Design & Living / AnOther To Do List

Brilliant Things To Do in February

Recover from January with AnOther’s list of inspiring events to lift even the lowest of seasonal moods

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StudsCourtesy of Baron & Baroness at The EDITION, © Sarah Baker

The Festivals and Events Edit

Valentine’s Day Celebrations: Baron & Baroness Magazine at The EDITION, London: February 13 and 14, 2017
Valentine’s Day: like it or loathe it, it’s an event in our cultural calendar, and it’s difficult to snub. If you’re inclined towards the latter sentiment, why not make the day as chic as possible by attending Baron & Baroness journal’s erotic readings and film screenings at The London EDITION hotel; with appearances from Anastasios Logothetis performing Striptease, artist Molly Parkin reading extracts of her story Los Vegas Lay, and screenings of short films curated by Dazed editor-in-chief Isabella Burley (namely Ellen Cantor’s Pinochet Porn and Young Money by Jennifer Chan). There will also be a sex shop stocking merchandise and other erogenous paraphernalia, and afterwards, if you’re in the mood, rooms upstairs at the hotel are available for bookings – an activity we wholly endorse undertaking solo, should you not have a date to accompany you.

Collecting Europe Festival presented by the Goethe-Institut and the V&A, London: February 1 – 7, 2017
What might Europe look like 2,000 years from now? This is the question that the Collecting Europe Festival at the V&A is attempting to answer. Alongside the Goethe-Institut, the museum has commissioned 12 global artists to depict how our present might be viewed from the future. The week-long festival also includes talks, live performances and workshops to encourage debate around European identity and what it means for us today. Don’t expect any sightings of Nigel Farage.

Shonagh Marshall in Conversation with Lena de Casparis at Somerset House, London: February 7, 2017
Ahead of the Somerset House exhibition Hair By Sam McKnight closing for good (it’s so fabulous we’d like it to remain open forever, but alas one cannot have everything in life) the show’s curator Shonagh Marshall gives us a glimpse behind the scenes of the retrospective through a conversation with Culture Director at Elle U.K., Lena de Casparis. Discussing her experience working with McKnight to create the comprehensive amalgamation of his legendary work, the talk promises to provide a first hand insight into the world of fashion archives, collections and shoots.

Stockholm Furniture and Light Fair, Stockholm: February 7 – 11, 2017
As we all know, mid-century Scandinavian design is truly heaven sent. And if you don’t know, where on earth have you been sourcing the bulk of your interior inspiration? Either way, Stockholm’s Furniture and Light Fair, taking place at the beginning of the month, will showcase some of the movement’s best examples. From Nils Strinning’s 1946 dishrack to Yngve Ekström’s 1956 sheepskin covered Lamino Armchair and string shelf, the fair celebrates the classics; but you’ll also be able to explore new Scandi products, materials, knowledge and trends employed in the region’s contemporary interior design. Fantastiskt!

Zona Maco Arte Contemporaneo, Mexico: February 8 – 12, 2017
For any readers fortunate enough to be sunning yourselves in Mexico this February, Latin America’s most important contemporary art fair will luckily coincide with your abundant vitamin D absorption. Each year Zona Maco draws in galleries from every part of the world to Mexico City. Founded by Zélika García in 2002, the fair has established itself as one of the most notable platforms for displaying international contemporary art in the region.

Kokedama Planted Moss Ball Workshops: Errol Reuben Fernandez at Greenhouse, London: February 11 and 18, 2017
The word kodekama translates to ‘mossball’ from Japanese; with the horticultural practice involving removing a root system and encasing it in a mud ball before binding the whole sphere in string. On February 11 and 18, Errol Reuben Fernandez will host a workshop at Greenhouse, where you too can learn this traditional technique. Select from Specialist Orchids, Sarracenia (trumpet pitchers) or a succulent and take home your own little ball of greenery at the end of the session.

Sonic Acts Festival, The Noise of Being, Amsterdam: February 23 – 26, 2017
From performances by scientists, artists and composers, to debates, master classes and lectures, Sonic Acts Festival, The Noise of Being encompasses live music with a heavy dose of theory and contemporary art. Exploring the ‘dark universe we inhabit’, the extensive programme covers all bases, also including DJ sets and workshops. Basically, if you’re sonically inclined, there’s nothing happening here that won’t interest you in one way or another. So, better purchase your tickets now in preparation for the festival’s kick off at the end of the month.

Exhibitions 

Integration Alone is Not Enough: Selected Works of British Concrete Poetry 1960-1980 at Richard Saltoun Gallery, London: February 3 – March 24, 2017
The medium of concrete poetry is one that is often fused with painting, sound art and typography. Exemplifying this breadth of artistic practice is an exhibition of works rarely seen in London – and indeed, the U.K. – presented by Richard Saltoun Gallery this month. Featuring artists including Henri Chopin, Bob Cobbing and Kenelm Cox, Integration Alone is Not Enough explores what Rosalind Krauss described as the ‘post-medium condition’. And there’s nothing like a bit of art theory to liven up your weekend, is there?

The vulnerable portraits of Sofie Middernacht and Maarten Alexander at Ingrid Deuss Gallery, Antwerp: until March 11, 2017
Sofie Middernacht and Maarten Alexander are an artistic duo, with their names already firmly cemented in the world of fashion photography. Currently showing at Antwerp’s Ingrid Deuss Gallery, however, are a series of personal images extracted from a fashion context entitled Vulnerable Dimensions, that explore the choices and challenges we face when making personal decisions. The images are reminiscent of the oil on canvas works of the Belgian masters (featuring the bone structure of model Maggie Mauer) and are totally and utterly exquisite.

Monet at Fondation Beyeler, Switzerland: until May 28, 2017
The work of Claude Monet can often be taken for granted; with reproductions of waterlillies and dappled landscapes printed on postcards, mugs and fridge magnets, rendering them commonplace. However, to mark its 20th anniversary, the Fondation Beyeler will honour Claude Monet’s mastery of light and colour with a major exhibition highlighted by 15 rarely shown paintings from various private collections. With a forward gaze to his late paintings and a focus on his constantly evolving treatment of light, shadow, and reflection, the exhibition promises to do the founder of impressionism justice.

House Work at Victoria Miro, London: until March 18, 2017
Examining the diversity of physical structures in urban and suburban settings, House Work at London’s Victoria Miro presents a selection of paintings by Mamma Andersson, Marc Chagall, Grayson Perry and Cy Twombly, to name but a few. Drawn from life, memory, and imagination – or from sources such as films and books – the works on display depict childhood homes, haunted houses and holiday chalets, teasing apart the idea of the house as a place of physical shelter, but also a state of being.

The Place Is Here at Nottingham Contemporary, Nottingham: February 4 – April 30, 2017
Considering the current political landscape (namely, the stateside rise of neo-fascism), The Place Is Here opening in early February at Nottingham Contemporary feels particularly prescient. The works in the exhibition explore how a generation of practitioners responded to a range of discourses and politics in the 1980s: Civil Rights-era black art from the U.S.; Margaret Thatcher’s anti-immigration policies and the resulting uprisings across the country; apartheid in South Africa; and black feminism. As Lubaina Himid, a key figure in the show wrote in 1985, “We are claiming what is ours and making ourselves visible.”

Wong Ping: Who’s The Daddy at Edouard Malingue Gallery, Hong Kong: February 10 – March 11, 2017
Wong Ping’s solo exhibition Who’s the Daddy discusses his observations of society from a teenager to adulthood through a visual language that is employed to both shock and amuse. If you happen to be visiting Hong Kong this February – or indeed, if you are a permanent resident – ensure that you pay a visit to Edouard Malingue gallery to watch Ping’s polychromatic short animation, shown beside two sculptures, a hanging light box and installation works.

Abstract Expressionism at The Guggenheim Bilbao: February 3 – June 4, 2017
Willem de Kooning, Joan Mitchell, Robert Motherwell, Jackson Pollock and Mark Rothko come together for Abstract Expressionism at The Guggenheim Bilbao this February, to demonstrate that the movement was an incredibly diverse and multifaceted phenomenon (unlike Cubism and Surrealism, which was far more formulaic). Fans of the movement will be overjoyed, for the museum is showing over 130 paintings, drawings, sculptures and photographs. Also, we hear Bilbao is simply lovely this time of year in comparison to rain-spattered London.

Electricity: The Spark of Life at The Wellcome Collection, London: until June 25, 2017
Electricity undoubtedly makes the world go round, and the Wellcome Collection celebrates the invisible yet vital force and its necessity to human life in a major namesake exhibition, showing until June of this year. Igniting the interest of inventors and artists alike for aeons, the show will feature three new commissions by international artistic practitioners John Gerrard, Camille Henrot and Bill Morrison, alongside a plethora of ancient spark-inducing objects, radiographs, electro-static generators, models and films.

The Sky is a Great Space: Marisa Merz at The Met Breuer, New York: until May 7, 2017
During her early career, Marisa Merz experimented with non-traditional art materials and processes, with later installation works balancing intimacy with impressive scale. Showing until May, The Met Breuer in New York presents the first major retrospective of the Italian artist’s practice, exploring her prodigious talent and influence. Also featuring the portrait heads she produced after 1975, The Sky is a Great Space promises to take a comprehensive look at Merz’ legacy, as the only woman to be accepted into the movement of Arte Povera.

Modern Icons by Lauren Tamaki with Riposte Magazine at The Ace Hotel, London: until February 13, 2017
Since launching in 2013, Riposte – ‘the smart magazine for women’ – has very clearly lived up to its name. Showcasing some of the most bold and outspoken female talent in the creative industry and beyond, Editor-In-Chief Danielle Pender pushes at the peripheries of what women are ‘expected’ to achieve. Until February 13, a series of illustrated modern icons drawn by Lauren Tamaki will be on display in the Ace Hotel window box gallery. Commissioned by Riposte, the works depict Bjork, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Shami Chakrabarti, Rei Kawakubo, Michelle Obama and Joan Didion – all figures who exemplify the magazine’s message in ways that are manifold.

The Best of Food and Drink

Ralph’s Coffee Bar at Ralph Lauren Regent Street, London: open now
Nibble upon a sliver of the big apple on London’s Regent Street, by making a breakfast, lunch or dinner reservation at Ralph’s Coffee Bar. Joining Ralph Lauren’s acclaimed hospitality portfolio, the haven from the irritation of slow walking shoppers is nestled beside the brand’s flagship store. We recommend the avocado and eggs on toast for breakfast – truly delicious. Or, choose from a selection of classic cocktails if you’re going to pop by of an evening to relieve some post-work stress via the rapid consumption of an Old Fashioned.

Late Night Sessions at Som Saa, London: February 4, 2017
Night owls will be pleased to learn that Som Saa – the restaurant and cocktail bar housed in an old warehouse space in East London – is hosting a dining and music event that carries on into the wee hours of the morning. Inspired by the after-service nightlife available in Bangkok and New York, Som Saa Lates brings together a late night Thai street food menu and bar service, accompanied by DJs who often play slots at Corsica Studios and on NTS radio. What’s not to like?

Le Food Market at Belleville, Paris: opening February 2 and 16, 2017
Ella Fitzgerald famously sang: “I love Paris in the spring time; I love Paris in the fall; I love Paris in the winter when it drizzles” – and there’s an additional reason to agree with her this February, for an open-air street food market on Boulevard de Belleville is now opening two Thursdays a month, all year round. Serving hot food to take away or to sit down and savour very slowly in true Parisian dining style, a surfeit of global cuisines are on offer, from French classics to Moroccan dishes.

Tony Conigliaro opens Untitled Bar, London: opening February 9, 2017
The Prairie Oyster cocktail, favourite by Sally Bowles in Cabaret and a wide variety of individuals who regularly suffer the after effects of late night excursions, is not for the faint hearted, for it is mostly composed of raw eggs. Tony Conigliaro, internationally renowned drinks innovator and founder of London cocktail bars 69 Colebooke Row and Bar Termini, brings a new offering to Hackney this month via his new project Untitled Bar. Serving the aforementioned beverage, alongside 12 Untitled originals incorporating sights, smells and taste (for example, expect to try a drink called Snow created to, well, evoke the experience of drinking snow) the new bar will surely emulate with the local creative community who have a definite penchant for the weird and wonderful. 

Club Mexicana at Pamela, London: open now
If, like so many others among us, you succumbed to the pressure to attempt Veganuary and found it, surprisingly, both more nourishing and less strunuous than initially expected, you’ll be delighted to discover Club Mexicana’s residency at Dalston’s Pamela. Since moving in in late January, its founders have brought to Pamela Mexican food so delicious and flavoursome that you’d never even guess that what you were eating is, in fact, vegan, if it weren’t for dish names such as Baja To-Fish Taco, or, even more curiously, ‘Chicken’ Wings; this is sensational Mexican at its most delicious, but meat, fish, egg and dairy free, and ethical wherever possible. We highly recommend the Margherita Key Lime Pie with Whopped Coconut cream – proof if any were needed that animal products need no longer be a mainstay.

The Best of Film

Counteract the troubling political climate with a dose of cinematic escapism, courtesy of this month’s must-see movies. Don’t miss Jeff Nichols’ new film Loving, the true story of interracial couple Mildred and Richard Loving – played by a remarkable Ruth Negga and Joel Edgerton – and their historical fight for the right to love, legally, in 1960s Virginia. Then there’s Moonlight, a breathtakingly poetic and universal reflection on identity and love from director Barry Jenkins, chronicling a young man’s quest for self-discovery as he comes of age in a rough Miami neighbourhood. Hidden Figures shines a light on Katherine G. Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson, the extraordinary African-American NASA scientists behind astronaut John Glenn’s groundbreaking launch into space in 1962. While Prevenge is the brilliant and nightmare-dark directing debut from British actor Alice Lowe, who also steps into the starring role of a pregnant woman hell-bent on vengeance.

February is a month of exceptional family dramas. 20th Century Women, from American director Mike Mills, is the funny and heartwarming story of a single mother in late-70s California who enlists the help of two younger women to co-raise her 14-year-old son. German dramedy Toni Erdmann thrusts a father-daughter relationship under the microscope, with weird and completely wonderful results. French Canadian director Xavier Dolan’s stirring new offering, It’s Only the End of the World, sees a son return to the family he abandoned 12 years before to deliver some bad news. While Fences sees Denzel Washington direct and star in the adaptation of August Wilson’s acclaimed play about a black garbage collector who, embittered by the segregation laws that prevented him from becoming a baseball star in his heyday, takes out his mounting frustrations upon his family.

Great Performances

There are plenty of productions to pique your interest this February. For a fresh take on Shakespeare, there’s Richard Icke’s new version of Hamlet at the Almeida Theatre from February 16, featuring Andrew Scott and Juliet Stevenson. A new production of the late, great Edward Albee’s magnum opus, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, opens at London’s Harold Pinter Theatre on February 22. The potent critique of the American Dream boasts a stellar cast: namely Luke Treadaway, Imogen Poots, Imelda Staunton and Conleth Hill.

Dance fans, rejoice! Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch return to Sadler’s Wells from February 9 to perform Bausch’s wonderful work, Masurca Fogo: a delightfully witty musing on the human desire for love. Finally, for those in search of brilliant new writing, there’s a profoundly affectionate, passionate devotion to someone (-noun) from feted playwright Debbie Tucker Green, arriving at the Royal Court on February 28 with the mysterious tag line: “Three couples. What might be. What once was. What could have been.”

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