With the seasons shifting, London’s many galleries and museums are also doing a reshuffle. From fascinating Chanel retrospectives and Beatles deep-dives, to an entire show dedicated to portraits of dogs, there’s plenty of art to get your teeth into this autumn.
Sir Paul McCartney Photographs 1963-64: The Eye of the Storm
This recently rediscovered cache of photographs taken by Sir Paul McCartney at the height of Beatlemania (because that’s what happens when you’re a Beatle, you’ve got this stuff just jammed in a drawer) sheds light on a time that changed celebrity culture forever, through the eyes of one of its biggest stars.
National Portrait Gallery, to October 1
Style and Society: Dressing the Georgians
Through more than 200 works of art from the Royal Collection – including paintings, prints, drawings, miniatures, books, jewellery, fans and textiles along with a variety of other types of decorative arts – this show will explore Georgian clothing (from the accession of George I in 1714 to the death of George IV in 1830), from the practical dress of laundry maids to the glittering gowns worn at court.
Royal Collection, to October 8
Portraits of Dogs: From Gainsborough to Hockney
This heart-warming exhibition postponed by the pandemic will finally open in March. More than 50 paintings, sculptures and drawings, from artists across the centuries including Gainsborough to Hockney, have been brought together to explore the art of dog portraiture, and celebrate man’s best friend.
The Wallace Collection, to October 15
Yevonde: Life and Colour
Art can set us free, or at least that was the case for Yevonde. A Suffragette at the height of the cause, she took up photography in a bid for independence, becoming one of the most influential photographers of her era. She was a pioneer of the Vivex colour process, and this show, which opened the newly refurbished National Portrait Gallery, pops with colour and vivacity
National Portrait Gallery, to October 15
Herzog & de Meuron
Architecture exhibitions can be a dry affair, suffering as they do from the lack of their actual subject (buildings are hard to display). But this exploration of the working process of the Swiss practice behind Tate Modern (both bits), the Laban Centre and the incredible Elbphilharmonie building in Hamburg uses virtual reality to reveal a soaring vision.
Royal Academy, to October 15
Lagos, Peckham, Repeat
This striking show across both of the South London Gallery spaces (look both ways when you cross the road!) is an investigation and a celebration of the links between Nigeria’s capital and Peckham, home to one of Britain’s highest concentrations of Nigerian diaspora and known informally as Little Lagos. Artists from both places come together to explore the ties that bind them.
South London Gallery, to October 29
Paula Rego: Crivelli’s Garden
Having hung for 30 years in the National Gallery’s restaurant, seen only by the hungry eyes of monied diners (a fate that Mark Rothko refused to submit his work to), the gallery’s refurb has liberated the late Paula Rego’s fantastic painting, the result of two years as the NG’s associate artist, and got it back on full public display, alongside preparatory studies and the 15th century altarpiece by Carlo Crivelli that inspired it.
National Gallery, to October 29
A World in Common: Contemporary African Photography
Bringing together a group of artists from different generations, this exhibition will address how photography, film, audio, and more have been used to reimagine Africa’s diverse cultures and historical narratives, exploring the many ways images travel across histories and geographies via themes of spirituality, identity, urbanism and climate emergency.
Tate Modern, to January 14
Capturing the Moment
A unique chance to explore how some of the greatest modern painters and photographers of our time worked alongside each other using two distinct mediums, this show brings together significant works from the Tate collection and Yageo Foundation Collection spanning the past 100 years, and the work of 39 artists, from Francis Bacon, Lucian Freud and Alice Neel, to Hiroshi Sugimoto, Jeff Wall, Louise Lawler and Candida Höfer.
Tate Modern, to January 28
From the opera goddesses of the Victorian era to today’s global megastars, this show will celebrate the power and creativity of iconic performers, exploring and redefining what it means to be a diva and how this has been subverted or embraced over time across opera, stage, popular music, and film. Featuring fashion, photography, design, costumes, music and live performance, it looks at how the performer has intersected with society and driven change through their voice and art.
V&A, to April 7
Gabrielle Chanel: Fashion Manifesto
The first UK exhibition dedicated to the work of French couturière Gabrielle ‘Coco’ Chanel will chart the evolution of her iconic design style, from the opening of her first millinery boutique in Paris in 1910 to the showing of her final collection in 1971. Featuring over 180 looks, seen together for the first time, as well as jewellery, accessories, cosmetics and perfumes, the exhibition will explore Chanel’s pioneering approach to fashion design, which paved the way for a new feminine elegance and continues to influence the way women dress today
V&A, September 16 to February 25
The Serbian performance artist’s first major survey in the UK will bring together over 50 works spanning her entire career, including performance works within the galleries. It will explore how AbramoviÄ has reflected on the temporal nature of performance art by extending its impact through its traces: photographs, videos, objects, installations and re-performances of her works by young performers. It will be bonkers, and you mustn’t miss it. She is also bringing two events to the Southbank Centre – so a lot of opportunities to get your AbramoviÄ fix.
One of the most enduring artists of the YBA era, Sarah Lucas is internationally celebrated for her bold, brash and provocative use of materials and imagery. Using ordinary objects in unexpected ways, she has consistently challenged our understanding of sex, class and gender over the past four decades.
Tate Britain, September 28 to January 14
Spies, Lies and Deception
Deception has always been used in wartime to gain an advantage over the enemy and protect our secrets. But in the grey area between war and peace, is deceit acceptable? And should we spy on our friends as well as our enemies? This major exhibition at IWM London will look at the tricks, lures and espionage that make up the secret world of deception.
Imperial War Museum, September 29 to April 14
The long-awaited survey show for the celebrated American abstractionist finally arrives, exploring how his paintings, which shifted from the abstract to the near-cartoonish (and occasionally nightmarish) social and political upheavals of the late 1960s, bridged the personal and the political, the abstract and the figurative, the humorous and the tragic.
Tate Modern, October 5 to February25
This major group exhibition, which you’ve got to hope to God is done with a deft touch, explores the relationship between gender and ecology, highlighting the systemic links between the oppression of women and the degradation of the planet.
Barbican, October 5 to January 14
Hiroshi Sugimoto: Time Machine
This comprehensive survey of work by the internationally renowned artist and photographer will include work produced over the past five decades and feature selections from all of Sugimoto’s major photographic series, as well as lesser-known works that illuminate his innovative, conceptually-driven approach to making pictures.
Hayward Gallery, October 11 to January 7
Women in Revolt!
The first of its kind, this major survey of work by over 100 women artists working in the UK from 1970 to 1990 will focus on a diverse range of artists and media to explore and reflect on issues and events such as the Women’s Lib movement, the fight for legal change, maternal and domestic experiences, Rock Against Racism, Greenham Common and the peace movement, the visibility of black and South Asian women artists, Section 28 and the AIDs pandemic.
Tate Britain, November 2 to April 7
Imperial War Museum Blavatnik Art, Film and Photography Galleries
The new Blavatnik Art, Film and Photography Galleries will explore how artists, photographers and filmmakers together bear witness to, document and tell the story of conflict, and demonstrate how artistic interpretation can uniquely shape our understanding of war. New acquisitions will be exhibited alongside renowned works from IWM’s existing collection, including Gassed by John Singer Sargent, They Shall Not Grow Old by Peter Jackson and Steve McQueen’s Queen and Country.
Imperial War Museum, opening November 10
Impressionists on Paper: Degas to Toulouse-Lautrec
In the maelstrom of modernity that was late 19th-century France, Impressionist and Post-Impressionist artists radically transformed what we think of as art – and in the process, lifted the status of works on paper from something preparatory that you left in a studio or chucked away, to artworks in their own right. This show features around 70 works on paper by leading artists whose innovation would change art forever.
Royal Academy, November 25 to March 10
The call for submissions has been made (open to January 9, if you’re interested) for the annual exhibition that supports emerging art practice from Britain’s established and alternative art study programmes. After a rigorous two-part selection process, artists will feature in a carefully curated touring exhibition that takes the temperature of the best emerging art of the day.
Camden Art Centre, December 15 to April; newcontemporaries.org.uk