London's free art events and sales:from St Paul's first moving-image installation to David Shrigley's commission for Trafalgar Square's Fourth Plinth

A three-storey illuminated lantern, moving-image art and works by the likes of  Grayson Perry and David Hockney are just some of the capital's contemporary art gems you can check out for free...

A first at St Paul’s
Some of the greatest art we shall ever see was commissioned by Medici patrons and popes — think of the Sistine Chapel and The Last Supper. Now St Paul’s Cathedral is pushing forward with  21st-century art in a collaboration with acclaimed video artist Bill Viola.  Mary is a companion piece to his work Martyrs (Earth, Air, Fire, Water) which went on view there in 2014.  

It’s the first time moving-image art has been installed in a cathedral on a long-term basis, and these pieces are hypnotic, haunting, thought-provoking and controversial. Architecture fans should check out the metal stands around the works, designed by Foster + Partners. Free entrance Tuesdays/Fridays at 11.30am and 2.15pm. 

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Made in Britain:a sale of the best of British from 1900, including this portrait by Marc Quinn (Courtesy of Sotheby's)

Moss: Model and Muse
Celebrating British creativity is the zeitgeist and Sotheby’s is holding Made in Britain, a sale of the best of British from 1900. Artists with works on sale include Grayson Perry, David Hockney, Marc Quinn and Tracey Emin. Asked why he sculpts celebrities, Quinn said: “It’s about wanting to make art about our time. If you were an artist in ancient Greece, you’d make a sculpture of Aphrodite. An artist now with the same idea would make one of Kate Moss.”

The Sotheby’s sale is a great way to start a collection, with reserve auction prices from £300. Sotheby’s W1, use Conduit Street or St George Street entrances; viewing from September 23, sale September 28.

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Really Good:David Shrigley with his sculpture for the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square (James O Jenkins)

Thumb’s up
Turner Prize-nominated David Shrigley will present the 11th sculpture to stand on the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square, the first major public art commission to be unveiled by London Mayor Sadiq Khan. Shrigley hopes Really Good, a 10 metre-high bronze thumb giving the thumbs up will become a self-fulfilling prophecy, and that “bad” news — on the economy or the weather for example — will benefit from the move towards positivity. On view September 29.

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'Floating Dreams':a major, illuminated, floating installation by Korean artist Ik Joong Kang (Peter Macdiarmid)

Free art all over town
Totally Thames celebrates the  42-mile stretch of London river from Hampton Court Palace to the Dartford Crossing this month. Near Millennium Bridge is Floating Dreams, a three-storey illuminated lantern structure by Korean artist Ik-Joong Kang. 

The Line, east London’s thriving art walk set up by art dealer Megan Piper, has brought out an interactive map with children’s arts charity The House of Fairy Tales, to guide youngsters through artworks on view from the O2 to Stratford. Look out for Michael Craig-Martin’s Hammer (Blue) this autumn. Sculpture in the City features world-class art in 20 locations across the City, with work by Gavin Turk, Anthony Caro and William Kentridge, among others. And this weekend there’s free entry to 750 iconic London buildings for Open House Weekend including 10 Downing St and The Gherkin. Some pre-booking required (openhouselondon.org.uk).


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