Art reflects the past while predicting the future which is why, in London, it remains part of our vibrant present. This month, visionaries as disparate as Picasso and Joan Jonas prove that creativity cannot be easily packaged into time periods and the forces that drive it are alive and well in the Capital. For proof of this, you only need to check out the edgy Museum of London or one of the more user-friendly art fairs that continue to thrive here. Here are our hot picks for things to do in London this month.
In 1927, Pablo Picasso was an artist who had taken Paris by storm with his bold modernism and was looking for his next challenge and that came in the form of a pretty blonde who Picasso bumped into outside the Metro. Immediately besotted, the artist embarked on a hot streak of creativity that reached its peak five years later: thus, giving this exhibition its name.
Marie-Therese Walter posed for a series of provocative paintings in which Picasso, who was twice her age, let his trademark unapologetic style run free. The result is a collection of unmatched vivacity which many regard as the apogee of his long career. This will be the first solo Picasso exhibition at the Tate Modern and is, therefore, a landmark event. https://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-modern/exhibition/ey-exhibition-picasso-1932-love-fame-tragedy
It’s been a century since women won the right to vote and still the female half of the globe has to struggle in order to be heard. Women of the World is a network of events that is determined to raise awareness through artistic exchange and political activism.
Actresses, comedians, musicians and politicians will all gather at The Southbank Centre where an exhaustive series of talks, workshops and performances will explore the fast-changing social landscape of 2018. With #MeToo gaining global traction, these are exciting times and the atmosphere is sure to be charged with determination and optimism.
Part of a series of international events, the Affordable Art Fair has a refreshingly proactive approach to the way art is perceived and purchased. The organisers are of a strong belief that a few well-placed pieces can have a major impact on any living space and that London properties are the perfect backdrop for creativity and culture.
As this month sees the event continuing to build on earlier successes, contemporary portraiture is set to make a big impression. However, if that seems a little to personalised for some settings, there are the usual stunning landscapes and bold abstracts. Look out for new talents like Sophie Berger, Dito Von Tease and Tessa Pearso. https://affordableartfair.com/fairs/battersea-spring
In the 60s, Joan Jonas blazed a trail for other young iconoclasts to follow and her influence is still being felt all over the performance art world. Intrigued by the masks and mime of Japanese Noh theatre, Jonas used their techniques in a series of installations and performance pieces and she revisits some of these at London’s premier modern art space.
In addition to her revived installations, there will be ten days of live performance and a selection of experimental films. Jonas herself will take part in some of these events, which will indeed be an inspiration to those who think that the creative process dulls with age. https://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-modern/exhibition/joan-jonas
Although Britain’s success at international rowing events means that the University Boat Race will be a technically advanced event, there will still be plenty of Oxford v Cambridge rivalry to spice things up. The age-old competition for riverside bragging rights is still as keen as ever with both men’s and women’s almost neck and neck in terms of historical results.
Getting a good start is key as your opponents will struggle if they have to row through water already disturbed by the leader. Blasting up past Fulham Reach, the boats then hook left along to Hammersmith Bridge before swooping down pat Kew Bridge and on to the finish. There are plenty of pubs along the Thames Path which serve as great vantage points for watching the action. https://www.theboatrace.org/
In the digital age, no mass act of civil disobedience is complete without an instagram-worthy meme and whether it comes about by accident or design, it sometimes even outlives the movement that created it. Hope to Nope sheds light on some of the images that broke the internet over the last decade and also looks at some of authoritarian responses that they provoked.
From red MAGA hats to their pink feminist refutations, the US leads the way in viral activity, but phenomena like the Umbrella Revolution in Hong Kong and Arab Spring footage are gripping in their intensity and risk. The Design Museum puts all this data together in its signature provocative style that will give many pause for thought. https://designmuseum.org/exhibitions/future-exhibitions/hope-to-nope-graphics-and-politics-2008-2018
Tradition seems to be falling out of favour with the women of London, who are more likely to celebrate Mother’s Day with craft beer and ping pong than with a la carte dining. However, if you can catch Mum between attending yoga classes and running her online business, a luxurious high tea in a swanky venue might appeal.
Claridge’s, Brown’s and The Langham all excel at putting on these exquisitely staged slices of good taste and are surprisingly flexible when it comes to dietary requirements. In London, there’s a high tea for every kind of Mum. Fashionistas will love the micro eclairs at The Berkeley, while literary ladies will appreciate the gilded setting of Oscar Wilde’s old hangout – The Café Royal. Finger sandwiches, scones and a selection of quality cakes are ideal for catching up with family gossip and she can be back out shopping in a couple of hours! https://www.visitlondon.com/things-to-do/event/7609007-mothers-day#kfILivjicygQCc8s.97
As the sixties got into its stride in Britain, the National Theatre changed the way it advertised its productions in a pretty big way. Gone were the stuffy sepia-tinted depictions and dated typography. In its place there were now bold and daring photography and modern typesets,
This exhibition charts the progress of the art form since then with each innovation giving rise to iconic images that stand the test of time. From the psychedelic sixties and seventies, through the dayglo eighties and on towards minimalism, realism and retro looks, National Theatre posters and artwork continue to break new ground. https://www.nationaltheatre.org.uk/your-visit/exhibitions/national-theatre-posters
With a certain ursine Peruvian making cinematic waves all over London, isn’t it time Winnie the Pooh got a new set of clothes and adventures? Well, yes and no, seems to be the response at the V&A, as they delve deep into Pooh’s past in order to assess his impact on popular culture.
Like almost everything else, this odd children’s character has been Disneyfied in our imaginations and this exhibition plays a vital role in getting to the original artwork in order to see the original intentions. In simple black and white sketches, a whimsical world emerges and the rough graphics give the characters a gentle, yet surprisingly kinetic feel. https://www.vam.ac.uk/exhibitions/winnie-the-pooh-exploring-a-classic
Exploring how the future might play out for our Capital is a fun task, especially when artists take over from scientists. In this entertainingly eclectic show, architectural plans, computer game graphics and film posters are just some of the genres that get thrown into the mix.
The results are stunning. Some visions, like the endless skyscraper designed by architects SURE, imagine a London where overcrowding and pollution are banished once and for all. Others, like the dystopian London Fishing predict that as sea levels rise we’ll all be casting our nets from the top of The Shard. Because change is happening so fast, the curators have decided to throw caution to the winds and embrace exaggeration as a means of guessing the way forward and there is something to be said for letting imaginations run wild. https://www.museumoflondon.org.uk/discover/london-visions-what-does-your-future-london-look
Maybe it’s something to do with the rise of grassroots sentiments in both the US and the UK but it seems that authentic country music is on something of a roll right now. The C2C Festival is an enthusiastically attended event that grows bigger every year as it brings together top Nashville talent under one roof in North Greenwich.This year, headliners Faith Hill and Travis McGee will play to packed out venue with crowds eager to hear songs of love, loss and lonesome highways. Country music remains strong because no matter how updated the stage show or flashy the playing, it never fails to tell a story and that fact connects with everybody. https://www.theo2.co.uk/events/detail/country-to-country-festival
Bermondsey’s favourite son transfers his written word into an interactive one man show as he enthralls audiences with tales of 60s and 70s London, Punk Rock and the lives of the indigenous Docklands population. Music, mirth and money are all dissected and played for laughs as Danny Bakers encyclopedic knowledge of popular culture gets a thorough airing over two memorable nights.As writer, journalist and DJ, Baker’s riffs about media politics are worth the price of admission alone, but it’s a searingly honest account of his battle with cancer that will linger long in the memory. Always opinionated and forever funny, Baker is a walking anecdote machine and there is nothing about London that he doesn’t have a unique slant on and don’t let him get started on Millwall FC! https://academymusicgroup.com/
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