May diary: this month’s must-see events and exhibitions

1 May 2018
Reading Time
6 minute read

This month there are a flurry of great new art and design shows opening in London, New York and beyond, and the It’s Nice That team has selected their must-sees. Don’t miss the new Rose Wylie exhibition in Mayfair, nor Nataal’s all-female survey of new African photography in Brooklyn. Elsewhere, there’s two new retrospectives opening at the brilliant Louisiana Museum, and a major Alexander Calder show at Hauser & Wirth in (hopefully) sunny Somerset.

Documenting Youth Culture
10 May 2018, 19:00
Barbican, London

A panel discussion exploring the important role that photographs and magazines play in recording youth culture. The panel includes acclaimed Magnum photographer Chris Steele-Perkins, Jamie Brett from Youth Club Archive and Gabriele Rohmann from the Berlin Archive of Youth Culture.

Rose Wylie: Lolita’s House
20 April – 26 May
David Zwirner, London

British artist Rose Wylie is renowned for her instantly recognisable colourful and dynamic paintings. Her creations may appear simple at first glance, but Rose’s art draws on a range of cultural artefacts like film, fashion photography and sports to explore the shape-shifting qualities of memory. David Zwirner’s month-long exhibition displays new works by the artist, including her largest painting to date; an expansive ten-panel snake that wraps its way around an entire room in the Mayfair gallery. Additionally, the exhibition will also feature custom made zines made by Rose and published by David Zwirner Books.

London: 1968
Tate Britain, London
7 May – 31 October

A must see exhibition for art and graphic design fanatics alike, London: 1968 at Tate Britain this May examines the creative interpretations of protests in May 1968, taking place 50 years ago in Paris and around the globe. A “watershed in postwar social and political history,” the exhibition includes posters made by the Camden Poster Workshop, an activity open to all who had a cause they wanted to communicate graphically. Accompanied by a film made by Patricia Holland on the occupancy of Hornsey School of Art carried out by its students and archive material documenting the socially conscious activities of artists too. “Just as the student protestors were questioning the political, social and cultural establishment, these artists were questioning the nature of the art object.”

Alexander Calder – From the Stony River to the Sky
26 May – 9 September
Hauser & Wirth Somerset

This major solo show of work by sculptor Alexander Calder mostly features works never before exhibited in the UK. 80 pieces will be on display, shown through all five spaces at the gallery plus large-scale outdoor works in the gardens. It spans his iconic mobiles and wire sculptures as well as carved figures, paintings, jewellery, furniture and domestic objects – such as a chess set.

Juno Calypso – What To Do With A Million Years
16 May – 23 June
TJ Boulting, London

Built 26 feet under the ground by Avon cosmetics founder Gerry Anderson, a kitsch 1960s bunker is the scene for photographer Juno Calypso’s latest series of self-portraits. Each of the rooms in this disaster-proof cave are eerily preserved, and during Juno’s solitary stay she also found pamphlets on cryogenics. The series is a creepy testament to the beauty industry’s quest for eternal life.


Ronan Mckenzie: Elizabeth, 2017, from the series Girls

Nataal’s New African Photography III
4 – 13 May
Red Hook Labs, Brooklyn, New York

Nataal’s upcoming show, co-hosted by Red Hook Labs, features an all-female line up: Fatoumata Diabaté (Mali), Rahima Gambo (Nigeria), Keyezua (Angola), Alice Mann (South Africa), Ronan Mckenzie (UK) and Ruth Ossai (UK/Nigeria). From a range of fresh perspectives come contemporary works that address a diverse set of concerns relating to representation, gender and identity. New African Photography III also marks the launch of Nataal’s debut publication – a 336-page magazine showcasing artists who are building diverse narrative in and about the spirit of Africa.

Gabriele Münter
3 May – 19 August
Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Denmark

Louisiana Museum has two new shows opening this month, one centred on German painter Gabriele Münter and the other on American artist Ed Ruscha. The former is lesser known and is the first comprehensive retrospective survey of her work in several decades, having usually been shown in the context of broader displays on German Expressionism or focused on her relationship and collaboration with Wassily Kandinsky. 130 works will be exhibited, covering the whole of Münter’s active period.

Flash: Photographs by Harold Edgerton from The Whitney’s Collection
March 30 – ongoing
The Whitney, New York

Diving deep into the Whitney archives is an exhibition displaying a medium of photography through one pioneering artist, Harold Edgerton. An engineer and photographer, Harold developed flash photography in the 1930s, allowing “him to photograph objects and events moving faster than the eye can perceive,” the gallery explains. “Combining technical insight and an aesthetic sensibility, Edgerton’s photographs give unprecedented clarity of the physical world and reveal the magic of everyday life.” With photographs selected by the assistant curator Carrie Springer, the exhibition spans 40 photographs taken from the 1930s – 1960s. From household products to sport events, Harold Edgerton’s lens enhancing approach changed the way the we photograph today.

ModMag NY
30 May
Parsons School of Design, New York

After five editions in London, magCulture is bringing its conference ModMag to NYC. The day will bring European publications to the American stage as well as celebrating New York’s “game-changing” editors, says magCulture. Speakers include The New York Times Magazine’s Gail Bichler, MacGuffin’s Kirsten Algera, The Lubalin Centre curator Alexander Tochilovsky, Apartamento’s Omar Sosa, Migrant Journal’s Justinien Tribillon and Isabel Seiffert, and creative director Richard Turley.

Typo Berlin
17 – 19 May
Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin

Typo Berlin is a huge, annual conference focused on graphic design, illustration, communication and advertising, with around 1,600 attendees. This year’s speakers include Briar Levit, director of the Graphic Means documentary, Frank Rausch, Team Thursday, Annie Atkins, Timothy Goodman and Alex Mecklenburg.

Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination
10 May – 8 October
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Heavenly Bodies will explore fashion’s relationship with the Catholic Church, opening a dialogue between 20 and 21st century fashion and medieval art. The exhibition will feature 150 works in total including designs by the likes of Cristóbal Balenciaga, Azzedine Alaïa, John Galliano and Raf Simons. In an unprecedented move, the Vatican has also loaned 50 pieces, like papal robes, jewellery pieces and ecclesiastic treasures, many of which have never been seen by the public before.

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