Best London Exhibitions in 2018

 
 
 
 
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Rhythm & Reaction: The Age of Jazz in Britain

Edward Burra, The Band, 1934

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Rhythm & Reaction: The Age of Jazz in Britain
Ocean Liners: Speed & Style
Another Kind Of Life: Photography On The Margins
Hope to Nope: Graphics and Politics 2008-2018
Fashioned From Nature
Azzedine Alaia: The Couturier
The Future Starts Here
Videogames
 

 

The V&A looks at the complex relationship between fashion and nature, the British Museum demonstrates the use of objects as forms of protest, and the Design Museum explores the different ways political messages have been conveyed over the past decade. These are the best exhibitions in London 2018, as chosen by LondonTown.

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Rhythm & Reaction: The Age of Jazz in Britain

A major exhibition marking 100 years since jazz reached Britain.

Two Temple Place, 2 Temple Place, London, WC2R 3BD

Tube: Temple Station

 

Dates: 27th January - 22nd April 2018

 

Marking 100 years since jazz reached Britain in the aftermath of the First World War, Two Temple Place, a spectacular neo-Gothic mansion on London's Victoria Embankment, reopens in January 2018 with its seventh annual winter exhibition, Rhythm & Reaction: The Age of Jazz in Britain. Produced in partnership with The Arts Society, on its 50th anniversary, this major exhibition brings together paintings of dancers by William Roberts and Frank Dobson, displayed alongside the Harlem-inspired paintings by Edward Burra. Prints, cartoons, textiles and ceramics, moving film, instruments and the all-important jazz sound are all used to examine the influence of jazz on British art, design and wider society.

 
 
 

Ocean Liners: Speed & Style

Discover the glamour and engineering behind the golden age of ocean travel.

Victoria and Albert (V & A) Museum, Cromwell Road, London, SW7 2RL

Tube: South Kensington Station

 

Dates: 03rd February - 17th June 2018

 

Explore the romantic and remarkable age of ocean travel and discover how ocean liners helped shape the modern world at the V&A. A fragment of wooden panelling from the Titanic, luggage belonging to the Duke of Windsor and a 1950's photograph of movie star Marlene Dietrich on board the Queen Elizabeth are among more than 250 objects which show the golden age of ocean travel. Beginning with Brunel's steamship, the Great Eastern of 1859, the exhibition traces the design stories behind some of the world's most luxurious liners. Ship models, objects from shipyards, posters and film explore all aspects of ocean travel from ground-breaking engineering to the fashion and lifestyle on board.

 
 
 

Another Kind Of Life: Photography On The Margins

A look at how artists take inspiration from those on the fringes of mainstream society.

Barbican Centre, Silk Street, London, EC2Y 8DS

Tube: Barbican Station , Moorgate Station

 

Dates: 28th February - 27th May 2018

 

Part of 2018 season The Art of Change, Another Kind of Life at the Barbican explores how photographers and artists take inspiration from those on the margins of society. Through a display of more than 300 works by 20 photographers, taken between 1950 and the present day, it will look at how some of the most powerful images of the 20th and 21st century come as a result of the engagement with communities who are often at odds with, or on the fringes of, the mainstream and how social attitudes have evolved over time. Works by the likes of Bruce Davidson, Casa Susanna, Larry Clark and Mary Ellen will go on display, with vintage and contemporary prints, archival material, specialist magazines, and rare film and photo books that touch on gender and sexuality, drugs and addiction, youth culture and minorities of all kinds.

 
 
 

Hope to Nope: Graphics and Politics 2008-2018

An exploration of the different ways political messages have been conveyed in the past ten years.

Design Museum, 224-238 Kensington High Street, London, W8 6AG

Tube: High Street Kensington Station

 

Dates: 28th March to 12th August 2018

 

Taking the global financial crash of 2008 as its starting point and looking at the unsettled decade since, Hope to Nope explores the different ways political messages have been conveyed in the past ten years. The graphic message in the Barack Obama "Hope" poster by artist Shepard Fairey gives this Design Museum exhibition its title. It stands out among the political posters but with the proliferation of protest placards and the rise of social media, political iconography is being used as never before.

 
 
 

Fashioned From Nature

This blockbuster exhibition looks at the complex relationship between fashion and nature.

Victoria and Albert (V & A) Museum, Cromwell Road, London, SW7 2RL

Tube: South Kensington Station

 

Dates: 21st April 2018 to 27th January 2019

 

The latest in a series of major fashion exhibitions at the V&A, Fashioned from Nature looks at the complex relationship between fashion and the natural world. Tracing back to 1600, it will explore how fashionable dress continuously draws on the beauty of nature for inspiration and how pieces by the likes of Christian Dior, Dries van Noten and Philip Treacy reflect this. The exhibition will also delve into how fashion's processes and constant demand for raw materials can have a damaging effect on the environment. Pieces on display include Emma Watson's Calvin Klein dress made from recycled plastic bottles, an upcycled dress by Christopher Raeburn, and an 1875 pair of earrings formed from the heads of two real Honeycreeper birds.

 
 
 
 

Rodin and the art of ancient Greece

Connecting Rodin, the art of antiquity and sculptures on the Parthenon.

British Museum, Great Russell Street, London, WC1B 3DG

Tube: Tottenham Court Road Station , Russell Square Station, Holborn Station

 

Dates: 26th April - 29th July 2018

 

French sculptor Auguste Rodin, one of the greatest and most innovative sculptors of the modern era, took his inspiration from the art of antiquity. He regularly travelled to London and visited the British Museum to sketch. So it's entirely appropriate that this is where Rodin and the art of ancient Greece, an exhibition staged in collaboration with the Musée Rodin,is being held. Visitors can see how Rodin admired the art of antiquity, particularly the works of Phidias who carved the sculptures on the Parthenon.

 
 
 

Shape of Light: 100 Years of Photography and Abstract Art

The first major exhibition to explore the relationship between abstract art and the invention of photography.

Tate Modern, Bankside Power Station, 25 Sumner Street, London, SE1 9TG

Tube: Blackfriars Underground Station

 

Dates: 2nd May to 14th October 2018

 

Shape of Light at Tate Modern is the first major exhibition to explore the relationship between abstract art and the invention of photography. The launch of these were defining moments in modern visual culture but the two stories are often told individually. Spanning from the 1910s to the present day, this exhibition will bring to life the innovation and originality of photographers in this period and demonstrate how they responded and contributed to the development of abstraction. Vintage prints by the likes of Paul Strand and Man Ray will go on display alongside lesser-known experimental works and pieces by contemporary artists such as Barbara Kasten and Thomas Ruff.

 
 
 

Azzedine Alaia: The Couturier

An exploration of the Alaia's career and creative process.

Design Museum, 224-238 Kensington High Street, London, W8 6AG

Tube: High Street Kensington Station

 

Dates: 10th May to 7th October 2018

 

A major new exhibition at the Design Museum, Azzedine Alaia: The Couturier explores the career and creative process of the famed couturier and shoe designer. Before his untimely death in November 2017, the museum had worked closely with Alaia to plan this major exhibition. Following his passing, the unique exhibition will go ahead as the designer had planned, exploring his passion and energy for fashion as he himself intended it to be seen. Renowned for his skill at tailoring and innovative use of materials, Alaia would design his garments by draping and sculpting directly onto the human frame and meticulously cutting his own pattern. This exhibition will showcase more than 60 outstanding examples of his work from the past 35 years as well as specially commissioned architectural elements by leading artists and designers with whom AlaĂŻa worked closely.

 
 
 

The Future Starts Here

A look at how powerful design will be the making of the world tomorrow.

Victoria and Albert (V & A) Museum, Cromwell Road, London, SW7 2RL

Tube: South Kensington Station

 

Dates: 12th May to 4th November 2018

 

A blockbuster spring exhibition, The Future Starts Here sees the V&A look at the power of design in the making of the world tomorrow. Bringing together groundbreaking technologies and drawing upon international research, it will showcase a picture of a rapidly advancing future. A display of more than 100 items will explore how such objects can impact the body, the home, politics, cities and the planet. Objects on display include portraits generated by DNA, a chargeable shirt that can power a smartphone, items printed by the world's first zero gravity printer, and a global seed bank that could be used to prevent loss of plant species in the event of a crisis. From smart appliances to artificial intelligence and new projects from the likes of Google and Apple, this is a glimpse into the future.

 
 
 

Frida Kahlo's Wardrobe

The museum puts the spotlight on the Mexican artist and her famously colourful wardrobe.

Victoria and Albert (V & A) Museum, Cromwell Road, London, SW7 2RL

Tube: South Kensington Station

 

Dates: 16th June to 4th November 2018

 

The Victoria and Albert Museum's major fashion exhibition for 2018 puts the spotlight on Mexican artist Frida Kahlo and her famously colourful wardrobe. The artist's personal items, including necklaces, photographs and letters that have never been seen outside Mexico, will be displayed at the V&A from 16th June. The exhibition also puts key self-portraits on display, showing her wearing many of the costumes discovered in the Blue House, her home in Mexico City where she was born, lived and died. Medical corsets, jewellery, accessories, photographs and letters offer a fresh perspective on Kahlo's compelling life story. A unique opportunity to see material that, apart from the paintings, has never before been exhibited outside Mexico.

 
 
 
 

I Object

An exploration of how people have used objects to mock the powerful.

British Museum, Great Russell Street, London, WC1B 3DG

Tube: Tottenham Court Road Station , Russell Square Station, Holborn Station

 

Dates: 6th September 2018 to 20th January 2019

 

This autumn the British Museum explores how people have used objects to subvert official ideology and to mock the powerful throughout history. These objects associated with dissent - like the suffragettes of the Edwardian era, and the work of outspoken Chinese artists - challenge the status quo. Often anonymously created, the pieces give a voice to those who would otherwise be without one. From a defaced Roman bust to 18th century satirical prints to modern African cloth, each object has been chosen because of the subversive or satirical message it carries.

 
 
 

Videogames

The first show to fully consider the complexity of video games as an important design field.

Victoria and Albert (V & A) Museum, Cromwell Road, London, SW7 2RL

Tube: South Kensington Station

 

Dates: 8th September 2018 to 24th February 2019

 

Embracing the current renaissance in Videogames, the V&A presents a major new show this September. The first show to fully consider the complexity of video games as an important design field, it will look at how a new wave of designers, players and critics are pushing the medium's boundaries. Exploring the design and culture of the medium since the mid-2000s - when fast-tracked technology increased access to the internet - the exhibition will investigate groundbreaking contemporary design work and rebellious player communities, as well as the political conversations that define this movement. Visitors will be able to explore large-scale immersive multimedia installations and take part in hands-on interactive experiences. Object-based displays will also be present, providing a glimpse of design materials from leading studios.

 
 
 

Oceania

A celebration of 250 year of the Royal Academy of Arts.

Royal Academy of Arts, Burlington House, London, W1J 0BD

Tube: Green Park Station , Piccadilly Circus Station

 

Dates: 29th September to 10th December 2018

 

Exploring themes of voyaging, place-making and encounter, Oceania marks the 250th anniversary of the Royal Academy of Arts, founded in 1768,the same year Captain James Cook set sail on his first expedition from Plymouth on the Endeavour. The first major survey of Oceanic art to be held in the United Kingdom, this ambitious exhibition celebrates the art of Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia, encompassing the vast South Pacific region from NewGuinea to Easter Island, Hawaii to New Zealand and bringing together exceptional works from the ancient past through to the present day.

 
 
 
 
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