Here are some of the best exhibitions opening across the world in August

Whether you’re into figurative painting, surrealism, technology or electronic music, this month’s Diary has something for you.

3 August 2020


It’s been exciting to watch galleries all over the world reopen their doors and invite visitors in once again. And while things are still moving slowly – and very differently – to how they once did, this marks an important step in rejuvenating the arts scene, ensuring it makes it through this difficult time.

As always, we’ve pulled together a wide-ranging array of exhibitions from across the world, featuring everything from figurative painting to surrealism, technology and electronic music. There’s sure to be something that piques your interest so, if you can and it’s safe to do so, get out and support your local gallery or institution!


John Sturrock

Games We Play at the Outside Art Project
Until 1 November
King’s Cross, London

Billed as London’s biggest permanent outdoor gallery, The Outside Art Project in King’s Cross will see various cultural organisations curate exhibitions of 2D works throughout the year. The pieces will be displayed on 15 benches, each two metres wide and able to display two artworks, dotted around King’s Cross – free to view and always open. The inaugural exhibition, Games We Play, is put together by The Photographer’s Gallery and features work by Julie Cockburn, Luke Stephenson and Weronika Gęsicka, depicting “witty and subversive takes on traditional leisure time and summer activities.


Detroit Art Mile

Detroit Art Mile
Until 5 August
Various locations, Detroit

This new citywide arts festival for Detroit comprises a huge programme of exhibitions and events, working with around 60 local art spaces. Given the current situation, there are plenty of online events such as digital exhibitions, artwork sales and virtual museum tours, plus live events for IRL participation including studio visits, film screenings and live music. Highlights include digital exhibition ArtWork, showing pieces made by Detroit’s art workers; the tour of the Dabls Mbad African Bead Museum (pictured); and a selection of films chosen by curator Lucy Mensah including Femme Queen Chronicles, about the lives of four Black trans women living in Detroit.


Kraftwerk 3D, photo by Peter Boettcher. Image via the Design Museum

Electronic: From Kraftwerk to The Chemical Brothers
31 July 2020 – 14 February 2021
The Design Museum, London

Having opened at the end of last week, the Design Museum’s new show celebrates 50 years of legendary German group Kraftwerk with a 3D show. Step into the visual world of The Chemical Brothers for one of their legendary live shows, as visuals and lights interact to create a new three-dimensional experience by Smith & Lyall – featuring Grammy Award-winning track Got to Keep On. Evoking the experience of being in a club, the exhibition will transport you through the people, art, design, technology and photography that have been shaping the electronic music landscape.


Latin American Foto Festival

Latin American Foto Festival
Online from 2 August here
The Bronx Documentary Center, New York

The Bronx Documentary Center’s third annual Latin American Foto Festival will feature large-scale photographs throughout the Melrose community by award-winning photographers from the Caribbean and Latin America. Works by artists from Colombia, Brazil, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Venezuela, Chile and Argentina will be displayed with photos from a variety of long-term projects focusing on social issues. Two of these artists include Luisa Dörr who is showing her images of cowgirls and rodeo life in Brazil while Adriana Parrilla‘s work explores the cultural roots of Afro-identity in Puerto Rico.


Cao Fei, Nova 01, 2019, Inkjet print, 150x105cm. Courtesy the artist, Vitamin Creative Space and Sprüth Magers. Image via Serpentine Galleries

Cao Fei: Blueprints
4 August – 13 September 2020
Serpentine Galleries, London

Reopening at the Serpentine after the gallery was forced to close due to Covid-19 is Cao Fei’s Blueprints. A multi-media artist and filmmaker based in Beijing, video, digital media, photography and objects all play a role in the artist’s engagement with an age of rapid technological development. In this exhibition, the renowned artist brings together new and existing works in “an immersive, site-specific installation, expanding the themes of automation, virtuality and technology that Cao Fei continuously draws upon.”


Dotted Peace, 2000 by Hassan Hajjaj. © Hassan Hajjaj courtesy of the artist and New Art Exchange. Image via Arnolfini

Hassan Hajjaj: The Path
30 July – 1 November 2020
Arnolfini, Bristol

Full of imagery distinctive to the artist’s portfolio which the gallery describes as “an exuberant melee of colours, patterns, appropriated brand logos and found objects,” Hassan Hajjaj: The Path is an exploration of global culture across continents through the unique lens of the Moroccan-British photographer. The exhibition comprises three major works – Dakka Marrakchia, My Rockstars and Between – and has been assembled by renowned curator, writer and broadcaster Ekow Eshun.


In Touch

In Touch
20 July – 1 September 2020
Danielle Arnaud, London

In Touch is an investigation of touch, positioned in a space that opposes tactility featuring the work of artists Sola Olulode, Alix Marie, Jane Hayes Greenwood, Patricia & Marie-France Martin, Mandy Franca, Paulette Phillips and Charlotte Edey. The show considers touch as an anchor, our rootlessness when it’s lacking. The past few months have brought touch to the forefront of our minds. The first sense to develop in infants, touch is integral to the way we relate, both to our surroundings and to each other. The virtual exhibition considers the signalling of touch through various art forms including photography, film, tapestry and drawing.


Fantastic Women

Fantastic Women
25 July – 8 November 2020
Louisiana Gallery, Humlebaek

Fantastic Women at the Louisiana is a presentation of the often overlooked work of female surrealist artists. As the exhibition’s description explains, “a great number of the male surrealists – Magritte, Dalí, Miró or Max Ernst – remain widely known and celebrated,” but few people are as familiar with the women who worked within this same circle. Alongside well-known names like Louise Bourgeois, Frida Kahlo, Leonora Carrington and Meret Oppenheim, this will be the first opportunity to experience artists like Kay Sage, Leonor Fini and Toyen in Denmark.


Emily Manwaring: Can’t let the summer past, 2020. Image via Thierry Goldberg

And The Sun Left
17 July – 21 August 2020
Thierry Goldberg, New York

And The Sun Left is a group exhibition featuring work by Emily Manwaring, Bony Ramirez, Sydney Vernon, Brandy Wednesday, and Connar Weston. Each of the artists in the show embraces the figure as a central character in their paintings, using the human form to connect with the viewer. Bouncing between the surreal and the mundane, occasionally multiple times in the same piece, these five artists portray people in unabashedly idiosyncratic styles, sharing an honest, if unsettling, perspective on the human experience.


Installation View of Rebecca Ness: Pieces of Mind (July 10–August 31, 2020). Nino Mier Gallery, Los Angeles, CA. Image via Nino Mier

Rebecca Ness: Pieces of Mind
10 July – 31 August 2020
Nino Mier Gallery, Los Angeles

Rebecca Ness’ recent paintings and works on paper reveal new spaces and quotidian rituals – subtle moments that reflect profound shifts. Depicting the ins and outs of daily life, Ness’ works are both “precise and cartoonish” in style depicting “the casual disorder of a home cum work space.” Her crops are distinctive and often her subjects’ faces are left out of the scene, the ephemera of life – mugs, piles of The New York Times and a pet cat – help to form a portrait of Ness’ life and provide a reflection on the first half of this year which brought the artist inside and “all the more reflective of herself in her work.” Nino Mier compares Ness to other contemporary figurative painters including Jordan Casteel, Raffi Kalenderian, Arcomonoro Niles, and Jonas Wood.

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About the Author

Ruby Boddington

Ruby joined the It’s Nice That team as an editorial assistant in September 2017 after graduating from the Graphic Communication Design course at Central Saint Martins. In April 2018, she became a staff writer and in August 2019, she was made associate editor.

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