10 art exhibitions to see in August

Published 1 August 2018

From a translucent sculpture offering a portrait of a city, to an exploration of humans and the cosmos, here’s our top 10 art exhibitions to help you escape the August heat.

  • Tai Shani: Semiramis

    The Tetley, Leeds, 20 July – 14 October 2018
    In the atrium of the Tetley sits a gigantic, playful, immersive installation by Tai Shani. Elsewhere in the gallery are films, posters and paintings by Polish artist Ariela Widzer. These works conclude the multidisciplinary, London-based artist’s 4-year long Dark Continent project: the starting point of which was Christine de Pizan’s The Book of the City of Ladies (1405). Pizan fashioned a city of historical and fictional women in her early feminist work; in response, Shani has developed twelve monologues focusing on women throughout mythology and history. In a show that blends feminism, queer theory, science fiction and anthropology, visitors are encouraged to envisage intertwined cosmologies and post-patriarchal societies.

  • Tai Shani, Semiramis

    Tai Shani , Semiramis , 2018 .

    Courtesy the artist and The Tetley. Photo Jules Lister.

  • Slaves of Fashion: New Works by The Singh Twins

    Wolverhampton Art Gallery, Wolverhampton, 21 July – 16 September 2018
    Renowned internationally for reviving Indian miniature painting, Amrit and Rabindra KD Kaur Singh combine traditional hand painting methods with digital imagery for Slaves of Fashion. Eleven of their new works are digital fabrics, exhibited on lightboxes, and nine are on paper. As one might expect from its title, the show tackles pertinent issues: Indian textiles and its connection to empire, enslavement and consumerism, and current debates around ethical trade. These concerns are further encapsulated by a further 40 objects, including jewellery, costume and ceramics, from National Museums Liverpool (where the show premiered earlier this year) and Wolverhampton Art Gallery – with whom the show was developed in partnership.

  • Singh Twins, The King is Dead: Long Live the King (Slaves of Fashion Series)

    Singh Twins , The King is Dead: Long Live the King (Slaves of Fashion Series) .

    © The Singh Twins.

  • Jacob’s Ladder

    Ingleby Gallery, Edinburgh, 26 July 2018 - 20 October 2018
    The question explored in Jacob’s Ladder is ambitious, to say the least: what is humankind’s relationship with the universe, and how have artists and thinkers depicted it? Celebrating the fiftieth anniversaries of Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), and William Anders’ hugely influential photograph Earthrise (1968), the show juxtaposes historical and contemporary artists in a star-studded (excuse the pun) line up. Alongside the 1639 edition of Johann Bayer’s Uranometria, works by Cornelia Parker RA and David Austen will be included. Visitors to the show can also head to partnership exhibition Astronomy Victorious at Edinburgh’s Centre for Research Collections, which presents objects and artworks spanning 5oo years ago to the present.

  • NASA (Crew of Apollo 8 - Bill Anders), Earthrise

    NASA (Crew of Apollo 8 - Bill Anders) , Earthrise , 1968 .

    Vintage chromogenic print published by NASA. 18 x 24cm. Courtesy Ingleby, Edinburgh.

  • On Paper

    Ty Pawb, Wrexham, 28 July – 23 September 2018
    Paper is often seen as a medium, as opposed to a subject matter of art – but not to the 40-plus artists featured within this Arts Council Collection touring exhibition. Exploring approaches to sculpture, drawing and collage – and featuring Welsh artists alongside names such as Wolfgang Tillmans RA, Roy Lichtenstein and Bridget RileyOn Paper looks at more than mark-making and instead considers how artists have focused on paper in innovative and strange ways. Ty Pawb only opened in April this year – the show reveals its mission to be an internationally acknowledged art centre, while still supporting the local people of Wrexham through socially engaged events, projects and performance.

  • Wolfgang Tillmans, Paper Drop

    Wolfgang Tillmans , Paper Drop , 2008 .

    © the artist. Purchased with the assistance of the Art Fund. Partial gift of the artist and Maureen Paley, London Courtesy Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre, London.

  • Magic Realism: Art in Weimar Germany

    Tate Modern, London, 30 July 2018 – 14 July 2019
    The tumult following the First World War brought about ‘magic realism’ – a term Tate Modern uses to describe a shift from expressionism towards the unnerving art that flourished in the Weimar Republic years of 1919-33. Artists such as Otto Dix, George Grosz and Max Beckmann depicted private realms of emotion and magic, whilst exploring a liberal, urban society that was experiencing vast political and economic uncertainty. Their works, and those of less well-known artists, will be included among the seventy paintings and works on paper in Tate Modern’s year-long, free display, which forms part of their tribute to the 100-year anniversary of the end of the First World War.

  • Conrad Felixmüller, The Beggar of Prachatice

    Conrad Felixmüller , The Beggar of Prachatice , 1924 .

    Watercolour, gouache and graphite on paper. 500 x 645 mm. The George Economou Collection © DACS, 2018.

  • Samara Scott: Belt and Road

    Tramway, Glasgow, 3 August – 28 October 2018
    Scott reveals anxieties surrounding modern-day consumer culture’s practices, exposing her audiences to collaged sculptural friezes made from materials ranging from mustard to cleaning products. For Belt and Road, which comprises a huge, site specific installation, the artist responds to the physical space of Tramway gallery – as well as Glasgow itself. Cast-off, industrial items have been merged with natural and found matter from across the city, and then smeared onto a vast, translucent area that will change and decay over time. Hovering above the audience, it offers a grotesquely intriguing portrait of the habits of a contemporary city.

  • Samara Scott, Belt and Road Installation detail, Tramway

    Samara Scott , Belt and Road Installation detail, Tramway , 2018 .

    Courtesy of the artist.

  • Edwin G. Lucas: An Individual Eye

    City Art Centre, Edinburgh, 4 August – 10 February 2019
    Despite his original, imaginative style, the self-taught Edwin G. Lucas has largely been ignored in the 20th century Scottish art historical canon. This exhibition at City Art Centre attempts to set the record straight; exploring the life and career of a civil service worker who would paint astonishing scenes at night. The 60-plus artworks explore Lucas’ early watercolours, the Surrealist experimental oil paintings of his middle years and his final works of the 1980s – with paintings such as Untitled (1981) revealing a vision of the world that is colourful and eccentric.

  • Edwin G. Lucas, Untitled

    Edwin G. Lucas , Untitled , 1981 .

    Lucas Family Collection. © the artist's estate. (Photo: John McKenzie).

  • Off the Wall: RWS and RE Summer Exhibition

    Bankside Gallery, London, 10 August – 9 September 2018
    If you’re devastated that our Grayson Perry-coordinated Summer Exhibition is ending on 19 August, why not head to the annual Royal Watercolour Society and the Royal Society of Painter-Printmakers Summer Exhibition? The show provides an opportunity for members of both groups to exhibit together; paintings and original prints with an eclectic array of subject matter, procedures and styles guarantee there is something to everyone’s taste. All works are sold ‘off the wall’ at purchase, resulting in a constantly changing display. This particular joyful silkscreen is by Mychael Barratt, a Toronto-born printmaker and painter, whose popular works feature famous artists – and their pets.

  • Mychael Barratt PPRE, Hockney's Dogs

    Mychael Barratt PPRE , Hockney's Dogs .


    © The artist.

  • Kashif Nadim Chaudry: Beloved (The Somerset House Conference)

    Ort Gallery, Birmingham, 15 August – 29 September 2018
    Chaudry took his inspiration for his show from the 13th century Sufi poet Rumi and a 17th century British painting, The Somerset House Conference (1604), that references the Ottoman and Mughal Empires. Through this amalgamation of cultures, the British-Pakistani artist investigates faith, tradition and his place in the world: enormous three-dimensional, conical forms create a varied landscape that matches the multitude of ways one can position oneself in society. Elsewhere, the exhibition touches on white privilege, patriarchy, gender and LGBT+ rights. Chaudry describes his practice as being indebted to his family history of tailoring, which provided him with a love of craftsmanship and material – evidence seen in his previous work Even the Animals (2010) (below).

  • Kashif Nadim Chaudry, Even the Animals

    Kashif Nadim Chaudry , Even the Animals , 2010 .

    Courtesy the artist.

  • The Return of the Past: Postmodernism in British Architecture

    Sir John Soane’s Museum, London, 16 May - 27 August
    Postmodernist architecture came to prominence in Britain in the mid-70s and favoured decorative styles alluding to architecture’s past. The movement is frequently misunderstood, interpreted as expressing Thatcherism’s hedonistic commercialism in comparison to modernism’s connection to the welfare state. In an attempt to correct this, The Return of the Past sheds light on the movement’s complexities. The drawings, models, images, replicas and fragments included – by architects such as Piers Gough RA and Terry Farrell, among others – highlight a sympathetic, profound movement. The Royal Opera House project (below), for example, saved the area from plans made to empty it for motorways and towers. We recommend catching this one before it closes.

  • Carl Laubin, Painting of the Royal Opera House project in Covent Garden by Jeremy Dixon and BDP

    Carl Laubin , Painting of the Royal Opera House project in Covent Garden by Jeremy Dixon and BDP , 1986 .

    Credit: Dixon Jones Architects.