Outdoor art: London's best exhibitions and events this summer
The sun's come out to play and so have London's loveliest art events: our guide to the best art, guided walks and sculpture trails outside London's stuffy museums this summer
John Chamberlain, Fiddler's Fortune, 2010
Every year, Frieze Fair selects a number of sculptural works to be displayed outside of the temporary tents as part of their sculpture garden. Freed from the claustrophobic and overwhelming interior of the tents, the artworks are allowed to breathe. You wander through the English Gardens in Regent's park, dodging joggers, and are surprised by sculpture behind a corner, or hiding underneath a tree.
The Summer Pavilions
Seize the moment and head to Dulwich, for the much-anticipated opening of the Dulwich Pavilion. Designed by emerging young architects IF_DO, the pavilion celebrates 200 years since the Dulwich Picture Gallery first opened its doors to the public.
Every Friday evening this summer the Dulwich Pavilion will host a special Friday Lates programme of talks and events. The Dulwich Picture Gallery will also open its magnificent collection for free. Grab a bite to eat (food and drinks will be laid on by the team behind the Camberwell Arms and Frank's Cafe), and loose yourself amongst the masterpieces in this South London gem.
Our seasonal favourite, the Serpentine Summer Pavilion returns, with a Baobab stamp of approval, thanks to the Berlin-based architect, Francis Kéré. The futuristic baobab tree design – featuring a wooden disk atop a blue trunk - is intended to reference the central tree in Kéré's home in Burkina Faso. Soak up the summer's rays in one of London's most stunning temporary locations.
White Cube at Glyndebourne
The White Cube Pavilion, located in the heart of Glyndbourne's sumptuous gardens, exhibits Rachel Kneebone's intricate porcelain sculptures, which address and question the human condition: taking themes of renewal, transformation, the life cycle and the experience of inhabiting the body. White Cube at Glyndebourne will be open to visitors for the duration of the 2017 festival season.
The Line: East London Sculpture Walk
East London’s reply to the New York High Line (organised by Mega Piper), The Line is London's first modern and contemporary art walk. and will be crammed full of outdoor art for the summer. Expect bold pieces and big names: Damien Hirst artwork is accompanied by giants of art world, from Martin Creed to Antony Gormley.
Sculpture in the City
Stuck in the office and desperately staring out at the sunshine? Why not take a stroll between art world heavyweights like Damien Hirst and Paul McCarthy in this tremendous new edition of Sculpture in the City. Now in its fifth year, this fantastic open-air exhibition lets visitors weave their way between the towering Gherkin, the Cheesegrater and the Lloyd's to enjoy the best contemporary sculptures you'll find in London. Share your photos with #scultptureinthecity.
Explore the V&A's new Exhibition Road Quarter
The Sackler Courtyard, V&A
Celebrate the opening of the new V&A Exhibition Road Quarter, with a summer packed off kid-friendly activities. Designed by the Stirling Prize-winning British architect Amanda Levete and her practice AL_A, the new Quarter, comprising new public areas and gallery spaces, will be the Museum’s largest architectural intervention in the last 100 years.
A diverse range of art and design commissions, performances, fashion and family activities will be staged by the V&A throughout the summer. Pack up the kids, take a pick-nick and get set to explore the new architectural face of one of London’s most-loved museum.
Art on the Underground
'Art should attend us everywhere that life flows and acts', exclaimed the Russian sculptor Naum Gabo, whose revolving fountain has been situated outside St Thomas's Hospital since the mid 1970s. Certainly his words ring true this summer, as London unveils an impressive summer programme of public art. Four major programmes, Art on the Underground, The Fourth Plinth Programme - which is representing David Shrigley's Thumb's Up erected in 2016 - Frieze Sculpture and Sculpture in the City are working with one another to exhibit an unprecedented number of sculptures by emerging and leading contemporary artists for free. While Art on the Underground has commissioned contemporary art for more than 15 years, this summer sees some of the best installations so far.
Look out for Jacqueline Poncelet's Wrapper, 2012, which is the largest vitreous enamel artwork in Europe, surrounding the Transport for London substation next to Edware Road station and renowned French artist Daniel Buren's Diamonds and Circles, 2017, in situ at Tottenham Court Road station. Sitting alongside Eduardo Paolozzi's recently restored mosaics, the renovated Tottenham Court Road Station is one of London's greatest spaces for public art. It's also worth keeping an eye out for the House of Illustration Art on the Underground summer campaign, which brings much-loved Quentin Blake illustrations in all their variety to posters across 240 underground stations.
Pick up your Summer Art Map from most London Underground stations this summer and see what masterpieces London has to offer.