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Arts + Lifestyle

Global Exhibitions To Visit This July

From Athens to Berlin and London to Tokyo, global exhibitions dedicated to photographers and artists, as well as those spotlighting brands and pop-culture moments are abound this July.

In addition to the Arles photo festival and the Echigo-Tsumari Trienniale in Japan, these eight global exhibitions continue an international dialogue this month.

Find one of the most complete private collections of Frida Kahlo’s portraits and work – featuring countless never-before-seen photographs of the enigmatic artist – in New York, or four floors of female-created and female-centric art in Athens. Meanwhile, London turns pink as it welcomes Barbie’s pop-culture plastic universe. Don’t miss these exhibitions this July.

Barbie®: The Exhibition, The Design Museum

Barbie®: The Exhibition, The Design Museum, London

An expansive snapshot of pop culture, a little tongue-in-cheek, and of course, very pink, step into Barbie’s Dreamhouse this July. London’s Design Museum, just off Kensington High Street, is renowned for its quirky exhibitions and Barbie®: The Exhibition is the latest to join its roster. Following the sell-out success of Barbie®: The Movie that hit cinemas last year, receiving 18 Oscar nominations, the exhibition struts through the brand’s 65 year-old history with over 250 dolls and their countless careers, dresses, and Dreamhouses. But the pink parade isn’t over yet. Barbie dolls a plenty are on display and include a rare first edition from 1959, a talking and moving Barbie prototype, the most popular Barbie of the 70s (the ‘surfer girl’ Sunset Malibu Barbie), the first ‘curvy’ and disabled Barbie, as well as the 1985 Day to Night Barbie which captured the shifting domestic-to-public role of women following the workplace revolution. These dolls showcase the evolution of what has transformed from a toy to a Barbie Universe – and run in parallel to the shifting world. The result is a vibrant image of the small doll’s expansive impact on childhoods and pop culture around the western hemisphere, and moves with the trends of each époque.

F. C. Gundlach Lissy Schaper in einem Ensemble von Schwichtenberg, Brandenburger Tor, Berlin 1961, © Stiftung F.C. Gundlach, Hamburg, Courtesy Collection de Gambs

Berlin, Berlin!, Helmut Newton Foundation, Berlin

Few photographers have well-visited foundations and galleries in their name, yet few photographers have written the trajectory of fashion photography quite like Helmut Newton. The Berlin-based gallery (Newton’s hometown) is hosting a group exhibition in celebration of its 20th anniversary with works by the likes of Barbara Klemm, Hein Gorny, Arno Fischer, and of course, Helmut Newton, plus the raucous photographer Yva who he trained under. The title Berlin, Berlin! takes its name from Helmut Newton’s multi-page visual diary of West Berlin published in (the recently re-launched) Vogue Germany in 1979. An unstable Germany and Berlin’s divided history is centre stage here. Through repeated returns to the Brandenburg Gate, whether Newton’s models posed in front of the monument or Barbara Klemm’s photojournalism, the exhibition dances along the line of beautiful, editorial imagery and political snapshots, each capturing the contrasting spirit of Berlin in the 20th century.

Nickolas Muray, Frida In Front Of Organ Cactus Fence, Atlavista, (4/30), 1938/printed 1991 Carbon pigment print, 20 x 16 inches

Frida Kahlo: The Indelible Image, Throckmorton Fine Art, New York

Perhaps almost no artist has had the same longevity of their work, the continued demand in both the art and public worlds, and the global recognition that Frida Kahlo has had, even 70 years since her death in 1954. And, at New York’s Throckmorton Fine Art gallery, this deserved celebration continues. The exhibition looks at both Frida Kahlo’s idiosyncratic style as well as her distinctive image, which has granted her worldwide attention, with 50 photographs of the artist (some never seen before) as well as paintings, drawings, and even one of her blouses. Mapped as a visual biography of Kahlo, the exhibition starts with photographs taken by her father Guillermo Kahlo and moves to shots by renowned photographers including Lola Álvarez Bravo and Edward Weston. Impressively, these artefacts have been sourced over a period of 45 years, many by the gallery’s founder, Spencer Throckmorton, at bookstores and flea markets in Mexico City; it’s a vignette of Frida Khalo’s life and a documentation of her surrounding-artist community in Mexico.

Zanele Muholi Qiniso, The Sails, Durban 2019 © Zanele Muholi Courtesy of the Artist and Yancey Richardson, New York

Zanele Muholi, Tate Modern, London

Photographer Zanele Muholi first took the photographic world by storm in 2004, with their first solo show titled Only Half the Picture at the Johannesburg Art Gallery. Through raw imagery that deliberately masked the faces and identities of the subjects, the show created a space for – and portrait of – the LGBTQIA+ community suffering under the country’s strict constructs despite the legislation of gay rights in 1966. Their honest and vivid photojournalism quickly became a form of both social activism and solitude. Ten years later, over 260 photographs by Zanele Muholi line the walls of the Tate Modern; a powerful storytelling of their visual activism. Structured in photographic series, highlights include Faces and Phases where subjects stare directly into the lens, almost challenging the viewer to hold their gaze, and Brave Beauties celebrating non-binary and trans women.

Untitled (Topanga II), 2017 © Tyler Mitchell. Courtesy of the artist

Tyler Mitchell: Wish This Was Real, C/O Gallery, Berlin

At just 23, Mitchell photographed Beyoncé for the illustrious cover of American Vogue’s 2018 September issue, astoundingly making history as the first ever Black photographer to do so. Some of the biggest celebrities in contemporary culture can be recognised in his portraits, including Harry Styles and Kanye West. Though overall, Tyler Mitchell’s work marries art and fashion and is a key part of the “New Black Vanguard” movement as coined by writer Antwaun Sargent. Each of his photographs is a vivacious depiction of vivid yet almost off-guard utopic moments within black life. This is Mitchell’s first solo exhibition in Germany, hosted by modern art and photography gallery, C/O Berlin, also making the photographer one of the youngest creatives to ever take over the walls, attention and focus of this prestigious space. “I hope there is an honest gaze to my photos,” Mitchell explains, and that, there is. 

Daido Moriyama, TOKYO, 2015 © Daido Moriyama Photo Foundation

Half-Century Of Cartier In Japan And Beyond, Tokyo National Museum, Tokyo

Interestingly, this exhibition is structured into two parallel narratives hung in the two symmetrical wings of Tokyo’s Hyokeikan building, designed to physically narrate the two parallel narratives of Cartier’s conception and legacy: in both Japan as a nation and with Japanese artists. The first half of the exhibition journeys through the 19th century to the modern day via 200 objects from Cartier’s archives, to examine the continued dialogue between the artistic styles and cultural shifts in Japan and Cartier’s products. The second half of the exhibition looks at 50 works by contemporary Japanese artists including fashion designer Issey Miyake and Neo-pop painter Takashi Murakami, presenting these artists as great sources of creative exchange for the brand.

Tirage moderne en plâtre_CF groupe lutteurs Médicis © 2015 Musée du Louvre_dist RMN-Grand Palais_Hervé Lewandowski

Olympism: Modern Invention, Ancient Legacy, Musée du Louvre, Paris

The art of sport runs throughout Paris, even before the 2024 Olympic Games have begun, with Olympism: Modern Invention, Ancient Legacy at the Louvre. From a tournament designed to honour the gods worshiped in Ancient Greece to the most-watched sports event in the world, the history – and legacy – of the Olympics is an incredible one. One that The Louvre is both celebrating and examining in this exhibition this summer. Trace it through the archaeological artefacts on display, which include pottery painted with images of Héraclès, marble statues of fighters, and much more.

Leda Papaconstantinou Photograph from the performance in the framework of the solo exhibition The Box, 1981 (Gallery 3, Athens) Performers: Leda Papaconstantinou, Le sley Walton (alias Sally Smith) Photo: Erricos Karrer 0 3 Leda Papaconstantinou Players from the theatrical play Bouboulitsa’s Dream , 1979 Spetses Players, Kapodistrian House of Spetses Courtesy of the artist Photo: Dimitris Papadimas

What If Women Ruled The World?, EMST, Athens

What would the world look like if it was governed by women? Well, it might look a little bit like the creative and compelling artwork that dominates over four floors of Athens’ contemporary art museum this year. What If Women Ruled The World? a title taken from Yale Bartana’s neon art work, is the overarching theme for a series of exhibits running at the gallery, each looking at the question through a new medium and new light. From Susan Meiselas’ A Room Of Their Own to stop-motion animations of Tala Madani’s Shitty Disco, these exhibitions promise many compelling, new, and refreshing forms of feminine creativity.


Lead image credit: Rosa Covarrubias, Frida Kahlo, Xochimilco, Mexico, 1941 Platinum print, 16 x 12 inches.

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