April is a month to see eminent artists at exhibitions across the globe. These are seven of the best.
Discover an inspection of Georgia O’Keeffe’s works on paper for the first time at MoMA in New York, get up close and personal with dresses worn by Beyoncé, Lady Gaga and Audrey Hepburn at London’s Kensington Palace, and pore over more than 300 works co-created by Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat at Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris.
Mark your diaries, each of these exhibitions opens for the first time this month. April is set to be a month to remember.
Ashish: Fall in Love and Be More Tender
‘More Glitter Less Twitter’ was fashion designer Ashish Gupta’s response to a one time American reality-TV-star-turned-US-president; Ashish succinctly summing up his message in significantly less than 140 characters. Born in Delhi and based in London, Gupta is known for his glittery – or more accurately, sequined and beaded – designs and for the first time ever, presents an archive of his work spanning the last 20 years. The exhibition is one-of-a-kind and explores Gupta’s support of equality and inclusivity. Expect gold and silver rugby shirts, slogan tees and rainbow-shimmered trousers alongside pieces worn by Beyoncé, Debbie Harry and Rihanna, to name just a few.
Basquiat x Warhol. Painting Four Hands
The work of – and dynamic between – Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat is one that has long been explored; art created by the two has featured in many an exhibition across the globe, while the six-part Netflix series, The Andy Warhol Diaries, delves deeper into their personal relationship and time spent together. At Fondation Louis Vuitton this April a new exhibition hailed as ‘the most important exhibition dedicated to [their] body of work’ brings together more than 300 works and documents related to their shared love of art, including more than 80 pieces co-signed by the pair.
Crown To Couture
The largest exhibition to ever be held at Kensington Palace, Crown To Couture is an exploration of fashion in many forms and across centuries; from the 18th century to the innovative outfits worn by celebrities today. With one eye on the influence that extravagant Georgian court attire had on modern-day red carpet looks, this is an opportunity to get up close and personal with some of the most iconic – and historic – pieces ever introduced to the world. The collection includes: the dresses worn by Beyoncé to the 2017 Grammy Awards and by Audrey Hepburn to the Oscars in 1954; Billy Porter’s iconic “Sun God” look for the Met Gala in 2019 and Cupola Gown for the 2020 Oscars; plus the historic Silver Tissue gown thought to have been worn by Lady Theophila to the court of King Charles II in the 1660s. Jewellery plays an important part in the exhibition too, look out for the Rebel Black ring worn to the 2021 Met Gala by Rihanna and the brooch worn by Queen Elizabeth II at London Fashion Week. With over 200 pieces on display, the list really does go on.
Serendipity: Wondrous Discoveries in Daily Life
Looking inwards, into the heart of photographers, this exhibition draws on 37,000 items in the museum’s collection pulling out images that capture perhaps seemingly inconsequential moments. It’s a look into the everyday; expect to see photographs of Japanese families at home in their kitchens, couples in tender embrace, and flowers blooming in the wild. The museum asks you to stop, stay a while, and take in the small moments presented frozen in time. The idea is that many of them, as well as many moments in our own lives, are not so isolated as we may initially feel and that serendipitous moments are often just around the corner.
Ai Weiwei: Making Sense
This major exhibition centres not only on the works of Ai Weiwei, one of the world’s most well known artists and activists, but also on the inner workings of his mind: it’s the first to present the artist’s work as commentary. The exhibition is home to some of Ai Weiwei’s works never seen in the UK, as well as new, large-scale installations. This is the biggest show by the artist in eight years and as explained by Tim Marlow, Director and CEO of the Design Museum during a press conference announcing the exhibition, “Ai Weiwei is one of the most compelling artists and activists working today, but his practice is profoundly pluralistic, encompassing film, architecture, design, and collecting – this exhibition is, therefore, long overdue.”
Georgia O’Keeffe: To See Takes Time
This is MoMA’s first exhibition dedicated to Georgia O’Keeffe since 1946, which was the museum’s first ever retrospective of a female artist. With more than 120 of her works spanning five centuries, it’s also the first ever inspection of her drawings on paper, the majority of which she created during 1915 – 1918. Other highlights include No. 8-Special – the spiral seen within it is a feature present in many of her other pieces – and her Evening Star watercolours series. O’Keeffe herself once wrote, “to see takes time” and we suggest you take all the time you need to take in this impressive exploration of her work.
Isaac Julien: What Freedom Means To Me
Filmmaker and installation artist, Isaac Julien, is known for using varied artistic disciplines. He’s the director of many a movie, perhaps the most famous of which is Looking for Langston (1989), a black and white film that delves into the life of poet, novelist and playwright, Langston Hughes, including his influence on the Harlem Renaissance. Julien is also well-known for multi-screen installations. This exhibition presents Julien’s work over 40 years for the first time in the UK, celebrating his multifaceted works and examining the influences he takes from dance, photography, music and theatre. Themes of history and culture are examined, as well as the movement of people across times, spaces and continents.
Main image: Isaac Julien O que é um museu? / What is a Museum? (Lina Bo Bardi-A MarvellousEntanglement) 2019. Endura Ultra photograph facemounted. 180 x 240 x 7.5 cm;70 7/8 x 941/2 x 3 in. © Isaac Julien. Courtesy the artist and Victoria Miro.
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