The best art in April 2020—Artemisia at the National Gallery and Zanele Muholi at Tate Modern

Plus a celebration of the Barber’s Coin Collection in Birmingham
February 28, 2020
Artemisia, National Gallery, 4th April to 26th July

In 2018 the National Gallery bought the recently rediscovered self-portrait of Artemisia Gentileschi posing as Saint Catherine of Alexandria. The work was painted by the celebrated 17th-century woman painter, shortly after her rape in Rome in 1612 by fellow painter Agostino Tassi. This first major UK show gathers a sequence of powerful paintings of strong women, including two gory versions of Judith slaying Holofernes and her virtuosic Self-Portrait as the Allegory of Painting.

Zanele Muholi, Tate Modern, 29th April to 18th October

Zanele Muholi, born near Durban in South Africa in 1972, is a photographer and visual activist. Muholi creates astonishingly beautiful, eloquent photographic images of black lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer, trans and intersex people, imagining lives beyond shame and persecution. Co-founding the Forum for Empowerment of Women (FEW) in 2002, Muholi has also created a compelling series of self-portraits. This is Muholi’s first UK full mid-career survey.

Fifty Years: A Celebration of the Barber’s Coin Collection, Barber Institute of Fine Arts, Birmingham, 27th March 2020 to 11th April 2021

In the late 1960s, two friends, Philip Whitting (1903-1988) and Geoffrey Haines (1899–1981), passionate numismatists, donated 15,000 coins to the Barber Institute. The collection is primarily miniature Byzantine masterpieces and Roman coins, fascinating indicators of trade and empire, but there are also Sasanian, Turkmen and Armenian coins. This generous gift has subsequently attracted further bequests. The Barber is bringing out the best of them, showing just how much art and history can be compressed into a tiny circle.