Brilliant Things To Do in October

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Looking at Matisse, Museum of Modern Art, 1939Photograph by Louise Dahl-Wolfe. Collection Staley Wise Galley. © 1989 Center for Creative Photography, Arizona Board of Regents

From art fairs to photography foundations, the best new films and the most delicious food events

Louise Dahl-Wolfe: A Style of Her Own at the Fashion and Textile Museum, London: October 20, 2017 – January 21, 2018
American photographer Louise Dahl-Wolfe was a prolific presence in the fashion industry throughout the 20th century, working closely with Harper’s Bazaar and Diana Vreeland. Dahl-Wolfe’s work for the publication is the focus of a retrospective at London’s Fashion and Textile Museum this month, the first major exhibition dedicated to her photography to show in the UK. Covering Dahl-Wolfe’s career from the 1930s to the 1950s, in both fashion photography and portraiture, the exhibition showcases her idiosyncratic and unforgettable images as well as her influence on other seminal photographers.

Being Modern: MoMA in Paris at Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris: October 11, 2017 – March 5, 2018
New York’s Museum of Modern Art and Paris’ Fondation Louis Vuitton have joined forces for an exhibition charting MoMA’s history of collecting since its inception in 1929. The exhibit will present pieces by seminal artists such as Pablo Picasso, René Magritte, Jasper Johns, Alexander Calder, Edward Hopper and Gustav Klimt, alongside archive material tracing the museum’s history and development. This landmark show is the first of its kind in France and comprises over 200 works from MoMA’s archive, from the museum’s early decades through the Pop Art and Minimalism of the 20th century’s middling decades to contemporary pieces added to the collection in the last two years.

Iconoclasts: Art Out of the Mainstream at Saatchi Gallery, London: until January 7, 2018
The Saatchi Gallery is seeking to identify modern iconoclasm in today’s art culture by presenting the work of 13 artists who seek to push boundaries with their work, be that in their practice, subject matter or form. This is the kind of exhibition you have to see to believe: the variety is astounding, with pieces ranging from painting and photography to sculpture and installation, and each presents a mesmerising take on deconstructing the mainstream.

Tove Jansson at Dulwich Picture Gallery, London: October 25, 2017 – January 28, 2018
While she’s best known as the creator of the Moomin cartoon characters and the charming world they inhabit, Tove Jansson was a prolific painter and graphic illustrator of other subjects throughout her career, and, though rarely seen outside of her native Finland, Jansson’s pieces are nothing short of extraordinary. London’s Dulwich Picture Gallery is placing the spotlight on this side of Jansson’s career in a new exhibition comprising over 150 works, some of which have never been exhibited in the UK before. Jansson’s self-portraits are particularly arresting, and her surreal and graphic landscapes unforgettable. 

Hull: Portrait of a City at Humber Street Gallery, Hull: October 13 – December 31, 2017
In celebration of its status as UK City of Culture 2017, Hull is host to myriad fantastic cultural goings on this year. Next to look forward to is Hull: Portrait of a City, which sees a collaboration with Magnum on an exhibition at Humber Street Gallery of new works by Martin Parr and Olivia Arthur, whose photographs explore the creativity and characters of the city. Arthur’s black and white works are striking portraits of some of Hull’s inhabitants, while Parr’s snapshots are characteristically vivacious.

Everything At Once at The Store Studios, London: October 5 – December, 2017
Lisson Gallery celebrates its 50th anniversary this year with Everything At Once, a show presented with The Vinyl Factory and taking place at 180 the Strand. Everything At Once is not your average retrospective: there is a vast range of media on display by Lisson Gallery artists both past and present, and the work is presented as an “interconnected journey” as opposed to a chronological show. Expect awe-inspiring works by the likes of Anish Kapoor, Marina Abramović and Laure Prouvost.

Jean Arp: The Poetry of Forms at Turner Contemporary, Margate: October 13, 2017 – January 14, 2018
Bringing together over 70 works by Jean Arp, Margate’s Turner Contemporary offers an unmissable exhibition with The Poetry of Forms. The show features both sculptures by Arp and his poetry, linking the two media in order to shed new light on the pieces on display. Arp’s artistry had a huge impact on the landscape of art, with his working touching on Dada, Surrealism, Abstraction and the British avant-garde.

Reflections: Van Eyck and the Pre-Raphaelites at the National Gallery, London: October 2, 2017 – April 2, 2018
Fans of the Pre-Raphaelites will be pleased to learn of the National Gallery’s latest endeavour: an exhibition analysing the impact of Arnolfini Portrait by Jan Van Eyck on the paintings of such artists as Millais, Holman Hunt and Rossetti. Van Eyck’s interest in light, use of composition, rich hues and symbolic aspects all influenced the Pre-Raphaelites greatly, despite the group of artists working some 400 years after the Arnolfini Portrait was created, and the work they in turn made became integral to art history. What a treat to be able to view these paintings side by side.

The Best of Film

October has arrived, and with it a fresh batch of excellent new films for your viewing pleasure. Don’t miss Loving Vincent, a psychedelic investigation into the life and death of Vincent van Gogh, and the first ever fully painted animated film. A postman’s son (Douglas Booth) ventures to the rural French village where the painter recently died to deliver the his final letter and solve the mystery of his death. Then there’s The Meyerowitz Stories, Noah Baumbach’s Netflix comedy-drama which sees an artist’s estranged family reunite in New York as a retrospective opens in his honour. Baumbach’s brilliantly bittersweet script, paired with a stellar cast including Dustin Hoffman, Emma Thompson, Ben Stiller, Adam Sandler, makes for a veritable treat. Call Me By Your Name is the latest offering from A Bigger Splash director, Luca Guadagnino. Set under the scorching Lombardy sun in 1983, it sees the son of an American professor fall for his father’s intern, a handsome graduate student, in a heady summer that will change both men forever.

Sally Potter’s political comedy The Party offers a deliciously dark look at a broken Britain. Married couple Janet (Patricia Clarkson) and Bill (Bruno Ganz) host a dinner party to celebrate Janet’s new role as shadow minister of health for the opposition party, but as the night unfolds, tensions escalate and what starts with champagne ends with blood on the floor. Woody Harrelson, Brie Larson and Naomi Watts costar in The Glass Castle, a moving adaptation of a real life story which places Larson at its centre, as a woman struggling to free herself from her unconventional nomadic upbringing. Cinematic debuts don’t get much better than I am Not a Witch, by Zambia-born Welsh director Rungano Nyoni. A strange, satirical tale of a young Zambian girl banished from her village for alleged witchcraft, its amazing visuals and surreal undertones will hold you spellbound.

Great documentaries abound this month. Our top choices are Dina – Antonio Santini and Dan Sickles’ wonderful real-life rom-com, following the film’s titular character, a warmly eccentric suburban woman and her blossoming relationship with a kind-hearted Walmart door-greeter. Grace Jones fans rejoice: Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami, the new film from Sophie Fiennes, is a fabulous exploration of the iconic Jamaican singer and model, shot over the course of ten years, and offering unprecedented insight into Jones’ life and incredible live performances. Last but not least there’s Unrest by Harvard Ph.D. student Jennifer Brea, a deeply affecting film that documents Brea’s crushing battle with the little-understood disease Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

Great Performances

Where better to warm your cockles on a cold autumn night than in the theatre? There are myriad new productions to choose from, from Mike Bartlett’s latest play Albion, set, we are told, “in the ruins of a garden in rural England, in a house which was once a home” and documenting one woman’s search “for seeds of hope”; to the UK premiere of Heisenberg: The Uncertainty Principle, from Simon Stephens. Starring Anne-Marie Duff and Kenneth Cranham, it is the story of two strangers whose lives are drastically altered when they meet by chance in a busy station. Then there’s the globally acclaimed Every Brilliant Thing, a hilarious and heart-wrenching play about “depression and the lengths we go to for those we love”, arriving for its London run at the Orange Tree theatre. Watch exciting new theatre while supporting a good cause by booking tickets to Emily Jenkins’ new play Cookies at Theatre Royal Haymarket on October 29. Based on true stories, it looks at how seven teenagers are affected by sexting, radicalisation and cyberbullying in our burgeoning digital age, with all proceeds going to charity. Opera lovers, be sure to catch ENO’s dazzling production of Aida, Verdi’s inimitable tale of love and betrayal, while dance fans will delight in Wayne McGregor – Autobiography premiering at Sadler’s Wells this month: an extraordinary memoir, told through dance, from one of choreography’s most extraordinary modern pioneers.

Events and Festivals 

Art Week at Sarabande: The Lee Alexander McQueen Foundation: October 17 – 25, 2017
Sarabande, the foundation set up in Lee Alexander McQueen’s name to nurture emerging creative talent, is hosting its inaugural Art Week this month. Promising workshops, talks and a Frieze round-up, Sarabande’s Art Week is sure to be an informative and exciting event – rounding off the week, following workshops on framing and restoring artworks and the proper use of oil paint, is an interview with prolific artist Maggi Hambling.

Frieze London and Frieze Masters Art Fair 2017 at Regent’s Park, London: October 5 – 8, 2017
Autumn sees the return of Frieze to London, the esteemed fair known for its bringing together of emerging talent and iconic artists over four days in London. With a huge range of galleries taking part and talks, tours and exhibitions throughout the weekend, Frieze continues to reign as one of the most eagerly anticipated art events of the year. While Frieze London errs on the side of contemporary art, Frieze Masters is a dive into history, boasting art dating from the last several thousand years right up to the late 20th century. Plus catch the last few days of Frieze Sculpture, a gargantuan outdoor display of captivating sculptures in Regent’s Park.

Bob Schulenberg: The Secret Cinema Drawings and Paul Bartel: A New York Tribute at Anthology Film Archives, New York: October 13 – 19, 2017
Taking centre stage at the Anthology Film Archives in New York are the films of Paul Bartel, the American filmmaker whose work placed sharp focus on black humour and satire to marvellous effect throughout his career. One such short film is The Secret Cinema, which Bartel co-produced with fashion illustrator Bob Schulenberg, starring Amy Vane. Schulenberg’s drawings of The Secret Cinema’s cast and crew will be exhibited to coincide with Anthology Film Archives’ week-long tribute to Bartel, showcasing the duo’s friendship and working relationship, and shining a light on the landscape of independent filmmaking in 1960s New York.

FLORA: International Flower Festival in Córdoba, Spain: October 20 – 29, 2017
The Spanish city of Córdoba is famed for its patios, which will take centre stage for the first International Flower Festival, FLORA, as eight artists working with botanicals reinterpret the spaces, creating installations open to the public across Córdoba. FLORA also offers prizes, the first of their kind, to the winning floral artists. Promising “spectacular and ephemeral” installations, FLORA will be an enchanting look at the cultural history of Córdoba through innovative flower-based art.

Martin Parr Foundation, Bristol: opening October 25, 2017
Lauded British photographer Martin Parr is opening his namesake foundation in Bristol at the end of October, much to the delight of photography fans across the country. The foundation is billed as a centre for British photography and will house a growing collection of work by British and Irish image-makers – Martin Parr included, of course – alongside a library of influential photo books, with the aim of placing a larger focus on Britain’s significant post-war documentary photography.

Bushwick Film Festival: October 12 – 15, 2017
The Bushwick Film Festival is holding its 10th edition this October and there’s much to be excited about. The Brooklyn-based festival will screen documentaries, short films and feature-lengths, each as enthralling and innovative as the next, by up and coming filmmakers from both Brooklyn and abroad. We’re looking forward to In Case of Emergency, Funny People and the ‘works-in-progress’ screening of Unbecoming, a project produced by New York public school students in collaboration with prison inmates enrolled in the Tribeca Film Institute’s education programme.

The Other Art Fair at Old Truman Brewery, London: October 5 – 8, 2017
With a focus firmly on emerging talent biannual fair The Other Art Fair – a brainchild of Saatchi Art and now in its 16th London edition – returns to the capital this weekend. The fair is famed for its innovative presentation style and wide variety of works on display, so this is definitely one to make time for – think immersive theatre performances, live music and fantastic food and drink, alongside some of the finest art the city has to offer.  

The Best in Food and Drink

Jacob the Angel at Neal’s Yard, London: open now
Introducing your new favourite coffee spot in London: Jacob the Angel. Located in the charming confines of Neal’s Yard, Jacob the Angel serves pastries and breakfast, delicious salads and sandwiches, with Middle Eastern flavours (chicken, rose harissa and whipped feta sounds particularly irresistible), and pies and cakes to satisfy a sweet tooth.

Dante Pop-Up at Madison Rooftop Bar, London: until October 4, 2017
Cocktail aficionados will be flocking to St Paul’s for Dante’s pop-up residency at London rooftop bar Madison. Dante is the New York haunt famed for its cocktails – and has been named one of the best bars in the world – which they’re bringing to London for a limited time only. From perfect iterations of classic drinks to the more experimental variations, there’s plenty to entice you here. Be sure to try the chocolate negroni (trust us).

TT Liquor x Zoe’s Ghana Kitchen: Supper Club: October 6, 2017
Zoe’s Ghana Kitchen has teamed up with Shoreditch favourite TT Liquor for a one-night only supper club this Friday. Zoe Adjonyoh’s delectable Ghanian dishes – lamb palaver with jollof rice and spiced plantain is on the menu – will be paired with bespoke cocktails throughout the evening. And once the food is served you can head to TT Liquor’s cellar bar for some unforgettable post-dinner drinks.

Diwali Dinner at Jamavar, Mount Street: October 15, 2017
Diwali is the Hindu festival of light, celebrated in Autumn. To mark the occasion, Indian restaurant Jamavar is hosting a ‘Suits and Sarees’ Diwali Dinner, serving a specially created six-course menu, and each course can be paired with either whisky or wine. Heavenly dishes like Old Delhi butter chicken and stone bass tikka with avocado chutney are on the menu, all to be enjoyed in the restaurant’s sumptuous dining room.