London 2013: Major Art Exhibitions

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From Lichtenstein to Lowry and Manet to Man Ray, London's galleries are putting on a glorious palette of exhibitions in 2013, writes Omer Ali

The dominance of the blockbuster show continues unabated in 2013: big-name draws this year include Roy Lichtenstein, Johannes Vermeer, Egon Schiele, Paul Klee, LS Lowry - even David Bowie. London's art scene is also due its first big shake-up for many decades when Tate Britain restores the chronological hang for its collection of work from 1540 to the present day.

The blockbusters kick off at the Royal Academy with the first major UK exhibition of French Impressionist Edouard Manet's portraiture and scenes of modern life. And photography gets in on the act in Greenwich, where the National Maritime Museum hosts over 100 original landscape prints by US pioneer Ansel Adams until 28th April.

French photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson's influence is in the spotlight at Somerset House until 27th January (main picture), while the V&A celebrates new photography from the Middle East. The camera is also key at the Saatchi Gallery's wide-ranging survey of new Russian art and features alongside videos in Tate Modern's 'A Bigger Splash', which focuses on the relationship between painting and performance since 1950.

In late January, recent work by German photographer Juergen Teller goes on show at the ICA, before the National Portrait Gallery presents the first major retrospective of Man Ray's photo portraiture. Meanwhile, Tate Britain hosts the first substantial display of late work by modernist Kurt Schwitters, who fled Nazi Germany only to be interned as an 'enemy alien' in Britain, before settling in Cumbria.

Man Ray's photo portraiture at the National Portrait Gallery; 16th-century Italian painter Federico Barocci; Bowie mania descends upon the V&A

Perhaps inspired by its successful 2006 retrospective of Dan Flavin, the Hayward Gallery features his work in its introduction to light sculptures and installations, which also includes pieces from Olafur Eliasson and Jenny Holzer. New work by another artist recently celebrated by the Southbank venue - Antony Gormley - can be seen at White Cube Bermondsey until 10th February, while Roy Lichtenstein is the subject of a major retrospective at Tate Modern, the US pop artist's first since a Hayward show 10 years ago.

Also in February, the Barbican mines the links between Marcel Duchamp, famous for his found objects, and four Americans: composer John Cage, choreographer Merce Cunningham, and artists Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns. At the same gallery before 3rd March, Random International's installation allows visitors to control rain. Be prepared to queue - and bring an umbrella.

Bowie mania descends on the V&A from March, when more than 300 outfits, handwritten lyrics, instruments, photographs, videos and film from the pop star's archive go on show.

For real Renaissance men, the Queen's Gallery pays tribute to northern artists of the 15th and 16th centuries, including Albrecht Dürer, Hans Holbein the Younger and Lucas Cranach the Elder, until 14th April. And the National Gallery showcases 16th-century Italian painter Federico Barocci's appreciation of human form, and sense of harmony and colour, in altarpieces and devotional works never before seen outside Italy.

'Looking at the View' at Tate Britain examines the changing way more than 50 British artists, including Tracey Emin and JMW Turner, have tackled landscape. The display, taken from the Tate's collections, serves as prelude to the chronological rehang of its galleries to be unveiled in May covering 500 years of work; it devotes special areas to William Blake, Henry Moore and, of course, Turner. From June, the gallery also pairs artists Patrick Caulfield and Gary Hume before it becomes the first major London museum to mount an exhibition of LS Lowry's landscapes (right) since the popular Lancashire artist's death in 1976.

British artists also feature in 'A Crisis of Brilliance', Dulwich Picture Gallery's survey of such contemporaries as CRW Nevinson, Stanley Spencer, Mark Gertler and Dora Carrington, from their time at the Slade School of Art to their responses to the First World War.

You'll no doubt need to book ahead when the National Gallery brings works by the incomparable Dutch artist Johannes Vermeer and his contemporaries to London. They're coupled with rare musical instruments and songbooks to showcase the rich musical life of the Netherlands in the 17th century.

Soon after its annual summer exhibition kicks off, the Royal Academy travels to Mexico for work by Diego Rivera, Tina Modotti and Edward Weston, among others, before it embarks on a hugely ambitious survey of Australian art - the first here for more than 50 years.

Tate Modern promises a series of premieres across the year, including the UK debut of pioneering Lebanese abstract artist Saloua Raouda Choucair, a substantial solo show for US-born contemporary artist Ellen Gallagher, plus the first full-scale exhibition in Britain of Latin American artist Mira Schendel. Then there's the first British retrospective in more than a decade for German artist Paul Klee, from 15th October.

Another of autumn's highlights is the National Gallery's look at the art of portraiture in Vienna from the turn of the 20th century, featuring work by Gustav Klimt, Oskar Kokoschka and Egon Schiele. Also in October, the Royal Academy showcases Honoré Daumier and Dulwich Picture Gallery hosts American artist James Whistler's paintings of Chelsea and the River Thames from his first arrival in the capital in 1859.

If all this makes you hungry to invest, art fairs will be unavoidable mid-month as PAD London descends on Mayfair while Frieze London takes over Regent's Park.

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Sophie Wallace


Sophie Wallace

28th September 2023


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