The best exhibitions this week in London, from David Hockney to Giacometti (July 11 to 18)

 (David Hockney)
(David Hockney)

With access to hundreds of museums and galleries a tube ride away, we Londoners are spoilt for choice when it comes to a fun day out. But sometimes the capital’s embarrassment of riches means it’s tricky to pick where to go.

Do you disappear into the National Gallery for an afternoon, pop by some of the independent galleries in Marylebone, explore East London’s exciting offerings, or wander around the Tate?

Look no further every week: here’s our pick of five extraordinary exhibitions to see in London right now.

The Body As Matter: Giacometti Nauman Picasso

The Body as Matter: Giacometti Nauman Picasso, 2024, installation view (Photo: Prudence Cuming Associates Ltd, Courtesy Gagosian)
The Body as Matter: Giacometti Nauman Picasso, 2024, installation view (Photo: Prudence Cuming Associates Ltd, Courtesy Gagosian)

What a fantastic opportunity to see the works of three great 20th century artists displayed together – Alberto Giacometti, Pablo Picasso and perhaps the less well known Bruce Nauman – here with a focus on their distinct sculptural practices. The show delves into their exploration of the human body – from the way it is perceived, to its various representations in art.

Gagosian, to July 26; gagosian.com

David Hockney: Bigger & Closer (not smaller & further away)

 (Justin Sutcliffe)
(Justin Sutcliffe)

This highly-acclaimed 360-degree art experience, described by critics as “immersive audiovisual extravaganza”, “a breathtaking triumph” and “undeniably impressive” returns to the Lightroom a year after it was first exhibited. Hockney’s gorgeous colourful works, taken from across his career, are blown up and reimagined, unlocking new ways of seeing his art.

The exhibition didn’t go without criticism when it first opened – some reviewers found it kitsch or soulless – which only really ramped up excitement, as art fans rushed to the cavernous Kings Cross space to make up their own minds. If you missed it last time, now’s your chance.

Lightroom, to October 6; lightroom.uk

Goshka Macuga: Born From Stone

Goshka Macuga, Born From Stone, 2024 (Photo: Jason Alden)
Goshka Macuga, Born From Stone, 2024 (Photo: Jason Alden)

Bloomberg’s £1bn Foster and Partners London office sits directly above the London Mithraeum – the remains of a Roman temple, which they have turned into a museum and art space. Turner Prize-nominated Polish artist Goshka Macuga is its latest contemporary art commission. She will transform the space into a cave-like installation, drawing on its phenomenal history.

London Mithraeum Bloomberg Space, to January 18, 2025; londonmithraeum.com

Lina Iris Viktor: Mythic Time / Tens of Thousands of Rememberings

Lina Iris Viktor: Mythic Time / Tens of Thousands of Rememberings (Photo: Gareth Gardner)
Lina Iris Viktor: Mythic Time / Tens of Thousands of Rememberings (Photo: Gareth Gardner)

This collaborative exhibition between artist Lina Iris Viktor and the Museum is an exploration of time and historic traditions. Viktor, inspired by art from around the world and across the centuries, presents a show of mixed media (such as sculpture, painting, photography) that asks questions about objects and their ability to hold memories and generate connections.

Sir John Soane's Museum, July 10 to January 19, 2025; soane.org

Barbie: The Exhibition

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

Barbie fever took over the world last summer thanks to Greta Gerwig’s billion-dollar blockbuster, which asked questions about feminism, motherhood and the patriarchy via the iconic plastic doll. Now in this major exhibition, the Design Museum will explore Barbie’s design evolution, from the blonde-haired original, to its more modern iterations.

Design Museum, to February 23, 2025; designmuseum.org