A guide to July’s must-see exhibitions

Five museum shows for you to soak up.

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Out of Fashion, photography by Olya Oleinic, copyright Centraal Museum/Maison the Faux

This entire month, Glamcult is dedicating its online platform to the art of curating. Discussing the current state we find ourselves in, which besides everything young and experimental is most notably a culture of curating, we’re delving into the creative process of selecting, organizing, prioritizing and presenting individual or collective narratives and artistic expressions. Perhaps most apparent are the new meanings that community platforms like Instagram have given to these skill sets. Bombarded daily by filtered, highlighted, touched-up or untouched images capturing interests and depicting identity, it’s no longer about “who did it first” but “who does it best”.

To kick off the theme, we thought it would only be right to curate our own to-do list for the month of July, coming with the one-month guarantee of a mind-stimulating time. Be aware, however, that the expiry date on the suggestions below varies between the end of July to the start of September. That’s why we’re advising this month as the designated time for you to slot in a museum-hopping experience.

Out of Fashion—until 22 October

Putting a limelight on the conservation of fashion and clothing, Centraal Museum Utrecht has set up a new fashion installation that will make you forever ponder your dry-cleaning choices. Shrinking, discolouration and stains… we’ve all been there. The struggle to keep any clothing piece in the state you bought it in is real. More pressing, however, is the question if fashion can be conserved and made to stand the test of time. Presenting a total of 100 of the museum’s best fashion archive picks, you’re allowed to engage with 18th-century finesse and present-day experimentalism whilst getting your mind wrapped around the questions when exactly an item of clothing, trend piece or fashion statement dies out. Art directed by our dear friends of Maison the Faux, we’re adamant that this one shouldn’t be skipped on your museum-hopping journey.

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Bester I, Mayotte, 2015, ontwikkelgelatinezilverdruk. © Zanele Muholi. Courtesy of Stevenson, Cape Town/Johannesburg and Yancey Richardson, New York.

Zanele Muholi—until 15 October

As her first solo exhibition to go on show in The Netherlands, the Stedelijk Museum is presenting the important, politically charged work of Zanele Muholi. The South African activist and photographer is not only re-writing queer and black narratives, but by doing so also opens up a space to the queer community in South Africa. More than simply claiming a spot on a white museum wall, unseen works from her acclaimed series Faces and Phases and Brave Beauties, as well as a series of self-portraits, all mark out the controversy and stigmatization surrounding Muholi’s subjects. Accompanied by a screening of the documentary We Live in Fear (2013), be compelled as to how this visual artist debunks a normalized narrative and addresses hate with stark sensitivity.

Crooked Elbow, Serpent Brain—until 16 July

As it’s holiday season in the land of the non-working, mark out any or several days leading up to this Saturday as the talented Master of Fine Art graduates from the Piet Zwart Institute will be showcasing their diverse and experimental work for a total of four more days. As the exhibition, set in various locations in the gallery district of Rotterdam, also allows you to engage in their research-based and reflective work this coming weekend—there’s no excuse holding you back from soaking up a little bit of off-screen inspiration.

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Anita Corbin, Carrie Kirkpatrick (left) and Gill Soper outside the toilets in Crystal Palace, London in November 1980

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Anita Corbin, Carrie Kirkpatrick (left) and Gill Soper outside the toilets in Crystal Palace, London in April 2017

Visible Girls Revisited—until 11 August

If you were to look back in time at London’s street scene somewhere between the ’80s, ’90s and ’00s, you’d be able to recognize a skinhead at a glance, separate the punk heads from the scooter boys, and you’d know exactly where the garage scene played out its days. At the heart of it all, British photographer Anita Corbin captured young women, all members from various subcultures, and compiled them into a photographic study, not knowing at the time that more than 30 years later her follow-up would reveal a noticeable transformation in her subjects. Perhaps most visible from the ethnographer’s exploration is that identity is anything but fixed. Entitled Visible Girls, allow yourself to be lead on a visual journey in time through intriguing double portraits of the same women—then and now.

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Untitled, Watts, California, 1967 © Photography by Gordon Parks. Courtesy of and copyright The Gordon Parks Foundation

Gordon Parks, I Am Youuntil 6 September

Recently dropping the hard-hitting video for ELEMENT., Kendrick Lamar sent off a compelling visual message reminding us all that institutionalised forms of racism still live on in the age of Tamir Rice and Travyon Martin. In it, the politically engaged rap artist makes a series of visual references to the acclaimed work of American photojournalist Gordon Parks, highlighting the current relevance of the activist’s mediations on politics, race and oppression.

To see the original work that Kendrick’s video cites, visit this expo at Foam Amsterdam. Titled I Am You, the photographic display similarly pays homage to Parks’ groundbreaking and stirring work, accentuating the relevance of the photographer’s oeuvre, which spans from fashion photography to raw-edged portraiture taken during the civil rights movement. Contemplate on Parks’ weapon of choice and how through it he criticises violence as a means to reach social justice, champions equal rights, nuances marginalized communities and comments on mass incarnation, injustices and social division.

Photography lead image: Olya Oleinic

Keep an eye on our homepage for more ‘Curators’ theme features!