Everyone has now heard of the previously totally unknown, reclusive and secret street photographer Vivian Maier: since the discovery of more than 100,000 undeveloped negatives in a box bought blindly at auction, her photos and talent have propelled her reputation to the heights usually reserved for the likes of Cecil Beaton, Man Ray and Cartier-Bresson. The professional nanny used her spare time to wander the neighbourhoods around Chicago and New York, carting her favourite Rolleiflex and snapping black and white photos of strangers, herself and the cities. You’ll have to be quick to catch this exhibition of some of her best work, on at the Beetles & Huxley gallery until September 6th.
Ai Weiwei is one of the most controversial and culturally urgent artists working today, and whose work has been exhibited across the world. Having been made an honorary Academician of the Royal Academy of Arts in 2011, from September 19th to mid-December you can take in a broad retrospective of more than two decades’ worth of his career, views and life events such as detention by the Chinese authorities, from paintings to sculptures, large-scale installations and even nature itself – not to be missed!
Staying at our Amba Hotel Charing Cross, you’re fortunate enough to have the endlessly enchanting National Portrait Gallery mere steps away. With thousands of paintings, photographs, sculptures and prints in their permanent collection, the NPG also curates incredible themed exhibitions, such as the current photographic celebration of Audrey Hepburn – Portraits of an Icon. Spanning her life from a young ballet dancer through her award-winning film career and finally her years spent in philanthropy and humanitarian work later in life, this is an instructive, enthralling collection that runs until October 18th.
The Alexander McQueen show has just finished, meaning it’s on to the next big thing for the Victoria and Albert Museum. For the curious, the secret adventurer and the inherent travellers out there, the V&A is putting on a specially dedicated India Festival in celebration of the 25th anniversary of its Nehru Gallery, including a carefully constructed photography exhibition of the work of pioneering explorer Captain Linnaeus Tripe. Having traversed India and Burma in the late 1800s, a time when photography was just beginning to evolve as an art form, Captain Tripe recorded and documented these fascinating lands in extensive and beautiful detail. The exhibition will be on until October 11th, giving you a chance to see it and the rest of the V&A’s South Asian collections.
Over at the Tate Modern, on the always eye-catching South Bank, The World Goes Pop delves a little deeper into what can sometimes be considered something of a less profound art-form. Going back over the birth and progression of pop art, from its inception in the 60s to its continued popularity from Europe to the Middle East, Latin America and beyond, this exhibition focuses on the concept of protest as expressed through technicolour paintings, installations, sculptures and digital media – an expressive outlet as key today as ever.
All within walking distance of Amba Hotels Charing Cross, make sure to book your stay now so you don’t miss out on any of these hives of creativity and culture.