The must-see exhibitions this summer

Our gallery guide to the best exhibitions of the season. Culture vultures take note...

We’re all for escaping on a far-flung adventure, but one of our favourite escapes remains wandering around a gallery, feeling inspired and soaking up the atmosphere. Luckily, planning a cultural day out is much easier this summer thanks to the fantastic mix of exhibitions on offer. From 100 years of Teenage Kicks at the Herbert Art Gallery to an array of immersive treats in the capital, featuring Frida Kahlo’s life's work and the gnarliest species on earth showcased at the Barbican – we’re dusting off our sketchbooks and taking it all in!

Our Time On Earth
The Barbican, London – Until 29th August 22

The Barbican @barbicancentre

This is a deep dive into the natural world like no other. An immersive display, exploring the links between technology and nature on earth, Our Time on Earth at The Barbican will change the way you see our planet. Starting your experience with the creepy crawlies, you’ll see the inner workings of our planet's most complex ecosystems from the ground up, all the while greeting some extraordinary (spooky-looking) species and futuristic climate solutions along the way. There’s only a month left to see this colourful and educational display, so don’t miss out! Tickets are available to purchase here.

Radical Landscapes
The Tate, Liverpool – Until 4th September 22

The Tate Liverpool

When it comes to the climate crisis, we’re always learning. And, with the devastating impact of climate change acting as a constant reminder of the dangers we face, Radical Landscapes, showing at The Tate Liverpool, gives a fresh perspective on our ever-changing planet. Showing a timeline of green activism in the UK, from protests at Greenham Common in the 1980s to more contemporary works looking into rural raves (yes, they’re a thing!), the exhibition shines a light on the untold cultural impacts of climate change, making it a very worthwhile visit! Tickets are available here.

Fashioning Masculinities: The Art of Menswear
The V&A, London – Until 6th November 22

V&A: Harris Reed, Photo: Giovanni Corabi. Wales Bonner, Photo: Dexter Lander. Sofonisba Anguissola

What does ‘menswear’ actually mean? Well, we’re not really the ones to ask, but the V&A’s Fashioning Masculinities: The Art of Menswear exhibition holds some of the answers. This beautiful display of menswear spanning three centuries is a delight for all fashion lovers, with highlights from Gucci, Orange Culture and Harris Reed. The collection aims to show how the fashion industry's approach to menswear has evolved and unpicks the role gender has played in this. You’ll leave knowing a little more about the creative direction ‘menswear’ is heading in and in the mood for a shopping trip… Book tickets here.

Mexican Geniuses: A Frida & Diego Immersive Experience
Dock X, Canada Water – Until 31st August 22

@mexicangenius

If you fancied a getaway to Mexico this summer but couldn’t quite make the trip, we’ve got the next best thing. Mexican Geniuses: A Frida & Diego Immersive Experience transports you to a latin heaven, showcasing some of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera’s most famous works on the big screen – and we mean really big. The pop-up gallery in a not-so-top-secret location has floor-to-ceiling projectors showing the paintings, as well as installations. If you’re interested in getting lost in the world of Frida Kahlo (it does sound like a great way to spend an afternoon), tickets are available here.

Ad Minoliti Biosfera Peluche/Biosphere Plush
The Tate, St Ives – Until 30th October 22

The Tate, St Ives & Ad Minoliti

A kaleidoscope of colour, our next pick, showing at The Tate in St Ives, takes us on a wonderfully wacky journey through feminist and queer thought. Ad Minoliti’s first solo exhibition has everything you’d expect from the contemporary abstract artist; geometric shapes that are double our size, a sea of primary colour and quirky personalities littered throughout. The best bit? The exhibition has a built in Feminist School of Painting workshop bringing a little education to this culture fix. An art trip and a lesson in modern feminist theory? Sign us up. Tickets are available to book here.

Grow Up In Britain – 100 Years of Teenage Kicks
Herbert Art Gallery, Coventry – Until 12th February 23

The Herbert Art Gallery

If you love bringing down the photo albums and sifting through memories (laughing at baby faces, old haircuts, and some gruesome fashion choices) and you thrived in the decades pre-camera phones, you’ll like this next pick. Grow Up In Britain – 100 Years of Teenage Kicks harnesses that nostalgic feeling, diving deep into a century's worth of British youth culture. The exhibition shows a generation of ‘firsts’ and emphasises cultural changes, weaving some of history’s most important moments throughout. You can even submit your own photographs, making this one all the more personal! There’s plenty of time to get involved, and you can book tickets here.

In the Black Fantastic
Southbank Centre – From 29th July until 18th September 22

The Southbank Centre

Bringing the imaginary and reality together in a mix of paintings, photography, video and sculpture, In the Black Fantastic showing at the Hayward Gallery in the Southbank Centre is showcasing the legacy of Afrofuturism, exploring Myth and spiritual traditions to address racism and social injustices through a creative lens. This exhibition is both powerful and affecting and really exposes the moving capabilities of art at work – we may be taking more than one visit to this one! Tickets are available here.

Barbara Nicholls
Lakeland Arts Jetty Museum, Windermere – Until 4th September

Lakeland Arts Jetty Museum, Windermere

It’s easy to fall in love with the Lake District – the colours of its landscape and its epic scenery have inspired many artists. One of them being resident and watercolour artist Barbara Nicholls, whose exhibition is currently showing at the Lakeland Arts Jetty Museum in Windermere. The display of large-scale watercolours evokes the contours of land and water and reflects the dramatic aquatic landscape, or so says Barbara. This beautiful exhibition would top off a trip to the lakes and, if watersports aren’t your thing, it’s the perfect way to ‘immerse’ yourself without fully ‘immersing’ yourself, if you catch our drift… Tickets are available here.