16 UNMISSABLE EXHIBITIONS THIS AUGUST
London's Best Exhibitions and Art Shows this August
Tech continues to wield its power in this month's major exhibitions, with optimistic AI shows exploring caring robots, giant NASA-aided planet models, or installations pondering smartphone's impact within an arty hellscape.
For fans of tech, there are also a gaggle of immersive exhibitions beckoning us to leap inside paintings; AI shows offering to guide our digital avatars around artists’ minds; powerful installations to explore and retrospectives of some of the most influential artists of the 20th Century.
There is also some good, old-fashioned art, using actual paintbrushes - all hail the return of the brilliant Royal Academy Summer Exhibition.
So point your eyes here and then take them there
Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy
It’s the Glastonbury of the art world, with works by art titans and emerging artists in every conceivable medium and style, so there is something for everybody.
This year, renowned British painter David Remfry takes the reins as exhibition co-ordinator. His exhibition explores the theme "Only Connect" inspired by the famous quote in Howards End by E.M. Forster.
Among the 1,614 featured works, are towering sculptures by the late Phyllida Barlow, Richard Malone’s dramatic mobile installation in the Wohl Central Hall, and a funny painting by comedian Joe Lycett. There are also pieces by Tracey Emin, Hew Locke, Barbara Walker, Gavin Turk, Lindsey Mendick, Caroline Walker and many more.
RA Summer Exhibition, Burlington House, Piccadilly, London W1J 0BD. 13 June - 20 August
Mars: War & Peace
Luke Jerram has plucked the Earth and Moon from space and served them to us inside beautiful churches, halls and swimming pools. And now the pioneering artist is wowing us with Mars, via a jaw-dropping, seven metre model, complete with insanely detailed NASA imagery of the Red Planet’s rocky surface at a scale of 1 : 1 million.
The installation is part of the Kensington and Chelsea Festival and is free to view at All Saint’s Church from 31 July to 8 August and Jubilee Square from 10-13 August.
Mars: War & Peace. All Saints' Church W11 1JS (31 July-8 August and Jubilee Square, Kensington Town Hall W8 7NX (10-13 August) FREE
AI: Who's Looking After Me?
If you’re not awake at night, worrying about robots taking over the world, are you even human?
This show might allay some of your concerns, by offering a refreshingly optimistic spin on AI.
The exhibition delves into the positive impact it is having on our lives now and in the near future, across healthcare, dating, travel and law.
It includes self-driving cars, AI romance experiments, a robotic arm that cares for cats and learns about their needs and Wesley Goatley’s eerie installation, featuring twenty malfunctioning and abandoned Alexa Voice Assistants singing to each other and telling stories about the world that created them.
AI: Who's Looking After Me? Science Gallery, Great Maze Pond, London SE1 9GU. Until 20 January 2024
V&A's Blockbuster DIVA Exhibition
Drop your mic, polish your sequins and sashay over to the V&A for DIVA, its latest, blockbuster exhibition. More than 250 personal items, including 60 outfits are on display from legends including Sir Elton John, Cher, Prince, Marilyn Monroe and Grace Jones. Many of these will be on show to the public for the first time. The new show celebrates the drive, power and creativity of some of the most iconic divas, past and present, and how they shaped popular culture. Highlights include celeb designer Bob Mackie’s creations for Cher, Tina Turner and Pink; the Oscar-winning, fringed black dress rocked by Marilyn Monroe in Some Like it Hot and Sir Elton’s Louis XIV inspired 50th birthday look, complete with powdered wig and train. Fans can also admire the diamanté-studded wellies and couture, pink Julien MacDonald gown worn by Dame Shirley Bassey for her 2007 Glastonbury set.
Colors Festival London
Get a turbo-hit of dopamine at Colors Festival.
The family-friendly exhibition at Camden’s Hawley Wharf is a celebration of paintings, photography and illustrations by an eclectic mix of 40 established and up-and-coming street artists from around the world.
And the 1000m² exhibition features enormous and bright immersive works, which can be manipulated and touched. The show includes street art stars like Angry Dan, Kekli, Remi Cierco, Hazard One, Lisa Lloyd and Dale Grimshaw.
Colors Festival, Camden Market, Hawley Wharf, Unit M120 - M133, Water Lane, London, NW1 8JZ. until 3 September
Sarah Sze - The Old Waiting Room
Writer Zadie Smith has compared Sarah Sze’s immersive sculptural installations to being inside an exploded smartphone, and the artist’s exciting, new show conveys the volatility of life in the age of the smartphone.
Transforming Peckham Rye Station’s large, Victorian waiting room - which has been empty for nearly 50 years - Sze has created a model of the fragile world, illuminated by flickering videos and bound together by found materials to express the way our digital world both swaddles and suffocates us.
Peckham Rye Station, London. 19 May - 16 September. FREE
BBC Earth Experience
Travel the world and seven continents in one, visually delicious immersive experience through the hit BBC series, Seven Worlds, One Planet. With bespoke narration from Sir David Attenborough himself and hosted at Earl’s Court's purpose-built Daikin Centre, you will experience the incredible diversity of the seven continents through multiple, multi-angle, 360-degree screens, meeting the extraordinary animals which inhabit them. The event - suitable for all age groups - also boasts breakout zones where you can dive into the depths of Water World, marvel at the sweeping landscapes of the Vista Stage, and test your bravery by getting close to creepy crawlies in the Micro Life zone.
BBC Earth Experience. The Daikin Centre, Earl’s Court, Hammersmith, London SW6 1TR. Until 7 January 2024. Adult £28.50 children under three go FREE
Gilbert & George: The Paradisical Pictures
Everybody’s favourite, besuited art duo, Gilbert and George launched their own museum on April Fool’s Day, around the corner from their London home and studio.
The pair have transformed a former, Spitalfields brewery into the three-storey Gilbert & George Centre, and in keeping with their “art for all” mission, the venue will be completely free .
The grand, emerald iron gates (designed by the pair) will open every Friday to Sunday, for visitors to enjoy three exhibition spaces, a research centre and film room all dedicated to the duo’s art, which they have been making for more than 50 years, since meeting at St Martin’s School of Art.
The Paradisical Pictures exhibition The Paradisical Pictures exhibition, presents 35 of their trademark, stained glass window-inspired images, depicting the pair in psychedelic, “heavenly places.”
The Gilbert & George Centre, 5a Heneage Street, London E1 5LJ.
Opens every Friday - Sunday. FREE.
This free, Wellcome Collection exhibition explores our relationship with milk and its place in politics, society and culture.
Featuring more than 100 items, including historical objects, artworks and new commissions, it asks why Brits regard cow’s milk as essential for a healthy diet? When did breastfeeding become a political subject? And how has milk been used to exert power or provide care?
Immersive art experiences are beckoning us to leap into paintings all over the world, but Frameless is art immersion on steroids. Situated in Marble Arch, it is the largest, permanent multi-sensory experience in the UK. Boasting four, themed galleries - Beyond Reality, Colour In Motion, The World Around Us and The Art Of Abstraction - with some of the world’s greatest works of art exploding across the walls, floors and ceilings of a 30,000 sq ft space. You can step inside more than 43 masterpieces by 28 artists, including Kandinsky, Monet, Van Gogh, Klimt, Munch, Monet, Rembrandt, Dali and Cezanne with musical scores accompanying each brushstroke.
Frameless, Marble Arch, London W1H 7FD, UK
Van Gogh Exhibition: The Immersive Experience
This immersive juggernaut has been touring the world, welcoming more than 5 million visitors.
And it has found a new home at London’s Spitalfields.
Lose yourself in the iconic brushstrokes of more than 300 works, in this light and sound spectacular featuring two storey projections, plus a drawing studio and VR experience exploring his life and inspirations.
You can even enjoy a beautiful piano show from pianist Lara Melda while admiring Van Gogh’s work through cutting-edge 360° digital projections.
Van Gogh Immersive Experience, Commercial Street, London E1 6LZ, UK. Until 31 August.
David Hockney: Bigger & Closer (Not Smaller & Further Away)
Using large-scale projection in a remarkable new, immersive gallery space, David Hockney takes us on a personal journey from LA to Yorkshire, through 60 years of his art, with a specially composed score by Nico Muhly and commentary by the artist himself. Lightroom’s vast walls and revolutionary sound system enable us to experience the world through the eyes of one of the most influential artists for the 20th Century, from the Sixties to the present day.
David Hockney Lightroom Show, 12, Lewis Cubitt Square, London N1C 4DY, UK. Until 1 October.
Dali Cybernetics: The Immersive Experience
Discover the surreal universe of Spanish genius Salvador Dali in London's first, collective metaverse show, entered via an interdimensional digital arts portal, because doors are so last year. Explore his masterpieces through large-format projections, interactive installations, holograms, virtual reality and artificial intelligence. A virtual reality experience with total freedom of movement that will invite visitors to spend fifteen minutes in Dalí's digital universe. Each visitor will have a digital avatar to physically walk with their companions in a collective virtual space where the most recognized works of Dalí will come to life, immersing you in a world of melting clocks, space elephants and giant ants. Launched in Spain, the London show has proved so popular, its run as been extended until 17 April. Dali Cybernetics. 152 Brick Lane, London E1 6QL. Until 3 September.
Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirror Rooms
The Instagram-friendly Infinity Mirror Rooms have no doubt saturated your social media pages for the past few months. But if you’re late to the party, the run has been extended until June to check out one of the most talked about shows of the past year.
The immersive installations of endless reflections include Kusama's Chandelier of Grief, a room which creates the illusion of a boundless universe ofrotating crystal chandeliers.
A small presentation of photographs and moving image – some on display for the first time – provide historical context for the global phenomenon that Kusama’s mirrored rooms have become today.
Tate Modern. Bankside, London SE1 9TG, UK. Until 30 September.
Immersive experience studio, Pixel Artworks and visual light artist, Rupert Newman have launched Outernet London’s first interactive body movement artwork, Spaces In-Between.
The new show enables the public to synch their body movements with a breathtaking, digital light artwork on the largest digital canvas in the world, made up of 360-degree, four storey screens.
As you move, so will the digital screens in three, giant artworks, ‘Tessellations,’ ‘Transcendence’ and ‘A Step Beyond’ accompanied by music from composer Sarah Warne.
Spaces In-Between. Outernet, Charing Cross Rd, London WC2H 8LH, UK. Free. Until September.