With no shortage of world-class museums, London usually has a good list of must-see exhibits. For the artistic crowds that flock to the UK for Frieze Week, the city presents itself at its best with an exceptional offer of modern and contemporary art exhibitions.
Visitors who need a break from the frenetic bustle and want to see more of what London has to offer outside of Regent’s Park and pop-up tents will undoubtedly be spoiled for choice. Here’s a roundup of nine of London’s must-see museum exhibitions this week.
“Carolee Schneemann: The Politics of the Body”
Barbican Art Gallery, until January 8
Britain’s first investigation into radical American artist Carolee Schneemann, who died in 2019, introduces a whole new audience to her transgressive feminist practice. The Barbican Art Gallery has enough space to house over 300 objects, including large-scale installations, which provide a comprehensive overview of the diversity of Schneemann’s film production, paintings, assemblages, performances, albums and costumes during his 60-year career. . As the title promises, visitors will learn how Schneemann’s body was often his most enduring medium in a series of works that still pose bold challenges to a male-dominated art world today.
“Carolee Schneemann: The Politics of the Body”, Barbican Centre, Silk Street, EC2Y 8DS.
“Hallyu! The Korean Wave”
Victoria & Albert Museum, until June 25
This exploration of South Korea’s vast and multifaceted international cultural influence takes its name from the 1990s phenomenon of the “hallyu,” or “Korean Wave,” which refers to the worldwide popularity of Korean culture. An overview of the country’s modern history takes us from war to military rule and an era of rapid industrialization. With items ranging from a 1980s sculpture by video art pioneer Nam June Paik to many viral sensations from very recent memory, including superstars from K-Pop, the hit Netflix drama squid game and Bong Joon-Ho’s Oscar-winning film Parasitethe exhibition proves that this madness shows few signs of abating.
“Hallyu! the korean wave», Victoria & Albert Museum, Cromwell Road, SW7 2RL.
“Kamala Ibrahim Ishag: States of Unity”
Serpentine South Gallery, until January 29
For her first solo exhibition in London, the Sudanese artist Kamala Ibrahim Ishag, now in her 80s, returns to a city that has been interwoven since her beginnings in her practice. The most historic works on display date back to the 1960s when Ishag was a student at the Royal College of Art, while other items relate to a period of self-exile in London in the 1990s and 2000s. Sudanese history, spiritualism and culture are the main themes that run through her art, especially when these subjects relate to women’s experiences. Among the most recent pieces are two paintings, Al-Mal Bait (2019) and Blues for the Martyrs (2022), both of which reflect the devastating losses of the Khartoum massacre on June 3, 2019.
“Kamala Ibrahim Ishag: States of Unity», Serpentine South Gallery, Kensington Gardens, W2 3XA.
“Hyundai Commission: Cecilia Vicuña”
Turbine Hall, Tate Modern, until April 16
The latest artist to take over Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall, one of London’s hottest annual commissions, is Chilean artist and poet Cecilia Vicuña. Using the same ancient methods of Andean influence, his works vary in scale from the tiny sculptures that make up the Precarious series to its extensive textile facilities, including Quipu’s uterus, an exploration of feminine energies recently acquired by Tate. This last command Brain Forest Quipuuses found objects like plant fibers, rope, cardboard and wool to reflect on rainforest destruction as both a driver of the climate crisis and an act of violence against indigenous communities.
“Hyundai Commission: Cecilia Vicuña», Tate Modern, Bankside, SE1 9TG.
Tate Modern, until April 16
In another of many firsts in London this week, Slovak abstract sculptor Maria Bartuszová is receiving her first substantial UK exhibition, coinciding just with the inclusion of her work in the curated exhibition ‘Milk of Dreams’ at the 59th Biennale. of Venice. Giving a sense of the breadth of his exploration of sensual, suggestive and organic forms, more than 80 plaster works were staged alongside bronze castings and aluminum reliefs. The exhibition also sheds light on how Bartuszová’s life was affected by totalitarianism and the Cold War, a crucial context that highlights the considerable struggles she overcame to establish herself as a pioneering woman on the scene. international art.
“Maria Bartuszova», Tate Modern, Bankside, SE1 9TG.
“Lucian Freud: New Perspectives”
The National Gallery, until January 22
To celebrate the centenary of the birth of one of Britain’s greatest 20th-century artists, the National Gallery has brought together more than 65 of his best-known works from the 1940s to the 2000s, including portraits of his children, various lovers , financier Jacob Rothschild, artist David Hockney, performer Leigh Bowery and Queen Elizabeth II. The location is particularly suitable as Freud had a special pass to enter the National Gallery during closing hours, sometimes even at night, and many of his historical influences including Holbein, Rubens and Velázquez are within walking distance .
“The Credit Suisse—Lucian Freud Exhibition: New Perspectives», National Gallery, Trafalgar Square, WC2N 5DN.
“Christopher Kulendran Thomas: Another World”
ICA London, until January 22
A new movie, The finesse, produced in collaboration with Annika Kuhlmann, is the centerpiece of Christopher Kulendran Thomas’ solo exhibition at the ICA, a variant of which is also on view at the KW Institute for Contemporary Art in Berlin. Existing on multiple screens and a projection, the work takes us back to the early years of the internet, when the Tamil liberation movement established an alternative, cooperative global economy during the Sri Lankan Civil War. By combining archival footage with AI-generated avatars, the show invites us to imagine radical alternative uses for today’s technology.
“Christopher Kulendran Thomas: Another World», ICA London, The Mall, SW1Y 5AH.
“Zadie Xa: House Gods, Animal Guides, and Five Ways 2 Forgiveness”
Whitechapel Gallery, until April 30
A new immersive installation by Zadie Xa continues the artists’ longstanding interest in his home country of Korea. Housed in a traditional “hanok” architectural structure, an array of sculptures, paintings and textiles bring to life many traditional Korean Buddhist shamanic legends, ideologies and practices that were abandoned during the country’s rapid industrialization in recent decades. . Highlights include the “Animal Guide” puppets, featuring tigers, foxes and seagulls, each of which has its own spiritual and cultural resonances.
“Zadie Xa: House, Gods, Animal Guides and Five Ways 2 Forgiveness», Whitechapel Gallery, 77-82 Whitechapel High Street, E1 7QX.
“Objects of Desire: Surrealism and Design 1924-Today”
Design Museum, until February 19
Surrealism’s enormous impact on art is well known, from Dalí’s clocks to Max Ernst’s experiments with frottage, but although the Surrealists were very interested in creating strange objects, their influences on design remain. an under-explored area. In a major new survey, the Design Museum brings together examples from interiors, fashion, film and photography – including the work of fashion photographer Tim Walker, design Christian Dior and musician Björk – to show how the same concerns for dreams, the absurd, subversion, and desire have seduced and amused creatives across generations.
“Objects of Desire: Surrealism and Design 1924 to Today», Design Museum, 224-238 Kensington High Street, W8 6AG.
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