Londoners are never far from a great new exhibition, and if you’re visiting the city this year then there’ll be plenty for you to choose from. The following are a few of our favourite expos headed to the city in 2020…
Mushrooms: The art, design & future of fungi
Until 26th April 2020
This free exhibition focuses on the humble mushroom and the way it has featured in a surprising number of poems, artwork, and design through the years. Somerset House is the ideal staging ground for an exploration of the role fungi have played in the formation of many key pieces of art.
The exhibition will also look at how mushrooms can be used in many useful ways, ranging from fashion to architecture and cooking. You don’t necessarily have to be a major mushroom enthusiast to find something interesting here, and it’s certainly one of the more unique exhibitions heading for London in 2020.
Radical figures: Painting in the new millennium
Until 10th May 2020
The art world has long since begun embracing video as a way of enhancing the creative work, but there have still been relatively few exhibitions that look at the implications which this transformation will have on art as a whole.
Whitechapel Gallery is leading the charge, with this exploration of painters who focus on the major social issues of the day. You will find lots here to explore, and due to the topical nature of the art, visitors will probably discover more about what’s happening around the globe than they expected while staying at The Chilworth London Paddington.
Until 11th May 2020
Artist Steve McQueen has mostly focused on matters of representation and identity, alongside the role of politics. Known as a filmmaker (most famously behind the Oscar-winner 12 Years A Slave), Mc Queen also has a dual career in the art world, where his output has been no less impressive.
With 25 years of photographs on display, you’ll be able to discover everything from his involvement in civil rights to drug-related crime and the improvement of gold mine workers. It’s a diverse portfolio of stunning images sure to appeal to aspiring photographers during their visit to accommodation in Paddington.
Masculinities: Liberation through photography
Barbican Art Gallery
Until 17th May 2020
Masculinity is often in the news in 2020, whether through discussions of the implications of toxic masculinity or through its perceived fragility, as put through by some theorists and commentators.
There are 50 artists featured in the exhibition and more than 300 pieces of film and photography which explore the concept of masculinity through different lenses. The sheer diversity of masculine images and experience is explored, spanning everything from American university culture to terrorists, cowboys and private clubs made only for men.
With a fascinating look at the male mind, this is sure to appeal to anyone who is interested in this complex topic.
Kyoto to Catwalk
Until 21st June 2020
The kimono is Japan’s famed traditional costume, yet its origins are rarely understood by many. The tradition dates all the way back to the 17th century, and is carefully interwoven with the history of Japan itself.
In Kyoto to Catwalk, the V&A will chart the historic journey of the kimono, looking at the role it has played in everything from film to art and clothing itself. After a trip to restaurants in Paddington, this is a fantastic way to find out more about an item of clothing which is beloved and truly world famous, having solidified its place as perhaps the most significant garment ever to come from Japan.
The exhibition goes into great detail when exploring all the ways in which Japan has inspired others with this famous garment.
Until 25th May 2020
Aubrey Beardsley was a significant Victorian-era artist who tragically died at the age of just 25. In his short life, he created some of the most controversial pieces of art of the age, and this exhibition includes more than 200 of them.
Ideal for visitors who are eager to see the kinds of materials that got the Victorians riled up, this exhibition showcases artworks which may even be considered pretty controversial to 21st century viewers, and shares them with plenty of historical and contextual information to help give added clarity to what viewers are seeing.
For art fans, history buffs and culture vultures alike, this is apt to be a must-see at one of London’s foremost art galleries.
Until 6th September 2020
Few artists from the 20th century received the same notoriety as Andy Warhol. Known as much for his own image – complete with silver hair and Beatnik styling – as for his artwork, Warhol was born in Pittsburgh yet has a creative reach which continues to dazzle around the world. He is also the person who once said that everyone would be famous for fifteen minutes, yet remains an art icon into the 21st century.
There will be more than 100 prints on display, including his famed portraits of the likes of Elvis Presley and Marilyn Monroe. A trip to see some of his most famous works is the ideal way to add some creative adventures to your trip while enjoying the latest spa deals in Paddington.
Unfinished Business: The Fight for Women’s Rights
Until 23rd August 2020
The struggle for women’s liberation has changed the way Britain lives and works, yet the origins of the movement risk being lost to history. This exhibition at the British Library seeks to change all that, ensuring that visitors gain plenty of knowledge about the women who fought hard to enable those who followed to live freer, more fulfilled lives.
Unfinished Business includes a number of artifacts and written materials that chart the journeys of major pioneers in the feminist movement and provides an eye-opening look at the topic.