London is an expensive place to live let’s face it and visiting art exhibitions at £15-£20 per show is a luxury. However, you can visit the permanent collections of many of London’s museums and galleries for free. They also feature special free displays aside from the admission charging exhibitions. Some of the best art is also featured in public sculpture programmes such as Frieze Sculpture in Regent’s Park and Sculpture in the City in the square mile. You can also see some of the world’s most prominent artists past and present and some interesting emerging artists too in commercial galleries. Here is a selection of what to see in London this summer for free.
Magic Realism at Tate Modern
A loan exhibition from The George Economou Collection in Athens exploring German art from between the wars featuring work by Otto Dix, George Grosz, Albert Birkle and Jeanne Mammen.
30 July 2018-14 July 2019
David Hockney at Annely Juda
David Hockney: iPhone and iPad drawings 2009-2012 and New Photographic Drawings, features 27 limited edition prints created either on the iPhone or iPad, along with new ‘Photographic Drawing’ editions.
16 July – 31 August 2018
Frieze Sculpture Regent’s Park
Frieze Sculpture return to The Regent’s Park for three months this summer, featuring works by 25 contemporary and modern artists presented by world-leading galleries including John Baldessari, Elmgreen & Dragset, Conrad Shawcross, Richard Woods and Sean Scully.
Until 7 October 2018
Sculpture in the City
Every summer, the City of London, in partnership with local businesses, unveils a brand-new selection of artworks by internationally-acclaimed artists. Set amongst the iconic architecture of the City’s insurance district, the sculptures animate public spaces and engage visitors and passers-by alike. This year it includes works by Thomas J Price, Sarah Lucas, Nancy Rubins, Sean Scully and Marina Abramovic.
27 June 2018-April 2019
Peter Blake Waddington Custot
A retrospective survey of drawings by Peter Blake. The exhibition will include work made while a student at the Royal College of Art, London, in the 1940s to watercolours painted in 2018.
5 July – 4 September 2018
Henri Matisse Prints Bernard Jacobson
A wide-ranging exhibition featuring more than 60 rare and important works from the gallery’s comprehensive collection of Matisse Prints, currently the largest and most significant collection of Matisse prints held by any commercial gallery in the world.
Until 15 September 2018
Memory Palace – White Cube – Bermondsey & Mason’s Yard
Located across White Cube’s London galleries at Bermondsey and Mason’s Yard, Memory Palace is articulated by an architectural framework that leads the viewer through six broad themes of memory: Historical, Autobiographical, Traces, Transcription, Collective and Sensory. Includes work by Gilbert & George, Antony Gormley, Andreas Gursky, Mona Hatoum, Anselm Kiefer, Harland Miller, Doris Salcedo, Virginia Overton and many others.
Christo and Jeanne-Claude: Barrels and the Mastaba 1958-2018 – Serpentine Galleries and The Serpentine Lake, Hyde Park
This summer, in the heart of London, the Serpentine Galleries presents a major exhibition of the artists’ work, which draws upon their use of barrels to create artworks. Simultaneously, Christo will present The Mastaba (Project for London, Hyde Park, Serpentine Lake), a temporary floating sculpture on The Serpentine lake.
Until 19 September 2018
Banksy Greatest Hits 2002-8 Lazinc Sackville
Banksy’s original gallerist Steve Lazarides and his Lazinc co-founder Wissam Al Mana, showcase an influential collection of Banksy’s most iconic images. The exhibition is curated from a number of high-profile private collections to build a ‘Greatest Hits’ body of secondary market works, including stencilled canvases, unique paintings, sculptures and limited-edition prints.
Until 25 August 2018
True Colours – Newport Street Gallery
‘True Colours’, brings together three emerging artists – Helen Beard (b.1971, Birmingham), Sadie Laska (b.1974, West Virginia) and Boo Saville (b.1980, Norwich) – that, despite using paint in very different ways, all share an interest in exploring the possibilities of colour. Featuring over thirty works, the show is the largest exhibition to date for each artist.
Until 9 September 2018
Known Unknowns Saatchi Gallery
Known Unknowns showcases an international selection of artists, born between 1966 and 1990, from the Saatchi Gallery’s collection. The title refers to the artists’ status in the mainstream art world – whilst the group is largely unknown, their respective practices are greatly admired by their artistic peers and seen as breaking new ground.
Until 8 September 2018
For summer opening hours check with the galleries first.