5 to See: This Weekend

The way human beings experience the world is constantly shifting. This week’s selection of exhibitions delves into individual histories whilst looking forward to a collective future, engaging with society’s impact on personal and universal narratives.

Nan Goldin, Portland Museum of Art, Portland.

By capturing day-to-day life through an intimate and diaristic approach, Goldin’s practice is rooted in a unique, specified history. The collection of images draws a raw and revealing self portrait of the artist whilst exploring widespread notions of family and friendship. Until 31 December. www.portlandmuseum.org.

Softer: Jenny Holzer at Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire.

Using the military past of the palace as a starting point, Holzer examines the theme of conflict through digital technology and linguistics. The show comprises LED light installations, stonework and a virtual reality mobile app, meaningfully investigating warfare whilst employing language to critique systems of power. Until 31 December. www.blenheimartfoundation.org.uk.

Alec Soth: Gathered Leaves, Deichtorhallen House of Photography, Hamburg.

This in-depth overview of Soth’s oeuvre includes 65 photographs depicting the physical and social landscapes of America. The works simultaneously depict scenes of the quotidian and engage with wider ideals of independence, freedom and individuality. Until 7 January www.deichtorhallen.de.

[On] Tables: From Dealing With Reality, DZ Bank Art Foyer, Frankfurt.

In an era of “fake news” and political upheaval, reality and truth become difficult to grasp. Contributions from practitioners such as Thomas Demand, David Hockney, Rosemary Laing and Louise Lawler reveal the tensions surrounding notions of authenticity in the 21st century. Until 6 January www.dzbank-kunstsammlung.de.

John Akomfrah: Purple, The Curve, Barbican Centre, London.

Akomfrah’s environmentally conscious video installation offers dialogues about climate change by foregrounding issues such as global warming, animal extinctions and the plastic ocean. The piece brings together archival film, new footage and a mesmerising soundtrack, creating an immersive and challenging experience. Until 7 January www.barbican.org.uk.


1. Nan Goldin (United States, born born 1953),Empty Beds, Boston, silver-dye bleach print, 24 x 36 inches. Private collection, Houston, TX. © Nan Goldin, courtesy of Matthew Marks Gallery, New York

2. Jenny Holzer, Times Square, 1986 Text: Survival, 1983-85 Photo: John Marchael.

3. Alec Soth, from Sleeping by the Mississipp., Home, Treasure Island Casino, Red Wing, Minnesota 2000 © Alec Soth

4. Thomas Demand, Office, 1995/2007, DZ BANK art collection in the Städel Museum

5. © Still frame from Purple by John Akomfrah, courtesy of Barbican Centre.