Brilliant Things to Do This May

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David Bailey, Jane Birkin, 1969© David Bailey

From compelling photography fairs to captivating new films, and a whole host of special one-off events, don’t miss our top recommendations for the month ahead


Photo London at Somerset House, London: May 12-15,2022
Photo London returns to the UK capital this month, bringing together some of the world’s best photo galleries for three days of image-centric celebration. This includes an exhibition dedicated to esteemed fashion photographer Nick Knight, this year’s Master of Photography, with a chance to revisit some of his inimitable collaborations with Yohji Yamamoto, John Galliano and Alexander McQueen; an homage to Frank Horvat, whose combination of “realism and artifice, movement, and inventive locations” revolutionised fashion image-making in the 20th century; the launch of The Roadmaker, a remarkable retrospective photo book from genre-spanning Ghanaian photographer James Barnor; and a number of David Bailey’s brilliant celebrity portraits at Intimate Modern.

Colour as Language at the Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam: May 20 – September 4, 2022
In Amsterdam, the wonderful paintings of Lebanese-American artist and poet Etel Adnan, who passed away late last year, will be showcased alongside a selection of works by fellow colourist Vincent van Gogh at the Van Gogh Museum. Much like the lauded Post-Impressionist, Adnan felt that her flattened, abstracted landscapes, rendered in glorious hues, bridged the limitations of language, communicating something that words alone could not. The show will also feature her “leporello” works (concertina-style books), tapestries and literature.

Just Wide Enough to Hold the Weight at Baxter Street CCNY, New York: May 4 –  June 8, 2022
At Baxter Street Camera Club New York, a new group exhibition will bring together three artists “instrumentalising the camera” to explore gender identity. Images from Marvel Harris’s autobiographical series Inner Journey, chronicling the rawness of his gender transition, will sit in dialogue with Soumya Sankar Bose’s Full Moon on a Dark Night, featuring portraits derived from the artist’s “critically sustained interaction with members of the LGBTQ community in India“. Siddhartha Hajra’s series I See You Better in the Dark will complete the display, comprising portraits made during various storytelling workshops that Hajra held with India’s Kothi community with the aim of facilitating “a unique self-representation of gender identity”.

London Craft Week, London: May 9–15, 2022
For those looking to enliven their home with beautiful handmade designs, London Craft Week beckons. Bringing together over 250 established and emerging makers, designers, brands and galleries from across the globe, the fair’s carefully curated programme of exhibitions, workshops and events will offer visitors the chance to peruse everything from covetable ceramics to sustainable furniture, or, indeed, to take up a new skill themselves, whether spectacle-making or botanical cloth-dying.

Matisse: The Red Studio at MoMA, New York: May 1 – September 10, 2022
In 1911, Henri Matisse debuted The Red Studio, a painting of his own workspace in the Parisian suburb of Issy-les-Moulineaux, filled as it was with paintings and sculptures by his own hand. At the time it was met by “bafflement or indifference”, explains a new exhibition at MoMA, while today it is hailed “a foundational work of modern art and a landmark in the centuries-long tradition of studio painting”. In a move much anticipated by Matisee fans, the MoMA show has reunited the artwork with the surviving paintings, sculptures and ceramic piece featured within it for the first time since it was made, presenting these alongside historical artefacts that shed light on its making and history.

Matches Fashion's Grand Tour Italy Part II in Rome, Florence, Naples-Ischia and online: May – July 2022
Following on from the success of their first Grand Tour in 2019, which showcased a series of exclusive holiday capsule collections through a number of enticing events, Matches Fashion will again be joining forces with Marie-Louise Scio, founder of Issimo and CEO of the Pellicano Hotels Group, to host a second iteration this summer. From May to July, the launch of over 45 vacation capsules with designers such as Gabriela Hearst, Johanna Ortiz and Etro will be marked by special happenings and retail experiences in Rome, Florence and Naples-Ischia as part of Grand Tour II, including a pop-up market stall on Rome’s Piazza De’Ricci.

The Photography Show presented by AIPAD, Center415, New York: May 20-22, 2022
Photography fans in New York will also have the chance to revel in the medium, courtesy of the 41st edition of The Photography Show presented by AIPAD. A global array of galleries will join forces to display what the fair’s press release dubs a curation of “cutting-edge contemporary, modern, and exemplary 19th-century photographs, as well as photo-based art, video, and new media” at Center415 in midtown Manhattan. Highlights are set to include a display of Dawoud Bey’s striking portraits at Stephen Daiter Gallery and Galerie Johannes Faber’s showcase of work by 20th-century icons such as Berenice Abbott, Robert Frank, Robert Mapplethorpe, Irving Penn and many more.

Richard Serra at David Zwirner, New York: May 4 – July 15, 2022
The godfather of steel, Richard Serra, is unveiling a number of new works in two concurrent exhibitions at David Zwirner’s 537 West 20th Street location in New York. Visitors can expect to be awed by a new steel sculpture from the perception-altering artist, as well as a striking series of abstract drawings, which, the gallery explain, “manifest the notions of time, materiality, and process that characterise his work”.

Black Venus, Curated by Aindrea Emelife at Fotografiska New York, New York: May 13 – August 28, 2022
At Fotografiska, a forthcoming show, curated by Aindrea Emelife, will survey the legacy of Black women in visual culture. Featuring an international array of artists, from Kara Walker and Coreen Simpson to Alberta Whittle and Zanele Muholi, Black Venus seeks to offer a compelling “cross-generational investigation into Black women’s reclamation of agency amid the historical fetishization of the Black female body”.

Dana Arbib at Tiwa Select x Galerie Michael Bargo, New York: May 14-18, 2022
Showing as part of New York Design Week later this month, Tiwa Select and Galerie Michael Bargo will present a series of stunning, delicately coloured works in Murano glass by artist Dana Arbib. Inspired by Roman glass and North African relics, the shapely handmade pieces unite chapters in Arbib’s heritage, her Libyan father, who fled Tripoli as a refugee in 1967, having instilled Arbib with “a romanticized portrait of a time when Jewish, Italian, and North African cultures existed symbiotically in one land”.

London Gallery Weekend, London: 13-15 May 2022
Rounding off this month’s series of dedicated weeks and weekends is London Gallery Weekend, a free public event championing galleries in the UK capital. An opportune moment to discover new talent or enjoy artworks by familiar favourites, the occasion boasts over 150 participating galleries. Must-see shows include Northern Irish photographer Gareth McConnell’s latest exhibition The Brighter The Flowers, The Fiercer The Town at Seen Fifteen, and to be rewritten on banana leaves at Copperfield London, the first UK solo exhibition by rising Barbadian visual artist and writer Ada M. Patterson. 

Our Time on Earth at the Barbican Centre, London: May 5 – August 29, 2022
At the Barbican, curators Caroline Till and Kate Franklin have compiled an exhibition that contemplates both the natural world and the escalating climate emergency in bold new ways, proffering future living solutions from artists, scientists, activists and more. Using immersive, interactive installations and numerous digital works, the show will allow visitors to experience “a range of perspectives of our shared planet, exploring Earth as a community to which we all belong – humans as just one species among millions”.

Performances & Events

There are all sorts of productions and happenings to tempt you out of the house this month. At V&A Dundee, Glaswegian fashion designer Charles Jeffrey has co-curated the latest Tay Late, Tay Late: Because We Must, set to take place on May 27. Timed to coincide with the venue’s current Michael Clark exhibition, the one-night event will spotlight the work of emerging and contemporary designers, musicians and performers who share Clark’s “sense of urgency and rebellious energy”. Meanwhile, at Sadler’s Wells, singer, designer and artist Livia Rita will host the next Wild Card event, another excellent programme of artist-curated evenings. Taking place from May 12–13, FUTURA Glitch will feature “a cross-pollination of musicians, designers, dancers, writers, thinkers, and activists” in a night filled with “unearthly creatures that build bridges between worlds.”

Classic theatre aficionados, get booking to see Amy Adams make her West End debut in a new revival of Tennessee Williams’s seminal “memory play” The Glass Menagerie at the Duke of York’s Theatre from May 31. While for those in search of stirring new writing, there’s Beth Steel’s generation-spanning family drama, The House of Shades, “set against the ever-changing industrial landscape of working-class Britain”, which will premiere at the Almeida later this week. At the Royal Court, meanwhile, don’t miss Two Palestinians Go Dogging, Sami Ibrahim’s award-winning play, which cleverly employs “the lens of humour” to examine how “the everyday becomes political and the political becomes everyday in a conflict zone”.

If you’d prefer to watch from home, however, while supporting a good cause, the Royal Opera House is streaming Crystal Pite’s moving ballet Flight Pattern (2019) throughout May on its online platform. A powerful exploration of refugee crises, the performance can be viewed for a minimum £7 donation, will all proceeds going to the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal.


Ranking high among May’s most anticipated film releases is Irish writer-director Colm Bairéad’s coming-of-age drama The Quiet Girl, the story of a young girl sent away for the summer by her dysfunctional family, which made waves at this year’s Berlinale. Then there’s Carey Williams’s comedy thriller Emergency, centring on three college students of colour who are forced to weigh the pros and cons of calling the cops after an unexpected discovery interrupts their night of partying. Horror fans, be sure to catch The Innocents from Norwegian filmmaker Eskil Vogt, following a group of children with dark, mysterious powers who run amok one bright Scandinavian summer.

French director Gaspar Noé is back with Vortex, an emotionally-wrought end-of-life love story between “a retired psychiatrist with dementia and a struggling author with a heart condition”. While for sci-fi aficionados, there’s Everything Everywhere All at Once, from writer-director duo Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, in which a Chinese immigrant (Michelle Yeoh) finds herself swept up in an off-kilter, multiverse-spanning quest to save the world. And don’t miss The Drover’s Wife: The Legend of Molly Johnson, from acclaimed aboriginal Australian actor-director Leah Purcell: a fierce, feminist revenge western set on a remote homestead in the Snowy Mountains.

Our pick of this month’s must-see documentaries, meanwhile, includes This Much I Know To Be True, an intimate look at Nick Cave and Warren Ellis’s creative relationship; Nigel Askew’s Wake up Punk, which follows Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren’s son Joe Corré as he burns all his punk memorabilia to protest the movement’s commodification; and Arica, Lars Edman and William Johansson’s shocking exposure of a toxic waste scandal caused by Swedish mining giant Boliden in the Chilean desert town of Arica in 1984.

Finally, for a IRL film event in London, head down to Rebel Reel Cine Club at Archway Tavern, which has joined forces with 6876 to bring cinephiles a special screening of Jean-Luc Godard’s Weekend on May 5 (tickets include the latest issue of AnOther and a limited-edition tote).

Food & Drink

This month comes replete with an abundance of new restaurant openings and culinary events. This Sunday May 8, Ukrainian chef Dimi Penziev will be conjuring up Ukrainian dishes with a twist at Kricket Soho to raise money for Voices of Children, a charity helping children affected by the war. The menu will be available from 12-6pm to takeaway or eat in, with no booking required. Expect to sample pampushky (Ukrainian garlic bread with wild garlic chilli butter), holubtsi (cabbage rolls, spiced beef and horseradish raita) and medovik (honey cake).

Mayfair has a new dining hotspot in the form of The Twenty Two, a neighbourhood restaurant (as well as hotel and private members club), serving up an all-day menu of British classics with a Mediterranean edge. “I wanted to create a restaurant where the menus flow harmoniously from breakfast to lunch to dinner, made up of dishes that evoke a subtle, comforting familiarity,” explains chef Alan Christie. “Some light and fresh, some indulgent, but all executed to the highest standards and with the best quality, seasonal ingredients.”

East Londoners, be sure to visit Flat Earth Pizzas’ first permanent restaurant on the fringes of Broadway Market. There, Sarah Brading and Rich Baker will be delivering delicious vegetarian pizzas, tasty offerings on toast, and sumptuous small plates on a full-time basis after two years of hosting popular pop-ups and residencies.

For those in search of a place to celebrate a special occasion, visit The Waterhouse Project in Hackney for an epic six-course lunch, or a nine-course dinner – both paired with a succession of sweet natural wines. Gabriel Waterhouse first launched his supper club back in 2015, but now the project has found a permanent home in a high-ceilinged, light-filled brutalist space overlooking Regent’s Canal’s iconic gas holders. The food is seasonal and the flavour rich, plus the chefs serve the food themselves, so be sure to ask questions – the Cornish Mussel broth, with preserved lemon, fermented artichoke and chive, is like a shot of heaven.

Meanwhile, a new Sustainable Supper Club series has arrived at Gaucho’s newly reopened Charlotte Street restaurant on the second to last Wednesday of each month, offering meat-eaters the chance to indulge in a tantalising four-course feast, guilt-free. Every dinner will feature a different bespoke menu designed to showcase under-utilised cuts of meat, locally sourced and seasonal herbs and vegetables, plus a refreshing range of environmentally-minded drinks.

Mangos are at their ripest in May and, to celebrate, chef Surender Mohan has dreamed up a special mango-centric menu for diners’ delectation at the Michelin-starred Indian restaurant Jamavar. Inspired by Southern-Indian recipes, plates are set to include Meen Manga Curry (sea bass and raw mango cooked with fenugreek and Kerala spiced coconut milk), Mango Pulissery, an Alphonso, coconut and yoghurt curry, and a burnt mango tart paired with fresh Alphonso salsa and mango sorbet.

Last but not least, on May 18, Rochelle Canteen will host a one-off dinner in their glorious garden to launch ANAN, a new restaurant concept from Eyal Jagermann and Tomer Hauptman, honouring the culture of hummus-eating in the Middle East. Soon to open their own permanent space, ANAN say they aim to “shift perceptions and show Londoners that warm, smooth hummus eaten in the traditional way with good quality chickpeas, tahini, olive oil and a fluffy white pitta is a well-balanced, nutritious meal in itself, brought to life when paired with a plethora of vibrant sides.” Shahiat tyb!