Exhibitions & Galleries


All visits are to exhibitions and venues in the wider London area. They take place on Friday mornings and normally last about two hours including time in cafes.
☐ Frequency : Monthly
☐ Where : At the chosen gallery
☐ Number of places per visit : No more than 12
Group Conveners : Noeleen Grattan, Louise Spitz.
Group Administrator : Jennifer Pulham

To join the group please complete the contact form below. This form may also be used to contact the Convener on all matters relating to the Group.

Coming up …

21 June 2019

Munch: Love and Angst, at the British Museum

Exhibitions we have enjoyed

May 2019

April 2019

Sixteen members of the Group visited the Pierre Bonnard exhibition at Tate Modern, glorying in his use of colour and sympathising with his efforts to remain “the painter of happiness” even when his life was going less well. After a refreshing coffee break, an intrepid few also attended the adjacent Dorothea Tanning show, with its surrealism melding into colour extravaganza, its innovative soft sculpture and its demonstration of how to live an active old age.

March 2019

On Friday 29 March a group of eight members of the Exhibitions and Galleries group thoroughly enjoyed the Bill Viola/Michelangelo Life Death Rebirth exhibition at the Royal Academy. The exhibition was breathtaking at times. Both artists engage in different ways with the passion and drama of life and death. We thought thematic affinities were demonstrated and that the contact enhanced rather than diminished. The overall juxtaposition of the Renaissance master’s 15 exquisite small drawings and one beautiful sculpture with Viola’s spectacular high tech video installations was a rich experience. It certainly provoked much discussion afterwards.

Despite an unprecedented number of last minute withdrawals, a sizeable group of members visited Tate Britain for the Don McCullin photography exhibition. It was not an experience to be taken lightly: horror at the devastation and suffering depicted mingled with amazement at McCullin’s courage in going again and again to witness such devastating scenes, and with sheer admiration of his skill. We reassembled, shaken, exhausted but in a strange way inspired, to bring each other down to earth over tea or coffee, cakes and chat in the Tate café.

February 2019

A sizeable group of us visited the Ruskin exhibition at Two Temple Place this morning. Much of Ruskin’s own art was on show, particularly some detailed architectural drawings and delicately accurate nature sketches. We were amused by his various dislikes, which ranged from Wagner through railway stations to bicycles, and wondered how it had come about that such an eccentric person had wielded such a strong influence upon artistic taste. Also included in the exhibition were paintings and objects that Ruskin admired and collected, including several paintings by Turner and others, and numerous miscellaneous found objects. After visiting the exhibition many of us adjourned to the courtyard tables of a Somerset House café, where we baked, coats off, in unseasonable sunshine.

January 2019

A large group visited the Mantegna/Bellini exhibition at the National Gallery on Friday 18th January. Olga Savastano’s excellent introductory talk inspired our appreciation of the exhibition, and conversation in the National Gallery café afterwards was lively.

We visited the Serpentine and Serpentine Sackler Galleries on a glorious crisp January morning to see Uumwelt, a collaboration between French artist, Pierre Huyghe, and neuroscientists In Japan to give visual form to brain activity using MRI scans.
At Serpentine Sackler, there was another collaboration, this time between designer Beca Lipscombe and artist Lucy McKenzie of Atelier E.B. Passer-by incorporated Fashion photography and magazines, mannequins, therapeutic dolls, traditional costumes, tapestry and “vitrines” as well as some contemporary designs.
Our visit concluded in the spectacular Zaha Hadid Cafe in brilliant January sunshine.

December 2018

Edward Burne-Jones at Tate Britain

Photograph © Angela Dawson

November 2018

Annie Albers at Tate Modern
“As a female student at the radical Bauhaus art school, Albers was discouraged from taking up certain classes. She enrolled in the weaving workshop and made textiles her key form of expression. She inspired and was inspired by her artist contemporaries, among them her teacher, Paul Klee, and her husband, Josef Albers. This … exhibition illuminates the artist’s creative process and her engagement with art, architecture and design. You can discover why Albers has been a profound influence on artists around the world via more than 350 objects from exquisite small-scale ‘pictorial weavings’ to large wall-hangings and the textiles she designed for mass production, as well as her later prints and drawings.” – Quoted from Tate Modern website. We had a most enjoyable visit, an experience much enriched by Noeleen Grattan’s interesting and inspiring introductory talk and further comments.

Photographs © Lesley Ramm

October 2018

The Estorick Gallery, Canonbury Square
Our biggest ever group visited the Exhibition of between-the-wars Italian paintings on Friday and greatly enjoyed Luke Alder’s talk on these works as well as on selected works from the Permanent Collection, all followed by coffee and conversation in the Gallery’s cafe.

September 2018

A sizeable group visited Aftermath : Art in the Wake of World War I at Tate Britain, followed by lively discussion in the Tate cafe. It was agreed, among other things, that however much we had thought we knew about the First World War period, we had all learned something new; that some of the post war art on show was very good indeed; and that facial expressions in the later paintings were still sad and strained. We were also very impressed by prints by Kathe Kollwitz and others.

Thanks to Louise and Jennifer for arranging today’s visit to the Aftermath exhibition at Tate Britain. Very powerful, e.g. the 1919 film footage from an airship over the blasted landscape of France and Belgium. Empty helmets were depicted to symbolise a soldier’s death, enabling artists to get past the censors. – Roslyn Byfield, Member No. 308
Thank you very much for having the idea that this month’s visit should be to Aftermath. It is a wonderful and moving exhibition: like many of us I found Kathe Kollwitz’s work a revelation and I also was moved by Rosine Cohen’s wounded soldiers in hospital. I have never seen Charles Sergeant Jagger’s bronzes before, and I loved them. – Mary Rees, Member No. 14.

June 2018

Apsley House
Apsley House offered so much of interest that it was hard to take it all in. The collection ranges from gifts of silver and porcelain to an astonishing range of Dutch, Spanish and Italian works by major artists. The cafe next door provided not only coffee and a chance to chat, but also an excellent close up view of the Household Cavalry in all their splendour

May 2018

Sir John Ritblat Gallery in the British Library
Some members of the group visited the Sir John Ritblat gallery in the British Library. We could only do justice to a small selection of its many treasures, from Magna Carta, through ancient and beautifully illustrated texts of a number of religions, jottings of famous writers, Shakespeare’s first folio and early methods of notating music on paper, to Karl Marx and, unexpectedly to some of us, the Beatles. The morning was rounded off with coffee and chat outside in the sunshine.

April 2018

Gursky at the Hayward Gallery

Andreas Gursky has devoted his life to developing photographic techniques and the effects he achieves are extraordinary. 12 members of the Galleries group visited the exhibition on Friday 13th April at the Hayward Gallery. One of them stopped in front of the first photograph and exclaimed “Well! My gob is smacked already! “, which just about summed up the experience of us all.

March 2018

Drawn in Colour: Degas from the Burrell Collection
Five intrepid souls evaded illness, slippery pavements, heating problems and everything else that the vicious late winter could throw at us, and were greatly cheered by the colourful Degas works on loan from the Burrell collection in Glasgow. If you missed the exhibition, do go: it’s on until 7th May (and free)!

February 2018

Rhythm and Reaction: The Age of Jazz in Britain, Two Temple Place
11 members of the Group appreciated both the exuberant décor of the building and the cheerfully contrasting style of the exhibition on between-the-wars Jazz, and afterwards adjourned to a café to discuss these and many other matters.

Updated 6 March 2019