June is jam-packed with can’t-miss events in both the musical and artistic realms. Whether you’re into aerial dance to the tune of David Bowie, a Whitney Houston doc screening, or a 3-D Hollywood Bowl spectacular, this month absolutely has what it takes to put your summer into cultural high gear. Let’s have a look, shall we?
NEW YORK CITY: If you only know David Bowie for his music then you only know half the story. The iconic songwriter took visual art extremely seriously, and some of his best (and rarest) work is now on display at the Brooklyn Museum. All through June, you’ll be able to catch David Bowie is on Film, a series of his avant-garde works capped off by an immersive presentation of Labyrinth that will include a live soundtrack and aerial dance performers bringing the film’s fantasy brilliance to life. The entire series is a compliment to the Brooklyn Museum’s sprawling David Bowie Is exhibit, which features hundreds of Bowie’s personal items including tour costumes, handwritten lyric sheets, photographs, rare video, and original album art pieces. Even if you can’t make it for the movies, the show is a space oddity’s dream come true.
NEW YORK CITY: The New Museum is the perfect oasis from NYC’s infamous summer crowds, and this month the Manhattan art institution is unveiling three new exhibitions. First is The House At Kawinal, a blend of sculpture and live theater performance from Guatemalan artist Nafus Ramirez-Figueroa that blends whimsy and with trauma, folklore with surrealism. Later in the month, the first ever American survey of British director and writer John Akomfrah, whose work centers on the global black diaspora. Finally, the twisted post-pop art illustrations and mixed media of Thomas Bayrle, a prolific German artist who has been commenting on technology, consumer culture, and politics for over 50 years.
LOS ANGELES: He’s used hip-hop records to explore outer space, dreams, and even the afterlife, but now Flying Lotus is branching out into something new entirely. The legendary West Coast producer will perform at the Hollywood Bowl backed by a new 3-D projection system that puts you literally inside the action. FlyLo’s spectral, jazz-inspired catalog of beat music is the perfect compliment to this kind of tech, and the end result is guaranteed to twist your entire sense of reality. Also on the night’s bill are Swedish indie R&B darlings Little Dragon, jazz wunderkinds BADBADNOTGOOD, and modern soul lioness Georgia Ann Muldrow. This is going to be an unforgettable evening.
LOS ANGELES: Thirty artists, no theme–just a wealth of West Coast brilliance. The Hammer Museum’s renowned Made in L.A. show returns this month, giving visitors and locals alike the chance to sample the very best of the city’s creative scene. Politics, climate, cultural chaos, and body image are just a few of the issues apprehended by this year’s show, which will feature painting, drawing, sculpture, videography, still images, and full-scale installations. It’ll be a beautiful experiment in barely-controlled chaos, just like the city itself. A video preview of the show is available on the Hammer Museum’s website, and we strongly recommend you get your tickets in advance.
MIAMI: It’s not just blockbusters like Black Panther or award show darlings like Moonlight: black perspectives across Hollywood are on the rise, and that’s a very good thing. The film industry’s top-flight talent will be featured at Miami’s American Black Film Festival this month, including discussions with Black Panther director Ryan Coogler and TV star-turned-activist Jesse Williams. You’ll also be able to catch world premieres of documentaries, short features, and the long-awaited Whitney doc. Whether you attend for a few days or just a few hours, the ABFF is a sure bet for those hoping to engage with black artistry, excellence, and the ongoing push for racial justice.
MIAMI: June means the Miami heat is about to climb to ridiculous heights, and while we’d never suggest skipping the beach, it’s a guarantee you’re going to want a bit of air-conditioned respite. In your search to cool off, the best option is the legendary Perez Art Museum, located right downtown. This month, the Perez is debuting a massive new exhibit of works from Liliana Porter, entitled El hombre con el hacha y otras situaciones breves. A kind of retrospective of Porter’s past body of work, the show features a dizzying array of broken, fragmented objects–each piece taking on greater complexity the closer it’s examined. In an attempt to showcase the passage of time through tiny physical bits, Porter’s work conjures up both warm nostalgia and daunting impermanence. It’s a can’t-miss show.
Header image courtesy of Hammer Museum