As the sun finally starts to burn through the clouds (we’re being optimistic), it’s time to start filling up your diary for June! We’ve picked out the best of the upcoming exhibitions and events all over the world, from London to Istanbul. With packed programmes of art and design events, celebratory retrospectives, politically engaged conceptual art, photographic social critique, surreal satire, an exhibition on food and even a creepy haunted house – there’s more than enough here to tickle your cultural tastebuds, so dig in!
Molly Matalon and Caroline Tompkins: Playing for Keeps
22 May – 29 June 2019
In an exhibition curated by Jamie Allan Shaw, photographers Molly Matalon and Caroline Tompkins merge domesticism, sexual tension, bodily identity, natural environments and urban landscapes in a contemporary portrait of a typically-romanticised America, from a modern female viewpoint.
Two Archives, One Selection: Tracing Ara Güler’s Footsteps in Istanbul
Istanbul Modern, Istanbul
29 May – 17 November 2019
Two Archives, One Selection: Tracing Ara Güler’s Footsteps in Istanbul combines legendary Turkish snapper Ara Güler’s photographs, which invite viewers to look at them again and again, with archival materials in order to highlight Güler’s practice as well as his role in the creation of our perception of Istanbul. The exhibition, we’re told, “aims to address the relationship between photography and photographer’s subjectivity through the works of Güler, who defines himself as a photojournalist and photojournalists as ‘people who write history with their cameras.’”
My Head is a Haunted House
Sadie Coles Gallery, London
5 June –10 August 2019
Writer and author Charlie Fox – his 2017 essay collection This Young Monster is an essential read for anyone with an interest in the weird and the eerie – curates a hallucinogenic haunted house of a show, featuring downright disorientating work by the likes of Ed Atkins, Nate Boyce, and Mike Kelley. Inspired by everything from Twin Peaks to MTV Cribs, this is set to be one of the spookier exhibitions you’ll attend all summer long. Likely not for the faint-hearted, but no less brilliant for it.
Birmingham Design Festival
Multiple venues across Birmingham
6 June – 8 June 2019
Taking place this week, Birmingham Design Festival hosts an impressive roster of events and speakers across the West Midlands city. Design giants including Erica Dorn, MinaLima and Extinction Rebellion will take to the stage amongst many other prolific members of the design community. Along with exhibitions and pop-ups curated by the likes of Ladies Wine & Dine Birmingham, the festival sheds light on topical issues in the design world, from celebrating storytelling in design for film and TV to offering advice on how to build bigger brands.
Larry Achiampong and David Blandy: The Grid
Copperfield and Seventeen, London
6 June – 20 July 2019
Multimedia artists Larry Achiampong and David Blandy have collaborated on numerous films and projects that interrogate residual colonialist structures of power. Displayed over two sites, The Grid is a meditation on race, class and society in the digital age. One sight features the debris of disposable technology and digital identities, while the other looks at how mythologies of racism relate to the history of science.
Food for the Eyes
C/O Berlin, Berlin
8 June – 7 September 2019
Food for the Eyes is an exhibition exploring the varied history of food in photography. Food and shared meals play an important role in our rituals, religions, and festivals. Our beliefs, desires, and fantasies are reflected in what we choose to eat. Because food is part of our everyday life, it is a frequently depicted subject. And, like food itself, food photography can raise fundamental questions about a wide variety of societal themes: family, tradition, home life, wealth, poverty, gender, race, disgust, satisfaction and consumption. The exhibition includes Swiss artist duo Fischli and Weiss’s famous Sausage Series, Irving Penn’s iconic frozen fruit and vegetable sculptures and numerous artful still lifes, and Martin Parr’s images of bright fairy cakes, tea, and beans on toast. The show also presents works by Cindy Sherman and Martha Rosler that disrupt the traditionally domestic roles of women in the kitchen.
Mika Rottenberg: Easypieces
New Museum, New York
26 June – 15 September 2019
In her first solo museum show in the USA, New York-based sculpture, video and installation artist Mika Rottenberg will present a selection of recent works that explore the absurdity of the world in which we live. Her humorous, surrealist and sometimes disturbing films and immersive installations offer distorted reflections of modern life.
National Portrait Gallery, London
27 June – 15 September 2019
Including the ground-breaking series, Untitled Film Stills, this month the National Portrait Gallery will host a major retrospective of one the most influential photographers of recent times. The exhibition will explore the development of the artist’s work from the mid-1970s to the present day, and will feature around 150 works, including new work never before displayed in a public gallery in an investigation into identity and facade.
Singapore Art Book Fair
NTU Centre for Contemporary Art, Singapore
28 June – 30 June 2019
Singapore’s annual art book fair is taking place late next month and it sounds like it will be a good one! The independent day festival specialises in contemporary art and design books, as well as zines, hosting some of the most exciting creative talent from around the world at the moment. Free and open to the public, the festival plays host to a range of exhibitions, talks and performances from the independent publishing circuit. It’s certainly not one to miss if you’re in South East Asia!
About the Author
Becky joined It’s Nice That in the summer of 2019 as an editorial assistant. She wrote many fantastic stories for us, mainly on hugely talented artists and photographers.