What’s Lou Doing #1: Shape, Beauty, Bodies

Simone Brewster, All the Beauty and the Bloodshed, Unruly Bodies, Hanna Benihoud
Come explore with me! This new series is inspired by a chat I had with Yusuf from Yussico. Yusef is doing Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way and finding the artist dates really hard — dates you take yourself on for inspiration. And while I have trouble writing the morning pages, I have no trouble with the artist dates!* In this new series, I’ll share what I’ve been to, what I’m going to and what I’d like to see. I’ll also invite my friends to share what’s inspiring them too.

*I think the term ‘assigned fun’ might take some of the fun out of it, and that experiences are meant to be shared (hello awe 👋) — sacrilegious I know!

Seen 👀

Simone Brewster: The Shape of Things — NOW Gallery, Greenwich (London UK)
29 June – 24 September

I’ve been a fan of Simone’s work for a long time. I came across her fine jewellery first while I was doing research for a client and was immediately blown away by her talent. A multidisciplinary artist, Simone also creates sculptures, furniture, paints and writes for Vanity Fair. The exhibition is bold, colourful and asks us to look beyond what we think we know or understand.

All the Beauty and the Bloodshed — BBC iPlayer
I was very lucky to see this film with my friend and brilliant filmmaker Olivia Martin-McGuire at an early screening last year. It’s a beautifully made film directed by Laura Poitras about the artist Nan Goldin and her fight with other activists to hold the Sackler family accountable for their role in causing the opioid epidemic. Intertwined is Nan’s own story, shared through much of Nan’s own footage and photos, which brought many of her famous images even more to life to me.

Unruly Bodies — Goldsmiths CCA, New Cross (London UK)
30 Jun–03 Sep 2023

The Goldsmiths CCA is another one of my favourite art galleries. Designed by the Turner-winning group Assemble, the gallery inhabits what used to be the old Laurie Grove Baths in New Cross. In keeping with their style, Assemble left the old tiles in place as well as restored the cast iron water tank which forms one of the galleries. The current exhibition features thirteen women and non-binary artists, exploring the idea of the unruly body and disrupting conventional notions of what is and isn’t unruly. A standout was seeing Anna Peach’s wearable sculptures — the Wandering Pelvis and Warrior — in a performance exploring the space and tension between self and other.

Going to 👋

Hanna Benihoud: Too Sexy For The Streets — North London Lates Festival, Tottenham (London UK)
15 July

To say I’m excited about this is an understatement. Funny, bold, political. There’s a lot to love about Hanna’s public art. ‘Too Sexy For The Streets’ builds on Hanna Benihoud’s previous work ‘Girls of The Light’ which illuminated some of the darkest spaces in Tottenham with Hanna’s empowered women. ‘Too Sexy For The Streets’ continues the exploration of sexuality, objectification and safety in public spaces with a trail of paste-ups inspired by a collage workshop Hannah led for the London Festival of Architecture.

Manchester Collective, Richard Strauss: Four Last Songs and Metamorphosen — Bold Tendencies, Peckham (London UK)
15 July

Some people have church, I have Bold Tendencies. One of the most exciting arts venues in London, each year Hannah Barry and her team deliver one of London’s most exciting programmes. I love entering the building, walking up the bright pink staircase — an artwork by Simon Whybray ‘hi boo i love you’ — to arrive at the top. It’s amazing! This Saturday, I’ll be seeing Manchester Collective perform Richard Strauss’ Four Last Songs and Metamorphosen.

NOW Later: Draw-In — NOW Gallery, Greenwich (London UK)
16 July

Curator Jemima Burrill — a talented artist herself — and her team have curated some of the most warm and interactive events I’ve been to in London. Events where people actually speak to each other! I’m really looking forward to this evening of life drawing in dialogue with Simone Brewster’s exhibition ‘The Shape of Things’. Two drawing workshops will be hosted by artists Laxmi Hussain and Frances Costelloe, who are both immensely talented. I’m particularly interested to see Laxmi in action — I love her use of blue and the movement and shapes in her work.

Wishing I was going to 😭

R.O.S.E: Sharon Eyal, Gai Behar and Young with Ben UFO — Factory International, Manchester International Festival (Manchester UK)
13-16 July

It’s an exciting time to be in Manchester! I’d actually love to go to so much but this is what I’m most sad about missing. Huge FOMO. This is a different type of performance for Sharon Eyal and Gai Bebar where the line between the performance is blurred, with the dancers coming off the stage and onto the dance floor to mix with the audience. It’s what my dreams are made of!

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