Art Exhibitions in London To Check Out in 2023

Where to get your culture fix in the capital

From the Tates to the Royal Academy and the galleries of Mayfair and the Barbican, London is bursting with exciting art exhibitions at any time of year. Here are the shows not to be missed.

Click here to jump to the exhibitions coming soon to London

The Very Best Art Exhibitions On In London Right Now

  • Aladdin Sane: 50 Years, Southbank Centre (until 28 May)
  • David Hockney: Bigger & Closer (Not Smaller & Further Away), Lightroom (until 4 June)
  • Will Martyr: A World Elsewhere, Maddox Gallery (until 11 June)
  • Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirror Rooms, Tate Modern (until 11 June)
  • Souls Grown Deep like the Rivers, Royal Academy of Art (until 18 June)
  • Glithero: You, Me and Everyone We Know, Gallery FUMI (until 24 June)
  • No Place Like Home (A Vietnamese Exhibition) Part II, Museum of the Home (until 11 July)
  • RESOLVE Collection: them’s the breaks, Barbican (until 16 July)
  • After Impressionism: Inventing Modern Art, National Gallery (until 13 August)
  • Finding Family, Foundling Museum (until 27 August)
  • Anthony Caro: The Inspiration of Architecture, Pitzhanger Manor & Gallery (until 10 September)
Aladdin Sane


Aladdin Sane: 50 Years

Where? Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall

When? 6 April–28 May 2023

Celebrating 50 years of David Bowie’s iconic 1973 album, Aladdin Sane: 50 Years, curated by Chris Duffy, will showcase Bowie’s iconic lightning flash portrait, captured by Duffy’s father, Brian Duffy. Tracking the journey of this pioneering portrait, the exhibition will map Bowie’s continuous reshaping of his image, considering how this paved the way for audiences to rethink their own identities. Alongside this, Anna Calvi, Scissor Sisters’ Jake Shears, Roxanne Tataei and Lynks will all join the Nu Civilisation Orchestra to perform Aladdin Sane. Expect also two club nights, talks exploring the album, and an evening of poetry. southbankcentre.co.uk

Listen to Geoff Marsh, one of the exhibition’s curators, talk about the creation of that iconic image on Episode #111 of Break Out Culture.

Installation of David Hockney’s Gregory Swimming Los Angeles March 31st 1982, Composite polaroid, © David Hockney

David Hockney: Bigger & Closer (Not Smaller & Further Away)

Where? Lightroom (12 Lewis Cubitt Square, London N1C 4DY)

When? 22 February–4 June 2023

David Hockney has landed in King’s Cross’ new immersive art space, Lightroom. No stranger to experimentation, Hockney is hopping on the biggest art trend of the moment, curating his own immersive art exhibition kitted out with the latest digital projection and audio technology. Starring iconic works alongside new work created specifically for this new-to-Hockney style of installation, expect six themed chapters, plenty of colour, a score from Nico Muhly and commentary from Hockney himself to boot. lightroom.uk

Will Martyr: A World Elsewhere at Maddox Gallery Westbourne Grove

Will Martyr: A World Elsewhere

Where? Maddox Gallery (112 Westbourne Grove, London W2 5RU)

When? 28 April–11 June 2023

Eastbourne-born artist Will Martyr’s debut solo show in London is now open at Maddox Gallery’s Westbourne Grove destination, reflecting on companionship, love and contentment through snapshots of the artist’s personal memories, collected, mixed and merged to create a sense of timeless nostalgia. Citing David Hockney, Wayne Thiebaud and Alex Katz as inspirations, Martyr’s relaxed and familiar paintings celebrate life and beauty, each featuring a female figure who could be a companion or contently relaxing alone, unguarded and unposed. maddoxgallery.com

Yayoi Kusama, Infinity Room

Infinity Mirrored Room – Filled With The Brilliance of Life, Yayoi Kusama. Johan-Persson, 2011.

Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirror Rooms

Where? Tate Modern

When? Until 11 June 2023

Prepare to be dazzled at Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirror Rooms, another highly anticipated London art exhibition of 2021. Going on display at Tate Modern this May after being postponed from its original date last year, the exhibition will feature two spectacular installations. The first is Infinity Mirrored Room – Filled With The Brilliance of Life, which was showcased in the Tate’s Kusama retrospective back in 2012. The second is Chandelier of Grief, a room which creates the illusion of a boundless universe of rotating Swarovski crystal chandeliers. You can expect queues round the block for this one. tate.org.uk

Souls Grown Deep like the River

Where? Royal Academy of Art

When? 17 March–18 June 2023

This groundbreaking exhibition showcases the collective creativity of Black artists from the American South. Most of these powerful works, many made from reclaimed materials, have never been seen outside America’s so-called ‘Black Belt’ that encompasses Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi, a region associated with slavery and racial oppression. In Episode 110 of our Break Out Culture podcast, we chatted with exhibition curator Raina Lampkins-Fielder to learn all about the coming-together of this eye-opening exhibition, which represents the triumph of artistic expression and hope over appalling discrimination and persecution; listen below.

100 Handful Installation

100 Handful Installation at You, Me and Everyone We Know. (Image by Thomas Joseph Wright Penguinsegg Ltd for Gallery FUMI)

Glithero: You, Me and Everyone We Know

Where? FUMI Gallery (2-3 Hay Hill, London W1J 6AS)

When? 5 May–24 June 2023

From London-based design studio Glithero (founded in 2008 by Anglo-Dutch duo Tim Simpson and Sarah van Gameren) is You, Me and Everyone We Know, an exhibition drawing together striking new works, with en emphasis on the important role photography has played in the studio’s creative practice for over 10 years. At the exhibition’s heart is ‘100 Handful’, a collection of 100 vessels with life-sized silhouettes of 100 friends, neighbours and family members’ hands photographed on their surface using an improvised dark room and light-sensitive chemicals. galleryfumi.com

no place like home exhibition

No Place Like Home (A Vietnamese Exhibition) Part II

Where? Museum of the Home

When? 19 April–11 July 2023

In the heart of Kingsland Road’s Vietnamese community, Museum of the Home will host a new contemporary art exhibition from April. Co-curated and led by KV Duong and Hoa Dung Clerget, the collaborative exhibition features a group of Vietnamese diasporic artists presenting works about the theme of home through the Vietnamese cultural lens. museumofthehome.org.uk

The RESOLVE Collective taken on film

RESOLVE Collective, (L-R) Seth Scafe-Smith, Melissa Haniff, Akil Scafe-Smith. © Jana Dardouk

RESOLVE Collective: them’s the breaks

Where? The Curve, Barbican

When? 30 March–16 July 2023

The interdisciplinary design collective RESOLVE – which combines architecture, engineering, technology and art to address social challenges – will take over the Barbican Centre’s Curve later this year with a large-scale architectural installation exploring restoration, regeneration and renewal. Using technology more common to structural engineering, RESOLVE will use the cracks, stresses and strains of materials so guests can ‘listen’ to and visualise the Barbican’s concrete fabric. barbican.org.uk

After Impressionism: Inventing Modern Art

Where? National Gallery

When? 25 March–13 August

The National Gallery’s biggest exhibition for 2023 will be a large-scale exploration of the window of time between 1880 and 1914 when artists broke away from established tradition and started laying the foundations for the art of the 20th and the 21st centuries – the ‘modern art’ we know today. Including over 100 works, expect to explore the interaction of artists such as Paul Cézanne, Vincent van Gogh, Paul Gauguin, Klimt, Kokoschka, Matisse, Picasso, Mondrian and Kandinsky. nationalgallery.org.uk

An image from the Finding Family exhibition

Hetain Patel Omega Chokra 2023 (© Hetain Patel)

Finding Family

Where? Foundling Museum

When? 17 March–27 August 2023

‘Family’ lies at the heart of all of our lives, whether based on blood, a connection, love or just a bond. The Foundling Museum’s new exhibition, Finding Family, pushes the definition of ‘family’ to explore artistic representations of blood relations, social bonds, personal connections and love from the 1600s to the present, featuring three large-scale masterpieces from the National Gallery’s collection, work by contemporary artists, and creative responses by participants of the Museum’s ‘Tracing Our Tales’ scheme for young care leavers. foundlingmuseum.org.uk

Child's Tower Room by Anthony Caro

Child’s Tower Room, 1983/1984, varnished Japanese oak, 406.4cm. Mike Bruce © The Anthony Caro Centre

Anthony Caro: The Inspiration of Architecture

Where? Pitzhanger Manor & Gallery

When? 9 March–10 September 2023

Widely regarded as one of the 20th century’s most influential sculptors, Anthony Caro is the subject of Pitzhanger’s spring exhibition, opening on 9 March (what would have been his 99th birthday). Redefining sculpture in the 1960s, Caro’s abstract constructions in painted steel challenged contemporaneous ideas about materials, methods, surface, scale and space. Pitzhanger will showcase 16 key works created between 1983 and 2013, focusing on the resurgence of architectural themes within his work (such as passages, doors and steps), the relationship between interior and exteriors, and space and the human figure, across materials such as Perspex, steel, wood, concrete, stoneware and brass. pitzhanger.org.uk

The Best Art Exhibitions In London: Coming Soon

  • From 26 May: Gregor Sailer: The Polar Silk Road, Natural History Museum
  • 21 June–3 September: Dear Earth: Art and Hope in a Time of Crisis, Hayward Gallery
  • 22 June–15 October: Yevonde: Life and Colour, National Portrait Gallery
  • 28 June–1 October: Paul McCartney Photographs 1963-64: Eyes of the Storm, National Portrait Gallery
  • 24 July–23 September: BLACK VENUS, Somerset House
  • 29 September–14 January 2023: Claudette Johnson, The Courtauld
  • 2 November–21 January 2024: David Hockney: Drawing from Life, National Portrait Gallery
  • 9 November–25 February 2024: Taylor Wessing Photo Prize, National Portrait Gallery

Gregor Sailer: The Polar Silk Road 

Where? Natural History Museum

When? From 26 May 2023

Artist and photographer Gregor Sailer’s first UK exhibition will explore the climate crisis’ impact on the Arctic, with melting ice opening shorter sea routes and creating new opportunities for trade and access to new raw material deposits via the so-called ‘Polar Silk Road’. Sailer’s exhibition will explore the new conflicts created by this melting, and document our complex relationship with the environment. nhm.ac.uk

Jenny Kendler – Birds Watching I

Jenny Kendler – Birds Watching I, 2018 — Printed reflective film mounted on aluminium on steel frame – 2.7 m x 12.2 m x 0.2 m. Image courtesy of the artist.

Dear Earth: Art and Hope in a Time of Crisis

Where? Hayward Gallery

When? 21 June–3 September 2023

How are artists helping us to connect with nature and the climate crisis? This summer, a pioneering new project will arrive at Hayward Gallery, with an international group of artists responding to artist Otobong Nkanga’s suggestion that ‘caring is a form of resistance’. Artists – including  Agnes Denes, Andrea Bowers, Otobong Nkanaga, Hito Steyerl and Jacqueline Imani Brown – will explore our emotional connection to nature and new ways we can help the planet and climate-vulnerable communities across the globe across a range of media. southbankcentre.co.uk

Hiroshi Sugimoto, Earliest Human Relatives

Hiroshi Sugimoto, Earliest Human Relatives, 1994. © Hiroshi Sugimoto, courtesy of Marian Goodman Gallery.

Hiroshi Sugimoto: Time Machine

Where? Hayward Gallery

When? 11 October 2023–7 January 2024

Featuring work produced across the past five decades, Time Machine will feature selections from all of Hiroshi Sugimoto’s photographic series alongside lesser-known pictures to highlight his innovative, conceptual, philosophical and playful approach to the nature of representation and art, time and memory. southbankcentre.co.uk

A photo by Yevonde

Mask (Rosemary Chance) by Yevonde (1938, printed 2022-3), purchased with the Portrait Fund, 2021 © National Portrait Gallery, London.

Yevonde: Life and Colour

Where? National Portrait Gallery

When? 22 June–15 October 2023

In partnership with The CHANEL Culture Fund – and as part of the Gallery’s Reframing Narratives: Women in Portraiture project aiming to enhance the representation of women – Yevonde: Life and Colour will explore the life and career of pioneering London photographer, Yevonde Middleton, who spearheaded the use of colour photography in the 1930s. npg.org.uk

A photo taken from the upcoming Paul McCartney exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery

John and George, Paris. 1964 © 1964 Paul McCartney

Paul McCartney Photographs 1963-64: Eyes of the Storm

Where? National Portrait Gallery

When? 28 June–1 October 2023

With the highly anticipated reopening of the National Portrait Gallery comes a series of new exhibitions, including ‘Paul McCartney Photographs 1963-64: Eyes of the Storm’, which will reveal, for the first time, a series of photographs taken by The Beatles legend between December 1963 and February 1964, a window of time in which The Beatles were transitioning from a British sensation to a global phenomenon. npg.org.uk

BLACK VENUS: Reclaiming Black Women In Visual Culture

Where? Somerset House

When? 20 July–24 September 2023

Pulling together the work of over 20 Black women and non-binary artists and curated by Aindrea Emelife, BLACK VENUS will open at Somerset House this summer, exploring the othering, fetishisation and reclamation of narratives around Black femininity. Expect over 40 contemporary (primarily photographic) artworks offering ‘a radical affront to a centuries-long dynamic of objectification, showcasing all that Black womanhood can be and has always been’. somersethouse.org.uk

Painting by Claudette Johnson

Claudette Johnson, Figure with Figurine, 2019. Rennie Collection, Vancouver © Claudette Johnson. Image courtesy the artist and Holly Bush Gardens, London. Photo by Andy Keate.

Claudette Johnson 

Where? The Courtauld

When? 29 September 2023–14 January 2024

At once intimate and powerful, Claudette Johnson’s drawings of Black women and men have made her one of the most significant figurative artists of her generation, pushing the boundaries to create the most authentic renderings of her sitters for over 30 years. Expect to see monochrome works in dark pastel contrasted with vibrant colours in gouache and watercolour. courtauld.ac.uk

A self portrait by David Hockney

David Hockney, ‘Self Portrait, 22nd November 2021’, Acrylic on canvas, 36 x 30″. © David Hockney. Photo Credit: Jonathan Wilkinson.

David Hockney: Drawing from Life

Where? National Portrait Gallery

When? 2 November 2023–21 January 2024

Staged for just 20 days before the pandemic forced the closure of the National Portrait Gallery (which then stretched into a three-year period of closure for refurbishment and redesign works), David Hockney: Drawing from Life will return to the Gallery in 2023, championing the artist’s work across six decades, particularly in the intimate portraits of five sitters – his mother, Celia Birtwell, Gregory Evans, Maurice Payne and the artist himself – in pencil, pen and ink, crayon, photographic collage, and digital iPad art. In its 2023 rendition, visitors can also expect the debut of a selection of new portraits created between 2020 and 2022. npg.org.uk

A photo taking from the Taylor Wessing exhibition

Peter & Sue from the series Modern Love by Curtis Hughes (April 2022) © Curtis Hughes.

Taylor Wessing Photo Prize

Where? National Portrait Gallery

When? 9 November 2023–25 February 2024

After a three-year hiatus, the annual Taylor Wessing Photo Portrait Prize will return to the National Portrait Gallery at the end of 2023, showcasing the work of both celebrated professionals and talented amateurs. npg.org.uk

Featured image: Martha Cooper, Ladies On Train from Beyond the Streets at Saatchi Gallery.