16 Of The Best Exhibitions Opening In London In June 2019

Tabish Khan
By Tabish Khan Last edited 39 months ago

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16 Of The Best Exhibitions Opening In London In June 2019

We look ahead to London's art and exhibition openings in June 2019 and select the must-see shows.

Art that's cooking

Recreating cultural artefacts with local food packaging is part of Rakowitz's work. Courtesy of the artist Photo by Robert Chase Heishman

The current fourth plinth sculpture is one of our favourites, so we're stoked that the artist behind it, Michael Rakowitz, has a show of his wider work at Whitechapel Gallery. Cultures get lost over time but he's trying his to not let that happen, using his art to preserve monuments and recipes from war zones. He's even created his own cookbook as part of his work. Global politics has human impacts and it's this consequence that Rakowitz brings out in his thought-provoking work.

Michael Rakowitz at Whitechapel Gallery. 4 June-25 August, 2019 £12.95.

In the dark

The exhibition includes Andy Holden's film that looks at how the laws of physics work in cartoons. Copyright Andy Holden.

Around 95% of what makes up the universe cannot be observed, so we have no idea what it looks like. Let that sink in for a second... it's near impossible to get your head around. Can you even build an exhibition around something so intangible? The good folks at Science Gallery have — they've fused science and art to create an interactive, imaginative and fun exhibition, including a work that makes dark matter visible by imagining it as spiderwebs.

Dark Matter at Science Gallery. 6 June-26 August 2019, free.

Twisted Bacon

Bacon's contorted figures are easily recognisable.

Dark twisted faces scream in agony in Francis Bacon's portraits, which capture raw emotion in a way that gets a hold of your heart and won't let go. Mayfair gallery Gagosian brings together a selection of paintings that feature two figures together, so we get double the angst per work. It's art's equivalent of a disturbing horror movie and we can't get enough of it.   

Francis Bacon: Couplings at Gagosian, Grosvenor Hill. 6 June-3 August 2019, free.

Lots more Leo

Photograph: Andrew Stuart/PA

It's the 500th anniversary of Leonardo da Vinci's death and while we already have one sensational blockbuster show of his work, you can't get too much of a good thing. The British Library has rolled out its collection of his notes and drawings so we can see what a genius he was. Scientific notebooks, studies for paintings and inventions that were way ahead of their time — the Renaissance man could do it all.

Leonardo da Vinci: A Mind in Motion at The British Library. 7 June-8 September 2019, £7.

Summer's here

A snap from last year's show.

The Royal Academy of Art's Summer Exhibition is an annual feast. It's been going for over 250 years, has over 1,200 artists under one roof and a whole bunch of it's for sale — what's not to love? There are new artists to be found and works by big names such as Grayson Perry and Tracey Emin. Everyone's going to find something they love when the walls are literally covered in art.

Summer Exhibition at Royal Academy of Arts. 10 June-12 August 2019. £18.

Shoe me some art

There are plenty of ladies and gents in fancy clothes in the paintings at The Wallace Collection, but do we pay much notice to their shoes? Well, now we will as they've been paired with shoe designs from Manolo Blahnik in a quirky art and fashion collaboration — this one's a shoe stopper.

An Enquiring Mind: Manolo Blahník at the Wallace Collection. 10 June-1 September 2019, free.

The colour palace

Tickle us pink... and orange, yellow and blue. The Colour Palace is a building that exudes a sense of joy, and it's pitching up outside Dulwich Picture Gallery. Plus there's a full line up of events happening inside those rainbow walls, and plenty going on inside the gallery as well, which hosts an exhibition on British printmaking with over 120 works celebrating this influential British art movement.

Dulwich Pavilion 2019: The Colour Palace at Dulwich Picture Gallery. 12 June-22 September 2019, free & Cutting Edge: Modernist British Printmaking at Dulwich Picture Gallery. 19 June-8 September 2019, £16.50.

Kiss my genders

Copyright Victoria Sin.

The news and social media is aflutter with identity politics, but artists have been looking into these issues for ages. Hayward Gallery brings together 30 artists who've looked at gender fluidity, non-binary, trans and intersex identities over the last 50 years. Chock full of important issues that more artists are exploring today, it's a highly current and relevant exhibition.  

Kiss My Genders at Hayward Gallery. 12 June-8 September 2019, £15.50

Multicultural Britain

The new Londoners. Copyright Chris Steele Perkins.

Modern Britain wouldn't be what it is without the contribution of immigration — can you imagine how bland London would be without the hundreds of nationalities that make it the greatest city in the world? This issue is tackled in a Somerset House double header. Photographs examine what it means to be an immigrant or a descendant of an immigrant, while an accompanying exhibition celebrates 50 years of black creativity in Britain and beyond.

Kaleidoscope: Immigration and Modern Britain at Somerset House. 12 June-8 September 2019, free & Get Up, Stand Up Now at Somerset House. 12 June-15 September 2019, £12.50.

Look, no hands

The driverless Roborace. Copyright Roborace.

By handing over control of our cars to machines, we could save thousands of lives a year — but can we really trust machines to drive us everywhere? Science Museum has roped in some of the tech that's already showing us the future, including the remotely operated submarine Boaty McBoatface. Are we heading for a future where our food and parcels will be delivered by drones, and what are the consequences of this? Find out in this free exhibition.

Driverless: Who Is In control? at Science Museum. 12 June 2019-October 2020, free.

Pavilion in the park

A render of what the pavilion may look like. © Junya Ishigami + Associates

That's right people, we've got two outdoor pavilions this month — London, you're really spoiling us. Summer stalwart Serpentine Pavilion is back, and this time the architect in charge is Junya Ishigami. A slate structure emerges from the ground to create a cave like refuge, perfect for some contemplative time away from the bustle of the city or shelter from a summer rain shower.

Serpentine Pavilion 2019 designed by Junya Ishigami. 21 June-6 October 2019, free.

Multiple identities

Photograph: Courtesy of the artist and Metro Pictures, New York

Long before Snapchat filters, Cindy Sherman was altering her appearance for her art. Creating multiple identities and challenging the values we attach to our appearances, Sherman raised issues around identity and truth, when nobody had even heard of fake news. She may have been creating work for decades but now's the time to revisit her work in this major exhibition. Fans of portraiture will also want to check out the annual BP Portrait Award Exhibition, where painters from around the world have submitted portraits in a chance of scooping a prestigious prize.

Cindy Sherman at National Portrait Gallery. 27 June-15 September 2019, £19-21 & BP Portrait Award 2019 at National Portrait Gallery. 13 June-20 October 2019, free.

A square mile of sculpture

We're glad to report that this work is sticking around. Copyright Do Ho Suh. Courtesy the artist, Lehmann Maupin and Victoria Miro.

Among the tall glass buildings it's always great to stumble across artworks bringing creativity to the Square Mile. Sculpture in the City has returned for another year with a batch of new works to join the existing ones such as the fabulous Korean home dumped on a footbridge by Do Ho Suh. Popping up next to the likes of the Cheesegrater and the Gherkin, it's a personal joy of ours to explore the trail every year on a quiet weekend.

Sculpture in the City. 27 June 2019-April 2020, free.

Art fairs and festivals

It's not all major exhibitions, there are plenty of short run festivals and art fairs to check out in June too.

A moving image exhibition is part of Waterloo festival.

Concerts, talks and art — it's all happening at the Waterloo Festival (6-23 June, many events free) including a fab exhibition at The Cello Factory of photographers who've all produced two works that complement each other.

Rather than visiting individual art colleges to see the works they've produced, why not head to Free Range at Old Truman Brewery (21 June-8 July, free) and see hundreds of art, design and fashion graduates showing off the culmination of their degrees in a vast venue.

Dose up on caffeine as art is about to have an all-nighter. Annual nocturnal festival Art Night (22 June, free) has moved to King's Cross and Walthamstow and it's one for the night owls. Starting in the evening, it goes on through to the early morn — the art ain't letting up so it's time to see if you can last the distance with it.

Buy direct from artist at the Art Car Boot Fair.

Think all art is sold in plush, white-walled galleries? Think again as artists get face to face with customers, peddling their wares out of the back of a car in the Art Car Boot Fair (23 June, £12) in Cubitt Square, King's Cross. Grab a bargain and feel free to haggle.

Mayfair opens up for Mayfair Art Weekend (28-30 June, free - some events are ticketed) making everyone feel welcome to go into contemporary art galleries and have a look at great art for free. A whole programme of talks and tours means even a novice to the art world can get to enjoy dozens of exhibitions.

One of Richard Woods' trademark colourful houses will be popping up in West London.

On the same weekend Kensington and Chelsea will also be getting in on the art game with exhibitions, guided walks and talks for Kensington and Chelsea art weekend (28-30 June, free - some events are ticketed), including a talk by our very own art critic with artist Richard Woods.

Last Updated 18 June 2019