Winter months in the UK mean scuttling home from work exhausted, Vitamin D deprived and in need of the three t’s – tea, toast and television. But here we are in June, enjoying long sunny days and a renewed sense of energy, making us want to leave the office bang on time and actually go and see or do something.
This month we bring you another bumper collection of eclectic, and absorbing must-see art and culture. And if thoughts of hot, stuffy theatres and tourist packed art galleries had you thinking that June isn’t the month to go and see things in the capital, think again. While it’s hard to filter through the many different events across London, here’s our selection of what to go and see. From outdoor cultural events, taking in open air theatre at Regent’s Park, innovative architecture and even illuminated pigeons in the sky, we’re sure you’re bound to enjoy!
What: A whole lot of pink
Why: With the threat of nuclear disaster hovering over 1960s Cold War America, Avon cosmetics founder Jerry Henderson decided to build an underground bunker in Nevada. The result was a 16,000 square foot luxury space decked out in crystal, gold, some wacky murals and a lot of pink.
Photographer Juno Calypso immersed herself in this space, taking self portraits that reveal a surreal and eerie world stuck in time.
Until 23rd June
Where: TJ Boulting, 59 Riding House Street, W1W 7EG
What: Human identity
Why: Named after Paloma Varga Weisz’s creation of an ambiguously gendered pregnant form, Bumped Bodies is a collection of art which focuses on personal identity and the human condition.
Check out Berlinde De Bruyckere’s frail, naked figure dissolving into a mattress or Rebecca Warren’s striding high-heeled legs without a torso, in this vivid collection from 23 international artists.
Throughout June- 12th August
Where: Whitechapel Gallery, 77-82 Whitechapel High Street, E1 7QX
What: Classic musical
Why: The story of an unconventional and tempestuous relationship between a king and school teacher in 1860s Bangkok spawned many hits, including Getting To Know You and Shall We Dance.
If you’ve never got round to seeing The King & I on stage, now is the time. This production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s classic musical went down a storm on Broadway, winning four Tony awards including Best Revival of a musical and it’s now making its premiere in London.
The New York Times called it: “Breathtaking. Exquisite. Remarkable.”
21st June- 29th September
Where: London Palladium, 8 Argyll Street, Soho, W1F 7TE
What: Suspense in the open air
Why: Expect high octane suspense in this chilling tale of ghosts amid a remote country house as Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre and English National Opera brings you Benjamin Britten’s reworking of the classic Henry James novella. Oh, and be sure to bring a blanket.
22nd- 30th June
Where: Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, Regent’s Park, NW1 4NU
What: Heroes in the sky
Why: As part of the LIFT festival, Duke Riley presents a glorious spectacle that will see over 1500 LED-lit pigeons soar into the skies above the River Thames.
Gaze up and be spellbound at the airborne installation, which pays homage to some of the First World War’s unsung feathered heroes.
Where: East Thamesmead, London
What: Not your average Adam and Eve story
Made up of an ensemble of actors with perceived intellectual disabilities, the Australian company Back to Back have been wowing audiences with their innovative theatre for 28 years.
No strangers to the LIFT festival, this year they bring us Lady Eats Apple, a large-scale production set inside a vast inflatable, featuring binaural sound and epic visuals that question the assumptions we hold about others and ourselves.
14th- 16th June
Where: Barbican Centre, Silk Street, EC27 8DS
What: So much more than pretty packaging
Why: You will recognise his witty illustrations for Fortnum & Mason and the distinct artwork for Twinings, but Edward Bawden’s backlog is as diverse as it comes.
Dulwich Picture Gallery’s exhibition showcases Bawden’s talents as a master printmaker, watercolourist, ilustrator and designer.
Throughout June – 9th September
Where: Dulwich Picture Gallery, Gallery Road, SE21 7AD
Website: www.dulwichpicture gallery.org.uk
What: Inferences of pink
Why: As a metaphor for dark skin, a nod to Big Daddy Kane’s 3rd album and a reference to the associated sexual connotations of the product, Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac gallery brings us Alvaro Barrington’s A Taste of Chocolate.
In this London exhibition, there is a focus on transitions of power from the Catholic Church to the merchant class and this being the 100th year of women earning the right to vote in the UK. This is shown through the inferences of pink, and Barrington’s trademark carnival, chaotic style.
Until 16th June
Where: Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Ely House, 37 Dover Street, W1S 4NJ
What: Mexico meets Britian
Why: The hotly anticipated annual exhibition has become one of the most visited architectural exhibitions in the world, celebrating emerging talents from around the world.
This year’s architect is Mexican Frida Escobedo, who will be drawing on both Mexican and British influences to weave light, water and geometry into her atmospheric courtyard space in Kensington Gardens.
15th June – 17th October
Where: Serpentine Pavilion, Kensington Gardens, W2 3XA
What: All the people
Why: Honesty, empathy and a certain grace are at the forefront of Sander’s photography. Taken between 1910 and 1931, a time of enormous social and political change,the images show the faces behind a country, in all its ethnic and class diversity.
Throughout June – 28th July
Where: Hauser & Wirth, 23 Savile Row, W1S 2ET