TASMANIA baring all down under
Australia’s southernmost state isn’t known for its balmy waters, but at last year’s Dark MOFO (above) so many nutters braved the -4°C temperatures for a nude swim as the winter-solstice sun rose that the event’s organisers ran out of towels. Curated by the Museum of Old and New Art, the ten-day arts-and-music festival is a bacchanalian binge of epic proportions. This year, St Vincent tops the bill, crooning dirges of dread, lust and sadness. Make time to view experimental art in an abandoned shipyard, listen to Electric Wizard, and gather around burning braziers to feast on flame-cooked food prepared under the stars.
VIENNA KLIMT’S GOLDEN GIRLS
June 22nd–November 4th
If an excuse was needed to linger over the glittering art of Klimt, the master of Austria’s avant-garde, the centenary of his death this year would be the perfect one. Although his influences were varied, ranging from Byzantine mosaics to the bold patterns of Indian silks, one remained constant: women. The female form is at the centre of an exhibition at the Leopold Museum. On display is his final masterpiece, “The Bride” (left), a riot of colour and sinuous, sensual lines. His erotically charged paintings often offended the sensibilities of contemporary Viennese society; today they are beloved. This exhibition demands a pilgrimage to celebrate his life, work and women.
LONDON A STRONG BROW
June 16th–November 4th
She’s immediately recognisable: dark hair pulled back and crowned with bright flowers and ribbons, red lips, and those unmistakable strong eyebrows stretching across her face like a bird’s wings. Frida Kahlo, the Mexican painter and feminist, had a personal style as distinctive as her surrealist art. A new show at the Victoria and Albert Museum features 200 objects from La Casa Azul, the cobalt-blue house in which she spent most of her short life. Don’t miss her prosthetic leg (pictured) – complete with red leather boot – as well as the hand-painted corsets and back braces that she was forced to wear after a bus crash at the age of 18.
SANTA FE DESERT OPERA
June 29th–August 25th
The opera house in Santa Fe (below) stands out like a spaceship among the desert plains and mountains. Every year it hosts an opera festival, featuring an eclectic repertoire which ranges from the popular to the obscure. This year’s shows include Puccini’s “Madame Butterfly” and Bernstein’s comic “Candide”. Attending the festival is a theatrical experience in itself. In an elegant interpretation of that all-American tradition, the tailgate picnic, opera-goers concoct elaborate spreads and decorate their parking-lot tables with candelabra and bouquets.
Tokyo Crowning glories
June 28th–September 17th
The origins of the French jeweller now known as Chaumet stretch back to the court of the Emperor Napoleon. Prized especially for tiaras, which were given away by the powerful to seal political friendships – Napoleon gave one to the Vatican – Chaumet drew inspiration from the great art movements, especially the Belle Epoque. “The worlds of Chaumet: The art of jewellery since 1780” at the Mitsubishi Ichigokan Museum explores the inspiration found in art, nature and Japanese culture for 300 jewels, paintings, drawings and objets d’art. Perhaps the most important piece on show is the Leuchtenberg tiara, an ode to naturalism with trembleuse setting from the 1830s: its fat emerald and diamond flowers sit on tiny springs and shiver with movement. The most unusual piece is the Octopus necklace: carved from frosted rock crystal, it takes its cues from surrealism. A feast for the eyes.