A four-by-four of things to do during the summer art world downtime in London, Berlin, New York + Los Angeles

4 August 2017

As the art world winds down for the summer break, many galleries across cities are closed, at least in the Northern hemisphere where it’s hot. With more free time to look at art, there appears less art to look at. But for those still in the mood to engage with work IRL, we’ve put together a short list of spaces and exhibitions still running through August, before things get busy again in September.

Here we’ve condensed them down to four shows per AQNB’s four major cities of interest. In doing so, we’ve noted key focal points of each, including mental health, climate change, and resistance in London, the breakdown of diplomatic relations and bureaucracy in Berlin, social justice and entrenched attitudes and histories in New York, and mostly apocalypse in Los Angeles. 

Read on for things to do:

Zadie Xa, ‘The Conch, Sea Urchin and Brass Bell’ (2017) Video still. Courtesy the artist + Pump House Gallery, London.


1. Zadie Xa’s The Conch, Sea Urchin and Brass Bell at PumpHouse Gallery, Aug 3 – Sep 24

The London-based artist’s solo exhibition “tells the story of a displaced body’s journey and return to a homeland,” and is part PS/Y’s Hysteria progamme, a multidisciplinary arts festival exploring mental health. You can read a small focus piece with the artist about the show here.

2. Tenant of Culture’s Climate | Change at, Aug 3 – 27

The London-based artist explores “how we determine what should be saved, stored, preserved and protected.” Presenting non-functioning fashion in utilitarian garments, the show carries on the artist’s research into “the relationship between preservation, morality and trend.”

3.  Jennifer Tee’s Structures of recollection and perseverance at Kunstraum, Jul 1 – Sep 9

The exhibition runs in in parallel with Tee’s Let It Come Down show running at Camden Arts Centre to September 17, and brings together her own works, as well as ethnographic objects and artefacts. This one explores two concepts: ‘Let it come down’ and ‘Resist.’ 

Ed’s note: show has been extended to September 9

4. Monira Al Qadiri’s  The Craft at Gasworks, Jul 13 – Sep 10.

The Amsterdam-based Kuwaiti artist’s solo exhibition builds on her interest in imagining the artefacts of a post-oil boom planet as alien technology, and the ritual of diplomacy with Gulf art collective GCC. Comprising sculptures, videos and sound works, Al Qadiri here envisages “international diplomacy as an alien conspiracy.” 

Hiwa K, ‘Moon Calendar’ (2007) Videostill. Courtesy the artist + KOW, Berlin


1. Richard Sides’ PURE HATE at Liszt, Jul 29 – Sep 2

In lieu of text, the exhibition press comes accompanied by a six-plus minute trailer of European scenes soundtracked by garage rock revival band The Strokes’ 2001 single ‘Hard To Explain’ (followed by a lengthy and blurred porn clip). It draws on similar themes to the London-based artist’s critical Brexit-themed video diary ‘Imperial Weather.’

2. Hiwa K’s Don’t Shrink Me to the Size of a Bullet at KW, Jun 2 – Aug 13 

The Iraqi-born, Berlin-based artist examines how to hold on to the traditions of his upbringing, while accessing the knowledge necessary for integrating into a new environment. A political exile, Hiwa K’s disconnection from his former ‘home’ is central to the exhibition. 

3. The POOL exhibition + event series at Tropez, Jul 30 – Sep 12

The art space inside the Sommerbad Humboldthain provides room for artists, performers, musicians, authors, and curators to mingle with swimmers at the public pool. Contributors include Broken Dimanche Press, Creamcake, Marvin Gaye Chetwynd, Søren Aagard and more.

4. Joshua Schwebel, From the Aesthetic of Administration, Aug 11 – Sep 27

The Canadian conceptual artist invites employees of Berlin’s ‘Senatsverwaltung Kultur und Europa’ art fund to propose and realize their own artworks. Respondents Pauline Püschel and Anne Wesolek have each composed works reflecting on their tasks in administration and their relationship to art.

New York

1. Bunny Rogers’s Brig Und Ladder at Whitney Museum, Jul 7 – Oct 9

The New York-based artist has been developing a practice examining violence and depression in White America around motifs like the 1999 Columbine massacre and Elliot Smith in the past. The new body of work builds on a personal cosmology exploring “universal experiences of loss, alienation, and a search for belonging.” 

2. A first line of defense for significant tree group exhibition at 875 Park Avenue, Brooklyn, Jul 30 – Aug 30

Curated by Elizaveta Shneyderman and Eben Woodward, the show comes accompanied by a text, written by Erin Prinz Schwartz, musing on the idea of personhood and proving it to the authorities. Artists featured in the show include Omari Douglin, Victoria Haynes, Jaclyn Jaconetta,Lulu Sanchez, and more.

3. Kaari Upson’s Good Thing You Are Not Alone at the New Museum, May 3 – Sep 10

The LA-based artist presents drawing, sculpture, video, and installation examining the “circuitous narratives that weave together elements of fantasy, physical and psychological trauma, and the often-fraught pursuit of an American ideal.”

4. Memory is a Tough Place group exhibition at Parsons New School, Jun 29 – Sep 3

Looking at race and social justice, the photography show explores the discipline’s evidentiary role it plays in “capturing the complexities attendant to social change.” Contributors include American Artist, Rashid Johnson, Glenn Ligon, Lorna Simpson, Carrie Mae Weems and others.

Lucie Stahl, ‘End of Tales’ (2017). Courtesy the artist + Freedman Fitzpatrick, Los Angeles.

Los Angeles

1. Lucie Stahl’s End Tales at Freedman Fitzpatrick, Jul 30 – Sep 2

The LA-based artist has spent her decade-long career exploring the realities and fictions of national identity, often conflating them with the menace of consumerism and the perils of patriotism. 

2. Apocalypse Summer group exhibition at ltd los angeles, Jul 29 – Sep 9

The theme of the show follows contemporary anxieties over climate change and capitalist destruction. It comes introduced by a short introductory text that follows the mutant realities of imminent human catastrophe.

3. All the Small Things group exhibition at Steve Turner, Jul 29 – Aug 26

The show features 62 Los Angeles-based artists, where all works do not exceed six inches in dimension. The size of the works, and their placement around the room sit somewhere between a museum and your grandmother’s home.

4. Cabin Pressure group exhibition at BBQLA, Jul 22 – Aug 12

Curated by Quinn Harrelson, the show asks, “To what extent does a group of works construct an environment?” An accompanying text depicts a post-apocalyptic narrative with a different spin, where something else “crawls out from the earth’s core,” offering an alternative to doom.**

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Sidsel Meineche Hansen @ Gasworks reviewed

4 April 2016

We see 3D model protagonist EVA v3.0 with a phallic sex toy. She penetrates a large clay-like form, seen in different positions from different viewpoints displaying the mechanics of sexual intercourse. She cuts the abstract form with a scalpel, seemingly to sculpt and mould it to reflect and fulfill her desires. This animation plays out on a hanging monitor suspended by a structure that evokes a hybrid of exhibition display and BDSM dungeon, as part of Sidsel Meineche Hansen’s Second Sex War, running at London’s Gasworks from March 17 to May 29. A soundtrack by Nkisi called Exotica plays throughout, with samples of breathing that break into high-powered beats. Multiple perspectives span the animations and gaming PCs distributed across the gallery, combining the point-of-view of EVA v3.0 with poses for constructing digital animation and of what the Second Sex War press release calls “post-human porn production.

Sidsel Meineche Hansen, SECOND SEX WAR (2016). Installation View. Photo by Andy Keate. Courtesy the artist + Gasworks, London.
Sidsel Meineche Hansen, SECOND SEX WAR (2016). Installation View. Photo by Andy Keate. Courtesy the artist + Gasworks, London.

Featuring new commissions and collaborations with the aforementioned producer, as well as James B Stringer, Nikola Dechev, and Kepla, the show explores the politics of female and non-binary sexuality and pleasure within the processes of artistic production and how desire and power shape markets, representations and the use of new visual technologies. The title refers to Simone de Beauvoir’s seminal 1949 work The Second Sex, a critical feminist text arguing that women have historically been treated as secondary to men. The show expands this into the continuing battle against the objectification and commodification of embodied experience that finds new forms through digital technologies.

Hansen uses body fluids in the work ‘Methylene Blue Diluted by Female Ejaculation’ (2015) combined with a drawing style that is non-anatomical or less naturalistic. The artist describes it as “low-tech manual craft”, a more direct expression of bodily experience, in comparison to the outsourced skilled digital labour of the other works. This includes laser cut drawings ‘iSlave (non-dualistic)’ (2016) as an assertion of submissive and slave positions in BDSM as well as relating to the Apple computer brand, and ‘No Baby’ (2015) as sexual pleasure liberated from the functionality of procreation. ‘No Right Way 2 Cum’ (2015) is a CGI animation made with James B Stringer, a “feminist ‘cum shot’ video” according to the press release, featuring a grinding and pulsing soundtrack by Kepla.

Sidsel Meineche Hansen, SECOND SEX WAR (2016). Installation View. Photo by Andy Keate. Courtesy the artist + Gasworks, London.
Sidsel Meineche Hansen, SECOND SEX WAR (2016). Installation View. Photo by Andy Keate. Courtesy the artist + Gasworks, London.

EVA v3.0 was created by designer Nikola Dechev as a stock avatar for adult entertainment company TurboSquid, and is here used to disrupt the straight male gaze through empowered female-bodied actions. This includes masturbation and female ejaculation responding to the UK ban of their depiction in porn, and an ‘Off Our Backs’ poster in the background of the CGI room referencing the “first lesbian erotica magazine run by women for women”. Eventually the moving image of EVA v3.0’s body begins to break up and display an inverted face that looks like stretched skin and echoing ‘Cite Werkflow Ltd.’ (2015), a face imprinted in clay installed across the gallery. The gaming PC ‘SECOND SEX WAR ZONEand animation ‘DICKGIRL 3D(X)’ (2016, respectively) made with digital arts studio Werkflow Ltd explore processes of 3D modelling as a parallel to how human bodies are socially constructed and altered to conform.

In the vegan leather cushion in the centre of the space and the wire suspended monitor and speaker, the artist explicitly references the sado-masochistic practice of artists Sheree Rose and Bob Flanagan. This also recalls Hansen’s previous series of interdisciplinary events This Is Not A Symptom (2014 2015) on biopolitics, disability theory and Anti-Psychiatry as the critique of mainstream psychiatric treatment. ‘CULTURAL CAPITAL COOPERATIVE OBJECT #1’ is a ceramic wall relief produced in collaboration with artists Manuela Gernedel, Alan Michael, Georgie Nettell, Oliver Rees, Matthew Richardson, Gili Tal and Lena Tutunjian, and co-operatively owned by the makers. Similar to how the body is reduced to commodity for capital, a relational process as organic as collaborative artistic practice can be framed and formalised as ‘cultural capital’ within certain discourses, and exploited for commercial purposes.**

Sidsel Meineche Hansen’s Second Sex War is on at London’s Gasworks, running March 17 to May 29, 2016.

Header image: Sidsel Meineche Hansen, SECOND SEX WAR (2016). Installation View. Photo by Andy Keate. Courtesy the artist +  Gasworks, London.

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