May Diary: This month's must-see events and exhibitions

1 May 2019

As we head into May, a brilliant selection of exhibitions are opening up all over the world. From a monumental study on AI at the Barbican Centre in London, to the Costume Institute’s famous spring show at The Met in New York, to Gerhard Richter’s beautiful seascapes on display at The Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao. Whether you’re in Europe, America or beyond, we’ve got you covered!


Barbican Centre: AI: More Than Human

AI: More Than Human
The Barbican Centre, London
16 May – 26 Aug

This festival-esque exhibition will take place across the entire Barbican Centre, exploring the world of AI through both creative and scientific developments in the field. Featuring a mix of artist and researcher projects, this gigantic survey lets you investigate humankind’s ever-growing relationship with technology.


Image via South London Gallery. Cover of The Bookplace information booklet, c. 1978.

Back to The Bookplace
South London Gallery, London
14 May – 18 August 2019

South London Gallery’s upcoming May exhibition explores the history of The Bookplace, a community bookshop that operated at 13 Peckham High Street between 1977 and the mid-1990s. The centre also housed the Peckham Literacy Centre and the Peckham Publishing Project. The Bookplace and its intersecting projects offered support, resources and a platform for Peckham residents, in particular, people of colour, women and people from working-class backgrounds, to develop literacy skills and to publish and share their own stories.


Bastian Gallery: Cy Twombly: Natural History

Cy Twombly: Natural History
Bastian, London
26 April – 15 June 2019

Two of Cy Twombly’s most influential series of works as an artist, have just gone on display at the London gallery Bastian. Natural History I and II explores the relationship between natural, and human history, as well as our relentless desire to classify the unknown. Directly referencing Roman texts, this exhibition displays some of the artist’s most significant works in the late American painter’s repertoire. 


Mazel Galerie: Gaël Davrinche: Contemplations

Gaël Davrinche: Contemplations
Mazel Galerie, Singapore 
16 May – 30 June

The second solo exhibition by Mazel Galerie is dedicated to the prestigious French painter Gaël Davrinche, exhibiting his recent works at the gallery in Singapore. Gaël earned his reputation through a bevy of impressive technique and his ability to paint across a multitude of styles. Internationally acclaimed for his masterful use of colour and light, this latest exhibition demonstrates the artist’s versatility and uniqueness through the classical subject of flowers. 


ModMag New York 2019

ModMag New York 2019
Parsons School of Design, New York
29 May

Returning to Parsons School of Design, magazine conference ModMag – ran by London-based magazine heaven MagCulture – has its New York edition this month and its line-up has us itching with jealousy for those of you across the pond.

With a staggeringly good line-up, taking to the stage at this year’s edition will be New York Magazine’s director of photography Jody Quon, Lindsay magazine’s founder Beth Wilkinson, Douglas McGray co-founder and editor of Pop-Up Magazine and The California Sunday Magazine. It also includes some of our favourite magazine makers from the UK too, inviting gal-dem’s Charlie Brinkhurst-Cuff and creative director of The Gentlewoman, Veronica Ditting. One speaker not to be missed is of course, Nicholas Blechman of The New Yorker too.

Alongside its conference, MagCulture will also be running its shop out of the Vitsoe store. Coming to New York with their suitcases full of highlights from its shop in London, the MagCulture team will have “the best international titles alongside the magazines leading the way in the New York indie scene,” as well as a series of free events with local editors and art directors, including an interview with Adam Moss.


Sainsbury’s Centre for Visual Arts: WG Sebald: Far away – but from where?

WG Sebald: Far away – but from where?
Sainsbury’s Centre for Visual Arts, Norwich
11 May – 18 August 2019

One of the most intriguing European writers of the late-20th century, WG Sebald’s disorientating and multi-layered explorations of space and place won the acclaim of critics and readers alike. The former UEA professor makes a posthumous return (of sorts) to Norwich, in a show that uses his archive to explore the life and work of the write-cum-photographer. The exhibition will also showcase works by Tacita Dean, Tess Jaray and Julie Mehretu that relate or respond to his writing. 


Guggenheim: Gehard Richter: Seascapes

Gerhard Richter: Seascapes
Guggenheim, Bilbao
May 24, 2019 – September 9, 2019

Let’s be honest: Gerhard Richter is one of the best painters to ever pick up a brush. The crushingly real German dauber spent a chunk of the late-60s dedicated to reviving the noble seascape. While his contemporaries were edging into conceptualism or playing around with pop art, Richter was peering deep into the unknown. The results are simultaneously haunting and romantic. 

Offprint London 2019
Tate Modern, London
17 May – 19 May

The fifth instalment of Offprint London, the renowned publishing fair brings together a global selection of over 130 independent and experimental publishers working in a range of fields such as art, photography and graphic design. Taking place over two days in the Tate Modern’s iconic Turbine Hall, it’s a great chance to discover new magazines, artist books and myriad other printed matter, and meet the teams behind them.


Centre Pompidou: Prehistory

Centre Pompidou, Paris
8 May – 16 Sept

This fascinating exhibition will look at the influence of prehistoric sculpture on the some of the art world’s biggest figures, such as Picasso, Miró, Cézanne, Klee, Giacometti, Max Ernest, Joseph Beuys and Louise Bourgeois. A comparative display of their work alongside pieces from the Paleothic and Neolithic period will allow viewers to study the relationships in detail.


The Met Fifth Avenue: Camp: Notes on Fashion

Camp: Notes on Fashion
The Met Fifth Avenue, New York City
9 May – 8 September 2019

The Met’s Costume Institute’s spring exhibition is always a big deal, previously delivering Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty and China Through the Looking Glass. Through more than 250 objects dating from the 17th Century to the present, this year’s edition will explore the origins of camp’s exuberant aesthetic. Susan Sontag’s 1964 essay Notes on ‘Camp’ provides the framework for the exhibition, which examines how the elements of irony, humour, parody, pastiche, artifice, theatricality, and exaggeration are expressed in fashion.

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About the Author

Daniel Milroy Maher

Daniel joined It’s Nice That as an editorial assistant in February 2019 and continues to work with us on a freelance basis. He graduated from Kingston University with a degree in Journalism in 2015. He is also co-founder and editor of SWIM, an annual art and photography publication.

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