Danielle Dean brings her multi-channel video installation to the Tate Britain, Hilton Als reflects on Toni Morrison’s Black Book, and Hugo Comte and Ibrahim Kamara take over Galerie Hussenot
Many things fell between the cracks of the pandemic and normality, and this list was one of them. But we’re back! With an absolutely not definitive guide of art and photography shows to see, but simply some you might want to. Or, definitely ones I want to.
2022 has hit the ground running with big openings in major cities, but as ever, some real magic lies in smaller gallery shows and independent spaces, many of which you’ll find below. It’s impossible to say this list is global, because I am but one person writing from my flat in London. But it’s often a culmination of the influence of conversations I have with others and the digital rocks I overturn while wandering cyberspace. There are also favourite art go-to spots that put out hit after hit. So, without much (more) ado, here are the exhibitions you should leave the house for.
NOAH DAVIS, AT THE UNDERGROUND MUSEUM, LOS ANGELES, US
Last week, an emotional opening at The Underground Museum saw its co-founder, the late painter, Noah Davis’ work go on show in a solo exhibition, co-curated by Helen Molesworth and Dazed 100’er Justen Leroy. The show was poised to open pre-pandemic, so it was surely a sigh of relief to see those doors open. Those who caught Davis’ exhibition at London’s David Zwirner in 2021 will recognise many works, but expect an even more generous offering here: it’s an absolute must-see. And make sure to stop through the bookshop on your way out – I’ve picked up everything from a Kerry James Marshall iron-on patch to rare exhibition guides from Davis’ brother, director Kahlil Joseph. Plus, of course, the most beautiful artist publications are ready for the taking.
28 January – 30 September 2022
A TRILLION SUNSETS: A CENTURY OF IMAGE OVERLOAD, VARIOUS, AT ICP, NEW YORK CITY, US
A Trillion Sunsets brings together photographers like Justine Kurland, Hank Willis Thomas, Carrie Mae Weems, and Nakeya Brown to probe our “compulsive fascination with the proliferation of photographs”. Artists who have, throughout their careers, used images to challenge or open conversations about stereotypes, social issues, and alternative histories. From scrapbooks to memes and algorithm art, this show shines a light on counternarratives that have been told through our world’s never-ending stream of images. A fascinating show and one that ties into the importance of questioning everything. Especially in this post-truth world…
28 January – 2 May 2022
ART NOW, DANIELLE DEAN, AT TATE BRITAIN, LONDON, UK
Back in London, Danielle Dean takes up space at Tate Britain with a new multi-channel video installation. Her practice spans painting, installation, performance, and video, and through it she explores how media and cultural production colonises our minds and bodies. This specific work pulls on her research of the Ford Motor Company in Detroit, using collaborative footage shot around the world to examine, in particular, how Amazon’s monopoly on e-commerce has altered how we view and perform labour.
5 February – 8 May 2022
SHE KEEPS ME DAMN ALIVE, DANIELLE BRATHWAITE-SHIRLEY, AT AREBYTE GALLERY, LONDON, UK
If you’ve asked me about art shows in London in the last few months, then you’ll be familiar with Danielle Brathwaite-Shirley’s exhibition at Arebyte. Their practice centres around archiving Black trans experiences through interactivity and storytelling, often gaming. And this show uses their online works – blacktransarchive.com, blacktransair.com, and blacktranssea.com – to continue their research. The result is a “point-and-shoot style arcade game” that asks participants to think about how their choices and (in)actions could impact others.
Ultimately, it asks, are our choices and (in)actions “sustainable for Black trans people”? Participants are placed in the centre of the action, handed a toy gun and asked to not “shoot Black trans people”, tapping into the empathy that gameplay and interaction can evoke. Participants are also monitored, their actions live streamed to screens around the gallery and Twitch, reminding us how Black and trans bodies are surveillanced. Brathwaite-Shirley explains it better than me, so please read their interview with the gallery here if you are interested.
19 November – 19 February 2022
TONI MORRISON’S BLACK BOOK, VARIOUS, AT DAVID ZWIRNER, NEW YORK CITY, US
Two greats collide in this show at David Zwirner’s New York space, as Hilton Als curates Toni Morrison’s Black Book. While it’s been almost five decades since its initial publication, Morrison’s collage-like book of experiences, documents, photographs that unravels African American history – one which is often re-written by educational texts or written out entirely – resonates enormously today. The show features artists, photographers, and filmmakers like Kerry James Marshall, Garrett Bradley, James Van Der Zee, Irving Penn, and many more, responding to Morrison, as Als underscores her incredible legacy.
20 January – 26 February 2022
TESTAMENT, HUGO COMTE AND IBRAHIM KAMARA, AT GALERIE HUSSENOT, PARIS, FRANCE
A majestic collaboration with equally godly results. Testament is a series of images created by photographer Hugo Comte with stylist and Dazed Editor-in-Chief Ibrahim Kamara, and asks: “What are beliefs made of?” Across 15 monumental photographs, Comte and Kamara explore “the belief generating power of images” in constructing “new mythologies”. Testament asks the viewer to consider where their beliefs originated, by using mythological iconography, art, and pop-cultural references.
3 – 26 February 2022
COLD LUNCH, ROXY LEE, RIDLEY ROAD PROJECT SPACE, LONDON, UK
Filth! Fun! Fetishism! That’s what you can expect from photographer Roxy Lee’s upcoming explicit photography show, Cold Lunch. More specifically, expect an exhibition exploring censorship, sploshing, and obscenity – all presented on 500 keyrings. Ahead of its opening on Thursday, she spoke with Dazed’s Acting Deputy Digital Editor Felicity Martin. But you’ll have to move quick, as it’s only open for a few days.
3 – 5 February 2022
BLACKALACHIA, MOSES SUMNEY, AT NICOLA VASSELL GALLERY, NEW YORK CITY, US
Last year, Moses Sumney released his first live album Live in Blackalachia, recorded in the Blue Ridge Mountains with a seven-piece band. Its title is a nod to the relationship between Blackness and the Appalachian region and its forced divide. Sumney has said of the album’s inspiration: “There is a history of Black people in Appalachia, there is a history of Black music being the foundation of bluegrass and country. There is a history of migration into and out of Appalachia. I’m so deeply invested in a reintegration into nature.”
Accompanying the album is a feature-length performance film – described as a “ruminative” outdoors concert” – and photographic series that has rarely been seen and will exhibit at Nicola Vassell Gallery in New York during February.
3 February – 5 March 2022
DANCE AS MOVING PICTURES, BLONDELL CUMMINGS, AT ART & PRACTICE, LOS ANGELES, US
It’s the final few weeks to experience Blondell Cummings: Dance as Moving Pictures at LA’s Art + Practice. This free exhibition sheds new light on the seminal work of African American choreographer and video artist Blondell Cummings (who passed in 2015). Showcasing her personal archive of rarely seen works, as well as documentation of performances, visitors can also learn more about her practice through interviews, photographs, and her lesser-known film works. She is known for pushing the medium of dance for incorporating elements of theatre, text, photography, and moving image, with a legacy that bridges postmodern dance experimentation and black dance traditions.
Until 19 February 2022
SARAH BALL, AT STEPHEN FRIEDMAN, LONDON, UK
British artist Sarah Ball’s portraiture practice utilises source material like newspaper cuttings, archival photographs, and social media. Drawing from these mediums, she delves into the psyche of her “sitters” to explore how we define and project ourselves – often through hairstyles, make-up, jewellery, and clothes – to the outside world. On display now at London’s Stephen Friedman Gallery.
28 January – 26 February 2022
NOWT AS QUEER AS FOLK, CORBIN SHAW, GUTS GALLERY, LONDON, UK
South Yorkshire-born artist Corbin Shaw’s Nowt as Queer as Folk is described as both an exhibition and a social commentary on rural British life's “lost enchantment” by exploring ‘folk’ through iconography and embroidered tapestries and banners. Stitching together the enchanted, everyday, and political in his solo show, its centrepiece is a well – a site for replenishment but also associated with pagan ritual — elevated as a shrine. It pays homage to the different characters in Harthill, Shaw’s village of birth.
10 February – 3 March 2022
BETWEEN ME AND YOU, BERNICE MULENGA, AT HOME, LONDON, UK
Photographer Bernice Mulenga’s debut solo show Between Me and You is currently exhibiting at Ronan McKenzie’s HOME. Mulenga’s documentation of their friends and those around them stem from their admission that “As a teenager, I wasn’t documented”, and fills the gaps in a shared autobiography that has historically overlooked the Black Queer community. Memory is vital to being seen but also as a compass to navigate the future. Spanning 2015 until recently, “this archival journey,” the show notes read, “is seen as akin to coming of age, growing with time.”
20 January – 6 March 2022
SYSTEMS WE HAVE, VARIOUS, AT NEW ART PROJECTS, LONDON, UK
Systems We Have – curated by Hsi-Nong Huang – borrows its namesake from Eve Meltzer’s investigation into conceptual art’s relation to structuralist theory. Featuring artists such as Maria Mahfooz – whose practice examines her identity as a Muslim woman of colour – Amba Sayal-Bennett – who explores human and non-human agency – amongst others, including Huang. Altogether, the works “represent a series of interactions between language, identity, process, materials, space, objects, the physical and the made.”
Until 19 February 2022
ELLIOTT JEROME BROWN JR., AT NICHELLE BEAUCHENE, NEW YORK CITY, US
Dazed 100’er, photographer, and artist Elliott Jerome Brown Jr.’s solo exhibition presents a series of new portraits, abstract photographs, and sculptures that “explores the image as a space of ellipsis”, reflecting on materiality, memory, and intimacy.
27 January – 26 February 2022
AMERICAN PEOPLE, FAITH RINGGOLD, AT NEW MUSEUM, NEW YORK CITY, US
Finally! Faith Ringgold’s first New York retrospective. Curated by Massimilian Gioni, the New Museum will collate more than 60 years of the artist, author, educator, and organiser’s incredible and impactful work. Ringgold’s powerful oeuvre – and its influence – can be drawn through the Harlem Renaissance to contemporary young Black artists working today, and beyond. As the New Museum puts it, it’s long overdue that Ringgold receives her flowers on her home turf.
Here’s hoping this one travels. It would be a brilliant addition to the UK’s exhibition calendar.
17 February – 5 June 2022
in spite of, instead of, RENE MATIC, AT QUENCH GALLERY, MARGATE, UK
Rene Matić brings an intimate display of their work to Britain’s seaside with new and old works and possessions for their archive. in spite of, instead of borrows a Kathleen Collins’ quote as its jump-off point: “What about the love of two human being who mate in spite of, or because of, of instead of, or after the fact of”. Expect installation, images, assemblages, as well as a 2020 film that pays homage to the ‘No Colour Bar Dance’ of 1955 whereby 180 Black people and 180 white people came together to dance, likely a nod to Matić’s own history with interracial relationships and British identity.
Until 27 February 2022
CLAY.D.D, VARIOUS, NAKED EYE STUDIO, LOS ANGELES, US
An NFP group of educators and artists have joined forces to create the CLAY.D.D COLLECTIVE, which empowers marginalised students with developmental disabilities through the healing power of clay, meditation and Adlerian Theory – a holistic psychological approach. Kicking off this Sunday is its partnership with The Potluck Initiative – an org that aims to educate with immersive workshops – and together, they will showcase a mix of sculptures from the students alongside established artists like Maya Fuhr, Avan Jogia, Frankie Tobin, Julia Thompson, and more. All profits will go back to funding CLAY.D.D COLLECTIVE’s education and art programming. Good vibes and a good cause.
6 February 2022, 5-7pm
A QUEER POETRY READING, VARIOUS, ATLAS GRINDS, LONDON, UK
What better way to spend your Friday night than hearing some of London’s brightest poets share their work. Romancero Books – who rep authors and writers from Spain and Latin America – is putting on a night of LGBTQIA+ readings, including Adriann Ramirez, Leo Boix, Virna Teixeira, and Natalia Figueroa. Tickets are pay what you can, available here.
18 February 2022, 7-830pm
DRAWING A BLANK, VARIOUS, 14 WHARF ROAD N17, LONDON, UK
Ben Broome’s Drawing A Blank has, since its inception in 2016, become a go-to for the brightest contemporary artists. This globe-trotting group show comes home to London after being hosted in Paris and New York City previously. But, entering its sixth year, the 2022 edition marks a departure. Often known for being held in ‘unconventional spaces’, this year, the exhibition will take place in a traditional gallery space.
The show’s press release explains that while Broome shunned these as “hyper-commercialised” and “alienating” venues for artists, 2022’s Drawing a Blank will “(break) down these perceived barriers and (democratise) these kinds of spaces.” Its opening event takes place on 17 February with no guestlist, as is tradition. Artists featured include Rhea Dillon, Leon Xu, and more. Musical performances will be announced soon... so stay tuned.
17 – 28 February 2022