Don McCullin, Diane Arbus & Alexander McQueen – 3 shows not to miss

Seaside pier on the south coast, Eastbourne, UK, 1970s, @DonMcCullin

There are three excellent exhibitions on at the moment that we urge you not to miss out on.

Think of the photographer Sir Don McCullin and it probably brings to mind his images of war torn countries – his photograph of a shell-shocked marine in 1968 from The Battle of Hue is perhaps his most well known.  This comprehensive retrospective at Tate Modern (on until 6 May), however, shows as well as being one of the UK’s foremost war photographers, working primarily for the Sunday Times Magazine, recording images in Vietnam, Northern Ireland and more recently Syria, there is also so much more.  With over 250 photographs displayed, all printed by McCullin in his own darkroom, there are extensive other images such as those of working class life in London’s East End (born in 1935, he grew up in North London and got his first break when a newspaper published his photograph of friends who were in a local gang), British seaside holidaymakers and in the final room, beautiful landscapes near his home in Somerset.  It is an extremely moving exhibition and one that you will remember long after your visit.

The Guvnors in their Sunday Suits, Finsbury Park, London 1958, @DonMcCullin

Equally striking but with a harder psychological edge, Diane Arbus’ photographic work is filled with people on the periphery of urban American society.  From children to carnival performers, from strippers to giants, Diane Arbus: in the beginning includes nearly 100 photographs that focus on the first half of her career, from 1956 – 1962, with over 50 images that have never been shown in Europe before.  Sometime reminiscent of a darker Edward Hopper – there is even an empty, lonely diner under a tungsten light – Arbus found her subjects everywhere from Central Park to Coney Island and they still capture our imagination just as much now as they did over fifty years ago.

Jack Dracula at a Bar, New London, Connecticut, 1961 (detail) by Diane Arbus @ ESTATE OF DIANE ARBUS

Unlocking Stories is a small gem of an exhibition on the top ‘experimental’ floor of the newly opened Alexander McQueen flagship on Old Bond Street.  Revealing the inspiration behind Sarah Burton’s Spring/Summer 2019 collection and the process involved in reaching the final pieces, it is a treasure trove of toiles, mood boards, research narratives, fabric swatches, embroidery, books and photographs.  Perhaps most beautiful are the life sized paper dresses that Burton makes before each show.  Aimed at inspiring students but open for all, the exhibition will finish in April when new talks and events are planned.  Watch this space!



Don McCullin, Diane Arbus & Alexander McQueen
Until 6 May 2019 (Alexander McQueen until April 2019)
Alexander McQueen, 27 Old Bond Street, W1S 4QE
— Francesca
13th February 2019