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April 2021 / Diary / by Ali Howard

Culture Fix: April 2021

Art

Royal Society of British Artists Annual Exhibition
15-24 April, Mall Galleries

Making a joyous return to the physical art scene is this annual group show, which promises a riot of colour and form. Visitors can expect to see a diverse collection of over 400 works with some reflecting on our experiences of the past year – whether that’s in a moving or a humorous way. Excitingly, artworks from the society’s open call will sit alongside those of its members, namely some of the UK’s top painters, sculptors and printmakers. The exhibition provides an opportunity for green and seasoned collectors alike to browse and buy, but for those of us still shielding, there’s a virtual tour on offer, too, which will give us a glimpse around the gallery from our armchairs.

The Mall, SW1 (020 7930 6844; mallgalleries.org.uk)

Exhibition

Sneakers Unboxed: Studio to Street
From 18 May, book now, Design Museum

In the world of art and design it’s not often we’re invited to look down for inspiration, but this exhibition asks us to do just that. The ubiquitous sneaker gets a deep dive at the Design Museum. Visitors are invited to explore the fashionable footwear from design origins to big-name collaborations: think Michael Jordan and Run-DMC to Supreme and Kanye West. In two sections, Style and Performance, Sneakers Unboxed takes us behind the scenes of the humble (and not so humble) trainer; sports shoes that have challenged performance design, inspired new youth cultures and subverted the fashion catwalks.

224-238 Kensington High Street, W8 (020 3862 5900; designmuseum.org)

Book

The Secret Life of the Modern House
By Dominic Bradbury

The last year has seen our homes adapt to incredible changes in the way we live. Home offices have come to the fore, we’ve upped the cosy in many areas, creating a safe sanctuary for our families, and we’ve gone big on home entertainment with unapologetic escapism a common theme. But history tells us that properties have always responded to our changing lifestyles, global pandemic or not. In a timely publication, design and architecture writer Bradbury takes us on a tour of over 90 houses from the last 150 years, to show us just how dramatic these changes have been. From the Victorian ideal of reception rooms, a dining room and a back-of-house space, to our modern day obsession with open plan living and a fluid approach to inside-outside space… you won’t look at your four walls in the same way again.

£26, published 1 April (ilexinstant.com)

Podcast

The Morality of Everyday Things

While we’re still craving real life conversations with friends, particularly those of the wonderfully discursive pub variety, our love of conversational podcasts continues. Anthony Collias and Jacob Wedderburn-Day (AKA Ant and Jake) are friends and business partners who’ve gone from sharing a dorm at Oxford to the heady heights of Forbes’ 30 Under 30 British entrepreneurs.
Here, the former roommates share their lunch hour discussions and explore the hottest topics of the day – all with a philosophical spin. Are premiership footballers overpaid? Should billionaires exist? Are you really a bad person if you work for Facebook? Funny and fascinating in equal measure.

podcasts.apple.com

Online Theatre

Talking Gods
Premieres 5-9 April

This is an innovative digital festival that takes five classic Greek tales and reimagines them for today. With a focus on contemporary themes such as climate change, mental health, artificial intelligence and gender identity, the award-winning Arrows & Traps theatre company, who are
not short of industry accolades, presents Persephone, Orpheus, Pygmalion, Aphrodite and Icarus. One play will premiere each night of the Monday to Friday programme and will be followed by a live Q&A session on Zoom. Writer Ross McGregor says, “We thought it would be an interesting time to look back to where drama first began – with the Greek myths. We have reimagined them so that they’re not just a testament to where we came from, but a look to where we’re going.” Unmissable drama for our strange times.

For tickets, visit arrowsandtraps.com