Brilliant Things to Do This July

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Art Is (Girlfriends Times Two), 1983/2009Lorraine O’Grady © Lorraine O’Grady

Exhibitions – both online and in real life, as institutions begin to re-open – and events to add to your calendar this month

Exhibitions and Events

Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston: until August 30, 2020
First staged at Tate Modern in July 2017, the exhibition Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power has since travelled to New York and now arrives in Houston. The show looks back to 1963, and how over 60 artists in America responded to the Civil Rights Movement and the Black Power movement which followed. From Faith Ringgold, Charles White and Barkley L Hendricks to Benny Andrews, Lorraine O’Grady and collectives like Spiral and AfriCOBRA, Soul of a Nation explores the power and politics of their art – and as the Black Lives Matter movement and anti-racist protests continue to gain traction around the world today, their work is as relevant as ever. 

Salacia at MoMA: screening until July 6, 2020
Last week, New York’s Museum of Modern Art acquired the short film Salacia by activist, filmmaker and artist Tourmaline for its permanent collection. In celebration of the film – which “imagines riotous trans women across history” in six minutes – the museum has made it available to watch online until July 6. Salacia is set in the 19th-century New York settlement of Seneca Village, a community of free black and Irish immigrant landowners, and reimagines the life of Mary Jones, a black trans woman and sex worker who was imprisoned in the 1830s, had she found refuge in the settlement. “It’s a film about the history of New York, about the colonisation, about the dispossession, about the power of her freedom dream,” explains Tourmaline in an introduction to Salacia.

Gordon Parks: Part One at Alison Jacques Gallery: July 1 – August 1, 2020
The much-anticipated exhibition on pioneering photographer Gordon Parks arrives at Alison Jacques Gallery today. The first of two shows – Part Two will open later this year, and focus on Parks’ photographs of Muhammad Ali – hones in on two of Parks’ series created in the 1950s and 60s, Segregation in the South and Black Muslims. Parks was an integral figure in documenting the everyday lives of black Americans during the 20th century’s Civil Rights and Black Power movements, and both Segregation in the South and Black Muslims – which were published in 1956 and 1963 respectively, in Life magazine – proved groundbreaking, especially when the movements were gaining momentum.

Words at Simon Lee Gallery: online until July 19, 2020
Simon Lee Gallery’s latest online exhibition brings together a group of prolific artists who engage with words in their art. From the late John Baldessari to George Condo and Richard Prince, Words explores how language and text is brought into their artworks, dating back to the 1960s, to striking effect – sometimes to provoke political or social change, and others to communicate powerful ideas around feeling and memory.

Diane Dal-Pra: Of Course You Are at Cob Gallery: July 16 – September 5, 2020
Cob Gallery is spotlighting the work of French painter Diane Dal-Pra in the exhibition Of Course You Are, Dal-Pra’s first solo show. In her large-scale works, Dal-Pra introduces figures among various textiles and everyday objects, with satisfying textures and warm colours throughout. Inspired by Surrealist artworks, Dal-Pra’s paintings offer a look at identity and the objects and materials which come to define us.

Fenty Playlists: online now
Steve Lacy, Imaan Hammam, Jahleel Weaver and Angelo Baque have all created music mixes for the launch of Fenty Playlists, which is available to access via Apple Music now. The Rihanna-helmed brand describes the new music initiative as “a series of summer playlists to soothe your soul and lift your spirits”. Each unique playlist – Hammam’s comprises old and new afrobeat, hip-hop and dancehall, while Baque’s brings together salsa, funk, 80s club classics and rap, for example – features an album ‘cover’ with artwork from Fenty’s most recent release.

See In Black: until July 3, 2020
The See In Black photography sale is now in its final two days, offering a final chance to purchase prints by a wide range of black photographers working today; image-makers like Dana Scruggs, Renell Medrano, Joshua Woods, Arielle Bobb-Willis, Texas Isaiah, Lelanie Foster and Quil Lemons. Proceeds from the sale go to vital charities which “support five key pillars of black advancement” – civil rights, education and arts, intersectionality, community building, and criminal justice reform. The organisations are: Know Your Rights Camp, Youth Empowerment Project, National Black Justice Coalition, Black Futures Lab, and The Bail Project. “Through the sale of highly curated original images from black photographers, we raise funds to support causes that align with our vision of black prosperity,” reads a statement on the See In Black website.

Jenny Holzer: Trucks and Truisms at Sprüth Magers: until July 12, 2020
“I hope my version of the Truisms could be used to caution people about their use of cliches and perhaps raise things that matter to people,” prolific artist Jenny Holzer told AnOther in 2018, as her Truisms were exhibited. The series is on show again with Sprüth Magers in an online exhibition, which looks at the enduring strength of Holzer’s art and activism, and especially how she has often taken her art to the streets. Trucks and Truisms features recent work by Holzer from a series entitled It Is Guns, a response to mass shootings, as well as work created in May of this year, for which trucks drove through Washington and New York bearing illuminated messages – “UNNECESSARY DEATH CAN’T BE POLICY” and “COVID-19 PRESIDENT”, for example – alluding to President Trump’s mishandling of the coronavirus pandemic in the United States.

The Holy Third Gender: Kinnar Sadhu at Perrotin, New York: July 9 – August 13, 2020
A new photography series and documentary by New York-based image-maker Guillaume Ziccarelli will be exhibited at Perrotin this month. Ziccarelli travelled to Allahabad in India in 2019 to document the sacred Hindu festival Kumbh Mela, which takes place every 12 years. The photographer chose to focus on the transgender individuals – stemming from ancient Hindu teachings, a ‘third gender’ (including transgender and intersex individuals) has been officially recognised in India since 2014 – in the festival, who were allowed to participate as sadhus (saint-like spiritual leaders) for the first time. The exhibition reveals the poingnant stories of the transgender sadhus and their experiences of the festival for the first time via vivid portraits and footage of the holy festivities. 

Allan McCollum: Everything is Going to be OK at Galerie Thomas Schulte, Berlin: until July 11, 2020
American artist Allan McCollum’s newest series Everything Is Going To Be OK draws from his extensive collection of stills from films and TV shows. The 400-strong selection of screen grabs in Everything Is Going To Be OK all feature “reassuring subtitles”, and has created prints which will be sold with a percentage of proceeds going to two art institutions: C/O Berlin and the ICA Miami.

An-My Lê: On Contested Terrain at Carnegie Museum of Art, Pennsylvania: online until January 18, 2021
The Carnegie Museum of Art has launched a virtual tour of On Contested Terrain, an exhibition dedicated to the work of photographer An-My Lê (which coincides with an Aperture-published book of the same name). The exhibition and book trace Lê’s career via seven series, exploring how she has subversively documented war and conflict in her work. “Through Lê’s lens, viewers are exposed to military training, maneuvers, and reenactments, and are invited to question their own relationship to, and complicity in, conflict,” the museum explains. According to the photographer herself: “I am not a war photographer. I find it much more interesting and much more slippery to work with a side-glance view.”

Food and Drink

Brat at Climpson’s Arch: opening July 11, 2020
Redchurch Street restaurant Brat has announced a summer residency at Climpson’s Arch, home to Climpson & Sons coffee roasters with sun-filled outdoor seating. Brat’s signature dishes – chef Tomos Parry’s cooking is centred on seasonal produce grilled over a fire – will be available alongside bottled and on-tap cocktails, to drink in or take away, from Climpson & Sons.

Restaurant food at home: Levan, Crispin, Smokestak
While pubs and restaurants have been given the go-ahead to open this weekend, many have launched take-away and delivery options, making favourite menus available at home. In Peckham, local favourite Levan has launched To Go, a weekly pre-order menu comprising seasonal dishes and low intervention wines to take away. Crispin in Spitalfields is now operating as a one-stop shop – Crispin Stores – for groceries, natural wines and ready meals by chef Nazmul Hassan. Smokestak at Home sees the Shoreditch restaurant deliver DIY bun boxes and smoked meats across London (and eventually the UK), ready for summer barbecues.