Looking for some inspiration for your next museum visit? This month, we're taking a tour of four of the world's most exciting and innovative museum exhibitions with Tim Marlow, Director of the Design Museum, London.


V&A Museum, London
24 June 2023–7 April 2024

Cher, Elton John and Diana Ross at Rock Awards, Santa Monica Civic Auditorium 1975 © Mark Sullivan/Contour by Getty Images

DIVA will showcase over 250 objects, spanning fashion, photography, design, costume, music, and live performance. This is an exhibition in two acts and the first of its kind to give a museological voice to everyone from opera goddesses, to the stars of the silent screen, to Hollywood in its hay day, right up to the present.

Spectacular costumes range from those worn by Maria Callas in Norma and Marilyn Monroe in Some Like It Hot, to outfits designed for Tina Turner and Janelle Monae, not to mention Elton John’s 50th birthday suit.

Canova: Sketching in Clay

National Gallery of Art, Washington DC
11 June–9 October 2023

Antonio Canova, Study of a Boy, c. 1790–1800 © Photographed by Luigi Spina. Courtesy of the National Gallery of Art, Washington DC

The grace, serenity and poise of Canova’s marble sculptures and his mastery of material still seem miraculous, with so little a trace of the artist’s hand being visible.

With over two thirds of his surviving models on display, Canova: Sketching in Clay is the first exhibition in over 50 years to focus on the artist’s terracottas, and it may help reassess a reputation previously very much set in stone.

Alex Katz

Museum Voorlinden, Wassenaar
10 June–1 October 2023

Alex Katz, Blue Umbrella #2, 1972 © Artwork: Alex Katz, 1972. Photograph: Pictoright Amsterdam, 2023

The 95-year-old Alex Katz, emerged to prominence back in the 1950s both in reaction to Abstract Expressionism and as an important precursor of Pop Art, but he remains a singular figure in Postwar American art.

His work, of pure colours, smooth surfaces and delicate lines, had a profound impact on advertising and graphic design. Alex Katz, a collaboration between the institution and the artist, featuring both Katz’s portraits and landscapes, continues to emphasise that Katz is not just a painter’s painter, revered by numerous younger artists, but also a painter more than capable of striking a broader public cord.

You, Me and the Balloons

Factory International, Manchester
30 June–28 August 2023

Yayoi Kusama © YAYOI KUSAMA. Courtesy of Ota Fine Arts, Victoria Miro, and David Zwirner

Although not fully unveiled until October, Factory International in Manchester will welcome its first visitors in June and be a key venue for the Manchester International Festival this summer, hosting Yayoi Kusama’s You, Me and the Balloons – the largest ever immersive installation by the globally renowned Japanese artist.

The building, designed by Ellen van Loon from Rem Koolhaus’ practice, OMA, will span over 13,000 sq metres. An incredibly ambitious space for cultural activity in a city that feels more than ready to feature more prominently on the international stage.

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