by Ana Persinaru

As excited as we are for the extended weekend, work never stops, especially when you love what you do. Which is why the Vastari team will be spending their free lazy mornings and hazy afternoons perusing the better or lesser known exhibitions happening in London at the moment. If you want to join in then let yourself be inspired by our top 5 picks!

  1. California: Designing Freedom | Design Museum

“Designed in California” is the new “Made in Italy”, say the curators of the first ever exhibition that looks at the influence of Californian modern design on a global scale. The slow but steady campaign for world domination by Californian designers started in the 1960s and has now morphed to adapt to the tech-oriented culture of Silicon Valley which helped make it one of the most visionary types of design in the world.

The multimedia exhibition brings together the multitude of medium for art and design created ever since, from domestic objects to our beloved (and indispensable) iPhone, from political posters to life-changing gadgets. Looking beyond the physical object, the exhibition also looks at how web and app designers in the San Francisco Bay Area are shaping the way we interact.

Top Tip: From Monday 21 to Monday 28 August inclusive, tickets to the exhibition are 2 for 1.

2. Matisse in the Studio | The Royal Academy of Arts

Henri Matisse’s studio is being recreated and explored in minute detail at the Royal Academy of Arts. The exhibition will focus on the role the artist’s collection of objects that filled his studio had on his art. Visitors will be able to admire an eclectic and timeless collection spanning all far-flung corners of the world; Buddhist statues from Thailand sit atop furniture from North Africa, next to Bamana figures from Mali. These were Matisse’s eternal sources of inspiration, models that appeared in canvases throughout his career, each time reinvented under a different artistic or optical filter. Deconstructing the myth of ‘Western Art’, the exhibition wants to highlight the multicultural influences and cross-referencing between Islamic, Chinese and African art in Matisse’s painting as he was searching for his own pictorial language.

‘An artist should never be a prisoner of himself, prisoner of style, prisoner of reputation, prisoner of success, etc.’ Henri Matisse

3. Queer British Art | Tate Britain

Celebrating the 50th anniversary of the partial decriminalisation of male homosexuality in England, the Tate Britain exhibition features works from the mid 19th to the mid 20th century relating to LGBTQ identity. The body of works is at times intensely personal as it chronicles the interior struggles of artists who were at the time unable to otherwise express their identities under punitive and repressive laws. Other works engage more widely with the public, appealing to feelings of solidarity between individuals at a time when terms such as ‘lesbian’, ‘gay’, ‘bisexual’ and ‘trans’ were unrecognised. Together, works by artists such as John Singer Sargent, Dora Carrington and David Hockney form an astonishing modern history of queer-ness in art.

4. A Museum of Modern Nature | The Wellcome Collection

The museum’s summer exhibition brings a breath of fresh air on the current exhibition scene - literally. It shines a light on the complex ecosystem between nature and the modern man whose daily life seems so removed from the ‘natural state’ but is in fact still closely linked to it. Bringing awareness to the fickle balance in which man and Planet Earth exist, the exhibition displays objects borrowed from members of the public that tell a story about their relationship with nature in the 21st century. Underlying this exhibition is a concern for the state of the environment and a desire to motivate people to look for solutions at a personal and then perhaps at a community level to help strengthen the relationship between us and the world we live in.

5. Wade Guyton: Das New Yorker Atelier | Serpentine Gallery

Last but not least, head to the Serpentine Gallery on Monday the 28th of August to interact with American artist Wade Guyton’s new exhibition. Using digital technologies as varied as can be, he creates large and small artworks that explore the process of interaction between tools and surfaces, through the digital medium. Guyton’s exhibition at the Serpentine Gallery presents a new body of work, all completed in the past two years and originally developed for an exhibition at Museum Brandhorst in Munich.

Happy museum-hopping!