Brilliant Things to Do This April

Pin It
Susan Sontag for reproduction
Peter Hujar, Susan Sontag, 1975© The Peter Hujar Archive/Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY

From stand-out solo shows from Peter Hujar and Yinka Shonibare to tantalising restaurant residencies, here are our recommendations for an exceptional month


Peter Hujar: Portraits in Life and Death at the Istituto Santa Maria della Pietà, Venice:  April 20 – November 24, 2024

This month marks the opening of the 60th Venice Biennale and the exciting collateral events and exhibitions that pop up alongside it. One of the ones we’re most excited about is Peter Hujar: Portraits in Life and Death, showcasing all 41 of the photographs included in the American image-maker’s 1976 book of the same title. These include Hujar’s startlingly intimate portraits of his friends and fellow creatives, taken in New York in the 1970s and early 80s – think: Susan Sontag, Fran Lebowitz and John Waters – juxtaposed with eerie images taken inside the Catacombe dei Cappuccini in Palermo, Italy.

Nick Cave: The Devil – A Life at Xavier Hufkens, St-Georges, Brussels: April 5 – May 11, 2024

Musician Nick Cave is set to open his first ever show with a commercial gallery this April, presenting a series of 17 ceramic figurines that tell “the cradle-to-grave story of the Devil.” Created in the style of Victorian Staffordshire flatback figurines – those kitsch yet coveted mantelpiece ornaments – the works serve as “a visual expression of the artist’s abiding interest in religion as a catalyst for a deeper and more creative approach to life.”

Arthur Jafa: Black Power Tool And Die Trynig at 52 Walker, New York: April 5 – June 2, 2024

Los Angeles–based artist and filmmaker Arthur Jafa’s multifaceted practice seeks to “unravel the cultural significance and strictures ascribed in tandem upon Black existence in the Western world” at 52 Walker gallery. Made up of all-new works, the solo show will feature paintings, sculptures, a film and a site-specific labyrinthine installation covered in Jafa’s “characteristically potent” imagery. The result? A “forceful and maximal space that beckons toward engulfment and revelation alike”.

Paolo Roversi at the Palais Galliera, Paris: Until July 14, 2024

In Paris, Paolo Roversi is currently enjoying a new survey of his 50-year career in fashion photography at Palais Galliera. Uniting 140 works, including previously unseen images, Polaroid prints and archive materials, as well as some of Roversi’s best-known campaigns and fashion stories, the display lays bare the Italian photographer’s singular approach to image-making – at once classical and modern, lyrical and candid, defined by his mastery of natural light and an awe-inspiring “density and depth of colour”.

Territory at Sprüth Magers, Berlin: April 27 – June 29, 2024

Coinciding with Berlin Gallery Weekend (April 26–28), Sprüth Mager’s new exhibition in the German capital is set to platform the work of five ascendent Asian women artists: Mire Lee, Liu Yujia, Gala Porras-Kim, Tan Jing, and Zhang Ruyi. Titled Territory, the show will see the gallery’s spaces transformed by the participating artists, the diverse array of featured works offering a collective interrogation of “the vast definitions of borders and boundaries, and how [these] limit and liberate our transgressive desires on physical as well as psychological terrain”.

Christina Ramberg: A Retrospective at Art Institute Chicago: April 20 – August 11, 2024

A one-time icon of the Chicago art scene known for her fragmented depictions of the female form, the late American artist Christina Ramberg will soon be the subject of a major retrospective in the Windy City – the first comprehensive exhibition of her work in almost three decades. At the Art Institute Chicago, visitors will encounter around 100 of Ramberg’s compelling paintings – from her early studies of women’s hairstyles and clothing to her later depictions of lingerie-sporting torsos – as well as quilts, sketchbooks, 35mm slides, and dolls, that will shed light on her rich, deeply researched practice.

Okashi at Michael Hoppen, London: April 13 – June 30, 2024

“The concept of okashi has been used throughout Japanese aesthetic history to refer to those things which delight for their strangeness, their humour, or their power to intrigue,” explains the accompanying text for a forthcoming exhibition at Michael Hoppen’s new gallery space in Holland Park. Comprising an array of artworks and objects that embody the notion of okashi, the show will feature everything from photographs by Daido Moriyama, Nobuyoshi Araki and more, through vintage textiles, avant-garde theatre posters, woodblock shunga prints, and Japanese dildos (Harigata) – a selection that contextualises the gallery’s enduring interest in Japanese culture.

Yinka Shonibare CBE: Suspended States at Serpentine, London: April 12 – September 1, 2024

British-Nigerian artist Yinka Shonibare will present his first London solo exhibition in over 20 years at the Serpentine later this month, delivering a timely contemplation of what he terms “the suspension of boundaries, whether psychological, physical, or geographical”. Across his more than 30-year career, Shonibare has used Western art history and literature to “explore contemporary culture and national identities”, and this latest endeavour is no exception. Through installations, sculpture, quilts and more, here the artist will set out to reimagine and interrogate Western iconography at a moment when “nationalism, protectionism and hostility towards foreigners is on the rise”.

Willy Vanderperre at MoMu, Antwerp: April 27 – August 4, 2024

Another seminal fashion photographer is also getting his dues this month: the longtime AnOther Magazine contributor Willy Vanderperre. Titled Willy Vanderperre: prints, films, a rave and more …, an upcoming exhibition at MoMu in Antwerp will plunge visitors deep into the Belgian image-maker’s inimitable universe, highlighting his fruitful collaborations with stylist Olivier Rizzo and Raf Simons, as well as offering insight into the development of his visual vernacular, the artists that have infuenced him, and his ongoing fascination with youth. 

Pino Pascali at Fondazione Prada, Milan: Until September 23, 2024

Trained in scene painting and set design, the late Pino Pascali would go on to become one of Italy’s great artistic trailblazers during his brief but prolific lifetime. Pascali was a self-proclaimed “exhibitionist” who loved to experiment, employing materials like milk, leather, bitumen and metal, as well as found objects and construction materials in his illusory sculptures and compelling immersive environments. Now, art lovers can experience the inventive scope of Pascali’s work for themselves, courtesy of Fondazione Prada’s current exhibition, extending across three of the Milan venue’s buildings.

Maisie Cousins: Smorgasbord at Chaussee 36, Berlin: April 28 – June 6, 2024

British photographer Maisie Cousins will enjoy her first solo show in Germany this April, in what will no doubt prove another highlight of Berlin Gallery Weekend. The display at Chaussee 36 will introduce viewers to works made between 2017 and 2024, all of which toe the line between attraction and repulsion. In brightly coloured, cropped compositions sections of the female body meet with slugs or flowers, while rotting food is juxtaposed against plastics in vibrant hues, resulting in visceral still lifes that “aim to earnestly challenge the misogynistic notions of perfect, clean and restrained female beauty so prevalent in mainstream imagery”.

Acts of Creation: On Art and Motherhood at Arnolfini, Bristol: Until May 26, 2024

Bristol’s Arnolfiini gallery is the first stop for Acts of Creation, Hayward Gallery Touring’s newest group exhibition, examining the “joys and heartaches, mess, myths and mishaps of motherhood” by way of 100 artworks, spanning painting, photography, sculpture, sound and film. Featured artists include Paula Rego, Wangechi Mutu, Marlene Dumas, Billie Zangewa, Tracey Emin and Catherine Opie, in a display that aims to address motherhood as a lived experience, while positioning “the artist mother as an important – if rarely visible – cultural figure”.

The Mountains Between Us by Lena C Emery and Tekla in support of ClientEarth at Frieze’s No.9 Cork Street Gallery, London: April 25 – April 27, 2024

Over the weekend of 25 – 27 April, the beloved Scandinavian homeware brand Tekla will hold an exhibition at Frieze’s No.9 Cork Street gallery in London showcasing the ecological work of German photographer Lena C Emery. Titled The Mountains Between Us, and featuring a selection of Emery’s spellbinding, ominous sculptures, videos and photographs of the Rhone Glacier in the Swiss Alps – draped in a unique geotextile in a desperate attempt to slow its melting thanks to global warming – the exhibition is in support of ClientEarth, an environmental law charity that Tekla has partnered with since 2022 in the name of sustainability.

Events & Performances

A whole host of excellent live performances and events are taking place this month, so now’s the time to get booking. For the dance inclined, be sure to catch Elixir Festival at Sadler’s Wells from April 10–20, a wonderful series of performances, films and talks that aim to challenge perceptions around dance and age. Highlights include common ground[s], performed and inspired by the lives of two renowned dancers: Germaine Acogny, “the mother of contemporary African dance”, and frequent Pina Bausch collaborator Malou Airaudo.

At the Almeida Theatre, meanwhile, Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’ new play The Comeuppance will receive its UK debut from April 6. A bitingly funny satire that questions whether “we can ever break free from the people we used to be”, it centres on a group of old friends who have gathered in advance of their 20-year high school reunion. While at the National Theatre, don’t miss London Tide, Ben Power’s striking adaptation of Charles Dickens’ classic Our Mutual Friend, set to original music by none other than PJ Harvey. A rousing mystery in which two young women come face to face with an uncertain future, the show runs from April 10 until June 22.

Fans of The Talented Mr Ripley, head down to Ambassadors Theatre stat. Showing until May 11, David Cale’s thriller Harry Clarke finds acting veteran Billy Crudup in the role of “an awkward Midwestern man who moves to New York City to charm his way into a wealthy family” – with darkly comic results. Meanwhile, opera lovers will delight in Olivier award-winning director Damiano Michieletto's scorching new production of Bizet’s Carmen, at the Royal Opera House from April 5 to May 31, in which a decidedly free spirit leaves her army corporal lover for a celebrity toreador, with devastating consequences.

Last but not least, there’s An Evening with Rough Trade Books at the Southbank Centre on April 27. The countercultural publishers have gathered a killer line-up of authors, artists and musicians for the occasion – including Jarvis Cocker, Sheena Patel and Musa Okwonga – so you can expect a very special night of entertainment.


April boasts great new film releases in abundance. First up, Japanese filmmaker Ryusuke Hamaguchi returns with eco-drama Evil Does Not Exist, the story of a father and daughter whose peaceful existence in a village outside Tokyo is threatened by plans to build an opulent glamping site for city residents. The breathtakingly filmed Io Capitano, from Italian director Matteo Garrone, follows two teenage cousins as they attempt to journey from their native Senegal to Italy in search of a better life. Social and magical realism collide in the ensuing moral parable, which stays with you long after the credits roll. Yannick, the latest offering from idiosyncratic French director Quentin Dupieux, is a funny yet thought-provoking musing on spectatorship in which a parking attendant on a rare night off interrupts a dull theatre performance to take matters into his own hands.

Spanish auteur Víctor Erice’s first film in over 30 years, Close Your Eyes, is well worth the wait. A meandering meditation on identity, friendship and memory, it is the tale of a Spanish actor who disappears while making a movie and is presumed dead by the police, only for the mystery to resurface years later. With the much-buzzed-about drama The Teacher’s Lounge, German director İlker Çatak creates “a riveting work about school as a microcosm of society”, centred around a young teacher trapped between her ideals and the education system. While If Only I Could Hibernate by Mongolian director Zoljargal Purevdash is a poetic drama about a “poor but prideful” teenage boy whose dreams of securing a science scholarship look increasingly unlikely when he is left in charge of his two younger siblings.

For April’s best documentaries, meanwhile, be sure to see Stephen, Melanie Manchot’s stirring hybrid fiction-documentary film, which brings together four professional actors with a support cast of 20 participants from a Liverpool addiction recovery centre to explore “the complexities of desire, ambitions, hopes and dreams as well as the power of creativity as a motor for change”. In Tomorrow’s Freedom, Georgia Scott gains intimate access to the family of the imprisoned Palestinian political leader Marwan Barghouthi over the course of five years, footage of which is combined with archival material and in-depth interviews to masterful effect. Finally, On Resistance Street by Richard David delivers an extensive study of music’s role in the fight against fascism and racism. Traversing historic anti-racism movements like Rock Against Racism through contemporary activism in the musical realm, the film presents a spirited case for the vital importance of cultural protest.

Food & Drink

Spring brings with it plenty of new culinary openings and events to pique your appetite. Beginning with good news for brunch aficionados, Marylebone hotspot Jikoni has just launched a new brunch menu, giving its signature “no borders” twist to classic late-morning dishes. A bacon and mushroom bread and butter pudding with pul biber maple syrup will offer the ultimate take on the bacon sandwich, while the Goan sausage roll with pineapple ketchup, and a buckwheat and pumpkin dosa with red chilli garlic and coconut chutney sound equally enticing.

Meanwhile, for your chance to sample Istanbul restaurant Arkestra’s renowned fare, head to Carousel, from April 2–6, where the Michelin-starred eatery will make its London debut with a very special residency. There, chef Cenk Debensason will deliver acclaimed signatures like his duck breast served with Apicius sauce, daikon and ginger apple chutney, and seabass with sushi rice ice cream, ginger ponzu and nori chips. As an added bonus, his wife and co-founder, the NTS radio host Debora Ipekel, will provide a sure-to-be sumptuous soundtrack.

On April 4, London eatery Sollip will play host to New York restaurant Jua, famed for its modern multi-course Korean tasting menus. The exclusive collaboration has been billed as a celebration of the friendship between the establishments’ two chefs, Woongchul Park and Hoyoung Kim, as well as “the shared culinary heritage that runs through their dishes”. Expect a nine-course tasting menu comprising quintessential dishes from both restaurants – from the gamtae aandwich and caviar kim to sweet potato jooak and daikon tarte tatin – each fusing Korean culinary tradition with modern innovation.

If you’re a fan of Greek food, make your way to Borough Market from April 16, where new restaurant OMA is set to serve “novel interpretations of nostalgic Greek dishes bolstered by bold flavours from the surrounding coastal regions”. Deriving its name from the Greek word for “raw”, the space will feature a crudo bar and an open-plan, live-fire kitchen, from which slow-grilled red mullet will be plated up with red miso butter, and skewered Cornish squid, brushed with garlic and za’atar oil and dusted with sumac. Other dishes will include Santorini fava served with capers and a soft-boiled egg, and brown crab borek, “baked until the buttery crab centre is oozy and molten”. We, for one, are sold.

In Tower Hill, chef and restaurateur Guirong Wei has just opened her newest endeavour Dream Xi’an, specialising in the regional cuisine of Shaanxi – most notably its delicious hand-pulled noodles. Other similarly tasty-sounding options include a selection of intricately handmade, steamed dim sum, and Xi’an street food classics such as a special fried bao filled with beef and onion, and paomo soup, a hot stew made with chopped bread and sliced beef in a rich beef broth. 

Finally, for those in search of a good pub lunch (or dinner), The Orange in Belgravia has just launched a brand new menu, giving pub classics a Mediterranean spin. Think: angus ribeye served with roasted onions and comte, and wood-roasted chicken accompanied by grapes, wine and rosemary, plus wood-fired pizzas with tantalising toppings like mortadella, buffalo mozzarella and pistachios, and Ibérico pancetta, roasted pineapple, pickled red onion and chilli. Buon appetito!