The best exhibitions to see in London in autumn 2022, from Lucian Freud to Lynette Yiadom-Boakye

·9-min read
Lucian Freud Rose, 1990 (The Lucian Freud Archive. All Rights Reserved 2022 / Bridgeman Images)
Lucian Freud Rose, 1990 (The Lucian Freud Archive. All Rights Reserved 2022 / Bridgeman Images)

You may have found yourself in one of London’s excellent galleries over the course of this summer simply to escape from the heat. Winter’s going to be no different, as we all try to avoid putting on our own heating - fortunately the capital has a wealth of brilliant exhibitions to keep you occupied and inspired while you shelter from the weather this autumn.

Carolee Schneemann: Body Politics

Up to and Including Her Limits, 10 June 1976 (Carolee Schneemann Foundation / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / DACS, London)
Up to and Including Her Limits, 10 June 1976 (Carolee Schneemann Foundation / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / DACS, London)

The first exhibition since her death in 2019, this show will feature the extraordinary feminist icon’s early paintings, sculptures and even her ground-breaking performance work, where she uses her own body as a medium, tracing the evolving style of a radical artist who tackled everything from sexual expression to the violence of war.

Barbican Art Gallery, September 8 to January 8, 2023

The Lost King: Imagining Richard III

Sally Hawkins and Harry Lloyd in the new film The Lost King (Graeme Hunter/ PATHÉ PRODUCTIONS LIMITED AND BBC)
Sally Hawkins and Harry Lloyd in the new film The Lost King (Graeme Hunter/ PATHÉ PRODUCTIONS LIMITED AND BBC)

In 2012, the skeleton of Richard III was finally found underneath a Leicester car park. A decade later, this exhibition pays tribute to an overlooked - or misunderstood? - king, looking at how Richard III has been depicted across the centuries, from Paul Delaroche’s painting of the Princes in the Tower to the filmmakers committing him to the big screen (including the new film, The Lost King).

Wallace Collection, September 7 to January 8, 2023

Winslow Homer: Force of Nature

Northeaster, 1895, reworked by 1901 (The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York)
Northeaster, 1895, reworked by 1901 (The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York)

Born in 1836 and dying in 1910, the great American realist painter Winslow Homer had a ringside seat to some of the most tumultuous decades in American history. Unafraid to tackle thorny issues such as civil rights, race and war, this exhibition shows the work of a painter at the height of his powers.

National Gallery, September 10 to January 8

Frieze Sculpture

Having taken on an existence of its own over the last few years, independent(ish) of the massive art fair that pops up next to it every October, this public exhibition of sculpture is open to anyone strolling through Regent’s Park. Curated the director of Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Clare Lilley, who knows a thing or two about outdoor sculpture, it features a line-up of 19 contemporary artists, including Emma Hart, Matthew Darbyshire and Shaikha al Mazrou.

Regent’s Park, September 14 to November 13

Tyler Mitchell: Chrysalis

Best known for his Vogue cover of Beyonce, the young US photographer Tyler Mitchell calls his thoughtful, beautiful images of black life a “Black utopic vision”. This will be the artist’s first exhibition in London and will comprise recent images of young black people in nature.

Gagosian, September 17 to November 12

Maria Bartuszová

Untitled, 1985 (The Archive of Maria Bartuszová, Košice. Tate, Courtesy of The Estate of Maria Bartuszová, Košice, and Alison Jacques, London)
Untitled, 1985 (The Archive of Maria Bartuszová, Košice. Tate, Courtesy of The Estate of Maria Bartuszová, Košice, and Alison Jacques, London)

Bringing together several of Slovak-born artist Maria Bartuszová’s rarely seen works, this show pays tribute to an artist who started plying her trade in the 1960s under strict artistic restrictions, and went on to create more than 500 sculptures, shaping clay into works that evoke nature and the human body.

Tate Modern, September 21 to April 16

Michael Armitage: Amongst the Living, with Seyni Awa Camara

Interspersed with ceramic sculptures by Senegalese artist Seyni Awa Camara will be this new series of works by the Kenyan-born painter Michael Armitage, whose gorgeous, dream-like canvases (as seen last year in his major exhibition at the Royal Academy) span history, fiction, past, present and myth.

White Cube, September 21 to October 30

Rene Matić: upon this rock

The contemporary artist, writer and poet Rene Matić continues their exploration of Britishness in a new presentation at this brilliant Peckham institution, that explores how the nation’s past influences its present, through the lens of subcultures and spirituality.

South London Gallery, September 23 to November 27

William Kentridge

Video still from Notes Towards a Modern Opera, 2015 (William Kentridge)
Video still from Notes Towards a Modern Opera, 2015 (William Kentridge)

South Africa’s most famous living artist returns to London for the biggest exhibition of his work ever seen in the UK. Many works will never have been seen before, and some have been made specifically for the exhibition. One not to miss.

Royal Academy, September 24 to December 11

Hallyu! The Korean Wave

South Korean rapper Psy performs his massive K-pop hit “Gangnam Style” live on NBC’s “Today” show in New York (Jason Decrow/Invision/AP/Shutterstock)
South Korean rapper Psy performs his massive K-pop hit “Gangnam Style” live on NBC’s “Today” show in New York (Jason Decrow/Invision/AP/Shutterstock)

From Squid Game to Gangnam Style, South Korea has become a celebrated part of global pop culture. This show explores the beginnings of the “Korean Wave” and traces its evolution from the 1960s to today.

V&A, September 24 to June 25

War Games: Real Conflicts, Virtual Worlds, Extreme Entertainment

Still from Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (Activision Publishing, Inc)
Still from Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (Activision Publishing, Inc)

This thoughtful (and interactive) exhibition aims to unpick the complex and multi-layered relationship between real-life conflict and the gun-toting videogame versions that make billions of dollars every year.

Imperial War Museum, September 30 to May 28

Tiny Traces: African and Asian Children

Travelling back to the London of 1739-1820, this show will tell the stories of African and Asian foundlings through the traces they left – from personal items to archival documents. Alongside will be works by contemporary artists including Hew Locke and Zarina Bhimji, offering a dialogue and inviting us to consider the impact of Empire on the children’s lives.

Foundling Museum, September 30 to February 19

The Credit Suisse Exhibition: Lucian Freud: New Perspectives

Lucian Freud Rose, 1990 (The Lucian Freud Archive. All Rights Reserved 2022 / Bridgeman Images)
Lucian Freud Rose, 1990 (The Lucian Freud Archive. All Rights Reserved 2022 / Bridgeman Images)

Can there possibly be any new perspectives on Lucian Freud, you may well ask? Apparently so, and they’ll be explored in what I’m astonished to find is the first “significant survey” of his paintings in 10 years, with a selection of his most important works from across seven decades.

National Gallery, October 1 to January 22

The EY Exhibition: Cezanne

The François Zola Dam (Mountains in Provence), 1877-8 (Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales)
The François Zola Dam (Mountains in Provence), 1877-8 (Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales)

Billed as a “once-in-a-generation” show, this will bring together around 80 works by the French pioneer, from collections in Europe, Asia, North and South America. The first opportunity here in over 25 years to explore the breadth of Cezanne’s career, it will feature key still lifes, landscapes, portraits and bather scenes, including over 20 works never seen in the UK before.

Tate Modern, October 5 to March 12

Kamala Ibrahim Ishag

Blues for the Martyrs, 2022 (Kamala Ibrahim Ishag. Photo: Mohamed Noureldin Abdallah Ahmed)
Blues for the Martyrs, 2022 (Kamala Ibrahim Ishag. Photo: Mohamed Noureldin Abdallah Ahmed)

Works dating from the 1960s to today will span the career of the pioneering Sudanese artist, whose work evokes earthly and spiritual landscapes and histories of Sudanese visual culture across many eras and explores ideas around women, spiritualism, Zar ceremonies, plants and family stories.

Serpentine Gallery, October 7 to January 29

Cinzia Ruggieri

Stivali Italia, 1986 (Photo: Rebecca Fanuele.  Courtesy: Archive Cinzia Ruggeri, Milan; Campoli Presti, London, Paris)
Stivali Italia, 1986 (Photo: Rebecca Fanuele. Courtesy: Archive Cinzia Ruggeri, Milan; Campoli Presti, London, Paris)

A unique figure of Italian postmodernism, Ruggeri isn’t just an artist: she is a fashion and furniture designer, sculptor, interior designer and teacher. She enhanced her clothes with contemporary technologies like LEDs, has created furniture from glass and chairs from stuffed animals; this is the first-ever survey exhibition of her work in Britain.

Goldsmiths CCA, October 8 to November 27

Alice Neel: There’s Still Another I See

John with Bowl of Fruit, 1949 and John, 1933 (The Estate of Alice Neel Courtesy the Estate of Alice Neel and Victoria Miro)
John with Bowl of Fruit, 1949 and John, 1933 (The Estate of Alice Neel Courtesy the Estate of Alice Neel and Victoria Miro)

The first of its kind, this show focuses on pairings of paintings by the brilliant American painter of the same sitter – friends, lovers, family members – some completed only a year or two apart, some decades apart, from the 1930s to the 1980s. It charts physical transformations over time, changes of mood, temperature or temperament – in sitter and artist – along with developments in Neel’s art.

Victoria Miro, October 11 to November 12

Hyundai Commission 2022: Cecilia Vicuña

Portrait of Cecilia Vicuña in front of Quipu Womb 2017 ,at Tate Modern (Cecilia Vicuña/Tate/Lucy Dawkins)
Portrait of Cecilia Vicuña in front of Quipu Womb 2017 ,at Tate Modern (Cecilia Vicuña/Tate/Lucy Dawkins)

The annual Turbine Hall installation is under wraps as ever, but may be more literally than usual. Chilean artist and poet Cecilia Vicuña is best known for her radical textile sculptures, combining natural materials and traditional crafts and exploring questions of ecology, community, and social justice.

Tate Modern, October 11 to April 16

Moving Bodies, Moving Images

Forme(s) de vie KAMAL, 2021 (Eric Minh Cuong Castaing)
Forme(s) de vie KAMAL, 2021 (Eric Minh Cuong Castaing)

These short films made in the last decade by contemporary artists - Alexandra Bachzetsis, Pauline Boudry / Renate Lorenz, Eglé Budvytyté, Eric Minh Cuong Castaing, Alia Farid, Hetain Patel, Bárbara Wagner and Benjamin de Burca and Alberta Whittle - explore the intersection of dance, choreography and moving image.

Whitechapel, October 12 to January 9

Amy Sherald: The World We Make

Known here chiefly for her official painting of First Lady Michelle Obama, Amy Sherald is one of America’s foremost portrait artists, celebrated for her striking images of black people at leisure, bringing a hitherto largely ignored group into the grand history of social portraiture. This will be her first solo exhibition in Europe.

Hauser & Wirth, October 12 to December 23

Richard Mosse: Broken Spectre

Still from Broken Spectre, 2022 (Richard Mosse)
Still from Broken Spectre, 2022 (Richard Mosse)

This major new video installation by the award-winning Irish artist, filmed in remote parts of the Brazilian Amazon, is the result of three years of careful documentation of environmental crimes using a range of scientific imaging technologies. His most ambitious project to date, it seeks to make visible the world’s most crucial yet ignored ecological warzone.

180 The Strand, October 12 to December 18

Hieroglyphs: unlocking ancient Egypt

Senior Conservator, Stephanie Vasiliou, cleans ‘The Enchanted Basin’, sarcophagus of Hapmen, 600 BC (The Trustees of the British Museum)
Senior Conservator, Stephanie Vasiliou, cleans ‘The Enchanted Basin’, sarcophagus of Hapmen, 600 BC (The Trustees of the British Museum)

The show my eight-year-old self would have climbed a pyramid to see is coming. Exactly 200 years since the Rosetta Stone unlocked the code that revealed one of the world’s oldest civilisations, this exhibition will explore the inscriptions and objects that helped scholars expand the modern world’s knowledge of Egypt’s history by some 3,000 years.

British Museum, October 13 to February 19

Fuseli and the Modern Woman: Fashion, Fantasy, Fetishism

Two Courtesans in a Theatre Box, with fantastic hairstyles, c.1790-92 (Auckland, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o T ā maki, purchased 1965)
Two Courtesans in a Theatre Box, with fantastic hairstyles, c.1790-92 (Auckland, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o T ā maki, purchased 1965)

Now known chiefly for his depiction of Macbeth’s witches, Fuseli was one of his era’s most original artists. This show will reveal his lifelong obsession with the female figure and female sexuality through 50 of his strange and striking private drawings (check out the hairdos and fashions, they’re wild - and historically accurate).

Courtauld Gallery, October 14 to January 8

Objects of Desire: Surrealism and Design, 1934-today

Hand Chair, about 1962, Pedro Friedeberg (Vitra Design Museum)
Hand Chair, about 1962, Pedro Friedeberg (Vitra Design Museum)

Pieces by Sarah Lucas, Björk, Tim Walker and Dior will be shown alongside artworks and objects from Man Ray, Salvador Dalí, Marcel Duchamp and Leonora Carrington to explore the relationship between Surrealism and design.

Design Museum, October 14 to February 19

In Plain Sight

Digital image from the ‘What We Wore’ archive by Nina Manandhar (Seana Gavin, Hungary, 1999)
Digital image from the ‘What We Wore’ archive by Nina Manandhar (Seana Gavin, Hungary, 1999)

This typically cerebral but fascinating show will explore the subjectivity of vision. Corrective and protective eyewear, vision systems and other lenses enable us to construct realities, perform identities and observe others - this show will present a range of perspectives, including that of non-visual learners, to critically reflect on the predominance of vision as a sense.

Wellcome Collection, October 20 to February 12

Strange Clay: Ceramics in Contemporary Art

Woody De Othello, on and ON, 2020 (Woody De Othello. Courtesy of the artist; Jessica Silverman, San Francisco; and Klarna, New York, NY (photo: John Wilson White))
Woody De Othello, on and ON, 2020 (Woody De Othello. Courtesy of the artist; Jessica Silverman, San Francisco; and Klarna, New York, NY (photo: John Wilson White))

The first large-scale group exhibition in the UK to explore how contemporary artists have used the medium of clay in inventive ways, with exhibits from Lindsay Mendick, Grayson Perry, Lubna Chowdhary, Betty Woodman, Rachel Kneebone, Magdalene Odundo and many more.

Hayward Gallery, October 26 to January 8

Magdalena Abakanowicz

Abakan Orange 1971 (Fundacja Marty Magdaleny Abakanowicz Kosmowskiej i Jana Kosmowskiego, Warsaw)
Abakan Orange 1971 (Fundacja Marty Magdaleny Abakanowicz Kosmowskiej i Jana Kosmowskiego, Warsaw)

A rare opportunity to explore the Abakans, a formative and pioneering body of work by the Polish artist from the 1960s, as her woven works shifted from the wall to three-dimensional space. A welcome addition to the growing number of female textile artists recently - and finally - getting their public due.

Tate Modern, November 17 to May 21

Lynette Yiadom-Boakye: Fly In League With The Night

Detail of Tie the Temptress to the Trojan, 2018, by Lynette Yiadom-Boakye (Lynette Yiadom-Boakye)
Detail of Tie the Temptress to the Trojan, 2018, by Lynette Yiadom-Boakye (Lynette Yiadom-Boakye)

In an unprecedented move, Tate is bringing back this exhibition of paintings by Yiadom-Boakye, curtailed by the pandemic, due to its insane popularity. And these miraculously truthful portraits of fictional figures are worth it. One of my shows of the decade.

Tate Britain, November 24 to February 26