Three to see: London

Three to see: London

Cutting-edge feminist photography is not what you’d expect from a corporate collection, certainly not one created by an Austrian electrical company. But Sammlung Verbund undermines all these preconceptions. Assembled by the Dia Art Foundation director Jessica Morgan, the new Monnaie de Paris director Camille Morineau, and the Austrian curator and co-founder Gabrielle Schor, the collection was established in 2004 with a strong focus on female artists. Highlights are now on show at The Photographers’ Gallery in Feminist Avant-garde of the 1970s (until 29 January), which brings together big names such as Cindy Sherman and Valie Export with lesser-known figures such as Birgit Jürgenssen and Sanja Ivekovic. A parallel show at London’s Austrian Cultural Forum builds on these themes with the exhibition Tender Touches (until 13 January).

Zaha Hadid: Early Paintings and Drawings (until 12 February 2017) opened this week in the Serpentine Sackler Gallery, which the late architect Zaha Haddid converted into an art space. The show includes large-scale paintings as well as drawings and notebooks. The dramatic, visionary images of cities and buildings, include a student project for a hotel on a bridge over the river Thames, completed in the late 1970s while at London’s Architecture Association (AA). Inspired by Russian Constructivist designs for daring and unrealised building, Hadid used paintings as a design and research tool, said Hans Ulrich Obrist, the Serpentine Galleries artistic director, at the opening. “She anticipated digital design,” he added.

The Australia’s Impressionists show at The National Gallery focuses on the four Australian artists Tom Roberts, Arthur Streeton, Charles Conder and John Russell. All four worked or studied in Europe, inspired by the greats of European Impressionism such as Claude Monet. This is the first exhibition in the UK dedicated solely to the topic. The familiar Impressionist manner is present in many of the paintings but is given a twist as the colour intensity appears to have been turned up to 11—not as brash as Bondi beach in high summer but definitely brighter than the beaches of Brittany.