A Good Start to the Year: The Best Things to Do in January

Exhibitions and Events

Implicit Tensions: Mapplethorpe Now at Guggenheim, New York: January 25, 2019 – January 5, 2020
In a mammoth new show, New York’s Guggenheim will display photographs from subversive image-maker Robert Mapplethorpe’s collection, gifted to the museum in 1993. Spanning the entire year, the exhibition will be presented in two sequential parts in the museum’s Mapplethorpe Gallery. The first part of the show will exhibit some of the photographer’s most seminal works, including early Polaroids, male and female nudes, collages, photographs documenting underground S&M scenes, and self-portraiture. In the following phase of Implicit Tensions, attention will be placed on contemporary artists who have been inspired by Mapplethorpe’s oeuvre, highlighting the ways in which his work resonates with image-makers working today. Artists featured in this section will include: Rotimi Fani-Kayode, Lyle Ashton Harris, Glenn Ligon, Catherine Opie, and Paul Mpagi Sepuya.

Louise Bourgeois: Papillons Noirs at Hauser & Wirth, St. Moritz: until February 10, 2019
This month, Hauser & Wirth St. Moritz will present Louise Bourgeois: Papillons Noirs (Black Butterflies), the inaugural show of this new gallery space. Curated by Jerry Gorovoy, who worked closely with the late French-American artist, the exhibition contains a collection of her abstract-expressionist sculptures created somewhere between 2000-2003, including a series of macabre black fabric heads, along with experimental works on paper. The fabric heads explore a range of psychological expressions and complex emotional states – namely love, sexuality, suffering, and death – achieved through both the features and expressions on the heads, and the ways they were sewn together and created.

Hanna Moon and Joyce Ng: English as a Second Language at Somerset House, London: January 25 – April 28, 2019
Towards the end of the month, work by emerging photographic talents Hanna Moon – A Nice Magazine founder and AnOther contributor – and Joyce Ng will go on display in an exhibition titled English as a Second Language, staged at Somerset House. Exploring the photographers’ Asian heritage, the exhibition will focus on the notion of otherness, as well as the unseen narratives of our everyday lives. Ng turned to Somerset House’s visitors and residents to create her new series, shooting over four weeks in the London landmark’s unexplored corners, while Moon looked to her own muses – Moffie and Heejin – to create a collection of photographs shot after dark in the gallery’s neoclassical surroundings.

Eric N. Mack: Lemme Walk Across the Room at the Brooklyn Museum, New York: January 11 – July 7, 2019
At the Brooklyn Museum artist and Grace Wales Bonner collaborator Eric N. Mack presents Lemme Walk Across the Room – his first solo show in New York City. In this immersive installation – inspired not only by sculpture but also the artist’s interest in fashion – visitors will be able to walk beneath and among the display, with Mack’s abstract textiles works hung up in the museum’s Great Hall.

Ellen Pau: What About Home Affairs? at Para Site, Hong Kong: until February 17, 2019
Hong Kong’s Para Site will feature artist Ellen Pau’s first retrospective this January. The show boasts a selection of video works, archive pieces, and a series of unpublished photographs. Look out for Pau’s latest augmented-reality work Don’t Have Time to Deal with Fear, as well as three major video installations presented in their original format. Plus, 18 of Pau’s works will be displayed from a media archeological perspective to showcase how her work has developed as the technology she uses to create has evolved.

Daria Martin: Tonight the World at the Barbican, London: January 31 – April 7, 2019
On the back of her recent Artist and Jarman Award win, Daria Martin will take over the The Cube at London’s Barbican with an installation that draws on her grandmother’s dream diaries kept over a 35-year period. Tonight the World will be displayed via atmospheric film and gaming technology as part of the Barbican’s Life Rewired season. Martin’s grandmother’s fleeing from the Holocaust plays a vital role in the installation, which will focus on the themes of migration, loss and resilience.

ULAY at Richard Saltoun Gallery, London: January 11 – February 23, 2019
This January, ever-enigmatic German artist Ulay comes to London to exhibit a collection of his early Polaroids from the 1970s, alongside his performative photography. Richard Saltoun Gallery will also introduce some of his never-before-seen works in this landmark exhibition: Ulay’s first in London since 2013, as well as his first with the Richard Saulton Gallery.

Through the Looking Glass at Cob Gallery, London: until January 19, 2019
Continuing this month, Cob Gallery’s Through the Looking Glass is an exhibition showcasing miniature artworks from historical and contemporary artists, by the likes of Jake and Dinos Chapman, Mat Collishaw, Grayson Perry, and Pablo Picasso. Inspired by Lewis Carroll’s 1871 novel of the same name, the exhibition aims to manipulate the viewer’s sensory perceptions upon confronting these miniature masterpieces. Alongside the diminutive pieces, a room will be dedicated to Alexander Calder’s Le Cirque Calder, a film shot by Vilardebo showing Calder conducting a miniature circus show.

The Face Cover Archive at Lewis Cubitt Square, Coal Drops Yard: until January 31, 2019
Coal Drops Yard in King’s Cross hosts a retrospective of Nick Logan’s The Face magazine covers. The covers on display will range from the 1980 to 2001 and explore the ways in which The Face’s legacy helped to redefine and shape youth culture for over 20 years, as well as how the magazine transformed coverage of popular culture and paved the way for the writers, photographers, stylists and editors who populate the fashion industry today.

Living with Buildings at The Wellcome Collection, London: until March 3, 2019
Living with Buildings asks how the architecture we are surrounded with can impact our physical and mental health. This major exhibition examines some of the ways in which architects, planners and designers use their work to influence our health, self-esteem and ideas about society by exploring aspects such as colour and the affect it has on our perception, as well as what the future has in store for the built environment. Works by artists such as Andreas Gursky, Rachel Whiteread and Martha Rosler all feature in this unmissable show, which also places focus on buildings designed by legendary architects Goldfinger, Lubetkin and Aalto.

The Best in Film

As awards season begins in earnest with the Golden Globes next week, a host of exciting offerings land in UK cinemas this month. Olivia Colman, Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone form a powerful trio at the heart of Yorgos Lanthimos’s sardonic tale of 18th-century England, The Favourite. As with the Greek director’s previous offerings, expect dark humour and a sharp, shocking storyline, this time centring on the court of Queen Anne. Relationships between women are also at the focus of An Impossible Love, Catherine Corsini’s film tells of a mother-daughter love born from a toxic romance in 1960s France. Beautiful Boy, starring Steve Carrell and Timothée Chalamet as father and son, is based on the true story of Nic Sheff’s turbulent road to recovery from drug addiction – heartbreaking and inspiring in equal measure.

Keira Knightley stars as the actress and writer Colette in the film of the same name, which traces how the French country girl became one of her era’s sharpest wordsmiths. The powerful debut from Reinaldo Marcus Green, Monsters and Men, explores police brutality by looking at the repercussions in a Brooklyn community following the shooting of an unarmed black man. In a feature that has taken a decade to be made, the extent and impact of the sex trafficking industry from India to Los Angeles is unpacked through the story of two sisters. Love Sonia sees its namesake character become embroiled in the trade as she searches for her sister, who was sold to a brothel by their father, in a harrowing look at global exploitation.

By way of documentaries, two films stand out in particular this month. Bergman: A Year in a Life hones in on 1957 for icon of cinema Ingmar Bergman, a seismic year for his career and personal life. By way of unseen archive material and slices of footage from the Swedish director’s most acclaimed offerings, Jane Magnusson’s documentary delves into the fascinating life and process of Bergman. Finally, On Her Shoulders tells the extraordinary story of Nadia Murad, and how she in turn has been sharing her story with the world – via televised interviews and speeches at the United Nations – in order to shine a light on human trafficking. The documentary looks at both the events of Murad’s life – from surviving the Yazidi genocide to being imprisoned by ISIS militants – and how she continues to fight for change.

Food and Drink

Mare Street Market Dining Room: open now
Hackney favourite Mare Street Market has opened its Dining Room, an Art Deco haven serving delectable, comforting dishes like pastrami-braised ox cheek, parsley-root puree and dill pickle. Enjoy its escapist interiors and take a piece of it home – literally – since the antique furniture from Pure White Lines is for sale.

EartH Kitchen: opening January 28, 2019
EartH Kitchen opens later this month in a former Art Deco cinema in Dalston. Housed within Evolutionary Arts Hackney, expect jazz nights and DJ sets in the EartH Kitchen space (its event line-up has been curated by artists involved with The East London Project), seasonal food and a dedicated cocktail bar.

Art Yard Bar and Kitchen: open now
A recent addition to the Southbank, Art Yard in the Bankside Hotel is open and offering wine and cocktails on tap (equally delicious non-alcoholic options for those embarking on Dry January) alongside wood-fire cooked plates of food. With eclectic interiors featuring mobiles inspired by Alexander Calder, Art Yard is a central London haunt to settle into for a winter evening.

On stage

Astonishing performances arrive this month courtesy of some of theatre’s most exciting talents. Superhoe at the Royal Court stars its writer Nicôle Lecky as the rudderless Sasha, a 24-year-old living at home with dreams of becoming a music sensation, in a poignant exploration of life as a millennial in the age of social media. Trafalgar Studios sees the arrival of Coming Clean this month, a play by Kevin Elyot which sees the relationship between couple Tony and Greg thrown into confusion when an attractive third-party enters the conversation. Immerse yourself in the world of mime this month with the 42nd edition of the London Mime Festival, which arrives at the Barbican in the coming weeks. Theatre and film are the central focus here, in this look at the history of mime as well as the magic of its modernity in today’s industry. Dance fans should note two exceptional pieces to see in London: Akram Khan Company’s Until the Lions is at the Roundhouse, where the lauded dancer will perform his epic piece of contemporary dance for the final time; and ballerina Alessandra Ferri graces the stage of the Royal Opera House in ConcertDance, a trio of pieces danced with Herman Cornejo and accompanied by Bruce Levingston on the piano that looks to the powerful relationship between dance and music.