Four cultural spots to hit this spring
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A photographic shout-out to hip-hop in Manhattan
Hip-hop was born at a basement party in the Bronx in 1973, so it’s said. While there have been myriad events and shows examining its history since, the one currently marking hip-hop’s 50th at Fotografiska on Park Avenue – the Manhattan satellite of the great Swedish photography museum – is a must for any student of the aesthetics of the genre. Hip-Hop: Conscious, Unconscious, which opened last week, is co-curated by Sacha Jenkins, chief creative officer of cult magazine Mass Appeal and the mastermind behind Showtime’s original series Hip Hop 50.
It surveys the history of the music and the vast international cultural phenomenon it spawned – which, as anyone who read magazines between 1980 and 2015 knows, resulted in some of the best and most directional portraiture of the past half-century. From The Notorious B.I.G. and Afrika Bambaataa to Mary J Blige and Eve (women’s contributions get a big nod), via Public Enemy, Nas and dozens of others, there are more than 200 photographs dated between 1972 and 2022. If you can’t make it to NYC, the show is slated to travel to Stockholm and then Berlin later this year. Until 21 May; fotografiska.com
Stay A central Village location with sixth-arrondissement style, and a 15-minute walk to Fotografiska’s Lower Park Avenue location: the Marlton offers both, plus value for money that’s gratifying amid the extortionate “hey; because we can” rates being asked by some of the bigger players in town. From $203; marltonhotel.com
Hailing Hepworth in Cornwall
Barbara Hepworth moved to Cornwall in 1939, and never left; she found her spiritual home in St Ives, where her studio is now the Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden. Tate St Ives’s current wide-ranging show, Barbara Hepworth: Art & Life, brings together nearly five decades’ worth of work across multiple media: drawings, paintings, prints and, of course, her incredible sculptures – a career-long dialogue in stone, bronze and wood with “standing”, “two” and “closed” forms, many of which are gathered here. Until 1 May; tate.org.uk
Stay The sweet and unpretentious rooms at The Gurnard’s Head – a few miles out of town, on one of the prettiest bits of the St Ives-to-Pendeen South West Coast Path – are all you need: good beds, pretty colours, books on your shelves and, downstairs, food that draws them in from far and wide. From £155; gurnardshead.co.uk
Amsterdam’s Vermeer blockbuster
We first got wind of the Rijksmuseum’s ambitious Vermeer show over a year ago, and are hard-pressed to say whether it or Harry Styles is the ticket we’ve been coveting and scheming over more. (Not as far-fetched a conflation as it sounds: Johannes from Delft is the Dutch Golden Age’s answer to a full-on rock star, and this is the biggest Vermeer show ever.) It’s a greatest hits tour de force too, from Girl with a Pearl Earring and View of Delft – both on loan from the Mauritshuis in The Hague – to The Lacemaker and The Milkmaid.
His mastery of light and shadow is something you need to see up close, in person, to truly appreciate. That the Rijksmuseum is a knockout building is all the more reason to go (as is the fact there’s a Eurostar connection). Opens 10 February; rijksmuseum.nl
Stay For the full canalside experience – and a clever, and exclusive, skip-the-queues Vermeer package – book at the Pulitzer, which is spread across a handful of 17th- and 18th-century canal houses on the Prinsengracht, a 20-minute walk from the museum. From €399; Vermeer package from €630; pulitzeramsterdam.com
Andy Warhol looks a scream (Basquiat too) in Paris
The Fondation Louis Vuitton has been knocking it out of the park with one virtuoso blockbuster after another, from 2019’s illuminating Charlotte Perriand retrospective to last year’s Icons of Modern Art that gathered 200 seminal modern masterpieces which, at one 19th- to 20th-century time or another, had all belonged to the uber-collecting Morozov family. Here’s another one to book the Eurostar (and the tickets) for in April: Basquiat x Warhol: Painting 4 Hands will bring together more 160 artworks the two New York legends created together during the mid-’80s heyday of Basquiat’s career (and just two years before Warhol died, followed by Basquiat a year later).
They include 80 canvasses that are signed by both. The likes of Jenny Holzer, Kenny Scharf and Keith Haring – who once likened the meeting of these two artists to the creation of “a third distinctive and unique mind” – are also in the mix for downtown-scene context. Opens 5 April; fondationlouisvuitton.fr
Stay If you see the show in early summer, La Fantaisie is opening on 1 June to host you in chic Martin Brudnizki-style on rue Cadet at the edge of happening Pigalle. Hardcore foodies may already know it marks the return from San Francisco of Dominique Crenn, the only female chef to attain three Michelin stars in the US. From €550; lafantaisie.com