Brilliant Things to Do This June

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Frank Stewart_Juneteenth '93, 19th of June Celebra
Frank Stewart, Juneteenth ‘93, 19th of June Celebration, Mexia, Texas, 1993© and collection of the artist, courtesy of The Phillips Collection

From excellent eateries and enticing festivals to fresh solo shows the very best new films, here’s everything to bookmark for the month ahead


Frank Stewart’s Nexus at The Phillips Collection, Washington, DC: June 10 – September 3, 2023

A new exhibition at The Phillips Collection in Washington will celebrate the candid, energetic work of US photographer Frank Stewart, from the 1960s up until today. Featuring over 100 black-and-white and colour photographs, the show will spotlight Stewart’s love of experimentation and the various subjects that have preoccupied him over the decades, from “aspects and rituals of Black culture, trips to Africa and Cuba, and music”. Indeed, some of Stewart’s best-loved shots are his captivating portraits of jazz legends such as Miles Davis, Ahmad Jamal, and Wynton Marsalis.

Capturing the Moment at Tate Modern, London: June 13, 2023 – January 28, 2024

Photography and painting have informed and influenced one another ever since the dawning of the former medium in the early 1820s. Now, a forthcoming exhibition at Tate Modern will take a deeper dive into the dynamic relationship between the two as it has unfolded over the years, using the work of artists such as Paula Rego, David Hockney, Njideka Akunyili Crosby, Dorothea Lange, Hiroshi Sugimoto and Jeff Wall for the purpose. It will also examine how artists, including Andy Warhol (with his silkscreen prints) and Gerhard Richter (with his distinct brand of photorealism) have blurred the boundaries between the media to pioneering effect.

Valie Export: Retrospective at Albertina, Vienna: June 23 – October 1, 2023

Transgressive Austrian artist Valie Export is the subject of a major retrospective set to land at Vienna’s Albertina Museum this June. From walking the streets with a man on a leash (The Portfolio of Dogness, 1968) to wearing a box over her nude torso and inviting passersby to touch her bare breasts through two cut holes (Grope and Touch Cinema, 1968), Export has long called into question the way bodies – and genders – are represented and pigeon-holed in visual culture. Traversing photography, film and installation, the show will explore the interrelation between “subject and space, performance and visual image, body and gaze, and femininity and representation” across Export’s decade-spanning feminist and sociopolitical enquiries.

Tomás Saraceno in Collaboration: Web(s) of Life at Serpentine South, London: June 1 – September 10, 2023

This week marks the arrival of Argentine artist Tomás Saraceno’s inaugural UK solo show at Serpentine South, billed as a “living, collaborative and multi-species exhibition that delves into how different life forms, technologies and energy systems are connected in the climate emergency”. Visitors will be invited to voluntarily relinquish their phones before entering the exhibit, which will include an immersive film installation, made with the environmental artivism community Aerocene, to platform their fight against lithium extraction in Argentina, and an array of interactive sculptures in the nearby Kensington Gardens, encouraging engagement with the park’s various species.

Evie O’Connor: The Gulf at Taymour Grahne Projects, London: Until June 17, 2023

At Taymour Grahne Projects Holland Park space, artist Evie OConnor is hosting an exhibition of her latest body of work, The Gulf. Riffing on her ongoing interest in class divides, O’Connor’s newest paintings examine “the gap we observe and internalise through the consumption of ’wealth porn’” – specifically the UK TV shows that zoom in on the inner workings of London’s five-star luxury hotels. Drawing on stills from these kinds of programmes, the evocative works consider the labour that goes into the construction of these immaculate spaces for the 0.1 per cent (some are even painted on antique serving trays) and the necessary hierarchies involved in upholding the illusion of grandeur.

Buffalo: Future Generation at Ladbroke Hall, London: June 29 – July 15, 2023

At the end of the month, photographer Jamie Morgan, a key member of the Buffalo style movement that first emerged in 1980s Ladbroke Grove, will launch a new exhibition carrying Buffalo’s brand of radical disruptiveness into a contemporary setting. Titled Future Generation, Morgan’s latest project features child protagonists, looking coolly insouciant and representing the diversity of British youth today. “I photograph kids, not cute and smiling as is generally seen, but serious portraits, with each subject having their own individual character,” Morgan explains. “[The photos] celebrate gender fluidity, allowing their free expression.”

Dear Earth: Art and Hope in a Time of Crisis at the Hayward Gallery, London: June 21 – September 3, 2023

The climate emergency has reached critical new heights, rendering the Hayward Gallery’s upcoming show particularly pertinent. Inspired by artist Otobong Nkanga’s suggestion that “caring is a form of resistance”, the exhibition will hone in on how contemporary artists are “helping to reframe and deepen our psychological and spiritual responses to the climate crisis.” Its featured works, by artists including Nkanga, Cornelia Parker, Himali Singh Soin and Hito Steyerl, will offer insight into “the interdependence of ecologies and ecosystems, as well as our emotional connection with nature”, with the hope of sparking joy, empathy, and greater political and social activism among visitors.

Dara Birnbaum at Prada Aoyama, Tokyo: June 1 – August 28, 2023

In Tokyo, a new display of work by American artist Dara Birnbaum has just opened at Prada Aoyama in conjunction with the current Birnbaum survey at Osservatorio Fondazione Prada. Working at the cultural intersections of video art, television, music, and communication technologies, Birnbaum has long sought to challenge the axioms of art and mass media – and this exhibit is no exception. It comprises four works, made between 1979 and 2011, bound by their strong audio and musical elements. They serve as a powerful critique of the imagery and ideas we are fed by television and YouTube, particularly in relation to women in high and low musical culture.

Basquiat: The Modena Paintings at Fondation Beyeler, Basel: June 11 – August 27, 2023

In the summer of 1982, a 21-year-old Jean-Michel Basquiat was invited to Modena, Italy by the gallerist Emilio Mazzoli to carry out some on-site works for a solo exhibition. In a matter of days, the prolific artist had conjured up eight large-scale paintings, which today are among his most celebrated. At the time, however, the exhibition plans were rejected, and the paintings never shown in sequence. Now, a new exhibition at Fondation Beyeler, timed to coincide with the arrival of Art Basel on June 15, brings all eight back together for the first time in over 40 years. Each imbued with Basquiat’s signature mode of colourful neo-expressionism, the works symbolise a key milestone in an illustrious, albeit too-short-lived career.

The Visual Language of Modernity: The Early Photographs of André Kertész at Bruce Silverstein, New York: Until August 5, 2023

Another chance to witness the makings of a master, the latest exhibition at New Yorks Bruce Silverstein gallery is dedicated to the early years of the inimitable modernist image-maker André Kertész. On display are 50 original prints – some of which have never been seen before – each taken between 1914 and 1936, when Kertész was living first in his native Hungary and then in Paris. Exploring the intersection between these two formative periods in the photographer’s career, the engaging display spotlights many of the creative flourishes that would go on to become Kertész trademarks, from innovative lighting and camera angles to up-close cropping to the point of near abstraction. 

Diva at the V&A, London: June 24, 2023 – April 7, 2024

From Bette to Billie, Mariah to Madonna, Whitney to Britney, theres no denying the enduring appeal of the diva. Opening on June 24, a new exhibition at the V&A will dissect the term, and its many iterations, through the lens of the era-defining personas who have inhabited and evolved it – across stage and screen, music and performance. Expect to see fabulous costumes and photographs galore, from outfits worn by Elton John and Vivien Leigh to iconic snapshots of everyone from Maria Callas and Grace Jones to Cher, Lizzo, and beyond. 

Giovanni Leonardo Bassan: Metonymia at Serene Gallery, Lugano: Until June 30, 2023

For his latest solo show at Lugano’s Serene Gallery, Italian artist Giovanni Leonardo Bassan has departed from his usual frenetic approach to painting in large format, this time creating a series of miniature paintings and intricately rendered sculptures, titled Metonymia. “‘Metonymy’ is defined by the Cambridge Dictionary as ‘the act of referring to something using a word that describes one of its qualities or features’,” the artist expands, adding that this show is his most intimate yet, in scale and meaning, inspired as it is by “people, artists and friends who have influenced me, such as Michele Lamy, Arthur Jafa and Steve Lacy.”

Tekla and Artek for 3 Days of Design, at Artek, Copenhagen: Until June 17, 2023

As part of 3 Days of Design in Copenhagen, homeware brand Tekla is unveiling a unique partnership with Artek, the poetically functional furniture label founded in Helsinki in 1935. Decking out Tekla’s newly opened store with pieces inspired by the idea of home, the installation recharges Artek’s 2nd Cycle platform, which refurbishes furniture, lighting and other everyday objects, offering a new lease of life to existing pieces. The installation opens to the public from 7 June, with an open invitation to inspire conversations surrounding comfort and the clarity of function.

Events & Performances

There are all kinds of excellent live events to get booking this June. Manchester International Festival is back from June 29 with a programme packed full of pioneering art, music and performance. Must-sees include Yayoi Kusama’s biggest-ever inflatable installation; Kagami, a mixed-reality concert conceived by the legendary composer Ryuichi Sakamoto, who passed away in March, and Tin Drum; and a performance by Alison Goldfrapp, following the release of her first solo album.

Don’t miss Untitled, 2023, Wayne McGregor’s latest ballet for the Royal Opera House, running from June 9-17 and inspired by the unnamed artworks of the late Cuban-American artist Carmen Herrera. Herrera herself designed the production’s set, while its costumes were created by Daniel Lee for Burberry.

Meltdown festival returns to the Southbank Centre from June 9-18, this year curated by Christine and the Queens and featuring performances from Chris himself, Warpaint, Petite Noir, and SQÜRL (AKA Carter Logan and Jim Jarmusch), who will play original live scores to accompany four Man Ray films, plus much more.

June 14-19 marks the 2023 edition of the UKs leading documentary festival, Sheffield DocFest. This years highlights include Perspectives on Iran, a diverse programme of films exploring “the challenges of everyday life in Iran, but also hope for change and a brighter future”, and a revisiting of three documentaries by feminist film collective the Sheffield Film Co-op (1975-90), whose groundbreaking films “tackled provocative, continually relevant topics, such as abortion access, domestic abuse, worker’s rights and social inequality”.

This month also heralds the first major revival of Martin McDonagh’s Olivier-award-winning play The Pillowman at the Duke of York Theatre, directed by Matthew Dunster and starring Lily Allen and Steve Pemberton. Running from June 12 to September 2, the razor-sharp black comedy centres around a writer living in a totalitarian state, who is brought in for questioning about a series of murders that bear similarities to her short stories. At the Royal Court from June 6-17, meanwhile, All Of It will see Kate O’Flynn perform three short plays by Alistair McDowall, introducing us to “three women whose ordinary lives mask extraordinary internal worlds”.


June’s compelling film offerings are plentiful. First up there’s Amanda, the brilliant inaugural feature from Italian writer-director Carolina Cavalli, which follows an apathetic and over-privileged 24-year-old woman as she hunts for a boyfriend who isn’t a misfit and attempts to reconnect with a former best pal. War Pony, the directorial debut from Riley Keough and Gina Gammell, is a stirring musing on belonging told via the overlapping stories of three young Lakota men living on Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Medusa Deluxe, meanwhile, is a gripping yet refreshingly unconventional murder mystery from UK director Thomas Hardiman, with echoes of Peter Strickland. Set amid the cut-throat world of competitive hairdressing, it tells the tale of a stylist slain during a competition, whose fellow contestants set out to find the killer over the course of an evening.

You Can Live Forever, directed by Sarah Watts and Mark Slutsky, is a subtle and tender romantic drama that sees a lesbian teenager sent to live in a Jehovah’s Witness community. There, she begins a secret relationship with the daughter of a prominent Witness Elder – with life-changing consequences. Sydney Sweeney shines as Reality Winner in Tina Satter’s Reality, which uses the real-life transcript of the FBI’s interrogation of Winner – a former American intelligence specialist who leaked unauthorised information about Russia’s interference in the 2016 US elections – as its basis. Finally, we can’t wait for Wes Anderson’s much-buzzed-about Asteroid City – widely hailed as one of the US auteur’s best films yet – in which “world-changing events spectacularly disrupt the itinerary of a Junior Stargazer/Space Cadet convention in an American desert town, circa 1955.”

Top of our list of must-see documentaries, meanwhile, are: Patricio Guzmán’s My Imaginary Country, capturing the Santiago protests of 2019, which saw thousands of Chileans take to the streets to “demand more democracy and social equality around education, healthcare and job opportunities”; The Super-8 Years, by David Ernaux-Briot and Annie Ernaux, in which the Nobel Prize laureate shares intimate home footage – shot between 1972 and 1981 by her then-husband, Philippe – which serves as a poetic visual addendum of her written work; and A.B. Zax’s charming film Hello, Bookstore, which follows the residents of the small town of Lenox in Massachusetts as they fight to preserve a beloved local book shop in the wake of Covid-19.

Food & Drink

This month’s new culinary openings and offerings are guaranteed to tantalise your tastebuds. For a watering hole worth travelling to, there’s Mýse, a forthcoming restaurant with rooms, tucked away beyond the Howardian hills in North Yorkshire. Conceived by the same team behind popular York restaurant Le Cochon Aveugle, the Mýse menu will celebrate its surrounding terroir with a locally focussed menu, including such delights as raw razor clam with forced Yorkshire rhubarb umeboshi and elderflower, and Swaledale lamb saddle and belly, served with trimmings from the nearby Rocket & Russet Farm and an anchovy garum sauce.

For cocktail hour, be sure to head to The Pilgrm hotel in Paddington, where the fêted team behind Bar Termini and 69 Colebrooke Row will be taking over the drinks menu with a curated selection of cocktails, including their famous Negroni and Clear Manhattan. They’ve also whipped up two bespoke creations – a 24-hour-infused cold arabica brew Espresso Martini and a Pomelo Margarita – especially for the occasion.

East Londoners, be sure to check out Eyal Shani’s latest restaurant, Lilienblum, situated between Shoreditch and Old Street and offering Shani’s elevated take on Israeli and Mediterranean cuisine. Boasting what its press release dubs “family-style sharing plates packed with theatre”, Lilienblums menu includes charred beetroot carpaccio, Mesabaha (creamy slow-cooked lima beans topped with tomato seeds, red onion, and a hard-boiled egg), Branzino (a whole roasted sea bass, served on a bed of vegetables), and Malabi (milk pudding) with strawberry perfume for pud.

At 180 The Strand, keep your eyes peeled for Outcrop, a new restaurant and arts space, opening July 7 and taking bookings now. Describing itself as a “green social club”, Outcrop will seek to connect guests with nature in the bustling heart of Londons West End. Its restaurant will be run by British Thai chef John Chantarasak, who will platform his signature Thai cuisine using “ingredients from the bountiful British summer larder”, cooked over charcoal. Expect to sample salt-baked beetroot with scallop roe chilli jam and wild garlic; Wye Valley asparagus and sunflower seed satay; coconut-smoked turbot bone broth, and much more.

Also opening this month is chef Joe Laker’s first solo venture Counter 71, with adjoining bar Lowcountry, located on Nile Street in Shoreditch. Lowcountry’s offerings will tip their hat to the culture of the American South, while Counter 71 will pay homage to the British Isles, while “shedding light on the lesser-known British larder”. In keeping with Laker’s previous work, dishes will be big on flavour but unostentatious in presentation. Think: crispy chicken skin served with langoustine and dill, or croustade with wasabi mayo, smoked eel, trout roe and crispy seaweed. 

Last but not least, for those lucky enough to be heading to Porto this summer, don’t miss the newest venture from acclaimed Portuguese chef Nuno Mendes: Cozinha das Flores, a neighbourhood restaurant and accompanying bar (Flôr) in Largo de São Domingos. Cozinha das Flores is a wholehearted celebration of northern Portugal, dedicated to highlighting the region’s “expansive and generous gastronomy”. Starters include sweet prawn and steamed egg cake with presunto balchão (Mendes’ reimagining of the classic Pão de Ló) and turnip natas, a savoury take on the famous Portuguese egg custard tart. Main courses, meanwhile, range from grilled pork, cabbage and enchidos to grilled John Dory with poached and fermented greens, smoked butter and fish roe sauce. Bon appétit!