Awesome Ideas: Visit an exhibition in 2017

Professor Frances Corner speaks to curator Lou Stoppard at the launch of Mad About The Boy. Image by Josh De Souza Crook.

Visiting exhibitions is one of my favourite things to do so, although this year has barely begun, I already have a list of must-see exhibitions for 2017. Going with a friend can give you lots to discuss, as they often share knowledge you don’t have or perhaps spot some things you might have missed. Visiting alone can be a relaxing and thoughtful way to spend an hour or so, providing an oasis of calm in smaller exhibitions and an immersive excitement in big blockbuster shows.

I’ve investigated crimes at the Museum of London with a colleague, debated the nature of vulgarity at The Barbican, ducked in and out of a small installation in Soho with a friend at lunch time, and have seen my chatty sister rendered speechless by seeing Alexander McQueen’s work up close at the V&A. Visiting exhibitions gives you more time to chat than going to the cinema and probably gives you more to talk about, so here are a few UK exhibitions that I’m looking forward to visiting this year… hopefully with friends.

1) The Museum of Transology
This began as an idea I discussed with the Fashion Space Gallery team, to do an exhibition on underwear and trans identity. I got the amazing E-J Scott on board as curator and we set up a Facebook group to crowd source objects, but I soon realised that I had over committed and was not going to have time to work on the project any further. Since then, E-J has forged ahead and expanded the scope of the project, which looks like it’s going to be an extremely exciting show indeed! The Museum of Transology will be the largest and boldest display of trans artefacts and photographic portraiture ever displayed in the UK, challenging the idea that gender is fixed by exploring how the artefacts helped fashion self-shaped gender identities. In addition to personal stories and objects donated by trans folk, the display will feature photography and some very interesting films! The exhibition runs from 20th January to 22nd April 2017 at the Fashion Space Gallery, London.

2) North: Identity, Photography and Fashion
Having lived in Manchester for almost a decade, I still feel a strong connection to the north west of England despite being born in the south east. This exhibition looks to be extremely interesting interesting as it combines photography, fashion and references to the wonderful Peter Saville and New Order. Co-curated by Lou Stoppard and Adam Murray, North explores the way the region is depicted, constructed and celebrated in select photographs, artworks and fashion collections. The show brings together collective visions of the north, unpicking the tropes and themes that appear regularly in design and media and takes into account the rich cultural history of the region. The exhibition runs from 6th January to 19th March 2017 at Open Eye Gallery, Liverpool.

3) Lace in Fashion
As a lover of lingerie and of textile construction, lace has always intrigued me and this looks to be a fascinating look at an interesting fabric. Drawing on the riches of the Fashion Museum’s collection, as well as generous loans from contemporary fashion designers, this exhibition will showcase around 50 exquisite pieces, showing how lace has featured in fashion from the 1600s to today’s catwalk trends. The exhibition runs from 4th February 2017 to 1st January 2018 at the Fashion Museum, Bath.

4) The Pink Floyd Exhibition: Their Mortal Remains
The V&A continues to come up with very big reasons for me to renew my membership, and 2017 is no different. Following on from the epic David Bowie Is in 2013, this is the first international retrospective of one of the world’s most iconic and influential bands. As a lover of Pink Floyd since my childhood, when my father would listen to their albums on vinyl, I am looking forward to visiting this immersive, multi-sensory and theatrical journey into their world. The exhibition runs from 13th May to 1st October 2017 at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

5) Strange and Familiar: Britain as Revealed by International Photographers
Curated by the iconic British photographer Martin Parr, Strange and Familiar considers how international photographers from the 1930s onwards have captured the social, cultural and political identity of the UK. From social documentary and portraiture to street and architectural photography, the exhibition celebrates the work of leading photographers, including Henri Cartier-Bresson, Rineke Dijkstra, and Garry Winogrand. Bringing together over 250 compelling photographs and previously unseen bodies of work, Strange and Familiar presents a vibrant portrait of modern Britain. The exhibition runs from 25th November 2016 to 29th May 2017 at Manchester Art Gallery.

Image taken by Josh De Souza Crook at the launch of a previous Fashion Space Gallery exhibition, Mad About The Boy, which was curated by Lou Stoppard.

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