UK Art Exhibitions: May 2024

May has got to be one of the best months of the year in Brighton. This is when our city (hopefully) sheds its winter coat for good, and comes alive with the incredible creativity of Brighton Festival, Brighton Fringe, The Great Escape and all the fun that surrounds it. 

It’s also a great month for art exhibitions around the country, with several incredible shows kicking off as we skip into summertime. In today’s blog, we’re providing a list of some of the best UK art exhibitions in May 2024…


Michelangelo: The Last Decades - British Museum, London
2nd May – 28th July 2024


Kick off your month of art by experiencing the work of one of the world’s most influential Renaissance artists, Michelangelo.

The British Museum’s exhibition, Michelangelo: The Last Decades, focuses on the last 30 years of his life. This fascinating period covers how his creativity flourished after leaving his home city of Florence having been summoned to Rome by the Pope to paint a fresco of the Last Judgement in the Sistine Chapel.

This exhibition brings together drawings and plans for architectural projects with poems and letters, offering an intimate glimpse into the mind of one of the greatest artists of all time.


Marc Quinn: Light to Life - Kew Gardens, London
4th May to 29th September 2024

As our days get warmer, the idea of spending hours in a stuffy gallery might not appeal to some. Fortunately, Marc Quinn is offering us the opportunity to enjoy excellent art in the beauty and fresh air of the great outdoors.

Quinn’s Light into Life launches on May 4th in the Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art at London’s Kew Garden. In this exhibition of 20 new outdoor works and sculptures, Quinn offers his profound reflections on our connection to the natural world, exploring everything from the human-plant relationship and nature’s influence on our planet, to the magic of medicinal plants.

This may be a touch more serene affair than we’ve come to expect from the notorious Young British Artist, but as ever, Quinn has his finger on the pulse of the zeitgeist. In this case, calling us to work with the gifts of nature to bring about a better world.

National Gallery: National Treasures – Across the UK
10th May 2024

This year, the National Gallery celebrates its 200th birthday. To honour their Bicentenary, they’re launching their National Treasures series, which will see them loan 12 classic masterpieces to partner venues around the UK.

This means that from May 10th, 35 million (or more than half of the UKs population) will be within an hour’s journey of a National Gallery masterpiece. Each partner venue will also be curating events and exhibitions around the artwork they have on display.

If you’re miles from London, this is a fantastic opportunity to get up close and personal with some of the world’s most famous masterpieces. Examples include Claude Monet’s The Water-Lily Pond, which will be on display at York Art Gallery, and John Constable’s The Hay Wain which you’ll find at Bristol Museum and Art Gallery.

Discover the full list of the masterpieces included and their locations here.


Now You See Us: Women Artists in Britain 1520 – 1920 - Tate Britain, London
16th May – 13th October 2024

 Angelica Kauffman, R.A, Colour 1778-80. © Royal Academy of Arts, London. Photographer: John Hammond.

Last year, the Tate Britain forged the way for the art world when they decided to completely rehang their collection to give equal representation to men and women artists.

This year, the gallery continues to fight the good fight, bringing us Now You See Us: Women Artists in Britain 1520 – 1920 which launches on May 16th. As the name suggests, the exhibition spans 400 years, bringing together artworks from pioneering women artists, dating from the Tudor era to the First World War.

The show features over 150 artworks from women unafraid to defy societal norms and challenge stereotypes to take on subjects once deemed only to be the fodder of male artists, including nudes, battle scenes and historical pieces.

Visit this women artist exhibition to see works from the likes of Mary Beale, Elizabeth Butler and Angelica Kauffman, and to discover how these women fought for art training and academy membership, breaking down barriers for the women artists who followed.     

Fragile Beauty: Photographs from the Sir Elton John and David Furnish Collection – The V&A, London
18th May 2024

Simply Fragile, Tyler Mitchell, 2022. © Tyler Mitchell.


Fragile Beauty is one of the most highly-anticipated art events of 2024. For the show, The V&A are exhibiting over 300 rare prints directly from the private collection of Sir Elton John and David Furnish. The exhibition honours the couple’s 30-year love affair with collecting photography.

This impressive collection dates from the 1950s to present day, and includes work by some of the world’s most renowned photographic artists, including, Nan Goldin, Robert Mapplethorpe, David LaChapelle and Diane Arbus.

Highlights of the show include portraits of icons of the stage and screen, and pivotal moments from history, covering everything from the Civil Rights Movement, to AIDS activism and 9/11.


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