London's Art Scene 2016: A Month by Month Guide

New year: it's the time for re-invention, re-discovery and resolutions. One of our resolutions is always to do more, learn more, see more. What better time than the New Year to take stock, to reflect, and to look forward. This is what we, at London Art Studies, are looking forward to in London in 2016.

New year: it's the time for re-invention, re-discovery and resolutions. One of our resolutions is always to do more, learn more, see more. What better time than the New Year to take stock, to reflect, and to look forward. This is what we, at London Art Studies, are looking forward to in London in 2016.


Royal Academy

Painting the Modern Garden: Monet to Matisse (30 January - 20 April). Destined to be one of the blockbuster hits of the year, this "filled with light" exhibition at the Royal Academy will include works by Renoir, Cézanne, Sargent, Van Gogh and Klimt. And for those who can't get to the Royal Academy, be sure to look at Exhibition on Screen's film of the exhibition in association with Arts Alliance (in cinemas from 12th April).

A detail of Claude Monet's painting, Lady in the Garden, 1867.

Photograph: Vladimir Terebenin/The State Hermitage Museum


All change

There has been a changing of the guard in the London art world in 2015, and a slightly younger generation is taking over the running of three major museums. We're looking forward to seeing what Gabriele Finaldi (National Gallery), Alex Farquharson (Tate Britain) and Nicholas Cullinan (National Portrait Gallery) will do, now that they've taken over from Nicholas Penny, Penelope Curtis and Sandy Nairne respectively. We know that it can take up to 4 years to bring a major exhibition together, but we expect great things from Finaldi (of the Prado), Farquharson (Nottingham Contemporary) and Cullinan (Metropolitan Museum of Art). Neil MacGregor is also set to leave the British Museum at the end of the year (to be replaced by German art historian Hartwig Fischer), and the Serpentine is also to lose the inimitable Julia Peyton-Jones. With Chris Dercon set to leave Tate Modern in 2017, it really is a moveable feast.

Serpentine Pavilion 2015, designed by selgascano (25 June - 18 October) Photograph Copyright Naaro


National Portrait Gallery

We're also looking forward to the "once in a lifetime" show at the National Portrait Gallery - "Russia and the Arts" (17 March- 26 June). Portraits of the makers of Russia's cultural golden age (Tolstoy, Chekov, Dostoevsky) will be on show, on loan from the State Tretyakov Gallery. As Theodora Clarke, founder of Russian Art Week notes, "The NPG and the Tretyakov are marking the coincidence of their 160th anniversary - each - with one of the largest UK/Russian cultural exchanges ever seen".

Ivan Morozov by Valentin Serov, 1910 © State Tretyakov Gallery


The RIBA International Prize

We often forget to include architecture on our list of "must-see's". All this is set to change with a new global architecture award, to be launched by RIBA in 2016, which will find the world's best new building. We're expecting a slew of Pompidou-style applications, which is fitting given that Sir Richard Rogers is heading the judging panel.

The RIBA Grand Jury (left to right): Richard Rogers, founding director of Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, Kunlé Adeyenmi, director of NLÉ Projects, Philip Gumuchdjian, director of Gumuchdjian Architects



The Florentine painter will be having a renaissance (apologies) in 2016 with two exhibitions dedicated to his work. The Courtauld leads the way with drawings from the Divine Comedy in "Treasures from the Hamilton Collection" (18 February - 15 May), and a personal favourite is bound to be "Botticelli Reimagined" at the Victoria & Albert Museum (5 March - 3 July 2016). The exhibition will include over 50 works by Botticelli (not his real name - actually his nickname, "little barrel") and will also show those who have reinterpreted his work, including Magritte, Warhol and Sherman.

Venus, after Botticelli, 2008 by Yin Xin, Courtesy of V&A


Tate Modern +

We've been watching the scaffolding over the past 3 years, waiting, and were lucky enough to have a view of the new Tate Modern extension, set to open 17 June. The day before is reserved exclusively for schools access - demonstration of Tate's commitment to education - although we suspect the new bar area will also be a welcome addition for local residents in this 4900m2 of gallery space We're also looking forward to the Georgia O'Keefe retrospective (6 July - 30 October), still the highest-selling female artist at auction, as well as the first posthumous exhibition of Robert Rauschenberg's work to be seen in the UK (1st December - 2nd April 2017).

The new Tate Modern © Hayes Davidson and Herzog & de Meuron - Courtesy of Tate Modern


Hepworth Wakefield at Phillips

We're intrigued by a non-selling exhibition at Phillips of the late works of Barbara Hepworth, to celebrate The Hepworth Wakefield's 5th anniversary. It's a tremendous space in which to view these works produced in the last 10 years of Hepworth's life.

The Hepworth Wakefield


National Gallery

Another favourite is bound to be "Painters' Paintings from Freud to Van Dyck" (22 June to 4 September, National Gallery). A brilliant idea; from Matisse's Degas, to Freud's Corot, we will have the chance to see what inspired some of the greatest painters - from the Titian owned by Van Dyck to the Rembrandt owned by Reynolds. Who wouldn't want to see the art they actually owned, juxtaposed with the works these artists created?

Italian Woman, Corot artist, 1870, owned by Lucian Freud artist, National Gallery London


The Delfina Foundation

We're great admirers of the Delfina Foundation (an independent non-profit), which is particularly well known for its "artist in residence" programme. From July through October, Delfina launches the third part of its hugely popular series "The Politics of Food". The programme brings together artists, chefs and thinkers to consider the relationship between food, art, history and contemporary politics. The dinner performances are not to be missed.

The Politics of Food: Lunch. Courtesy Delfina Foundation


Large Glass

There's Frieze and PAD of course, but we thought we'd point out the smaller galleries, which continue to thrive - despite increasing rents in the capital. Martina Domonkos Klemmer of Dorothea Arts recommends the gallery Large Glass, and "loves what Charlotte Schepke has achieved in the gallery. Apart from being a commercial space, it is a meeting place for people and ideas, and is guided by the spirit of Marcel Duchamp".

Installation View - Craigie Horsfield: Workers 2015 - Courtesy Large Glass. Photo: Alex Delfanne


Design Museum

After an £80 million fundraising campaign, the Design Museum is set to move across London, and re-open in the former Commonwealth Institute building. Noted designer John Pawson has his work cut out for him; the museum has, in the past, hosted exhibitions of some of the most important pioneers in design, including Jonathan Ive, Charles and Ray Eames and Zaha Hadid. Views over Holland Park, and a restaurant to be open at night will, we're sure, add to the whole experience.

The Design Museum under construction, courtesy of the Design Museum. Photo credit: French & Tye



We've been long- term supporters of the aptly-named (for this month) Artangel - for presenting the work of contemporary artists in the most unusual spaces. Artangel has been responsible for some of the most talked-about art of recent times, including projects with Michael Landy, Steve McQueen and Rachel Whiteread; it's always worth keeping an eye out for their wonderfully creative and thought-provoking projects.

spectra by Ryoji Ikeda, 2014, view from Lambeth Bridge by Olivia Rutherford_Produced and presented by Artangel, co-commissioned by 14-18 NOW and the Mayor of London


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