From Jimmy DeSana’s radical nudes to the unsung women of Atlanta’s hip hop scene, we round up the best art and photography exhibitions to catch this month
PHOTOGRAPHY UNSCENE, THE MUSE, LONDON, UK
This is sure to be an exceptional show between two legends, friends, and photographers, Charlie Phillips OBE and Eddie Otchere. Both photographers and documentarians have played a substantial part in capturing Black British history over the last several decades, with Phillips’ work dating back to the early 1960s and Otchere to the late 80s.
From December 6 – 18 2022
COLLECTIVIST, COPELAND GALLERY, LONDON, UK
It’s fair to say that London’s emerging art scene has a fire underneath it, and 15 people who are stoking that will be showing together at Peckham’s Copeland Gallery in Collectivist. Curated by artist Isaac Andrews, who will show work alongside Kudi, Alfie White, Tanguy, Shannon Bono, and more. Collectivist is short and sweet – focussing on unity, community, and togetherness – it runs for just a few days, so mark it in your calendars and get down to opening night.
From December 7 – 10 2022
SUBMISSION, BROOKLYN MUSEUM, NEW YORK, USA
There are few things to say when a photographic legend like Jimmy DeSana gets their first-ever museum retrospective but: finally. Described as a “significant yet overlooked” figure of New York City’s art and LGBTQIA scenes, DeSana’s career but short but deeply impactful, particularly his response to the 1980s HIV/AIDS crisis. With over 200 works on show, expect to see DeSana’s suburban, nude, portraiture, and abstract works. True pieces of history are being handed to us here – don’t miss it!
Until April 16 2023
IN THE WAKE OF A GLOW, WEBBER REPRESENTS, LONDON, UK
The brilliant photographer and director Jeano Edwards, whose photo book EverWonderful I had the pleasure of writing about last year, has his first UK solo show at Webber Represents. Light becomes its own character in Edwards’ stunning photographs, and there is an abundance of it in the selection on display, captured on trips to his home country, Jamaica.
Until December 16 2022
THE WORLD WE MAKE, HAUSER & WIRTH, LONDON, UK
Many people will remember Amy Sherald as the incredible artist who painted Michelle Obama’s portrait, but her work is much more than a moment in history. In her London show, her immense canvases are intimate social portraits of Black people in leisure, love, and life. “The works reflect a desire to record life as I see it and as I feel it,” she said. “My eyes search for people who are and who have the kind of light that provides the present and the future with hope.” The first widely available monograph of Sherald’s work accompanies the show too.
Until December 23 2022
ATLANTA MADE US FAMOUS, TJ BOULTING, LONDON, UK
Hajar Benjida’s ongoing photo series shines a spotlight on the critical role of women in the Atlanta hip-hop scene. Having first visited the city in 2018, she began an internship across from Magic City, a famous strip club, particularly amongst rappers. However, it was by moving beyond portraits of the rappers that she found purpose in documenting the women dancing in the club. “I hope to show that their images hold power and importance beyond hip-hop and its surrounding culture,” Benjida said. “From my perspective, it’s the dancers that shine as the stars of the city.” As the winner of the British Journal of Photography’s International Photography Award 2022, Benjida’s gets a solo show in London, opening next week.
From December 8 – 17 2022 and reopening January 10 – 282023
CYBERPOWWOW, THE NEW MUSEUM, NEW YORK, USA
If you’re in NYC (or online for the live stream), check out the one-day only event, with a panel and a pop-up exhibition of CyberPowWow – one of the first major online art exhibitions. Launched in 1997, CyberPowWow is celebrated as a groundbreaking space for Indigenous artists and the community. It was described as “an Aboriginally determined territory in cyberspace” and showcased the works of Indigenous artists, occasionally beside and in dialogue with settler artists. CyberPowWow was part website and part multi-graphical chatroom, meaning people could convene and communicate. It was and is pioneering, given the ongoing exclusion then (and now) of Indigenous artists and people. Of course, it’s in collaboration with Rhizome, the champions of exhibiting and preserving digital art.
One day only: December 10 2022
INSOMNIA, SOUTH KIOSK, LONDON, UK
INSOMNIA is the first photographic exhibition from artist Leah Clements – whose practice includes performance, writing, film, and installation. Curated by Mariana Lemos, INSOMNIA examines the emotional and psychological effects of sleep-related phenomena such as sleep paralysis and insomnia: revealing “the surreal or paranormal side of being estranged in one’s home”.
From December 2 2022 – January 29 2023
PAST, PRESENT, AND FUTURE, GLYNN VIVIAN GALLERY, SWANSEA, UK
Welsh identity is currently explored at Swansea’s Glynn Vivian Gallery through ten photographic portraits borrowed from London’s National Portrait Gallery. Alongside these are works from contemporary Welsh photographers Megan Winstone and Mohamed Hassan, both who contribute to an image of Wales today.
Until January 29 2023
CHRIS KILLIP, THE PHOTOGRAPHER’S GALLERY, LONDON
A retrospective of the life’s work of photographer Chris Killip is currently on at London’s Photographer’s Gallery, featuring over 140 of his works. Speaking with Dazed before his untimely passing in 2020, Killip told of capturing the euphoric energy of Gateshead music venue, The Station, which became a book of the same name. His document of the lives in the north of England throughout the turmoil of the 70s and 80s is comprehensive. For these reasons, he is known as one of the most influential British photographers. The magic in his works shows that despite attempts to divide these towns through deindustrialisation and economic upset, people always find a way to come together.
Until February 19 2023
JUST FOR THE RECORD, SIMON LEE GALLERY, LONDON, UK
If you couldn’t see the wonder that was Sonia Boyce’s British Pavilion at this past Venice Biennale – for which she made history and took home the Golden Lion – then you can have a little slice of her genius at Simon Lee Gallery. Just For The Record coincides with Boyce’s Cork Street banners, unveiled in October. The exhibition showcases new works that uplift Black British women in music through memorabilia, appropriation, play, and chance-making. Expect Boyce’s much-loved wallpapers alongside large-scale photographic prints, flyposters, and a silent film.
Until December 16 2023
FLY IN LEAGUE WITH THE NIGHT, TATE BRITAIN, LONDON, UK
Forced to close early due to COVID restrictions in late 2020, this is a show whose light can’t be dimmed. And so, it’s back. British artist and writer Lynette Yiadom-Boakye’s portraits of fictitious characters have captivated audiences and collectors worldwide – including Jay Z and Beyoncé. In Fly in League with the Night, you’ll find over 70 works from 2003 to the present day that explores identity and representation while allowing viewers to interpret the works as they wish. Tonight – on 2 December – get down for Tate Lates, full of poetry, music, and workshops related to Yiadom-Boakye’s work.
Exhibition runs until February26 2023. Tate Lates runs Friday 2 December 2022 for one night only
IS MY LIVING IN VAIN, GASWORKS, LONDON, UK
London-based filmmaker and artist Ufouma Essi’s major new film commission, Is My Living in Vain, looks at the “continuing history and emancipatory potential of the Black church as a space of belonging, affirmation, and community organising.” Comprising film footage, oral histories, and archival material from both sides of the Atlantic, it forms a cluster of collective memories that examine the church’s influence on Black communities and traditions.
Until December 18 2022
QUALIFIED TO CARE, GINNY ON FREDERICK, LONDON, UK
Artist and support worker Racheal Crowther’s Qualified to Care harnesses her experiences in the care sector and transforms it through art. Repurposed objects, such as a discarded LED ‘Pharmacy’ sign found in Lewisham, is interrogated to discover their origin: “the practice revealing an affinity for uncovering the hidden truths about people”. Playing inside the cross is a short film that details Peckham’s now-destroyed Queens Road Day Centre – which would host adults with disabilities – documenting occupants’ belongings seemingly intact just before demolition. Ultimately, Crowther highlights a sense of loss and neglect in these spaces.
NEW PERSPECTIVES, LUCIAN FREUD, THE NATIONAL GALLERY, LONDON
It’s been ten years since a major exhibition of Lucian Freud’s work has graced the UK. New Perspectives brings together seven decades of paintings from one of Britain’s best figurative painters. An incredible bank of work, Freud passed away in 2011, leaving behind a life’s work that included private studies of friends and family, portraits of influential public figures, and much more. From his early works to his final ones, New Perspectives’ aim is to “look beyond Freud’s fame and infamy to focus on the artist’s uncompromising commitment to painting in the 20th century.”
Until January 22 2023
BAGHDADDY, ROYAL COURT THEATRE, LONDON, UK
Jasmine Naziha Jones’s debut play is a semi-biographical telling of a young daughter, Darlee, and her Iraq-born father living in London as they deal with the trauma of the Gulf War raging over 3,000 miles away. Baghdaddy spins with “clowning” as a chorus guides Darlee through her memories as she tries to make sense of her experiences, her relationship with her father, and the second-hand grief she carries through him. It’s also directed by Milli Bhatia of seven methods of killing kylie jenner-fame.
Until December 17 – £5 tickets are available on Mondays