Brilliant Things to Do This July

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Catherine Opie, Flipper, Tanya, Chloe, & Harriet,
Catherine Opie, Flipper, Tanya, Chloe & Harriet, San Francisco, California, from the series Domestic, 1995Courtesy of the artist and Regen Projects, Los Angeles; Lehmann Maupin, New York, Hong Kong, London, and Seoul; and Thomas Dane Gallery, London and Naples

From inspiring exhibitions by Catherine Opie, Penny Slinger and Lonnie Holley, to tantalising new restaurant openings, here’s what we’re looking forward to this month


Catherine Opie: Genre/Gender/Portraiture at MASP, Sao Paulo: July 5 – October 27, 2024

For any readers in, or travelling to, Sao Paolo, we suggest paying a visit to MASP’s soon-to-open exhibition of 66 works by US image-maker Catherine Opie, taken between 1987 and 2022. Aptly dubbed Genre, Gender, Portaiture, the show’s title is a play on the Portuguese word “gênero”, which translates to both “gender” and “genre” in English. Visitors will be invited to explore the ways in which has Opie applied the traditions of portraiture – a genre historically associated with the elite class – to the LGBTQ+ community, her candid, elegantly posed works both platforming and celebrating queerness and the spectrum of gender identities.

Seeing Time in Colour at the Centre Pompidou-Metz, Metz: July 13 – November 18, 2024

At the Centre Pompidou’s space in Metz, north-eastern France, a vibrant new exhibition will examine three key facets of image-making: its infinitely reproducible nature, its ability to freeze time, and its evocation of colour. Spanning the 19th century to the present day, Seeing Time in Colour will bring together around 300 works by 50 photographers, including Constantin Brancusi, who produced hundreds of photographic interpretations of his own sculptures; Harold Edgerton, whose high-speed image-making techniques famously enabled him to capture a bullet piercing an apple; and Saul Leiter and Helen Levitt, who used pioneering colour photography to encapsulate the poetry of everyday life.

Ultraviolet at 15 Bateman Street, London: July 5-14, 2024

If you’re in London, head to 15 Bateman Street from July 5 to see an exciting new group exhibition from non-profit organisation Kkweer Arts – a pertinent study of “the intricate world of coded language, symbols, and gestures nestled within queer communities”. There, you’ll discover a diverse array of works by artists including Maggi Hambling, Kudzanai-Violet Hwami, Ebun Sodipo and Zach Toppin, each employing coded expressions as “potent tools of resistance, connection, and self-affirmation”.

Barbie®: The Exhibition at the Design Museum, London: July 5, 2024 – Feburary 23, 2025

Harnessing the momentum of last year’s Barbie mania, London’s Design Museum will soon open a major survey dedicated to the inimitable Mattel toy and its 65-year history. From dolls in abundance – the very first Barbie, the iconic Day to Night Barbie (1985), the globally coveted Totally Hair Barbie (1992) and many more – to architecture, fashion, furniture and cars, the show will examine the Barbie universe through a design lens, spotlighting its ongoing reflection of contemporary trends and engagement with modern design.

Jamie Hawkesworth: The British Isles at Huxley-Parlour, London: July 11 – August 10, 2024

Huxley-Parlour’s Maddox Street space will soon host a new exhibition from Jamie Hawkesworth, comprising 12 large-scale works from the UK photographer’s acclaimed series The British Isles. Spanning characterful portraits through lyrical landscape shots, each demonstrates the image-maker’s masterful command of lighting and composition, resulting in a dreamlike celebration of quotidian existence in Hawkesworth’s home country.

Read our interview with Jamie Hawkesworth here.

Surrealist Centennial at Leica Gallery, Madrid: Until September 14, 2024

In 1924, André Breton published the Surrealist Manifesto, a rallying cry for artists to embrace the creative potential of the unconscious mind, thus setting in motion a movement that would inspire painters, sculptors, authors, filmmakers, philosophers and photographers alike. As part of this year’s edition of PhotoEspaña, the Loewe Foundation has conceived an exhibition that considers surrealism’s impact on the latter, spotlighting the ways in which the phenomena has enlivened “the forms, themes and aesthetics of photographic practice” over the past century – with mind-bending results.

Lonnie Holley: All Rendered Truth at Camden Arts Centre: July 5 – September 15, 2024

Don’t miss US artist and musician Lonnie Holley’s forthcoming solo at Camden Arts Centre. Possessed of “a visionary capacity to intuit and reveal to others the significance, symbolism and meaning of the overlooked and discarded”, Holley’s work is heavily influenced by his past – including “the poverty and hardships of his early childhood, his immersion in the civil rights movement, the legacies of slavery, and the systematic oppression and exploitation of Black people”. Yet his sculptures, paintings and music find endless beauty in the mundane, offering up hope and speaking boldly to our shared humanity.

Jimmy DeSana & Paul P: Ruins of Rooms at KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin: July 6 – October 20, 2024

Ruins of Rooms, opening at Berlin’s KW Institute later this week, will bring into dialogue the work of Jimmy DeSana and Paul P – two queer North American artists from different generations. A key figure in the New York punk and no-wave scene and the city’s queer fetish subculture, DeSana was best known for his inventive nude portraits of his friends and peers in “mundane settings”. While contemporary Canadian artist Paul P is most readily associated with his melancholy drawings and paintings of young men, which reference imagery from vintage gay erotic magazines. By presenting works by both artists in conversation with one another, the show promises to function “like a matryoshka doll … [serving to expand] our understanding of portraiture”.

Read our piece on Jimmy DeSana here.

Birgit Jürgenssen at Alison Jacques, London: Until August 3, 2024

The late feminist Austrian artist Birgit Jürgenssen dedicated her career to investigating how “women’s interior lives [are] refracted in exterior systems of power”, using a variety of media, including drawing, painting, photography and collage, for the purpose. Now, a new exhibition at Alison Jacques plunges viewers deep into Jürgenssen’s oeuvre, revealing how she employed recurring symbols – from hair, leaves and shoes to screens, masks and mirrors – as tools for examining female identity and the act of image-making, and to critique prevailing hierarchies.

Qiu Xiaofei: BARE at Xavier Hufkens Rivoli, Brussels: Until August 3, 2024

For anyone visiting Brussels between now and the start of August, be sure to catch the inaugural European solo exhibition from ascendant Chinese artist Qiu Xiaofei, comprising a new series of paintings made between 2021 and 2023. Drawing on both Eastern and Western aesthetic traditions, as well as the literary, musical and intellectual worlds of both cultures, these wildly imaginative, evocatively coloured works “straddle the border between observation and imagination, exploring the depths of human consciousness and the boundaries of reality”.

Danielle Brathwaite-Shirley: The Soul Station at Halle am Berghain, Berlin: July 12 – October 13, 2024

London-based artist Danielle Brathwaite-Shirley fuses her lived experience as a Black trans person with speculative fiction in works that “shed light on positions and histories that are often simplified or disregarded”. This month, she will debut her first solo presentation in Germany at Halle am Berghain, Berlin, in collaboration with LAS Art Foundation. Featuring a new commission and a number of the artist’s recent video-game works, the installation will cast visitors as “the player in a speculative universe”, the exhibition blurb teases. There, they will “face choices that contend with biases and exclusions”, thereby gaining insight into an archive of voices past and present.

Penny Slinger: Exorcism: Inside Out at Richard Saltoun Gallery, London: July 3 – September 7, 2024

At Richard Saltoun Gallery, the radical artist Penny Slinger will soon enjoy a new presentation of her renowned 1977 publication An Exorcism, the extended version of which was labelled pornographic and deemed unpublishable at the time of its creation. Exorcism: Inside Out will include Singer’s original photo collages from the book, which trace a young woman’s journey towards self-actualisation within the confines of a Gothic manner. Expect a tour through the realms of fetishism and sexploitation, seen through a surreal, feminist lens.

Events & Performances

July has lots of exciting events and productions in store. If you’re in New York, we highly recommend a trip to MoMA to see interdisciplinary artist and writer Sable Elyse Smith’s new opera, If You Unfolded Us – a collaboration with composer David Dominique and vocalist Freddie June. An immersive multimedia work, it tracks “an unfolding love story between two Black women [and its] protagonist’s journey of self-discovery”.

In London, the Almeida’s upcoming play The Years (opening July 27) will see Norwegian theatremaker Eline Arbo direct her inventive stage adaptation of Annie Ernaux’s critically acclaimed novel of the same name. In it, five actors will tell the story of one woman’s personal and political journey, set against the backdrop of a rapidly changing post-war Europe.

At Tower Theatre from July 10–20, don’t miss Ain’t I A Woman?, a series of five new works by women playwrights, each of which skillfully employs satire to offer “a unique perspective on the experience of being Black and female in contemporary Britain”. While at Soho Place from July 15 to September 28, catch the West End transfer of Death of England, Clint Dyer and Roy Williams’ acclaimed series of three state of the nation plays. These can be watched as standalone dramas, or enjoyed as a an interconnected trilogy in which “Michael, Delroy, Denise and Carly navigate the joys and challenges of what it means to be British in 2024”.

On July 20, The Royal Court will explore Palestine’s rich and active theatre scene with Palestinian Theatre Now, a special panel discussion between two theatremakers visiting from Palestine – Iman Aoun, co-founder of ASHTAR Theatre in Ramallah, and Marina Barham, General Director of Al Harah Theater in Beit Jala – and the UK-based playwright and screenwriter Hannah Khalil. Together, they will discuss “the lived realities of making theatre in Palestine and in the UK, and how theatre itself can be used as a medium for dialogue and resistance” in these extremely difficult times.

For classical music fans, the Royal Opera House Songs for Ukraine Chorus will join the Ukrainian Freedom Orchestra on July 29 for what’s sure to be a stirring and historic performance of Beethoven’s ninth symphony, translated into Ukrainian, at London’s St Paul’s Cathedral. While for any LA-bound art lovers, don’t miss groundbreaking US artist Joan Jonas’s updated presentation of her revered performance work Mirror Piece, first held in 1969. Taking place at the Getty on July 13 and 14, the reconstruction will see 15 dancers “traverse [the museum’s] Tram Arrival Plaza while manipulating mirrors in synchronised choreography” to disorienting and challenging effect.


Now for the month’s best film offerings. In cross-cultural romance Unicorns, by British directors James Krishna Floyd and Sally El Hosaini, a young single father from Essex falls for a South Asian drag queen, sparking a search for identity and love. Horror aficionados will rejoice at the release of Longlegs from US director Oz Perkins. Dubbed by early viewers as the next Silence of the Lambs, the nail-biting thriller follows FBI agent Lee Harker as she is assigned the cold case of an enigmatic serial killer who signs himself Longlegs. And if you’re seeking more chills, there’s Sleep, from Korean filmmaker Jason Yu, in which a newlywed couple find themselves confronted by the terrifying consequences of the husband’s sudden and inexplicable sleepwalking.

Crossing, by Swedish director Levan Akin, is a touching and evocative drama about a retired teacher from Georgia who ventures to Istanbul with her unpredictable young neighbour Achi in search of the latter’s long-lost transgender niece. In Iranian-Australian director Noora Niasari’s accomplished debut feature Shayda, a young Iranian mother and her six-year-old daughter seek refuge in an Australian women’s shelter, only to find their fresh start threatened by the looming presence of the mother’s abusive ex. Finally, there’s I Saw The TV Glow, US filmmaker Jane Schoenbrun’s brilliantly experimental horror following two disenchanted teens whose obsession with a late-night TV show drives them to question both their identities and their reality.

For this month’s unmissable documentaries, meanwhile, there’s Orlando, My Political Biography in which Spanish writer and philosopher turned filmmaker Paul B Preciado brings together more than 20 trans and nonbinary people to “interrogate the relevance” of Virginia Woolf’s novel Orlando “in the ongoing struggle to secure dignity for trans people worldwide”. Eno is an experimental documentary by US director Gary Hustwit about the visionary musician and artist Brian Eno. Different every time it’s screened, it uses a computer programme to randomly generate snippets from hundreds of hours of video footage, music and interviews to offer fresh insight into Eno’s singular creative processes. Lastly, Heart Of An Oak is a quietly compelling nature film by French directors Michel Seydoux and Laurent Charbonnier, tracing the daily life of different species cohabiting in an oak tree – which, replete with noisy neighbours, feels humorously familiar.

Food & Drink

Foodies, July is abundant with enticing openings. On July 17, Silo, Douglas McMaster’s breathtakingly innovative zero-waste restaurant in Hackney Wick, will launch a new monthly supper series in collaboration with luxury champagne house Maison Ruinart. This is inspired by Ruinart’s new Blanc Singulier cuvée, a fresh, flavourful champagne made by (re)crafting the new aromatic profiles of chardonnay that have emerged as a result of climate change. Made up of five courses, thoughtfully paired with Ruinart cuvées, the menu will evolve over the series’ five-month run using products affected by our rapidly changing climate. Think: smoked pink fir potatoes, chives and umami beurre blanc, and Fosse Meadow chicken with caramelised buttermilk and leek scrapes.

Opening in Islington on July 31, Goodbye Horses is a new wine bar and restaurant centred around seasonality and sustainability. There, head chef Jack Coggins will be whipping up a tasty-sounding assortment of sharing plates, ranging from chicken fat and sardine toast and Cornish crab blini to larger plates like cuttlefish, emmer wheat sauce and chilli, and baby leeks, green garlic, creamy caseificio cheese and hazelnut.

London chef and restaurateur Jackson Boxer has just opened his latest venture, Henri, a Paris-inspired bistro in Covent Garden. Prompted by his existing relationship with the very best British suppliers, Boxer has conjured up a menu of snacks and entrees (a seaweed canelé served with crème crue and trout roe, for instance, and grilled snails with green garlic and veal rice), alongside his own take on traditional Parisian ‘plats’ and larger dishes from the charcoal grill. These range from roast duck served with blood orange and green olives to Brixham Cod finished in a crab and lime leaf bisque.

For fans of Burmese cuisine, Lahpet Larder – a new eatery from Dan Anton and Zaw Mahesh, the founders of Lahpet in Shoreditch and the West End – will open in Bermondsey later this month. Drawing on the duo's Burmese heritage and their love for Myanmar’s rich produce, the menu will consist of sharing plates and bowls. These include pork with pon yay gyi (fermented horse gram beans), Rakhine salmon and papaya salad, as well as Dawei Mohinga, a regional version of the classic Burmese fish noodle soup. Desserts will span a rice flan with coconut jam through Burmese milk tea ice cream, and various homemade sorbets.

Meanwhile, for a modern take on Sri Lankan home cooking, head to Kolamba East on Blossom Street, where founders Eroshan and Aushi Meewella will soon bring the vibrant flavours of their popular Soho hotspot Kolamba to east London. They’ve created a brand new menu for the occasion, made up of snacks such as Idli with Sambar (savoury rice and lentil dumplings paired with sweet and spicy chutneys), as well as larger feasting plates like Jaffna lamb shank served in a rich and spicy tamarind sauce, and a creamy red mullet and coconut curry.

Finally, if you’re in the market for some delicious cured, fresh or fried fish, be sure to try Tollington’s, the new Iberian-style fish bar from Ed McIlroy, now open in Finsbury Park. Inspired by Spanish coastline dining, the restaurant offers a seafood-centric menu designed for sharing, which changes daily according to the morning’s catch. Opening dishes include pollock pil pil served on a plate of fish stock and clarified butter, and Scottish surf clams, as well as small plates like devilled crab served with mojo picon (red pepper sauce), and blue cheese and anchovy bites. Buen provecho!