Women Artists Storm London

This month, London galleries are spotlighting women’s formidable artistry.

 

If you enjoyed Portraits to Dream In with photographers Francesca Woodman and Julia Margaret Cameron at the National Portrait Gallery (until June 16th), and artist-activist Yoko Ono’s conceptual works at the Tate Modern (until Sept 1st), then you’ll be enthralled by this month’s new exhibitions.

 

Now You See Us

Until October 2024. Tate Britain
Louise Jopling, A Modern Cinderella, 1875. Private Collection 

Spanning 400 years, the exhibition follows women who defied society’s expectations and strove to become professional artists. From Tudor times to the First World War, artists such as Mary Beale, Angelica Kauffman, Elizabeth Butler and Laura Knight paved a new artistic path for generations of women. Determined to succeed and refusing to be boxed in, they daringly painted what were usually thought to be subjects for male artists: history pieces, battle scenes and the nude.

 

Revelations

23 May - 01 September. Serpentine North Gallery

In the Beginning, Judy Chicago. Courtesy of Serpentine North Gallery

Judy Chicago gained prominence in the late 1960s for making work which challenged the male-dominated landscape of the art world. An artistic polymath, Chicago’s works are enriched by her love for craft and experimentation. Throughout her six-decade career, she has contested the absence and erasure of women. Her individual and collaborative projects address themes of birth; masculinity; Jewish identity; notions of power; extinction; and concern for climate justice.

The Serpentine exhibition takes its name from an unpublished illuminated manuscript Chicago penned in the early 1970s whilst creating The Dinner Party (1974–79) – a monumental installation that symbolises the achievements of 1038 women, now permanently housed at the Brooklyn Museum, New York. 

 

Boombox - Danica Lundy

Until 29 June. White Cube 
Baby Can You See Through The Tears, Danica Lundy. Courtesy of White Cube

Boombox is Danica Lundy’s second exhibition with the White Cube,  As the name suggests, her works flow together like lyrics in a song. This “music logic” underpins the rhythmic orchestration of the image. Exploring structures of power, Lundy takes the fabric of the everyday and picks it apart at the seams to reveal intimate allusions to body ligaments, relationships and social strata. Lundy brings the smaller narrative moments of her paintings into sharp focus using techniques of cropping, flattening or magnification. 

 

Beryl Cook / Tom Of Finland

Until 25 August. Studio Voltaire  
Lady Of Marseille, 1990. Beryl Cook. Courtesy of the Beryl Cook Estate © John Cook 2023
 

This major exhibition unites the work of two cultural icons for the very first time with archival materials which have never been seen by the public. Through their provocative imagery, both artists are united by their playful takes on gender, sexuality, taste and class. Fleshy excesses are exalted through their distinct and coherent ways of hyper-realising the body in images that fundamentally celebrate pleasure and deny shame.

Beryl Cook was a painter renowned for her exuberant depiction of everyday life. one of Britain’s best-loved artists, she came to prominence in the mid-1970s. While Tom of Finland was renowned for his pioneering depictions of homosexual machismo. Where cook captured the social milieu of larger-than-life women in nightclubs & cafés, Finland portrayed bikers, soldiers, cowboys, sailors and labourers; broadly representing queer, leather and muscle communities. His imaginative universe helped fuel liberation movements & influenced cultural figures Jean Paul Gaultier, Freddie Mercury & Robert Mapplethorpe.

 

Title image. Peeling Back, 1974. Judy Chicago © 2024 Judy Chicago / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / DACS, London