This winter, London’s museums are all about looking backward in order to move forward. Many of these excellent exhibitions highlight the work of women whose contributions to the western artistic canon have been lost to time. Together, they prove that no matter how much you think you know about art, there’s still more to discover.
If You Crave Something New
Barbara Chase-Riboud: 'Infinite Folds' at the Serpentine
The US-born, Paris-based Riboud has been an artists’ artist for the past 70 years, which is a nice way of saying she was doing great work without much recognition. That’s begun to change, thanks in large part to this spectacular exhibition of her dazzling textile and metal sculptures that combine an eerie majesty with a dynamic, sharp take on contemporary art. Through Jan 29, 2023.
If You Like To Shake Things Up
Helen Saunders: 'Modernist Rebel' at the Courtauld Gallery
Long consigned to obscurity, thanks to her gender and the fact that most of her early work was destroyed by a German bomb in 1940, Saunders was a pioneering abstract artist and member of the vorticists, a British art movement cut short by World War I. The Courtauld has resurrected her reputation, showing 18 drawings and watercolors in her first show in a quarter century. Through Jan 29, 2023.
If You’re Curious If Genius Is Born Or Made
Lucian Freud: 'New Perspectives' at the National Gallery
At this point, Freud is an uncontested giant of 20th century art, but his heavily layered signature style was developed over more than 70 years of practice. With more than 60 paintings, this landmark exhibition charts his course from a merely good draughtsman to a truly great artist. Through Jan 22, 2023.
If You Think Art History Needs A Rewrite
'Making Modernism' at the Royal Academy of Arts
In this excellent, compact exhibition, works by the German artists Paula Modersohn-Becker, Kӓthe Kollwitz, Gabriele Münter and Marianne Werefkin make a compelling case for the central role played by women in shaping European modern art. Some 65 artworks range from rarely seen charcoals to such icons as Modersohn-Becker’s 1906 Mother With Child On Her Arm, Nude II. Through Feb 12, 2023.
If You Love Ancient History
'Hieroglyphs: Unlocking Ancient Egypt' at the British Museum
Ancient Egypt stretches back more than 5,000 years, but contemporary society deciphered Egyptian hieroglyphs only 200 years ago. At the center of this exquisite, dense exhibition is arguably the most precious object in the British Museum’s collection: the Rosetta Stone, whose ancient Greek and hieroglyphic text proved the key to the translation of ancient Egyptian script. Through Feb 19, 2023.
If You Like To Fantasise
Lynette Yiadom-Boakye: 'Fly In League With The Night' at the Tate Britain
One of the most exciting British artists working today, Yiadom-Boakye paints fictional people and scenes in a haunting, hazy figurative style that’s captured the imagination of the viewing public, not to mention art buyers. A survey of her work containing 70 images from 2003 to the present was cut short by the pandemic; after touring internationally, it has returned to London for a full, three-month run. Through Feb 26, 2023.
If You Want A Fresh Perspective
'Cezanne' at the Tate Modern
Vying with Picasso for the mantle of most important modernist artist in history, this vast exhibition makes a case for Cezanne. With room after room filled with portraits, landscapes and still lifes from the artist’s prolific career, visitors will be dazzled by how contemporary many of the artworks seem, and how prescient Cezanne’s perspective proved to be. Through March 12, 2023. - Bloomberg