With access to hundreds of museums and galleries a tube ride away, we Londoners are spoilt for choice when it comes to a fun day out. But sometimes the capital’s embarrassment of riches means it’s tricky to pick where to go.
Do you disappear into the National Gallery for an afternoon, pop by some of the independent galleries in Marylebone, explore East London’s exciting offerings, or wander around the Tate?
Look no further every week: here’s our pick of five extraordinary exhibitions to see in London right now.
There are just two days left to see Black Venus, an exhibition from curator Aindrea Emelife which traces the long road to black women having agency over how they are seen. It takes as its starting point the ‘Hottentot Venus’, the name under which tickets were sold to see Sarah Baartman, an enslaved Khoekhoe woman who was toured around Europe in the 19th century. Emelife juxtaposes archival imagery dating from the late 1700s to the Thirties with contemporary artworks by the likes of Carrie Mae Weems, Kara Walker, Ming Smith and Zanele Muholi.
Somerset House, to September 24; somersethouse.org.uk
Pélagie Gbaguidi: De-Fossilization of the Look
Brussels-based Beninese artist Pélagie Gbaguidi’s work explores colonial and postcolonial history and trauma. Gbaguidi regards herself as a contemporary griot – a West African historian and storyteller – and so oral histories and themes around personal and collective memory are central threads running through her multi-disciplinary work.
Mimosa House, to October 15; mimosahouse.co.uk
This major retrospective of the iconic Serbian performance artist Marina AbramoviÄ combines restagings by Marina-approved artists of some of her most famous works, including Imponderabilia (where visitors squeeze past a nude couple to get through a doorway), alongside sculptures, videos and installations taken from across her incredible career. “I can’t imagine a better display,” said the Standard.
Royal Academy of Arts, to January 1, 2024; royalacademy.org.uk
Julianknxx: Chorus in Rememory of Flight
In this multi-video installation, Sierra Leone-born poet and artist Julianknxx unpacks his own personal history and explores the Black experience, questioning leading perspectives on African art, history and culture and using them as a catalyst for creating new ideas around narratives, resistance, communication and the self. The Standard gave the show four stars, describing it as “transcendent and poignant”.
Barbican, to February 11, 2024; barbican.org.uk
The Mother & The Weaver: Art from the Ursula Hauser Collection
Combining works from the Foundling Museum’s historic collection with modern and contemporary works of art, The Mother & The Weaver explores the complex ideas around motherhood, childhood, love, loss, sexuality and identity. Expect works from Louise Bourgeois, Marlene Dumas, Sonia Gomes, Pipilotti Rist and more.
The Foundling Museum, to February 18; foundlingmuseum.org.uk