Our ultimate guide to the best UK and London art exhibitions for your post-lockdown summer 2021 diary
Summer has arrived, and – persistant rain aside – the sun has risen on London’s long-fallow art scene.
Though many countries are still in the throes of lockdown restrictions, UK art galleries and museums can now open their doors to physical visitors. For many, these will be the first in-person art experiences in more than a year. For others, it will be months of show postponements and uncertainty coming to an end. Ultimately, this will provide an alternative to viewing art via pixels, which – bar recent NFT dramas – just hasn’t quite offered the same thrills.
As our diaries begin to rapidly fill, these are the shows, in the city and around the UK, worth pencilling in.
Exhibition: Tom Sachs: ‘Ritual’
Location: Thaddaeus Ropac
Dates: Until 31 July
Harbouring potent commentaries on consumerism, branding, and the fetishisation of products, Tom Sachs’ work is never quite what it seems. At Thaddaeus Ropac, Sachs draws on the subcultures of the urban metropolis, specifically the phenomenon of corner shops and their role in the diverse civic demands of modern urban life. Displayed on bespoke pedestals channelling modernist forms, these pieces replicate a clean-lined consumer culture in humble materials like plywood, cardboard, tape and paint. They also bear traces of the hands that made them, a nod to the value of human labour. Sachs illustrates how, when quotidian objects – such as laundry baskets, milk crates, surveillance cameras or leaf blowers – are placed on Brâncușian pedestals, they can be reframed as high art. This layered show merges sociopolitics, the genius of Constantin Brâncuși and the rhythmic rituals of everyday life. As Sachs says of the show: ‘Everything has form, but the objects are selected and presented so that their shapes along with their pedestals engage the viewer in the tradition of modernist sculpture, at eye level on a plateau.’