Must-see exhibitions this May

Must-see exhibitions this May

Want to see some of the best photography on offer this month? Check out our list of must-see exhibitions this May.

From our fascination with the seaside to packed festivals there is a wealth of fabulous photography on offer.

Charlie Barton's oil on canvas depiction of the moon, Artemis
Charlie Barton, Artemis. Oil on canvas. Private collection


The 50th anniversary of the first moon landing is celebrated in this exhibition exploring 19th-century visions of the moon.

Presenting a selection of works by significant artists including William Holman Hunt, John Atkinson Grimshaw, Evelyn De Morgan and G F Watts, Moonscapes considers the Victorian fascination with the earth’s closest cosmic neighbour.

It brings into focus the many ways in which artists drew inspiration from the moon.

The exhibition is accompanied by a programme of contemporary art interventions accenting the key themes of the exhibition through light, sound and space.

These include: Cosmoscope by Simeon Nelson with Rob Godman and Nick Rothwell; The Moon Cabinet by Rupert Senior; Artemis by Charlie Barton and Year 2 Arsenic 1 by Garry Fabian Miller; as well as work by Mary Branson as Artist in Residence.

Moonscapes, Watts Gallery Artists’ Village, until June 23.

The new immersive exhibition at Bletchley Park highlighting the role of code breakers in D-Day
Image by Andy Stagg, courtesy of Bletchley Park Trust

D-Day: Interception, Intelligence, Invasion

To coincide with the 75th anniversary of D-Day, Bletchley Park has launched a new immersive film.

D-Day: Interception, Intelligence, Invasion reveals for the first time how the intelligence effort coordinated at Bletchley Park helped specifically in the success of the D-Day landings.

The 12-minute film is shown in the newly restored historic Teleprinter Building, where Codebreakers received tens of thousands of enemy messages.

It is based on recently declassified information.

The film is projected onto a curved 22m screen with surround sound for an immersive cinematic experience and forms part of a permanent exhibition.

D-Day: Interception, Intelligence, Invasion, Bletchley Park, ongoing exhibition.

Ivars Grāvlejs' image of items on a conveyor belt is featured in this year's Photo London
Ivars Grāvlejs, Shopping poetry, 2018, Ansis Starks

Photo London

The fifth edition of Photo London looks set to be the strongest yet, featuring more than 100 galleries from 21 countries.

Exhibitors will present an exciting mix of more than 400 artists, some making their first appearance at the festival.

The acclaimed Discovery section features a curated selection of 23 galleries. It focuses on emerging talent, including several from the fast-developing photography scene in London, alongside international galleries.

In a confident move by exhibitors, the 2019 Fair features 16 focused solo presentations. Confirmed highlights include new work by:

  • Mitch Epstein at Galerie Thomas Zander
  • Tony Gum at Christopher Moller Gallery
  • Tom Wood at Sit Down Gallery
  • Ivars Gravlejs at careva contemporary
  • Dag Alveng at Shoot Gallery
  • Max Pinckers at Galerie Sofie Van de Velde
  • Giulio di Sturco at Podbielski Contemporary
  • Adam Jeppesen at Black Box Projects
  • Edouard Taufenbach at Galerie Binome
  • Casper Sejersen at Cob Gallery

Stephen Shore has been announced as Photo London Master of Photography with a special exhibition of new and unseen works.

This year’s Talks Programme will showcase the rich and diverse history of photography up until the present day.

Celebrated practitioners including Erwin Olaf, Susan Meiselas, Ralph Gibson, Hannah Starkey, Tim Walker, Maja Daniels, Ed Templeton and Vanessa Winship will be taking part.

Photo London, Somerset House, May 15 to May 19.

Main image: Tom Wood, Great Homer Street, 1992 © Tom Wood & Galerie Sit Down

Peckham 24

An exciting festival of contemporary photography returns to London for its fourth edition this month.

This year the festival is expanding with additional exhibition spaces and a weekend programme packed with live events.

The 2019 artistic programme celebrates the grassroots beginnings of the festival as a collaboration between a community of artists and curators in the Bussey Building.

The programme, curated by festival directors Jo Dennis and Vivienne Gamble, centres on the dual themes of collaboration and community.

Highlights include a special Friday night projection of Tom Hunter’s Le Crowbar performed as a slideshow by the artist.

Rehearsing the Real is a group exhibition curated by Tom Lovelace. The central element will be a live collaborative work by artists Erola Arcalís, Emma Bäcklund, Ramona Güntert, Steff Jamieson and Joshua Leon that will unfold throughout the weekend.

Go Home Polish is a solo exhibition by Michal Iwanowski which began as an Instagram performance in 2018.

This year’s programme also includes partnerships with Photoworks and Webber Gallery. Spectrum Photographic is a print partner.

Peckham 24, Copeland Park and Bussey Building, London, May 17 to May 19.

A young boy sits at a food kiosk, photograph by Raymond C Lawson 1959. Part of our round-up of must-see exhibitions this May.
Down to the Beach. Photographer: Raymond C Lawson, 1959. Courtesy of Nicholas Cordes, with kind permission of the Lawson family

Seaside: Photographed

Turner Contemporary presents this major exhibition examining the relationship between photographers, photography and the British seaside from the 1850s to the present.

The exhibition presents the seaside in a multitude of different visions, celebrating our special relationship with our coast.

It includes early photographic depictions of waves, picture postcards revelling in the glee and grime of British resorts, intimate shots of holiday and relaxation, reportage and the photo series of eminent photographers.

Curated by Val Williams and Karen Shepherdson, Seaside: Photographed is Turner Contemporary’s first photographic exhibition.

It will tour to three other UK venues in 2020, each with their own unique connection to the seaside: John Hansard Gallery, Grundy Art Gallery, and Newlyn Art Gallery and the Exchange.

Seaside: Photographed, Turner Contemporary, May 25 to September 8.

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