15 Art Events/Exhibitions to Visit this Summer

2020 was the year of virtual exhibitions, but this summer we are so ready to get back into real life art spaces! Experience immersive VR in the 360:VR Room, spark a connection with your new favourite artist at The Other Art Fair and celebrate black identity through the brilliant events at The Power Of ___Festival. Jump into a summer filled with inspiring stories and phenomenal art with our rundown of 15 Events and Exhibitions. 

Take One Picture 2021 // The National Gallery

17 June – 12 September 2021 // Free Admission

As part of The National Gallery’s ‘Take One Picture’ programme, primary schools from across the UK have responded creatively to ‘The Battle of San Romano’ by Paolo Uccello.

Featuring works by children from 30 different primary schools, the exhibition showcases the richness of children’s creative responses – from armoured beasts and shining shields to plumed helmets and printed flowers.

Kehinde Wiley // The National Gallery

10 December 2021 – 18 April 2022 // Free Admission

Most famously, in 2017, Wiley was commissioned to paint Barack Obama, becoming the first Black artist to paint an official portrait of a president of the United States. His work makes reference to traditional European painting by positioning contemporary Black sitters, from a range of ethnic and social backgrounds, in the poses of the original historical, religious or mythological figures. His images raise questions about power, privilege, identity, and above all highlight the absence or relegation of Black figures within European art. 

In this exhibition, Wiley will shift his focus from one European tradition – Grand Manner portraiture – to another – landscape painting. 

Reflections contemporary art of the Middle East and North Africa // British Museum

17 May 2021 – 15 Aug 2021 // Free Admission 

This display weaves together a rich tapestry of artistic expression from artists born in, or connected to, countries from Iran to Morocco. 

With drawings by artists trained everywhere from Paris to Jerusalem, and subject matters ranging from the Syrian uprisings to the burning of the National Library of Baghdad, it offers new views of societies whose challenges are well-known in the press but are little known through the prism of contemporary art.

Featuring around 100 works on paper – from etchings to photographs and artists’ books – the artworks highlight topics of gender, identity, history and politics, while also exploring poetic traditions and the intersections between past and present. 

Waste Age // Design Museum

From 23 October // Price TBC

We live in the age of waste. Design helped create the problem, but could it be crucial in solving it?

Telling the story of the environmental crisis created by our ‘take, make, waste’ economy, the exhibition explores how design can transform our waste into new valuable resources, and how design can help usher in a new age where there is no such thing as waste.

This exhibition will explore imaginative new approaches and ingenious new materials that will help shape a cleaner future.

Women Making History Exhibition //  London Scottish House

2 June – 11 July // Free admission

A new exhibition of more than 100 extraordinary banners to mark 100 years of the first UK women getting the vote. 

Women Making History continues their legacy with this exhibition, providing an opportunity to reflect on the banners’ calls for equality, to examine the pace of progress and to be inspired to keep pushing for change. 

Created by leading artists in collaboration with women’s groups across the UK, these vibrant artworks inspired by the banners of the suffrage movement, speak to the present and the future. Artists include Claudette Johnson, Sarah Maple, Sadie Williams and Vivienne Westwood. 

The Power of Festival: Celebrating the very best of Black British culture // Lambeth Town Hall, Brixton

12-13 June // Free admission

Founded by diversity equity and inclusion consultancy, the Fashion Minority Report, the Power Of ___ Festival is an opportunity to visit topics shaped by cultural provocateurs whose voices society has often tried to repress, from the worlds of art, activism and social mobility.

“In the wake of the 2020 BLM protests, my deep passion for advancing the careers of marginalised voices led me to launch the Fashion Minority Report as a solution for driving the conversation around inclusion and diversity to a point of measurable change.

Our partnership with Lambeth Town Hall, 40 years on from the 1981 Brixton race protests, feels like a poignant opportunity to celebrate black identity, and the contribution that we continue to make to mainstream culture”

Daniel Peters, Festival Organiser and Founder

Events include:
Panel: The Power Of Black Culture Workshop: Black Girl Knit Club, Fireside Chat: The Power Of Protest, Workshop: Life Drawing, Fireside Chat: Revolutionary Readers Club, and more to be announced…

Art in Flux: The Invisible, Collaboration with National Gallery X Creative Transformation Festival // London

Mon, 14 Jun 2021 // Price TBC

Join an inspiring line up of speakers made up of the industry’s most cutting edge creatives, to delve into how media art can unearth the Invisible, and make sense of the vast complexity of data that surrounds us.

In a time, when there are nearly as many pieces of digital information as there are stars in the universe, contemporary artists explore new forms of making this vast amount of information accessible – be it through visual interpretations or new forms of interactivity. While museums around the globe including The National Gallery revisit their collections through the prism of data, contemporary artists develop new processes for audiences to experience invisible phenomena in all new ways.

The Other Art Fair // King’s Cross

1-4 July 2021 // £9- £13 Admission

Get ready to experience art differently this July; meet over 100 forward-thinking and inspiring emerging artists, discover 1000s of artworks suiting every budget and style, and get involved in our unique visitor features – it’s an art lovers dream!

Affordable Art Fair // Battersea Park

7 – 11 July 2021 // £9- £13 Admission

Affordable Art Fair is making a return to its leafy home in Battersea Park, London this summer. Bringing together a selection of emerging and established galleries, the majority hailing from London and the UK, you’re sure to find something to suit your taste, space and spend. 

Be amongst the first to find the wealth of artworks these incredible artists have been busy painting, printing and sculpting over the past year.

JR: CHRONICLES // Saatchi Gallery

04 June – 03 October 2021

JR: Chronicles traces JR’s career from his early documentation of graffiti artists as a teenager in Paris to his large-scale architectural interventions in cities worldwide and recent digitally collaged murals that create collective portraits of diverse communities.

JR spotlights communities across the world by photographing individual members of those communities and then wheat pasting their images -sometimes illegally- on a monumental scale usually reserved for advertisements featuring models, celebrities, and politicians. 

Tracey Emin / Edvard Munch: The Loneliness of the Soul // Royal Academy

18 May — 1 Aug 2021 // £17 Admission

In this landmark exhibition, Tracey Emin selects masterpieces by Edvard Munch ( painter of ‘The Scream’) to show alongside her most recent paintings.

This is an opportunity to see Emin’s work in a highly personal show that reveals how Munch has been a constant inspiration – particularly through his profound portrayals of women. Seen together, the dark territories and raw emotions that both artists navigate will emerge as a moving exploration of grief, loss and longing.

360: VR Room: Mélodie Mousset and Edo Fouilloux // 360: VR Room

20 May – 15 Aug 2021 // Free Admission

In this new interactive virtual reality work, glowing lifeforms invite you to sing with them and through them. As the organisms respond to your voice, which is captured by a microphone in a VR headset, their animated bodies alter depending on the pitch, vibration and intensity of the sound. In turn they react, echoing your voice with their own choir. The experience aims to provoke a playful state of synaesthesia and self-hypnosis, creating a sense of connection with another species.

David Hockney: The Arrival of Spring, Normandy, 2020 // Royal Academy

23 May — 26 Sep 2021 // £19- £21 admission

Opening exactly a year after the works were made during the global pandemic, this exhibition will be a reminder of the constant renewal and wonder of the natural world – and the beauty of spring. Hockney’s newest body of work – 116 works in total – has been ‘painted’ on the iPad and then printed onto paper, with Hockney overseeing all aspects of production.

Each work – which has been printed far larger than the screen on which it was created – allows you to see every mark and stroke of the artist’s hand. Made in the spring of 2020, during a period of intense activity at his home in Normandy, this exhibition charts the unfolding of spring, from beginning to end, and is a joyous celebration of the seasons.

Robert Rauschenberg: Night Shades and Phantoms // Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac

13 Apr – 31 Jul 2021 // Admission TBC

Robert Rauschenberg’s Night Shades and Phantoms are two series of metal paintings from 1991, composed of silk-screened photographic images and gestural strokes on aluminium supports. Made during his decade-long experimentations with metal, Rauschenberg creates dream-like imagery which appears and disappears as a result of light, shadows and reflections across the artworks’ surfaces. The works respond to their surroundings, playing with the viewer’s perception and bringing the world into the paintings.

Summer Exhibition 2021 // Royal Academy of Art

22 Sep — 2 Jan 2022 // £20- £22 admission

The Royal Academy’s annual celebration of art and creativity continues in 2021, celebrating the joy of creating art through the theme of ‘Reclaiming Magic’.

Run without interruption since 1769 – yes, even in 2020 – the Summer Exhibition is the world’s largest open submission art show. It brings together art in all mediums, from prints, paintings, film and photography to sculpture, architectural works and more by leading artists, Royal Academicians and household names as well as new and emerging talent.

Most of the works are available to buy and the Summer Exhibition directly support artists and the RA. Income from the Summer Exhibition helps both the exhibiting artists and the not-for-profit work of the RA.

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