sexuality in Igshaan Adams’ first UK exhibition, Kicking Dust, at the Hayward Gallery. Combining multiple patterns and mediums, from weaving to sculpture, Adams draws on Islamic iconography and aspects of his own identity, in this immersive exhibition. Until 25 Jul

2. Insight Investment Astronomy Photographer of the Year at the National Maritime Museum

Gaze at out-of-this-world imagery from space photographers, as the Insight Investment Astronomy Photographer of the Year exhibition comes back into orbit at the National Maritime Museum. This stellar display features more than 100 of the best entries to this annual competition, including images of the Milky Way and aurorae. Until 8 Aug

3. Jean Dubuffet: Brutal Beauty at Barbican Art Gallery

Find an alternative take on beauty in more than 150 works that comprise Jean Dubuffet: Brutal Beauty at the Barbican Art Gallery. One of France’s most prominent post-war modernist artists, Dubuffet shuns the usual concepts of true beauty, instead highlighting it through everyday life, in a range of materials and mediums. Until 22 Aug

4. Eileen Agar: Angel of Anarchy at Whitechapel Gallery

Chart the wide-ranging work of Eileen Agar – whose career spanned seven decades, numerous styles and countless influences – at Whitechapel Gallery. From cubism and surrealism to abstraction, classical imagery to sexual exploration, Eileen Agar: Angel of Anarchy showcases how Agar became one of the 20th century’s most dynamic artists. Until 29 Aug

5. David Hockney: The Arrival of Spring, Normandy, 2020, at the Royal Academy of Arts

As lockdown began in 2020, David Hockney started to capture the spring landscape in the garden and countryside surrounding his new home in Normandy. Using his iPad, the British artist created 116 works that have been brought together in David Hockney: The Arrival of Spring, Normandy, 2020, at the Royal Academy of Arts in celebration of the spring and new beginnings. Until 26 Sep

6. Van Gogh Alive at Kensington Gardens

Become immersed in some of Van Gogh’s most famous paintings at the unique Van Gogh Alive exhibition in Kensington Gardens this summer. Complete with the sights, sounds and smells of Provence, this multisensory experience allows you to enter Bedroom in Arles, snap a selfie with sunflowers in an Insta-worthy mirrored room and more. Until 26 Sep.

7. JR: Chronicles at Saatchi Gallery

From his portrayals of graffiti artists in Paris, to large-scale architectural works and community-led public art across the world, photographer and artist JR has risen to prominence over the past 15 years. Discover some of his most eye-catching installations with JR: Chronicles at the Saatchi Gallery. Until 3 Oct

8. James Barnor: Accra/London, A Retrospective at Serpentine Galleries

The work of Ghanaian-born photographer James Barnor is put under the spotlight at the Serpentine Galleries this summer. The first major retrospective of his work looks into a 30-year period of his career, during which he captured major social and political changes both in his nation of birth and his new home in London. Until 22 Oct

9. The EY Exhibition: The Making of Rodin at Tate Modern

Understand the importance of plaster in Auguste Rodin’s art, and discover the ways in which he portrayed the human body broke all the rules. The EY Exhibition: The Making of Rodin explores the artist’s works and models during this major Tate Modern exhibition. Until 21 Nov

10. The Art of Banksy at 50 Earlham Street

Banksy’s iconic street art has long been a mystery, with stencil works popping up in unexpected places. But you can now see many of the unknown artist’s works in one place, as the world’s largest collection of privately owned Banksys is brought together in The Art of Banksy at 50 Earlham StreetSeven Dials. Until 21 Nov

11. Turner's Modern World at Tate Britain

See Turner’s Modern World at Tate Britain. Discover how JMW Turner adapted to a changing landscape in the midst of the industrial revolution through some of his most iconic works, such as The Fighting Temeraire, and Rail, Steam and Speed. Until 12 Sep

12. Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirror Rooms at Tate Modern

Discover a world of endless reflections inside Yoyoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirror Rooms at Tate Modern. Combining 2012 work Infinity Mirrored Room – Filled with the Brilliance of Life, and a Chandelier of Grief, this exhibition offers a mesmerising and immersive glimpse into the mind of the Japanese artist. Until Jun 2022

13. Illuminated River

Five new bridges have been added to the Illuminated River installation this spring, meaning nine of London’s iconic bridges now come to life at night with thousands of LED lights. See Westminster Bridge lit in green hues, marvel at pulses of light on the Millennium Bridge or spot saturated colours inspired by impressionist paintings on Southwark Bridge. Ongoing

London exhibitions in 2021 to book ahead

14. No Comply: Skate Culture and Commodity at Somerset House

Even if you don’t know your half-pipe from your heelflip, No Comply: Skate Culture and Commodity gives you a chance to explore the skateboarding subculture. This free exhibition at the Somerset House mixes film, fashion, art and more to tell the story of the sport in the UK. 19 Jul-19 Sep

15. Summer Exhibition 2021 at the Royal Academy of Arts

Taking place since 1769, the Royal Academy of Arts' Summer Exhibition brings together artwork in all its forms from big names and emerging stars. You can view works by incredible artists, or treat yourself to your very own artwork to take home, all based around the Summer Exhibition 2021 theme "Reclaiming Magic". 22 Sep-2 Jan

16. Poussin and the Dance at the National Gallery

Visit the National Gallery for an epic exhibition of Poussin’s works and watch dance come to life with Poussin and the Dance. Showcasing some of the artist's best paintings and drawings, alongside the antique sculpture he studied, the exhibition allows you to witness the 17th-century painter’s evolution. 9 Oct-2 Jan

Find more of the latest exhibitions in London with our pick of the best museum exhibitions, or download the Visit London app for more inspiration on the go.