Brilliant Things to Do This August

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Laslo, from the series To Know Us Better © Anton S
Laslo, from the series To Know Us Better, 2022© Anton Shebetko

From triennials and theatre openings to spellbinding photo shows and sumptuous new food offerings, here’s our round-up of the very best things August has to offer


Anton Shebetko: To Know Us Better at Foam Amsterdam: Until August 31, 2022
At Foam in Amsterdam, Ukrainian photographer Anton Shebetko is exhibiting a poignant series of portraits documenting the experiences of queer Ukrainians living or temporarily residing in other parts of Europe following Russias occupation of Crimea, the war in the East in 2014 and Russias full-scale invasion of Ukraine earlier this year. Incorporating interviews and archival research into his practice, Shebetko “strives to construct a public memory and raise awareness for the national queer community” – with powerful, and hopeful results.

The Teenage Self at Vout-O-Reenees, London: August 4 – September 3, 2022
At Vout-O-Reenees in London, The Stash Gallery has curated a wonderful new exhibition showcasing the work of two photographers, Iain McKell and Sara Leigh Lewis, taken in the late 1970s. McKell was shooting in his hometown of Weymouth, UK while Leigh Lewis was located in Auckland, New Zealand but their styles are perfectly complementary, inspired by the burgeoning punk movement and a shared quest to capture the fleeting nature of youth.

Young, Gifted and Black at Manetti Shrem Museum, California: Until December 19, 2022
In California, travelling exhibition Young, Gifted and Black, featuring a compelling array of artworks selected from the renowned private collection of Bernard I Lumpkin and Carmine D Boccuzzi, has just arrived at Manetti Shrem Museum. The show champions “an emerging generation of artists of African descent who are exploring identity, politics and art history as they engage with the work of their predecessors across a variety of media”, an accompanying text explains. Expect to see spellbinding works by Kara Walker, Kerry James Marshall, Chiffon Thomas, Tunji Adeniyi-Jones and more.

Cy Twombly: Making Past Present at Getty Center, LA: August 2 – October 30, 2022
The fêted American artist Cy Twombly was famously enthralled by the art and poetry of ancient Greece and Rome, inspirations that underscored many of his gestural paintings, sculptures and photographs. Now, a new exhibition from the J Paul Getty Museum and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston takes a deep dive into this lifelong fascination, presenting the artist’s work alongside antiquities from Twombly’s own personal collection.

Edvard Munch: Masterpieces from Bergen at The Courtauld, London: Until September 4, 2022
Fans of expressionist artist Edvard Munch, be sure to catch the final month of Masterpieces from Bergen at The Courtauld, an astounding display of works from the collection of Norwegian industrialist Rasmus Meyer, a fervent Munch collector during the artist’s lifetime. Featuring some 18 works, the show spans the artist’s early ‘realist’ period through his searingly expressive paintings of the 1890s, including canvases from his renowned Frieze of Life series which tackles “profound themes of human existence through visceral depictions of the human psyche.”

Virgil Abloh: “Figures of Speech” at Brooklyn Museum, New York: Until January 29, 2023
In New York, the Brooklyn Museum’s ongoing exhibition Virgil Abloh: “Figures of Speech” charts the extraordinary, multidisciplinary career of the late, great artist and designer. Taking an in-depth look at two decades of creation and collaboration, it explores the ways in which Abloh used “the Black gaze to dismantle the traditionally white-crafted structures at work in fashion, design, architecture, and art, reconstructing new work through the lens of the Black cultural experience”.

Khaleb Brooks: Can I Get A Witness at Gazelli Art House, London: Until August 13, 2022
Londoners, be sure to catch the debut solo exhibition of rising artist Khaleb Brooks at Gazelli Art House, a compelling and multifaceted meditation on what the gallery describes as “the various angles and journeys of Brooks’ life”, including the artist’s childhood familial experiences, gender-affirming surgery, and grapplings with “the historical policing of Black women”, explored through oil paintings, installations and sound.

Triennale Milano at Viale Alemagna 6, Milan: Until December 11, 2022
For those planning a trip to Milan, the 23rd Triennale Milano is currently in full-swing. Titled Unknown Unknowns: An Introduction to Mysteries, this year’s edition features artwork and installations from some 400 international artists, architects and designers pondering topics as diverse as the evolution of cities to astrophysics. “At a time as dramatic and complex as the current, we believe that it is more important than ever to preserve and promote the exchange of ideas, experiences and reflections between different countries and different cultures,” says president Stefano Boeri of the latest iteration’s overarching aim.

Shocking ! Les Mondes Surréalistes d’Elsa Schiaparelli at Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris: Until January 22, 2023
The brilliantly accomplished and eccentric Italian couturier Elsa Schiaparelli is the subject of the Musée des Arts Décoratifs’ latest show, which brings together more than 500 works to highlight the designer’s own prowess as well as her close connection with the Parisian avant-garde of the 1920s and 30s and its influence on her work. 212 garments and accessories by Schiaparelli sit alongside paintings, sculptures, jewellery, scents, ceramics, posters, and photographs by the couturier’s friends and contemporaries, from Man Ray and Salvador Dalí to Jean Cocteau and Méret Oppenheim, in a marvellously madcap ode to surrealist design.

New Mythologies II  at Huxley-Parlour, London: August 19 – September 17, 2022
Londons Huxley-Parlour gallery will soon open the follow-up to their 2019 show New Mythologies, spotlighting figurative abstraction in contemporary painting. New Mythologies II will present “responses to a fraught, contemporary climate: one which places increasing weight in the values of logic, capital, and an exponentially abstracted metaverse,” the gallery explains. It features the work of 11 innovators in figurative art working across painting, drawing, and mixed-media, including Salomé Wu, Mary Herbert and Alicia Reyes McNamara.

Performances & Events

There are lots of enticing productions and events to bookmark this August. This Bright Land, a joyous festival set in the courtyard of Londons Somerset House, runs throughout the month offering up “day-and-night performances, music, dance, talks, workshops and more, [and] platforming established creatives and grassroots communities”. All of Us at the National Theatre is a funny and heartfelt new play from author, comedian and actor Francesca Martinez that “takes a passionate and timely look at the human cost of abandoning those who struggle to fit in”. Meanwhile, the Lincoln Center Theater’s critically acclaimed production of My Fair Lady arrives at the English National Opera, bringing the story of young Cockney flower seller Eliza Doolittle and pigheaded linguistics professor Henry Higgins to life for a London audience.

Don’t miss The Trials at the Donmar Warehouse, Dawn King’s insightful play, set in the near future, in which a jury of children hold today’s population accountable for the worsening climate crisis. Then, of course, there’s the return of Edinburgh Festival, spanning Edinburgh International Festival through the Fringe, and marking the world’s largest cultural arts festival. This year’s highlights include Liz Lochhead’s acclaimed adaptation of classical Greek tragedy Medea at The Hub, billed as “an unflinching interrogation of the human heart under intolerable pressure”; Dance Body, a show from Yolanda Mercy that challenges “what being a plus sized body means in the contemporary dance; and One-Woman Show from ascendant comedian Liz Kingsman, an unmissable parody of what she terms “the messy-woman genre” so popular in film and TV narratives.

On the final day of July, a spectacular tribute to Merce Cunningham’s 1972 Piazza San Marco Event was re-staged as part of Wayne McGregor’s Biennale Danza 2022, with dancers drifting down the canals on floating stages, dressed in costumes by Bottega Veneta. 


This months cinematic offerings are equally enticing. Theres the much-anticipated return of Jordan Peele with his newest horror movie Nope, about two siblings who make a surreal, sinister discovery in the skies above their California horse ranch. Anaïs in Love, the debut feature from French actress and director Charline Bourgeois-Tacquet, a coming-of-age comedy based on her own affair with a married man. Anime aficionados, be sure to see Fortune Favors Lady Nikuko, Ayumu Watanabe’s tender adaptation of Kanako Nishi’s novel about a loud, bold-spirited mother and her 11-year-old daughter, who live together on a boat in a small fishing town.

Gastón Duprat and Mariano Cohns new comedy Official Competition sees Penélope Cruz star as a famous director commissioned by a billionaire businessman to make a movie that will help him “attain transcendence and cement his legacy” (Disney+). Meanwhile actress and writer Nana Mensah takes the helm in her own directorial debut Queen Of Glory, the funny, stirring tale of a doctoral student at Columbia University whose world is turned upside down by the death of her mother and subsequent inheritance of a small but cherished Christian bookstore. 

Finally, this months must-see documentaries include Nightclubbing – The Birth Of Punk Rock In NYC, Danny Garcias elegy to legendary New York nightclub Maxs Kansas City; Blind Ambition from filmmakers Robert Coe and Warwick Ross about four Zimbabwean refugees turned champion sommeliers; and Free Chol Soo Lee, which sees Julie Ha and Eugene Yi take on the story of Chol Soo Lee, the Korean-American man who found himself falsely convicted of a 1973 murder in San Francisco.

Food & Drink

If youre looking to satisfy your palate this August, we have plenty of great recommendations. At new neighbourhood pub The Baring, just off Regent’s Canal, chef Rob Tecwyn is busy whipping up simple yet interesting fare “promoting humble ingredients and seasonal produce, against a backdrop of low intervention wines”. Menu highlights include smoked eel and pig cheek terrine with horseradish and daikon for starters, followed by roasted gurnard with tropea onion and taramasalata. In Knightsbridge, co-founders Anthony Douglas Chuka and Abdul Malik Abubakar will open the doors of Isibani, their “love letter to West African cuisine and their mothers Ibo Nigerian heritage”, on August 7 with an à la carte menu from esteemed head chef Victor Okunowo.

Sublime Somerset restaurant Holm has just opened a new dining terrace in its picturesque courtyard, where you can feast upon everything from grilled melon with chilli, mint and Westcombe ricotta to Otter Valley Tamworth shoulder with grilled pepper relish, courtesy of the Holm Terrace BBQ, a monthly, three-course feast, kicking off on August 10. If you’d prefer to dine on water, meanwhile Peggy Jean Barge, the newest offering from award-winning Australian restaurateurs, Daisy Green Collection, has just arrived on Richmond riverside, combining an Oxford Boat Race aesthetic, with laidback Aussie dining rituals (think bottomless brunches and calamari, T-bone steak and fresh pizzas cooked over fire).

For more central open-fire dining, head to Firebird, the newly opened Soho restaurant and natural wine bar from Madina Kazhimova and Anna Dolgushina, which offers up Mediterranean wood-fired sharing dishes (like charred peaches with ricotta and coriander and pork belly with a piquant plum ketchup and crisp green salad) centred around seasonal produce. Last but not least, Italophiles will love Settes Summer Holiday Series from Sette by Scarpetta in Knightsbridge, a summertime series of events celebrating various culinary traditions across different regions of Italy, “from the coastal delicacies of Campania to the island of Sardegna and Puglia’s La Cucina Povera”, launching August 9. Buon appetito!