7 Art Exhibitions You Need to Check Out

One of the greatest things about living in London as a student is all the amazing art and the best exhibitions available at your doorstep. I’m no art historian myself, nor have I studied art at any point in my undergraduate degree, but one thing is certain: you don’t need to be an expert to enjoy the huge array of museums, galleries and exhibitions London has to offer every season. There is always something for every taste and from every decade, and if that isn’t enough to get you out the door, then maybe the concession tickets to see some of the best-known pieces of art ever made will give you a push. Here are my top picks for art exhibitions, guaranteed to make you appreciate London even more after the lockdown:

  1. 1. Olafur Eliasson: In Real Life @ Tate Modern

    If you haven’t had the chance to see Eliasson’s large melting blocks of ice outside the Tate Modern about a year ago or his acclaimed Weather Project which made the Turbine Hall into a sunny affair, fear not for he has returned, this time with a retrospective of his work, ranging from his older and renowned pieces as well as his recent creations.

    The whole exhibition is highly sensory, with a hallway full of fog to wander through, a kaleidoscope tunnel and a multi-colourful shadow play. The exhibition takes sensory perception and environmentalism as its two main themes, with light-play, a moss wall and photography projects highlighting one’s place in the world, surrounded by nature – the last room opens up to a wall full of research, and inspiration for the pieces and thought-provoking articles – highly recommend!

  2. 2. Dora Maar @ Tate Modern

    Whether her name rings a bell due to her widely acclaimed photomontages or her relationship with Pablo Picasso, her provocative and radical photography during a period of the frail political climate in Europe propelled her to become one of the most celebrated figures of surrealism.

    This is the largest retrospective of her work ever organized, in collaboration with the Centre Pompidou and the Getty Museum, and seeks to explore the whole breadth of her works – definitely one not to miss for all photography lovers out there!

  3. 3. Mary Quant @ V&A

    From the miniskirts that her name if eponymous with, to colourful tights and accessible fashion, Mary Quant remains a household name of British fashion and a pioneer of the 60s.

    Her playful yet modern designs started a movement and challenged the more conventional designs of Parisian couturiers. Not only has the V&A put a great display of some of Quant’s iconic pieces, but they have involved the likes of customers Quant had in mind when designing: the modern woman of the 60s, seeking comfort whilst remaining chic. 35 pieces from the wardrobes of British women have been exhibited alongside, showing just how iconic Quant is and remains in the British fashion industry.

  4. 4. Tim Walker @ V&A

    Walker’s exhibition uses colours and props to create a scene in which to showcase his work – every set is different and transports the visitor into another world – almost like stepping into a different fairytale each time. His creativity creates a magical environment and nobody could be blamed for even forgetting they are in fact in London and not a vivid dream.

    The settings are inspired by pieces which Walker encountered during his visit at the V&A, which makes the exhibition just that much more special – for those days when London is grey and gloomy, a walk into Tim Walker’s colourful mind is the most welcomed distraction!


    1. 5. Rembrandt’s Light @ Dulwich Picture Gallery

      Starting this season, there is no need to board a Eurostar to Amsterdam to see some of the greatest works Rembrandt has created – all you need to do is head for the Dulwich Picture Gallery, where the celebration of 350 years since Rembrandt’s death is celebrated by showcasing 35 of his most iconic works.

      The highlight of the exhibition is Rembrandt’s iconic use of light in his dark paintings, and it focuses on the works he created between 1639-1658, whilst living in what is now the Rembrandt Museum in Amsterdam. For a £5 fee – this is definitely not one to miss

    2. 6. Lucian Freud: The Self-Portraits @ The Royal Academy of Arts

      What makes this exhibition of the RA so extraordinary is the gathering of over 50 self-portraits that Freud created, with such consistency that spanned over 7 decades. Through these works, the journey of Freud’s psyche but also his development as a painter is the focus, and being able to trace his evolution in such a manner gives a fascinating insight into the career of one of the most celebrated artists of the 20th century.

    3. 7. Pre-Raphaelite Sisters @ The National Portrait Gallery

      For all the feminist readers of HER Campus, but not only, this is one not to miss – the exhibition explores the contribution of 12 women to the male-dominated Pre-Raphaelite movement, gathering unseen works from public and private collections to create an exploration of the creative roles these women had in the Pre-Raphaelite successive phases between 1850-190

    And if none of these has sparked your interest or caught your eye enough to say good-bye to your pocket money, the Tate Modern, Tate Britain, National Gallery and the V&A have loads of free art on display as part of their permanent collections – so you can save up after the Covid hardship , whilst immersing yourself into the beautifully curated spaces of London’s best museums!