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Hanna Moon, Gao for ‘Cherry Baby’, Dazed Fall 2017
Hanna Moon, Gao for ‘Cherry Baby’, Dazed Fall 2017, as part of English as a Second Language at Somerset House© Hanna Moon

Art shows in London that you should definitely go and see in 2019

Your cultural calendar is here!

New year, new shows! When we began this list, we originally planned to map the globe, before realising that 2019 had a lot to offer. And so, we’ve stuck to London, with a promise to continue to bring you art news and exhibitions happening globally throughout the year. The below list is by no means definitive, but instead a solid start on some of the many events that we can’t wait to get out and see.

ENGLISH AS A SECOND LANGUAGE, HANNA MOON AND JOYCE NG, SOMERSET HOUSE, FROM JANUARY

The new year starts off right with a double bill of two of fashion’s (and Dazed’s) favourite photographers: Hanna Moon and Joyce Ng. Curated by Shonagh Marshall, the pair’s incredible oeuvres are spotlighted in the exhibition English as a Second Language, which opens on January 25th. Described as “otherworldly and playful” in their respective approaches, Moon and Ng both challenge ideas of otherness and inject much-needed, fresh perspectives into fashion’s landscape. Both Moon and Ng have created new bodies of work for the show in response to Somerset House. While Moon presents a “dramatic reimagining” to the landmark’s neoclassical settings, Ng lenses the community within its walls. Alongside these new works, both photographers’ archives will be on display, including work from Dazed.

English as a Second Language runs at Somerset House from 25 January – 28 April 2019

SOFT OPENING’S SECOND SPACE, 4 HERALD STREET BETHNAL GREEN, FROM JANUARY

One year ago, Antonia Marsh announced the launch of Soft Opening, a gallery that never quite opens, nor does it close. It set out to challenge the idea of what a gallery could be, who could be there, and what it might look like. Set inside a shopfront in Piccadilly Circus, the gallery has presented an intriguing, clever, and constant rotation of artists – from Ryan McGinley to Dozie Kanu, Claire Barrow, and Harley Weir, to name just a few. The announcement came on New Years Day via Instagram and Marsh said the second space will open on January 10th in Bethnal Green.

Soft Opening Bethnal Green launches on 10 January 2019 at 4 Herald Street. More details to be announced

GRACE WALES BONNER, SERPENTINE SACKLER GALLERY, FROM JANUARY

Okay, so January is looking pretty good. Add Grace Wales Bonner to that and it’s fire. Hosted by Serpentine Gallery, Wales Bonner’s month-long happening will “explore mysticism, ritual, and magical resonances within black cultural and aesthetic practices”. Heavily weighted in the designer’s intensive research, an array of artists who influence the designer will be on display in what is listed as an “assemblage of shrines”, from Liz Johnson Artur, Kapwani Kiwanga, Eric N. Mack, Paul Mpagi Sepuya, and Rashid Johnson. Musician Laraaji will also front a series of meditation workshop in the opening days which will then “become a lasting shrine of sound within the space”. The exhibition will culminate in Wales Bonner’s presentation of her AW19 collection, Mumbo Jumbo.

Other notable events happening at the Serpentine this year include Hito Steryerl (6 March – 6 May 2019) as well as Faith Ringgold (6 June – 8 September 2019), keep an eye out for more details which are yet to be announced.

Grace Wales Bonner runs at Serpentine Sackler Gallery from 19 January – 16 February 2019

BILL VIOLA / MICHELANGELO, ROYAL ACADEMY, FROM JANUARY

Despite being born centuries apart, video artist Bill Viola and artist Michelangelo have a lot more in common than it might seem. Bringing these parallels to life, the Royal Academy is hosting a joint exhibition which “grapple with life’s fundamental questions, asking us to consider the thresholds between birth, life and death”. Staged as an “immersive journey through the cycle of life”, the RA will display Michelangelo’s sculptures and drawings alongside 12 major installations which span Viola’s oeuvre.

Rounding out 2019 at Royal Academy will be Lucian Freud: The Self Portraits, which opens 27 October. Spanning seven decades, the show will host 50 paintings in which Freud turned his gaze onto himself, with the earliest dating back to 1939 and ending with his final self-portrait, created 64 years later.

Bill Viola / Michelangelo runs at the Royal Academy from 26 January – 31 March 2019. Lucian Freud: The Self Portraits runs at the Royal Academy from 27 October until 26 January 2020

IS THIS TOMORROW? , VARIOUS, WHITECHAPEL GALLERY, FROM FEBRUARY

Whitechapel Gallery will be “transformed by experiential installations, environments, and pavilions” as part of Is This Tomorrow? – which nods to the 1956 collaborative show This is Tomorrow. Conceived by over 30 leading artists and architects from around the world – from Jacolby Satterwhite to Cécile B. Evans, and Simon Fujiwara – ten new experimental and collaborative multimedia projects will respond to critical, contemporary issues. Topics range from migration to privacy, living space, technology, and borders, with the artists being paired up with one another. The gallery says that each commission will be arranged in a “maze-like configuration” and will lead visitors through the gallery. For more information on the artist pairings and their installations, click here.

Sophia Al-Maria also presents a year-long collaboration in the form of a film with performance artist Victoria Sin, which uses “feminism and radical queer politics to consider themes of history and narrative”. And Queer Spaces: London, 1980s – Today will celebrate and remember the queer community spaces and venues which have been lost in London, as well as reaffirming their importance within queer culture (2 April – 25 August).

Is This Tomorrow? runs at Whitechapel Gallery from 14 February – 12 May 2019. Sophia Al-Maria: BCE runs at Whitechapel Gallery from 12 January – 28 April 2019. Queer Spaces: London, 1980 – today runs at Whitechapel Gallery from 1 April – 25 August 2019

A FORTNIGHT OF TEARS, TRACEY EMIN, WHITE CUBE, FROM FEBRUARY

Once a poster girl for the 1990s Young British Artists (YBAs), the provocative Tracey Emin now works across multiple mediums which are always deeply personal reflections on her life. See her large-scale neon lettered slogans, like her “I Want My Time With You” sculpture found at St Pancras station, and a whole collection of raw nude paintings that reference the likes of Egon Schiele and Edvard Munch. This year, the White Cube will host a solo show of new Emin paintings, photographs, films, and some of the largest bronze sculptures the artist has ever made. Titled A Fortnight of Tears, the show draws on Emin’s personal memories and emotions including love, longing, loss, and grief, like the abortions which revolutionised her approach to art which Emin reflects on in a set of 1996 photos titled How It Feels.

A Fortnight of Tears runs at White Cube Bermondsey from 6 February – 7 April 2019

DEUTSCHE BÖRSE PHOTOGRAPHY PRIZE, THE PHOTOGRAPHER’S GALLERY, FROM MARCH

The Deutsche Börse Photography Prize returns to the Photographer’s Gallery this year in March for its 22nd edition. Picking up off the back of last year that saw the likes of Mathieu Asselin and his photo study of Monsanto® nominated, this year the prize continues its commitment to celebrating the intersection of photography with social and political life. 2019’s nominations reach far over issues such as abortion, the environment, and human rights issues such as notable nominee Susan Meiselas lauded for her recently released Mediations photobook. Ahead of Deutsche Börse is Operation Earnest Voice in mid-January, where artist Jonas Lund will transform a floor of the gallery into a propaganda office tasked with reversing Brexit.

Operation Earnest Voice runs at The Photographer’s Gallery from 10 – 13 January 2019. Deutsche Börse Photography Prize runs at The Photographer’s Gallery from 8 March – 2 June 2019

STANLEY KUBRICK: THE EXHIBITION, STANLEY KUBRICK, DESIGN MUSEUM, FROM APRIL

Over the course of the 20th century, American filmmaker Stanley Kubrick has bought us some of film’s most psychological epics, from The Shining (1980) and Eyes Wide Shut (1999), to the controversial A Clockwork Orange (1971). Now, we get the chance to step directly into his mind with the Design Museum’s Stanley Kubrick: The Exhibition running from April. The exhibition will draw on Kubrick’s vast filmic archive to trace the design history of his work though original props, costumes, and rare photographs that bid to illuminate just what makes his films so visually unique.

Stanley Kubrick: The Exhibition runs at the Design Museum from 26 April – 17 September 2019

THE CITI EXHIBITION: MANGA, THE BRITISH MUSEUM, MAY

Come May, the largest exhibition of manga ever take place outside of Japan, aptly titled Manga, will be hosted by the British Museum. The show itself aims to “bring to life the art of manga, looking at how it emerged in Japan and grew to be a worldwide cultural phenomenon”. It will feature loans from famous manga artists such as Tezuka Osamu (Astroboy and Princess Knight) as well as Toriyama Akira (Dragon Ball). The centrepiece of the exhibition will be the Shintomiza Kabuki Theatre Curtain, which stands at 17 metres long and four metres high. It was originally created in 1880 by painter Kawanabe Kyösai, to be displayed in between acts at the Shintomiza kabuki theatre, and features ghosts and demons amongst a series of lines and colours.

The Citi Exhibition: Manga runs at the British Museum from 23 May – 26 August 2019

FOAM TALENT 2019, BEACONSFIELD GALLERY VAUXHALL, FROM MAY

While Foam Talent 2019 officially kicks off next week in Foam’s native city, Amsterdam, before moving onto New York, it will reach London in May, before heading to Frankfurt. Featuring 20 young visionaries handpicked by the museum itself – from Durimel to Maisie Cousins – the annual exhibition, now in its fourth year, promises to celebrate the names shaping the future of contemporary photography.

Foam Talent 2019 runs at Beaconsfield Gallery Vauxhall from 16 May – 10 June 2019. Dazed is proud to be a continuing media partner

LIVING COLOUR, LEE KRASNER, THE BARBICAN, FROM MAY

When you think of abstract expressionism, it’s typical that American artist Jackson Pollock will come to mind. Living, however, under his shadow was his partner, painter Lee Krasner who offered just as much to the movement as Pollock. This year Krasner will get her first retrospective in over 50 years taking place at the Barbican from May. Living Colour will show over 100 works, some of which have never been shown in the UK before, that celebrate Krasner’s influence as an artistic inventor, illuminating innovations across abstract collage, paintings, and portraits, including her characteristic ‘little image’ paintings.

Living Colour runs at the Barbican from 30 May – 1 September 2019



KISS MY GENDERS, VARIOUS ARTISTS, HAYWARD GALLERY, FROM JUNE

The Hayward Gallery’s 2018 show, Drag: Self Portraits and Body Politics celebrated artists who used drag as a political tool of rebellion. Continuing the gallery’s study of the intersection between gender identity and art is the gallery’s 2019 show Kiss My Genders running from June. The comprehensive group exhibition will unite artists such as Juliana Huxtable, Victoria Sin, and photographer Catherine Opie to celebrate how artists have challenged traditional gender boundaries through their work since the early 1960s.

Ahead of Kiss My Genders is diane arbus: in the beginning, a solo show taking place from February that will focus on the first seven years of Arbus’ career. Featuring more than 100 photographs taken between 1956 – 1962, the show aims to redefine how we canonise Arbus’ work by observing the critical years in which she developed her acclaimed, yet controversial style.  

diane arbus: in the beginning runs from 13 February – 6 May 2019. Kiss My Genders runs from 12 June – 18 September 2019 at the Hayward Gallery

CINDY SHERMAN, NATIONAL PORTRAIT GALLERY, FROM JUNE

Performance artist Cindy Sherman is a master of drag. Take her earliest body of work, Untitled Film Stills (1977-1980), that shows Sherman as numerous female film archetypes as an act of social commentary. This original series will go on display at the National Portrait Gallery this June in a major new Sherman retrospective that will explore the development of her work from the mid-1970s until now. The show will feature over 150 Sherman works from collections all over the world, including works that have never before been displayed in a public gallery.

Ahead of Sherman, the gallery will host Only Human: Martin Parr from March, which will unite some of the British photographer’s most important photography in addition to new works that respond to contemporary issues such as Brexit. The BP Portrait Award exhibition will also return to the gallery in June for its 40th year.

Only Human: Martin Parr runs at the National Portrait Gallery from 7 March – 27 May 2019. The BP Portrait Award 2019 exhibition runs at the National Portrait Gallery from 13 June to 20 October 2019. Cindy Sherman runs at the National Portrait Gallery from 27 June – 15 September 2019

OLAFUR ELIASSON, TATE MODERN, FROM JULY

Across his career, Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson has permeated humanity’s consciousness with the very devastating, very real status of our planet. His live installations, for example Ice Watch (2014 – present) that melts large blocks of ice in cities around the world to show the alarming impact of global warming, are a reminder of the everyday intersection of social and environmental issues. This year, Eliasson will unite a selection his works at his self titled Tate Modern show running from July. The exhibition will feature projects such as Little Sun which bought solar light and income to communities around the world who live without electricity.

In addition to Eliasson, Tate Modern will also host the first large-scale, 25-year view of surrealist Dorothea Tanning. Running from February, Dorothea Tanning will demonstrate how the female artist pushed the boundaries of surrealism.

Dorothea Tanning at Tate Modern from 27 February – 9 June 2019. Olafur Eliasson runs at Tate Modern from 11 July 2019 – 5 January 2020

MARK LECKEY, TATE BRITAIN, FROM SEPTEMBER

In 2008, British artist Mark Leckey won the Turner Prize for the way his solo exhibitions Industrial Light & Magic and Resident explored key motifs of desire and transformation through film, performance, sound, and sculpture. Previous to this, Leckey was famed for short films which traced elements of British history, such as Fiorucci Made Me Hardcore (1999) which mashed up archival footage of British nightlife to trace Britain’s far-reaching dance subcultures between the 1960s-1990s. Now, Leckey returns to Tate Britain in September to show new work, no information of which has been released.

Mark Leckey runs from 24 September 2019 – 5 January 2020 at Tate Britain