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London's Art Scene this Autumn: 10 Must-See Events and Exhibitions

03/09/2015 15:26 | Updated 02 September 2016

I'm often asked what is the one thing that is absolutely necessary to see/do/experience in the visual art world, in a given season. These are my 10 not-to-be missed happenings in the art world in London, through to the end of the year. Consider your diary sorted.

1. The Frank Auerbach exhibition at Tate Britain. Curated by Catherine Lampert, who has sat weekly for Auerbach for the past 37 years, and with Auerbach's own input at Tate, this is bound to be a unique and moving retrospective of a life's work. London-based American artist Doug Fishbone, an admirer of the ruggedness and density of Auerbach's works, is "looking forward to the privilege of seeing such a range of Auerbach's paintings under one roof".

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Auerbach - Tate : Frank Auerbach, Head of J.Y.M ll 1984-85
Painting, Oil on canvas, 660 x 610 mm
Private collection
© Frank Auerbach

2. Goya, Giacometti and the Portrait. In an era when the entire world is obsessed with the portraiture in the form of "selfies", two spectacular exhibitions focusing on portraiture are soon to be on view. Goya is often considered one of the most psychologically revealing painters and the exhibition opening at the National Gallery (October 7th) is expected to be one of the highlights of the autumn. Lesser-known for his portraits, but still the highest selling sculptor of all time, Alberto Giacometti's lifelong love of portraiture will be revealed next door at the National Gallery on October 15th.

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Francisco de Goya, The Marchioness of Santa Cruz, 1805, Oil on canvas, 124.7 × 207.7 cm
Museo Nacional del Prado. Madrid
P07070
© Madrid, Museo Nacional del Prado

3. Ai Weiwei at the RA. We asked art advisor Viola Raikhel-Bolot of 1858 Art Advisory for her highlight of the autumn season - and it was an immediate nod towards Ai Weiwei at the RA. Raikhel-Bolot says "These will be exceptional works in a deserved setting; there's a poetry behind his work, which is always truly mesmerizing"

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Royal Academy, Ai Weiwei Dropping a Han Dynasty Urn, 1995, courtesy Ai Weiwei

4. Frieze/Frieze Masters/PAD. It's impossible to escape the maelstrom during Frieze week, but we confess that it's addictive, exhausting, exhilarating and un-missable. All eyes will be on Sir Norman Rosenthal, who is curating a brand-new section of Frieze called Collections. Let's also not forget PAD in Berkeley Square, which continues to surprise and delight and is a firm favourite of Georgina Hepburne Scott, head of Art Management at Stonehage Fleming.

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Boris Mikhailov, Yesterday's Sandwich (plate 46), c.1966-1968, C-type print from dia, 90×130cm. Courtesy of Sprovieri.

5. Galleries big and small throughout London in October. Marian Goodman is following up her astounding Richter show during last year's Frieze with the first show in London for 15 years dedicated to the legendary William Kentridge, while David Zwirner is backing the art-world darling Oscar Murillo. Lisson Gallery's Ryan Gander is bound to provoke controversy but our very top choice would be Blain Southern's partnership with the achingly hip Vinyl Factory, presenting rarely-seen works from Bill Viola's early career. Exhibited at Hanover Square and Brewer St car park, these complimentary exhibitions involving sound, refracted light and bodies of water should not be missed. Additional personal favourites also include Gordon Cheung at Edel Assanti as well as the legendary Judy Chicago at Riflemaker.

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Bill Viola in Mt Rainier coffee shop July 1979, Photo Kira Perov, Courtesy of the artist and BlainSouthern

6. The Line: a wonderfully ambitious project now comes to fruition. Following the success of the 2012 Olympics in East London, Megan Piper has worked wonders in creating an innovative sculpture walk along the site's waterways, with artists such as Martin Creed, Eduardo Paolozzi and Antony Gormley. Plan to spend a good couple of hours "walking the line".

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Thomson & Craighead, HERE, 2013
Custom Signpost, 264 × 82 × 12CM, On loan courtesy of the artists and Carroll/Fletcher

7. Sluice Art Fair. We admit we're slightly biased here, as one of London Art Studies' lecturers, Ben Street is co-director, but this smaller, bi-annual satellite fair during Frieze week "offers an alternative view of contemporary art today, focusing on grassroots art scenes, led by artists rather than dealers," according to Ben.

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Sluice - Image courtesy of Sluice.

8. Christie's "Multiplied" Sale. Held during Frieze week this is a great starting point for beginning an art collection. It's the only fair in the UK completely dedicated to "multiple" works of art. Expect to see prints from luminaries of the art world, as well as exciting emerging talent.

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Multiplied - Tom Hammick, Crowd Control, Reduction Woodcut, 2015. © Tom Hammick. Courtesy of Flowers Gallery London and New York.

9. Damien Hirst's Newport Street Gallery. When will it officially open? We've heard that the space is simply astonishing and are intrigued that John Hoyland is the subject for its first exhibition. We're also curious to see Gagosian's new space in Mayfair (launching 8th October) with a solo exhibition by Cy Twombly. It will be the 15th gallery for the dealer, who has a presence in seven countries, and the space will apparently span an extraordinary 18,000 square foot.

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Gagosian - Image courtesy of Gagosian Gallery.

10. "The Walk" - for those of you determined to stay comfortably at home, we would recommend this movie. Robert Zemeckis re-tells the amazing story of high-wire artist Philippe Petit's walk between the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center. Already filmed as a documentary in "Man on Wire", "The Walk" will star Joseph Gordon-Levitt as the French artist, and is scheduled to open October 9th worldwide. We suspect Zemeckis will bring an edge-of-seat Hollywood experience to the film - think "Mission Impossible" of the art world.

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Philippe Petit (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) in TriStar Pictures' THE WALK - courtesy of Sony Pictures.

Kate Gordon
London Art Studies

About our author
London Art Studies Founder Kate Gordon was Head of Public Programmes at Sotheby's Institute of Art and CNN Global Arts Producer. Kate's inspiration for setting up London Art Studies in 2012 was the huge increase of interest in the arts over the last 10 years and the desire to make education exciting. Her approach is to put together compelling, richly anecdotal, on-trend lecture content within a sophisticated, convivial environment.

This year London Art Studies launched an exclusive partnership with the Bulgari Hotel in London's Knightsbridge where students can learn about collecting, explore current exhibitions and witness lively debate focussed around themes in the art world. Subjects this autumn include "The Insider's Guide to Frieze", "Legacy: The Collecting Series" as well as "The Story of Haute Couture".