It’s September! Here’s a List of Good Things to Do

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Isaac Sutton - Courtesy Johnson Publishing Company
The Black Image Corporation, curated by Theaster GatesPhotography by Isaac Sutton. Courtesy Johnson Publishing Company, LLC. All rights reserved.

Back-to-school needn’t mean boring – consult our list of brilliant exhibitions and openings to fill your weekends with this September

The Black Image Corporation at the Fondazione Prada, Milan: September 20, 2018 – January 14, 2019
20th-century publishing house Johnson Publishing Company was responsible for pioneering magazines like Ebony and Jet, and produced some of the most iconic African American images of the era. Now, the Fondazione Prada in Milan spotlights its legacy with Black Image Corporation, an exhibition of images of women from the company’s archives by Moneta Sleet Jr. and Isaac Sutton. The interactive exhibit offers an insight into how black women and black culture was celebrated by these photographers, and the crucial role that the Johnson Publishing Company archives have played in the documenting of African American contemporary life.

Christo and Jeanne-Claude: Barrels and the Mustaba, 1958–2018 at Taschen, London: September 5, 2018
This Wednesday, Christo and Jeanne-Claude fans will flock to Taschen’s London store to meet the former, as the publishing house is hosting a book signing to mark the duo’s new publication and the success of their London Mastaba on the Serpentine Lake, an ambitious project that has long been in the pipeline. The new book, Barrels and the Mastaba 1958–2018, explores the scale of this gargantuan work, the inspiration behind it, and its production. This week’s signing is a unique opportunity to meet one of contemporary art’s most innovative figures. 

Toyin Ojih Odutola: When Legends Die at Jack Shainman Gallery, New York: September 6 – October 27, 2018
The mesmerising paintings of Toyin Ojih Odutola are on show in New York from this week in a new exhibition entitled When Legends Die. This show is the last in a series of portraits of Nigerian nobility, as imagined by the artist: Odutola found herself thinking of a fictional Nigerian aristocratic family, the head of which was a nobleman and his husband. The artist immersed herself in this family tree of extensive characters and has based four exhibitions on these imagined figures, with When Legends Die representing her final offering from this world. Odutola’s paintings have propelled her to the forefront of the contemporary art scene in recent years, and this new exhibition will surely be just as captivating as the last.

Art Out Loud at Chatsworth: September 21 – 23, 2018
Those looking for a September getaway would do well to head to Chatsworth for a weekend this month. The Derbyshire stately home continues its championing of contemporary art with the 2018 edition of Art Out Loud, its programme of talks from art, architecture and design insiders. Appearing this year are Linder Sterling –who was recently artist-in-residence at Chatsworth – Turner Prize-winner Lubaina Himid, and designer John Pawson, to name a few.

Cinespia Cemetery Screenings at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery, Los Angeles: September 1 – 22, 2018
At the storied Hollywood Forever Cemetery this month Cinespia is holding outdoor screenings of film classics. What could be better than settling into LA’s most macabre tourist spot to experience cult 1996 horror Scream?

Audrey Hepburn: Beyond the Screen at Proud Central, London: until September 30, 2018
The image of Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany’s is one of pop culture’s most ubiquitous. Proud Central is exploring the screen siren’s image even further with its latest exhibition, Beyond the Screen, a collection of rare portraits of Hepburn by some of the 20th century’s most lauded names in photography. Shots by Norman Parkinson, Eva Sereny, Terry O’Neill and Bob Willoughby all appear, and each offers a new perspective on one of the most famous women of all time.

Festival Number 6: September 6 – 9, 2018
Fantasy Welsh village Portmeirion is home to Festival Number 6, billed as “the UK’s most unique festival”. In the stunning and surreal setting, Festival Number 6 offers a highly enticing programme of music, art and culture: indulge in yoga, catch a cabaret performance or dance the weekend away on the Chinese Lake’s floating stage, and headlining the music this year are Franz Ferdinand and Friendly Fires. The ideal way to round off the summer festival season.

Victor Papanek: The Politics of Design at the Vitra Design Museum: September 29, 2018 – March 10, 2018
The Vitra Design Museum spotlights the fascinating life and career of Victor Papanek this month with The Politics of Design, which will showcase how the designer, author and activist was ahead of his time by championing socially and ecologically conscious design in the 1960s. Papanek’s wildly successful 1971 tome Design for the Real World – which is still the most-read design publication – called for social justice and sustainability to be taken into consideration in the design world. From his furniture and archive photography to manuscripts and testimonies from his contemporaries, this exhibition is a comprehensive look at the ongoing impact Papanek has had in his field.

Masahisa Fukase: Private Scenes at Foam, Amsterdam: September 7 – December 12, 2018
Comprising work produced from the early 1960s to 1992, a new retrospective at Foam explores the largely unseen photography of Masahisa Fukase. The Japanese photographer’s archives have been gradually disclosed since his death in 2012, and this Amsterdam exhibition provides an unmissable opportunity to view much of Fukase’s life’s work, and most subversive series, together. His career was cut short following a fall that resulted in a 20-year-long coma, but his output was already radical and significant by the time this happened in 1992. His most famous series, Ravens, will be on show in Private Scenes, which has been arranged in close collaboration with the director of the Masahisa Fukase archives.

Collaborative Portraiture at Magnum Print Room, London: September 10 – October 25, 2018
The portraiture of three established female photographers is brought together in a new exhibition at Magnum Print Rooms. Internat by Carolyn Drake, Susan Meiselas’ Carnival Strippers and Bieke Depoorter’s ongoing series depicting muse Agata – three series that have become fundamental to each photographer’s practice – will be on show alongside each other, in an exploration of the different ways that female photographers choose to capture female subjects. From Agata depicted in a room of peeling pink walls to Meiselas’ candid documentation of working women in small-town New England fairs, Collaborative Portraiture offers an absorbing and varied look at how women show women.

Unseen Amsterdam: September 21 – 23, 2018
Ever-exciting photo fair Unseen returns to the Dutch capital this month, hosting the very best in emerging photography and showcasing forthcoming trends in the medium. This year is Unseen’s seventh annual edition, and promises to be its most varied and engaging yet. Planning on stopping by? Be sure to catch such exhibitions as Beyond 2020 by Japanese Photographers and the ING Unseen Talent Award, and head to the Living Room for a series of industry insider talks on subjects like fashion photography, photo and film, and up-and-coming talent.

Philharmonia Orchestra at the Southbank Centre, London: September 27 – 30, 2018
Head to London’s Royal Festival Hall at the end of the month to immerse yourself in an entirely unique virtual reality experience courtesy of the Philharmonia Orchestra’s VR Sound Stage. The organisation takes the classic music of Beethoven and Brahms, as well as the words of industry insider speakers, and creates a 360 degree, virtual reality experience with groundbreaking immersive audio. These virtual reality film screenings take the viewer through a three-dimensional classic music performance, resulting in a concert experience unlike any other. 

The Best of Film

September is upon us, replete with conkers, crisp autumn leaves and a whole host of fantastic new films to occupy the ever-darkening evenings. First up, there’s Desiree Akhavan’s poignant sophomore feature, The Miseducation of Cameron Post, starring Chloë Grace Moretz as the titular high schooler, who’s sent to a gay conversion camp after being caught making out with a fellow (female) classmate. American theatre director and filmmaker Michael Mayer takes on The Seagull – with help from a stellar cast including Saoirse Ronan (as Nina), Annette Bening (as Irina) and Corey Stoll (as Boris) – putting a fresh spin on Chekhov’s timeless tale of envy, desire and betrayal. For those in search of a really good rom-com, Jon M. Chu’s Crazy Rich Asians is here to provide. Rachel, a New York university professor accompanies her long-term boyfriend, Nick, to a wedding in his native Singapore, where she’s shocked to discover he’s one of the country’s richest and most sought-after men, with a fearsome mother to boot.

Starring Harry Dean Stanton in one of his final roles, alongside David Lynch, Lucky, directed by John Carroll Lynch, is an unmissable, emotionally wrought tale of a 90-year-old man on a quest for enlightenment. Palestinian director Annemarie Jacir is back with Wajib, a stirring family drama that sees an estranged father reunite with his son to hand deliver invitations to his daughter’s wedding, as dictated by local Palestinian tradition. Subversive Argentine filmmaker Gaspar Noé makes an arresting return with Climax, the story of a group of young dancers who meet to rehearse in a remote school building one winter’s night, only for things to take a sinister, dizzying turn when they realise their sangria is laced with LSD. Last but not least there’s The Wife, Björn Runge’s electrifying portrait of a more than 30-year marriage between a celebrated American novelist (Jonathan Pryce) and his elegant, intellectual and over-looked wife (a show-stopping Glenn Close, hotly tipped for her first Oscar).

Documentary fans, this month’s must-catches include Faces Places, which sees inimitable French auteur Agnès Varda set off on a voyage across rural France accompanied photographer and muralist JR, revisiting her memories through an array of different media and forging a surprising friendship with her younger companion along the way. Nureyev offers rare insight into the life and work of Rudolf Nureyev, one of ballet’s most lauded stars, and includes never-before-seen footage of the Russian dancer and choreographer, (who notoriously hated to be filmed) as he rehearsed for a number of his later shows. Finally, there’s The Gospel According To André, which sees filmmaker Kate Novack paint a vivid picture of American fashion raconteur André Leon Talley, spanning his childhood in the segregated South to his groundbreaking contributions to journalism at Women’s Wear Daily, W and Vogue.

Food and Drink

Jolene, Newington Green: open now
Grains take centre stage at recent Newington Green opening Jolene, a new all-day bakery and restaurant from the team behind Westerns Laundry. Think artisan breads, baked daily, and pastries in the mornings, while fresh pasta and simple yet scrumptious small plates dominate the lunch and dinner menu (grilled cod on the bone with olives and artichokes, for example, and bread, apricot and butter pudding to follow). 

Aesop Richmond Dinner, Autumn: September 27, 2018
Natural beauty behemoth Aesop has created a series of supper clubs in collaboration with some of the UK’s finest chefs, and the next will take place this month in Richmond. Vegan, free from gluten and refined sugar, the Richmond Dinners – the four-part series has been developed in collaboration with Plates London – offer the finest plant-based, seasonal, organic dining, with focus placed on how the ingredients vary from earth to plate. A delectable meeting of beauty and food. 

Introduction to Calligraphy at Zetter Townhouse, London: September 22, 2018
If September is inducing back-to-school feelings, head to Clerkenwell’s Zetter Townhouse to hone in on a new skill: London calligraphy studio Quill will be hosting a masterclass this month, in which guests can learn the basics of the art of putting pen and ink to paper. Leave the session with your own calligraphy kit, following the townhouse’s signature afternoon tea and a cocktail to round off the afternoon. 

Great Performances

At the National Theatre, be sure to catch Ralph Fiennes take on another great Shakespearean role, opposite Sophie Okonedo, in Antony and Cleopatra, one of the bard’s most brilliant tragedies. Meanwhile Dawn King’s darkly funny dystopian fable Foxfinder arrives in the West End, starring Iwan Rheon starring as as a hunter, specially trained from birth to eliminate foxes, in a fiercely superstitious future England. Head to the Harold Pinter theatre for Pinter at the Pinter a very special celebration of all things (you guessed it) Pinter. Martin Freeman, Tamsin Greig, David Suchet, Jane Horrocks, and Danny Dyer are among the many stars gathering for a unique season presenting all of Pinter’s one-act plays, helmed by acclaimed director Jamie Lloyd. To mark 100 years since women won the vote in Britain, pioneering Suffragette Sylvia Pankhurst is being honoured like never before: through dance, hip hop, soul and funk in Sylvia, a new musical by Kate Prince opening at The Old Vic today. Dance lovers be sure to catch the world premiere of fêted ballerina Natalia Osipova’s Pure Dance at Sadler’s Wells, showcasing “a handpicked programme of exciting and eclectic dance works, taking the audience on a journey from the world of classical ballet to contemporary repertoire.” While for opera fans, The Royal Opera’s revival of Keith Warner’s magical production of Der Ring des NibelungenWagner’s four epic musical dramas – is guaranteed to delight.