Summer Art in London

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Royal Academy Summer Exhibition

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Royal Academy Summer Exhibition
Nick Waplington/Alexander McQueen: Working Process - Tate Britain
Salt and Silver: Early Photography - Tate Britain
Marlene Dumas - Tate Modern
Agnes Martin - Tate Modern
Sonia Delaunay - Tate Modern
Inventing Impressionism - National Gallery
Frames in Focus: Sansovino Frames
Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2015: SelgasCano
Sargent - National Portrait Gallery
Wellington: Triumphs, Politics and Passion - National Portrait Gallery
Ai WeiWei - Royal Academy of Art

© John Bodkin, DawkinsColour

We run through all the best art exhibitions coming to town this summer - from Barbara Hepworth at Tate Britain to the annual Summer Exhibition Royal Academy before Ai Weiwei arrives in September 2015.


Tate Modern

Sonia Delaunay, Agnes Martin and Marlene Dumas.

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

Tube: Blackfriars Underground Station


Dates: 15th April - 09th August 2015


Summer 2015 at Tate Modern features three major retrospectives by prominent modern and contemporary painters: Sonia Delaunay (15th April - 9th August 2015), Agnes Martin (3rd June - 11th October 2015) and South African artist Marlene Dumas (5th February - 10th May 2015) whose intense, psychologically charged works are well worth seeing. If we had to choose between the Delaunay and the Dumas, the latter's "painterly and provocative" (The Guardian) work just pips the doyenne of Parisian avant-garde but both are worth seeing. There's more in the way of abstract art from 3rd June when the works of American painter Agnes Martin, a key figure in the male-dominated fields of 1950s and 1960s abstraction, go on display.


Tate Britain

Barbara Hepworth, Salt and Silver: Early Photography, and Nick Waplington on Alexander McQueen.

Tate Britain, Millbank, London, SW1P 4RG

Tube: Pimlico Station


Dates: 24th June - 25th October 2015


A major retrospective of British sculptor Barbara Hepworth opens at Tate Britain this summer, running from 24th June until 25th October 2015. One of the most successful sculptors in the world during the 1950s and 1960s, Hepworth's now often overlooked significance is thrown into the spotlight by this exhibition. Tate Britain's spring exhibitions on photography continue into the summer. Salt and Silver: Early Photography 1840-1860 is devoted to original salted prints, one of the earliest forms of photography. And photographer Nick Waplington presents a fly-on-the-wall insight into the world of fashion designer Alexander McQueen in Nick Waplington/Alexander McQueen: Working Process, until 17th May 2015.


National Gallery

Inventing Impressionism, Soundscapes: Listening to Paintings, and Frames in Focus.

National Gallery, Trafalgar Square, London, WC2N 5DN

Tube: Charing Cross Station, Leicester Square Station, Embankment Underground Station, Piccadilly Circus Station, Covent Garden Station


Dates: 04th March - 31st May 2015


Inventing Impressionism, the National Gallery's first major exhibition devoted to art dealer Paul Durand-Ruel, the entrepreneurial art dealer who discovered the Impressionists continues until 31st May 2015. The display of "sensationally beautiful" works is also "enduringly radical" (Guardian) and features more than 85 key works by Monet, Pissarro, Degas and Renoir. There follows an exhibition Soundscapes: Listening to Paintings (from 8th July until 6th September 2015) which invites six sound artists and musicians to select a painting from the National Gallery's collection and create new work in response to it. The Trafalgar Square gallery also has a free exhibition on Frames in Focus: Sansovino Frames (1st April - 13th September 2015), and there are big changes afoot this summer as Hannah Rothschild takes over as chair of the National Gallery from Mark Getty, who steps down from the role on 10th August 2015.


National Portrait Gallery

John Singer Sargent, the Duke of Wellington, and the BP Portrait Award.

National Portrait Gallery, St Martin's Place, London, WC2H 0HE

Tube: Leicester Square Station, Charing Cross Station, Piccadilly Circus Station, Embankment Underground Station, Covent Garden Station


Dates: 12th February - 25th May 2015


A highlight of the National Portrait Gallery's summer season is its major exhibition of works by John Singer Sargent (ends 25th May 2015) including over seventy portraits of his circle of friends, Robert Louis Stevenson, Claude Monet and Auguste Rodin. A free exhibition Wellington: Triumphs, Politics and Passion marks the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo (until 18th June 1815) and illustrates the Duke of Wellington's life as a soldier and statesman. Then, from 18th June 2015, the world's most prestigious portrait painting competition returns for its 35th year. This year's BP Portrait Award has attracted a record-breaking 2,748 paintings by artists from 92 countries around the world.


Royal Academy of Art

Summer Exhibition, Richard Diebenkorn and Ai WeiWei.

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

Tube: Green Park Station, Piccadilly Circus Station


Dates: 13th June to 21st August 2016


The Royal Academy's annual Summer Exhibition (8th June - 16th August) is one of the fixtures of any summer in London and has been running since 1769. Over 11,000 pieces are sifted through from relative unknowns to famous artists and members of the RA - giving the whole show a wonderful element of surprise. The fun part for visitors is choosing a favourite and, with the majority of works on sale at varying price ranges, you can even buy one if you really fall in love with it. Until 7th June, the day before its annual summer exhibition kicks off, the Royal Academy pays tribute to one of America's finest abstract painters, Richard Diebenkorn. And all that's before Ai WeiWei comes to the prestigious London gallery in September.


Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2015: SelgasCano

Award-winning Spanish architects SelgasCano create a colourful design for this year's pavilion.

Serpentine Gallery, Kensington Gardens, South Kensington, London, W2 3XA

Tube: Lancaster Gate Station


Dates: 25th June - 18th October 2015


Always a highlight of London's art events in summer, the Serpentine Gallery's annual Serpentine Gallery Pavilion challenges a world-renowned architect to create their first structure in the UK and in 2015 it's the turn of award-winning Spanish architects SelgasCano, headed by Jose Selgas and Lucia Cano. They will bring a burst of colour to Kensington Gardens this summer with a brightly coloured "amorphous, double-skinned, polygonal structure". Like a multi-coloured glow worm, the temporary structure for the 2015 Serpentine Pavilion is made of translucent fabric so there's a stained glass-effect once you're inside. Visitors will be able to explore the Pavilion passing through a 'secret corridor' between the outer and inner layer of the structure and use the temporary new space to meet, have coffee and to experience the live events put on throughout the summer.

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