Victoria’s Top Ten Art Exhibitions, June 2019

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You’d expect much to slow down art-wise as we approach the summer but think again as it was a nightmare trying to get this list down to simply ten so both this and July’s lists are PACKED with fascinating new shows to see – big names, as always, but some other shows that also seem like they are well worth seeing.

And, as well as the new suggestions below, don’t forget about all the ones I’ve mentioned before that are well worth a visit – more tickets have been released for the blockbuster Dior show at the V&A, Sorolla continues to dazzle at the National Gallery, there’s one week left to catch the marvellous Dorothea Tanning retrospective at Tate Modern, and Kubrick is wowing visitors at the Design Museum.

THERE.IS.SO.MUCH.TO.SEE.

Enjoy!


Lee Krasner: Living Colour, Barbican Art Gallery

In 2016, the Royal Academy hosted a stunning Abstract Expressionism exhibition. It was glorious – but it didn’t go unnoticed that women artists working in the genre at the same time as Pollock, Rothko and de Kooning got barely any hanging space. The Barbican is looking to correct that with this, the first retrospective in Europe for over 50 years of American artist Lee Krasner. One of the pioneers of AbEx, as it has become colloquially known as, Lee made work reflecting the feeling of possibility and experiment in New York in the post-war period and this show will feature nearly 100 works across her 50-year career, and tells the story of a formidable artist whose importance has often been eclipsed by her marriage to Jackson Pollock. Runs to 1 September. Admission £15.


Faith Ringgold, Serpentine Gallery

This’ll be a bright, exciting show, for sure. Faith Ringgold is an artist and activist whose work challenges the perceptions of American identity and gender inequality through the lenses of the feminist and civil rights movements. Working prolifically since the early 1960s, Faith is recognised for her politically charged paintings, story quilts, prints, children’s books, soft sculptures, masks and performances. She draws upon a wide range of visual and cultural sources, from the traditions of quilt making and its position within the history of slavery to early European Modernism, tankas – richly brocaded Tibetan paintings – and African masks. This survey will be the first solo exhibition of Faith’s work in a European public institution. Opens 6 June. Admission free.


Kiss My Genders, Hayward Gallery

So, obviously I’m excited about Kiss My Genders, a group exhibition celebrating more than 30 international artists whose work explores and engages with gender identity. Spanning the past 50 years, the exhibition brings together over 100 artworks by different generations of artists from around the world. Employing a wide range of approaches – including installation, video, painting, sculpture and wall drawings as well as the body itself – these artists share an interest in articulating and engaging with gender fluidity, as well as with non-binary, trans and intersex identities. Opens 12 June. Admission £15.50.


Gina Pane: Action Psyché, Richard Saltoun Gallery

The Richard Saltoun Gallery continues its year with 100% focus on women artists with this exhibition of the work of Gina Pane, an artist instrumental in the Body Art movement that put the artist’s physical form front and centre of practice. She was a great photographer and sculptor, but she is probably better known for her performance art as it was often controversial. Cutting herself was not uncommon and she also force fed herself to the point of vomiting. Mariana Abramovic has cited her as an influence and indeed Marina recreated one of her works, The Conditioning, where the artist lies on a metal bedframe over burning candles. This may not be an easy view. Runs to 22 June. Admission free.


Natalia Goncharova, Tate Modern

Chances are you have never heard of Natalia Goncharova. If you have, well done, but if you haven’t, don’t panic as I hadn’t either and the Tate has come to our rescue with the UK’s first ever retrospective of this Russian avant-garde artist. It will be a sweeping survey of a pioneering and radical figure, celebrated during her lifetime as a leading modernist artist. Throughout her varied career she challenged the limits of artistic, social and gender conventions, from parading through the streets of Moscow displaying futurist body art and scandalising newspapers of the day with painting nudes, to creating internationally acclaimed designs for fashion and the theatre. Opens June 6. Admission £16.


Francis Bacon Couplings, Gagosian Grosvenor Hill

Well, this is an unexpected delight as Gagosian’s next exhibition is of Francis Bacon’s double-figure paintings. Francis’s instantly recognisable – and disturbing – stylistic distortions of portrayals of friends and fellow artists radically altered the genre of figurative painting in the twentieth century. In his work, the human presence is evoked sometimes viscerally, at other times more fleetingly, in the form of a shadow or a blurred, watchful figure. In certain instances, the portrayal takes the form of a composite in which male and female bodily traits are transposed or fused. This show specifically explores a key theme that preoccupied Francis throughout his career: the relationship between two people, both physical and psychological. Opens 6 June. Admission free.


Selected Works from the Collection of Holly Solomon 1968-1981, Marlborough Contemporary

One of the more interesting ways to curate a group show is by collector. A strange view, perhaps, but bear with me. Take Holly Solomon, for instance. She was a collector, gallerist and early supporter of some of the 20th century’s leading artists. She lived in New York in the 1950s and, fascinated with the emerging art scene there, built up a personal collection that, and nurtured emerging artists who, addressed a variety of contemporary issues, including environmental re-use and regeneration, political activism, evolving gender roles, feminist stances, and the bridging of materials associated with craft into high art. Enter the likes of Robert Mapplethorpe, Nam June Paik, Laurie Anderson, Gordon Matta-Clark and many more. Come see excerpts from her collection. Runs to 29 June. Admission free.


Urban Impulses: Latin American Photography from 1959 to 2017, The Photographers’ Gallery

I would happily walk miles to see work by Mexican photographer, Graciela Iturbide, who is one of the artists included in this exhibition of over 200 images that celebrates half a century of Latin American photography, from 1959 to 2017. Offering a diversity of artistic approaches, from street documentary to collage, the show traces a significant historical events that have marked the region: the Cuban revolution, military dictatorships in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and Paraguay, along with mass social movements which, in still unconsolidated democracies, have given way to repression. Alongside Graciela there will also be images from Alberto Korda and Sergio Larrain, as well as emerging names such as Eduardo Longoni and Beatriz Jaramillo. Cannot wait. Opens 14 June. Admission free before 12 noon; £4 after.


Frank Bowling, Tate Britain

Frank was the first Black artist nominated as a Royal Academician and this long overdue celebration will be the first exhibition to span the full breadth of his work, bringing together rarely seen paintings and iconic series that highlight the quality and range of Frank’s remarkable six-decade career. Since the early 1960s Frank has explored and expanded the possibilities of paint, influencing generations of artists through his spectacular kaleidoscopic paintings so it’s great to have an exhibition that will chart Frank’s rise to becoming one of Britain’s most visionary painters. Runs to 26 August. Admission £13.


Luchita Hurtado: I Live I Die I Will Be Reborn, Serpentine Sackler Gallery

I guess at 98 years of age you don’t exactly expect your breakthrough as the artist everyone wants a piece of but currently – and finally – Luchita Hurtado is having her moment.  Despite tirelessly working for decades, this longtime painter of surreal, inventive compositions was content to let others take the spotlight. She has counted such celebrated artists as Wifredo Lam, Man Ray, and Agnes Martin among her friends but despite keeping such rarefied company, Luchita never shared their fame. Until now. Luchita was a breakout star of an exhibition last year in LA and this marks her first exhibition of work in an institution. Expect to see a glorious collection that explores the interconnectivity of human beings and nature through innovative perspectives and bold use of colour. Runs to 8 September. Admission free.


And One from Out of Town…

Paula Rego: Obedience and Defiance, MK Gallery

How on earth could you not be excited by this, the first major retrospective of Paula Rego’s work in England for over twenty years? Spanning Paula’s entire career since the 1960s, the exhibition will feature never-before-seen paintings and works on paper from the artist’s family and close friends. The show focuses on work that addresses the moral challenges to humanity, particularly in the face of violence, poverty, political tyranny, gender discrimination and grief. Bring it on. Opens 15 June. Admission £8.50.

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