A List of Great Things to Do This May

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Jil Sander Autumn/Winter 1995© Craig McDean

The best things to add to your calendar this month – from an exhibition of Craig McDean’s 90s fashion photography to the Metropolitan Museum’s annual spring show

Events and Exhibitions

Craig McDean at Villa Noailles, Hyères: until May 26, 2019
The weekend just gone marked the 2019 edition of the Hyères International Festival of Fashion and Photography in the south of France. Its president of the photography jury this year was Craig McDean, and an exhibition of McDean’s work in fashion photography continues for the rest of the month at Villa Noailles. The focus of the show is print making, and how the craft and collaboration with London-based printers John Driscoll and Brian Dowling has been a fundamental part of McDean’s career, particularly between 1995 and 2000. In today’s digitally focused world, the show looks back at the exquisite handmade prints – for which the long process of printing and retouching by hand requires great skill – for brands and publications like Jil Sander and Vogue that contributed to a formative period of McDean’s career in fashion photography.

Camp: Notes on Fashion at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York: May 9 – September 8, 2019
This month sees the return of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute summer exhibition – and of course its opening party, the much-anticipated Met Gala – which is this year themed on ‘camp’. Using Susan Sontag’s 1964 essay Notes on Camp as a starting off point, Camp: Notes on Fashion will bring together clothes and ephemera dating back to the 17th century and contemporary iterations that approach fashion with “irony, humor, parody, pastiche, artifice, theatricality, and exaggeration”. Featured designers include the likes of Jeremy Scott, Alessandro Michele – Gucci is the exhibition’s main sponsor, so expect many a Gucci gown on the Gala red carpet on Monday – Virgil Abloh, Alejandro Gómez Palomo, Walter van Beirendonck, and Vivienne Westwood.

The Ketel One Commission at the Sarabande Foundation, London: May 8 – May 12, 2019
To coincide with London Craft Week, the Sarabande Foundation – the organisation set up by Lee Alexander McQueen to help fledgling artists and designers in London with studio spaces and support – opens the Ketel One Commission, which this year features work by Castro Smith and Esna Su. The Dutch vodka company is a founding partner of the Sarabande Foundation, and the annual commission tasks artists with creating work inspired by a trip to its distillery. Working from ideas of heritage, craftsmanship and community, Smith – an artist and engraver whose jewellery is stocked at Dover Street Market – has created a hand-engraved spherical object, while Turkish jewellery artist Su’s piece incorporates traditional crochet techniques learned from her mother and grandmother that bring together wheat (as the starting point of the distilling process) and copper in a sculptural form.

Photo London at Somerset House: May 16 – 19, 2019
Now in its fifth year, Photo London is once again setting up camp at Somerset House this month. The most exciting names in contemporary photography, from established galleries to new openings, will be showcasing the very best work by image-makers the world over. Things to look out for include: Details, a new series by Stephen Shore, who is this year’s Master of Photography, which goes on show in Somerset House’s East Wing; London’s Cob Gallery, which is exhibiting this year with work by Casper Sejersen; an exhibition of photography by Tom Wood from Galerie Sit Down, Paris; and the 2019 pavilion commission from Rachel Louise Brown, Simulations, which is an exploration of Florida through the eyes of an outsider.

The Italian Grand Tour with Matches Fashion and Il Pellicano at 5 Carlos Place, London: May 15 – 30, 2019
A slice of the Italian Tuscan coastline arrives at Matches Fashion’s London outpost 5 Carlos Place this month. In the attic of the townhouse a pop-up cafe will celebrate a partnership between Matches Fashion and the storied hotel Il Pellicano. An Italian Grand Tour vacation edit will land online to coincide with the pop-up cafe and in anticipation of a separate pop-up retail experience aboard a 1930s yacht which will travel the coast and stop at the Pellicano Group’s three hotels in Tuscany, Cittávecchia and Ischia. In lieu of a trip to the Italian coastline, head to 5 Carlos Place for a taste of the luxurious partnership.

Slim Aarons’ Unseen Archive at Galerie Prints, London: until May 31, 2019
In the latest edition of their annual sale that uncovers unseen photography from the extraordinary archive of Slim Aarons, Galerie Prints and Getty Images Gallery presents images by the prolific photographer that focus on leisure – more specifically, sun, sand and snow. Aarons was known for capturing the glamorous lives of the mid-century elite over many decades of the 20th century, and the resulting images have become some of the most celebrated in photography. Whether a shot of a group sunbathing on candy-coloured loungers by the sea or about to ski down a mountain, this is escapist photography at its very best.

Frieze New York: May 2 – 5, 2019
The return of Frieze to Randall’s Island, New York brings together today’s leading galleries and artists to exhibit alongside a tempting programme of talks and events with curators from exciting galleries, artists, and industry experts. Don’t miss Thenjiwe Niki Nkosi’s captivating paintings of scenes of competitive gymnastics at Mariane IbrahimMatches Fashion’s New York pop-up of 5 Carlos Place; Leila Heller Gallery’s exhibition of Leonor Fini’s extraordinary work; and Sheila Heti in conversation with artist and filmmaker Josephine Decker. Plus, as ever, expect unparalleled people watching over the weekend.

Drawing a Blank at 64–68 Charing Cross Road, London: May 9 – 12, 2019
Independent London-based art platform Drawing a Blank returns with a brand new show, bringing together 14 emerging artists, the majority of whom are US-based and will be exhibiting in the UK for very first time. The display will see the creatives transform a two-story space on Charing Cross Road using a variety of media and building on the collaborative mentality that Drawing a Blank seeks to foster outside the confines of the contemporary art world. The four-day event will include work from such talents as photographer and Dazed contributor Joshua Woods and artist-cum-model Kesewa Aboah. Catch it while you can!

Grace of Monaco, Princess in Dior at Musée Christian Dior, Granville: until November 17, 2019
At the dedicated Christian Dior museum in Granville, the designer’s home town, an exhibition on the storied French house’s relationship with Grace Kelly is open now, and has been staged to coincide with the 90s anniversary of the iconic actress’ birth. Maison Dior and Kelly’s relationship – which continued with Marc Bohan, Christian Dior’s successor at his namesake house following his death in 1957 – was prolific, and Kelly amassed a substantial wardrobe of both haute couture and ready-to-wear pieces, 80 of which are featured in the exhibition. Along with photography, film clips and press coverage of the Princess, the aim is to reveal the singular style and glamour that she maintained over both sides of her life: as a member of Monaco’s royal family, and as a hardworking wife and mother.

The Best of Film

Summer may be dawning but we’ve got you covered for any May rainy days with our pick of the month’s most unmissable new releases. First up: Vox Lux, Brady Corbet’s social satire on pop stardom, starring a typically mesmeric Natalie Portman as a spent diva trying to cling onto her fame (read our interview with co-star Stacy Martin here). Told in fragmented chapters narrated by Willem Dafoe, and with undertones of Lars Von Trier (with whom Corbet has worked before), it’s a cinematic experience you won’t soon forget. Then there’s Icelandic comedy-drama Woman at War, the thrilling and absurd tale of a seemingly sedate 50-year-old woman who leads a double life as an environmental activist protesting the local aluminum industry in Iceland. But just as she decides to take her crusade to more drastic heights, her life takes a turn at the news she has been granted permission to adopt a Ukrainian child. High Life marks the return of French director Claire Denis, with a spellbinding sci-fi horror set in deep space, where a father (Robert Pattinson) and his young daughter are struggling to survive in the aftermath of a doomed mission.

Don’t miss Colombian epic Birds of Passage, a tragic exploration of the roots of the country’s drug trade, told from the point of view of an indigenous Wayuu family that is swept up in the flourishing business of selling marijuana to young Americans in the 1970s. Brian Welsh’s Beats is a joyful, funny and poignant ode to the 90s rave scene, centred on two Scottish friends heading out for one last night of partying before heading their separate ways. While beguiling coming-of-age drama Too Late to Die Young, from Chilean director Dominga Sotomayor, spotlights a very different side of the 90s, exploring life in the aftermath of the Pinochet regime through the eyes of three young people. Last but not least there’s Tucked, Jamie Patterson’s raw, charming and insightful portrait of a veteran drag (Derren Nesbitt) who forges an unlikely friendship with a younger performer, as both battle with their own issues of gender identity and mortality. This month’s must-see documentaries, meanwhile, come courtesy of Sydney Pollack’s long-awaited Aretha Franklin film, Amazing Grace, showcasing the inimitable songstress’s breathtaking performance at the New Temple Missionary Baptist Church in Los Angeles in 1972, and XY Chelsea, Tim Travers Hawkins’ captivating look into the life of American activist, whistleblower and recent Dazed cover star Chelsea Manning.

The Best in Food and Drink

Mayfair Flower Show at sketch, London: May 16 – 27, 2019
Florals for spring arrive at sketch, with installations by Rebel Rebel and Jam Jar flowers (and extra scents courtesy of Diptyque) filling the London favourite in a celebration of the Mayfair Flower Show. Extraordinary floral art will appear throughout its dining rooms and bars – and even the much-Instagrammed bathroom pods. Head to the Gallery for a Mayfair Flower Show edition of its acclaimed afternoon tea.

Bubala at Untitled, Dalston: May 5, 2019
Bubala, the celebrated Middle Eastern feasting club featuring a vegetarian menu, is setting up camp this weekend at Untitled bar and restaurant in Dalston, where one of its supper club evenings will take place. The full menu isn’t revealed until the night of, but just the sound of hummus with burnt butter and crispy chickpeas should be enough to tempt anyone.

Heading outside
As summer approaches, it’s time to seek out the best outdoor eating and drinking spots in the city. At Nobu Hotel Shoreditch, head straight for Hanami, a cherry-blossom inspired installation on the hotel’s terrace which is open until June 30 and serving specially created cocktails in celebration of sakura season. At the Battersea Power Station, River Walk Market opens on May 4, an independent food market featuring offerings from sustainable and ethical producers, as well as live music every Saturday. Further along the river, the Bankside Hotel’s recently launched restaurant and bar Art Yard has opened its own summer terrace, serving English sparkling wine and wood-fired pizzettes with a view of the river and St Paul’s.

Great Performances

Theatre fans be sure to book your tickets to multidisciplinary artist Anchuli Felicia King’s international playwriting debut, White Pearl, at London’s Royal Court Theatre – the timely story of a Singaporean cosmetics brand that finds itself in deep water when a leaked ad campaign goes viral for all the wrong reasons, spreading outrage across the internet. At the Young Vic, directors Marianne Elliott and Miranda Cromwell bring a unique vision to Arthur Miller’s 20th-century classic Death of a Salesman, telling it through the eyes of an African-American family. Meanwhile Lenny Henry looks set to shine in the role of smooth-talking hustler Elmore in August Wilson’s stirring 1999 play King Hedley II: “a quest for redemption for one man and a whole community” set in 1980s Pittsburgh. Elsewhere, the Barbican’s latest offering Four Quartets – which sees choreographer Pam Tanowitz, composer Kaija Saariaho and actor Kathleen Chalfant respond to TS Eliot’s famous poetry cycle in a stunning collision of dance, music and art – looks set to delight. While pioneering Chinese choreographer Yang Liping’s new work – a fresh take on The Rite of Spring, which will merge Igor Stravinsky’s famous score with new compositions inspired by traditional Tibetan music”, with a sumptuous set designed by Oscar-winner Tim Yip – arrives at Sadler’s Wells on May 9. At the Arcola Theatre, journalist Bim Adewunmi’s debut play, Hoard, will arrive on May 15. Directed by Femi Elufowoju jr, Hoard is set in Dalston and tells the story of three sisters’ relationship with their unpredictable mother, set on the evening that one sister’s new boyfriend is being introduced to the family.