It's the world's leading museum of art, design and performance, so it's no wonder you want to find out what's on at the V&A in 2024.
The exhibitions at the V&A museum in South Kensington are always blockbuster, and the institution offers some of the most eclectic range of subjects under one roof in the whole of London.
While this year sees a somewhat slimmed-down exhibition programme compared to recent times — only three big ticketed shows are opening — there’s still a varied choice of topics, from architecture to photography. And this year sees quite a lot of celebrity sparkle thrown in too.
Here's what's on right now, and what you've got to look forward to.
V&A exhibitions on now
— Open until 25 February 2024
She's a design icon, and her ultimate legacy is that of one of the world's biggest fashion houses. So no wonder Gabrielle ‘Coco’ Chanel is currently getting the exhibition treatment.
It is the first UK exhibition dedicated to the work of the French designer. It charts the evolution of Coco Chanel's iconic design style and the establishment of the House of CHANEL. Visitors get to explore over 200 looks which are seen together for the first time. For many Chanel-lovers, the highlight is the fifty ensembles of the iconic Chanel suit, the defining garment of Gabrielle Chanel’s post-war contribution to fashion.
The bad news is that tickets for this show are totally sold out. In fact they sold out within four days of opening (!). So if you want to see it before it closes, you’ll have to become a V&A Member. It’s a pricier option, but it will mean you can also see all the other 2024 exhibitions at the Victoria and Albert Museum for free too.
— Open until 7 April 2024
The 'diva' label has been given to countless female performers over the years, from Barbra Streisand to Ariana Grande. And it usually isn't a compliment. But the V&A is reclaiming the term in this major exhibition.
DIVA is a huge show across two floors and it celebrates the power and creativity of iconic performers. From the Opera goddesses of the Victorian era to today’s global megastars, it explores and redefines what it means to be a diva and how this has been subverted or embraced over time.
On display are objects from fashion, design, photography, music, costumes and live performance, brought together from the V&A collection and loans from across the world.
Thomas J Price at the V&A
— Open until 27 May 2024
Leading sculptor Thomas J Price is celebrated for his arresting yet contemplative sculptures depicting everyday individuals. His display here — which is completely free to visit — sees these ideas in dialogue with objects from the V&A’s historic collection.
In total, eight works by Price are installed throughout the museum. Visitors can see large-scale sculptures which depict amalgamated ‘ordinary’ people. They represent different individuals he has encountered in the streets of London, and are described as a celebration of connection and shared humanity.
Highlights include Signals, placed in Room 25 of the sculpture galleries next to Vincenzo Foggini’s Samson and the Philistines and depicting a young man holding his phone up to the sky, searching for mobile signal. Plus Lay It Down (On the Edge of Beauty) is a larger-than-life sculptor of the head of a woman made of a polished bronze that shines like gold.
Upcoming V&A exhibitions in 2024
— Opens 2 March 2024
Tropical Modernism is a style of architecture that blends modern design with practical solutions for tropical climates. It developed in the 1940s, and it was shaped by visionary architects who prioritised both functionality and aesthetics in their work. Think buildings with natural ventilation and cooling, substantial shading, and the odd water feature.
This style will go under the spotlight at V&A this spring, and will have a specific focus on the colonial origins of Tropical Modernism in British West Africa (including modern-day Ghana, Nigeria and others), and in India. It'll also chart the survival of the style in the post-colonial period in newly-independent countries, and how it came to symbolise the independence and progressiveness of these nations after severing UK rule.
— Opens 18 May 2024
Not only will this be the V&A’s largest temporary exhibition of photography ever held to date, it will also have some superstar sparkle thrown in — all of the works on show belong to Sir Elton John and his husband David Furnish.
There’ll be 300 rare prints from a mammoth 140 photographers on show, and they are all on loan from the couple’s private collection. It will bring together an unrivalled selection of the world’s leading photographers to tell the story of photography in the modern era.
Works by icons of the medium including Robert Mapplethorpe, Cindy Sherman, William Eggleston, Diane Arbus, Sally Mann, Zanele Muholi, Ai Weiwei, Carrie Mae Weems and many, many more will be seen, as well as portraits of other stars such as Marilyn Monroe, Miles Davis, and Chet Baker.
It’ll play out across eight thematic sections at the London museum, including as 'fashion', 'reportage', 'celebrity', 'the male body', and 'American photography'.
— Opens 22 June 2024
Undoubtedly this is the most hotly anticipated exhibition of all at the V&A this year. Simply titled NAOMI, this big blockbuster will examine the whole 40 year career of the world’s most famous supermodel, starting from the very beginning when she was scouted in Covent Garden aged just 15.
The museum says that this display of Naomi Campbell’s story will be “revelatory” and will “celebrate her career.” This ultimate fashion exhibition has been created in collaboration with Campbell herself and we are promised a gallery full of show stopping clothes.
In total visitors are promised over 100 ‘looks’ that Campbell has modeled over four decades, including designs by Alexander McQueen, Azzedine Alaïa, Chanel, Dolce & Gabbana, Gianni and Donatella Versace, Jean Paul Gaultier, John Galliano, Karl Lagerfeld, Kenneth Ize, Valentino, Virgil Abloh, Vivienne Westwood, Yves Saint Laurent and many others.
When tickets go on sale later in 2024, you’ll want to snap them up quick as this one is going to be super(model) popular.
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