Arts Ahead: What’s On In London 17 – 23 January

This week’s big new blockbuster is surely David Hockney’s new show at the Royal Academy of Arts. David Hockney RA: A Bigger Picture examines the artist’s return to East Yorkshire, and his desire to paint the landscapes of his childhood. Look out for the 50-odd iridescent iPad drawings, and his experimentation with split screen film documentaries too.

Elsewhere in art and exhibitions, we recommend the free Samsung Art+ Prize show for new media art, on display at the BFI Southbank from tomorrow; Arnold Newman at Chris Beetles Fine Photographs from tomorrow, another freebie, showing portraits of Truman Capote, Henry Miller and Martha Graham, among others; and Meetings in Marrakech: The Paintings of Hassan El Galoui and Winston Churchill from Friday in the gorgeous surrounds of Leighton House: it costs about a fiver.

In a rather packed week, we also like the sound of Scott’s Last Expedition at the Natural History Museum from Friday; Sense The City Photography Project on display at the London Transport Museum from Saturday, and, if you’re in the Royal Festival Hall from Friday this week, be sure to check out the Fabulous Coffins from UK and Ghana in the Level 2 foyers.

Our classical music selection this week is The London Philharmonic Orchestra’s 20-day festival celebrating the brilliant music of early-20th century Russian composer Sergei Prokofiev on Friday. Early reviews confirm it’s going to be good. The LPO’s charismatic Russian Principal Conductor Vladimir Jurowski is artistic director of the series, which has the subtitle “Man of the people?”

For contemporary music fans, check out the Kronos Quartet. A string quartet like no other, for nearly 40 years the Kronos Quartet has pushed the boundaries of what a string quartet can do: contemporary classical and jazz to world music collaborations. The quartet are in London from Saturday with three gigs in a trio of venues: American minimalism at Hackney Empire, a 9/11 programme in the Barbican Hall and an early music concert at Wilton’s Music Hall.

In theatre, Our New Girl opens at the Bush Theatre tonight, looking at the darker side of parenthood. Antony Sher stars in Travelling Light, a nod to the early days of cinema, at the National from tomorrow. Other stars treading the boards in town this week are Rafe Spall and Sally Hawkins in Constellations at the Royal Court opening Thursday, and David Haig leads the cast in a sure-fire hit revival, The Madness of King George III at the Apollo Theatre from Monday.

If you like opera, Don Giovanni, a fiery production that’s part of the Royal Opera House’s Olympic Programme, opens on Saturday; this week’s dance recommendation is Smashed at the Linbury Studio from tomorrow: a sensational mix of juggling skills and drama inspired by seminal German dance-theatre maker, Pina Bausch.

Have we missed anything you’re particularly looking forward to this week? Let us know in the comments below…

We have listings for ongoing shows at London’s top museums on our Museums and Galleries page

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