Autumn is a good time for many things. Long walks in the park, surrounded by golden leaves; takeaway coffees with autumnal syrups that we definitely don’t want to know the sugar count of; sitting by the fire in a London pub. But one area in which autumn will take first prize every time is the cultural, intellectual area that is art exhibitions.
A healthy dose of culture is just the thing, immediately following summer. Culture tends to take a bit of a hit during those long, warm, sunny months: with festivals, beach trips and riverside drinks (rightly) taking precedence. But once the days get colder and shorter, it’s time to put those cultural hats well and truly back on, and give your brain the intellectual fare it’s been craving. So with that in mind, we’ve drawn up a list of the best London art exhibitions to visit this autumn…
A Load of Fuss About F*** All, by The Connor Brothers
When is it? 15 October 2021 — 3 November 2021.
Where is it? Hosted by Maddox Gallery, the exhibition will showcase three chapters of The Connor Brothers’ artistic journey, across three central city locations. Prepare to gather together all your preconceived notions about art, and throw them out of the window: this retrospective artistic tour around London (Shepherd Market, the Gallery’s flagship Mayfair location and Westbourne Grove) will redefine, expand and transform your understanding of what art can be.
What is it? The Connor Brothers are something of an iconic duo; and this exhibition serves as a retrospective, celebrating both 10 years of their famous work and cementing a landmark as their largest exhibition to date. James Golding and Mike Snelle — as the Connor Brothers are also known — have made a name for themselves not only as a mysterious, enigmatic pair (with work often created under numerous pseudonyms), but as a ferocious, unprecedented talent to be reckoned with.
The exhibition’s (somewhat sardonic) name is taken from one of their renowned hand-finished books; and viewers can expect to see famous Connor Brother classics (like Pulp Fiction and True Love Stories), together with more recent works (including a series of bastardised paintings).
Daido Moriyama: A Journey In Ink
When is it? 8 September 2021 — 30 October 2021.
Where is it? Hamiltons Gallery, in Mayfair. You may well have visited previously (perhaps for the recent ‘Helmut Newton: High Gloss’ exhibition?); but we’d recommend making a return trip this autumn.
What is it? Moriyama is one of Japan’s most renowned photographers; and his work includes silkscreens, films, Polaroids, installations and colour pictures. The photographer is now in his 80s; and this is a privileged opportunity to witness his tremendous skill first hand.
Moriyama was famously influenced by Andy Warhol; as seen by his response to aspects of our modern world, like celebrity culture and digital media, which can be seen in his work and which Warhol shares. The artwork in this particular exhibition was made using deep black ink, and each piece has been produced as either a unique work or a limited edition. His gritty, enigmatic style is very much at play here, and the exhibition serves as a chance to see the many aspects of his work over the years: from early 1960s projects in Tokyo to the later influences that catapulted Moriyama’s work to worldwide recognition.
Mixing It Up: Painting Today
When is it? 9 September 2021 — 12 December 2021.
Where is it? Hayward Gallery, at the Southbank Centre: a well-reputed contemporary creative hub, and one guaranteed to showcase work that both shocks and moves, in equal measure.
What is it? It’s contemporary; it’s electric; and it makes painting come alive in a way that many other (older, dustier) exhibitions can often no longer manage.
Featuring the work of 31 contemporary painters, the exhibition encourages viewers to plumb the depths of their imaginations. The painters approach their medium as a vehicle for speculation, and with the intention of provoking new — often surprising or unprecedented — conversations. So if you decide to drop into the Hayward Gallery this autumn, don’t expect to be a passive bystander; this is an exhibition designed to give your brain a decent workout.
Mixing It Up
Frans Hals: The Male Portrait
When is it? 22 September 2021 — 30 January 2022.
Where is it? The Wallace Collection: a museum taking up residence in Hertford House in the heart of Manchester Square, just by Bond Street.
What is it? Have you ever heard of ‘The Laughing Cavalier’? If you haven’t yet, you’ll be an expert by the time you’ve immersed yourself in this exhibition. It was painted in 1624 by Frans Hals; and it first entered the Wallace Collection in 1865. In its world-famous, far-reaching history, it’s never yet been seen showcased alongside other works by Hals; so this exhibition marks a transformative moment in art history.
It’ll be featured alongside other famous male portraits by Hals, in the inaugural show of its kind — focusing on Hals’ portraits of men posing entirely on their own — and the idea is to track and explore the artist’s approach to male portraiture, understanding the ways in which he turned portraiture into something which was (at the time) bizarrely new and utterly fresh. If there was ever an exhibition made for (and by, and featuring) gentlemen: this would be it.
Frans Hals: The Male Portrait
Hogarth and Europe
When is it? 3 November 2021 — 20 March 2022.
Where is it? Tate Britain: which no doubt needs little introduction.
What is it? We may think we’ve just seen the most tumultuous, transformative time in history (and we’d probably be right); but the mid-18th century could give 2020-21 a fair run for its money. The well-known period of enlightenment, innovation and vast social change, it’s a time documented by many: William Hogarth, among them.
Hogarth captured the new, modern experience — revolution taking place at the heart of an affluent, decadent Europe, for instance — with flair, wit and an electric energy. Among his contemporaries, he told stories through his work: stories of the rich and the poor, with an absorbing (and unignorable) social commentary woven in throughout: and it’s these stories that we highly recommend you go and immerse yourself in this autumn.
Hogarth and Europe
When is it? 30 September 2021 — 9 January 2022.
Where is it? London’s Barbican Centre: a cultural hub of world renown. You might be familiar with the Barbican for its cinematic or theatrical scene; but this autumn, we’d recommend prioritising its artistic offerings…
What is it? Isamu Noguchi is a name you should know. It’s a name everyone should know. We’ll forgive you if you don’t — it’s been a hard 18 months, after all, and cultural oversaturation is something we’re all trying to navigate — but now that you’re aware of this vital exhibition, we’d strongly advise hot footing it over to the Barbican.
The Japanese American sculptor lived from 1904-1988, and he’s widely known as being one of the most pioneering artists of his time; or, indeed, of the entire century. His approach to sculpture was both unprecedented and unrivalled — he famously said that “Everything is sculpture”, and it seems he meant it — and in this exhibition, over 150 of his sculptural works are on display, from ceramics to aluminium; not to mention theatre set designs and furniture, too. Noguchi believed that art can be ‘something which teaches human beings how to become more human’; and we’d say he was right.
Fabergé: Romance to Revolution
When is it? 20 November 2021 — 8 May 2022.
Where is it? The V&A; another one for which you presumably don’t need directions…
What is it? Everyone loves a Fabergé Easter Egg, don’t they? If you’d include yourself in that dedicated club, then this is most certainly the exhibition for you. As the inaugural exhibition dedicated to the world-famous Russian goldsmith and his (lesser known) London branch, the exhibition will focus on Fabergé’s Edwardian high society clientele, casting a jubilant light on his British triumphs, as well as the global fascination with his joyfully opulent creations.
With over 200 objects on display over three sections, the exhibition will portray the story of Carl Fabergé (otherwise known as the man behind the Easter egg); and in a suitably dramatic finale, three of his famous Imperial Easter Eggs will be on display for the very first time in the UK. It’s romantic, elegant, glamorous and refined; so it’s just the exhibition for the intellectual gentleman.
Fabergé: Romance to Revolution
Changing Lanes, by David Yarrow
When is it? 4 November 2021 — 21 November 2021.
Where is it? Maddox Gallery, Westbourne Grove. You’ve probably walked past it countless times, but now’s the time to set foot through those doors…
What is it? This wouldn’t be the first time we’ve waxed lyrical about David Yarrow’s sublime, world-leading photography; and we have no doubt it won’t be the last, either. Yarrow’s photography has long inspired, excited and enthralled all who view it; and this upcoming exhibition will likely be no exception.
This autumn, we’d strongly advise setting a day aside to visit the Gallery and immerse yourself in the work of a true icon (trust us when we say: we don’t use that word lightly). The exhibition will present some of Yarrow’s most iconic work, together with a series of new photographs taken throughout the pandemic; and, featuring guest stars including Cindy Crawford and Russell Wilson, it’ll combine wildlife portraiture with Yarrow’s signature storytelling.
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