A Great Start to the Year: The Best Things to Do This January

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BW 445 - Naomi Campbell, London 1994 Copyright Ant
Anton Corbijn, Naomi Campbell, London 1994© Anton Corbijn

2022 is here at last, bringing with it an enticing host of exhibitions, performances and culinary delights


de Pury Presents ... Anton Corbijn, online: January 24 – February 28, 2022
Dutch photographer Anton Corbijn is best known for his candid celebrity portraits. His subjects span everyone from David Bowie, Miles Davis and Kurt Cobain to Naomi Campbell, Kate Moss and Donatella Versace, each captured in a hazy black-and-white style, achieved by setting a slow shutter speed to evoke movement and gesture. Fans of Corbijn will be thrilled by the news of a new exhibition of such works, curated by Simon de Pury, and available to view online and in person, by appointment only, at Corbijn’s own studio in The Hague.

Leigh Bowery: Tell Them I’ve Gone to Papua New Guinea at The Fitzrovia Chapel, London: January 7 – February 6, 2022
A forthcoming exhibition at the Fitzrovia Chapel will celebrate the life and work of iconic performance artist Leigh Bowery. The choice of venue is particularly poignant: it is the last remaining building of the Middlesex Hospital, where Bowery died from Aids on New Year’s Eve of 1994. The display will centre on Bowery’s many extraordinary costumes and creations, which were designed “to shock and thrill onlookers from dance floor to gallery”. It will also include a short film featuring interviews with some of Bowery’s closest friends and collaborators, from Nicola Bateman and Sue Tilley to Boy George.

Dawoud Bey & Carrie Mae Weems: In Dialogue at The Grand Rapids Art Museum, Michigan: January 29 – April 30, 2022
Acclaimed American image-makers Dawoud Bey and Carrie Mae Weems make work that is “grounded in specific African American events and realities while simultaneously speaking to a multitude of human conditions”, to quote the Grand Rapids Art Museum. The artists met in 1977 and soon became intellectual colleagues and companions. Now, a forthcoming exhibition at the Michigan museum will present their work together for the first time, spotlighting the pair’s individual trajectories and unique stylistic approaches, as well as their “shared consciousness and principles”.

John Stezaker: Double Shadow at The Approach, London: January 13 – February 19, 2022
At The Approach in London, British collage artist John Stezaker will present a compelling new series of works titled Double Shadow that investigates ideas of duality. As is typical of Stezaker’s approach, found imagery is given shadowy new life in these latest offerings, which evoke what the gallery terms “feelings of surprise, paranoia, mystery, voyeurism and curiosity in a sliding, ungraspable narrative”, inspired as they are by Stezaker’s enduring love of film noir.

Testament at Goldsmiths CCA, London: January 21 – April 3, 2022
The UK’s public monuments, and the frequently problematic historical figures they portray, have been the centre of much recent debate. With this in mind, Goldsmiths CCA has invited a diverse array of artists, either residing in the UK or with a solid understanding of the country’s complex relationship with the past and present, to submit a proposal that considers “what is at stake in tearing down and erecting monuments” and how they might be reimagined for the future. The resulting submissions, by the likes of Ed Atkins, Monster Chetwynd, Rabiya Choudhry, Laure Prouvost, Zadie Xa, and Benito Mayor Vallejo, and many more, will go on display across the CCA building from January 21.

Toni Morrison’s Black Book at David Zwirner, New York: From January 20, 2022
In New York, Hilton Als has curated a show dedicated to the late, great Nobel and Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist, editor and professor Toni Morrison, highlighting her “enormous output and cultural significance”. Bringing together archive material, as well as a number of works by artists including Garrett Bradley, Kerry James Marshall and Julie Mehretu, made in direct response to Morrison’s writings, the show will add what Als terms “visual components that italicise the beauty and audacity of [Morrison’s] work”.

Georgia O’Keeffe at Fondation Beyeler, Basel: January 23 – May 22, 2022
“One rarely takes the time to really see a flower. I have painted it big enough so that others would see what I would see.” So said that doyenne of modern American art, Georgia O’Keeffe – the subject of a major retrospective opening at Switzerland’s Fondation Beyeler later this month. Spanning O’Keeffe’s earliest abstractions through her inimitable renderings of flowers and the New Mexico landscape, the show will present a unique opportunity to enjoy some of the artist’s best-loved work, alongside other, rarely seen paintings, while appreciating the world through her magical lens.

Projects: Kahlil Robert Irving at The Museum of Modern Art, New York: Until May 1, 2022
Working across sculpture and collage, ascendant American artist Kahlil Robert Irving makes multi-layered assemblages of images and replicas of everyday objects that serve as politically charged examinations of contemporary life. In a special project for MoMA, Irving has created a must-see, site-specific installation on the museum’s first floor – a powerful and poetic display that “mines the Internet as a living archive of Black life, death, remembrance, celebration, and survival”.

Mary Ellen Mark: Alike, My Friends at Huxley-Parlour, London: January 19 – February 12, 2022
American photographer Mary Ellen Mark took extraordinarily intimate and compassionate portraits, frequently centred on those living on the margins of society. Her approach to her subjects was direct and honest, “after all”, she once said, “you are taking some of their soul”. The connection Mark forged with those she documented is the focus of a new exhibition of the image-maker's work at Huxley-Parlour gallery in London, which will present 26 portraits that encapsulate her singular mode of collaboration.

Francis Bacon: Man and Beast, Royal Academy, London: January 29 – April 17, 2022
The legendary Irish-born painter Francis Bacon made work that responded to, and encapsulated, the horrors of war and the trauma it spawns. His expressionistic, wildly contorted figures are often “barely recognisable as either human or beast”, and were – as a forthcoming exhibition at London's Royal Academy will reveal – stylistically indebted to Bacon’s lifelong fascination with animals. Spanning the artist’s 50-year career, the show will shed light on Bacon’s extensive study of the animal kingdom and its manifestation within his work.

Body Vessel Clay Black Women, Ceramics & Contemporary Art at Two Temple Place, London: January 29 – April 24, 2022
Be sure to catch the annual show at London’s Two Temple Place, this year dedicated to three generations of Black women artists working in clay. Titled Body Vessel Clay, the exhibition will explore 70 years of ceramic history, beginning with the renowned Nigerian potter Ladi Kwali, and her work with British Studio Pottery in the 1950s, and ending with a number of contemporary international artists (think: Phoebe Collings-James and Jade Montserrat) who are using clay in revolutionary new ways.


If you’re searching for some great theatrical entertainment this month, look no further. There’s Caryl Churchill’s futuristic fable A Number, about a father and his cloned sons, opening at The Old Vic on January 24. At The Royal Court, the brilliantly immersive playwright Alistair McDowall will unveil his new play The Glow about “a woman ... with no memory as to who she is”, and the spiritualist medium who enlists her as an assistant. While at The Young Vic, Anthony Ofoegbu will star in evocative new drama Conundrum by Paul Anthony Morris, “following one man’s trajectory of embracing then owning self-acceptance”.

The International Mime Festival returns to London this month, bringing with it the opportunity to observe some of the world’s best movement artists at play. Highlights include LIFE from master circus performers Gandini Juggling, based on the innovative choreography of Merce Cunningham, and What Do You See from physical theatre ensemble The PappyShow, contemplating the rich spectrum of identity through words, song, movement, design and costume. At the Southbank Centre meanwhile, musician Nabihah Iqbal will join forces with visual artist and quantum physicist Libby Heaney for Cascade, a two-hour audio-visual installation that will plunge audiences into an all-engulfing world of real and artificial water-scapes as part of the venue’s Purcell Sessions programme.


There are lots of exciting new films to see this January. First up, Licorice Pizza, the latest offering from Paul Thomas Anderson, starring Alana Haim and Cooper Hoffman (Philip Seymour-Hoffman's son). A wonderfully nostalgic story of young love, set in 1970s California, it makes for truly unmissable viewing. The same goes for Thai filmmaker Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s slow-burning fantasy Memoria, featuring Tilda Swinton as an expat in Colombia who finds herself plagued by mysterious sounds. Then there’s A Hero from acclaimed Iranian director Asghar Farhadi, tracking a man’s turbulent attempt to wheedle his way out of debtors’ prison.

Memory Box, from Lebanese filmmakers Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige, sees the lives of three women brought together “by a box that resurfaces containing notebooks, photographs and audiotapes”(Mubi). Guillermo del Toro returns with Nightmare Alley, the tale of an ambitious and cunning carnival worker (Bradley Cooper) who joins forces with a similarly scheming clairvoyant (Cate Blanchett) in a bid to swindle a dangerous tycoon. While Spanish auteur Pedro Almodóvar’s newest feature Parallel Mothers is both a brilliantly entertaining baby swap story and a searing contemplation of the residual trauma of the Spanish Civil War.

This month’s best documentaries, meanwhile include Ailey, Jamila Wignot’s moving study of the life and work of visionary dancer and choreographer Alvin Ailey; Cow, British director Andrea Arnold’s engrossing and unflinching film about the life of dairy cows; and Radiograph of a Family, Firouzeh Khosrovani’s inventive portrait of an Iranian couple living through the 1979 Islamic revolution.

Food & Drink

January is brimming with delicious food and drink options, whether you’re looking to carry on the festive indulgence or kickstart the year with a vegetable-based boost. For those searching for the latter, we recommend The Gut menu at The Petersham in Covent Garden, a new all-vegan set menu made from seasonal ingredients. Dishes range from wild mushroom and miso broth to beetroot, pear and Cornish quinoa salad.

At renowned heritage restaurant Native, you can feast like a king while supporting British regenerative farming with the new Regenuary menu. The six-course, vegetable-focussed menu centres around seasonal British produce, including foraged herbs and ingredients that would otherwise go to waste. Think: Jerusalem artichoke mille-feuille, and Alexander leaf velouté, with fresh curds and rye crumb.

And that’s not all for the veggie-inclined, modern Indian restaurant Kricket is holding a one-off vegetarian supper club at its White City space on January 20, spotlighting some of the best meat-free dishes from the Indian subcontinent. The evening’s menu will include salsify and leek pakora, whipped paneer, and a Kricket aloo gobi with pickled cauliflower and curry leaf brown butter. 

If you would prefer to enjoy a tantalising culinary experience from the comfort of your home, revered chef Michel Roux Jr has partnered with finish-at-home meal kit specialists Dishpatch to deliver his favourite French classics to households nationwide. Picture French onion soup and bouef bourguignon galore.

Lahpet, the much-loved modern Burmese restaurant in Shoreditch, will open a second site in the West End this month. Expect signature Lahpet classics like coconut noodles with chicken, alongside new regional specialities such as roasted pork belly and bamboo shoots, and enticing dishes inspired by the street food of Myanmar.

Tea lovers, be sure to check out Tuuli Tea, a new company from nutritionists Sophie Ricard and Tuuli Shipster offering ten tasty blends of teas for modern-day living. These include the playfully named Morning After (the night before), Get Shit Done, The Full English and Earl Green, all made with ethically sourced ingredients, and sustainably packaged to boot.

Last up, bringing a slice of Japanese culture to London, new underground bar Zoku arrives in Chinatown this month, replete with an expansive list of Japanese whiskeys, Japanese highballs and a whole host of other delicious-sounding cocktails. Here’s to a new year!