The London art exhibitions to see in June

From emerging to established artists, big galleries to intimate spaces – here are the London art exhibitions to see this month

archive image of man dancing in front of sound system in UK
Yoko Ono with Half-A-Room, 1967, from ‘HALF-A-WIND SHOW’, Lisson Gallery, London, 1967
(Image credit: © Yoko Ono. Photography © Clay Perry)

Group shows, major career retrospectives, intimate viewings and avant-garde performances – London is abuzz with art exhibitions. Plan your next visit with our handy, frequently updated guide to the city's best goings on. Heading across the pond? Here are the best New York art exhibitions to see this month.

London art exhibitions: what to see in June 2024


Art of Wishes

Christie's

Until 23 May; online auction until 31 May 2024

red blue yellow painting in a square design

(Image credit: Poppy Blackburn)

Nine year old Poppy Blackburn is the youngest artist to exhibit her work at Christie's. Blackburn, who has lived with lueakemia since the age of three, has worked with charity Art of Wishes on the exhibition of 28 of her paintings. The funds raised from her vibrant, colourful works will go towards supporting critically ill children. 

'The World To Me Was A Secret'

The Cosmic House

Until 20 December 2024

pink hearts and pink carpets in a room at The Cosmic House for Tai Shani exhibition

(Image credit: Tai Shani, The World to Me Was a Secret: Caesious, Zinnober, Celadon, and Virescent, 2024, installation view. Photo by Thierry Bal, courtesy of the Jencks Foundation at The Cosmic House.)

The Cosmic House was always intended as more than a home. A postmodern masterpiece, it was created by Charles and Maggie Jencks between 1978 and 1983 in London’s wealthy Holland Park. It functioned as a living space for the radical couple’s family and a hotbed for creative and architectural thought. Little within the house follows the rules of conventional design: the traditional staircase was replaced with a single spiral that is stamped with zodiac signs; everything from doorknobs to toilet flushes are present as unsettling doubles; and a lintel fireplace is painted to emulate polychromatic marble.

Writer: Emily Steer

'Beyond The Bassline'

The British Library

Until 26 August 2024

The Selecter British pop band with singer Pauline Black

(Image credit: The Selecter with Pauline Black. Image (c) Adrian Boot & urbanimage.tv, All Rights Reserved. Courtesy, the British Library)

If you’re delving into half a millennia’s worth of cultural research, then you’re really going to need some help. And that’s how ‘Beyond the Bassline: 500 Years of Black British Music’ has become a major exhibition at The British Library in London. ‘At first, people kept asking, ‘Why is the library telling the story?’, admits exhibition curator and public historian Dr Aleema Gray. ‘Of course, it is a place of quiet, but the British Library has an incredible sound archive, too, and so that's where we started.'

Writer: Caragh McKay

'Fragile Beauty'

V&A

18 May 2024 - 5 January 2025

woman in green top with skin like mask on

Self Portrait, 2000, by Gillian Wearing, on show in ‘Fragile Beauty'

(Image credit: Gillian Wearing, courtesy of Maureen Paley, London, Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York, and Regen Projects, LA)

Avid photography fans Elton John and David Furnish have amassed a vast array of images over the years. Now, more than 300 rare prints from their collection are set to go on show at a new V&A retrospective divided into eight themes, from reportage and the male body to American photography and celebrity. Works from artists such as Cindy Sherman, Gillian Wearing and Diane Arbus are exhibited alongside fashion photography by the likes of Irving Penn, Horst P Horst and Herb Ritts. Highlights include intimate portraits of Marilyn Monroe, and Nan Goldin’s Thanksgiving series.

Writer: Hannah Silver

'Portraits to Dream In'

National Portrait Gallery

Until 16 June 2024

black and white photographs

Untitled, from the Caryatid series by Francesca Woodman, 1980. Courtesy Woodman Family Foundation / DACS, London

(Image credit: Courtesy of the artist)

Francesca Woodman and Julia Margaret Cameron may not be a natural duo, yet a new exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery has brought these two photographers together. Woodman's art emerged during the rise of second-wave feminism and Post-Minimalism, her images haunted by the influence of contemporaries like Ana Mendieta and Deborah Turbeville. Cameron’s work, meanwhile, is distinctly Victorian. The soft focus of her photographs evokes a heavily Christian, English sensibility of feminine beauty; her female sitters often idealised as wives and mothers. Spanning a century and continents apart, there is no direct lineage between Cameron and Woodman’s photo-making – at least, not one Woodman ever directly references.

Writer: Katie Tobin

Incubator 24

Incubator gallery, Chiltern Street

Until 23 June 2024

artwork

Lucrezia Abatzoglu, Milky Way, 2023. Oil on Canvas

(Image credit: Courtesy of the artist)

In April, May and June, Incubator is exhibiting its latest solo show programme, Incubator 24, with a roster of artists from around the world who are currently London-based. Next up is Lucrezia Abatzoglu (1-12 May), an Italian-Greek artist whose paintings bring monumentality to the female body. Corbin Shaw (15-26 May) creates textiles that explore the notions of masculinity he was taught growing up in a mining town in Yorkshire. Roman artist Elena Angelini’s hazy, vulnerable portraits will be on display for the fifth instalment of the show (29 May-9 June); and Paul Barlow’s abstract paintings (12-23 June), which draw inspiration from light waves, fractals, and halos will close out Incubator’s spring season. 

Writer: Mary Cleary

'The Manual of Action'

In collaboration with CIRCA

Until 30 June 2024

woman in full make up

(Image credit: Courtesy of the artist)

Kembra Pfahler, the transgressive performance artist and frontwoman of punk outfit The Voluptuous Horror of Karen Black, was still in the earliest phase of an idiosyncratic career when she debuted The Manual of Action, at ABC No Rio on New York’s Lower East Side in the 1980s. In its latest guise, The Manual of Action is a big screen-cum-workshop-led project organised in collaboration with the Cultural Institute of Radical Contemporary Arts (CIRCA). Over three months, through 30 June 2024, Pfahler will lead a series of classes in person and online; each week a new class is introduced with a short film streamed from Piccadilly Circus in London, as well as in Berlin, Milan and Seoul, daily at 20:24 local time.

Writer: Zoe Whitfield

'Purple Hibiscus'

The Barbican Lakeside Terrace

Until 18 August 2024

barbican in pink cloth

(Image credit: Ibrahim Mahama’s Purple Hibiscus during installation at the Barbican, 2024. Courtesy Ibrahim Mahama, Red Clay Tamale, Barbican Centre, London and White Cube. © Pete Cadman, Barbican Centre)

Ibrahim Mahama’s monumental work ripples across the Barbican’s Lakeside Terrace. For Mahama, it is possibly his greatest collaborative work - and certainly his largest scale public commission - in the UK yet. Purple Hibiscusnamed after Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s 2003 novel, encompasses around 2000 square metres of billowing panels of pink and purple fabric, woven and sewn in collaboration with hundreds of craftspeople from Tamale in Ghana. On the panels, around 100 batakaris have been embroidered - robes traditionally worn by both ordinary people as well as northern Ghanaian royals - which Mahama has been collecting over the years, without at first knowing for what purpose. 

Writer: Hannah Silver

‘Yoko Ono: Music of the Mind’ 

Tate Modern

Until 1 September 2024

yoko one artowrk

Yoko Ono with Glass Hammer, 1967 fromHALF-A-WIND SHOW’, Lisson Gallery, London, 1967. Photo © Clay Perry

(Image credit: © Yoko Ono)

Yoko Ono: Music of the Mind’ at Tate Modern is an exhibition that wants you to get involved, fittingly for an artist and activist who has long considered participation to be integral to her art. It’s the thread that runs throughout the show, her largest UK retrospective, tracing her multidisciplinary work from the 1950s to date in an immersive experience that’s faithful to the instructive core at the heart of Ono’s work.

Writer: Hannah Silver

Hannah Silver is the Art, Culture, Watches & Jewellery Editor of Wallpaper*. Since joining in 2019, she has overseen offbeat design trends and in-depth profiles, and written extensively across the worlds of culture and luxury. She enjoys meeting artists and designers, viewing exhibitions and conducting interviews on her frequent travels.