Summer's finally here, and with it comes a whole season of incredible exhibitions. Most galleries and museums take August off, so this lot has to see you through to the autumn.
Art exhibitions to see this month
Tomas Saraceno: ‘Web(s) of Life’
You’ve heard of nightmare fuel, well for some people, Tomas Saraceno’s art is nightmare napalm, because the Argentine artist has some very particular collaborators: spiders. He collaborates with them to create huge web-based installations, exploring their knack for architecture and aesthetics, and their ability to signal shifts in weather, climate, pollution levels, and ecological well being.
Tomas Saraceno: ‘Web(s) of Life’ is at The Serpentine, Jun 1-Sep 10. More details here.
Bathing is a big theme in art history, with countless artists exploring the relationship between bodies of water and bodies of people. This show is uniting giants of the genre (your Picassos, your Hockneys, your Turners) with contemporary artists including Hurvin Anderson, Peter Doig and Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, all shown alongside younger names like Sujin Lee and Danny Fox. Those are some seriously big names, so this show is sure to make a splash. Get it? Bathers, innit. Splash.
‘Bathers’ is at Saatchi Yates, Jun 1 to Aug 10. More details here.
Anselm Kiefer: ‘Finnegan’s Wake’
The great imposing miserablist of post-war German art returns to White Cube Bermondsey, where in 2016 he created one of the most brutal, suffocating and brilliant exhibitions that gallery’s ever put on. His 2019 show wasn’t bad either. And now he’s back to absolutely ruin the summer with his jaw-dropping ruminations on war, death and disease, this time inspired by James Joyce’s ‘Finnegans Wake’. No barbecues or CapriSun please.
Anselm Kiefer: ‘Finnegan’s Wake’ is at White Cube Bermondsey, Jun 7-Aug 20. More details here.
Reopening of the National Portrait Gallery
After a three year renovation, the National Portrait Gallery is finally reopening its doors in June with ‘a full re-presentation of the collection, combined with a significant refurbishment of the building, the creation of public spaces, a more welcoming visitor entrance and public forecourt, and a new Learning Centre.’ The real question is, will they still have that terrifyingly awful, soul-drainingly bad Ed Sheeran portrait on display?
The National Portrait Gallery reopens on Jun 22. More details here.
Summer Exhibition 2023
The Royal Academy’s annual open-entry art bonanza is back once again, promising its usual mix of big name academicians showing alongside Shirley from down the road who recently got into watercolours. It’s a great level playing field of art, where anyone – even you – could have a chance of having their work up on the gallery’s famed walls, if they’re good enough. Go spot all the red dots and try to nab yourself a bargain while you’re at it.
The Summer Exhibition 2023 is at the Royal Academy of Art, Jun 13-Aug 20. More details here.
Martin Wong: ‘Malicious Mischief’
Wong kicked against the mainstream, documenting the outer margins of American and its queer, countercultural societies. Taking you from the hedonism of San Francisco to the dereliction of New York, via graffiti, Chinese iconography and the AIDS crisis, Wong’s work is a micro-history of modern underground America.
Martin Wong: ‘Malicious Mischief’ is at Camden Art Centre, Jun 16-Sep 17. More details here.
‘Capturing the Moment’
Painting and photography have been great pals from the very start, with artists taking inspiration from the way the camera can freeze time, twist perspective and reframe the world. This show explores that relationship through the art of Andy Warhol, Gerhard Richter, Paula Rego and Pablo Picasso among many others who would have absolutely loved Instagram filters.
‘Capturing The Moment’ is at Tate Britain, Jun 13-Jan 28 2024. More details here.
‘Dear Earth: Art and Hope in a Time of Crisis’
Plenty of exhibitions recently have tried to show how art can help an ailing planet, but pretty much all of them have fallen flat. Trying to buck that failing trend is the Hayward, with its new show which hopes to highlight ‘highlights the ways in which artists are helping to reframe and deepen our psychological and spiritual responses to the climate crisis’ through work by Cornelia Parker, Hito Steyerl, Agnes Dene, Richard Mosse, Otobong Nkanga and others.
‘Dear Earth: Art and Hope in a Time of Crisis’ is at the Hayward Gallery, Jun 21-Sep 3. More here.
Carrie Mae Weems
This American artist has been at the forefront of using art to ask big questions about identity, power and social justice since the 1980s. This will be her biggest ever show in the UK, taking in photographic, film and installation-based art from throughout her career. Experimental, challenging, necessary stuff.
Carrie Mae Weems is at the Barbican, Jun 22-Sep 3. More details here.
Incredibly vibrant portraiture and street photography by Evelyn Hofer (1922-2009), a German-American artist once described as ‘the most famous unknown photographer’. Hofer captured the people of Wales, London and America with perfect tenderness and a gorgeous eye for detail.
Evelyn Hofer is at The Photographers’ Gallery, Jun 23-Sep 24. More details here.