Brilliant Things To Do in July

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Make this a month to remember with our ultimate guide to the freshest and most fabulous exhibitions, eateries, movie releases and more

TP-RAMA by TOILETPAPER at Galeries Lafayette, Paris: July 6 – September 1
Italian art duo Maurizio Cattelan and Pierpaolo Ferrari, AKA Toiletpaper, are bringing their inimitable vision to Paris this summer, taking over the esteemed Galeries Lafayette with a series of dedicated window displays, an exhibition, and a vibrant installation. Expect colour-popping tableaux, mind-bending constructions and a sublime dose of their signature hyper-surrealism.

Talents 38: Method at C/O Gallery, Berlin: July 16 – September 25
If you're not already familiar with the risqué artwork of Ukrainian artist Sascha Kurmaz, it's likely because the artist deals in surreptitiousness, slipping his provocative imagery in-between the pages of books in high street bookstores, and prints into strangers' pockets in the streets. "The nonconformist actions of Sascha Kurmaz always take place in public spaces and almost casually break up the monotony of familiar modes of perception," C/O gallery explains. How then to approach an exhibition of his work in a gallery? His new, Method, is expected to preserve and present these breaks with conformity for the sake of a visiting audience – and it's sure to shock and delight in equal measure.

David Hockney: 82 Portraits and 1 Still-life at the Royal Academy of Arts, London: July 2 – October 2
What happens when one of the art world’s most prolific painters sets himself a challenge – to create a series of portraits in which each sitter uses the same chair, against the same vivid blue backdrop, to be painted by the man himself over the course of three days? The answer is an exhibition at none other the London’s Royal Academy, titled 82 Portraits and 1 Still-life – a fascinating insight into the insular world of the LA-based titian. 

“His subjects – all friends, family and acquaintances – include office staff, fellow artists, curators and gallerists such as John Baldessari and Larry Gagosian,” explains the Royal Academy. “Each work is the same size… Yet Hockney’s virtuoso paint handling allows their differing personalities to leap off the canvas with warmth and immediacy.”

The Best of Film
There’s an abundance of marvellous movies hitting the big screen this month, kickstarted by Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie, out today, which marks the highly anticipated return of Edina and Patsy who have scuttled off to the French Riviera to avoid the paparazzi. Then there’s Maggie’s Plan, starring Greta Gerwig in the title role, as a young woman determined to reunite the married couple (Ethan Hawke and Julianne Moore) whose separation she caused three years earlier. Roald Dahl fans, rejoice: this month, Steven Spielberg brings us his spin on giant-centric adventure The BFG (with a perfectly cast Mark Rylance in the title role) just in time for the centenary of the beloved children’s author. 

French drama Summertime, directed by Catherine Corsini, is a lesbian love story set in the 1970s, charting a couple’s struggle against homophobia and sexism in rural France. Compelling documentaries also abound. We recommend Notes on Blindness (an exceptionally moving film which sees actors reconstruct the audio diaries of theologian John M Hull as he loses his sight), Weiner (following Anthony Weiner as he applies for the role of New York mayor before being engulfed by a major sex scandal) and The Hard Stop (documenting the aftermath of the police killing of Mark Duggan in London in 2011, the event which started the London riots).

Facing the World: Self-Portraits from Rembrandt to Ai Weiwei, Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh: July 16 – October 16
The self-portrait has long provided artists with an incomparable opportunity to combine both their conceptual practice and their own identity in one public-facing image – the ultimate in PR exercises, if you will – so the opportunity to see more than six centuries worth of such investigations into the self by the likes of Ai Weiwei, Andy Warhol, Marina Abramovicć and Henri Matisse is not to be missed. Facing the World: Self-Portraits from Rembrandt to Ai Weiwei takes place as part of Edinburgh Art Festival.

Port Eliot Festival, St Germans, Cornwall: July 28 – 31
British residents in search of an excuse (in case any were needed) to make the journey down to beautiful St Germans in Cornwall will find it in strong supply in this year's Port Eliot Festival, which combines comedy, music, outdoor adventure and literature in one dynamic and diverse line-up. From musician and DJ Kim Gordon, and feminist icon Gloria Steinem to comedian Noel Fielding, and celebrity chef Mark Hix, there's something to delight each of the five senses. 

Bruce Conner: It’s All True at MoMA, New York: July 3 – October 30
It takes a revered institution to tackle an artistic oeuvre with the depth and breadth of Bruce Conner – which, over 50 years, has spanned film, painting, drawing, photography and performance, and takes on themes including rising consumer culture in post-war America, and the ever-present threat of nuclear war. 

Indeed, Conner's unwavering depiction of society's great terrors make the show even more vital viewing in these uncertain times, perhaps, than at any other; he was an "early pioneer of avant-garde filmmaking," and MoMA explains, developing "a quick-cut method of editing that defined his oeuvre." The resulting filmic collages, incorporating footage from "countdown leaders, training films, and newsreels" alongside his own 16mm footage, present an unnervingly timely reflection on the state of society. Don't miss A MOVIE (1958) or CROSSROADS (1976) for two seminal examples of such work. 

Georgia O’Keeffe at Tate Modern, London: July 6 – October 30
"The first lady of American Modernism is finally receiving the attention she so rightly deserves from the British art establishment this summer, with a retrospective of her work in all its vibrant and powerfully provocative glory," we exclaimed back at beginning of the year, already eagerly anticipating Tate Modern's extensive retrospective exhibition – and as it rolls around, we're as excited as ever. From magnified flowers and New Mexico desert landscapes to her celebrated animal skulls, the show presents an unheard of opportunity to see her work in the UK – particularly seeing as it is isn't held in any British collections. "Men put me down as the best woman painter… I think I’m one of the best painters," O’Keeffe once famously remarked, and we can't help but agree.

The Best of Food and Drink
London is rife with fabulous restaurant openings this month, making July as good an opportunty as you'll find to venture beyond your usual culinary spots in favour of something a little more adventurous. Take Bronte, for example, a new culinary hotspot on the site of the Old Strand Dining Rooms in central London, with an interior space created by none other than Tom Dixon OBE and a view of Trafalgar Square to boot. The proudly self-described 'global' menu incorporates "Antipodean and Pacific influences," with plenty of all-day dining options. "Lunch and dinner menus span both the pantry and the main restaurant, with flavoursome salads sitting alongside small and big plates, snacks and raw and cured dishes."

Over in East London (on Haggerston's Kingsland Road, to be precise), Druid Street Market food phenomenon TĀ TĀ Eatery, headed up by chefs Chefs Zijun Meng and Ana Gonçalves has partnered with coffee shop Curio Cabal to launch its first permanent site, CURIO + TĀ TĀ. The menu is founded on the establishment's obsession with rice-based dishes, combining a selection of snacks, hot plates and cold dishes subtly reflective of the chefs' Chinese and Portuguese roots – all of which go perfectly with a bowl of rice. From braised peanuts with edamame and celery, to an Asian congée made with rich chicken stock, herb sauce, crispy skin and dough sticks, to Shime Saba, AKA charred and pickled mackerel, the menu's stretch-and-share sensibility is a perfect match for the intimate location – not to mention the outdoor seating, whch is crying out for long summer evenings. 

Just up the road in Dalston, Acqua7 is a newly opened bar and retail space challenging the perception of what such establishments might look like in Hackney. It was designed in collaboration with Arkyna Design, and is serving “modern European-inspired menus,” switching as day turns to night from pastries, sandwiches and salads to charcuterie and cheeses.

American expats in London can rejoice this Independence day, as Hackney pub The Richmond has put together a menu that's certain to have even stateside gourmand mouths watering. Cajun shrimp, Maryland crab cakes, buttermilk and pickle juice-fried chicken and smoked chedder grits all feature, to be followed up by a banana and white chocolate banoffee pie that will encourage patriotism in even the most English of customers. 

Yuri Pattison: User, Space opens at the Chisenhale Gallery, London: July 7 - August 28, 2016
The Chisenhale Gallery has a long-established tradition of championing the very best in new and up-and-coming artists, so when the young London-based institution chooses to take a new practitioner into its folds for an 18-month-long residency, it's time to listen up. Yuri Pattison has been working as part of its Create programme since 2014, all of which culminates in a new body of work on display through July and August this September. The series, the gallery reveals, "comprises digital and sculptural elements, taking influence from Modernist architecture and science fiction, imagining a utopian social space through immersive installation." We, for one, can't wait to see it. 

Great Performances
One event in theatre is taking centre stage this month – J.K. Rowling’s first endeavor in playwriting Harry Potter And The Cursed Child Parts I And II at Palace Theatre from July 30. And while we can’t wait for the return of a grown-up Harry, Hermione et al, for those of you who haven’t secured tickets, there are lots of other excellent performances to keep you occupied. David Hare’s new version of Chekhov's Platonov, the tale of irresistible schoolteacher Mikhail Platonov, arrives at the National Theatre on July 14, while another great adaptation – Headlong’s much-acclaimed version of George Orwell’s chilling dystopian novel 1984 – returns to London for a limited run. If you're in search of something new, there's Charlene James' exceptional work Cuttin' It, upstairs at the Royal Court, tackling the urgent issue of female genital mutilation in Britain. Dance fans, don't miss the Bolshoi’s spellbinding take on Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake at the Royal Opera House, while for opera lovers, there’s David Bösch’s new production of Verdi’s agonising masterpiece Il Trovatore in the same venue. 

Christopher Wood: Sophisticated Primitive at Pallant House Gallery, Chichester: July 2 – October 2, 2016
Torn between the sensibilities of 1920s England and the Parisian avant-garde, Christopher Wood’s naïve art explores the world of post-impressionism and primitivism. The young artist socialised with Picasso, Cézanne and was particularly influenced by Jean Cocteau’s line drawings, forging a personal style from his ‘faux-naïve’ approach. This major exhibition, opening on July 2 at Pallant House Gallery, presents over 80 works by the young artist including paintings, set designs and drawings created during his brief, ten-year career. Known in particular for his coastal landscapes of Brittany, there's a child-like sensibility emanating from his pieces: the show tracing his swift ascent into the pioneering art world of the early 20th century.

Terence Donovan: Speed of Light at The Photographers' Gallery, London: July 15 – September 25
London's Photographers' Gallery has a host of treats in store as part of its summer programme, not least of which is Speed of Light, the first major retrospective of the dazzling career of Terence Donovan in fashion, advertising and portrait photography.

Running concurrently with Donovan, somewhat appropriately, Made You Look: Dandyism and Black Masculinity takes on a geographically and historically diverse group of photographers whose work explores black masculinity "as performance, as play, as invention." Judith Butler would delight – and with both gender as performance and the oppression of young black men ever a prevalent news topic, the exhibition couldn't have come at a better time. 

The Festival Edit
July sees London’s Victoria Park transformed into a two day-long party on an annual basis as Lovebox takes hold, and with this year’s line-up including LCD Soundsystem, Major Lazer and Stormzy, July 15-16 will be no exception. Alongside the musical line-up, a collection of fashion and beauty boutiques, a roller disco and a huge variety of cocktail bars and street food are set to transport festival-goers away from the busy capital (and all of its current tribulations) to a far-off land for a weekend of fun.

Meanwhile at central’s Somerset House, a line-up of emerging musical talents makes up the landmark’s yearly Summer Series concert season. This year will see Benjamin Clementine, Laura Mvula and two-time Grammy award-winning Hiatus Kaiyote take to the stage over the course of a few weeks. Tickets are limited but still available – don't miss out. Finally, Support Shelter and enjoy an evening spent with PJ Harvey, Richie Culver, Speech Debelle or Ben Wheatley courtesy of the charity’s 50th anniversary programme, dubbed Gimme Shelter – a series of events themed around literature, art, music and film.