London is a city that is constantly buzzing with activity. Whether you’re looking for a place to eat, drink or see some art, London has something for everyone. In this blog post, we will take a look at some of the best contemporary art galleries and museums in London. So if you’re looking to expand your cultural horizons and find out where to see modern and contemporary art in London, read on!
Contemporary Art Galleries and Modern Art Museums in London
Tate Modern is a must-see for any fan of the art scene visiting London. Housed in the former Bankside Power Station, the museum boasts an impressive collection of modern and contemporary art from around the world.
The standout feature of the museum is the Turbine Hall, a massive open space that runs the length of the building. Here you can see work by some of the most celebrated artists of the last century, including Cézanne, Bonnard, Matisse, Picasso, Rothko, Dalí, Pollock, Warhol, and Bourgeois.
The museum’s collection spans from the 1500s to the present day and is split into abstract themes rather than eras. Visitors can therefore explore the collection in any order they like, without having to worry about chronology. Among the vast range of works on display are classics such as Sir John Everett Millais’ Ophelia and Henry Moore’s moving sculpture.
Best of all, admission to Tate Modern is free, making it one of the best values in London. Whether you’re an art aficionado or simply looking for a unique experience, a visit to Tate Modern is sure to leave you impressed.
The National Gallery
The National Gallery in London is home to one of the world’s most impressive collections of European paintings, spanning the medieval period to the early 20th century.
Visitors can explore the story of European art, masterpiece by masterpiece, with works by some of history’s most celebrated artists, including Botticelli, Paul Cézanne, Monet, Leonardo da Vinci, Rembrandt, Gainsborough, Turner, Renoir, and Van Gogh.
In recent years, the gallery has made a concerted effort to engage with the art of the present day, hosting exhibitions and events that showcase modern and contemporary works in dialogue with the older pieces in the collection.
This creates a unique forum for exploration, where visitors can gain new insights into both the art of the past and the art of the present. The gallery’s commitment to engaging with contemporary artists ensures that it remains at the forefront of the art world, and provides an invaluable resource for artists from all over the world.
The gallery offers free guided tours, audio guides in multiple languages, and free family activities for children of all ages. With so much to see and do, the National Gallery is a must-visit for any art lover.
Victorian and Albert Museum
The V&A is the world’s leading museum of art and design, housing a permanent collection of over 2.3 million objects that span over 5,000 years of human creativity.
The Museum holds many of the UK’s national collections and houses some of the greatest resources for the study of architecture, furniture, fashion, textiles, photography, sculpture, painting, jewellery, glass, ceramics, book arts, Asian art and design, theatre and performance. With such a diverse range of collections, the V&A offers something for everyone.
The museum has a range of collections ideal for fans of the modern and contemporary art scene including their Modernism collection. They also have Room 48 which is home to the various modern and contemporary exhibitions that the museum hosts.
The Hayward Gallery is a modern and contemporary art destination that has been at the forefront of this art scene since it opened in 1968 in London. Throughout its history, the gallery has presented work by some of the world’s most innovative and adventurous artists.
The gallery is world-famous for its striking Brutalist architecture and illustrious roster of exhibitions. Located in the heart of London, the gallery has hosted some of the most groundbreaking artists of the last century, including Antony Gormley, Dan Flavin, Roy Lichtenstein, and Tracey Emin.
In addition to commissioning new artworks and hosting major exhibitions, the Hayward also organizes projects, installations, and talks inside and outside other venues across Southbank Centre. The gallery has played an important role in championing emerging artists and giving them a platform to showcase their work.
Thanks to the Hayward, many artists have gone on to find international success. Today, the gallery continues to play a vital role in promoting the best in contemporary art.
Barbican Art Gallery
The Barbican Centre is a performing arts center in the Barbican Estate of the City of London and the largest of its kind in Europe. The center hosts classical and contemporary music concerts, theatre performances, film screenings, and art exhibitions. It also houses a library, three restaurants, and a conservatory.
The Barbican Art Gallery is a leading international center for the display of visual art. It has been home to major exhibitions by some of the world’s most acclaimed architects, artists, and photographers.
The gallery is also home to the Barbican’s Curve, an exciting series of new art commissions created for the space. The Curve is a unique quarter-mile-long spiral walkway that allows visitors to experience the artwork from different perspectives.
The Barbican Art Gallery is an essential destination for anyone interested in the arts.
The Serpentine is two spaces situated on either side of The Serpentine lake in London’s Kensington Gardens.
The Serpentine Gallery, designed by Zaha Hadid Architects, is a purpose-built space for contemporary art exhibitions, located in the former tea pavilion. The Sackler Gallery, also designed by the same architects, is a converted gunpowder store that houses the Serpentine’s collection of modern and contemporary art.
In addition to its seasonal exhibitions program of eight shows per year, the Serpentine presents its annual Serpentine Pavilion during the summer months. The Serpentine Pavilion is the first and most ambitious architecture program of its kind in the world.
These programs are complemented by a series of outdoor sculpture projects, special artist commissions, digital commissions, public and educational programs, and major outreach projects including the renowned Edgware Road Project.
The Serpentine Gallery is a truly unique institution and an essential destination for anyone interested in contemporary art.
The Saatchi Gallery is one of the world’s leading galleries for contemporary art. The gallery was founded by Charles Saatchi in 1985, and since then has become internationally renowned for its commitment to showcasing the work of young and emerging artists.
The gallery is located in Duke of York Square, Chelsea, and occupies a spectacular 70,000 sq. ft exhibition space. The exhibitions at the Saatchi Gallery focus on international artists who have rarely been seen in the UK and aim to inspire a passion for contemporary art in all audiences.
In addition to temporary exhibitions, the gallery also hosts an educational program and events. The bookshop and café at the gallery are also popular destinations in their own right. Whether you’re a die-hard art lover or simply looking for somewhere to enjoy a cup of coffee, the Saatchi Gallery is well worth a visit.
Street Art Murals in London
Street art can be found almost everywhere in London, especially around East London, with Shoreditch boasting many murals. Many walls in London were graced by works of Banksy and even Basquiat. Follow along with this post and go on a DIY mural tour.
Want to be the next Banksy? Ever wanted to create your own spray paint stencil art? Then join this Street Art Tour & Workshop — after a tour of London’s best graffiti and Street art, you get to go back to the studio to try some street art yourself. They are London’s only purpose built street art and graffiti workshop studio.
See: Where to find Street Art Murals in Europe
Map of London Museums, Galleries & More
Hope this post kindles your creativity and helps you explore the modern and contemporary art scene in London.
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