Top ten art exhibitions to see in London this summer

Whether you’re an avant-garde aficionado or a photography fanatic, the capital has something to suit every art lover

Vincent van Gogh’s Starry Night over the Rhone (1888)
Vincent van Gogh’s Starry Night over the Rhone (1888)
(Image credit: Vincent van Gogh)

Summer is in full swing in the capital, with sweltering temperatures - so why not take a break from the sunshine for a peek at one of London’s world-class art exhibitions?

Here’s a look at some of the best current and upcoming displays.

The EY Exhibition: Van Gogh and Britain, Tate Britain

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This exciting exhibition brings together more than 50 Vincent van Gogh artworks, and displays the inspiration taken from Britain and British artists, like the works of Francis Bacon and Charles Dickens. It is the largest collection of van Gogh’s paintings in the UK for nearly a decade, including famous works such as: Shoes, Starry Night over the Rhone (pictured above) and Sunflowers.

Until 11 August, £22,

Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams, V&A Museum

With more than 500 pieces on display, this thrilling exhibit includes sketches, photographs and more than 200 rare garments from Christian Dior’s collection. The largest Dior exhibit in UK history, the show is based on the Musée des Arts Décoratifs’ 2017 exhibition in Paris but includes 50% more haute couture, with part of the exhibit dedicated to the six creative directors who have taken over since Dior’s death. It features a range of talks, tours and workshops with curators for a deeper understanding of the man behind the designs.

Until 1 September, £20-24,

Kiss My Genders, Hayward Gallery

Featuring the works of more than 30 international artists - all of whom explore and debate the topic of gender identity - Kiss My Genders includes 100+ pieces of artwork including video installations and intimate photos. This touching display approaches the topics of gender fluidity, non-binary, trans and intersex identities with grace and delicacy, allowing the subject matter to shine. The tone is light, but the questions raised are heavy.

Until 8 September, £15.50,

Natalia Goncharova, Tate Modern

Natalia Goncharova, the groundbreaking avant-garde artist from pre-revolution Russia, found fame as a founding member of the Jack of Diamonds, Moscow’s first radical independent exhibiting group. Now, her challenging works come to London’s shapeshifting modern art behemoth, the Tate Modern. The exhibition, the first retrospective of Goncharova ever held in the UK, includes works that have never been seen in the country. Goncharova’s extensively innovative art vision - and the fascinating cultural movements that influenced it - lives on through her diverse, often bizarre works.

Until 8 September, £16,

Kaleidoscope: Immigration and Modern Britain, Somerset House

This exhibit features ten photographers born or based in Britain who have set out to explore the identity of modern British immigrants. Co-curated by writer Ekow Eshun and creative director Darrell Vydelingum, this fascinating collection features multiple artistic voices with different stories encouraging discussion of Britain’s multiculturalism and diversity.

Until 8 September, free,

Helene Schjerfbeck, Royal Academy

Fans of Helene Schjerfbeck will likely be champing at the bit for this exhibit, which sees the Finnish icon’s work come to the UK for the first time. The display includes still lifes and landscapes, showing the gradual evolution of art across her career, while a sequence of her abstract self-portraits will examine the physical and psychological processes of aging - a phenomenon with which Schjerfbeck was fascinated.

20 July-27 October, £14 (£12 without donation),

Olafur Eliasson: In real life, Tate Modern

As is typical for Eliasson’s installations, visitors are invited to become hyper aware of their senses, the environment and the world beyond through the Icelander’s intense works. This show takes a look at the artist’s perspective on issues such as climate change, migration and energy, encompassing his famed Weather Project display, which took over the Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall in 2003, bringing in more than two million visitors. Every other week, viewers will also be able to communicate with Eliasson’s team in his Berlin studio via a live link.

11 July-5 January, £18,

BP Portrait Award 2019, National Portrait Gallery

Arguably the most prestigious portrait painting competition in the world, the BP Portrait Award returns to the National Portrait Gallery for its 40th edition. This year, the exhibit will contain selected works by 2,538 artists from 84 countries, including the winning piece Imara in her Winter Coat by Charlie Schaffer. The BP Award 2019 will later tour to the Scottish National Portrait Gallery in Edinburgh, as well as the Ulster Museum in Belfast.

Until 20 October, free,

AI: More Than Human, Barbican Centre

The Barbican describes this dynamic exhibition as “festival-style”, meaning visitors are invited to explore - and educate themselves - about the potential of artificial intelligence (AI) developments through interactive demonstrations, art and science. “Prepare for your preconceptions of AI to be challenged,” the venue’s website says.

Until 26 August, £15-17,

Stanley Kubrick: The Exhibition, Design Museum

This exhibition explores the life of Stanley Kubrick, the visionary filmmaker behind some of cinema’s greatest classics including Dr. Strangelove, 2001: A Space Odyssey, The Shining and A Clockwork Orange. Co-curated by Kubrick’s long-time friend and brother-in-law, Jan Harlan, The Exhibition harbours more than 700 rare objects, films, interviews and photographs from Kubrick’s life to tell the story of the auteur.

Until 15 September, £16,

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