Four great photography exhibitions to escape the heat in
When it’s too hot to do much of anything, gorge on visual stimulation. Take a stroll through a paradise of air-conditioned art and take in one of these fantastic photography exhibitions. 

Cindy Sherman

There are just a few weeks left to check out this survey of post-2000 works by Cindy Sherman, one of the world’s most expensive living female artists, and probably its most paid female photographer.
Known for large-scale, carefully composed self portraits of the artist dressed and made up as various types — society hosts, fashion victims, xxxx — Sherman’s pictures are both amusing to look at, and provocative social commentary. 
The entire City Gallery has been devoted to hanging more than 50 of her pictures, including new works from 2016, works made in collaboration with Balenciaga and Chanel, and Sherman’s own collection of found photos.
Gallery visitors have been enjoying the opportunity to snap an ultra-meta #artselfie with Sherman’s face sort of photobombing in the background.
At City Gallery, Wellington, until March 19 

Cindy Sherman
The Devil’s Blind Spot
There are some really great photographers in Christchurch, with a top notch art school and plenty to shoot. This show, curated by Christchurch Art Gallery’s senior curator Lara Strongman, takes the pulse of New Zealand’s emerging talent, showcasing recent works by nine New Zealand photographers born in the 80s or 90s and raised with digital cameras in their pockets. In particular, the show aims to showcase works that are trying something new, signalling some new direction or extending the bounds of what’s possible. 
There are works by newish artists like street and portrait photographer Solomon Mortimer, who had his debut show at Anna Miles Gallery in Auckland just last year, as well as by Conor Clarke, a veteran Berlin-based photographer playing with landscape formats by shooting trailer-loads of sand and mounds of dirt in constructions sites as though they were monumental, tourist-worthy mountains.
At Christchurch Art Gallery until March 12
Solomon Mortimer Donavon Pinkerton #1 2013. Pigment print. Courtesy of the artist and Anna Miles Gallery, Auckland
Being Chinese in Aotearoa
The contribution and evolution of Chinese settlers to New Zealand is explored through about 100 photographs, including a knock-out portrait of Ah Poo Hoc Ting (Appo Hocton), the first Chinese New Zealander, who arrived here in 1842 just after the Treaty was signed, as well as endearing family portraits of Mangere market gardeners the Gock family who are partly responsible for the continued existence of kumara in New Zealand. 
Curated by social historian Dr Phoebe Li from public and private collections, these pictures together tell the story of a close-knit, pioneering and undervalued community, supplemented by a series of works by bro’Town cartoonist Ant Sang and writer Helene Wong, based on interviews with Chinese Aucklanders.
At Auckland Museum 
Dark Matter
I’ve seen Ann Shelton’s photographs in group shows for years, enough to know that any given picture of hers is likely to be eye-catching and quietly powerful, but this new, exquisitely mounted survey of 20 years’ of her work offers the chance to put everything into more of a context. 
Known for creating images that captured the 90s rave scene, with its edgy, obnoxious energy, and for ominously empty pictures of landscapes where famous murders took place, Shelton is clearly an acutely thoughtful observer, and there are more new works to wallow in, heaps of them using trees and plants to hack into unsettling psychological territories. 
One of the stand-out parts of the show, for instance, is two glorious walls of oak tree portraits, including the “Lovelock oak” which still stands outside Timaru Boys High, but which my grandfather, an old boy, used to call “Hitler’s oak”, since it was a gift to the gold medal runner at the 1936 Berlin Olympics, along with a swastika-emblazoned chalice.
At Auckland Art Gallery until April 17