As we enjoy the usual British summer (half an hour of hot weather that leads to the more adventurous among stripping down to the least clothing possible while still be allowed on the bus with their dog, then three weeks of torrential rain), remember all those struggling artists, trying to compete with ice cream trucks and welly salesmen for your attention. Here’s the best of the arty stuff you can look at this summer.
Digbeth First Friday
The first Friday of every month
On the first Friday of every month, Digbeth turns into a hipster art paradise. I mean, not that it isn’t already but think hyper Digbeth, Digbeth gone wild if you will. If you can make it through the floods, then you’ll find a range of events, from exhibitions, late-night openings to street food and live music. Check out the website and their twitter @digbethfirstfri for details of what’s happening each month. Entry prices vary.
Laura Oldfield Ford: Chthonic Reverb
17 June – 5 August
In 2015 Ford spent six weeks exploring Digbeth and her response is to transform the gallery space with billboards made from plywood and perforated steel, usually used to board up abandoned bulidings. This is an interesting look at the backstreets and towpaths of Digbeth.
City of Colours Street Art
One of the UK’s largest celebrations of street art and graffiti, City of Colours is back for 2016. Over 120 artists will be creating works of art across walls all over the city (but yeah mostly Digbeth), giving you an opportunity to marvel at their prowess with spray paint. Check out the market hall if you fancy taking a bit of urban art home with you. Entry is free.
Birmingham Royal Ballet – Shakespeare Triple Bill
Three short takes on Shakespeare’s plays and characters translated into dance. José Limón’s The Moor’s Pavane distils the essence of Othello into an intense one act play, David Bintley’s The Shakespeare Suite sees a collection of character’s from Shakespeare shaking it to a Duke Ellington score and Jessica Lang’s The Sonnets translates the bard’s poetry into ballet. Tickets from £10.
Bert Hackett – The Gemini Years
25 June – 4 September
A tribute to the late Bert Hackett, prolific cartoonist for the Birmingham Post who provided satirical cartoons for the paper for more than four decades. This exhibition brings together a collection of his incisive cartoons and commentary. Entry is free.
6 July – 11 September
The first UK exhibition from renowned Chinese artist, Kan Xuan. Kan’s primary medium is video and she is considered one of the most important video artists in China. Kan’s work repurposes the oridinary and familiar, looking at them from different angles without pretence. This exhibition is made up of a wide selection of some her single screen video pieces dating from the late 1990s and including her latest video installation. Entry is free.
Arts Editor, Grapevine Birmingham.