Best of 2017: Our Top 10 London Art Shows
17 January 2017 - 12 March 2017
Exhibiting for the first time in the United Kingdom, this show brought together works drawn from the first five years of Tschabalala Self' artistic career. Her expressive and dynamic works, which include painting, print, collage and sculpture, depict the human figure. Primarily concerned with the concept of the Black female body within contemporary culture, Self examines the confluence of race, gender and sexuality.
25 January 2017 - 11 March 2017
'Transcending Boundaries' was a truly innovative exhibition, with immersive experience explored the role of space, art and digital technology. The installations also dissolve distinctions between artwork and exhibition space, and involve the viewer through interactivity. Founder Toshiyuki Inoko formed teamLab in 2001, an art collective with a keen focus on digital media, art and redefining conceptions. In the time since then, teamLab has grown into an internationally - recognised innovator in the digital art scene.
9 February 2017 - 29 May 2017
Tate Britain’s David Hockney retrospective has become the gallery’s most popular exhibition, seen by nearly half a million visitors. After a 16-week run which was characterised by long queues and busy gallery spaces - demand to see it led to Tate Britain opening until midnight on Friday, Saturday and Sunday of its final weekend. The Hockney show surveyed six decades of his work, with examples from his student days at the Royal College of Art in London, his transporting views of Los Angeles with blue swimming pools and the later images of the Yorkshire landscape after returning for a few years to live in Bridlington.
11 February 2017 – 17 April 2017
Taking inspiration from the exhibition that was staged at the State Russian Museum in Leningrad in 1932, this powerful show marked the centenary of the Russian Revolution.
Alongside such well-known painters as Kazimir Malevich, Wassily Kandinskiy and Marc Chagall, figures less familiar in the West are introduced, such as Pavel Filonov, Kuzma Petrov- Vodkin and Alexander Deineka. Revolutionary in their own right, together these works capture both the idealistic aspirations and the harsh reality of the Revolution and its aftermath.
9 March 2017 – 18 June 2017
This major exhibition at the British Museum charted the way that printmaking has influenced American art over the past six decades. Responding to the changing times, American artists produced prints unprecedented in their scale and ambition. It is an opportunity to see works by the most celebrated American artists, from Andy Warhol, Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg to Ed Ruscha, Kara Walker and Julie Mehretu – all boldly experimented with printmaking.
28 April 2017 – 25 August 2017
Curated by Sir John Richardson, this show was executed in partnership with the artist’s grandson, Bernard Ruiz-Picasso. The exhibition examined the intersection of Picasso's bullfighting imagery with his mythological and biographical compositions of the 1930s. Including works dating from 1889 to 1971, this career-long survey traces Picasso’s engagement with the ancient rituals and narratives of his native Mediterranean.
21 September 2016 – 28 January 2018
The Barbican Art Centre organised a very special Basquiat’s first large-scale exhibition in the UK, featuring rare film, photography and archive material. Putting on a Basquiat show like this – and it had more than 100 works – is a particular challenge because most of his work is in private collections. The show captured the spirit of this self-taught artist, poet, DJ and musician whose influence, since his death at 27 in 1988, has been enormous. This was #BoomForReal.
5 October 2017 - 10 December 2017
To mark its 50th anniversary, Lisson Gallery presented an extensive off-site exhibition featuring 24 artists showing 45 works. Housed in the striking brutalist environment at Store Studios – home to last year’s show-stopping music and film exhibition The Infinite Mix – Everything At Once probes the multi-sensory simultaneity of contemporary life, first articulated by John Cage in 1966. It featured Dan Graham’s largest-ever pavilion, Showing off the Body (2016), Ai Weiwei’s 50-metre long wallpaper installation, Odyssey (2016), Anish Kapoor’s vast, suspended sculpture At the Edge of the World II (1998) and Richard Deacon’s Möbius-like plywood form, Turning a Blind Eye (1984). Alongside, The Store X The Vinyl Factory also presented three site-specific commissions, including a new a/v artwork by Ryoji Ikeda, Arthur Jafa’s Kanye West-soundtracked video work Love is the Message, the Message is Death and Jeremy Shaw’s sci-fi pseudo-documentary Liminals.
30 October 2017 - 18 February 2018
An ongoing 'Monochrome: Painting in Black and White' exhibition explores the tradition of painting in black and white over 700 years, from its beginnings in the Middle Ages through the Renaissance and into the 21st century. Paintings by old masters such as van Eyck, Dürer, Rembrandt, and Ingres appear alongside works by some of the most exciting contemporary artists working today, including Gerhard Richter, Chuck Close, and Bridget Riley. It was curated by Olafur Eliasson, who has represented Denmark in numerous exhibitions worldwide and at the 50th Venice Biennale.
23 November 2017 - 2 April 2018
During his brief and turbulent life (Modigliani died at the age of 35) the artist has created his unique pictorial and recognisable style. The highlight of the exhibition – 12 Modigliani’s nudes on display, a symbol of sexuality and defiance of modern women of that time. These seductive works were exhibited in 1917 and have evoked shock and rejection in the community, leading police to censor his only ever solo exhibition on the grounds of indecency. Yet nowadays his nudes are on the list of the most famous paintings of the 20th century. Tate Modern’s exhibition brings together also some of his lesser-known but radical sculptures as well as portraits of his friends such as Pablo Picasso and Constantin Brancusi. You still have chance to see it next year!