Ride the culture train into winter with the best free shows in town!
By Steph Dye (follow Steph on Twitter: @HelloIAmSteph)
Summer might be over but London’s thriving art scene is only just coming to life for the winter with some the most important shows of the year. Plus, when it’s miserable outside, what better way to pass a weekend than visiting a gallery? Luckily for us, London has a fantastic, free culture scene, including it’s galleries and museums so whether it’s your wallet or just your mind that needs a break, here are ten fantastic ways to spend a lunch break or afternoon. It’s not just the traditional art galleries included in our list either, making these exhibitions perfect pit stops for a day out or an easy way to fit just a little bit more into a packed itinerary without having to splash out.
So whether you know your Monet’s from you Manet’s or not: here are 10 art exhibitions that you can visit in London for free this autumn.
#1 | Maggi Hambling: Touch – Works On Paper | British Museum | Drawing | Until 29th January 2017
What is it?: A curated collection of Maggi Hambling’s drawings, spanning from across her career and the collections of several of London’s galleries, including the Tate Modern and the National Portrait Gallery. With a selection of over 40 drawings, this is a fantastic opportunity to view some never-before-seen works by one of Britain’s foremost contemporary artists.
When is it?: 8th September 2016-29th January 2017 (Monday-Sunday, 10am-5.30pm – except Fridays, when the museum is open until 8.30pm).
Where is it?: Room 90, The British Museum, Great Russell Street, WC1B 3DG.
#2 | Champagne Life | Saatchi Gallery | Mixed Media | Until 29th October
What is it?: Returning to the Saatchi Gallery for the second time this year, Champagne Life is an exhibition that attempts to highlight female artists at the forefront of contemporary art. Artists featured will include Aleksandra Mir, Jeni Spota and Phoebe Unwin.
When is it?: 1st October-29th October (Monday-Sunday, 10am-6pm).
Where is it?: Saatchi Gallery, Duke of York HQ, King’s Road, SW3 4RY.
#3 | Astronomy Photographer of the Year | Royal Observatory | Photography | Until 23rd December
What is it?: Doing pretty much what it says on the tin, the Astronomy Photographer of the Year is an exercise in the best of astrophotography from across the world. The exhibition will feature the winners from all of the categories, including the under-sixteen’s category.
When is it?: 17th September-23rd December (Monday-Sunday, 10am-5pm).
Where is it?: Royal Observatory, Blackheath Avenue, Greenwich, SE10 8XJ.
#4 | Basel Abbas and Ruanne Abou-Rahme: And yet my mask is powerful | Carroll/Fletcher | Mixed Media | Until October 29th
What is it?: A clever cocktail of art and current affairs, this exhibition brings together sound, visuals and collected or constructed objects from crisis points around the world. By superimposing one on top of the other, this exhibition attempts to bring together past and present in the collaborative artists’ most ambitious project in the UK to date.
When is it?: 9th September-29th October (Tuesday-Friday, 10am-6pm; Saturday, 11am-6pm).
Where is it?: Room 1, Carroll/Fletcher, 56-57 Eastcastle Street, W1W 8EQ.
#5 | Henri Barande | Saatchi Gallery | Mixed Media | Until 31st October
What is it?: The first (and only) showing of this artist’s work in the UK, Henri Barande only ever exhibits art in any one country once, so you’ll need to get your skates on to catch him in London. Featuring over 70 works, the art explores the connection between abstract and concrete concepts.
When is it?: 4th October – 31st October (Monday-Sunday, 10am-6pm).
Where is it?: Saatchi Gallery, Duke of York HQ, King’s Road, SW3 4RY.
#6 | Nigel Cooke: Roman Willow | Pace Burlington Gardens| Painting | Until 22st October
What is it?: His first showing in the UK for three years, this exhibition marks Nigel Cooke’s departure from nihilism, bringing a softer, more poetic edge to his painting. There is also more of an influence from European cities, such as Cordoba, Rome and the Italian Alps, pairing this new nod to nature with mythical, female figures.
When is it?: 21st September-22nd October (Tuesday-Saturday, 10am-6pm).
Where is it?: 6 Burlington Gardens, W1S 3ET.
#7 | Bonnie Camplin | Camden Arts Centre | Mixed Media | Until 8th January
What is it?: Bringing together art and science with some very complicated sounding terminology, this exhibition is a 2D representation of energy and information transferring through morphic fields and qualia-channels. Sounds confusing, looks fascinating!
When is it?: 30th September-8th January (Tuesday-Sunday, 10am-6pm, except for Wednesdays, when the gallery stays open until 9pm).
Where is it?: Camden Arts Centre, NW3 6DG.
#8 | Giuseppe Penone: Fui, Saro, Non Sono | Marian Goodman Gallery | Sculpture | Until 21st October
What is it?: Bringing together nature and nurture, Italian sculptor Giuseppe Penone showcases his surreal sculpture, spanning his career as an artist. Whilst this exhibition is an exploration and celebration of the relationship between humans and their surroundings, this show is not your stereotypical party, remaining very muted, minimalist and sombre.
When is it?: 8th September-21st October (Tuesday-Saturday 10am-6pm).
Where is it?: Marian Goodman Gallery, 5-8 Lower John Street, W1F 9DY.
#9 | Guerrilla Girls: Is It Even Worse In Europe? | Whitechapel Gallery | Mixed Media | Until 5th March 2017
What is it?: On a mission to expose the misogyny that dominates the art world, this feminist group have taken over the iconic Whitechapel Gallery. Using data gathered from questionnaires sent out to galleries across Europe, this exhibition is a presentation of their findings, put together with archived material from the group’s inner workings.
When is it?: 1st October 2016-5th March 2016 (Tuesday-Sunday 11am-6pm except for Thursdays when the gallery is open until 9pm).
Where is it?: Gallery 4, Whitechapel Gallery, 77-82 Whitechapel High Street, E1 7QX.
#10 | Olivia Plender | Maureen Paley | Mixed Media | Until 1st October
What is it?: Creating a picture of national identity, Olivia Plender’s exhibition puts together images themed around politics, economics and protest. Questioning the ‘voice’ of authority in historical narrative, she brings together stories from fringe communities and movements.
When is it?: 9th September-1st October (Wednesday-Sunday, 11am-6pm).
Where is it?: Maureen Paley, 21 Herald Street, E2 6JT,
Still catching up on the summer shows? Some of them are still open so get cracking here!
All that culture might give you food for thought but if you are after something a little more nourishing, here’s some of the best budget brunches in London.
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