Spring Is Here: Brilliant Things To Do This March
With the end of lockdown on the horizon, we bring you a list of things to watch, eat, drink and look forward to to keep you going until restrictions finally lift
Yayoi Kusama: A Retrospective at Gropius Bau, Berlin: March 19 – August 1, 2021
Yayoi Kusama, the reigning queen of polka dots, is the focus of a forthcoming major retrospective at Gropius Bau, Berlin. The show will span the Japanese artist’s groundbreaking seven-decade career, tracing the development of her multidisciplinary work, spread out across an almost 3,000-metre-squared exhibition space. Expect to see everything from her early paintings and accumulative sculptures to her much-Instagrammed immersive spaces (mirrors galore), with a fresh focus on her artistic activity in Europe over the years, a lesser-known facet of her singular output.
DECENTRALISE at Somerset House, Online: From March 16, 2021
A soon-to-launch free digital platform will allow visitors to take a deep dive into the history of Black British art at Somerset House, from Afro-nowism, Afrofuturism and political arts to disobedient objects. Conceived by Somerset House’s Young Producers collective, in collaboration with London-based design studio Comuzi, Decentralise invites users to interact with a selection of illustrated objects, inspired by Somerset House’s past exhibitions and exhibitors, including Gaika, Richard Rawlins, Althea McNish and David Hammons. The platform serves as a resource to learn more about the themes addressed by each artist, and “how these relate to the personal and collective experiences of what it means to be Black and British”. And if you feel inspired, you can also contribute your own artistic creations Decentralise archive.
Niki de Saint Phalle: Structures for Life at MoMA PS1, New York: March 11 – September 6, 2021
This month marks the opening of the first US retrospective of the pioneering French-American artist Niki de Saint Phalle, known for her “overtly feminist, performative, collaborative, and monumental” artworks. Taking place at MoMA PS1, the show will include over 200 pieces, from the artist’s early assemblage work through her seminal Nanas (vast, triumphant sculptures of women) right up to the visionary architecture and utopian sculpture environments that preoccupied her later years. Saint Phalle believed in the power of art to change perception, whether uplifting social and political causes or championing imagination, and this exhibition looks set to be a joyous celebration of her legacy.
The Late Estate Broomberg and Chanarin at the Contemporary Art Centre of Barcelona: Until May 23, 2021
Artist duo Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin are holding their first major retrospective at the Contemporary Art Centre of Barcelona, and yet it’s set to be their last ever joint show. For over 20 years, the London-based pair have made waves in the art world with their “forensic and paranoid interrogation of photography”, in the words of the exhibition press release, their photographic, moving image and performance works serving to unearth “everything cultural, emotional, political and financial that surrounds images”. Now, they’ve decided to kill their creative collaboration – they even commissioned an obituary, which was published on the day of the exhibition’s opening last month. The retrospective show bids a fond farewell to their seminal career, and is filled with emblematic works and unpublished projects alike.
Alice Neel: People Come First at The Met Fifth Avenue, New York: March 22 – August 1, 2021
The late, great New York painter Alice Neel documented her city as no other has before or since, from “the drama of its streets [to] the quotidian beauty of its buildings, and, most importantly, the diversity, resilience, and passion of its residents”. Now a new retrospective at The Met will serve as an ambitious survey of her work, positioning Neel as “one of the century’s most radical painters, a champion of social justice whose longstanding commitment to humanist principles inspired her life as well as her art.” The show will comprise around a hundred paintings, drawings, and watercolours, centred pricipally on Neel’s extraordinary portraits, spanning activists, victims of the Great Depression, queer artists and performers, and members of New York’s global diaspora.
Alexander Calder: Modern from the Start at MoMA, New York: March 14 – August 7, 2021
The radical American artist Alexander Calder pushed at the very boundaries of sculpture, revealing its potential as a freely moving, interactive art form. In the words of the philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre, “One of Calder’s objects is like the sea … always beginning over again, always new.” Over the decades, The Museum of Modern Art has served as a vital platform for Calder’s work and the interaction it begs. An upcoming show at MoMA will shine new light on Calder’s work through the lens of his connection with the art space. The display will span everything from Calder’s earliest wire and wood figures to the monumental abstract sculptures he produced in later life, as well as showcasing the eye-catching exhibitions and commissions he produced for the museum.
Amy Sherald: The Great American Fact at Hauser & Wirth, Los Angeles: March 20 – June 6, 2021
American artist (and Michelle Obama portraitist) Amy Sherald is best known for her paintings of ”Black Americans at leisure”, set against bold monochromatic backdrops to captivating effect. In her own words, she positions her subjects as “symbolic tools that shift perceptions of who we are as Americans, while transforming the walls of museum galleries and the canon of art history – American art history, to be more specific.” Now, California-based readers can catch some of her most recent work in person at Hauser & Wirth Los Angeles in a new solo exhibition that considers “the way Black American identity is shaped in the public realm.”
Simply Brilliant: Artist Jewellers of the 1960s and 1970s at Schmuckmuseum Pforzheim, Germany: March 27 – June 27, 2021
The 1960s and 70s were a revolutionary time for all aspects of society, art and culture, and jewellery design was no exception – as evidenced by a forthcoming exhibition at Germany‘s Schmuckmuseum Pforzheim in collaboration with the Cincinnati Art Museum. The show will feature key pieces from one of the most coveted private collections in the world, that of Cincinnati native Kimberly Klosterman, and serves to highlight the part fine jewellery played in an irrepressible period of self-expression. Highlights include a sculptural scorpion necklace in gold by Elsa Peretti to a futuristic orb ring, encrusted with precious gems, by Roger Lucas for Cartier.
China Cabinet: A Project by Theaster Gates at Prada Rong Zhai, Shanghai: March 11 – May 23, 2021
Theaster Gates will showcase his ceramic works in a new exhibition at Prada Rong Zhai in Shanghai. A masterful redeemer of “spaces left behind”, courtesy of his expertise in urban planning and preservation, the American artist was invited to inhabit the restored historic residence in “an unprecedented way”. The result is a fresh, narrative-driven foregrounding of Gates’ ceramics practice and the ways in which it connects to the rest of his work as a visual artist, performer, professor, urban planner and community activist.
Richard Ayodeji Ikhide: Future Past at VO Curations, London: Until March 20, 2021
When lockdown restriction ease, be sure to check out the new home of VO Curations – the London-based arts organisation dedicated to supporting emerging and underrepresented artists, curators and researchers – at 56 Conduit Street. The space’s inaugural exhibition comes courtesy of its former residency artist, Richard Ayodeji Ikhide. In line with his “interest in the mark-making of our ancestors”, Ikhide‘s deftly realised works in graphite and watercolour draw inspiration from a broad array of ancient cultures, forming a beguiling “system of comparative cosmologies through which to interpret the chaos of contemporary life.”
Everyone Is an Artist: Cosmopolitan Exercises With Joseph Beuys at K20, Düsseldorf: March 27 – August 15, 2021
This year marks the centenary of the inimitable German artist Joseph Beuys, and K20 in Düsseldorf is kickstarting the celebrations. Its soon-to-open exhibition will offer profound insight into the “cosmopolitical thinking” of the much-mythologised figure. It will examine the ways in which Beuys’ work and actions fed into his expanded concept of art as the foundation for a renewed society, and his firm belief that “everyone is an artist”. Important examples of Beuys’ output will feature alongside the work of a selection of contemporary artists and thinkers, from Jenny Holzer to Tejal Shah, which explore and question Beuys’ “theses on the possibilities of a future conceived in terms of art”.
Whatever way we spin it, March is still going to warrant a lot of time spent indoors, which is where our list of the best new film releases comes in handy. First up, be sure to watch Minari, the much-acclaimed drama from Lee Isaac Chung. It tracks a Korean American family’s move to an Arkansas farm in search of their own American Dream, raising pertinent questions about the things that root us. Then there’s Justine, from American writer-director Stephanie Turner – who also stars as its protagonist. Centred on a recently widowed, single mother who takes on a new job as a caretaker for a young girl with spina bifida, it is a powerful study of grief, loneliness and unlikely connections. Don’t miss The Columnist, a brilliant comedy-horror from Dutch director Ivo Van Aart, following a successful writer on a revenge mission against her vitriolic internet trolls.
Patricia Rozema’s wildly experimental Canadian drama Mouthpiece tells the darkly funny story of an aspiring writer struggling to deal with her conflicted psyche in the wake of her mother’s death. While Preparations to be Together for an Unknown Period of Time, by Hungarian filmmaker Lili Horvat, is a mesmerising musing on obsession: the tale of a neurosurgeon’s determined reunion with the so-called love of her life – a man who claims never to have met her. Last but not least there’s Memories of my Father from Spanish director, Fernando Trueba, which sees a Colombian writer look back on the life of his father, a celebrated doctor and social justice campaigner, painting an engrossing sociopolitical portrait of Colombia along the way.
For those in search of compelling documentaries meanwhile, Poly Styrene: I Am A Cliché is a wonderful, and searing, examination of the remarkable legacy of the punk icon and X-Ray Spex frontwoman, narrated by her daughter Celeste Bell; Emmett Malloy’s moving Netflix doc Biggie: I Got a Story to Tell traces The Notorious BIG’s journey from hustler to rap king through rare footage and in-depth interviews; while Gianfranco Rosi’s beautifully made film Notturno (coming soon to Mubi) paints “an immersive portrait of those trying to survive in the war-torn Middle East.”
Food & Drink
There are some sumptuous food and drink offerings to keep our spirits high before restaurants and bars can resume outdoor service in April. Peckham Cellars have compiled a case of delectable wines, all made by women, in honour of International Women’s Day, including the best-selling 3B Brut Nature (a Portuguese take on Champagne) by Filipa Pat and Palmento by Vino di Anna, a juicy and vibrant red wine from the volcanic slopes of Sicily.
Speaking of brilliant women, this month Anna Jones will be collaborating with DabbaDrop, London’s plastic and emissions free takeaway service, to celebrate the launch of her new cookbook, One Pot, Pan, Planet. Sign up now for your chance to sample some of the book’s delicious vegan fare.
For those looking to treat a lady they love this Mother’s Day, may we recommend the decadent Beef Fillet and Veuve Clicquot Mother’s Day Box from London steak specialist, M Restaurant? For those more partial to an Italian feast, there’s Mortimer House Kitchen’s 3-course Mother’s Day Kit, designed by Head Chef Lello Favuzzi, featuring a saddle of lamb rolled with apricots and spinach as the main event.
For mums in the market for a good old-fashioned high tea, meanwhile, Skye Gyngell and the Spring team have conjured up a very tasty Afternoon Tea Box, complete with homemade scones, thick Jersey cream, two delicious jams and a selection of two Postcard tea tins. Champagne, flowers and cakes can be added too.
Coffee aficionados looking to put an artful spin on their morning brew will be delighted by Allpress Espresso’s latest collaboration with Japanese artist Chika Higashi. Coinciding with Japan’s beloved Cherry Blossom Festival, the Sakura blend (think: apricot and bergamot with a light lime acidity) arrives today, beautifully encased in Higashi’s limited-edition packaging. The spirit of collaboration continues with ASAP Pizza’s newest project: the Borough Market-based favourites have invited friends from across the globe to create their own guest pies for ASAP’s menu, each available for one week only. Contributors include chefs Matty Matheson and Agata Felluga, comedian Aziz Ansari and Nick Bramham of Quality Wines, whose his bechamel-based white Hawaiian is the first in line. Get it while it’s hot.