Ming Smith, Grace on Motor Cycle, 1978 © Courtesy of the artist and Pippy Houldsworth Gallery, London.
Happy Barbenheimer weekend!
Destroyer of worlds
Christopher Nolan is no stranger to delivering a box office-breaking epic and his latest blockbuster looks to be one of his best yet. Adapting the Pulitzer Prize-winning book American Prometheus: The Triumph And Tragedy Of J. Robert Oppenheimer by Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin, Nolan brings to life the story of one of the founding fathers of atomic weaponry during WWII, exploring his internal strife when their deadly power was put to use.
Cillian Murphy takes on the titular role, reconnecting with Nolan having previously starred in Inception (2010), The Dark Knight Rises (2012) and Dunkirk (2017), while Emily Blunt stars as Oppenheimer’s wife Kitty. FYI, we’d recommend seeing Oppenheimer first if you’re partaking in the Barbenheimer double whammy this weekend, because you might need cheering up after.
Oppenheimer is out in cinemas now.
An important legacy
Arriving at Somerset House this weekend, Black Venus is an exhibition examining the representation and legacy of Black women in visual culture, through the lens of the Hottentot Venus, the Sable Venus and the Jezebel. Curating the work of eighteen Black female and non-binary artists, including the likes of Carrie Mae Weems, Renee Cox, Lorna Simpson, Kara Walker, Sonia Boyce and Delphine Diallo, the showcase meditates on the myriad of ways Black femininity can be expressed while reclaiming the reality of fetishisation and objectification.
Black Venus runs at Somerset House until September 24th, more info here.
Ming Smith, Instant Model, 1976
Let’s go party!
We’ve been dealt a hefty dose of Barbiemania over the past few weeks, so much so that if you Google ‘Barbie movie’ your browser will literally turn pink and sparkle (give it a try). Promising to make everyone’s bubblegum pink dreams come true, Greta Gerwig’s Barbie stars Margot Robbie as Barbie and Ryan Gosling as a bleach blonde Ken.
Set in Barbieland (duh), here Barbie is faced with the decision to continue living in plastic perfection or experience life in the real world. Other versions of the iconic doll are played by the likes of America Ferrera, Hari Nef, Emma Mackey and Dua Lipa while Michael Cera, Will Ferrell, Alexandra Shipp and Simu Liu also star.
Barbie is out in cinemas now.
Reflections for now
The first major UK exhibition on American multi-disciplinary artist Carrie Mae Weems has arrived at the Barbican. Best known for investigating themes of identity, desire, power and social justice, the showcase will bring together photographs, films and installations from across three influential decades of her career. Titled Reflections for Now, highlights include images from her 2016 project Kitchen Table Series, exploring power dynamics in the domestic space, and her most recent work, The Shape of Things, which dissects the history of violence in the US.
Reflections for Now runs at the Barbican until September 3rd, more info here.
Carrie Mae Weems, ‘If I Ruled the World’, 2004. © Carrie Mae Weems. Courtesy of the artist, Jack Shainman Gallery, New York/ Galerie Barbara Thumm, Berlin.
Boogie for ya biryani
Gunpowder founder Harneet Baweja has opened some new digs in Notting Hill, taking the excellence of his Indian cuisine and adding a sprinkling of disco to the mix. Taking inspiration from the late 70s Indian disco era, the restaurant boasts a custom-made Marshall jukebox to play Bollywood hits and vintage vinyl, while works by Indian artists Jogen Chowdhury and Rabin Mondal line the walls. As for the food, hearty cuisine takes its flavours from the old Punjab Empire, as naans, roti and rice are served alongside dishes such as a lasooni tangdi kebab, chicken malai curry, paneer tikka shashlik and lobster dum biryani.
Empire Empire is located at 16 All Saints Rd, W11 1HH, more info here.