The Culture24/7: Art picks from the Cultural Olympiad

By Mark Sheerin | 21 June 2012 | Updated: 12 June 2012
Colour photo of smiling people in a grid
Yoko Ono, Smile (2010)© Yoko Ono
Not every last show in the UK over the coming months is directly inspired by the 2012 Games, so don’t believe the hype. But there is still plenty to capture the spirit of the season while providing world class experiences of visual arts.

We Face Forward: Art from West Africa Today, galleries across Manchester, until September 16 2012

This Summer, Manchester is home to a city wide celebration of West African art. It promises to defy expectations and put a dynamic new spin on art in the developing world. Venues include Manchester Art Gallery, and the Gallery of Costume at Platt Hall.

BMW Art Cars, a central london carpark, July 21 – August 6 2012

Art lovers and car enthusiasts don’t usually find themselves jostling to look at the same exhibition stands, but that could change this summer with the arrival in the UK of 17 BMWs all designed by leading artists. Warhol, Koons and Hockney are all guilty. How ghastly can it be?

The Tanks, Tate Modern, London, July 18 – October 28 2012

Neither white cube not black box, but something else, we’re told. Tate’s new home for performance is a pair of disused oil tanks from Bankside’s past as a power station. Tania Bruguera and Sung Hwan Kim are among those lined up for the summer, but the programme is anything but static.
Helen Petts - Throw Them Up and Let Them Sing, Hatton Gallery, Newcastle, from 28 June – 18 August, Southbank Centre, London, August 31 – September 9, The Sage Gateshead, 30 June, all 2012

Kurt Schwitters was deemed a degenerate artist in Nazi Germany, where he compounded his guilt by having epilepsy. This film tells the story of his uncertain escape via an island off Norway and eventual settlement in Ambleside in the Lake District.

Yoko Ono – IMAGINE PEACE, London 2012 screens throughout the UK, June 21 to September 9 2012

If you've been put off by the lengthy list of corporate sponsors, let Yoko Ono bring you the real message of the 2012 Games: in other words, a prescription for world peace in 24 languages. Better still a complete show can be found at The Serpentine.

Jeremy Deller – Sacrilege, surprise locations around the UK, June 21 to September 9 2012

Not since the movie Spinal Tap has anyone had so much with Britain’s iconic standing stones. Instead of shrinking them, Deller has recreated Stone Henge as a 35m diameter bouncy castle. Follow its progress on Twitter here.

Frieze Projects East, London, July 1 – August 12 2012

Whereas many events this Summer will put inclusivity before critical rigour, Frieze magazine and art fair can be relied upon to bring some challenging contemporary art to the party in East London. Results can be found near the Olympic village and on

More on the venues and organisations we've mentioned:
  • Back to top
  • | Print this article
  • | Email this article
  • | Bookmark and Share