The top 13 exhibitions to see in April 2022


We look forward to April’s must-see London shows, plus a cheeky addition from outside the M25.

1. Holding On for a Hero: Superheroes, Orphans and Origins at the Foundling Museum

Original work from the exhibition. © DC. All rights reserved

Superman was adopted by human parents after being fired by his parents, Spider-man was taken in by his uncle and aunt after the death of his parents, Batman witnessed the murder of his parents as a child, and the professor X was a surrogate father to just about every X-Men. It makes perfect sense that the Foundling Museum would dedicate an exhibit to superheroes given that many were foundlings themselves. It also includes Manga characters and original artwork and contemporary art commissions exploring life growing up without parents.

Superheroes, orphans and origins: 125 years of comics at the Foundling Museum. 1 April – 28 August, £9.50.

2. Water, water everywhere: Canaletto’s Venice at the National Maritime Museum

© From the collection of Woburn Abbey

Venice is one of the most beautiful cities in the world and no one has captured it in such detail as the painter Canaletto. This exhibition presents the complete set of his 24 Venetian paintings. Alongside this slice of Venetian history, the museum also delves into current issues facing Venice, as climate change leads to rising sea levels threatening the island and increased frequency of cruise ships which risk cause further damage to this delicate and historically significant city. .

The Venice of Canaletto revisited at the National Maritime Museum. 1 April – 25 September, £10.

3. Magic Kingdom: Inspiring Walt Disney at The Wallace Collection

A background painting for Cinderella. Copyright Disney.

Beauty and the Beast and Cinderella are the Disney animated films that take center stage at the Wallace Collection in an exhibit that shows how “Uncle Walt” himself and the wider Disney team were inspired by 18th century French art and furniture. See furniture, clocks, china and silverware alongside designs from the Disney archives to see how the animators drew inspiration from the real world. Read our full preview here.

Inspiring Walt Disney: The Animation of French Decorative Arts at the Wallace Collection. April 6 – October 16, £14.

4. Color Bags: Sheila Hicks in Hepworth Wakefield, Yorkshire

©Sheila Hicks. Courtesy of Alison Jacques, London Photo: Noam Preisman

American artist Sheila Hicks is best known for her large, bold and colorful textile works, and they are part of this major exhibition which features 70 of her works. Presented both inside and outside the gallery, the exhibition discusses the evolution of his creative practice and how it traverses the overlaps of art, design and architecture. .

Sheila Hicks: Off the Grid in Hepworth Wakefield, Yorkshire. 7 April – 25 September, £12.

5. Kick-off: Designing the Beautiful Game at the Design Museum

See what makes the “beautiful game” so beautiful. The Design Museum’s major exhibition focuses on the various design elements that make football the most watched sport in the world, from the massive stadiums to the tiny details on team badges. Whether you’re in the pub for every game or just want to learn more about the sport, here’s the hot ticket in town – and it’s a lot cheaper than a season ticket.

Football: Designing the beautiful game at the Design Museum. April 8 – August 29, £16.80.

6. Oriental Treasures: Japan – Classes and Culture at the Queen’s Gallery

A pair of ornate pellet (perfume) burners. Courtesy Royal Collection Trust/ © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

There is a long history of gifts being exchanged between royal families, so it’s no surprise that the Queen has a lot of treasures that were given to our current and past monarchs from the Royal Family of Imperial Japan. 300 years of diplomatic, artistic and cultural exchanges have given rise to an exhibition which presents porcelain, embroidered screens and samurai armour.

Japan: Classes and Culture at the Queen’s Gallery. 8 April – 12 March 2023, £17.

7. Renaissance Man: Raphael at the National Gallery

Copyright The National Gallery.

Raphael is one of the greatest artists of the Italian Renaissance. He was a fantastic painter, but we can see how much more diverse he was, in an exhibition that covers drawing, architecture, archaeology, painting and tapestry – showing that just like Leonardo da Vinci he was a true Renaissance man. Originally planned to coincide with the 500th anniversary of his death, the two-year postponement of this exhibition has simply whetted appetites even more.

The exhibition Credit Suisse: Raphaël at the National Gallery. 9 April – 31 July 2022, £24.

8. Vulnerable Portraits: Andrew Salgado at Beers London

Copyright Andrew Salgado.

Portrait artist extraordinaire Andrew Salgado is back with his latest collection of paintings, in his colorful but much more introspective and “calmer” style than his previous works. Fantasy references always creep into his works, but this time it’s a more streamlined set of paintings.

Andrew Salgado: A sun that never sets at Beers London. April 10 – May 14, free.

9. Stunning shots: Sony World Photography Organization Awards at Somerset House

© Filip Hrebenda, one of the landscape winners.

From portrait to landscape, architecture to wildlife and fine art to street photography, these awards are a fantastic cross-section of the world of contemporary photography, from thoughtful portraits to a raging volcano. Political, beautiful and thought-provoking, this annual exhibition is always a highlight.

Sony World Photo Organization Awards 2022 exhibition at Somerset House. April 13 – May 2, £15.

10. Mountains of wallpaper: David Wightman at the Grove Square Galleries

Copyright David Wightman.

With his signature use of textured wallpaper to create vibrant mountain landscapes, David Wightman presents his latest paintings. The use of wallpaper as a medium lends remarkable depth to the works that offer a contemporary twist on one of the oldest genres, with nods to the old masters of landscape painting that preceded it.

David Wightman: Ariel at Grove Square Galleries. Open April 14, free.

11. Miniature Art: Small is Beautiful at Old Brompton Road

Copyright Slinkachu

Admire in wonder the work at the smallest scale, in an exhibition that showcases 32 local and international artists with over 100 miniature works of art on display, as well as a host of photographs of impermanent works created around the world. Whether it’s playing tennis on a piece of fruit or battling a Loch Ness Monster in hairpins, there’s something to marvel at when artists create art in miniature.

Small is Beautiful: Miniature Art Exhibition at 79-85 Old Brompton Road. Opening April 15, £16.

12. Read All About It: Breaking the News at the British Library

The destroyed hard drives used by The Guardian to store Edward Snowden’s files. © Guardian News & Media Ltd 2021

Who becomes a celebrity overnight or a source of shame? How are we influenced by what is presented to us in the news? These topical and politically charged issues are debated in the British Library’s major exhibition on current affairs. With coverage of events dating back to the Great Fire of London through to recent events such as the unrest in Syria and Black Lives Matter, this is a glimpse into the evolution of reporting and how it continues to hold us. aware of the latest developments.

Announcing the news at the British Library. April 22 – August 21, £16.

13. Immersive Art: Future Shock at 180 Strand

Reverie by Nonotak Studio. Studio copyright.

180 Strand has become the go-to place for immersive art experiences. This time he’s pushing the boat out with a collection of works that use artificial intelligence, lasers, holographic projections and electronic music to make us feel in tune with the works. Get ready to see, hear and feel spellbinding art installations.

Future Shock at 180 Strand. April 28 – August 28, £20-25.

Short term events

Experimental games galore. Copyright Now Play This.

If you’re in the mood to play, the Easter gamer’s paradise of the Power Up Science Museum returns (April 2-19, with ticket) where there’s five decades of gaming history in one place, from Mario Kart to Minecraft.

If indie gaming is more your speed, head over to Somerset House where now to play this (April 8-10, ticket office) where an international selection of experimental games awaits you.

Artist’s rendering of the Gimokudan Arches

Out in the courtyard of Somerset House, Gimokudan Arches (April 5-26, free) is an installation by Leeroy New, made up of three ships constructed from recycled materials to mark Earth Day, and asks us to contemplate the age of waste in which we live.

London Art Fair (April 20-24, box office) returns after being postponed from January, showcasing contemporary and modern British art. If you are looking for an emerging artist, then Roy’s Art Fair (April 7-10, free) has you covered, a fair we’ve purchased several pieces at in the past. If the art of ceramics is for you, this is all that is available at the specialized salon Ceramic Art at Central Saint Martins (April 8-10, ticket office)

London Art Fair arrives a few months later than originally planned. Photo Mark Cocksedge.

Those who are more in the mood for homelessness should join us for Mayfair Art Weekend Spring West End Galleries Tour (April 6, free) where many galleries will open late and late at night for us to visit after work or head to Wood Green for the Citizen Art Festival (April 7-10) a family event featuring local artists and workshops to learn about the creative process.


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