The UK’s largest contemporary art festival—and other summer exhibitions

The Liverpool Biennial takes place from 14th July
June 19, 2018
Liverpool Biennial: Beautiful World, Where Are You?

Various locations, 14th July to 28th October

The UK’s largest contemporary art festival this year takes its cue from a poem by Friedrich Schiller mourning the disappearance of the Greek gods in a turbulent age. The curators have invited 40 artists from 22 countries to make beauty their priority: whether it’s Belgian artist Francis Alÿs’s war paintings (see Outskirts of Mosul, below), works by indigenous artists, including Canadian Inuit Annie Pootoogook or a healing garden for Toxteth created by Algerian artist Mohamed Bourouissa. One highlight will be a new three-channel video installation by the great French New Wave filmmaker, 90-year-old Agnès Varda.

Rembrandt: Britain’s Discovery of the Master

Scottish National Gallery, 7th July to 14th October

In 1629, Rembrandt’s sombre but exquisite painting The Artist’s Mother arrived in Britain, a gift to Charles I, sparking a craze for the Dutchman’s work that has lasted nearly 400 years. This exhibition gathers together portraits, landscapes, prints and drawings by the master from all over Britain as well as those by artists he influenced. It will include two 1634 portraits of a Dutch couple living in Norfolk, the Rev Johannes Elison and his wife Maria Bockenolle.

Yves Klein

Blenheim Palace, 18th July to 7th October

Lying on a beach with friends in 1946, Yves Klein claimed the sky as his own. That infinite blue became his central subject and the intense ultramarine paint it inspired, trademarked International Klein Blue (IKB), his essential medium. This wild boy of French art, who died aged 34, would have been 90 this year. In his honour, Blenheim is mounting the most comprehensive exhibition of his work in the UK to date.