Art lovers in London are spoilt for choice, but with so much on offer it's worth keeping an eye on the calendar so as not to miss anything.
If you like to get your arty plans in order, or want to get excited now about a whole year of art to come, then it’s time to grab your diaries.
From David Hockney to William Blake, these are the big exhibitions you can look forward to in London over the next year.
William Blake: The Artist
William Blake may have been born more than 250 years ago, but Tate Britain is looking at the poet, painter and printmaker as a man of today. Politically astute and immensely talented across multiple mediums, this show will demonstrate how the British artist came to be so influential to artists, writers, musicians and more. With 600 works in the mix, it is set to be most comprehensive survey of Blake for more than 15 years.
Tate Britain, September 11 2019 - February 2 2020, tate.org.uk
He’s put members of the public on the Fourth Plinth, created the Angel of the North, covered the Sadler’s Wells stage in clay, and now Sir Antony Gormley is looking to fill the Royal Academy with seawater. The work, Host, will be part of a solo exhibition that will see Turner Prize winner Gormley bring together works old and new from across his much-lauded career.
Royal Academy, September 21 - December 3 2019, royalacademy.org.uk
It’s Rembrandt’s year; events are taking place around the world to mark 350 years since the artist died. This exhibition at Dulwich Picture Gallery is set to be one of the biggest, focusing on the ways that the Dutch Master used light as a way to tell stories in his work.
Dulwich Picture Gallery, October 4 - February 2, 2020; dulwichpicturegallery.org.uk
It’s another first at the National Gallery: this time it’s the first exhibition devoted to Paul Gauguin’s portraits. It will attempt to show the way that the artist captured more than just a likeness in his portrait work, but tried to convey the meaning beyond personalities.
National Gallery, October 7 - January 26, 2020; nationalgallery.org.uk
Nam June Paik: The Future is Now
Korean-American artist Nam June Paik knew that mass media, the internet and beyond was going to change art, and our lives, forever. The ground-breaking video artist was a pioneer in examining how new technology was changing art, and this exhibition will examine his forward-thinking works and partnerships with the likes of Joseph Beuys, John Cage and more.
Tate Modern, October 17 2019 - February 9 2020
Another huge retrospective exhibition is landing later this year, this time at Southbank Centre on British artist Bridget Riley. Spanning 70 years of her work, the show will focus on the origins of Riley’s painting, before tracing the important moments in her acclaimed career. The exhibition will showcase her black and white paintings of the 1960s alongside early works and more recent pieces. It will also feature her only 3D work, Continuum, as well as new wall paintings made specially for the Hayward Gallery.
Hayward Gallery, 23 October 2019 – 26 January, southbankcentre.co.uk
Lucian Freud: The Self-portraits
As one of the most influential portrait painters of a generation, Lucian Freud painted many a familiar face – including his own. In the first exhibition of its kind, the Royal Academy will focus solely on the painters’ self-portraits, with examples spanning 64 years, from his first in 1939 to a portrait of the artist at 71 years old, entirely naked apart from a pair of boots.
Royal Academy, October 27 2019 - January 26 2020, royalacademy.org.uk
After the hugely popular Lee Krasner exhibition at the Barbican, Tate continues the work of bringing the partner of a more famous male artist out of the shadows. Dora Maar had a significant relationship with Pablo Picasso - she is the subject of his famous Weeping Woman painting - but her work in photomontage was an important part of the surrealist movement. This exhibition will be the largest retrospective of her work ever to be held in the UK.
Tate Modern, November 20, 2019 - March 15, 2020; tate.org.uk
Steve McQueen’s success as a filmmaker - he won an Oscar in 2014 for 12 Years a Slave - has seen his visual arts work take something of a backseat. It will be a real treat, then, when Tate Modern holds a major UK exhibition of his work next year. It’ll be the first for 20 years, and will include large-scale, immersive video installations - including brand new work.
Tate Modern, February 13 - May 10, 2020; tate.org.uk
David Hockney: Drawing From Life
You’re never too far off a major David Hockney exhibition in London. The capital’s appetite for shows by the nation’s favourite living artist remains undimmed, and the National Portrait Gallery is bound to have a hit on its hands with an exploration of his drawings.
National Portrait Gallery, February 27 - June 28, 2020; npg.org.uk
Kimono: Kyoto to Catwalk
Japan is currently the most ubiquitous sight on your Instagram feed - everyone is going on holiday there. The British Museum already fed our obsession with its Manga exhibition earlier this year, and now the V&A is getting in on the act. This exhibition will chart how the kimono has become the blueprint for an entire genre of fashion. Beginning with its origins in Japan in the 1660s, it will explore its significance - both socially and sartorially.
V&A Museum, February 29 - June 21, 2020; vam.ac.uk
Cecil Beaton’s Bright Young Things
Soak up the glamour at this stylish show: the National Portrait Gallery will show Cecil Beaton’s portraits of the ‘Bright Young Things’ of the 1920s and 1930s. It will chart the photographer's journey from suburban schoolboy to socialite star - and give an insight into upper class British social life from the time.
National Portrait Gallery, March 12 - June 7, 2020; npg.org.uk
The word ‘iconic’ gets bandied around a lot these days, but it’s a fitting description for Andy Warhol. His immediately recognisably prints defined a generation and changed the course of modern art. A major retrospective at Tate Modern will no doubt be one of the biggest events in the art calendar next year, with all his biggest works - from Marilyn Monroe screen prints to Campbell’s Soup Cans - going on display.
Tate Modern, March 16 - September 6, 2020; tate.org.uk
Not enough people know Artemisia Gentlieschi’s name, but that’s all set to change. The National Gallery will hold the first major exhibition of her work ever to be seen in the UK, a move that will single-handedly double the amount of work by women on show there. Working in the 17th century, when women becoming artists were not the norm, Gentileschi bucked the trend and established herself as a major artist whose work still endures today.
National Gallery, April 4 - July 26, 2020, nationalgallery.org.uk
The contents of someone’s handbag are often considered one of the most intimate ways to get to know them. This exhibition at the V&A will explore the way that bags have evolved, taking in some of the most significant designers - from Louis Vuittion to Birkin bags - to see how they became the item everyone needs to carry.
V&A Museum, April 25, 2020 - January 3, 2021; vam.ac.uk
Renaissance Watercolours: From Durer to Van Dyck
This is set to be a pretty one: for the first time, watercolour paintings by celebrated Renaissance artists will be shown together. These lovely works show how artists captured the natural world; they are rarely shown together, so don’t miss your chance.
V&A Museum, May 16 - September 20, 2020; vam.ac.uk
When she took over as Tate’s director in 2017, Maria Balshaw made it part of her mission to correct the gender imbalance within the gallery’s collection and exhibition programme. In 2020, there will be major exhibitions of five women artists, including London-based painter Lynette Yiadom-Boakye. It will be the first major survey exhibition for the artist, who was shortlisted for the Turner Prize in 2013.
Tate Britain, May 19 - August 31, 2020; tate.org.uk
Alice in Wonderland
Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland remains one of our most loved books - and also one of our strangest. It continues to fascinate and creatives around the world, who have used it as a jumping off point for ballets, films and fashion. This exhibition will explore the story from its origin 157 years ago to the many reinventions that it has inspired since that time.
V&A Museum, June 27, 2020 - January 10, 2021; vam.ac.uk
Becoming Britain: Photography 1945-79
Social change, political upheaval and massive global events; no, this new photography exhibition isn’t talking about now, but the period between the end of the Second World War and the election of Margaret Thatcher in 1979. It brings together the work of major documentary photographers, who captured moments that shaped the country we live in today, from the arrival of the Windrush generation to the Winter of Discontent.
Tate Britain, June 30 - September 27, 2020; tate.org.uk
Another day, another attempt to correct art history sexism. The National Portrait Gallery will shine a light on the untold story of the women of Pre-Raphaelite art, whose contribution to the movement continues to be overlooked. It will be the first exhibition of its kind, with rare works and new discoveries; Evelyn de Morgan, Effie Millais (nee Gray), Elizabeth Siddal and Joanna Wells are among the artists whose work will be on show.
National Portrait Gallery, October 17 - January 26; npg.org.uk