Our weekend arts and culture picks, from Silo to Ed Sheeran

It’s coronation weekend in the UK, and whether you’re looking to experience it in full or avoid it like the plague, there’s no shortage of cultural ways to pass the time.

To help you filter out the good from the bad, The Independent is here with our weekly Arts Agenda, in which our critics and arts editors have their say on the latest releases from across the worlds of literature, music, theatre, art, film and TV.

This week, chief art critic Mark Hudson highlights an essential retrospective from the seminal Blk Art Group collective. Arts editor Jessie Thompson recommends the latest uncanny novel from Deborah Levy, and heralds the start of a new season at Shakespeare’s Globe. Features editor Adam White finds the fun in three tonally disparate cinematic releases – including a new Marvel blockbuster and the brilliant Return to Seoul – while music editor Roisin O’Connor found herself an unlikely admirer of Ed Sheeran’s latest release. Finishing up the list is TV editor Ellie Harrison, who looks at Apple TV+’s buzzy new sci-fi thriller Silo.

Luxury and Power: Persia to Greece

A dazzling array of ancient luxury goods on a scale, and exhibiting a degree of near superhuman refinement, that puts the baubles of today’s oligarchs to shame. Alexander the Great may have trashed the Iranian Empire that produced this glittering hoard, but he retained the Eastern tradition of political gift-giving, to become a fact of European life into our own time. British Museum, until 13 Aug

Saint Francis of Assisi

An ambitious exhibition that brings together an extraordinary range of art to demonstrate why the medieval saint’s “spiritual radicalism” is still relevant today. Masterpieces from the gallery’s collection by Sassetta, Botticelli and Zurbaran sit beside international loans from figures as diverse as Caravaggio, Stanley Spencer, Antony Gormley and Richard Long. National Gallery, until 30 July

The more things change….. Examining the legacies of the Blk Art Group

An informal association of mostly Midlands-based students that came together in 1979, the Blk Art Group effectively invented Black British art, paving the way for the likes of Sonia Boyce and Steve McQueen. This show tells the group’s story in the gallery that housed their first major exhibition, with groundbreaking historical works and more recent pieces from the original core members. Wolverhampton Art Gallery, until 9 July

Mark Hudson, chief art critic

August Blue by Deborah Levy

Deborah Levy is back in the land of the uncanny for her new novel, a story about a woman who encounters a stranger who looks just like her. Awarded five stars by our chief book critic Martin Chilton, the latest book from the two-time Booker-shortlisted author is the perfect heady, evocative bank holiday read.

The Seaside: England’s Love Affair by Madeleine Bunting

We all like to be beside the seaside, but the question is: will the weather be nice enough this bank holiday weekend to actually go there? If not, maybe pick up a copy of Madeleine Bunting’s intriguing new book, which journeys from Scarborough to Blackpool to unpack our English obsession with the sites of sand and sticks of rock.

Jessie Thompson, arts editor

Mark Gatiss and Johnny Flynn in ‘The Motive and the Cue’

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3

Marvel has been drowning of late in tepid reviews and (for them) flat box office numbers, so the studio has probably breathed a sigh of relief that Guardians 3 has drawn decent early notices. This final entry in James Gunn’s ramshackle space franchise explores the tragic origins of Bradley Cooper’s Rocket Raccoon, while Maria Bakalova and Will Poulter make their MCU debuts as a talking dog and a golden man, respectively. Cinema! In cinemas now

One True Loves

Hollywood’s mission to adapt every one of Taylor Jenkins Reid’s beloved-by-BookTok novels continues here, with Shang-Chi’s Simu Liu, Hamilton’s Phillipa Soo and not-a-Hemsworth-but-may-as-well-be Australian hunk Luke Bracey leading this treacly romance. The three of them become embroiled in a love triangle when Soo’s Emma discovers that her apparently long-dead husband (Bracey) has in fact been stuck on a desert island for four years, threatening her impending nuptials to childhood BFF Sam (Liu). Cinema! Streaming on Prime Video now

Ed Sheeran photographed outside court last week

‘Silo’ is released on Apple TV+

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