Brilliant Things to Do This April

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Vinyl: Grace Jones, Island Life, Island Records – 207 472, France, 1985.Photography by Jean-Paul Goude, design by Greg Porto

From biennales to brand new restaurants, from engaging films to enticing events, here’s our round-up of everything to book (or bookmark) for an excellent April


For the Record: Photography and the Art of the Album Cover at the Photographers’ Gallery, London: April 8 – June 12, 2022
Album covers serve multiple functions. They are visual accompaniments to the music they swaddle. They are eye-catching advertisements for the artists that made it (because we all judge a book by its cover to some degree), and they are, of course, artworks in their own right. Which is why the Photographers’ Gallery’s latest exhibition is so special, offering a chance to see 200 iconic album covers on the gallery wall. Expect to encounter works by Andy Warhol, Cindy Sherman, Guy Bourdin and many more in what promises to be an enthralling exploration of the myriad ways in which the album cover has helped shape the identity of some of the world’s biggest musical stars.

The Milk of Dreams at the Giardini and the Arsenale, Venice: April 23 to November 27, 2022
The 59th Venice Biennale opens this month with a central exhibition titled The Milk of Dreams, a reference to a book by the surrealist artist Leonora Carrington. Cecilia Alemani has curated the show, which will feature 213 artists from 58 countries, and which – for the very first time – boasts a majority of women and gender non-conforming artists. It will be divided into three themes, a statement by Alemani explains: “the representation of bodies and their metamorphoses; the relationship between individuals and technologies; the connection between bodies and the earth.”

Marlene Dumas: Open-End at Palazzo Grassi, Venice: Until January 8, 2023
Coinciding with the Biennale is a new Marlene Dumas solo show that brings together over 100 paintings and drawings by the South African artist, created between 1984 and today. These will reveal Dumas’ “whole pictorial production”, the press release explains, which draws heavily on pre-existing imagery (newspapers, magazines, film stills, polaroids taken by Dumas and more) to conjure up profoundly visceral depictions of universal feelings. As Dumas herself has said, “I am an artist who uses second-hand images and first-hand emotions”.

Sheila Hicks: Off Grid at The Hepworth Wakefield, Yorkshire: April 7 – September 25, 2022
Sheila Hicks, doyenne of experimental weavings and sculptural textile art, is the subject of a forthcoming exhibition at the Hepworth Wakefield that sounds set to thrill. Over 70 works will be on display, spanning the American artist’s Minimes, small woven drawings crafted on a hand-held frame, to her vast, colourful sculptures which work in harmonious dialogue with the spaces they fill. Particular emphasis will be placed on Hicks’ intercontinental travels, and “the vernacular textile traditions and construction techniques” she learned from the local artisans she encountered along the way.

BREYER P-ORRIDGE: We Are But One at Pioneer Works at Red Hook Labs, New York: April 15 – July 10, 2022
Genesis Breyer P-Orridge fans will be delighted by the news of a forthcoming exhibition of the late musician, writer and visual artist’s work in New York. According to the press release, the show will provide the “first intimate look” at P-Orridge’s Pandrogyne project, made in collaboration with he/r romantic partner Lady Jaye Breyer P-Orridge – “a nearly two-decade endeavour to liberate love and pure consciousness from the confines of a gender-conforming body”. A shrine-like installation containing “relics and sacred items from [P-Orridge’s] personal altar... and leftover materials from he/r own sculpture creations” will also feature, as will a never-before-seen series of drawings by the artist duo made in 2004.

Robbie Lawrence: Northern Diary at Stills, Centre for Photography, Edinburgh: April 1 – June 25, 2022
For the past seven years, Scottish photographer Robbie Lawrence has intermittently turned his lens to his home country, capturing an evocative array of landscapes, portraits and still lives in cities, rural locations and coastal towns alike. A selection of these now form the image-maker’s first UK institutional solo exhibition at Stills in Edinburgh, where viewers will no doubt fall under the spell of Lawrence’s picturesque, sun-dappled compositions, at once elegiac and celebratory.

Piña, Why is the Sky Blue? at Julia Stoschek Collection, Berlin: April 28 – December 4, 2022
The Julia Stoschek Collection’s latest exhibition Piña, Why is the Sky Blue? is a collaboration between Berlin-based artists Stephanie Comilang and Simon Speiser. It will centre around a video/virtual-reality installation, described as “a speculative documentary that narrates the story of a spiritual medium known as Piña”, featuring interviews with activists and healers in the Philippines and Ecuador (countries with which the artists have family connections). The show is being billed as “an affirming techno-feminist vision of a future in which ancestral knowledge and new technologies converge” – and we, for one, are intrigued.

Willie Birch: Chronicling Our Lives: 1987-2021 at Fort Gansevoort, New York: Until ​May 21, 2022
If you’re in New York, be sure to catch the current exhibition from Louisiana-based artist Willie Birch at Fort Gansevoort. Composed of large-scale paintings on paper and painted papier-mâché sculptures, made between 1987 and 1996, as well as a huge new monochrome mural, the display will reflect what the gallery terms “Birch’s perspective on the beauty and complexities of the human experience”. Of particular note are Birch’s expressive Folk Art-inspired paintings, many of which touch upon the repercussions of violence in American communities with remarkable candidness and humanity.

Glitterbox Presents Last Dance at Defected Records, London: April 19–29, 2022
Photographer Bill Bernstein took some of the most memorable pictures of the late 1970s New York club scene in existence, bottling the atmosphere and inherent hedonism of such legendary venues as Studio 54, Paradise Garage and Better Days for posterity. Now, Londoners can enjoy a free display of some of Bernstein’s finest snapshots of the era at the Defected Records office. Presented by Defected’s beloved disco-house party series, Glitterbox, the show is an unmissable opportunity to revisit disco’s glory days.

Paula Rego: Secrets of Faith at Victoria Miro Venice: April 23 – May 21, 2022
Back in Venice, the revered Portuguese artist Paula Rego is set to present her 2002 painting series devoted to events in the life of the Virgin Mary – familiar scenes rendered extraordinary by Rego’s complex and imaginative handling. Set to open at Victoria Miro on April 23, Secrets of Faith is a rare chance to come face to face with some of Rego’s most treasured of her own works: many have remained in her own personal collection, while one (Descent from the Cross) used to hang on her bedroom wall.

Radio Ballads at Serpentine, London: Until May 29, 2022
Radio Ballads at both the Serpentine gallery and Barking Town Hall and Learning Centre (from April 2–17) consists of four films by artists Sonia Boyce, Helen Cammock, Rory Pilgrim and Ilona Sagar, created in collaboration with Barking-based social workers, carers, organisers and residents. “Centering the voices and embodied experiences of social care workers, and those receiving and giving care in more informal networks, these artworks share complex and intimate stories of living and working in the current moment,” the Serpentine text explains. These vital and timely commissions will be presented alongside paintings, drawings and other materials to highlight the research processes involved in their making.

Lee Alexander McQueen: Mind, Mythos, Muse at LACMA, Los Angeles: April 24 – October 9, 2022
The first-ever West Coast exhibition devoted to Alexander McQueen is set to open at LACMA at the end of the month, exploring the rich and wide-reaching array of encyclopaedic and autobiographical references that underscored the designer’s oeuvre. A selection of typically breathtaking McQueen garments, gifted to the museum by Regina J Drucker, will sit alongside artworks from LA institution’s permanent collection with the aim of dissecting the designer’s methods and influences, and shedding light on themes of artistic legacy and cycles of inspiration.

Performances & Events

From new productions to pop-up stores, April has an abundance of upcoming events to bookmark (or get booking). Top of our list is the Almeida theatre’s latest production, Daddy, a searing melodrama written by Jeremy O. Harris and directed by Danya Taymor. Dubbed “a Bel Air tale of love and family, [in which] intimacy is a commodity and the surreal gets real”, it makes for explosive and essential viewing. At the Harold Pinter Theatre, meanwhile, Killing Eve fans can witness Jodie Comer’s acting talents in the flesh in a new production of Prima Facie, Suzie Miller’s award-winning, one-woman play pertinently pinpointing the failings of a patriarchal justice system.

Visitors to Venice, don’t miss Dancing Studies, an enticing programme of new performances by choreographers William Forsythe, Lenio Kaklea, Ralph Lemon and Pam Tanowitz, each inspired by the work of Bruce Nauman and timed to coincide with Punta della Dogana’s current show, Bruce Nauman: Contrapposto Studies.

Ambush aficionados rejoice! The Yoon Ahn-helmed brand has just opened a number of pop-ups in a range of major department stores around the globe, including London’s Selfridges. A saffron-yellow framework encases the display, which features a playful capsule sculpture at its heart, and serves to spotlight AMBUSH Workshop, the most technical and experimental offerings from the new S/S22 collection. 

Elsewhere, sustainable multi-brand platform SlowCo will host a two-week-long event in Shoreditch’s BoxPark from April 20, kickstarting fashion revolution week with a panel discussion exploring sustainability and fashion in 2022. While on April 15, the Royal Opera’s music director Antonio Pappano and Ukrainian conductor Oksana Lyniv will co-conduct The Royal Opera – Concert for Ukraine, a very special fundraiser featuring an international roster of artists, including Ukrainian tenor Dmytro Popov and Ukrainian baritone Yuriy Yurchuk.


There’s something for everybody among April’s new film offerings. Compartment No.6, from Finnish director Juho Kuosmanen, is a poetic, slow-burning drama about a young Finnish student who forms an unlikely connection with a Vodka-quaffing miner she encounters on a train. Small Body, by Italian filmmaker Laura Samani, is an enthralling portrait of grief and hope, following a young mother, bound for the mountains, on a quest to salvage her dead child’s soul. In the coming-of-age thriller Murina, the debut feature from director Antoneta Alamat Kusijanović, meanwhile, a rebellious young teenager plots to free herself from the clutches of her overbearing father one hot Croatian summer.

Dutch director Paul Verhoeven returns with Benedetta, the story of a 17th-century nun whose forbidden (and steamy) lesbian love affair with another nun coincides with no less salacious visions of Jesus, resulting in a typically Verhoevian romp. Belgian director Laura Wandel makes her feature debut with Playground, a profoundly honest, nuanced and heart-wrenching examination of childhood and the schoolyard bullying that so often accompanies it. For something more lighthearted meanwhile, Tom Gormican’s The Unbearable Weight Of Massive Talent sees Nicolas Cage play a washed-out version himself in a meta action-comedy that’s wonderfully entertaining.

Last but not least, this month’s must-watch documentaries include Ennio, Giuseppe Tornatore’s ode to the life and legacy of the seminal Italian composer Ennio Morricone; Your Mum and Dad, Klaartje Quirijns’ deeply personal film essay following her family as they navigate some upsetting medical news; and The Velvet Queen by renowned wildlife Vincent Munier, and Marie Amiguet, documenting the former’s mission to photograph a notoriously elusive snow leopard.

Food & Drink

In need of excellent food and drink recommendations to ameliorate your April? We’ve got you covered. This month, Silo’s Douglas McMaster will argue the case for invasive species with a new supper club series taking place at the ever-innovative, zero-waste London restaurant. First up? A dinner centred on Japanese knotweed, soon to be followed by freshwater crayfish, jellyfish and venison editions.

Spitalfields’ much-loved Middle Eastern restaurant Bubala will open its second iteration, in Soho, replete with an open kitchen for the full culinary spectacle. The menu will feature Bubala favourites like halloumi with black seed honey, and confit potato latkes with toum and Aleppo chilli, as well as some tempting new additions like grilled Hispi cabbage with mandarin and ras el hanout ponzu. While in Ealing, inimitable fried chicken joint Butchies will be opening its latest restaurant, bringing New York-inspired bites, and a buzzy bodega-like atmosphere to west London.

From April 7, The Standard, London will reopen its stylish outdoor space, The Rooftop, situated on its 11th floor. There visitors can enjoy a sumptuous selection of tacos, plus Maldon oysters and mango margarita slushies, all courtesy of Decimiño, a new concept from chef Peter Sanchez-Iglesias, served from a rooftop taco truck.

For a tantalising taste of Portugal, meanwhile, head to Lisboeta, the new restaurant from renowned chef Nuno Mendes, which promises diners the chance to eat like a Lisbon native, “sharing and participating in the ebb and flow of relaxed Lisbon life.” Lunch and dinner guests can expect to enjoy large sharing dishes inspired by “tasca” (casual local eateries), but imbued with a Mendes spin, and a wine list platforming local producers in the Lisboa and its sub regions.

For any east Londoners in search of an ideal cafe experience, the newly opened Potter & Reid on Toynbee Street is just the ticket. With a focus on simple but delicious dining, from sandwiches and pastries to weekly changing lunch plates (think: spiced ribs, chickpeas and greens with strained yoghurt), as well as excellent coffee, it’s sure to become a firm local favourite. 

Frieze founders Amanda Sharp and Matthew Slotover have struck gold with Toklas, a brutalist restaurant, bakery and cafe named after Alice B Toklas (Gertrude Stein’s partner). Located just off the Strand, gaze upon a large Wolfgang Tillmans print of fresh produce in the dining room, or enjoy a Mediterranean mix of langoustine, nettle agnolotti, and brill on the restaurant’s hidden outdoor terrace.

Last but not least, Bourne & Hollingsworth Buildings in Clerkenwell has just launched a new cocktail menu, using homegrown ingredients from its indoor kitchen garden, and offering a playful DIY twist. Options include richer cocktails like Forest Walk, Bonfire Night and Orchard Harvest, which can all be modified by applying optional mists, “adding a sensory element to cocktail creation and harnessing the link between memory and scent”, the press release explains. While an array of jam jar cocktails comes replete with homemade tinctures and preserves that can be used to “add a delicious, fruity element to a selection of sour-style drinks”. Bottoms up!