The 11 Exhibitions To Visit This Season

From showcases exploring everything from sustainability to the life of Queen Victoria through to a trio of fashion-focused shows celebrating the work of Malono Blahník, Mary Quant and Tim Walker, here are 11 must-see exhibitions to buy tickets for…

An Enquiring Mind: Malono Blahník, Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection and Manolo Blahník have teamed up to unveil a new collaborative exhibition: An Enquiring Mind: Manolo Blahník. The show features a personally selected edit of shoe designs from Blahník’s private archives set among the masterpieces of the Wallace Collection. This exciting venture juxtaposes an icon from the world of contemporary fashion with Wallace’s outstanding collection that has been an inspiration to artists since it opened to the public in 1900. This is a rare opportunity to see excellence in contemporary design alongside the exceptional quality of the Wallace Collection’s own art works – and best of all? It’s free entry.

Manchester Square, Marylebone, W1U 3BN; until 1st September


BP Portrait Award 2019, National Portrait Gallery

The BP Portrait Award is the most prestigious portrait painting competition in the world and represents the very best in contemporary portrait painting. With a first prize of £35,000, and a total prize fund of £74,000, the award is aimed at encouraging artists to focus upon and develop portraiture in their work. Over the years, this has attracted over 40,000 entries from more than 100 countries. In its 40th year at the National Portrait Gallery, the show continues to be an unmissable highlight of the annual art calendar. When it closes in October, the BP Portrait Award 2019 will tour to the Scottish National Portrait Gallery in Edinburgh and the Ulster Museum in Belfast.

St Martin's Place, Charing Cross, WC2H 0HE; until 20th October 


FOOD: Bigger Than The Plate, The V&A

FOOD: Bigger than the Plate is a major exhibition exploring how innovative individuals, communities and organisations are radically re-inventing how we grow, distribute and experience food. Taking visitors on a sensory journey through the food cycle – from compost to table – it poses questions about how the collective choices we make can lead to a more sustainable food future. Throughout the exhibition, over 70 contemporary projects, new commissions and collaborations by artists and designers working with chefs, farmers, scientists and local communities are centered around four sections: ‘Compost’, ‘Farming’, ‘Trading’ and ‘Eating’. 

Exhibition Road, South Kensington, SW7 2RL; until 20th October


Into The Night: Cabarets & Clubs In Modern Art, Barbican

This show presents an exhilarating journey into the world’s most iconic cabarets, cafés and clubs in modern art through the lens of pioneering artists. The exhibition will explore the history of cabarets, cafés and clubs in modern art across the world, from London to New York, Paris, Mexico City, Berlin, Vienna and Ibadan. Visitors will discover over 200 works of art, many rarely seen in the UK, as well as life-size recreations of avant-garde spaces. Spanning the 1880s to the 1960s, Into the Night celebrates the creativity of the spaces in which artists, performers, designers, musicians and writers congregated to push the boundaries of artistic expression.

Silk Street, Clerkenwell, EC2Y 8DS; 4th October-19th January


Mary Quant, The V&A

Inventive, opinionated and commercially minded, Mary Quant was the most iconic fashion designer of the 1960s. A design and retail pioneer, she popularised super-high hemlines and other irreverent looks that were critical to the development of the 'Swinging Sixties' scene. The V&A’s fashion collections include examples of her famous designs from across the 1960s and 1970s. From miniskirts and hot pants to vibrant tights and makeup, discover how Mary Quant launched a fashion revolution on the British high street, with over 200 garments and accessories, including unseen pieces from the designer's personal archive.

Cromwell Road, South Kensington, SW7 2RL; until 16th February 2020


Olafur Eliasson: In Real Life, Tate Modern

Olafur Eliasson is back at the Tate Modern with a major exhibition of his career to date, following his world-renowned installation ‘The Weather Project’ in 2003. That moment marked a turning point for contemporary art, transforming the Turbine Hall into a social space where sculpture was bound up with the experience of being together with other visitors. In the 16 years since, Eliasson has been celebrated internationally as one of the most exciting artists working today. Bringing together around 40 works – almost all of which have never been seen in this country, including some created especially for the exhibition – Olafur Eliasson: In Real Life offers unmissable experiences and shows how Eliasson brings to our attention some of today’s most urgent issues.

Bankside, SE1 9TG; until 5th January


Queen Victoria’s Palace, Buckingham Palace

To celebrate the 200th anniversary of Queen Victoria’s birth, this one-off exhibition tells the story of how the young queen transformed Buckingham Palace from a private house into a working royal residence. Through objects from the Royal Collection and an immersive experience in the palace’s Ballroom, visitors will learn how Victoria – alongside Prince Albert – made Buckingham Palace what it remains today – the headquarters of the monarchy, a rallying point for national celebrations and a family home.

Buckingham Palace, St James’s, SW1A 1AA; until 29th September 


The Moon, National Maritime Museum

The National Maritime Museum is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing with this major exhibition. Charting the cultural and scientific story of our relationship with the moon, the exhibition features over 180 objects, including artefacts from Nasa's Apollo 11 mission. Guests can reconnect with the wonders of the moon through artefacts, artworks and interactive moments, and discover how it has captivated and inspired us throughout history. As well as re-living the momentous events of the original 'Space Race', the exhibition also looks ahead to the future of space exploration and the 21st century drive for humans to return to the moon.

Park Row, Greenwich Peninsula, SE10 9NF; until 5th January


Tim Walker: Wonderful Things, The V&A

This highly anticipated exhibition is set to be an immersive journey into the fantastical worlds created by photographer Tim Walker. The V&A has been a continuous source of inspiration for Walker over the past 25 years, and at the heart of the exhibition will be a new series of photographs directly influenced by his research into the V&A’s enormous and eclectic collection. The show will pay tribute to Walker's distinctive contribution to image making, while also exploring the work of his creative collaborators. It will shine a light on the important roles played by set designers, stylists, make-up artists, models and muses, who all help bring Walker's unique ideas to life. Designed by leading British art director Shona Heath, the exhibition encompasses photographs, films, photographic sets and special installations across the museum, providing a behind-the-scenes look at the creative process of one of the world's most inventive photographers.

Cromwell Road, South Kensington, SW7 2RL; opens 21st September 


What To Look For In The Garden: A Ladybird Books Exhibition, Garden Museum

Take a wander down the garden path with Ladybird Books in this nostalgic exhibition celebrating the iconic illustrated books and the impact they made in teaching children about the natural world. On loan from Penguin Random House, original artworks will be displayed from bestselling titles published between 1940 and 1980, including the What To Look For series, British Wildflowers, Garden Flowers, British Birds & Their Nests, The Life of a Honey Bee, Pets and Trees. From children picking fruit and flowers, to colourful depictions of wildflowers and wildlife, this heart-warming collection of illustrations will take visitors back to the innocence and joy of playing in the garden as a child.

Lambeth Palace Road, Lambeth, SE1 7LB; until 27th October


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