London Exhibitions 2021


Looking forward to a brighter 2021, and dreaming of open galleries and enthralling shows, I have collected some of the best exhibitions hoping to open this year.
All of these include textiles in various ways – from garments and pattern, to interiors and photography.
If not physically open, let’s hope that these exhibitions will be available online in some form:

Zanele Muholi
Tate Modern, 5 November 2020 – 31 May 2021
Zanele Muholi Calls herself a visual activist – one who focuses on South Africa’s gay, trans, intersex and queer communities. The LBGTQIA+ communities still remain a target in South Africa, despite equality being promised in 1996. The photographs are intense, with the sitters gaze being an important aspect. The images also contain characteristic textiles, hair pieces, garments and make up.


Jean Dubuffet
Barbican Art Gallery, 11 Feb – 23 May 2021
This will be a retrospective exhibition of Dubuffet’s work showing his tireless experimentation. Butterfly assemblages, enamel paintings, colourful canvases and lithographs will be among the type of work shown. He is famously the founder of Art Brut movement and his work rallies against conventional standards of beauty.


Epic Iran
V&A, 13 Feb – 30 Aug
This exhibition will explore 5,000 years of art – from 3,000 BCE to the present day. Art and culture will be shown through 300 objects, which includes sculpture, textiles, carpets, film and photography. This is a landmark exhibition on one of the greatest civilisations in history. Knowing the V&A’s past shows, this will surely be a remarkable display.


Chintz: Cotton in Bloom
Fashion and Textile Museum, 12 March – 15 August 2021
The Fashion and Textile Museum spans hundreds of years and miles with this exhibition that explores Chintz fabric. This material bears multicoloured patterns and designs that became sensations throughout 18th century England and Europe. Some 150 examples of this textile will be on show, from Japanese dresses to wall hangings and sun hats.


Alice: Curiouser and Curiouser
V&A, from 27 March 2021
This immersive and theatrical exhibition takes you down the rabbit hole into a magical new world. It is the most comprehensive exhibition ever held on Alice and Wonderland. It looks at the huge impact Lewis Caroll’s story has had in the history of art, fashion, design performance and more. Salvador Dali, Walt Disney, Tim Walker and Vivienne Westwood are among those included.


Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Rooms
Tate Modern, 29 March 2021 – 27 March 2022
The Infinity Rooms are immersive installations of endless reflections. Kusama is famous for her obsessive and repetitive dots. Her work uses a variety of media such as painting, sculpture, drawing and performance. There has never been a Kusama exhibition of this size before in the Uk, so it’s not to be missed.


Beautiful People: The Boutique in 1960s Counterculture
Fashion and Textile Museum, 3 September 2021 – 1 January 2022
Beautiful People explores fabulous examples from Chelsea’s iconic boutiques that sparked a 1960’s fashion revolution. Creative exploration led designers to sell radical clothing to counterculture youth. The flamboyant ‘flower power’ style emerged with an explosion of colour and pattern. Styles from The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and Jimmy Hendrix will be displayed alongside garments from iconic boutiques like the ‘Kings Road shop Granny Takes a Trip’.


Impressionist Decorations: the Birth of Modern Decor
National Gallery, 11 Sept 2021 – 9 Jan 2022
This is the first ever exhibition dedicated to the Impressionist’s impact on the decorative arts. These painters sought to bring the outdoors inside and turned their eye for landscapes into objects that could decorate the home. Interior elements such as panels, painted doors, tapestries, ceramics and paintings will be shown. Impressionists such as Renoir, Pissarro, Degas, Manet and Cezanne are included.

Lubaina Himid
Tate Modern, 24 Nov – 22 May 2022
The 2017 Turner Prize winning artist Lubaina Himid exhibits on a large scale, showing recent work and highlights from her career. Himid is known for her approaches on painting and social engagement. Her long career has contributed to the British Black arts movement and recognising women’s creativity. Taking inspiration from the Himid’s interest in theatre, this exhibition will unfold a series of scenes designed to put visitors both on the stage and backstage.

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