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The best ‘now you see them, now you don't’ art shows

The pop up residency is now an art norm – here, we chart the super evasive events disappearing in the blink of an eye

There is a funny sentence used to teach English syntax: "Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana". It's the speedy kind of flying that’s our concern this week. You can no longer expect an exhibition to last a week or month. We live in the era of fast art. The one-time-only performance. The activation of space. These are ten shows and art events to catch while they’re hot.


DRAF director Vincent Honoré has made the space quite a hub for exciting performance work (Haroon Mirza’s video rave in December kicked arse). Their new show about the history of cabaret runs until May 2, with artists including Pierre Huyghe, Caroline Achaintre, Hans Bellmer, AND Enrico David. Head to the opening on Feb 5 for a blinding night of live art acts.

On show at the DRAF, 5 February – 2 May


Tottenham project space Lima Zulu is home to this five day show from Lobb, who has shown at the Zabludowicz Collection and bubblebyte and curated shows for Sunday Painter. The work itself is only hinted at with a quote by Terence McKenna, so we’re not quite sure what to expect but this speedy exhibition is bound to be good.

On show at Lima Zulu, 28 January – 2 February


Mark Titchner, Marvin Gaye Chetwynd, Elizabeth Price and Matthew Darbyshire are all seriously respected British artists. All four were invited by a group of emerging artists invited to teach a masterclass at the Zabludowicz Testing Ground before giving free lectures to the public. So quick. So there. So gone. Book!

On show at the Zabludowicz Testing Ground, from 28 January


Marclay’s large solo show at the Bond-movie-like White Cube Bermondsey runs for a while but this weekend sees an incredible two day performance. Saturday afternoon is the turn of experimental David Toop while the London Sinfonietta play on Sunday. The artist has also hinted many other music friends will be playing throughout the exhibition’s run.

On show at White Cube, 31 January – 1 February


Scotland’s finest Berliner Douglas Gordon is hooking up with fashion designer Francesco Russo for a one-off performance at the Schinkel Pavillon on Feb 7. The evening event, in which Barry Burns of Mogwai is DJing, is titled “a mimic - to imitate (someone or their actions or words), especially in order to entertain or ridicule”.

On show at the Schinkel Pavillon, 7 February


Sehgal’s yearlong performance ‘retrospective’ intervention project at Amsterdam’s Stedelijk could not be more exciting if it tried. Seghal is going to do a new work each month – each growing in scale and number of participants in the space. Expect the unexpected in this truly transitory show. If someone comes up to you here and starts having a strange conversation, it’s probably (very good) art.

Currently showing at Amsterdam's Stedelijk space


Always inventive under the inspired direction of Paul Pieroni, Space Studios is turning over their back room to three young emerging project spaces for two week at a time: Piper Keys, Life Gallery and The Duck. Interesting Whitechapel space Piper Keys is the first off with a three-person show of Roger Ackling, Keith Farquhar and Lucy Stein. Now you see it, now you don't.

On show at Space Studios, 8 – 22 February 


The Outset Contemporary Art Fund has revamped Fig 1 – a late 1990s art project where each week a small Soho space featured a different show – into Fig 2! Each artist opens every Monday at 6pm in the ICA Studio space above the cinema with the artist only announced five days before. It’s early days but the standard is already good with artists like Hiraki Sawa last week and poet Simon Welsh this week. Get it ’til it’s gone.

On show at fig 2, until 1 February


Dam could almost be renamed “Damn I missed it”. Their shows take place on the last Sunday afternoon of each month and the programming is impeccable. First, there was a take on emerging art in New Orleans and then a solo presentation from Alice Khalilova. Make a note in your diary for show number 3 on Feb 22, and keep an eye open for their always brilliant video promos.

The next Dam Projects show is on 22 February


Esther Teichmann has curated an exhibition across all the LCC (London College of Communication) spaces about the representation of conflict in photography and sound. Artists include Dazed faves Broomberg and Chanarin, Richard Mosse and Sarah Pickering. Admittedly the show itself is a normal exhibition length. I cheated.

On show, from 26 January