Brilliant Things To Do in July

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Gandalf, volume 6 1969/70, no 40.Photo: Studio Gandalf. Collection Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

An edit of the events, exhibitions, films and restaurants to fill your weekends with this month

Exhibitions and Events 

Amsterdam, The Magic Centre: Art and Counterculture 1967–1970 at the Stedelijk, Amsterdam: July 7, 2018 – January 6, 2019
Amsterdam has long been thought of as a progressive city, and its Stedelijk museum is focusing on the three years from 1967 to 1970 this summer. A time of innovation, protest and the emergence of subcultures and the avant-garde, the late 1960s saw European cultural events shape the landscape of the Dutch capital. The museum will highlight some of the radical art and events that were born out of this period and put on show in the city, with the buildings and residents of Amsterdam central becoming the pieces. Interactive sculptures and installations form responses to the social transformations that were occurring in Amsterdam in this time, such as burgeoning youth and drug cultures. Amsterdam, The Magical Centre presents a unique insight into this storied moment in cultural history.

Gala Salvador Dalí: A Room of One’s Own in Púbol at the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya, Barcelona: July 16 – October 14, 2018
Though she is primarily recognised as the wife and muse of iconic Surrealist Salvador Dalí, Gala was an artist and intellectual in her own right – the couple often collaborated, for example, and created artworks on which they were both credited as maker. Before meeting Salvador, Gala mixed with the likes of Max Ernst while she lived in Paris, having grown up in Moscow. The impact she had on the career of her eventual husband was profound, with many of his most lauded works and writings being inspired by her. A new exhibition in Barcelona spotlights Gala – the enigmatic woman, and her life and work.

Night Fever: Designing Club Culture 1960 – Today at the Design Museum, Vitra: until September 9, 2018
In the late-20th century the nightclub came into its own as a hub for extraordinary fashion, music, art and cultural endeavours. Tracing how clubs developed during this period, Night Fever: Designing Club Culture at Vitra’s Design Museum is a look at some of the most fabulous examples. Groundbreaking interiors and phenomenal photographyplay a key role in the exhibition – Grace Jones grappling with a tiger very much included.

Lee Miller and Surrealism in Britain at the Hepworth Wakefield: until October 7, 2018
One of the most important names in photography in the 20th century, Lee Miller crafted a hugely successful career in the fields of both fashion and war photography. The American photographer also felt a strong affinity with the school of Surrealism in Britain in the 1930s. The Hepworth Wakefield’s new exhibition focuses on this aspect of Miller’s career, and her connection to artists like Salvador Dalí, Max Ernst and René Magritte – and work by such artists also appears in the show, alongside Miller’s spectacular photography. 

Summer Series at Somerset House, London: July 5 – 15, 2018
The much-loved Summer Series returns to Somerset House this month, with names like Jorja Smith, Róisín Murphy, MGMT, De La Soul and Sigrid taking to the stage in the storied courtyard. What better way to make the most of the drawn-out July evenings?

Celebrating Bill Cunningham at the New York Historical Society, New York: until September 9, 2018
When Bill Cunningham died two years ago, the world of fashion photography mourned the loss of one of its longest serving and most lauded image-makers. A new exhibition in Cunningham’s home city of New York comprises not only his photography, but his personal objects, correspondences and ephemera. The distinctive blue workman’s jacket, for example, that he was almost always sporting, and the Nikon that he favoured for his street style images. A selection of the photographer’s fantastical couture hats, which he designed and crafted under the name William J, also feature. Don’t miss it. 

Fugitive Feminism at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London: July 18 – 22, 2018
“What possibilities are created when Black women abandon gender?” asks the ICA’s Fugitive Feminism, a programme of events taking place over five days this month. The idea of approaching feminism as a “fugitive” from gender, and thus abandoning preconceived ideas of what feminism looks like for black women, is key here. The programme riffs off black radical theorists and their ideas on the constructs of contemporary feminism with a series of talks on subjects like ‘Fugitivity’ and ‘The Politics of Pleasure’.

Remembering Tomorrow: Artworks and Archives at White Cube, Hong Kong: July 18 – August 25, 2018
To celebrate its quarter of a century anniversary, White Cube Hong Kong presents pieces from its archive this summer in an exhibition that will comprise rare objects and photography by such greats as Tracey Emin and Gilbert & George. A glimpse into the back catalogue of one of the most iconic and prolific contemporary galleries – what more could you want?

Radical Women: Latin American Art, 1960 – 1985 at the Brooklyn Museum, New York: until July 22, 2018
Artists who favour radical subjects, hail from Latin America and pioneer art as feminist activism all feature in the Brooklyn Museum’s Radical Women: Latin American Art, 1960 – 1985. The featured women treat art as a vehicle for social and cultural commentary – an especially significant endeavour during this complex period, when political tensions ran high in Latin American countries. One of the most radical aspects of the work on display is how the artists, photographers, filmmakers and sculptors made the female body their subject, and used it to powerful effect to convey striking messages.

Op Art in Focus at Tate Liverpool: July 21, 2018 – June 16, 2019
Bold colours and geometric trickery are two traits of Optical Art, the 1960s-formed movement which saw the likes of Bridget Riley and Victor Vasarely emerge as pioneers of their field. An in-depth look at the movement comes to Tate Liverpool this month, and promises a mesmerising collection of work by artists spanning from the 1960s to today, proving that Op Art has been an influential and enduring genre for the art world. Highlights include Zobop, an installation by Jim Lambie that sees the entire floor of the gallery covered in “pyschedelic patterning”.

Obsession: Nudes by Klimt, Schiele and Picasso From the Scofield Thayer Collection at the Met Breuer, New York: July 3 – October 7, 2018
Three powerhouses from the history of art will be brought together at the Met this month for Obsession: Nudes by Klimt, Schiele and Picasso. Each of the three artists made pioneering nude studies of muses and lovers, and each had an idiosyncratic, radical style that came to define the art world of the 19th century. In this instance, the collection’s context is as compelling as the art itself; these studies of the erotic were collected by prolific academic Schofield Thayer, among hundreds of other significant contemporary pieces (Thayer’s collection eventually numbered more than 600).

Javier Téllez: Shadow Play at the Guggenheim, Bilbao: July 12 – November 18, 2018
A new film installation at the Guggenheim Bilbao is a detailed, captivating study of migration and exile told via impressive shadow puppetry. Artist Javier Téllez collaborated with refugees to tell the story – as is the case with much of his work: Téllez often places minority groups or marginalised communities at the centre of his process, inviting them in to offer their stories and act in his film. During this reenactment of the refugee’s tales, the characters and puppetry also interact with a Giacometti sculpture, The Hand, in a compelling and at times disruptive gesture.

Structures of Identity: Photography from the Walther Collection at Foam, Amsterdam: until August 29, 2018
Taking the genre of portrait photography and analysing its importance, Foam’s new exhibition Structures of Identity is a comprehensive look at how portraiture has shaped photography. Social identity is at the core of the show, as well as the myriad forms that portrait photography can take, and how the idea of self-representation plays into a wider social commentary. Expect work that dates from the 1800s to today, by the likes of Richard Avedon, August Sander, and Yto Barrada.

Suzanne Perlman: Catching the Ephemeral at the Dutch Centre, London: until October 21, 2018
Owing to her marriage to a Dutchman, artist Suzanne Perlman moved from Budapest to Rotterdam in the late 1930s, a country from which she was then forced to flee with the onset of Nazi Germany’s European expansion, travelling to the island of Curaçao. Perlman would live there for 40 years, making vivid portraits of its local residents and of the island itself, and developing her somewhat abstract style. Presently living in London, it is here that an exhibition of 25 of her paintings are now on show. Perlman’s vibrant, distinctive pieces offer a unique look at the cities she has inhabited.

Catwalking: Fashion Through the Lens of Chris Moore at the Bowes Museum, Durham: July 7, 2018 – January 6, 2019
“Chris Moore is the eye that shows [fashion] to the world,” said John Galliano of the legendary catwalk photographer, who has been shooting the runway for half a century. Following the publication of Catwalking: Photographs by Chris Moore, which was published in the latter months of 2017, a new exhibition in Durham spotlights once again the unparalleled image-making of Moore. Consider any groundbreaking, iconic catwalk moment from the last 50 years, and Moore has likely shot it – from the occasion during Spring/Summer 2001 that a “glass box exploded, and all the moths came out” at an Alexander McQueen show, to Yves Saint Laurent walking through a crowd to rapturous applause following his Spring/Summer 1974 Haute Couture show. A must-see for fashion lovers the world over.

Africa Utopia at the Southbank Centre, London: July 19 – 22, 2018
Music, fashion, food, talks and workshops centred on African arts come to London’s Southbank Centre this month for Africa Utopia. The festival is a celebration of the continent’s output, and promises a weekend of enlivening performances and sights. Look out for the Chineke! Orchestra – Europe’s first orchestra made up of black and ethnic minority performers – who this year headline with a jazz-based programme.

3D: Double Vision at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art: July 15, 2018 – March 31, 2019
3D may seem to be a decidedly modern phenomenon, but a new Los Angeles exhibition features multi-dimensional (or at least the illusion of it) work dating back to 1838. The concept of three-dimensionality has long captured the collective imagination and fascinated artists, resulting in myriad works of art that explore the notion. Exploring the history of 3D – since the invention of the stereoscope in the 1830s – and exhibiting artworks dating from the early 19th century to the present day, Double Vision looks at the cultural, scientific and creative impacts that these added dimensions allow.  

Herstory: Women Artists from the Collection of Patrizia Sandretto Re Rebaudengo at Rochdale Art Gallery: July 28 – September 29, 2018
Barbara Kruger, Cindy Sherman, Gillian Wearing and Sam Taylor-Johnson – to name a few – come together in Rochdale this month for a sensational exhibition on radical female artists, and how they use their practice as activism. For Kruger and Sherman, Herstory marks a return to the city, where they both exhibited their progressive art at the same gallery in the 1980s. It will be a look at how feminist artists have interacted with Rochdale, alongside artefacts from the city which punctuate the collection of Patrizia Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, herself an innovator in the world of collecting.

Fun House at the National Building Museum, Washington DC: July 4 – September 3, 2018
Having celebrated a decade of its immersive, unforgettable installations earlier this year, design practice Snarkitecture is now presenting its work in a museum setting for the first time. A series of interactive rooms will make up Fun House – as well as an installation in the National Building Museum’s Great Hall – featuring past pieces and some newly conceived wonders. Snarkitecture’s signature playful approach will be centre stage in this comprehensive inaugural study of its first ten years.

Artist of the Day 2018: Charlotte Edey Selected by Juno Calypso is at Flowers Gallery, London: July 2, 2018
Flowers Gallery’s prestigious two-week-long Artist of the Day programme returns for its 24th consecutive year for 2018, with past selectors including Tracey Emin and Jake and Dinos Chapman this year displaced by the likes of Esther Teichmann and Rana Begum. The AnOther favourite? Charlotte Edey, selected by Juno Calypso, and showing her softly surreal depictions of impossible spaces which draw on Afrofuturist and Modernist themes, through the media of drawing and tapestry.

The Store X The Vinyl Factory presents Pervilion at Art Night at Oasis Farm Waterloo, London: July 7
Pervilion – which space occupies a lofty, timber-framed barn at the threshold of Oasis Farm Waterloo, London’s youngest city farm – presents a new performance by Sasha Pirogova for Art Night 2018, London’s biggest free festival of contemporary art. Shift “explores the transformative effect of the garden”, and will be accompanied by a very special large scale installation work by Clementine Keith Roach.

Food and Drink

Cora Pearl, Covent Garden: opening July 10, 2018
New from the team behind runaway Shepherd Market success Kitty Fisher’s, Cora Pearl is opening in Covent Garden this month. Named after a famed British courtesan of the 19th century, the restaurant will be serving up classic cocktails (one of which takes its name from some of Pearl’s most admiring men, a group that she called the ‘Chain of Gold’) and dishes like fish stew or confit pork belly with smoked quince dominate the menu. Delectable.

St John at Hackney Brewery: open now
An ideal new summer site has opened in Hackney Central Arches: St John at Hackney Brewery is a bar and brewery with space both in- and outside. A range of beer is brewed on-site and Greek Cypriot food by Éla is on hand to accompany, making it an ideal spot for embracing balmy July evenings. 

Bodega Rita’s at Browns East: open now
Delicious baked goods and the latest must-have fashion come together at Browns East as Bodega Rita’s takes up residency at its cafe. The perfect break from an afternoon of shopping, with paletas (Mexican fresh fruit ice lollies) and pastries by Islington favourite Popham’s bakery.

Night Tales, Hackney: opening July 13, 2018
Featuring a yakitori grill, agave bar, pizza by the slice, a food court and waterfall feature, Night Tales in Hackney’s Bohemia Place is set to be a nightclub like no other. An impressive DJ line-up awaits, and the dancefloor spills out into the Japanese garden bar. After a successful run as a pop-up event, Night Tales is set to be a new favourite among club-going Londoners.

The Best of Film

July is brimming with a diverse array of brilliant new releases for all your viewing needs. First off there’s First Reformed, the latest offering from Taxi Driver’s Paul Schrader. The director’s most gripping and accomplished film in recent years, it stars a spellbinding Ethan Hawke as the pastor of a small church whose world is turned upside down when he is asked by a pregnant parishioner to counsel her unhinged, environmental activist husband. For those in search of a heart-wrenching family drama, look no further than Pin Cushion, Deborah Haywood’s whimsical film following eccentric mother-and-daughter duo, Lyn and Iona, who relocate to a new town and promptly descend into a world of fantasy and lies as they try to convince each other (and themselves) of their own happiness. Or else there’s Apostasy, the insightful debut from British writer-director Daniel Kokotajlo, centred on devout Jehovah’s Witness Ivanna and her two daughters, Alex and Luisa. When Luisa begins to question her religious beliefs, Ivanna and Alex must convince her to keep faith to prevent her permanent expulsion from the congregation in what proves a thoroughly compelling watch. 

Don’t miss A Prayer Before Dawn, the extraordinary true story of a young British boxer named Billy Moore (played by Joe Cole), who finds himself incarcerated in two of Thailand's most notorious prisons. When the prison authorities allow him to participate in the Muay Thai boxing tournaments, he glimpses his one shot at freedom – and a knuckle-clenching quest for survival ensues. Meanwhile Catalan writer-director Carla Simón channels her own childhood experiences in her stirring debut, Summer 1993. It is the story of six-year-old Frida and her move from Barcelona to the Catalan countryside to live with her aunt, uncle and young cousin following the death of her mother. As the long, hot summer progresses she must find the strength to adapt to her new life, while coming to terms with her devastating loss. 

Last but not least are this month’s must-watch documentaries. First up is Whitney, Kevin Macdonald’s anticipated look into the life of Whitney Houston, replete with never-before-seen archival footage, rare performances and interviews with the inimitable singer’s nearest and dearest to shed searing new light on her triumphs and tragedies. Then there’s Ex-Libris: The New York Public Library, Frederick Wiseman’s lyrical ode to New York’s public library and its 92 branches, offering a unique behind-the-scenes glimpse into “one of the greatest knowledge institutions in the world”. Meanwhile, cycling fans impatiently awaiting the beginning of the Tour will find some welcome distraction in Time Triala new documentary film charting the ill-fated attempts of great British athlete David Millar to return to his former glory after his conviction for doping in 2004 – a powerful and unforgiving portrayal of a gruelling sport. Finally, there’s Generation Wealth, Lauren Greenfield’s powerful reflection on “materialism, celebrity culture, and social status” – a sobering examination of modern society’s seemingly shameless quest for cash.

Great Performances

This month has plenty of enticing shows to provide distraction on the inevitable rainy summer days. London-based choreographer and Sadler’s Wells Associate Artist Hofesh Shechter is bringing his acclaimed 2017 production Grand Finale back to the performing arts venue after its sell-out run last autumn. Set to an original score by Shechter, performed by a live band, the work sees ten dancers “summon a world at odds with itself”, weaving between monolithic structures with an anarchic energy to bleak yet beautiful effect. Meanwhile, at the Barbican, the Stockholm-based contemporary dance company Andersson Dance, and celebrated string orchestra Scottish Ensemble, join forces for Goldberg Variations: ternary patterns for insomnia, a contagiously joyful and poignant “reawakening” of Bach’s emotionally charged masterpiece, Goldberg Variations.

Theatre lovers: be sure to book your tickets for Pitythe new Royal Court commission by talented young playwright Rory Mullarkey, billed as a timely reflection on “whether things really are getting worse. And if we care.” Not to mention The Lehman Trilogy, a three-part production at the National Theatre, telling the ill-fated story of the Lehman Brothers – starting with the banking brothers themselves, before moving on to their sons and grandsons. Directed by Sam Mendes and starring Simon Russell Beale, Adam Godley and Ben Miles as the protagonists of all three vignettes, Ben Power's English adaptation of Stefano Massini’s acclaimed play looks set to be one of the most talked about of the year. Finally, for those in need of some comic relief, Shepherd's Bush Comedy Festival returns for another year, bringing together established performers – this year’s line-up includes James Acaster, Tim Key and Jessie Cave – with bright new talent for “two weeks of storytelling, laughter, comedy and poetry”.