5 amazing art shows to see this June

5 amazing art shows to see this June

31 May 2024

Seeking ideas for great days out this month? Then add these top art exhibitions to your list 

Marilyn Monroe photographed by Eve Arnold. Image: © Eve Arnold, Magnum Photos

1. Take a long view  

V&A South Kensington’s new exhibition is a hot ticket for June. Fragile Beauty: Photographs from the Sir Elton John and David Furnish Collection features more than 300 rare prints, by over 140 photographers. This is a chance to see images by names such as Diane Arbus, Ai Weiwei, Eve Arnold, Cindy Sherman, Irving Penn, Herb Ritts and Robert Mapplethorpe. Seen here is one of Arnold’s poignant photographs of Marilyn Monroe, caught on set in 1960 while memorising lines when filming her last, troubled film, The MisfitsAs a whole this exhibition offers a unique window onto the personal taste of John and Furnish as collectors. From images of the civil rights movement of the 1960s to 1980s AIDS activism and the events of 11 September 2001, it is also a record of key moments from recent history. 

Until 5 January, 2025; vam.ac.uk

Jacqueline Poncelet’s stoneware Container, c.1982. Purchased with assistance from the V&A Purchase Grant Fund 1982/83. Middlesbrough Collection at MIMA, Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art. Image: Courtesy of MIMA

2. Discover a pioneer

Here’s a special show to catch before it closes. Jacqueline Poncelet: In the Making is on at MIMA (Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art). Poncelet was born in Belgium in 1947 and her practice is known for its extraordinary verve and exploration. She works on scales that range from the small and intimate to the public and monumental. You might know her exuberant ceramic cladding of London’s Edgware Road tube station. This show, supported by the Freelands Foundation through the annual Freelands Award, is Poncelet’s first museum exhibition and is a deep dive into the breadth of her art, from large-scale watercolour paintings and sculpture to her early delicate ceramics. 

Until 23 June; mima.art

Wood & Bracken, 1972, by Mary Potter. Image: Courtesy of The New Art Centre

3. Dip into Potter’s world

The art historian Kenneth Clark once described the art of Mary Potter as ‘enchanting moments of heightened perception’. Potter (1900–81) studied at the Slade School of Fine Art where she was a star student. She went on to move in key artistic circles, with associations with The New English Art Club and The London Group. In 1951 she moved to Aldeburgh, where she was a close friend of Benjamin Britten and Peter Pears. There she continued to paint, choosing as her subjects those sights close to hand, always rendered in an elegant, restrained palette and featuring suffused light. Examples of Potter’s works lie in public and private collections across the world. This summer comes a chance to view a selling exhibition of her paintings – Mary Potter: A Transformative Vision – featuring works from the 1960s–80s. You’ll find it in the Artist’s House and Stable Gallery in the Elysian grounds of the New Art Centre, Roche Court Sculpture Park near Salisbury.

1 June – ongoing: date to be confirmed, please check with website; sculpture.uk.com

Johnny Vegas. Photo: © Pete Carr​

4. Uncover another side to Vegas

Comedian Johnny Vegas is more often associated with the anarchic than he is with fine art. Now a new exhibition at Liverpool’s Walker Art Gallery is set to change that. Vegas originally trained in art and ceramics and, 30 years from graduating, has now partnered with fellow sculptor Emma Rodgers to create the exhibition Metamorphosis. Rodgers is known for her animal sculptures, including the world’s largest ‘Liver Bird’, a work made up of giant Meccano. Together Vegas and Rodgers have realised new works inspired by the Walker Art Gallery’s collections and with a theme of flight. 

Until 31 March 2025 at the Walker Art Gallery; liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/walkerartgallery

Until 15 June 2024 – a selling exhibition at the Bluecoat Display Centre; bluecoatdisplaycentre.com

Lydia Bauman’s Tuscany Hillside. Image: Courtesy of the artist 

5. Bright horizons

A hospital might not be the first place you’d think of for an arts fix, but University College Hospital on the capital’s Euston Road has an uplifting summer exhibition on offer this month. Open in The Street Gallery is Homelands: An Exhibition of Landscapes, displaying works by artist and Arts Society Accredited Lecturer Lydia Bauman. The paintings on show are her timeless landscapes, created using her favoured mixed-media technique. This exhibition is being held at the invitation of UCLH (University College London Hospitals) Arts and Heritage, UCLH’s arts programme. ‘Research shows that views of nature assist in the recovery of patients and can shorten patient stays,’ says Guy Noble, art curator for UCLH Arts and Heritage. ‘These paintings will bring great respite to all who encounter them.’ 

Until 4 July; uclh.nhs.uk

For more inspiring shows see The Arts Society Magazine, available exclusively to members and supporters of The Arts Society (to join see theartssociety.org/member-benefits). And for our online monthly ‘5 amazing art shows to see’ sign up at theartssociety.org/signup

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