Visit London Blog » tate britain Enjoy the very best of London Thu, 17 Apr 2014 09:00:42 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Top Art Exhibitions to See in London in 2014 Fri, 27 Dec 2013 10:00:35 +0000 2014 is set to be an exciting year with plenty of blockbuster exhibitions planned across the capital. From art to architecture, collage to contemporary, don’t miss these fantastic exhibitions.

Henri Matisse Cut-Outs

Tate Modern, 17 Apr-7 Sep 2014

While Matisse became famous for his use of bright colours and simplified use of line, towards the end of his illustrious career he gradually became blind which left him unable to continue with these types of paintings. To remedy this he chose instead to work with cut-out shapes. These wonderful mature works live on in collage and will be available to view this summer at  the Tate Modern.

Sensing Spaces: Architecture Re-imagined

Royal Academy of Arts, 25 Jan–6 Apr 2014

The unmissable opening 2014 exhibition at The Royal Academy of Arts will be entirely experiential. Involving unique commissions from seven internationally-renowned architecture firms, Sensing Spaces explores how visitors respond to environments, buildings and spaces. There will be six installations, each re-imagining the boundaries between art and architecture and how visitors might interpret what they see, feel, hear and smell.

Late Turner: Painting Set Free

Tate Britain, 10 Sep 2014 – 25 Jan 2015

This exhibition at the Tate Britain will pay tribute to the revolutionary work of Turner whose late landscapes depicted studies of light and atmosphere where the air becomes misty, the light ethereal, and where the land evaporates into the sky.  This exhibition is dedicated to Turner’s later works – all produced after the artist turned 60 and covering the period 1835-50. A star of the show will be Turner’s masterpiece Rain, Steam, and Speed – The Great Western Railway from 1844 which depicts a hare seemingly in a race with a steam train as it puffs through a rain storm.

Martin Creed 

Hayward Gallery, Southbank Centre, 29 Jan– 27 Apr 2014

Famous for his Turner Prize-winning piece (Work No. 227, the lights going on and off, 2001), Martin Creed is an artist that people tend to either love or hate.  This new exhibition at the Hayward Gallery is your chance to make your mind up about his highly conceptual art. Throughout the duration of the show there will be a spattering of events at which that Creed plays live, which may even include a song counting from 1 to 100.

The Great War in Portraits 

National Portrait Gallery, 27 Feb-15 Jun 2014

One of the first events in London commemorating the World War I centenary is the National Portrait Gallery’s The Great War in Portraits show. Rather than focus on war-torn landscape pictures, this exhibition will tell the story of the Great War in images of people. With artists including Ludwig Kirchner and William Orpen’s self-portraits from their time in the army, and more Expressionist works providing a window into the political and psychological turmoil experienced, this will be a revealing show.

Vikings: Life and Legend

British Museum, 6 March – 22 June 2014

How did the Vikings change the history of Britain? The British Museum sets out to explore exactly that with its major 2014 exhibition Vikings: Life and Legend. With important and delicate artefacts on loan from Denmark and Scandinavia, this show is set to redefine how we perceive the Vikings. Often portrayed as violent thugs, The Vikings were actually an enterprising, often-nomadic civilisation who commanded more communities via their trade routes than any other established people of the same era in the British Isles or Europe. Quite apart from an educational experience, there will be gold and jewels on display, as well as impressive fragments of an original Viking longboat, transported for the first time from Denmark.

Constable: The Making of a Master 

Victoria & Albert Museum, 20 Sep 2014 – 11 Jan 2015

John Constable’s The Hay Wain, is one of the most famous paintings in London’s National Gallery and one that tourists flock to see. And though it won’t move far in 2014, it will form part of a revealing display at the V&A. This and a select group of masterpieces form the centrepiece of this show, while Constable’s early oil sketches tell us how he evolved to become such a reputable painter. Unequalled in his portrayal of the natural landscape, this is a rare chance to get behind Constable’s famous works and learn more about the man.


National Gallery, 18 Jun-7 Sep 2014

The perfect introduction to how painting evolved throughout the centuries. Using its vast collection to tell the story of colour, this ambitious show at the National Gallery spans 700 years; each room devoted to one colour. So, whether you’re interested in colour theory, the chemistry of pigments and their production, or how brush-strokes form a picture on the canvas, this exhibition will cover it all.

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New Tate Britain Unveiled Wed, 20 Nov 2013 10:50:06 +0000

(c) Helene Binet

Art fans will be delighted by the new-look Tate Britain. The historic gallery reopened its riverfront entrance earlier this week and revealed the new Rotunda reception area, complete with a striking new spiral staircase.

This marks the end of a raft of changes to the building spanning back to March 2011, which aims to transform the oldest part of the Grade II building. This includes the now reopened Millbank entrance, Rotunda, and galleries in the south-east quadrant, which were reopened in May.

The transformation is more of an update than an expansion by architects Caruso St John, who have managed to keep the new touches in line with the nineteenth century style of the building. The new black and white scalloped terrazzo staircase is the centrepiece of the new Tate Britain, with a pattern inspired by Roman baths but which may recall Art Deco for most.

(c) Helene Binet

The Rotunda entrance and the surrounding walkways and stairwells are all open to the public again, restoring logic to the space and highlighting the presence of three levels. The gallery hopes this will allow guests to navigate and flow around the building more easily.

The lower floor hosts amenities such as the new education centre, Archive Gallery, the restored Rex Whistler restaurant – complete with its famous mural by the artist – and the new Djanogly café, which has a vaulted ceiling and opens out onto a terrace.

(c) Helene Binet

The top floor, which has been closed since the 1920s, is now a member’s area complete with its own bar. The main floor gives access to the collections, and there is now a better sight line through the gallery, allowing guests to orientate themselves and begin to work their way through the displays.

The works themselves were rehung in May, when the south-east gallery refurbishments were completed. The work is now displayed strictly chronologically, allowing guests to take a journey through nearly 500 years of British art, starting at 1540. This walk-through is supplemented by BP Spotlight exhibitions and new permanent galleries devoted to William Blake and Henry Moore.

Keep your eyes peeled for three individually commissioned artistic elements. In the Millbank foyer, Richard Wright has hand designed the glasswork within the eastern window to match the patchwork design of the WWII-damaged western window. Alan Johnston has hand shaded the ceiling for the Djanogly Café (below) with a 9H pencil. Finally, Nicole Wermers has created a dual headed tea and coffee spoon, which the Tate management hope aren’t too much of a temptation to souvenir collectors.

To celebrate Tate Britain is hosting a housewarming party from 15:00-22:00 on Saturday (23 Nov). Be sure to go and see the new spaces first hand and enjoy a DJ set from Hot Chip frontman Alexis Taylor, as well as a selection of talks, workshops and sound installations.

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London Video of the Week: Celebrities Unlock Art for Tate Fri, 18 Oct 2013 12:00:31 +0000

Comedian, writer and art-lover Frank Skinner whizzes through the history of performance art in this film for Tate.

Skinner is one of a number of celebrities, including Alan Cumming and Doctor Who star Peter Capaldi, who are fronting the films which Tate hopes will help “unlock art” and bring it to a wider audience. All of the films in the series deal with big topics in art in just five minutes.

Tate is a family of four art galleries, two of which are in London: Tate Modern and Tate Britain.

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Five Major London Art Exhibitions to See in 2013 Sat, 29 Dec 2012 09:00:26 +0000

As well as being a fantastic year for sport, 2012 was a great year for art exhibitions in London. We’ve enjoyed blockbuster shows such as David Hockney at the Royal Academy of Arts, Damien Hirst at Tate Modern and Lucian Freud at the National Portrait Gallery.

Here are five exhibitions to look out – and book ahead – for in 2013.

Manet: Portraying Life, Royal Academy of Arts: The Royal Academy hosts the first-ever UK exhibition devoted to Edouard Manet’s portraiture. 26 Jan-14 Apr

Lichtenstein: A Retrospective, Tate Modern: See 125 of the best paintings and sculptures by Roy Lichtenstein, known for his bright, comic strip-style works. 21 Feb-27 May

Life and Death in Pompeii and Herculaneum, British Museum: Major display of objects excavated from two Roman cities buried by a catastrophic eruption in AD 79. 28 Mar-29 Sep

Lowry and the Painting of Modern Life, Tate Britain: This exhibition of Lowry landscapes is the first big London show devoted to the artist since his death in 1976. 26 Jun-20 Oct

Paul Klee, Tate Modern: Tate Modern charts Paul Klee’s complex, colourful drawings and paintings alongside the events that happened during his lifetime. 15 Oct-9 Mar

Which London art exhibitions are you looking forward to in 2013? Let us know in the comments below.

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What’s On This Weekend. 28-30 Dec 2012 Mon, 24 Dec 2012 10:52:51 +0000 Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park

With Christmas and New Year’s Eve both mid-week, there are fewer unique events than usual on in London this weekend. However, with the opening of the January sales, spectacular new theatrical productions such as Fuerzabruta and the usual wide range of attractions, it’s still very hard to get bored!

January Sales

Although they’re traditionally called the January sales, most shops actually start discounting their goods very shortly after Christmas. This weekend there are fantastic bargains to be had at famous department stores such as Harrods, Selfridges and Fortnum and Mason, although be warned that, for the most sought-after items, it’s very much a case of ‘the early bird catches the worm’! Take a look at our January Sales 2013 guide for tips and sale dates.

Ice Rinks

Head to London’s many ice rinks for a frosty seasonal treat that the whole family will enjoy. The city’s largest ice rink is at Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park, which also contains rides, shows, seasonal refreshments and the enchanting Magical Ice Kingdom. Elsewhere, lots of ice rinks are conveniently located within other great attractions – why not combine skating with shopping at Westfield London, a trip on the London Eye or a visit to the Natural History Museum?

Museums and GalleriesThe 'Didactic Teaching Skull' exhibit in 'Medicine Now'  Credit: Rama Knight/Wellcome Images.

Most of London’s fantastic museums and galleries are open this weekend, giving you the chance to catch up on some of the great exhibitions that have opened in recent months. You could see stunning works by Pre-Raphaelite painters at Tate Britain (£14), see Mario Testino’s photographs of the Royal Family at the National Portrait Gallery (free), or browse fascinating exhibitions on medicine and death at the Wellcome Collection (free). The Tower of London is also running special Charles Dickens-themed events this weekend, check this flyer for full details.

Theatre & Pantomimes

As ever, London is full of great theatrical productions. Why not celebrate Girl Power at the Spice Girls musical Viva Forever, see the hotly anticipated return of mind-blowing Argentinian show Fuerzabruta, or super-size your theatrical experience at Walking with Dinosaurs at The O2? If you’re in the mood for something more frivolous, you can indulge your silly side at a traditional pantomime in London: find out more about these hilarious, celebrity-filled shows on our dedicated panto page.


If you’ve over-indulged at Christmas, a guided walk around London is a great way to burn off some of the calories – not to mention learn something new about our great city! London Walks have a fantastic range of sightseeing tours on everything from The Beatles to Jack the Ripper, and you can view the full schedule by visiting the London Walks website.

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What’s On in London This Weekend: 5-7 October 2012 Thu, 04 Oct 2012 08:53:24 +0000

London throws up some dilemmas for the eager event-goer this weekend. Should you check out the contenders for the biggest prize in modern art, or delve through the Transport Museum’s rarely-seen depot collection? There’s also cut-price gastronomy and the chance to see a British music icon reborn as a hologram on stage. You might find it hard to choose.

London Transport Museum Depot Open Weekend

The London Transport Museum’s depot in Acton holds more than 400,000 objects that are not on display in the main museum – from historical cars, trains and buses to posters, signs and engineering drawings. This family-friendly open weekend lets you explore the collection and dabble in activities like craft workshops, miniature railway rides and storytelling with children’s book character Toby the Taxi6-7 Oct

Turner Prize 2012 at Tate Britain

The four short-listed artworks for this year’s Turner Prize are being hailed as some of the most though-provoking in the award’s 28-year history. Film is the medium of choice for two of the finalists: Luke Fowler blends archive footage and new film to explore the life and work of Scottish psychiatrist RD Laing, while Elizabeth Price’s video installations dissect our relationship with consumer culture. Perhaps the most fascinating pieces are Paul Noble’s detailed drawings of an entire fictional city called Nobson Newtown. The exhibition is at Tate Britain and the winner will be announced in December. Until 6 Jan

Best of Britannia at The Farmiloe Building

You’ll spot Made in Britain labels all over the place at the Best of Britannia show, a new celebration of British-made and British-designed products at The Farmiloe Building in Clerkenwell. The eclectic lineup of talks features a Cumbrian shepherdess and the folks behind men’s health charity Movember, and each evening hosts live music including an appearance from a hologram of an iconic British superstar who has yet to be revealed. 5-7 Oct

London Restaurant Festival

Snap up some grub from Michelin Star restaurants like Trishna at seriously reduced prices at the London Restaurant Festival. Over 800 resturants have laid on two and three-course menus from £10 for this celebration of the capital’s gastronomy. At the other end of the price scale, if you can stump up £145 , the Gourmet Odyssey event takes you on a tour of top establishments on an old-fashioned red routemaster bus, tasting one course at each venue. Until 15 Oct

What events will you be at this weekend? Post below and let us know.

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London Exhibitions: Last Chance to See Fri, 07 Sep 2012 16:04:05 +0000

If you’ve been planning to visit this summer’s must-see exhibitions such as Damien Hirst at Tate Modern or Yoko Ono at the Serpentine Gallery, be quick! It’s changeover time at London museums and galleries and the following shows are all set to close this month:

Closing this weekend

Closing later in September

But don’t worry there are plenty of exciting new exhibitions coming up this autumn, including Pre-Raphaelites at Tate Britain and Hollywood Costume at the V&A. Keep an eye on our Arts page for all the latest information.

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London’s Top Free Olympic Exhibitions Mon, 09 Jul 2012 09:30:42 +0000

The Olympic Games aren’t just about victory at the finish line – creativity and design have played a part in making the ultimate sporting event in the world happen. Make sure you celebrate the artists and engineers involved as well as the athletes by visiting one of these top Olympic exhibitions this summer. They’re all free.

Design Stories and After the Party at RIBA
The Royal Institute of British Architects is putting on two Olympic exhibitions to toast the architecture behind the Games. Design Stories: The Architecture Behind 2012 explores the ideas and complex engineering behind the brand new Olympic venues like the Aquatics Centre. It compiles drawings, images, videos and detailed models. The second exhibition, After the Party: The Legacy of Celebration, compares the UK’s Olympic buildings to efforts for previous Olympic Games and celebrations and asks what happens to monuments celebrating events after all the hoopla has passed. 
Design Stories: 25 Jun-21 Sep
After The Party: 25 Jun-5 Oct

Road to 2012 at the National Portrait Gallery
None of the glory on the track and court would be possible without all the work behind the scenes of the Olympic Games. This free series of photographs at the National Portrait Gallery features not only the athletes but people who have put the event together, such as apprentices from the Olympic Park and the team that led the bid for London to hold the Games. It’s the final part of  the BT Road to 2012 project which has commissioned leading photographers to document the build up to the event. Katherine Green’s images of sports communities in London’s East End sit alongside the display. 
19 Jul-23 Sep

The Olympic Journey at the Royal Opera House
For two weeks only, an impressive collection of Olympic artefacts will set up camp at the Royal Opera House for The Olympic Journey: The Story of the Games. The exhibition traces the evolution of the Olympic Games from the ancient Greek games 3,000 years ago. The highlight has to be seeing every single summer Olympic medal since 1896 and every summer Olympic torch since 1936. 
28 Jul-12 Aug

London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games Posters at Tate Britain
The posters for the Olympic Games have always reflected the art – and the mood – of the city that hosts them. Artists like Tracey Emin and Chris Ofili are among the 12 to put their mark on the official posters for London 2012. Screen prints and lithographs of their creations will be among those on show at Tate Britain as part of the London 2012 Festival.
21 Jun-23 Sep

Olympics Through the Ages at Westfield Stratford City
Award-winning photography will showcase iconic sporting moments at this exhibition in the Getty Images Gallery. Taking place within walking distance from the Olympic Park, it looks at the Olympic Games through a camera lens – from the first modern event in Athens in 1896 through to Beijing in 2008. 
27 Jun-30 Sep

What will be the most iconic image from the London 2012 Olympic Games? Comment below and let us know.

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Five Major London Art Exhibitions to See in 2012 Wed, 28 Dec 2011 11:30:11 +0000

This year we enjoyed blockbuster exhibitions including Miró at Tate Modern, Leonardo da Vinci at the National Gallery and Degas at the Royal Academy.

So which will be the most talked-about shows in 2012? Here are five to look out for:

  • Lucian Freud Portraits, National Portrait Gallery: More than 100 works by the artist who died in July 2011, including his portrait of Benefits Supervisor Sue Tilley. 9 Feb-27 May
  • Damien Hirst, Tate Modern: The first substantial survey of Hirst’s work in the UK, featuring his famous Pharmacy installation and shark in formaldehyde. 5 Apr-9 Sep
  • Picasso and Modern British Art, Tate Britain: Major exhibition bringing together Picasso’s work and that of admirers such as Henry Moore and David Hockney. 15 Feb-15 Jul
  • David Hockney RA: A Bigger Picture, Royal Academy of Arts: Exhibition spanning 50 years and showcasing brand new landscapes, iPad drawings and films. 21 Jan-9 Apr
  • Queen Elizabeth II by Cecil Beaton: A Diamond Jubilee Celebration, Victoria and Albert Museum. One of several major exhibitions celebrating the Diamond Jubilee. 8 Feb-22 Apr

Which exhibitions are you looking forward to in 2012? Let us know in the comments below.

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London 2012 Posters Unveiled Fri, 04 Nov 2011 17:52:15 +0000 Anthea Hamilton, Divers. Copyright London 2012 Bob and Roberta Smith, Love. Copyright London 2012 Bridget Riley, Rose Rose. Copyright London 2012 Chris Ofili, For the Unknown Runner. Copyright London 2012 Fiona Banner, Superhuman Nude. Copyright London 2012 Gary Hume, Capital. Copyright London 2012 Howard Hodgkin, Swimming. Copyright London 2012 Martin Creed, Work No 1273. Copyright London 2012 Michael Craig-Martin, GO. Copyright London 2012 Rachel Whiteread, LOndOn 2O12. Copyright London 2012 Sarah Morris, Big Ben 2012. Copyright London 2012 Tracey Emin, Birds 2012. Copyright London 2012

Some of Britain’s top artists, including Tracey Emin and Bridget Riley, have produced posters for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The posters will be displayed in a free exhibition at Tate Britain next summer. If you don’t want to wait until then, you can buy your own copies for £7 each from today.

Find out how to get your hands on a London 2012 poster or limited edition print at  

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