This weekend in London

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Frida Kahlo with Olmec figurine, 1939. Photograph Nickolas Muray. Nickolas Muray Photo Archives

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Frida Kahlo with Olmec figurine, 1939. Photograph Nickolas Muray.  Nickolas Muray Photo Archives
Free Range
Grayson Perry Selfie with Political Causes. The artist and Paragon | Contemporary Editions Ltd.
East End Film Festival
Taste of London
West End LIVE
Thomas Cole's Journey
Meltdown Festival 2018


Make the most of your precious time off with the LondonTown weekend guide, which gives you the lowdown on the best events and things to do this weekend in London. Want it straight to your inbox? Be sure to subscribe to the weekly Something for the Weekend mailer.


Frida Kahlo: Making Her Self Up

Victoria and Albert (V & A) Museum, Cromwell Road, London, SW7 2RL

Tube: South Kensington Station


Dates: 16th June to 4th November 2018


The Victoria and Albert Museum's major fashion exhibition for 2018 puts the spotlight on Mexican artist Frida Kahlo and her famously colourful wardrobe. The artist's personal items, including necklaces, photographs and letters that have never been seen outside Mexico, will be displayed at the V&A from 16th June. The exhibition also puts key self-portraits on display, showing her wearing many of the costumes discovered in the Blue House, her home in Mexico City where she was born, lived and died. Medical corsets, jewellery, accessories, photographs and letters offer a fresh perspective on Kahlo's compelling life story. A unique opportunity to see material that, apart from the paintings, has never before been exhibited outside Mexico.


Free Range

The Old Truman Brewery, 91 Brick Lane, London, E1 6QL

Tube: Aldgate East Station


Dates: 14th June - 16th July 2018


Free Range, the UK's largest graduate art, design and fashion show, returns to The Old Truman Brewery for a five-week summer run showing the work of around 3,000 students from 50 leading universities. Since its inception in 2001, Free Range has been showcasing art, fashion, design, graphics, illustrations, textiles and photography from creative graduates from all over London and the UK. The annual event provides college students with the opportunity to showcase their work on an international level. For the public, it's a (free) chance to spot the latest trends and newest talents. What's more, a stone's throw from Brick Lane and its popular markets, Free Range can be part of a wider day out in the East End. All the exhibitions and displays are free but take note that the fashion catwalk shows are by invite only, while Thursday nights are private viewings.


Royal Academy Summer Exhibition

Royal Academy of Arts, Burlington House, Mayfair, London, W1J 0BD

Tube: Green Park Station , Piccadilly Circus Station


Dates: 12th June to 19th August 2018


The Royal Academy's annual Summer Exhibition celebrates its 250th anniversary in 2018, and, to mark the occasion, the exhibition will be coordinated by Grayson Perry. Anyone can submit to the exhibition which gives it a wonderful element of surprise. Over 12,000 pieces are sifted through from relative unknowns to famous artists and members of the RA. The fun part for visitors is choosing a favourite and, with the majority of works on sale at varying price ranges, you can even buy one if you really fall in love with it. First held in 1769, the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition is the largest regular contemporary art exhibition in the world. It's an impressive show that gives an excellent cross-section of contemporary art every summer and each year a prominent sculpture greets visitors to the exhibition as they walk through the Royal Academy's great courtyard.


East End Film Festival

Various Venues East London, Walthamstow, Shoreditch, London, EC2M 7QH

Tube: Walthamstow Central Station


Dates: 11th to 29th June 2018


Founded in 2000, the East End Film Festival is one of the UK's largest film festivals. It returns this April with a rich and diverse programme of international premieres, industry masterclasses, free pop-up screenings and immersive live events. This seventeenth edition will bring screenings of drama In the Fade, gory thriller Revenge, Jean-Michel Basquiat doc Boom for Real to the East End. Also on the line-up the one-day Cutting East will take over Rich Mix with a day of screenings, panels, live music and performance that aims to showcase the very best contemporary, young, creative talent.


Taste of London

Regent's Park, Inner Circle, London, NW1 4NR

Tube: Regent's Park Station


Dates: 13th to 17th Jun 2018


Five days of top flight food, drink and entertainment at Regent's Park, Taste of London is a wonderful al fresco summer festival of all things food. The impressive restaurant line-up for 2018 includes ROKA, Kricket, Salon, Michelin-starred Club Gascon, Sri Lankan Soho hot spot Hoppers, and Duddell's among over forty of London's best restaurants. Making their debuts are Portuguese restaurant Bar Douro, Mexican taqueria El Pastor, West African Ikoyi, vegan Mexican restaurant Club Mexicana and Amalfi-inspired Italian Sorella. It's a wonderful excuse to indulge in some delicious gluttony as you work your way through sample sized dishes from London's top restaurants. Top chefs attend, including a flurry of Michelin starred names, and give demos to show off their culinary handiwork. Festival favourite At The Fire Pit features all things fire and smoke with Josh Katz (Berber & Q), Pip Lacey (Hicce), Leandro Carreira (Londrino), Andy Oliver from Som Saa and David Carter of SMOKESTAK fame. Sharp's Brewery will also be in attendance, bringing a taste of Cornish adventure to London with the chance to sample their beers, including the UK's number one cask beer Doom Bar, and play a game of Beer Ping.


West End LIVE

Trafalgar Square, Central, London, WC2N 5DS

Tube: Charing Cross Station , Leicester Square Station, Embankment Underground Station, Piccadilly Circus Station


Dates: Saturday 16th and Sunday 17th June 2018


Thousands of people gather in Trafalgar Square to enjoy performances from top West End shows for free. A firm favourite for over 10 years, West End Live showcases the best of London's headline theatre shows for two days of fun, al fresco entertainment. Featuring live performances by the casts of top West End shows, this year's line-up includes Bat Out Of Hell, Brief Encounter, Dreamgirls, Kinky Boots, Disney's The Lion King, Les Miserables, The Phantom of the Opera, Matilda The Musical, Wicked and Thriller Live - just ten of the 26 shows. It's a popular event so arrive early, about an hour before the gates open (at 10.15am on Saturday and 11.15am on Sunday at the North West corner, 15 minutes later at the North East corner) and be prepared to queue but don't worry it will be worth it. This is a glorious piece of free summer fun showcasing the amazing variety on the capital's West End stage.


BP Portrait Award 2018

National Portrait Gallery, St Martin's Place, London, WC2H 0HE

Tube: Leicester Square Station , Charing Cross Station, Piccadilly Circus Station, Embankment Underground Station, Covent Garden Station


Dates: 14th June to 23rd September 2018


The popular BP Portrait Award returns for a 39th year at the National Portrait Gallery. The highly successful annual open competition, which regularly attracts over 2,500 entries, is one of the most prestigious prizes in the world for portrait painting. The shortlisted portraits are shown alongside around 50 or so selected works in a free exhibition which returns to the National Portrait Gallery for three months this summer. Prizes include the BP Travel Award, BP Young Artist Award, open to 18 to 30 year-olds, and the £35,000 first prize. But this competition is not just about money, it's also about prestige; many previous winners have gone on to gain important commissions. Craig Wylie, for example, who won the award in 2008, was commissioned by the National Portrait Gallery to create a portrait of Dame Kelly Holmes.


Thomas Cole's Journey

National Gallery, Trafalgar Square, London, WC2N 5DN

Tube: Charing Cross Station , Leicester Square Station, Embankment Underground Station, Piccadilly Circus Station, Covent Garden Station


Dates: 11th June to 7th October 2018


The National Gallery stages the first exhibition to establish British-born Thomas Cole, one of America's leading painters of the mid-19th century, as a major global figure in 19th-century landscape art. Displaying Cole's paintings alongside those of his contemporaries, including Turner and Constable, among others, we get a better understanding of how his exposure to European painting informed his artistic identity. Paintings on display include works resulting from Cole's trips to England and Italy between 1829 and 1833, the monumental painting cycle 'The Course of Empire' and 'The Oxbow', a founding masterpiece of American landscape painting, never previously shown in the UK. This exhibition in the Ground Floor Galleries runs concurrently with Ed Ruscha: Course of Empire in Room 1.


Meltdown Festival 2018

Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, South Bank, London, SE1 8XX

Tube: Waterloo Station , Embankment Underground Station


Dates: 15th to 24th June 2018


The Cure frontman Robert Smith, "the first to lay bare the hidden fragility of the male condition" (The Guardian) curates this year's Meltdown festival. In its 25th year, the Southbank Centre festival will bring more than 30 of Smith's all time favourite artists to the ten-night summer extravaganza. When you realise he has played guitar with Siouxsie and the Banshees and performed and recorded with David Bowie, Billy Corgan, Blink 182, The Stranglers, Placebo, Crystal Castles, Earl Slick, Chris Vrenna, Junkie XL, Faithless, Korn, Blank & Jones, 65daysofstatic and Cult Hero not to mention his work with Steve Severin - creating The Glove's Blue Sunshine project - there's a whole lot of material there. Smith joins a long list of illustrious Meltdown curators including Guy Garvey, James Lavelle and Yoko Ono, Morrissey, Elvis Costello and Jarvis Cocker.


Serpentine Pavilion 2018

Serpentine Gallery, Kensington Gardens, London, W2 3XA

Tube: Lancaster Gate Station


Dates: 15th June to 7th October 2018


The award-winning architect Diebedo Francis Kere brings his characteristic sense of light and life to the lawns of Kensington Gardens for the Serpentine Pavilion 2017. A highlight of the annual art shows in London during the summer, the pavilion tasks an architect who hasn't previously has a structure built in the UK with the commission. For his design Kere, who leads the Berlin-based practice Kere Architecture, was inspired by the tree that serves as a central meeting point for life in his home town of Gando, west Africa. He has positively embraced the great British weather, creating a structure which offers shelter - just like a tree's canopy - while gathering rainwater and channelling it into the heart of the pavilion.



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