The best new art exhibitions and shows in London to visit virtually this May

From the first online edition of Frieze New York to the hottest new openings in London, these are the most exciting art events around the world to explore at home

While we’re still seeing many events cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the artistic community have found a way to innovate and bring you their cultural offerings online. As well as plenty of interactive exhibitions, digital art fairs are also growing in popularity, with this month marking the first ever online edition of Frieze New York, which has launched with seven figure sales to VIPs. Clearly, the digital art market is booming. Here, we’ve rounded up the very best exhibitions in London and around the world to visit virtually this season.

Aubrey Beardsley at Tate Britain

“I have one aim – the grotesque. If I am not grotesque, I am nothing,” declared the English illustrator, whose work shocked and delighted Victorian London in equal measure. His distinctive black and white drawings are known for their ability to blend the erotic with the elegant, capturing both humour and the surreal in their imagery. The Tate Britain are now offering a free virtual tour of this retrospective, which charts the artist’s short career until his untimely death in 1898 at the age of 25, covering both the success and the scandal his perennially popular works inspired.
Available now

Frieze New York

Rather than cancelling or postponing New York’s annual edition of the fair, Frieze has decided to host its catalogue online. 200 galleries will exhibit works by both established and emerging artists digitally in the ‘Frieze Viewing Room’, a virtual space that will be live from 8 to 15 May. Covering a cross section of mediums, the Viewing Room will still feature Frieze’s usual mainstay exhibitions, from the Frame and Focus initiatives to the Spotlight section, which this year features pioneers and innovators of the 20th Century including M Louise Stanley, Fahrelnissa Zeid, Ione Saldanha, Tess Jaray and E’wao Kagoshima. An excellent way to gain access to a highlight in New York’s cultural calendar without leaving home.
From 8 – 15 May

New Art Exhibitions And Shows To Visit Virtually This MayPin
Christina Quarles, Meet in tha Middle, 2018. Courtesy: the artist, Jessica Silverman Gallery, San Francisco and the Komal Shah & Gaurav Garg Collection
© Christina Quarles
New Art Exhibitions And Shows To Visit Virtually This MayPin
Penny Slinger, born 1947 Eat Me, 1973, Vintage black and white photograph, Copyright The Artist

Bodily Objects at Richard Saltoun Gallery 

Surrealism, subversion and sexuality are the themes at play in this exhibition, which brings together the work of leading feminist artists. Penny Slinger, Renate Bertlmann, Rose English and Helen Chadwick all lend their artistic prowess to the show, which highlights wry and satirical pieces that resist the male gaze. Featuring photography, collage, sculpture and experimental performance, each piece showcases an avant-garde way of representing embodiment. The exhibition is curated by art critic Philomena Epps – the woman behind indy visual arts platform Orlando – so expect a searing critique of society’s patriarchal nature of looking.
Available now until 30 June

National Portrait Gallery BP Portrait Award

New Art Exhibitions And Shows To Visit Virtually This MayPin
Restless by Egbert Vincent Modderman © Egbert Vincent Modderman

A well-loved regular feature in London’s exhibition calendar, the National Portrait Gallery’s annual award brings together the very best in contemporary portraiture from around the world. This year saw almost 2,000 entrants from 69 different countries submit outstanding and innovative works, which are now available to be viewed online. As well as offering further insights from individual artists, the online exhibition also allows you to choose your favourite portrait in the show and cast your vote as part of the Visitor’s Choice Award. Don’t miss the chance to have your say.
Available now

Body Performance at the Helmut Newton Foundation, Berlin

While the Helmut Newton foundation has extended its physical showing of Body Performance until 20 September, it has also launched an interactive online tour of the exhibition. Featuring works from the likes of Vanessa Beecroft, Barbara Probst, Viviane Sassen, Cindy Sherman and Robert Mapplethorpe, this clever exhibition looks at the way in which artists and image-makers have documented physical performance through the medium of photography. Each work examines how humans behave in front of the camera, both consciously and unconsciously, with Helmut Newton’s series of images of the Monte Carlo Ballet providing the focal point.
Available now

Lorna Simpson: Give Me Some Moments at Hauser & Wirth

New Art Exhibitions And Shows To Visit Virtually This MayPin
Lorna Simpson, Unanswerable (detail), 2018. Found photograph and collage on paper.
Photo: James Wang / © Lorna Simpson / Courtesy of Hauser & Wirth

The latest instalment in Hauser & Wirth’s series of online exhibitions features collage artist Lorna Simpson, who tackles issues such as the politics of identity, gender and race in her work. “The notion of fragmentation, especially of the body, is prevalent in our culture, and it’s reflected in my works,” explains the Brooklyn-born artist. “We’re fragmented not only in terms of how society regulates our bodies but in the way we think about ourselves.” Simpson was awarded the prestigious J.Paul Getty Medal for contribution to the world of art, so expect powerful and poetically arresting images from her pioneering practise.
Available now

The Eye of the Collector Viewing Room

New Art Exhibitions And Shows To Visit Virtually This MayPin

Brand new, next gen art fair Eye of the Collector was due to launch this month. But, having had to delay its inaugural edition until September, the fair is now launching the ‘Eye Viewing Room’ – a new platform that will allow collectors to see the selection of art the fair will offer, which spans ancient, modern and contemporary works from across the artistic spectrum. This fair’s ethos is all about celebrating connoisseurship, meaning that the galleries taking part include the likes of Michael Hoppen, BASTIAN and Beck & Eggeling. A great platform to visit if you want to stay ahead of the curve.
Available 12-31 May


Main image: Solar Glare by Lorna Simpson, 2020. Collage on paper.
The Glossary Logo

Subscribe to our curated London guides for the very best in contemporary culture across the capital. Plus the latest style and beauty news and reviews

Share to...