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Things to do in London 2021: the best exhibitions to book for next year

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Hollie Richardson
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David Hockney exhibition

Who’s ready to start planning things to do in London next year? Here are nine exhibitions definitely worth getting excited about. 

London’s museums, galleries and arts venues took a battering during the pandemic this year. But, despite the multiple lockdowns and restrictions, the heart of the city’s cultural scene still beats strong. From The Design Museum’s immersive Electronic exhibition to the Instagram-friendly Accidentally Wes Anderson pop-up in Hackney, culture vultures have still managed to enjoy some brilliant days out in the capital.

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And although London is currently under tier three restrictions, we can allow ourselves to get excited about the cultural events coming in 2021. Here are the best exhibitions to book tickets for next year.

  • Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Rooms at Tate Modern

    Yayoi Kusama
    Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Rooms.

    Infinity Rooms will feature two immersive mirror room installations created by renowned Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama, whose work has spanned more than half a century. They will be exhibited alongside “photos and footage of early performance works and studio happenings”.

    It runs from 29 March 2021 until 27 March 2022. Tickets for non-members cost £10 and will be available to buy on the Tate Modern website soon.

  • David Hockney: The Arrival of Spring, Normandy, 2020 at Royal Academy of Arts

    David Hockney:
    David Hockney: The Arrival of Spring, Normandy, 2020.

    In the midst of a pandemic, iconic artist David Hockney captured the unfolding of spring in his Normandy home on his iPad, creating 116 new and optimistic works in praise of the natural world.

    Opening exactly a year after the works were made, this exhibition will be a reminder of the constant renewal and wonder of the natural world – and the beauty of spring.

    It runs at the Royal Academy of Arts from 27 March until 22 August 2021.

  • Fly In League With The Night at Tate Britain

    Fly In League With The Night
    Fly In League With The Night.

    Lynette Yiadom-Boakye is a British artist and writer acclaimed for her enigmatic portraits of fictitious people. The Fly In League With The Night exhibition brings together around 80 works from 2003 to the present day in the most extensive survey of the artist’s career to date.

    The figures in Yiadom-Boakye’s paintings are not real people – she creates them from found images and her own imagination. Both familiar and mysterious, they invite viewers to project their own interpretations, and raise important questions of identity and representation

    It runs from 2 December 2020 until 9 May 2021 and tickets for non-members cost £13.

  • The Art of Banksy at 50 Earlham Street

    The Art of Banksy
    The Art of Banksy.

    Banksy is the world-famous anonymous political graffiti artist who has been leaving a paint trail around the city since the 90s. The Art of Banksy holds the world’s largest collection of privately-owned Banksy art.

    On display are prints, canvasses, screenprints, sculptures, unique works and limited-edition pieces. The exhibition features iconic works such as Girl and Balloon, Flower Thrower and Rude Copper. 

    It runs from 25 March 2021 until 26 September 2021 at 50 Earlham Street, Covent Garden. Ticket prices start at £21.50.

  • Paradise Lost at Kew Gardens

    Paradise Lost.
    Paradise Lost.

    A stroll around Kew Gardens is the perfect outdoors activity right now. But you can also explore the stunning Paradise Lost exhibition led by world-renowned artist Jan Hendrix.

    Hendrix examines the transformation of landscapes and how we record the natural world in botanical images, using a variety of materials including glass and silver leaf.

    It runs from 3 October 2020 until 14 March 2021 and the price is included in the ticket entry to the gardens.

  • Lubaina Himid at Tate Modern

    Lubaina Himid Man in A Shirt Drawer
    Lubaina Himid, Man in A Shirt Drawer .

    Lubaina Himid is the Turner Prize winning artist and cultural activist with a hugely influential career. Initially trained in theatre design, Himid is known for her innovative approaches to painting and to social engagement. She has been pivotal in the UK since the 1980s for her contributions to the British Black arts movement, making space for the expression and recognition of Black experience and women’s creativity.

    Taking inspiration from her interest in theatre, this exhibition will unfold in a sequence of scenes designed to place visitors centre-stage and backstage.

    It runs from 25 November 2021 until 22 May 2022 and tickets will go on sale soon.

  • Tracey Emin / Edvard Munch The Loneliness of the Soul at Royal Academy of Arts

    Tracey Emin / Edvard Munch The Loneliness of the Soul
    Tracey Emin / Edvard Munch, The Loneliness of the Soul.

    The loneliness that so many of us have experienced over the last year perhaps makes The Loneliness Of The Soul a particularly timely and poignant exhibition to go and see. In this landmark exhibition, Tracey Emin selects masterpieces by Edvard Munch to show alongside her most recent paintings. 

    It features more than 25 of Emin’s paintings, neons and sculptures. These works, which explore the loneliness of the soul, have been chosen by Emin to sit alongside a carefully considered selection of 18 oils and watercolours drawn from Munch’s rich collection and archives in Oslo, Norway.

    It runs from 15 November 2020 until 28 February 2021 and tickets are £17.

  • Jean Dubuffet Brutal Beauty at Barbican

    Jean Dubuffet Brutal Beauty
    Jean Dubuffet Brutal Beauty.

    Brutal Beauty celebrates French artist Jean Dubuffet, one of the most singular and provocative voices in postwar modern art. The exhibition champions Dubuffet’s rebellious philosophy. Railing against conventional ideas of beauty, he tried to capture the poetry of everyday life in a gritty, more authentic way. 

    This is the first major survey of his work in the UK for over 50 years, showcasing four decades of his career, from early portraits and fantastical statues, to butterfly assemblages and giant colourful canvases.

    It runs from 11 February 2021 until 23 May 2021 and tickets are £18.

  • Zanele Muholi at Tate Modern

    Zanele Muholi, Ntozakhe II, Parktown 2016.
    Zanele Muholi, Ntozakhe II, Parktown.

    Zanele Muholi describes themself as a visual activist. From the early 2000s, they have documented and celebrated the lives of South Africa’s black lesbian, gay, trans, queer and intersex communities. With over 260 photographs, this exhibition presents the full breadth of their career to date, and it looks absolutely beautiful.

    It runs from 5 November 2020 until 6 June 2021 and tickets are £13.

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Images: provided by various galleries

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Hollie Richardson

Hollie is a digital writer at Stylist.co.uk, mainly covering the daily news on women’s issues, politics, celebrities and entertainment. She also keeps an ear out for the best podcast episodes to share with readers. Oh, and don’t even get her started on Outlander…