Summer the best



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Summer the best

Some trips over the summer to the V&A, Royal Academy, Tate Modern, Wellcome Collection, Design Museum, British Museum and House of Illustration. Yeah loads.

The RA’s Summer Exhibition is always a highlight of mine – I just love walking in and being overwhelmed by the sheer number of frames, how they pack the walls from floor to ceiling, room after room. Hashtag art. Olafur Eliasson’s show was great fun too, particularly his 45-metre-long headline installation of blinding fog. Also a pleasure to see was the impact of Marie Neurath’s graphic design as a contribution to children’s learning of science and the world, showcased by a lovely collection of colour books published by Max Parrish from around the 1940s, at King’s Cross’s House of Illustration. Little but cosy.

They’re all fun and inspiring, but some exhibitions really stand out. I remember the impact of Alexander McQueen’s massive retrospective at the V&A a few years back and coming out of it absolutely in awe. Christian Dior’s in-demand show at the museum’s newish gallery wing explores his past collections and in particular the stories of each creative director in such rich depth – fascinating to see how they have over the years each interpreted the Dior brand. I think Gianfranco Ferré’s pieces caught my eye most, his shapes and structures.

The Design Museum reveals Stanley Kubrick’s process in impressive detail, curating some really cool objects and moments (over 500 apparently) including lots of raw note-taking, scripts and scheduling, storyboard communication between Kubrick and Saul Bass, even an actual Oscar. Pentagram, who designed the London exhibit, describe my favourite section as “a central ‘backstage’ room filled with production details, including the research, planning and design of every aspect of his films in his meticulous style.”

Another one that I thought presented design processes really well was Manga at the British Museum. It doesn’t follow one single process or creator, but it outlines the intricacies of each stage from sketch and trace all the way through to the animation and filmmaking. At the very end, there’s a clip of Hayao Miyazaki sitting with tears in his eyes as he watches a scene paired to orchestral music for the very first time, which was a sweet thing.

So, where to next?