Five exhibitions to put a spring in your step
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Tim Walker: Wonderful Things at J Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles
Over his 30-year career as a fashion photographer, Tim Walker has drawn on references spanning Virginia Woolf to Federico Fellini – but it’s his childhood spent playing among the fields and streams of rural Dorset that has provided the richest source of inspiration. Behind his whimsical, fairytale images lies a desire to “communicate my encounters with the sublime”, he has said.
As his touring exhibition Wonderful Things – which first showed at the V&A in 2019 – opens at the J Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles next month, a new selection of Walker’s works will also be available to buy from London’s Michael Hoppen Gallery. Taken from shoots throughout Walker’s career, in locations including Mexico, Japan and India, the photographs revel in the drama and beauty of dressing up and playing make-believe. In one, eight schoolboys cram into a red Mini Cooper, while in another a John Galliano-draped model holds a pair of swans up to one another, like two love birds. Tim Walker: Wonderful Things, from 2 May to 20 August
Simon Palmer: Observation of Landscape at Yorkshire Sculpture Park
As a child growing up in Bromley, south-east London, Simon Palmer recalls being filled with joy at the prospect of a holiday in the countryside. On returning, it would take “at least two weeks” to get over his withdrawal symptoms. Palmer moved to the area around north Wensleydale, Yorkshire, as soon as he finished art school, and spent the next 40 years working to do justice to its shadows, shapes and hues. A collection of giclée prints of these detailed landscape paintings is now going on show as part of a solo exhibition at Yorkshire Sculpture Park.
In one, a corrugated-steel barn sits alongside an idyllic winding path; in another, a grand stone gateway is overshadowed by the ancient gnarled trees around it. “It’s not moorland, it’s not tumultuous skies and dramatic weather conditions,” Palmer says of the area’s continuing fascination. “It’s agricultural. It’s a down-to-earth landscape.” YSP Centre until 11 June
Evelyn Hofer: Eyes on the City at High Museum of Art, Atlanta
Alongside William Eggleston and William Klein, German-born American photographer Evelyn Hofer was one of the first to bring colour film into mainstream fine art photography in the 1960s and ’70s. Following her death in 2009, her first major US museum exhibition in over 50 years is being staged at Atlanta’s High Museum of Art. With her keen eye for symmetry, proportion and tone, Hofer was celebrated for capturing the spirit and people of Dublin, New York, London, Paris, and Washington DC – alternating between black and white and colour – and this new exhibition brings together a number of these images.
She also often collaborated with writers such as Jan Morris and VS Pritchett – most famously shooting the photographs for Mary McCarthy’s seminal literary study The Stones of Florence. Hofer remained low-profile over her 40 year career, leading the art critic Hilton Kramer to dub her “the most famous unknown photographer in America”. High Museum of Art, Atlanta, until 13 August. An accompanying book is forthcoming from Delmonico at $55
Chronorama at Palazzo Grassi, Venice
Chronorama at Venice’s historic Palazzo Grassi provides a sweeping survey of 400 images from the archives of magazine publisher Condé Nast, organised by decade from the 1910s to the early ’80s.
From George Hoyningen-Huene’s 1927 portrait of jazz star Josephine Baker to Irving Penn’s dream-like 1950s photograph of his wife lying in a field reading Gertrude Stein’s Picasso, or Helmut Newton’s shot of model Lisa Taylor lounging around in Saint-Tropez in 1975, the exhibition illustrates the culture of photography in the 20th century before the advent of digital technology. Palazzo Grassi Until 7 January 2024, pinaultcollection.com
Todd Gray, On Point at Lehmann Maupin, London
Todd Gray began working as a commercial music photographer at the age of 17, and by the time he reached his twenties he had shot the Jackson 5, Stevie Wonder and Gladys Knight – gigs that he used to fund his art school education. Gray soon expanded into layered photographic compositions, sculpture and installation, mixing his own images of imperial architecture and Ghanian landscapes with shots of rock icons and self-portraits, and framing these compositions in finds sourced from flea markets in predominantly black neighbourhoods.
A new set of these compositions makes up the artist’s first UK exhibition at Lehmann Maupin. This time, he juxtaposes European gardens and symbols of imperial France with photographs of the Atlantic Ocean and Ghana’s slave castles, to explore how colonial history still influences the contemporary world. Lehmann Maupin London until 6 May