2018 is shaping up to be another great year of exhibitions in London including gallery re-openings, new additions to museums, and blockbuster exhibitions. Here's our picks of the bunch to help you plan your cultural calendar for the year ahead.
Hayward Gallery is back
The Hayward Gallery on South Bank has been closed for over two years for refurbishment and we can't wait to see what the new and improved one looks like. The relaunch exhibition is by photographer Andreas Gursky, who creates massive scale landscape photographs that focus on the mass production and consumerism of our modern world. He also has the accolade of being the most expensive photographer at auction — a big artist for a big reopening.
Andreas Gursky at Hayward Gallery. 25 January-22 April 2018, £14.50.
Life gets intense
Painting from life is one of the oldest art genres and when it comes to capturing the emotions and the vulnerability of the sitter, Francis Bacon and Lucien Freud art two of the greats. Throw in the layered paintings of Frank Auerbach and the works of Paula Rego and we're on to a winner filled with painters who spent much of their time in London.
All Too Human: Bacon, Freud and a century of painting life at Tate Britain. 28 February-27 August 2018, £16.80.
An alien sex club and underwater ballet
Wellcome Collection does a great job of blending art and science, and it plans to keep this going in 2018. Four artists come together to create visually stand-out pieces, from an alien sex club exploring HIV to balletic free divers. We've seen both works before, and can confirm that they're great. Add in two more installations and this immersive show will be one to get lost in.
Somewhere in Between at Wellcome Collection. 8 March-27 August 2018, free.
Artist Tacita Dean is taking over three of our major art institutions to create a massive set of exhibitions looking at three genres of portrait, still life and landscape across National Portrait Gallery, National Gallery and Royal Academy of Arts. The latter will be the first exhibition in the Royal Academy's newly redeveloped galleries. This is a hugely ambitious exhibition and quite possibly the one we're most looking forward to in 2018.
Tacita Dean: Still Life, Landscape and Portrait at The National Gallery, Royal Academy of Arts and National Portrait Gallery. 15 March-28 May 2018, free to £14.
Trump & Brexit
Social media has changed how protests are run, with both physical and virtual designs and ideas now able spread quickly across the internet. The Arab Spring, Brexit and Trump's election will all feature in Design Museum's look at the modern face of protest.
Hope to Nope: Graphics and Politics 2008-2018 at The Design Museum. 28 March-12 August 2018, £tbc.
The world is ours
The Horniman Museum is getting a new companion for its over-stuffed walrus in an entire new gallery, a big chunk of which has been crowdfunded. Anthropology is the theme and there will be thousands of objects from across the world to bring the story of humanity to life.
World Gallery at Horniman Museum, June 2018.
Monet gets building
Think Monet, and you probably think of waterlilies and Japanese gardens. But The National Gallery is showing us an architectural side to the famed Impressionist that we're not that familiar with. Monet seems to feature every year in an exhibition in London, so we're hoping to get a news lens on this old favourite. Monet & Architecture at The National Gallery. 9 April-29 July 2018, £tbc.
What does London look like at night? What are the most intimate and beautiful visions of our city after dark? From the grandeur of Buckingham Palace to the intimacy of a man snapped through a misty bus window, 200 works by 50 artists take us from Soho to Sydenham.
London Nights at Museum of London. 11 May-11 November 2018, £12.
What does the future hold?
What designs are going to transform our world? Will our lives be changed by a global seed bank and a shirt that can power a smartphone? Everything from a solar powered aircraft designed by Facebook to works by independent designers promise some brilliant ideas that may or may not revolutionise the world.
The Future Starts Here at V&A. 12 May-4 November 2018, £15.
The King of Pop
MJ fans need to prepare for an exhibition all about the king of pop at the National Portrait Gallery. This music icon has been immortalised in artworks, and this is our chance to see the art world's homage to a true superstar. It better not be bad and we're hoping it's off the wall and a thriller.
Michael Jackson: On the wall at National Portrait Gallery. 28 June-21 October 2018, £15.50-£20
In 1918, two great Austrian artists, Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele, both died. 100 years later this exhibition will celebrate their lives with around 100 works. The romantic works by Klimt will contrast with the confrontational ones by Schiele and we get to see how the two artist's practices evolved together.
Klimt / Schiele - Drawings from the Albertina Museum, Vienna at Royal Academy of Arts. 4 November 2018-3 February 2019, £tbc.