Your Go-To Exhibitions Guide For Spring 2023

by Christina Donoghue on 21 March 2023

Fashion Week may be behind us for now but fret not, writer Christina Donoghue has compiled all the art and culture events to keep you ticking until the S/S 24 collections.

Fashion Week may be behind us for now but fret not, writer Christina Donoghue has compiled all the art and culture events to keep you ticking until the S/S 24 collections.

Keith Vaughan, Highgate Men’s Pond Album, 1933 Courtesy Aberystwyth University School of Art Museum and Galleries

Artists Making Books: Poetry to Politics at British Museum

27 October 2022 - 17 September 2023

Whether subverting, inverting, celebrating or exploding, the subject of books continues to be as crucial in the ever-evolving digital world as they are in the physical, hence the medium standing at the forefront of one of the British Museum's latest exhibitions. Since the advent of the artist's book in Paris in the early 20th century, once in the hands of artists and poets, books have taken on a variety of shapes, sizes, and forms of expression. In the words of Indian artist Nalini Malani, the book is 'a carrier of experience', in which whole worlds are encapsulated, remaining as vital to self-expression as any other creative discipline.

A Hard Man Is Good To Find! at The Photographers' Gallery

3 March - 11 June

Curated by Central Saint Martins' Fashion Communication lecturer Alistair O'Neil, A Hard Man Is Good To Find! uncovers countless once illegal homoerotic images of traditionally dubbed 'masculine men' from the 1930s to the '90s. Celebrating a clandestine visual culture of men's bodies that emerged in the post-war period, the exhibition's content is, least to say, a treasure trove of delight.

Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize 2023 at The Photographers' Gallery

3 March - 11 June

Renowned as one of the most important international awards for photographers, the Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize is to photographers and image-makers what the LVMH Prize is to fashion designers. This year's nominees are Bieke Depoorter, Samuel Fosso, Arthur Jafa and Frida Orupabo, so, as ever, there's tough competition. In the meantime, The Photographers' Gallery has collated the work of this year's nominated talent into a travelling exhibition where you can browse the political colleges of Orupabo, the investigative journey of Depoorter's lost companion, the arresting films of Jafa and Fosso's Malick Sidibé-inspired images.

'Bloods II', Arthur Jafa for Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize

Within + Without at Unit London

7 March - 6 April

Located in Hanover Square, Within + Without brings together 12 contemporary artists working within the historically gendered mediums of textiles and ceramics, to explore powerful representations of our inner and outer worlds. As the works on show equally contrast, complement and intersect with each other, we, as the viewer, are encouraged to examine our own relationships within and without.

One Soul, One Memory by Grada Kilomba at Goodman Gallery

8 March - 6 April

Opening to the public the very same week Suella Braverman made a mockery of herself while touting her fascist views in Parliament, artist Grada Kilomba's latest exhibition went on show at Goodman Gallery, acting as a commentary on this country's ties with colonialism and the ongoing migrant crisis. 'If you're reading this, there's a likely chance that you never had to flee war or make a decision that may kill you in the name of safety - Kilomba's work forces you to face the crises head-on. What's happening isn't that far away, historically or geographically. It's time to take action, says Kilomba, and unlike those in power, she's not all talk,' notes editorial assistant Christina Donoghue in her write-up.

Rites of Passage at Gagosian

16 March - 29 April

'From gentle reflections to horrific reminders of the middle passage, compelling stories of migration cut through this sprawling show of work by 19 black artists' noted The Guardian in their review, one of those artists being SHOWstudio contributor and poet JulianKnxx who's featured film ...?inawhirlwindofencounters, poses as the artist's own interpretation of an Edward Glissant poem of the same name. The exhibition's commentary extends itself upon the now shadow foreign secretary, David Lammy's impassioned 2018 speech in response to the Windrush scandal, 'I am here because you were there', forming the basis of each narrative conveyed within the gallery's walls.

'The Ugly Duchess', Quinten Matsys

The Ugly Duchess: Beauty and Satire in the Renaissance at The National Gallery

16 March - 11 June

A new exhibition at The National Gallery centres around one of the best-known faces at the institution, Quinten Matsys' The Ugly Duchess, proving the ridicule over women's looks has been going on for as long as some initially feared. Book a free ticket to learn more about the historical painting and its relevance to contemporary culture.

Thin Air at Beams

17 March - 4 June

Thought 180 Strand's Future Shock blew you away? Wait until you hear about the forward-thinking art gallery's Thin Air exhibition, which encourages its viewer to 'experience art at boundaries of light, sound and space'. As digital technology and large-scale installations come together to represent an artist's experience for the future, the least you can do is show up.

Things I Saw at Night by Frida Orupabo at Modern Art Gallery

24 March - 20 May

Move over, Martha Rosler; Frida Orupabo is the new talk of the town. Recently nominated for the aforementioned Deutsche Borse Photography Prize, Orupabo's collages have bounced around the art industry like nobody's business, commenting on feminism and blackness while retaining the satire that political collage is most celebrated for. If fantastic wit and striking imagery if your kind of thing, this one is for you.

Andy Warhol and Campbell’s Soup’s ‘Souper Dress’, 1960s

Times Are Hard For Dreamers by Cob Gallery at Tuscany Wharf

31 March - 2 April

Britishness, queerness and loneliness come together in Joe Sweeney's latest exhibition Times Are Hard For Dreamers, with the title acting as an ode for all fellow dreamers. 'Times are harder than ever for dreamers because we need silence, isolation and boredom to create, and these are the things that are seemingly hardest to achieve in a society played out on social media', Sweeney told SHOWstudio in an interview.

Andy Warhol: The Textiles at the Fashion and Textile Museum

31 March - 10 September

Another year, another Andy Warhol exhibition, but there's a twist, instead of focusing on the iconic Marilyns or independent films the artist produced throughout his career, the Fashion and Textile Museum are sticking to what they know best - textiles - exploring designs of this very nature by the pop artist for their next exhibition.

Dali: Cybernetics - The Immersive Experience at The Boiler House


Surrealist Salvador Dalí may have been living and working over 60 years ago, but The Boiler House on Brick Lane is bringing his iconic works to life via the ultimate metaverse experience that will transform the artist's otherworldly 2D landscapes so they can be viewed in 360'.

Left: Olivier Theyskens, Spring - Summer 1999 © MoMu , photo: Julien Claessens & Thomas Deschamps. Right: Man Ray, La Chevelure , 1927, private collection, Courtesy Fondazione Marconi, Milan © Man Ray 2015 Trust / Sabam Belgium 2023.

Man Ray and Fashion at MoMu Antwerp

22 April - 13 August

Who cares about Karl Lagerfeld at the Met when the top curatorial team at Antwerp's MoMu exist. Known for exhibitions that are consistently first-class (Recently focusing on the likes of Olivier Theyskens and Margiela's Hermès Years), MoMu has a reputation for not disappointing, treading the ever-blurred line between fashion and fine art. For 2023, they're turning their head to the man at the centre of it all, Man Ray, and his phenomenal influence in shaping the industry as we know it today.

LAND by Samuel Ross at White Cube

5 April - 14 May

Nothing is better than when fashion and art collide, with the ever-pertinent question 'should clothes be shown in galleries?' ready and ripe. McQueen might not have thought so, as proven when he revealed his thoughts to us on the 2003 Giorgio Armani retrospective at the Royal Academy of Arts in our In Camera series, but what about A-COLD-WALL*'s Sam Ross? This would erect the debate if his latest solo show exhibited any fashion whatsoever. However, if this is what you're expecting, don't hold your breath; the Brixton native has ricocheted back to his original roots in graphic design, choosing to present a series of abstract works for the upcoming show.

Basquiat X Warhol. Painting Four Hands at Foundation Louis Vuitton

5 April - 28 August

Okay, this one may be a slight cheat as it's not even in the UK, but if you take a weekend break in Paris between April and August, you may find that the Foundation Louis Vuitton will be worth paying a visit. Continuing their exploration of the artist Jean-Michel Basquiat - five years on from their 2018 retrospective of the artist, only this time, they're focusing on the Andy Warhol years.

Jean-Michel Basquiat, Andy Warhol, exhibition poster Basquiat x Warhol, Fondation Louis Vuitton © D.R. Fondation Louis Vuitton, 2023

Making Sense by Ai Wei Wei at the Design Museum

7 April - 30 July

If you want a lesson in rebellion, then artist Ai Weiwei - currently living in exile in Portugal - is the man for you. His most recent project, Study of Perspective, encouraged the public to stick up their middle finger to stand up for human rights, something that may not necessarily be seen as the greatest act of rebellion for Westerners but for someone who only knows the brutality of the Chinese Communist regime - Like Wei Wei - may tell you something different. Making Sense is developed in collaboration with the artist and marks the first time his works are presented as a commentary on design, inviting us into a meditation on value and humanity, art and activism.

Ajamu: The Patron Saint of Darkrooms at Autograph

28 April - 2 September

Looking for an exhibition that unapologetically celebrates black queer bodies? Tick. What about sexual pleasure and queerness as activism? Tick. Is it free? Tick, tick, tick.

Warped: A Collaborative Exhibition Between Sarabande and London Craft Week

Opens 12 March

Featuring artists and designers Megan Brown, Anouska Samms and Martina Spetlova, Warped is a celebration of the art of contemporary weaving, spotlighting the material-based practice through the above-mentioned designers and their unique approaches to the medium - all of whom use anything from human hair to woven leather and precious metals to imbue their craft. At the heart of the show will stand an interactive loom installation spanning 8 metres x 2 metres, created from salvaged wood from Alexander McQueen's A/W 23 show. Encouraging discussion and interaction, visitors will also be invited to join conversations while co-creating an abstract piece of material on the loom.

Ajamu: The Patron Saint of Darkrooms, 2023

Charleston Festival at Charleston House

17 - 29 May

The festival promises to bring together today's most exciting writers, artists and changemakers to engage with art and ideas, encouraging festival goers to imagine the world differently through the trust's programme of talks, conversations and performances, including 2022 Nobel Laureate Prize winner Annie Ernaux and her contemporaries Deborah Levy and Michael Morpurgo, art writer, curator and critic Olivia Laing as well as SHOWstudio contributors Susie (Bick) Cave, Osman Yousefzada and Alexandra Shulman.

Diva at V&A

24 June - 30 April, 2024

When Lady Gaga calls, SHOWstudio answers and last year's call resulted in the best Gaga tour yet. Will snippets of our in-house edited footage make it into the upcoming V&A exhibition Diva? Only time will tell...

Footage courtesy of SHOWstudio, Nick Knight for Lady Gaga's Monster Ball tour, 2009 - 2011



The Deutsche Börse Photography Prize 2023 Opens At The Photographers' Gallery

08 March 2023
The Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize exhibition will feature at London's Photographers' Gallery, exhibiting the work of nominees Bieke Depoorter, Samuel Fosso, Arthur Jafa and Frida Orupabo.

Grada Kilomba Is Using Art To Fight Back Against The UK Government's Treatment of Migrants

09 March 2023
Berlin-based Portuguese artist Grada Kilomba's latest work One Soul, One Memory was unveiled at Goodman Gallery last week. Acting as more than a piece of commentary towards the migrant crisis, Kilomba remains as on trend as ever.

Britishness, Queerness and Loneliness Collide in New Exhibition by Joe Sweeney

17 March 2023
British multi-disciplinary artist and dreamer Joe Sweeney has a new exhibition 'Times Are Hard For Dreamers'. Christina Donoghue went to find out more.
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