Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power
Tate Modern, London, 12 July-29 October
The US Civil Rights and Black Power movements inspired artists to celebrate African American pride and explore politics. This landmark exhibition promises to be “an electrifying visual journey”. With 150 artworks — including paintings, murals, photography, fashion and activist posters — from more than 50 artists, this is a rare opportunity to see era-defining artworks that changed the face of art in America.
The Place is Here
South London Gallery until 10 September and Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art until 8 October
These parallel exhibitions bring together works by over 25 artists and collectives working in the 1980s under the umbrella of the UK Black Arts Movement. In this pivotal decade for British culture and politics artists were looking at themes such as colonialism, immigration, apartheid, civil unrest and identity. This new generation of artists included the likes of Lubaina Himid (see pic), Mona Hatoum, John Akomfrah and Isaac Julien.
Coming Out: Art and Culture 1967-2017
Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool, 28 July-5 November
Marking the 50th anniversary of the partial decriminalisation of male homosexual acts in England and Wales, this major exhibition draws from the Arts Council Collection and the Walker Art Gallery’s own collections. Artists include David Hockney, Steve McQueen and Sarah Lucas. A programme of events and performances accompanies the exhibition.
Manchester International Festival
Various venues, until 16 July
Theatrical highlights of the biennial arts festival include Cotton Panic! (8-15 July). The play tells the story of the inspiring solidarity workers in the North of England organised during the US Civil War in support of slaves — at a time of economic catastrophe due to the drying up of cotton supplies. Among the musical offerings New Order will be playing gigs to accompany the True Faith exhibition dedicated to Joy Division (until 3 September).
Various venues, 4-28 August
Potential stand out productions include: Cosmic Scallies, a play about “class, friendship and absence” by the disabled-led theatre company Graeae; From the Ground Up is an immersive production developed by the Almeida’s Young Company; £¥€$ (Lies) by Belgium’s Ontroerend Goed is a show that lets you experience what it’s like to be a member of the one percent; Start Swimming by the Young Vic’s outreach company Taking Part is a show about occupation, revolution and the future of our youth.