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Art to see this Easter

It’s half way through the holidays. You’ve already caught up on sleep and friends. It’s far too soon to start working again. You’re now bored and poor.

Cherwell brings you the answer. We’ve put together a to-do list of the top art exhibitions to see in London this Easter.



Light Show

Light Show is a collection that showcases sculpture and installation art that experiments with light. The gallery promises to create atmosphere: immersive environments that play with colour and aim to challenge our experience of light. The exhibition features artworks created from the 1960s by 22 different artists. Several of the works have not been seen for decades and have been specially recreated.

Hayward Gallery, Tickets from £11. Until 6th May.



David Bowie Is

David Bowie is being revealed in his full splendour for the first time at the V&A. The exhibition promises to explore Bowie’s status as an icon and innovator. It tracks Bowie’s road to stardom, the constant changes in his style, and charts the rise and fall of Ziggy Stardust. There are over 300 objects on display including set designs, album artwork, costumes, handwritten lyrics, and Bowie’s own instruments. If it proves anything, it is that David Bowie was constantly reinventing himself.

Victoria and Albert Museum, Tickets £15.40. Until 28th July.



Manet: Portraying Life

The exhibition now showing at the Royal Academy is the first retrospective of Manet’s portraits. It establishes his status as a key impressionist figure, and an important influence on early modern art. Unlike many artists forced to paint on commission, Manet was mainly able to choose models from among his friends and acquaintances. The galleries display more than 50 paintings which cover a fascinating cross section of 19th century bourgeoise Parisian society.

Royal Academy of Arts, Tickets from £15.00. Until 14th April.



Dorothy Iannone: Innocent and Aware

Dorothy Iannone is famous for her erotic, psychedelic art. This exhibition showcases her vibrant paintings that both celebrate sex and challenge sexual and gender stereotypes. Her free-love aesthetic recalls Indian erotic art while creating a personal narrative of sexual and spiritual fulfilment. Iannone, a self-taught artist, has been painting since the 1960s. Now, at the age of 80, she is just as graphic and unashamed in her portrayals of sexuality.

Camden Arts Centre, Free! Until 5th May.



Becoming Picasso: Paris 1901

This exhibition at the Courtauld Gallery demonstrates the extraordinary achievements of Picasso in the year 1901. It was his breakthrough year in which he painted up to three canvasses per day in a bid to become the greatest painter in Paris. Picasso enjoyed a successful show with one of Paris’s most important art dealers Ambroise Vollard. But it was also a turbulent year for him in which his best friend, Carles Casagemas, committed suicide. This had a profound impact on his work. The exhibition focuses on the artist’s figure paintings but also contains a collection of essays by leading and emerging art scholars.

The Courtauld Gallery, Tickets £6.00. Until 26th May.



Man Ray Portraits 

This major photographic exhibition is devoted to Man Ray and features more than 150 vintage prints. Spanning his career in both America and Paris, this is the first major retrospective of the artist’s photographic portraits features work from 1916 and 1968. The exhibition includes familiar faces such as Ava Gardner, Pablo Picasso, James Joyce and Salvador Dali. It also seeks to explore Man Ray’s revolutionary photographic techniques such as solarisation and his early experiments with colour.

National Portrait Gallery, Tickets £12.00. Until 27th May.



Lichtenstein: A Retrospective 

This exhibition in the Tate features 125 works by American pop artist Roy Lichtenstein. Famous for his use of dots and comic strips, Liechtenstein is an old favourite. This show includes key paintings such as Look Mickey (1961), lent from Washington’s National Gallery of Art, and the monumental Artist’s Studio series of 1973-4. There are also little-known pieces on display such as Lichtenstein’s early abstract expressionist paintings and his art nouveau-inspired sculptures.

Tate Modern, Tickets from £14.00. Until 27th May.



Poster Art 150: London Underground’s Greatest Designs

This exiting exhibition is part of the celebrations marking the 150th anniversary of the London Underground. Starting in 1908, with the Tube’s first graphic poster commission, the collection brings together 150 iconic poster designs. It features a range of well-known pieces and some hidden gems. A vote is being conducted for the most popular poster.

London Transport Museum, Tickets from £15.00. Until 1st October.



George Catlin: American Indian Portraits

This exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery is the first major European exhibition of George Catlin portraits since the 1840s. Catlin, a Pennsylvanian-born artist and writer, spent the 1830s documenting the way of life of the Native American Indians. He later created an ‘Indian Gallery’ which toured America and Europe. This collection of more than 50 of his portraits is one of the most evocative and extensive records of an indigenous people ever made.

National Portrait Gallery, Free! Until 23rd June.



Ice Age Art 

This groundbreaking exhibition features the world’s oldest known sculptures, drawings and portraits. Created during the last Ice Age, these masterpieces are between 40,000 and 10,000 years old.

Although they are made of mammoth ivory and reindeer antler, these works are far from primitive. These artists experiment with light, perspective and movement.  They demand to be considered in relation to their modern counterparts, and are presented alongside pieces by Henry Moore, Mondrian and Matisse. The exhibition demonstrates that the basic human desire to communicate through art has not changed. In fact, creativity and expression have remained remarkably similar across thousands of years.

British Museum, Tickets £8.00. Until 26th May.



Schwitters in Britain 

This is the first major exhibition to examine works from the British period of Kurt Schwitters, one of the major artistic figures of European modernism. Forced to flee Germany when his work was declared ‘degenerate’, he arrived in Britain as a refugee in 1940 and remained until his death in 1948. The exhibition includes over 150 collages, assemblages and sculptures, many of which have not been shown in the UK for over 30 years.

Tate Britain, Tickets from £10.00. Until 12th May.



Sebastião Salgado: Genesis

This exhibition showcases the work of the photojournalist Sebastião Salgado. He dedicated his time to discovering and documenting landscapes, wildlife and communities around the world that have been untouched by modern life. The collection displays 200 black-and-white photographs showing tribes still living by ancient values, and landscapes that demonstrate the awesomeness of nature.

Natural History Museum, Tickets £5. Until 8th September.



George Bellows: Modern American Life 

This is the first retrospective exhibition in the UK of the work of the New York artist George Bellows. A realist painter, Bellows was fascinated by the urban landscape, technological advancements, and the anonymity of modern life. This exhibition displays over 70 works of art covering his short career between 1905 and 1925.

Royal Academy of Arts, Tickets £8. Until 9th June.



Life and Death: Pompeii and Herculaneum 

The British Museum is now displaying over 250 artefacts from Pompeii and Herculaneum – items buried by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79. This major exhibition includes both recent discoveries and celebrated finds, most of which have never been seen outside Italy.  

British Museum, Tickets £12.50. Until 29th September.



Souzou: Outsider Art from Japan 

This exhibition displays over 300 examples of Japanese outsider art. The works, which include ceramics, textiles, paintings, sculpture and drawings, are by 46 artists, all of whom are residents and day patients at social welfare institutions on the main island of Honshu. The aim is to challenge the myth of outsider art as being solely reflective of the interior mind, and to explore the creative release of visual expression for artists for whom verbal or written communication is challenging. Different sections of the exhibition explore various approaches to creating art. In ‘Language’ there is a diary of hieroglyphics; ‘Culture’ includes beautiful copies of postwar movie posters; and ‘Representation’ and ‘Relationships’ feature surreal sculptures of fruit made from dense aggregates of small ceramic rabbits.

Wellcome Collection, Free! Until 30th June.



Treasures of the Royal Courts 

This celebration of 500 years of exchange between Britain and Russia chronicles the close relationship between the English monarchy and the Russian Tsars. It displays the magnificence of the courts of great rulers from Henry VIII and Elizabeth I to Ivan the Terrible and the early Romanovs.

The exhibition holds more than 150 objects, from royal portraits, jewellery and luxury goods to processional armour and heraldry. At the heart of the show is the beautiful English and French silver given to the Tsars by the British royal family, which is on exclusive loan from the Moscow Kremlin Museums in celebration of 500 years of Anglo-Russian exchange.

Victoria and Albert Museum, Tickets from £8.00. Until 14th July.


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