Five exhibitions to frame your autumn
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The First Dance
Aged 25, Honor Titus quit as frontman of punk-rock band Cerebral Ballzy and decided to channel his energies into a more mellow form of expression. Following stints of poetry, acting and modelling, the Brooklyn-born creative settled on the life of a painter, and his 2019 debut show won over the art world with its high-colour oil observations of the bourgeoisie at leisure, young romance and Ivy League sport scenes.
Inspired by an LA winter spent reading F Scott Fitzgerald and Truman Capote, Titus’s new London exhibition Bourgeoisie in Bloom examines the old-world customs, social frictions and traditional glamour of the debutante ball. “To find the humanity within these mechanistic and choreographed rites of passage is quite poetic,” says the artist. “I would like to think of these figures blossoming and finding love through these awkward rituals.” There’s also an element of subversion to his interest: “As a black artist, it feels nice to go anywhere.” Baya Simons Honor Titus’s Bourgeoisie in Bloom is at Timothy Taylor London, 15 Bolton Street, London W1, until 14 January
American photographer Steven Meisel has created some of the most pioneering and provocative visuals in recent fashion history, from his now-iconic Anglo-Saxon Attitude shoot, which transformed “English roses” Stella Tennant, Bella Freud and Plum Sykes into spiky-haired punks, to Vogue Italia’s sell-out “all black” cover. As he put it in one interview, “a beautiful woman in a beautiful dress – I love that, but to try and say something is also my goal”.
Meisel’s first ever exhibition opens this month in Galicia, and the photographer has chosen to zero in on a single year, 1993, which he sees as the richest of his career. “Looking back on that year, it was an important moment,” he says of the time during which he shot a total of 28 Vogue covers, together with faces such as Isabella Blow, Amanda Harlech and the late Tennant, with whom, he recalls, he “instantly fell in love”. It’s this fascination with the unexpected that he sees as defining his success. “I cast new and unusual models,” Meisel observes, seeing qualities in them “that they might not see”. BS Steven Meisel 1993: A Year in Photographs is on show at the Port of Coruña exhibition centre until 1 May 2023
Fashion and portrait photographer Emma Hardy has spent the past 20 years seeking balance – between the freneticism of assignments and home life with her son and two daughters in Suffolk. “In fact, balance isn’t the right word,” she clarifies, “in honesty I often felt torn.” Her latest project, a monograph and exhibition called Permissions, traces the chaos and sweetness of family life, capturing her experiences from young motherhood through to when her children eventually leave home. The landscape forms the backdrop to many of these scenes.
Each of the eight chapters opens with a portrait of a flower from Hardy’s garden; ducks wander from image to image; ethereal shots depict moss-covered trees and ripples of murky water.
One photograph shows Hardy’s daughter joyfully bounding through a field in front of a herd of grazing cows. “The cows are her audience,” says Hardy, “even though no performance was intended.” Augustine Hammond Permissions by Emma Hardy will be published in November and is available for pre-order from gostbooks.com; the exhibition will open at Gallery 10 14 in London on 1 December
Secrets and lives
When French artist Rebecca Brodskis finished her studies in Paris and London, she felt she still “needed a deeper understanding of society to be able to reflect on it through painting”. A master’s degree in sociology focused her interest on moments of “crisis in modern societies”, and she began to create deeply hued figurative paintings.
A new body of these enigmatic, often subtly haunting works will go on show in a solo exhibition opening in London next month. In one, a woman assuredly fans herself, but her eyes reveal unease; in another, two women and a cat look ponderously out at the viewer, as if thinking “time is passing and there is absolutely nothing we can do about it”, says Brodskis. Through these characters, painted from both daily observations and her imagination, she gives shape to “those fleeting moments of everyday life that we do not remember, but that shape our existence”. BS Let’s talk about you and me is at Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery, London SE1, from 4 November to 3 December
Jack Davison’s high-contrast, experimental portraits of famous faces such as Brad Pitt, Glenda Jackson and Adam Driver, as well as his fashion campaigns for brands including Hermès, have made the self-taught 32-year-old photographer a name to know.
In his new exhibition at London’s Cob gallery, titled Photographic Etchings, he reveals a more personal body of work. The 33 black-and-white images include a teenage self-portrait, photographs of his wife, Agnes, and several recurring motifs – “hands and eyes, animals, vegetables”. All are printed as polymer intaglio gravures – a traditional etching process that adds “much more depth, and really hard, dark blacks”, says Davison. Some summon the surrealist shades of Man Ray, others the elegance of Irving Penn. “For me, the marrows are like characters, like old men in Italy, sitting outside, gossiping. I just find it funny.” Victoria Woodcock Photographic Etchings is at Cob Gallery, 205 Royal College Street, London NW1 until 12 November. Prices from £800 to £3,500