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Autumn Highlights: what to watch out for in London

1 September 2014

More autumn highlights in Paris, New York, Los Angeles and Berlin

The art world’s awake again after August’s sunny stasis. Major museum openings, huge art fairs and blockbuster exhibitions are rolling onto the horizon as the autumn season gets moving. With so many significant events coming up around the world, which should you be watching out for? To mark the start of September we’ve asked contributors to round up some of the most important events in the calendar in their home cities. Starting with London…

Frieze Week

Londoners working in the arts have long blocked out the middle of October and will already be making excuses to friends and family for why they can’t do anything during Frieze Week. The astronomical success of the contemporary art fair (which lasts not a week, but four days, 15–18 October, playing host to some 70,000 visitors) has made it one of the busiest periods in the city’s art calendar, with numerous satellite fairs, exhibitions and events making the most of the influx of international art-worlders. Frieze Masters – Frieze’s younger sister, dedicated to older art (15–19 October) – is now in its third year, tempting collectors, dealers and art lovers with more traditional taste to Regent’s Park.

Blockbuster exhibitions

Frieze will, however, have to contend with London’s museums, which have lined up blockbuster after blockbuster this year. People are waiting to see what Tate Britain will do with its collection of Turner paintings to warrant the entrance fee to ‘Late Turner’ (opening 10 September), and also to see which of Britain’s cherished Old Masters will come out on top when the V&A opens its Constable exhibition 10 days later (20 September). Kiefer is coming to the Royal Academy (27 September); the British Museum has called in some extraordinary loans for its exhibition of Ming dynasty art (18 September); and the Nationals are going head to head with Frieze, with ‘Rembrandt: The Late Works’ launching at the National Gallery on 15 October and William Morris at the Portrait Gallery the following day.

The Turner Prize

The Turner Prize returns to London after last year’s detour to Londonderry: Duncan Campbell, Ciara Phillips, James Richards and Tris Vonna-Michell are in the running this year for the £25,000 prize. The exhibition opens at the end of this month, and the winner is announced on 1 December.

Gallery reopenings

A couple of longer-term projects are reaching their completion this autumn too. The V&A plans to open its refurbished Italian cast courts on 29 November. The 19th-century trend for collecting plaster cast reproductions of famous art might seem old-fashioned today, but the court remains one of the most popular parts of the museum. The Wallace Collection’s Great Gallery also reopens soon (19 September) following a two-year refurbishment project, with a reconsidered hang and much improved lighting to show off what Kenneth Clark once called ‘the greatest picture gallery in Europe’.

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