The latest on books and the arts


The Friday Arts Diary

Our cultural picks for the week ahead.

New Statesman
"Cycle London" by comic artist Luke Pearson, on display at the London Transport Museum. Pearson will appear this weekend at "BD & Comics Passion Festival" in London. (Image: Nobrow Publishing)


Institut Français, London: SW7: BD & Comics Passion Festival, 24 – 27 May

"Bandes dessinée" literally translates from the French as “drawn strip”. It is from this phrase that we took the notion of the “comic strip”, and it lends its name this week to one of the UK’s premier comics festivals. Hosted jointly by the Institut Français and Comica Festvial, the Bandes Dessinées (BD) and Comics Passion Festival features a four day event schedule of renowned comics creators, including Guy Delisle, Luke Pearson, Tom Gauld, Grzegorz Rosinksi and Jonathan Ross. Also expect music, performances, workshops and bookstall from some of the best independent comic vendors.

Various London Venues, London: Chelsea Fringe Festival, until 10 June

Embracing Chelsea’s floral heritage whilst stepping out of the ticketed cloisters of the annual flower show, the brand new Chelsea Fringe Festival calls itself “a wonderful mix of public spectacles, horticultural happenings, and community celebration”. The three week festival will be staging a huge range of free events and quirky installations across the capital including “edible bus stop” gardens in South London, a “Floating Forrest” designed by Alexander Reford and built from 600 wooden disks suspended in the Grand Union Canal and a mobile beer garden powered by bicycle.


Olympia Exhibition Centre, London W14: London Antiquarian Book Fair, 24 – 26 May

Book lovers  – listen up! This weekend sees antique texts take centre stage at London’s long-running Antiquarian Book Fair, presented by the Antiquarian Booksellers Association (ABA) in collaboration with the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers (ILAB). The Olympia Exhibition Hall will be filled with books, maps, prints, ephemera and manuscripts, with an atmosphere that encourages browsing and the indulging of curiosity. The fair will also feature tours and a popular lecture series. Tickets are free but must be reserved online in advance.


The Turner Contemporary, Margate: She Lay Down Deep Beneath the Sea - Tracy Emin at the Turner Contemporary, until 23 September

Tracy Emin’s first major solo exhibition at the Turner Contemporary, She Lay Down Deep Beneath the Sea, was specially conceived for this exceptional space in Margate, the town where the artist grew up. She credits Margate as the inspiration for a number of her most famous works. Here, she brings together pieces exploring themes of romance, sensuality, eroticism and love. Expect drawings, monoprints, sculptures and neons, both pre-existing and newly created, spanning the range of Emin’s ouvre.


Brick Lane Yard, London, E1: Art Car Boot Fair, 27 May

The organisers of this one-day festival, now in its ninth year, were probably quite pleased when the Wall Street Journal called it “the funkiest car boot fair around”. Art Car Boot is an art fair that aims to put the emphasis on art as accessible, affordable, and interactive. Boasting its “best line-up yet”, this year will see over 70 artists offering up their work, including Sir Peter Blake, Polly Morgan, Billy Childish, Emin International and many more. Staged in a car park off Brick Lane, the fair also ramps up the entertainment with vintage cars, a “handbag disco” and food stalls hosted by St John’s Bread and Wine, Rod and Line, and Nude Espresso.

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