The London art calendar has had a rough time of it this year. We’re gradually edging out of lockdown, and threats of a second wave mean it’s hard to say how long this spell of greater freedom will last. Despite all of that, London has a range of exciting visual arts events scheduled throughout September. It’s time to don our masks, grab our hand sanitiser and experience the best month of arts programming we’ve had in some time.


Wight Spirit 1968–70 Exhibition. Image courtesy Masterpiece Art.

  1. Wight Spirit 1968–70
    Until 5th September 2020 |

This exhibition from Masterpiece Art marks the 50th Anniversary of the iconic Isle of Wight Festival, an event dubbed “The Last Great Event” which ran in August 1970 for an audience of over 600,000 people. Wight Spirit 1968–70 exhibits behind-the-scenes photography of the 1970 event by Charles Everest alongside the work of British sculptor Guy Portelli, and will feature a number of popular icons connected to the festival’s legacy.

1. Seana Gavin ‘Mindful Mushroom’ courtesy of the artist

Seana Gavin ‘Mindful Mushroom’ courtesy of the artist

  1. Mushrooms: The Art, Design and Future of Fungi
    Until 13th September 2020 |

Mushrooms examines the promise fungi offers to reimagine our relationship with the planet and examines its colourful cultural legacy by bringing together work by more than 40 different musicians, artists and designers. Visitors can experience inspiring works from emerging contemporary artists, curated by writer Francesca Gavin. The exhibition also features work by acclaimed Japanese contemporary artist Takashi Murakami, watercolours from renowned author Beatrix Potter and a limited edition Mushroom Book of recipes, observations and illustrations, composed by John Cage.

  1. STALL: Group Show 2020 at Sarabande Foundation
    Until 13th September 2020 |

For the Sarabande Foundation, the annual Summer Group Show is the biggest event of any summer, marking the end of a three-week takeover of their main space by a group of resident artists. It’s a great opportunity for visitors to see work by a variety of Sarabande artists, with this year’s lineup including digital illustrator Berke Yazicioglu, nature illustrator Stephen Doherty, painter Shannon Bono, animation director and puppet maker Isabel Garrett, multi-media installation artist Joshua Beaty, craftsman and bespoke shoe designer Jimmy Sugiura, ceramicist Camilla Hanney and photographer Palomo Tendero.

A virtual walkthrough of this exhibition is available to view on The Net Gallery, here.

  1. Sophie Cundale: The Near Room
    Until 13th September 2020 |

Following the journey of a professional boxer after a near-fatal knockout, artist Sophie Cundale’s new supernatural melodrama is available to view as an installation at the South London Gallery this month. Actor Chris New, professional boxer John Harding Junior and artist Penny Goring are among the cast featured in the film, which is 32 minutes long.

RS39420302815 Winner Infrared Saturn © László Francsics

‘Infrared Saturn’ © László Francsics.

  1. Insight Investment Astronomy Photographer of the Year Exhibition
    Until 13th September 2020 |

Royal Museums Greenwich reopens this month, giving you one last chance to see 2019’s Insight Investment Astronomy Photographer of the Year exhibition before it is replaced by the 2020 exhibition in October. All the winning images from the 2019 competition – chosen from 4,602 entries across 90 different countries – are on display until 13th September.

  1. Forgotten Masters
    Until 13th September 2020 |

The Wallace Collection’s critically acclaimed temporary exhibition, Forgotten Masters: Indian Painting for the East India Company, in partnership with DAG, reopened on Wednesday 29 July. As the rest of the museum closed in March, the exhibition was entering its final weeks with one month remaining. Thanks to the generosity of its lenders and supporters, it will be on display for an additional 6 weeks, and will now close on Sunday 13 September 2020.

This exhibition gives visitors an opportunity to see highly original, detailed works commissioned by East India Company officials in the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, shedding light on an important moment in Anglo-Indian history.

Slices of Time - Emmanuelle Moureaux - NOW Gallery

Installation view from the exhibition ‘Slices of Time’ by Emmanuelle Moureaux at NOW Gallery

  1. Emmanuelle Moureaux: Slices of Time
    Until 27th September 2020 |

From Tokyo to Paris, Emmanuelle Moureaux has seduced audiences with unique, colourful installations. Slices of Time is Moureaux’s first large-scale installation in the UK, inspired by NOW Gallery’s location on the Greenwich Peninsula. For one more month, the exhibition space in NOW Gallery is filled with the delightful aesthetic and intricate detail of cut coloured paper, creating a world where visitors can truly appreciate the essence of every carefully-considered colour.

Visitors can go to the NOW Gallery website to explore the exhibition, or enjoy the walkthrough on the profile page we’ve created for the gallery.

  1. Our ashes make great fertilizer at Public Gallery
    Throughout September |

Our ashes make great fertilizer is a new group exhibition curated by Saelia Aparicio and Harminder Judge. It presents works in a range of mediums including shapeshifting paintings, ceramics and pottery, shamanic brandishing sticks, plaster portals, biotech bodies, transcendental neons and mutated sleeping bags, all created by a selection of artists greatly admired by the curators. Judge and Aparicio both deal with bodily and spiritual transformation in their own practices, and elements of this – decay, transition and rebirth – are visible in all of the selected works.

A virtual walkthrough of this exhibition is available to view on The Net Gallery, here.

Walala 2406

Camille Walala, whose work is pictured above, is among the artists participating in the London Mural Festival. Image courtesy of Wood Street Walls and Oliver Graham @ Thought TV.

  1. London Mural Festival
    Throughout September |

Covering more than 50 large-scale walls across London, the first London Mural Festival (LMF) is set to kick off this September with over 150 artists from across the globe. By giving artists a legal way to showcase their work publicly, LMF aspires to bring art to the people. Participating artists have not been asked to stick to any particular theme or topic, as the Festival organisers wish to pay respect to their creative freedom and the broad range of locations that will be painted. The local communities, owners and businesses linked with each wall have worked with the organisers and artists to ensure each work is suited to its location while allowing each artist to express their own unique style.

  1. Totally Thames
    Throughout September |

With a range of activities taking place on, beneath, and along the River Thames, Totally Thames is a unique annual event characterised by arts and culture events that are both diverse and accessible. Attendees can look forward to workshops, pop-up performances, boating events, installations, river clean-ups, live performances, talks and much more. Visual arts events to look forward to include Rivers of the World, London’s first dedicated public art walk The Line, Timeless Thames Exhibition, Thames and I and London the Metamorphosis. Like many events this year, Totally Thames will also feature a number of digital events.

Also tied in with this event is Thurrock’s Walking Arts Festival which features eight separate events dealing with local challenges and possible solutions.

Lets Make This Much of the Rest of Summer installation by Andy Leek in Pancras Square at King s Cross

“Let’s Make This Much of the Rest of Summer” installation by Andy Leek in Pancras Square at King’s Cross. Courtesy of Coal Drops Yard.

  1. Art Events at Coal Drops Yard
    Throughout September |

While the “boutique and foodie hotspot” might not be the first place you think to look for visual art events, there’s always plenty on at Coal Drops Yard. This September, visitors can view work by Artist in Residence Andy Leek, a new sculpture by Eva Rothschild, an installation by Lauren Godfrey and a lightbox exhibition by Mentivity and Leonn Ward.

13. Toyin Ojih Odutola A Countervailing Theory 2020

Toyin Ojih Odutola, ‘A Countervailing Theory’, 2020. Installation view, The Curve, Barbican, 11 August 2020 – 24 January 2021 © Toyin Ojih Odutola. Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York Photo: Tim Whitby / Getty Images. The Curve, Barbican, 11 August 2020 – 24 January 2021 © Toyin Ojih Odutola. Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York Photo: Tim Whitby / Getty Images.

  1. Toyin Ojih Odutola
    Throughout September |

An immersive soundscape by artist Peter Adjaye accompanies the first-ever UK exhibition by Nigerian-American artist Toyin Ojih Odutola at the Barbican this Autumn. Ojih Odutola’s epic cycle of new work explores an imagined ancient myth and explores the concept of drawing as a form of storytelling. The viewer is invited to enter the artist’s vision of an uncannily familiar-yet-fantastical world, exploring extensive imaginary narratives that draw on an eclectic range of historical and contemporary references.

Leonora Carrington The Old Maids

Leonora Carrington, ‘The Old Maids’. Included in the exhibition British Surrealism at Dulwich Picture Gallery.

  1. British Surrealism Virtual Exhibition
    Throughout September |

Just three weeks after the opening of their British Surrealism exhibition, Dulwich Picture Gallery were forced to close their doors as a result of the Covid-19 lockdown. To ensure that the public would still have access to this collection, the gallery teamed up with The Net Gallery to create a virtual experience of the exhibition, running this year to mark the 100-year anniversary of the birth of surrealism. You can’t visit physically, but you can view the virtual exhibition now via the Dulwich Picture Gallery website.

JMW Turner A First Rate Taking in Stores

Joseph Mallord William Turner ‘A First Rate Taking in Stores’, 1818 Pencil and watercolor 39x28cm Trustees of the Cecil Higgins Art Gallery (The Higgins Bedford).

  1. Turner and Rothko
    From 1st September 2020 |

Mark Rothko’s Seagram murals will rejoin the world’s largest collection of celebrated British artist J.M.W. Turner at Tate Britain this September. Visitors to Tate Britain can also view work by Edward Allington and Pablo Bronstein, as well the popular Steve McQueen’s Year 3 exhibition.

Rafael D.Alo

Goldsmiths, University of London. Rafael D’Alo: ‘New Territory’, 2020. Ink and watercolour on paper. 100x140cm. Image courtesy Saatchi Gallery, London and Rafael D’Alo.

  1. London Grads Now.
    3rd – 25th September 2020 |

London Grads Now. and its host, Saatchi Gallery, will be opening to the public in early September to showcase work by graduating students from some of the leading fine art schools of London. The exhibition aims to enable students to showcase their works safely in an international-standard gallery space, combining more than 200 works from over 150 graduating artists.

THR exterior landscape 01

Garden Designer Tom Massey’s collaboration with Studio Weave for the London Design Festival. Courtesy of London Design Festival.

  1. London Design Festival
    12th – 20th September 2020 |

London Design Festival acts as a gateway to the international design community for London-based designers, celebrating and promoting London as the design capital of the world. Now in its 17th year, the Festival aims to celebrate innovative and exciting thinking and creative attitudes by exploring a huge diversity of design talent and practices from across the city.

  1. Architecture for Dogs
    From 19th September 2020 |

New work by eminent UK architect Asif Khan joins the internationally acclaimed Architecture for Dogs exhibition for its European debut in London this month. Featuring a collection of architectural designs for dogs by world-class architects and designers, this event allows visitors to immerse themselves in the project by becoming makers and architects themselves and designing their own architecture for dogs.

RA M 1 2

Painting of the goddess Narodakini, Tibet, 1700–1900. ©The Trustees of the British

  1. Tantra: enlightenment to revolution
    From 24th September 2020 |

This exhibition invites visitors to explore the radical force that has transformed political, spiritual and cultural landscapes in India and around the world. Tantra: enlightenment to revolution exhibits elements of the Tantric philosophy which remain largely unknown or misrepresented in the west through ritual objects, sculptures, paintings and prints from around the world, dating from the seventh century AD to the present.


Freelands Foundation

  1. Freelands Painting Prize Exhibition
    Dates TBC |

The inaugural Freelands Painting Prize Exhibition is set to take place this Autumn, displaying work by eight winners of the new Freelands Painting Prize for outstanding painting practice at undergraduate level. This event will take place at the Freelands Foundation gallery, and will also be made available digitally by The Net Gallery.

  1. Enter Through The Headset 5
    4th September – 4th October 2020 |

To mark the fifth anniversary of its groundbreaking new media group exhibition, Gazelli Art House is featuring both previous participants and new talent from its online residency. The show will feature works by Rebecca Allen, Jocelyn Anquetil, BRiGHTBLACK, Claudia Hart, Michael Takeo Magruder with Drew Baker, Gibson/Martelli with Roche & Mercier, Matterlurgy, Mbryonic with Xavier Sole, Iain Nicholls and Matteo Zamagni.

Article by Toby Buckley.

For details on how to visit the listed exhibitions in compliance with social distancing, visit the relevant gallery websites. Some shows require that you book in advance.

The image shown at the top of the page is an exhibition view from ‘Our ashes make great fertilizer’ at Public Gallery. Image taken from scan footage captured by The Net Gallery. The virtual walkthrough is available to view, here.