Looking for a luxurious way to spend your London holiday that’s jam-packed with cultural activities? You’ll be pleased to know there are countless art exhibitions to see this autumn, with some of the very best either debuting or continuing this October.
If you’re staying in one of the top West End hotels London, such as The Piccadilly West End, you’re in extra luck as some of our favourites are super close to your accommodation. We’ve listed them below to help get you inspired.
Take advantage of our West End hotels special offers now!
1. The Serpentine Pavilion
The Serpentine Galleries – until 6th October
This is your last chance to see the incredible Serpentine Pavilion 2019, closing to the public on the 6th of October. The Japanese architect Junya Ishigami, praised for his innovative compositions that represent established architectural practices and reflect natural wonders, designed this year’s construction.
Ishigami’s form takes influence from roofs – the most basic architectural feature used around the world. The design of the 2019 Serpentine Pavilion is produced by arranging slates to produce a single canopy roof that seems to emerge from the ground of the encircling park. Within, the heart of the Pavilion is an enveloped cave-like space, a retreat for reflection. The Pavilion articulates the artist’s ‘free space’ belief in which he endeavours to achieve harmony between man-made constructions and those that already survive in nature.
2. Pre-Raphaelite Sisters
National Portrait Gallery – 17 Oct 2019 – 26 Jan 2020
The Pre-Raphaelites were a Victorian society of artists who included William Holman Hunt, John Everett Millais and Dante Gabriel Rossetti amongst their founding members. To modern minds, their turbulent personal lives are perceived as more interesting than their art, which has been scrutinised as too sentimental and ‘boringly beautiful.’ Though there is far more to the story of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood than adulterous love affairs and attractive pictures.
This collection reveals the story of 12 women, all of who encouraged their male counterparts, in some cases relinquishing their own ambitions in the process, and/or produced art of their own. Formerly unseen paintings, manuscripts and photographs from exhibitions across the globe will bring to light the forgotten role these women played in the evolution and prosperity of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood.
It’s also the ideal meeting place near Piccadilly Circus without getting lost in the crowds, and will give you the opportunity to experience Trafalgar Square too.
3. Mary Sibande: I Came Apart at the Seams
Somerset House – 3rd Oct 2019 – 5th Jan 2020
Mary Sibande’s exhibition ‘I Came Apart at the Seams’, opens this autumn in association with the 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair. It guarantees to be filled with tension. Sibande is one of South Africa’s most noted present artists – she represented her country at the Venice Biennale back in 2011, but this will be her first solo exhibition in the UK.
A lot of Sibande’s work focuses on her alter ego, Sophie, who substantiates as life-sized models, cast from her own body. Through the years, Sophie had been clothed in an ever-evolving series of ensembles that document her journey from confinement to empowerment. Her uniform pays tribute to Sibande’s ancestors, from her great grandmother to her mother, who all worked as household servants.
4. Tim Walker exhibition
Victoria and Albert Museum – 21 Sep 2019 – 8 Mar 2020
Anticipate the uncanny and whimsical in this tribute to the man behind fashion’s beloved hallucinatory scenes and perplexing fairytales. British photographer Tim Walker’s divine dreamscapes and distinctive fairy-tales have captivated minds across the globe ever since he shot his very first fashion story for Vogue when he was 25.
Since then, his giant-eyed wicked angels and unfamiliar pastel-powdered cats have flashed into his camera, and out into the pages of countless significant fashion magazines. Now the fashion world is ready for a show of these dreamscapes, as the V&A hosts the third solo collection of the incomparable British fashion photographer this autumn.
Cement some sweet dreams of your own at the best hotels near Piccadilly Circus. Our hotel – The Piccadilly West End – even has its very own spa, so you can book a dreamy Thalgo Polynesia Spa Ritual experience to enjoy as you wake from your slumber.
5. Lisa Brice
Stephen Friedman Gallery – Sep 27th 2019 – Nov 2nd 2019
Stephen Friedman Gallery in the highly coveted area of Mayfair, easily accessible from hotels in West End, is displaying a solo exhibition of new paintings and works by South African artist Lisa Brice. This will be the second show at the gallery for London-based Brice, and will follow her highly regarded solo exhibition back in 2018 at the Tate Britain.
Her new collection of work extends her examination of the male gaze by challenging and reinterpreting conventional depictions of women throughout art history. Experimenting with ideas of liminality and business, Brice regards her paintings like doors or gateways, by providing voyeuristic entrance into usually private spaces. Painted in vibrant shades of vermillion and cobalt blue, representations of female empowerment and resistance such as women using paintbrushes and cigarettes define her recent work. Mirrors, smoke and panelled folding screens are used as tools to disrupt and veil her subjects.
6. Damien Hirst: Mandalas
White Cube Mason’s Yard – Sep 20th 2019 – Nov 2nd 2019
This one is extra exciting! The first significant London solo show for Damien Hirst in seven years, this collection is made up of paintings motivated by the spiritual artworks mandalas. Reverting back to one of his favourite subjects, butterflies, the artworks are made from thousands of shimmering butterfly wings connected to the canvas with gloss paint, continuing themes from his ‘Kaleidoscope’ series.
Damien Hirst’s wide-ranging application includes installation, sculpture, painting and drawing.
He is known throughout the art world as being a true trailblazer – he consistently challenges the barriers between art, science and religion, and his visceral, visually captivating work has made him a leading artist of his generation.
Ready to get your fix of art in London this autumn? Book your room and start popping exhibitons in the diary now!