April diary: this month’s must-see events and exhibitions

3 April 2018

Spring is here and with it comes a fresh crop of events, shows and exhibitions to inspire and fascinate. From immersive Abba to computer-generated Ian Cheng simulations and classic Yokoyama Taikan paintings, there’s something for all tastes. The It’s Nice That team has hand-picked five in the UK and five elsewhere around the world, to help you plan your cultural month ahead.

Glasgow International
20 April – 7 May 2018
Various venues, Glasgow

Squeezing 90 exhibitions into 78 venues over 18 days, biennial arts festival Glasgow International is a bit of a treat for art lovers. This year’s highlights include a suspended, mythical creature-adorned train carriage by Lubaina Himid, surrealist interventions by artist Urs Fischer (pictured above), wacky moving image works by filmmaker Ulrike Ottinger, Turner Prize winner Mark Leckey’s gigantic Job statue and a huge feminist flag Linder has made to drape over Glasgow Women’s Library. 

ABBA: Super Troupers
29 March – 29 April 2018
Southbank Centre, London

April is the last chance to experience life as Swedish pop sensation Abba at London’s Southbank Centre. Take a journey through the eyes of Agnetha, Benny, Bjorn and Anni-Frid narrated by Jarvis Cocker taking you “through nine immersive rooms exploring the music, lyrics and lives of one of the world’s most unforgettable bands,” says the gallery. “Taking on 1970s Britain, in the midst of a financial crisis, a wave of strikes and a three-day working week, ABBA were a breath of fresh air, dominating the airwaves with their upbeat anthems channelling positivity and optimism,” – available to experience all over again! 

Ian Cheng – Emissaries
24 April – 28 May 2018
Serpentine Gallery, London

Ian Cheng’s trilogy of simulations Emissaries (2015–17) comes to the Serpentine in the second half of his two-part exhibition, following on from BOB which is currently on display. Described by the artist as “a video game that plays itself,” the works are comprised of computer-generated simulations like those used in predictive technologies for complex scenarios such as climate change or elections. The simulation evolves endlessly, populated by a cast of characters that interact in a series of open-ended narratives. 

Now Play This
06 – 08 April 2018
Somerset House, London

For all the gamers in our midst, this three-day event looks at international game design all the way from the 1990s to today. Analogue and digital, single-player and group, the festival will bring together the many myriad forms of game and premiere many more under one roof and show how games can help us navigate the world differently. 

Monet & Architecture
9 April – 29 July 2018 
National Gallery, London

The National Gallery is hosting the UK’s first solo Claude Monet exhibition in 20 years, which will also be the first-ever Monet show to focus on his representation of architecture. The renowned French Impressionist has painted buildings in Normandy, Rouen, Paris, London and Venice, from suburban houses to some of Europe’s most famous landmarks. Monet & Architecture promises to shine a new light on the legendary painter’s work through the 75 paintings that will be on display.

The 150th Anniversary of his Birth: Yokoyama Taikan
13 April – 27 May 2018
The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo

Tokyo’s National Museum of Modern Art will be hosting a major retrospective of legendary Japanese artist Yokoyama Taikan to mark the 150th anniversary of his birth. The exhibition includes some of Yokoyama’s 1,500 paintings of Mount Fuji and the 40-metre-long ink scroll Metempsychosis which is considered one of Japan’s most important cultural artefacts.

Walk-in Workshop, Seydou Keita
6 April – 20 June 2018 (every Sunday)
Foam, Amsterdam 

Every Sunday from 8 April, Foam Amsterdam will be offering a unique insight to its Seydou Keita exhibition, Bamako Portraits. During 1921–2001 Seydou would photograph the locals in Mali, “in traditional dresses with impressive patterns and splendidly formed headdresses, leaning on a scooter or with a radio under their arm,” explains the gallery. Foam’s workshops will be replicating this giving participants the opportunity to create a black-and-white portrait of each other, “with the emphasis on what represents the spirit of our time.” The workshop is open to all ages and you even get a printed version to take home.

Julia Phillips: Failure Detection
15 April – 3 September 2018
MoMA PS1, New York

The first solo museum exhibition from German-born, New York-based artist Julia Phillips, Failure Detection will bring together existing sculptures with six major works commissioned specifically for the show which looks at the body, present and absent. 

In Tune With the World
11 April – 27 August 2018
Louis Vuitton Foundation, Paris

In Tune with the World unveils a new selection of artists from the Louis Vuitton Foundation’s collection, bringing together modern and contemporary works of several mediums, most of which have never before been exhibited in these spaces. The exhibition is based on a specific theme which reflects today’s questions about “man’s place in the universe and the bonds that tie him to his surrounding environment and living world, highlighting the interconnections between humans, animals, plants, and even inanimate objects.” Among the long-list of included artists are Yves Klein, Takashi Murakami, Alberto Giacometti and Gerhard Richter. 


Iván Navarro: Bomb, Bomb, Bomb, from the Drums series. Courtesy the artist and Gallery Hyundai

Iván Navarro: The Moon in Water
20 April – 27 May 2018
Gallery Hyundai, Seoul, Korea

Chilean, New York-based artist Iván Navarro takes over Seoul’s Gallery Hyundai with installations made to trigger the sensory system through sound, sight and movement. Spanning three floors, the basement will house Iván’s Drums series, visually representing sound. New works on show include Vanity Series, comprising three mirrors – a square, triangle and circle – each with a poem sandblasted onto them, so the text is transparent, and people can read the poem and watch themselves, and others, in the piece.

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