The Top 7 Art Exhibitions to see in May

Art critic Tabish Khan brings you ‘The Top Art Exhibitions to see in London’, plus one addition from outside the M25. Each one comes with a concise review to help you decide whether it’s for you. All end soon, so hurry if you want to catch them:

Martin Parr: Only Human @ National Portrait Gallery
If there’s an unofficial photographer of the UK it’s Martin Parr. He captures the full scale of British society including Brexit Britain and the strange routines at public schools. It’s also a very playful show with a cafe inside the exhibition and the gift shop labelled like a discount store. Read my full review here. Until 27 May. 

Nocturne @ Dellasposa
Darkness abounds in this show all about the night. They range from the large black pieces by Dean and James textured with charcoal embellishments to the small abstract works by Guy Haddon Grant created using candle soot. Add in the low light photography of Nicholas Hughes and we have a deeply atmospheric exhibition. Until 31 May. 

The Lie of the Land @ MK Gallery
The MK gallery in Milton Keynes has re-opened with a bold and colourful refurbishment keeping industrial elements intact and painting the pipes to give us a contemporary gallery with references to Milton Keynes architecture. Much as the gallery has evolved the opening show also relates to evolution of our culture and leisure time, with a great mix of old and modern masters. Until 26 May. 

Denzil Forrester: A survey @ Stephen Friedman Gallery
There’s plenty of vibrant energy and colour in these paintings of the reggae and dub nightclub scenes from London in the 1980s. The inclusion of police officers in some of the works shows that the era wasn’t without its tensions. Until 29 May. 

Reflective: Jane Ward & Jim Cheatle @ Bearspace
Two artists bring together works that both start off with digital images and then break them down in very different ways. Cheatle heads towards abstraction while Jane Ward creates fantastical mind bending landscapes packed with huge amounts of detail. Until 25 May. 

Encounters – in collaboration with ArtCan @ D-contemporary*
London and art galleries are both places of encounters where we meets new people and run into friends and acquaintances. This show is all about artists who capture the moment when paths cross, including the abstract explosive colours of Teresa Zerafa Byrne and the faces in motion by Georgia Peskett. Until 21 May.

Happy Hour – Curated by EKCO London / Roberto Ekholm @ 2 Melior Place
It’s time to quit work for the day and head for some after work fun. This exhibition looks at the crossing point between work and leisure with a group show of artists creating videos in a car door’s wing mirror and on top of crowd barriers. It’s a playful show in an architecturally stunning building. Until 6 July.

All images courtesy gallery and copyright artist. Happy Hour image copyright Alex Roberts. MK photo: Iwan Baan. Artcan image copyright Georgia Peskett. 

* The writer of this piece is a trustee of ArtCan

About Tabish Khan

Art Critic for both FAD and Londonist. See as many exhibitions as possible and write reviews, opinion pieces and a weekly top 5 for FAD.