Offbeat Summer Art 2023

Words by
Honey Wyatt

22nd May 2023

Our Offbeat Art series is back for summer, and showcasing an array of work from both emerging and established artists that reflects their view on the world. Honey Wyatt shares the best off-the-beaten track art shows for summer 2023. 


Delve beyond the blockbuster surface of London’s art scene our curation of the best of London’s offbeat art to see in summer 2023. Learn how to spot fakes with Art and Artifice at The Courtauld Gallery, or reflect on the small joys of life with never-seen-before work from British artist Patrick Caulfield at Josh Lilley.  There's also two worthwhile shows dedicated to environmental art and activism. 

Pass the Peas at Josh Lilley
Patrick Caulfield
 self portrait

Patrick Caulfield
 self portrait, 1953. 
Oil on board 
48 x 56 cm
18 3/4 x 22 inches

Never seen before work by Patrick Caulfield is on show at Josh Lilley.

Spoons, vases and wine glasses don’t have to be boring, as post-war artist Patrick Caulfield’s work at Josh Lilley shows. By meditating on the small things in life, Caulfield’s still life paintings and sketches provide a lens into the thin line between the mundane and the extraordinary and show that functional objects can be the key to our inspiration.

Pass the Peas is on at Josh Lilley until 20 June. 

Dear Earth: Art and Hope in a Time of Crisis at Hayward Gallery
Dear Earth

© Andrea Bowers. Photography by Thomas Mueller

Step It Up Activist at Sand Key Reef, Key West, Florida, Part of North America's Only Remaining Coral Barrier Reef, 2009. Coloured pencil on paper. 56.52 x 76.2 cm. Courtesy of artist and Andrew Kreps Gallery.

Finding compassion for our planet is essential during a climate emergency, and the group show Dear Earth is here to prove that there is still hope for the future. Depicting feminist perspectives on our relationship with the earth, the Hayward Gallery asks visitors to consider the role of art in climate activism and how it can inspire a renewed sense of connection to the natural world. 

Dear Earth is on at the Hayward Gallery from 21 June - 3 September. 

Art and Artifice: Fakes from the Collection at Courtauld Gallery
Forgery in the manner of John Constable

Forgery in the manner of John Constable (1776 - 1837), Seascape, The Courtauld, London (Samuel Courtauld Trust)

Art and Artifice presents art that isn't what it seems

Everything is not what it seems, as The Courtauld reminds us with this displays of drawings, paintings and sculptures from their collection so good they were believed to be the real thing. From paintings in the style of Botticelli — to John Constable’s Seascape, Art and Artifice asks viewers to re-conceptualise art as they know it and explore a world of forgers who have become figures of notoriety for doing what they know best: other artists’ work. 

Art and Artifice: Fakes from the Collection is on at the Courtauld from 17 June to 8 October. Access is included with gallery entry, tickets from £9 here.

Civilization: The Way We Live Now at the Saatchi Gallery 
Above Zero, Olaf Otto Becker

Olaf Otto Becker, Point 660, 2, 08/2008 67°09’04’’N, 50°01’58’’W, Altitude 360M, from the series Above Zero, 2008 © Olaf Otto Becker

Civilization: The Way We Live Now explores the changing thread of humanity through eight chapters

Contemplate the lives of those who came before at Civilization, a compilation of work from 150 of the world’s most accomplished photographers, including conceptual photographer Richard Mosse and street photographer Dougie Wallace.

Leading visitors through eight chapters, the exhibition unpacks how people have found connections to each other through the urban environment, relationships, movement, their bodies, power and influence, conflict, how we find release, and new worlds on the horizon.

Humanity has never changed so quickly, so why not take a moment to look back at where we’ve come from and where we can possibly go from here? 

Civilization is on at Saatchi Gallery from 2 June to 17 September. Tickets are £10 for students and seniors and £16 for general admission. 

Lagos, Peckham, Repeat: Pilgrimage to the Lakes at South London Gallery
Adeyemi Michael

Adeyemi Michael, Entitled (still), 2018. Courtesy of the artist.

Lagos, Peckham, Repeat explores the links between Lagos and Peckham

Explore Peckham as you've never seen it before: through the eyes of over 10 British Nigerian and Nigerian artists’ sculpture, photography and film. See the sculptures of 2008 Turner prize nominee Yinka Shonibare or discover the award-winning films of Adeyemi Michael. 

After Nigerian independence in 1960, emigration between Britain and Nigeria steadily increased, thus creating ties between the two. Lagos, Peckham, Repeat explores the threads between Lagos and Peckham—one of the largest Nigerian diaspora communities in the UK, also known as ‘Little Lagos’— and how their residents have sought a sense of place in a contemporary metropolis. 

Lagos, Peckham, Repeat is on at South London Gallery from 5 July to 29 October and is free to attend.

Web(s) of Life at the Serpentine Gallery
Fly with Aerocene Pacha at the Serpentine Gallery

Fly with Aerocene Pacha, a project by Tomás Saraceno for an Aerocene era, was produced by the Aerocene Foundation and Studio Tomás Saraceno. Supported by Connect, BTS, curated by DaeHyung Lee

On the 25th of January 2020, 32 world records, recognised by FAI were set by Aerocene with Leticia Noemi Marques, flying with the message “Water and Life are Worth More than Lithium” written with the communities of Salinas Grandes and Laguna de Guayatayoc in Argentina, marking the most sustainable flight in human history.

Beware the arachnophobes among us— Web(s) of Life draws heavily on Argentinian-born, Berlin-based Tomás Saraceno’s research into and love of spiders. The artist, whose work has been exhibited at Palais de Tokyo in Paris, transforms the Serpentine gallery into a porous environment that responds to the landscape of Hyde Park and its weather conditions.

Within the gallery, absorb the spider webs and a disused church confessional booth that attracts the vibrations of spiders before stepping into the grounds of Kensington Gardens to interact with sculptures that summon surrounding wildlife, including birds, insects, foxes and ducks.

Web(s) of Life is on at the Serpentine Gallery from 1 June to 10 September. 

REBEL: 30 Years of London Fashion at the Design Museum
REBEL: 30 Years of London Fashion features over 300 designers and over 100 objects

Revel at 30 years of London fashion history at the Design Museum, which brings together over 300 designers and 100 objects, from garments to films, drawings and memorabilia.

Deconstructing the creative process of some of London fashion’s most innovative designers, Rebel also aims to inspire the next generation of designers, as it celebrates the 30th anniversary of British Fashion Council’s NEWGEN programme that supports the city’s best emerging fashion design talent.

Rebel opens to coincide with London Fashion Week 2023 on 16 September and runs until 11 February 2024. Tickets on sale soon. 

Punks, Princes and Protests: the Chronicles of Feliks Topolski 
Hippies (1970) Feliks Topolski
Topolski's work is on display at his studio for the first time since his death in 1989

If you thought 21st century Britain was divided over the Royal family, the work of Russian artist Feliks Topolski reminds us that this antagonism goes back decades. Towing the line between the establishment and disestablishment, Warsaw-born Topolski depicts the contradictions of 20th century society, from his portraits of the Royal family, with whom he was friendly, to the punk counter-culture scene of the 70s. 

Topolski’s work is on show at his original Southbank studio for the first time since his death in 1989. Punks, Princes and Protests is on at Topolski’s studio at 158 Hungerford Bridge, Concert Hall Approach, SE1 8XX until 15 July. 

Tickets are based on donations, which go to the Polish Social and Cultural Association, and can be reserved here.