16. Become a Culture Vulture: London's Galleries in one Swoop

Right now in London there has never been so much art. I mean it is literally pouring out every single corner of central London. And, not only is it everywhere, the quality is truly outstanding. What is also wonderful about this, is that everyone I know (OK this could be an age thing) is getting involved and wants to go see these exhibitions.

Whilst the selection is quite literally intoxicating, the fact that there are so many is a problem. Our city is so overwhelming with choice that most of us don’t know where to start. So instead of suggesting a best one, I suggest that you do them all. In ONE day. Exhaust yourself in this remarkable city. Pretend for one day that you are a tourist, and you need to do it all or the giant rabbits will get you.


Get into Piccadilly Circus early (I would suggest around 9 o'clock) and grab an early morning coffee from Pret, before heading into The National Portrait Gallery. The Lucien Freud exhibition (on until May 27th £14) is one of the more memorable and unconventional portrait exhibitions I've ever seen. He treats every single subject matter with such intensity and attention it forms quite an overwhelmingly emotional journey through one mans life. The exhibition is magical and mysterious. It is also one of the most unique exhibitions I’ve ever seen in its intimate preservation of the human condition.

From Piccadilly, you can walk over to Covent Garden and grab a pastry before walking over Waterloo Bridge towards the Southbank Centre where David Shrigley is exhibiting at the Hayward Gallery (13th May £8). This is Shrigley’s first major exhibition in London and in my eyes it is an absolute triumph. Never before have I been to an art exhibition that has made me laugh so much! This has a lot to do with the funny painting descriptions. So many exhibitions you go to are ruined by pointless blurbs at the side of Painting 1ABE which try to define an artist. Whilst Al WeiWei may have decided to photograph himself giving his middle finger to the Tate as a form of 'showing his opposition to the authoritarian hierarchy of traditional establishments,' he might equally have thought giving the middle figure is still funny. Shrigley's Brain Activity misses all this, and instead is just light, funny and smart.


From the Southbank you can walk down to the Tate Modern where Yayoi Kusama has got quite a ‘spotty’ collection going on a the moment (5th June £10). The body of which is surprisingly eclectic having been arranged around Yayoi's life experience. Walking through Yayoi's collection you feel her changing and developing not only as an artist but also her psychological changes (she has been a full time resident at a mental hospital for the last 12 years). This exhibition is surprising and colourful, fun and different: exactly what should, and continue to be, exhibited at the Tate Modern.

Three down and one to go. The exhaustion your experiencing is all worth it I promise. And don’t worry you can have a little sit down as you take the Tate boat which connects the Tate Modern to the Tate Britain. The journey takes about 10 minutes but it is a lovely way to travel and just feels a bit different.

You arrive at the Tate Britain where you can visit Picasso and Modern British Art (15th July £14). The format of the exhibition is a bit dubious as is explores Picasso's effect on British artists in the 20th Century. Nice in theory, just a shame none of are artists came close to even bother trying to compare, Francis Bacon is of course an exception to this (and any art by Henry Moore is always a pleasure to see). Regardless of the loose connections the Tate Britain has tried to make, it is still definitely worth going to see just for Picasso's work. Fascinating, vivid and colourful in whatever context you see it.

Your finished. Now put you feet up and go and find somewhere wonderful to eat.


(If these exhibitions don't take your fancy, you could always go and see the David Hockney at the Royal Academy. This gentle exhibition opens your eyes to the wonders of the British countryside. It is colourful and grand exhibition combining watercolour, photography, acrylic and even iPad drawings. After seeing this you should treat yourself to a meal at The Wolseley followed by a gentle walk around Hyde Park. Bliss)

Author: Holly Bourne Starecka

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