Brilliant Things To Do in January

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Surface Tension, 1992Courtesy the artist and the Jonathon Carroll Collection. Installation view, photograph by Maxime Dufour © Rafael Lozano-Hemmer

Blue Monday? Not here. AnOther presents a curated list of the very best to do and see this January

Electronic Superhighway: January 29 - May 15

London's Whitechapel Gallery has long set the bar when it comes to curating innovative exhibitions demonstrating the extraordinary capability of technology in art, and its next is no exception. Electronic Superhighway will bring together over 100 artworks from 70 different artists to showcase the the impact of computer and Internet technologies on artists from the mid-1960s to now. Presented in reverse chronology from 2016 to 1966, the display spans film, painting, sculpture and photography, and looks set to widen both visitors' eyes and their perspectives alike.

Annie Leibovitz’s Women: New Portraits: January 16 – February 7

If Annie Leibovitz was marking her return to contemporary cultural conscience with her brilliant new take on the historic misogyny of the Pirelli calendar this Autumn, then she’s demonstrating her refusal to relinquish the position with her fantastic new touring exhibition, supported by exclusive commissioning partner UBS. A continuation of a project the acclaimed photographer began back in 1999, Women: New Portraits brings together popular shots from the original series and stunning new photographs taken since, demonstrating how the roles of women have changed over the last 15 years.

The Best in Food and Drink
It doesn’t take an expert in contemporary cuisine to recognise that Turkish food is undergoing a renaissance, and nowhere is it more delectable than at gourmet Turkish offering Le Bab. Combining seasonal British produce with Middle Eastern flavour, Le Bab started life as a street food venture in 2014, before being refined in Michelin star kitchens, and has since been distilled into a gorgeous new venue in London’s Kingly Court, which will open on January 7.

Le Bab's innovative contemporary take on the kebab includes the likes of Roe Deer Adana served with cavolo nero kimchi, Jerusalem artichoke crisps and damson and chilli jam, and golden beetroot and celeriac slaw. Whatever you do, don’t miss the cardamom and cinnamon-spiced crème brûlée.

In cocktail culture, Dalstonites will be glad to hear that cocktail bar Ruby’s is taking on a new lease of life this January as it expands to become Ruby’s Bar & Lounge, opening January 15. The carefully crafted cocktail menu will still be in place, now joined by an expertly curated wine list by local wine bar Verden and Vietnamese street food by Hanoi Kitchen, to create quite the collaboration in forward-thinking eating and drinking. Elsewhere in ethically sourced cuisine, the excellent Grain Store opens a new branch in Gatwick airport this month, bringing the very best in Scottish produce to high-flyers. 

Michael Craig-Martin: Transience: until February 14
London's Serpentine Gallery will host the first solo exhibition of renowned British artist Michael Craig-Martin since 1989, this January, entitled Transience. Featuring artworks made between 1981 and 2015, from the artist’s early drawings, to era-defining depictions of laptops, iPhones and games consoles, the show investigates the groundbreaking shift from analogue to digital that has occurred over the last three decades.

Dialogues at London Art Fair: January 20 - 24
Hibernation is not an option when there’s an exciting art fair in town, and January marks the opening of a particularly intriguing new collaborative initiative between UK and international galleries as part of London Art Fair. Entitled Dialogues, the project was conceived with the purpose of bringing together art spaces across Europe in an effort to overcome geographical separation, while also encouraging visitors to take part in debates and bring forward creative ideas. The selection of work on display, as evidenced by one compelling piece by photographer Isabelle Wenzel above, is fantastic.

Grayson Perry: The Vanity of Small Differences: January 9 – April 10
Next on our guide to a wonderful January is Grayson Perry’s The Vanity of Small Differences at Victoria Art Gallery in Bath. The show explores the British enchantment with taste and class through the characters of William Hogarth’s 18th century tale A Rake’s Progress, through six large-scale, exuberant tapestries created by the Turner Prize-winning artist as part of his Channel 4 series All in the Best Possible Taste, with all of Perry's characteristic eclecticism. 

The Best of Film
For those looking to spend the New Year recovering from festive overindulgence in the warmth and comfort of the cinema, January's offerings won't disappoint. From Tom Hooper's much-anticipated movie The Danish Girl – starring Eddie Redmayne in the riveting role of artist Einar Wegener, one of the first people to undergo a sex change – to Quentin Tarantino's highly theatrical drama The Hateful Eight: extremely stylish, deliciously dark and accompanied by a Morricone soundtrack to die for.

Joy sees Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper reunited once more under the direction of David O. Russell in the tale of a struggling single mother who battles the odds to establish herself as an extraordinary entrepreneur. The Revenant, directed by Birdman's Alejandro González Iñárritu, is a stunningly shot story of survival and revenge, inspired by the life of frontiersman Hugh Glass, and stars a gripping Leonardo DiCaprio in the lead role. Then there's Room, the remarkable adaptation of Emma Donoghue's acclaimed novel, that follows a mother and her five-year-old son as they finally gain freedom after being held captive in an enclosed space for the boy's entire life.

Painting the Modern Garden: Monet to Matisse: January 30 - April 20
Instagram’s prolific, green-fingered community isn’t the only one preoccupied with botany just now – curators at London's Royal Academy of Arts are similarly inspired. The establishment’s new exhibition is taking winter to task with a delightfully spring-themed show, Painting the Modern Garden: Monet to Matisse. The exibition will include art world greats from Paul Klee and Gustav Klimt to Wassily Kandinsky, in an alterative and enriching view of horticulture across the ages. 

Snowdrop Days at Chelsea Physic Garden: January 30 - February 7
Contrary to popular belief, winter weather doesn't have to mean a scarcity of horticultural beauty – snowdrops are one of many flora which flourishes in the colder months, and London's Chelsea Physic Garden is just one of the sites celebrating them. From January 30 onwards, the gardens will be hosting a series of walks, talks and workshops to give the humble snowdrop the attention it deserves.

Frank Stella: A Retrospective: Until February 7
Prolific in output and profound in influence, Frank Stella might be one of the most important American artists alive and working today, making his retrospective exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York a must-see. The show opened at the end of October and runs until February 7, so this month marks your last chance to enjoy his colourful works, comprising paintings, reliefs, moquettes, sculptures and drawings drawn from shows around the world.

Stellar Performances
For your dose of theatricality this month, we recommend Les Liaisons Dangereuses at The Donmar. 30 years after Christopher Hampton's adaptation of Choderlos de Laclos’ scandalous 18th century novel first graced the stage, it returns as malicious, mesmerising and seductive as ever, bolstered by a brilliant cast including Elaine Cassidy, Janet McTeer and Dominic West. While for those in search of something new, the inimitable Caryl Churchill is back at the Royal Court with her latest play Escaped Alone, which sees three old friends and a neighbour unite for lashings of "tea and catastrophe."