Agenda: 4 Photography Exhibitions to See in Fall 2019

From Duane Michals’s first New York retrospective to the swinging nightlife of London’s Soho, here are this fall’s must-see exhibitions.
Alinka Echeverría, Fieldnotes for Nicephora, 2015

Alinka Echeverría, Fieldnotes for Nicephora, from the series Nicephora, 2015–ongoing
© the artist

Alinka Echeverría

During a 2015 research residency at the Musée Nicéphore Niépce—a French museum devoted to Joseph-Nicéphore Niépce, who is often credited as the inventor of photography—Mexican British artist Alinka Echeverría employed an intersectional feminist lens to recontextualize the museum’s colonial archives. With a background in social anthropology, she studies historical representations of women in photography, using collage to liberate and reframe these images. Echeverría’s upcoming show at the Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal, Simulacres, revisits her work on Niépce to pose critical conversations between archival images of women and vases from the museum’s collection. “Alinka’s work not only addresses questions of the feminine but also the question of the ‘other’ as objects of colonial study,” says María Wills Londoño, curator of the exhibition. “She works in collages—tearing images, taking objects, and making fragmentations—to question the semiotics of the feminine and how society and history are constructed.”

Simulacres: Alinka Echevarría at the Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal, September 5–December 1, 2019

Duane Michals, Warren Beatty, 1966

Duane Michals, Warren Beatty, 1966
© the artist and courtesy DC Moore Gallery, New York

Duane Michals

Duane Michals never really studied photography. When he started experimenting with pictures in the 1960s, he felt free to live and make work any way he wanted. He began to explore cinematic devices and multiple exposures, staging multipart photographic sequences that consider mortality and desire. He embraced technical errors. And he wrote in the margins of his prints. “Writing allowed Michals to find his voice in photography,” says Joel Smith, curator of photography at the Morgan Library & Museum, which is presenting Illusions of the Photographer, Michals’s first full-scale New York museum retrospective. Covering five decades of Michals’s photography and short films, the exhibition will be accompanied by an artist’s-choice show, selected by Michals from the Morgan’s collection, featuring works by Eugène Atget, Auguste Rodin, and Joseph Cornell. “Illusions,” Smith says of Michals’s work, “allow a photographer to believe in the vision of the world he’s got and make it real.”

Illusions of the Photographer: Duane Michals at the Morgan at the Morgan Library & Museum, New York, October 25, 2019–February 2, 2020

Jan Groover, Untitled, ca. 1978

Jan Groover, Untitled, ca. 1978
© Musée de l’Elysée, Lausanne/Jan Groover Archive

Jan Groover

“Formalism is everything for Jan Groover. It is a motto, true from the first work to the last work,” says Tatyana Franck, director of the Musée de l’Elysée. Groover is best known for her kitchen still lifes from the 1970s and ’80s, a body of work that became a postmodern classic and helped make the case for color photography as art. Two years after Groover’s death in 2012, Franck visited the house in rural France that the artist had shared with her husband and was astonished to discover forty years of Groover’s work there. In 2017, the museum acquired the archive, which contains some twenty thousand objects: sketches, Polaroids, negatives, contact sheets, test prints, technical equipment, and Groover’s own photography collection. Laboratory of Forms, curated by Franck, is Groover’s first survey in over thirty years and includes portraits, still lifes, and landscapes from 1967 to the very last negative Groover printed.

Laboratory of Forms: Photographs by Jan Groover at the Musée de l’Elysée, Lausanne, Switzerland, September 18, 2019–January 5, 2020

Anders Petersen, London 150, 2012

Anders Petersen, London 150, 2012
© the artist

Shot in Soho

P. D. James once said that London’s Soho district was a “cosmopolitan village” with good food, great shopping, and sordid crime. Before its more recent polished incarnation with boutique hotels and a new Crossrail transit line, Soho was a magnet for disobedience and debauchery, yet it still remains a destination for artists of all types. Shot in Soho presents images by photographers such as Anders Petersen, William Klein, and Corinne Day, who profiled the infamous neighborhood. Not simply an exercise in nostalgia, the exhibition also looks at present-day Soho through images of romantic connections in a new commission by the emerging Irish photographer Daragh Soden. Together, Shot in Soho celebrates an ever-changing, one-square-mile enclave that contains, as James noted, “all things to all men, catering comprehensively for those needs which money can buy.”

Shot in Soho at the Photographers’ Gallery, London, October 18, 2019–February 9, 2020

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