There’s more than the Coronation going on this month in London! Here’s a selection of events not to miss if you’re visiting London in the beautiful month of May!
Luxury and power: Persia to Greece
Luxury and power: Persia to Greece
4 May – 13 August 2023
British Museum: Joseph Hotung Great Court Gallery
Major exhibition on luxury in the Persian empire
This major exhibition at the British Museum will explore the relationship between luxury and power in the Middle East and southeast Europe between 550-30 BC. This was a period when the Persian empire of ancient Iran clashed with the cities and kingdoms of Greece before it was conquered by Alexander, king of Macedon, known to history as ‘Alexander the Great’. Luxury and power: Persia to Greece moves beyond ancient Greek spin to delve into a more complex story of luxury and power in ancient Iran, Athens, and the world of Alexander. Drawing on exquisite objects from Afghanistan to Italy, it explores how the royal Persian court used objects of exquisite luxury as markers of authority, defining a distinct style that was copied by different social classes throughout the empire. Early democratic Athens rejected Persian culture as decadent yet adopted luxury in intriguing ways. Alexander then swept aside the Persian empire and ushered in a new age in which eastern and western styles of luxury were fused.
V&A Photography Centre – Phase Two
Nearest Station: South Kensington
Part of the V&A’s ambitious FuturePlan, Phase Two of the V&A’s Photography Centre creates the largest permanent gallery dedicated to photography in the UK. Four new gallery spaces will be added to the museum’s critically acclaimed Photography Centre, enabling visitors to see and experience more of the V&A’s world-leading collection and understand photography’s diverse history and extensive impact on our lives. The transformation includes the restoration of the gallery spaces to reveal original architectural features and to return them to their original purpose as a place to display art.
Saint Francis of Assisi
6 May – 30 July 2023
Nearest Station: Charing Cross
The first major art exhibition in the UK to explore the life and legacy of Saint Francis of Assisi (1182–1226), one of history’s most inspirational and revered figures. The exhibition presents the art and imagery of Saint Francis from the 13th century to today and examines how his spiritual radicalism, his commitment to the poor, his love of God and nature, as well as his striving for peace between enemies, and his openness to dialogue with other religions, make him a figure of enormous relevance to our times.
Capturing the Moment
17 May 2023 – 7 May 2024
Nearest Station: Blackfriars
This is a celebration of modern and contemporary painting, drawing on the rich holdings of the Yageo Foundation Collection. The exhibition showcases how painters have captured moments in time on the canvas, and how painting and photography have influenced each other. It features artists spanning the last 80 years from Andy Warhol, Jeff Wall, and Lucian Freud to Michael Armitage, Louise Lawler, and Nijdeka Akunyili Crosby.
The Offbeat Sari
19 May – 17 September 2023
Nearest Station: High Street Kensington
The sari in urban India manifests as a site for design innovation, an expression of identity, and a crafted object carrying layers of cultural meanings. Curated by the Design Museum’s Priya Khanchandani, this exhibition unravels its numerous forms, demonstrating the sari to be a metaphor for the layered and complex definitions of India today. It brings together on loan dozens of the finest saris of our time from designers, wearers and craftspeople in India.
MORE MAY 2023 EVENTS
Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre: May–Sept 2023 (Cultural hub in the beautiful surroundings of a Royal Park). RHS Chelsea Flower Show: 23–27 May 2023 (Annual prestigious flower show).