William Eggleston at the National Portrait Gallery
Self-taught and never having to work for a living, Eggleston was born into a family of wealthy cotton planters in Memphis, Tennessee in 1939. He is a pioneering American photographer renowned for his vivid, poetic and mysterious images. This exhibition of 100 works surveys Eggleston’s full career from the 1960s to the present day and is the most comprehensive display of his portrait photography ever.
Kids sitting on the bumper, idling in the backyard, hanging on to their beer bottles in the nightclub; the hippy chick and the Updike housewife, the rheumy-eyed pastor and the southern belle at 80, still swinging girlishly on her porch. Eggleston is the Thornton Wilder of the lens, his portraits a growing community of figures as familiar, almost, as the cast of Wilder’s Our Town except that their story will never be resolved.
Etel Adnan at The Serpentine Galleries
Located in Kensington Gardens, Central London, The Serpentine Galleries presents the works of painter, essayist and poet Etel Adnan, who was born in 1925 in Beirut, Lebanon. In her first solo exhibition in a UK public institution, the Serpentine shows work from across her career and including paintings, drawings, poetry, film and tapestry.
Adnan is a prolific author and politically engaged artist who addresses issues of identity, displacement and memory, working across different continents and languages. She wrote a novel about the Lebanese Civil War and a book of poems about The Arab Apocalypse. She has also addressed the more recent conflicts and aggressions in the Arab world. In her visual art, central themes range from alienation and war to poetic expression and imaginary landscapes.
David Hockney at The Royal Academy
Though Hockney’s mastery and energy are never in doubt, his show of portraits sees likeness and personality often sacrificed to surface detail.
The wild beauty of Georgia O’Keeffe at The Tate Modern
O’Keeffe’s paintings are often seen as displays of flamboyant female sexuality. But a broader reading of her art suggests that it came from the life of a new kind of woman.