The best exhibitions this week in London, from Caravaggio to Wilhelmina Barns-Graham (April 18 to 25)

Adriano Costa, FRANGO ASSADO (You Will Always Be My Baby I Won’t Tell Anyone), 2024 (Courtesy of the artist and Emalin, London. Photo by Stephen James)
Adriano Costa, FRANGO ASSADO (You Will Always Be My Baby I Won’t Tell Anyone), 2024 (Courtesy of the artist and Emalin, London. Photo by Stephen James)

With access to hundreds of museums and galleries a tube ride away, we Londoners are spoilt for choice when it comes to a fun day out. But sometimes the capital’s embarrassment of riches means it’s tricky to pick where to go.

Do you disappear into the National Gallery for an afternoon, pop by some of the independent galleries in Marylebone, explore East London’s exciting offerings, or wander around the Tate?

Look no further every week: here’s our pick of five extraordinary exhibitions to see in London right now.

Farley Aguilar: The Age of Effluence

Farley Aguilar: The Age of Effluence, installation view, Edel Assanti, London, 2024 (Photo: Tom Carter)
Farley Aguilar: The Age of Effluence, installation view, Edel Assanti, London, 2024 (Photo: Tom Carter)

Nicaraguan, Miami-based, artist Farley Aguilar’s unsettling, brightly-coloured paintings depict people – in groups, walking with friends – and ask questions about the social facades of and within communities.

Edel Assanti, to May 11; edelassanti.com

Wilhelmina Barns-Graham: A Scot in St Ives

Wilhelmina Barns-Graham (© The Trustees of the British Museum)
Wilhelmina Barns-Graham (© The Trustees of the British Museum)

Trailblazing British artist Wilhelmina Barns-Graham (1912-2004), a key member of the St Ives group of artists whose cohort included Barbara Hepworth and Patrick Heron, is best remembered for her illuminating abstract paintings. Here 12 of her lesser-known, brilliant works on paper are displayed.

The British Museum, to May 12; britishmuseum.org

Adriano Costa: ax-d. us. t

Adriano Costa, Chorus, 2024 (Courtesy of the artist and Emalin, Photo by Stephen James)
Adriano Costa, Chorus, 2024 (Courtesy of the artist and Emalin, Photo by Stephen James)

Brazilian artist Adriano Costa uses everyday materials to create his sculpture, installation and painting works. His minimalist and modernist work is here presented in – and draws from – the historical Clerk’s House in Shoreditch High Street.

Emalin, to July 13; emalin.co.uk

The Last Caravaggio

The Martyrdom of Saint Ursula by Caravaggio, 1610 (Archivio Patrimonio Artistico Intesa Sanpaolo / Luciano Pedicini, Napoli)
The Martyrdom of Saint Ursula by Caravaggio, 1610 (Archivio Patrimonio Artistico Intesa Sanpaolo / Luciano Pedicini, Napoli)

Violent, cinematic, eternally provocative, Caravaggio’s kinetic paintings continue to inspire. Which is why a one-room show of just two of the Italian master’s paintings – The National Gallery’s Salome with the Head of John the Baptist (1609-10) and The Martyrdom of Saint Ursula (1610), seen in London for the first time in 20 years – is one of the most buzzy openings of the year.

The National Gallery, to July 21; nationalgallery.org.uk

Yinka Shonibare: Suspended States

Yinka Shonibare CBE, Decolonised Structures, 2022-23. (Yinka Shonibare CBE)
Yinka Shonibare CBE, Decolonised Structures, 2022-23. (Yinka Shonibare CBE)

Described as “beautiful, alluring and disquieting” and “classic Yinka”, Suspended States, Yinka Shonibare’s first London solo exhibition in more than two decades is a series of illuminating installations made since 2017. Expect statues of Queen Victoria and Winston Churchill wrapped head to toe in bright fabrics; models of buildings that have housed the vulnerable; and his harrowing war library.

Serpentine South Gallery, to September 1; serpentinegalleries.org