The Best Things to Do Before the Summer Is Out

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© Liz Johnson Artur

Exhibitions, events, online gallery tours and restaurants reopening to enjoy as part of a summer in the city

Exhibitions and Events

UNITY: online now
UNITY is a new organisation founded by the Rainforest Foundation which, for its inaugural project, has launched a print and poster sale to raise money to protect the Amazon rainforest. The sale sees nearly 50 artists and photographers contribute an image which reflects their relationship with nature; the roster of artists on board includes Paul Mpagi Sepuya, Pieter Hugo, Liz Johnson Artur, Wolfgang Tillmans, Tacita Dean, Alec Soth, Gillian Wearing, Laurence Ellis and Ugo Rondinone. The project is the first of a series of ongoing fundraising initiatives that UNITY will launch, each with a focus on environmental protection.

Fantastic Women: Surreal Worlds from Meret Oppenheim to Frida Kahlo at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Copenhagen: until November 8, 2020
The Louisiana Museum’s anticipated exhibition focusing on pioneering female Surrealists has opened in Copenhagen, after its launch was delayed by the Covid-19 pandemic. The exhibition, as its title suggests, brings together a number of ‘fantastic women’ – from Frida Kahlo, Leonor Fini and Louise Bourgeois to Leonora Carrington, Meret Oppenheim and Claude Cahun – who worked in Surrealism, and showcases how their experimental and celebrated work was just as vital to the movement as that of their male peers.

Futur NOIR at San Mei Gallery, London: August 15 – September 5, 2020
Work by photographers Eddie Otchere and Remy Bourdeau features in a forthcoming exhibition at South London’s San Mei Gallery. Futur NOIR: a visual HIP HOP exploration features portraits of musicians, rappers and DJs – the likes of Jorja Smith, Erykah Badu, Biggie Smalls and Jennifer Lopez appear – alongside photographs taken on the streets of Paris and London, tracing how hip-hop has evolved and influenced “culture at large, race relations and politics”.

Daido Moriyama’s Tokyo at Tokyo Photographic Art Museum: until September 22, 2020
In an exhibition at Tokyo’s Photographic Art Museum, the storied photographer Daido Moriyama’s unique view of the Japanese capital is showcased. Featuring recent photographs alongside images from Moriyama’s extensive archives – the series on show include Record (1972–73, 2006), Pretty Woman (2017), K (2017) and Tokyo Boogie-Woogie (2018) – the exhibition is centred on the idea of ‘ongoing’, and traces at the photographer’s subversive and always surprising oeuvre, offering a unique look at Tokyo through the eyes of one of Japan’s foremost image-makers.

Björk Orkestral: August 9, 15, 21 and 29, 2020
Icelandic luminary Björk will stage three live-streamed concerts from Reykjavík this August, playing alongside the Hamrahlíð Choir (for the first of the three shows) and musicians from the Icelandic Symphony Orchestra (for the second and third). According to Björk, the shows will be “unplugged ... performed without beats and electronics”. The shows were organised to raise money and awareness for the Icelandic charity Kvennaathvarfið, which runs women’s shelters and offers support to survivors of domestic abuse.

Catherine Opie: Rhetorical Landscapes at Lehmann Maupin, New York: until September 26, 2020
Rhetorical Landscapes brings together photographs and collages by American image-maker Catherine Opie. The landscapes of the Lehmann Maupin exhibition’s title are both photographs of the Okefenokee swamp lands in Georgia, and stop-motion animations and digital collages relating to the USA’s current political landscape. Seen together, Opie’s works offer a look at the political and ecological threats the country is facing today. “I wanted the political representation to remain tongue-in-cheek and include the kitsch side of the American culture,” Opie recently told AnOther. “As much as I focus on today’s social and political urgencies in the videos, traces from my queerness are visible in images of Trump turning into a drag queen with gold heels or Pence with a marijuana leaf.”

A Countervailing Theory at the Barbican, London: August 11, 2020 – January 24, 2021
Toyin Ojih Odutola’s first UK commission was due to open at the Barbican Centre’s Curve gallery in March, but was postponed as London went into lockdown. A Countervailing Theory reopens this month and will run until early next year, with a series of new large-scale works by Ojih Odutola exploring “a fictional ancient civilisation in central Nigeria dominated by female rulers and served by male labourers”. The New York-based artist’s drawings – sometimes colour-filled and others, like in A Countervailing Theory, in dark shades of grey and black – are routinely rich with stories she weaves, and the Barbican describes the commission as an “epic cycle of new work”, which will be accompanied by a soundscape by Peter Adjaye.

Jean Michel Basquiat at Brant Foundation, New York: online now
The Brant Foundation in New York has launched an interactive online tour of an exhibition it staged in 2019 on Jean Michel Basquiat. The show sees a number of Basquiat’s paintings and self-portraits on show in the Foundation’s East Village space, and the newly launched virtual version of the exhibition allows viewers to explore the storied works set over four floors. “Basquiat’s place in the East Village art scene remains absolute and for the first time in decades, this exhibition brings his work back to the same neighborhood that inspired it,” the Foundation writes of the compelling exhibition.

BlackStar Film Festival, Philadelphia: August 20 – 26, 2020
The BlackStar Film Festival celebrates film and video work by Black, brown and indigenous artists in the USA and across the world. Usually staged in Philadelphia, this year’s edition will be an entirely virtual affair, with online premiers and a line-up of over 80 films. Highlights from this year’s festival include You Hide Me, a documentary by Nii Kwate Owoo which was banned on release in 1970 and explores how the British Museum colonised African art, Legendary: 30 Years of Philly Ballroom, a film by Raishad Hardnett, Lauren M. Schneiderman and Cassie Owens that looks at Philadelphia’s three decade-long ballroom scene, and Miss Juneteenth by Channing Godfrey Peoples, which tells the story of a former beauty queen mother and her teenage daughter preparing for a pageant.

Ren Hang: Nudes at Centro Picci, Italy: until August 23, 2020
At Italian museum Centro Picci, an exhibition of nudes, books and poetry by the late photographer Ren Hang continues until the end of August, and features over 90 of his photographs. Known for his subversive, unflinching photography, which gained wide acclaim during his brief career, the work on show in Nudes showcases both Ren’s unapologetic approach to photography and his highly emotive writing.

Aro Archive reopening, London: August 1, 2020
East London’s Aro Archive – which specialises in vintage Japanese and Belgian fashion – reopened this weekend with an in-store exhibition of new fashion photography by Hendrik Schneider, Takahito Sasaki and Amy Gwatkin, who each responded to the idea of “destruction, evolution and transformation” with a series of images that explores sustainability and clothes. Sasaki’s series, for example, incorporates clothes that were at the end of their life cycle and captures the mid-destruction.

Alighieri Old Town: until August 22, 2020
A new pop-up from London-based Alighieri allows fans of the jewellery label to experience Rosh Mahtani’s precious ‘modern heirlooms' in real life. Found at Islington’s Dingley Place throughout August, ‘Alighieri Old Town’ promises a celebration of “friendship and reuniting communities”, in a space inspired by traditional Italian piazzas. Appointments for one-to-one shopping appointments can be booked online; alternatively, book a table at Casa Luna, a miniature pop-up restaurant for six opened for the occasion (befitting the Italian theme, Casa Luna is a collaboration with Pasta Evangelists). 

Where I’m Coming From: online until August 30, 2020
Hosted by _inventory platform, Where I’m Coming From is a month-long online digital residency which focuses on four languages – Filipino, Taiwanese, Yoruba and Berber – spoken by a large proportion of Britain’s migrant communities, and engages with such communities via artworks, weekly food sessions and a varied roster of artists. The four week programme – which is supported by the Yinka Shonibare Foundation and the Ministry of Culture, Taiwan, and created in partnership with Pineapple Lab – will see a new artwork, video piece or performance highlighted daily, and the participating artists include: Aderemi Adegbite, Jelili Atiku, Rhine Bernardino, Kuan-Yu Chen, Aki Pao-Chen Chiu, Lilibeth Cuenca Rasmussens and Vanessa Scully.

Food and Drink

KINK Bar and Restaurant, Berlin: open now
Newly opened in Berlin, KINK is a bar, restaurant and “in-house culinary laboratory” housed in a spacious industrial building. As well as inventive menus of cocktails and food, art is central to this new venture: the vast space above the central bar and open kitchen features an installation by the artist Kerim Seiler entitled Spaceknot, a mass of neon tubes that winds across the ceiling. 

Manteca, London: open now
Soho favourite Manteca has reopened, with its compelling focus on Italian nose-to-tail cooking, fresh pastas and fire-cooked meats. Alongside its menu of homemade Italian favourites, small plates and cured meats, Manteca is also taking part in the government’s ‘eat out to help out’ initiative, offering a focaccia, two pastas and gelato for ten pounds from Monday to Wednesday (the offer will also be available across the entire menu and non-alcoholic drinks).

Turnips, London: open now
Chef Tomas Lidakevicius has teamed up with longtime Borough Market traders Turnips on a new restaurant, tasting menu and supper club venture in the heart of the storied market. Turnips sells fruit and vegetables at the market and their produce will take centre stage in Lidakevicius’ menu, with the choice of small sharing plates or a five-course tasting menu, all to be enjoyed in the space where Turnips trades during the day.