Exhibitions

Five must-see London exhibitions

In London, as the days get warmer and the sun stays out longer, it’s tempting to spend every possible moment outside in the parks or in a garden sipping a G&T. However, if you find yourself a little too sunburnt or the cool weather snaps back, there are a number of exhibitions around the city that you should make time to go see.

Emma Kunz: Visionary Drawings
Serpentine Gallery – Free – March 23rd through May 19th

In its final days, this Serpentine exhibition, curated by Cyprus-based artist Christodoulos Panayitou, is the first solo-exhibition of works by Kunz in the UK. 65 examples of her geometric drawings show Kunz’s exploration of healing. Kunz was a Swiss-based healer and researcher. She was never formally trained as an artist nor is it known that she really went to museums, but her mandala-like drawings were a large part of her research into healing. Without names or dates, the only text that accompanied the works were here writings about the artworks. Amongst the hustle and bustle of the city, ‘Visionary Drawings’ is a welcome, calming reprieve.

Edvard Munch: Love and Angst
The British Museum – Entry: £17 – April 11th through July 21st

As the title implies, this is not the most light-hearted exhibition; however, the beauty and near fetishist feel of the prints and paintings shown depict the reality that existed around Munch. On display are prints and paintings, some of the same subject, but neither is inferior to the other. They let you see a glimpse of the life of Munch – ‘ripples of trauma hit you like a bomb’ reads one review of the show. This is the largest show of works by the Norwegian artist in 45 years in the UK and was created in collaboration with the Munch Museum in Oslo.

Franz West
Tate Modern – Entry: £13 – February 20th through June 2nd

West was an artist who never fit into the traditional confines of an artist and he never wanted to. This exhibition might not even coincide with what West, who died in 2012, would have wanted but that’s partially due to the fragile nature of a lot of his works. West liked using papier-mâché, which doesn’t often withstand the test of time, so most of the works that started as things meant to be handled sit behind ‘do not touch’ signs. However, there are a few artworks that you can still touch and do what you will with. West’s works revolve around shape – you can see some of his large-scale works in front of the Tate Modern. They’re wonky, too, but they’re part of a bigger picture in which West wanted to shake things up.

The Renaissance Nude
The Royal Academy – Entry: £16 (with a £2 donation) – March 3rd through June 2nd
Put together by the RA and the J. Paul Getty Museum in LA, ‘The Renaissance Nude’ examines the use and portrayal of the nude figure between about 1400 and 1530 by artists including Raphael, Michelangelo, Leonardo, Dürer, and Cranach, among others. By and large, we think of the nude figure as more often than not being female with notions of the male gaze but this exhibition doesn’t take this platform. Instead, it looks at how patrons and audiences in different countries shaped the portrayal of the nude body.

Chihuly: Reflections on nature
Kew Gardens – Entry included with the ticket into the gardens – April 13th through October 27th

Okay, so if you can’t imagine spending your time inside, this is the best of both worlds. You can spend a sunny day walking around the beauty that is Kew Gardens and enjoy the works of iconic American artist Dale Chihuly. Works included in the outdoor exhibition span his 50-year career, many of which have never exhibited in the UK, and offer stunning examples of the glass feats that Chihuly and his studio have created by hand. Whether you’re a Chihuly fanatic or haven’t heard of him, this exhibition is well worth the journey to Kew Gardens.