10 of the best exhibitions in London for May

May 18, 2023Bea Squires0

There are plenty of fantastic events and exhibitions on this month, from the reopening of the Handel & Hendrix museum, to the acclaimed Donatello at the V&A. Read on for 10 of the best exhibitions in London for May. 


1. Handel & Hendrix museum reopening (18 May)
Handel & Hendrix, via www.hainesphillips.co.uk

Handel & Hendrix, housing the once homes of George Frideric Handel (1723-1759) and Jimi Hendrix (from 1968), is reopening after a £3million renovation, The Hallelujah Project. The project is an ambitious restoration of Handel’s home that presents the space as the composer may have kept it. As before, the museum will play host to a series of live music and events as well as exhibitions on the two great artists.


2. The Morgan Stanley Exhibition: Peter Doig at The Courtauld Gallery (to 29 May)
The Morgan Stanley Exhibition Peter Doig at The Courtauld. Photo: Fergus Carmichael

It’s your last chance to catch The Morgan Stanley Exhibition: Peter Doig at The Courtauld Gallery. Featuring a range of paintings from the contemporary Scottish artist, Doig is known for his figurative works and fleeting brushstrokes – reminiscent of the Impressionists. As for the subject matter, expect a range of people, places and techniques.


3. Donatello at the V&A (to 11 Jun)
Circle of Donatello, Platonic Bust, bronze, Florence, courtesy of Museo Nazionale del Bargello and The Ministry of Culture Italy. Photo by Bruno Bruchi

Donatello at the V&A explores the sculptural works of the Renaissance master. Marvel at pieces that have never been seen before in the UK, including his early marble David and bronze Attis-Amorino, and those from the V&A’s own collections. Widely considered to be the most gifted sculptor of all time, Donatello employed a range of materials including marble, bronze, wood, terracotta and stucco.


4. Souls Grown Deep Like Rivers at the Royal Academy of Arts (to 18 Jun)
Joe Light, Blue River Mountain, 1988. Enamel on wood, 81.3 x 121.9 cm. Souls Grown Deep Foundation, Atlanta. © ARS, NY and DACS, London 2022. Photo: Stephen Pitkin/Pitkin Studio

Souls Grown Deep Like the Rivers: Black Artists from the American South at the Royal Academy displays the ingenious works of Black artists from Southeastern US during the last century. These include sculptures, paintings, drawings and quilts that convey America’s painful past and the oppression suffered by its Black inhabitants. Made from locally-available materials – such as clay and driftwood – the 64 pieces range from the mid-20th century to today.


5. Wildlife Photographer of the Year, Natural History Museum (to 2 Jul)
© Daniel Núñez, Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Witness more of the stunning yet precious beauty of our planet at the Natural History Museum with the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition (to 2 Jul).  The competition has attracted tens of thousands of entries from amateur and professional photographers, with 100 finalists selected.


6. Luxury & Power: Persia to Greece, British Museum (to 13 Aug)
Armlet © The Trustees of the British Museum

Luxury and Power: Persia to Greece at The British Museum explores luxury as a political tool in the Middle East and southeast Europe from 550-30 BC. Expect a dazzling range of objects, from Afghanistan to Greece, including the golden Panagyurishte Treasure from Bulgaria. Learn about their political influence on Europe and Asia in the first millennium BC and how they’ve shaped our notions on luxury today.


7. After Impressionism: Inventing Modern Art at The National Gallery (to 13 Aug)
Paul Cézanne
Bathers (Les Grandes Baigneuses), about 1894 – 1905
© National Gallery, London

After Impressionism: Inventing Modern Art at the National Gallery looks at the period between 1880 and the start of the First World War in 1914, a thrilling time of innovation in the art world. Groundbreaking painters such as Paul Cézanne, Vincent Van Gogh and Paul Gauguin pushed the boundaries and redefined art, as they had known it. The exhibition considers their work and influence over younger generations through more than 100 pieces including paintings and sculpture. Other featured artists include Klimt, Matisse, Picasso and Mondrian.


8. Hilma Af Klint and Piet Mondrian at Tate Modern (to 3 Sep)
Hilma af Klint, The Swan, The SUW Series, Group IX, No. 19, 1914-1915. Courtesy of The Hilma af Klint Foundation
© Stiftelsen Hilma af Klints Verk

Explore the work of these two groundbreaking modern artists at Hilma af Klint and Piet Mondrian at Tate Modern. Although the pair never met, they had much in common. Their love of nature, spirituality, scientific discovery and philosophy was reflected in their abstract art. They also both began their careers as landscape painters. Klint was a medium, and she believed that many of her otherworldly paintings were being channelled through her by a higher power.


9. Crown to Couture, Kensington Palace (to 29 Oct)
The Rockingham mantua, c.1760-5 © Historic Royal Palaces

Crown to Couture at Kensington Palace takes visitors on an immersive journey through the State Apartments which have been transformed into London’s hottest catwalk. Discover how the trailblazing style of 18th-century nobility has inspired many of today’s most iconic red-carpet looks, with historic garments displayed alongside outfits worn by present-day trendsetters including Lady Gaga and Lizzo.


10. BBC Earth Experience at The Daikin Centre
BBC Earth Experience © Philip Volkers

The BBC Earth Experience at The Daikin Centre takes you on an immersive journey across seven continents with stunning footage from the legendary David Attenborough’s documentary, Seven Worlds, One Planet. ‘Meet’ the incredible animals that inhabit our planet during this breathtaking 360-degree audio-visual experience as they roam freely around the world (albeit, virtually).


Please like, share and comment below and see if we have anything else to inspire your next visit to London


Bea Squires

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