Your October To Do List

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19. Roland Penrose, Lee Miller with a cast of her
19. Roland Penrose, Lee Miller with a cast of her torso, Downshire Hill, London, England 1940© Roland Penrose Estate, Courtesy of Barbican

It’s autumn! Here are the exhibitions, films and restaurants to visit, watch and eat at this month

Modern Couples: Art, Intimacy and the Avant-Garde at the Barbican, London: October 10, 2018 – January 27, 2019
Barbican’s latest exhibition, Modern Couples offers a rare glimpse inside the private lives of some of Modernism’s greatest artists and their partners. Over 40 creative couples and their artistic production will be celebrated, including Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, Barbara Hepworth and Ben Nicholson, Lee Miller and Man Ray, and lesser known duo Emilie Flöge and Gustav Klimt. Accompanying the works will be personal items such as never before seen love letters, photographs and gifts, providing an immersive insight into their relationships. This interdisciplinary exhibition offers something for everyone with the work of painters, sculptors, photographers, architects, designers, writers, musicians and performers on display.

The Thirties: Fashion and Photographs at the Fashion and Textile Museum, London: October 12, 2018 – January 20, 2019
The winter exhibition on display at London’s Fashion and Textile Museum explores the enchanting photographs of 1930s fashion and its stars. After the excess of the roaring twenties, the years leading up to WWII saw a rise of consumer culture and the growth of department stores. These drastic social changes, as well as a wide ranging set of influences infuse the clothes and photographs, from the chicness of Art Deco to the shock of Surrealism. The exhibition is arranged around the themes of night and day, taking the viewer from the glamour of eveningwear to the practicality of suburban daywear.

Breaking Barriers: A New Beginning at Protein Studios, London: October 4 – 7, 2018
Traced through portraits, interviews and poetry, the lives of ten refugees are the central point of A New Beginning, each telling their story to journalist Samira Shackle – and then captured, in a series of portraits, by photographers including Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin, Nick Waplington, Campbell Addy, Diana Markosian and Samin Ahmadzadeh, among others. The resulting exhibition is an enveloping overview of the refugee experience – from harrowing circumstance to tentative optimism for the future, the collected words and images demonstrate the resilience of the human spirit.

Yayoi Kusama: The Moving Moment When I Went to the Universe at Victoria Miro, London: October 3 – December 31, 2018
Enter a world of infinity with Yayoi Kusuma’s latest presentation THE MOVING MOMENT WHEN I WENT TO THE UNIVERSE at the Victoria Miro. The exhibition will present new paintings from the iconic My Eternal Soul series as well as new sculptures and a specially created large-scale Infinity Mirror Room (following the gallery’s last hugely successful – and vastly Instagrammed – iteration of Kusama’s iconic artwork). As she approaches her 90th birthday her work continues to resonate with audiences, using intensely personal inspirations to create artworks with a universal appeal. This immersive exhibition promises to be no exception with a continuation of the familiar pumpkin motif transformed into fantastical artworks.

Hannah Perry: GUSH at Somerset House, London: October 3 – November 4, 2018
A deeply personal exploration of grief sits at the heart of Hannah Perry’s forthcoming solo exhibition at Somerset House, GUSH. Following the passing of the artist’s best friend and collaborator, Perry has created an installation – with an immersive film at its centre – that will be on show alongside music and poetry contributed by contemporary musicians and London students. Look out too for the artworks that Perry has made her signature: car parts modified and rendered in sculpture, presented with “pulsating” soundbites.

I Called Her Lisa-Marie + Bonus Track at Sion and Moore, London: October 24 – November 4, 2018
The cult of Elvis Presley is a phenomenon that knows no bounds. Exploring the iconic singer’s fanbases in both America and South Wales, photographer Clémentine Schneidermann’s I Called Her Lisa Marie + Bonus Track is her first UK solo exhibition. From the town of Porthcrawl and its annual Elvis Festival to John-Paul, AKA Johnny B. Goode, an Elvis tribute artist originally hailing from Wigan. A fascinating photographic study of how Presley’s superstardom has transcended generations and geography.

Tiffany & Co. X Outset Studiomakers Prize: until October 14, 2018
Tiffany & Co.’s future-facing Covent Garden store opened this summer, to much excitement, and not without reason; it is a bright and airy space, and its nooks and crannies lend themselves perfectly to hosting work by brilliant up-and-coming artists. And this month they do: as Frieze fever sweeps London, Tiffany announces the winners of its Outset Studiomakers prize, proving a 12-month rent-free studio space to seven graduates from London’s formats art schools. Along with the space, the seven winners are showcasing their wares within the store – a prime opportunity to glimpse the future of the art industry.

Life Drawing with Venetia Berry at Mortimer House, London: October 7, 2018
Over Frieze week head to Mortimer House where London-based artist Venetia Berry will be hosting life drawing workshops. Berry’s captivating pieces immortalise the female form through line, and the sessions will offer guests the chance to create their own artworks using inks and taking guidance from Berry. Plus, the artist will choose her favourite drawing from each workshop to be displayed in Mortimer House. An immersive way to celebrate London’s Frieze events, and learn from one of the city’s most exciting contemporary artists.

Africa Mediaworks Photography Prize at HKS Architects, London: October 4 – 11, 2018
A celebration of contemporary African photography, the inaugural Africa Mediaworks Photography Prize offers the chance to familiarise yourself with some of the continent’s most exciting talents in the field of image-making. The work of the 15 nominees will be on show both in prints and via projection in a London space this week – from self-taught documentary photographer Etinosa Yvonne, whose layered portraits explore conflict in Nigeria, to the mesmerising fashion photography of Central Saint Martins graduate Campbell Addy.

Women Now at the Austrian Cultural Forum, New York: until February 18, 2019
Spanning artists based in both Austria and the United States, Women Now is a group exhibition by female creatives. Comprising photography, film, drawings, pottery and more, Women Now is an exciting array of work, and the exhibition references dates of importance like 1918, 1920 (when women got the vote in Austria and America) and the feminist avant-garde actions of 1968 – recalling significant moments of history through the lens of modern art.

Frieze London: October 4 – 7, 2018
Frieze returns to Regent’s Park this week. 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, bringing together work by emerging talents and iconic figures alike. While Frieze London errs on the side of contemporary art, Frieze Masters is a deep dive into history, boasting art dating from the last several thousand years right up to the late 20th century. (Plus there’s the incomparable people-watching, Frieze attracting as it does the super stylish of the art world.)

I’m Home at Blank 100, London: October 26 – November 4, 2018
Photographer Ronan McKenzie curates an exhibition of images by herself and three other black female photographers – Joy Gregory, Rhea Dillon and Liz Johnson-Artur. While ruminating on the concept of home via personal work of each photographer, the exhibition will also act as a backdrop for various cultural events while the show is on – these include an evening of film, supper clubs, life drawing and artist workshops – in what promises to be a short but sweet interactive exhibit.

Strange Days: Memories of the Future at The Store X, London: October 2 – December 9, 2018
The Vinyl Factory and The Store X have teamed up for another blockbuster exhibition at 180 the Strand, this time with New York’s New Museum part of the collaboration too. Strange Days: Memories of the Future is a group show, bringing together the work of 21 video artists and filmmakers, all of whom have had their work displayed at the New York institution in the last decade. With featured artists including Laure Prouvost, Ed Atkins and John Akomfrah, this isn’t one to miss.

Tudors to Windsors: British Royal Portraits from Holbein to Warhol at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston: October 7, 2018 – January 27, 2019
Having been documented over the course of centuries, the archive of imagery of the British royal family is one of the world’s most extensive. Dating back to the Tudors, a new exhibition brings together some of these iconic historic portraits, by some of the most revered artists of the last 500 years (ranging from Sir Joshua Reynolds and Hans Holbein to Andy Warhol and Cecil Beaton). Sculpture, painting and photography make up the exhibition, a study of the endurance and significance of the royal family to British culture. Royalists, rejoice!

Merce Cunningham, Clouds and Screens at Los Angeles County Museum of Art: October 28, 2018 – March 31, 2019
The legacy of seminal choreographer Merce Cunningham is being celebrated at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and in particular his preference for collaboration. Cunningham famously believed that the various elements of a piece – the dance, soundtrack, costumes and set – could each be conceived separately, only to be brought together on the occasion of the performance itself. In homage to this notion, LACMA presents video installations by the likes of Andy Warhol alongside films of some of Cunningham’s early radical routines.

In the Company Of at TJ Boulting, London: October 4 – November 17, 2018
Curator Katy Hessel (who’s behind the Instagram celebration of women in the arts, @thegreatwomenartists) returns with an exhibition at London’s TJ Boulting, to open this week in time for Frieze. In the Company Of is a continuation of Hessel’s interest in female creatives, and photography and art by the likes of Juno Calypso, Caroline Walker, Lee Miller, Boo Saville and Barbara Hepworth will be on show together, with the aim of revealing dialogues between the modern and historic artists, and how the women of history continue to shape the work of today.

Hunter Barnes – Off the Strip at David Hill Gallery, London: until October 26, 2018
Few cities are imbued with more legend than Las Vegas. Off the Strip is a photographic study of the Nevada city’s characters by Hunter Barnes, people who have been there for decades and lived through what they would call its “glory days” – casino bosses, showgirls, waitresses and managers. Barnes also captures Las Vegas’ architecture in vivid colour, neon motel signs glowing in the dark and baby pink mustangs shining in the bright sunshine. Escapist photography at its very best.

The Best of Film

Chilly October evenings call for regular cinema trips, and luckily this month’s filmic offerings provide something for everyone. First up there’s Bradley Cooper’s much-talked-about directorial debut, A Star Is Born, featuring Cooper as an ageing rock star who falls for struggling singer-songwriter Ally (a pitch-perfect Lady Gaga), coaxing her into the spotlight, while battling demons that threaten his own career. Emotional punches and rousing musical numbers abound. Be sure to catch Josh Appignanesi’s Female Human Animal, which melds documentary and fiction to follow writer Chloe Aridjis (playing a version of herself) as she co-curates a Tate retrospective of the Surrealist artist Leonora Carrington. Tired of the hierarchical world she inhabits, and propelled by the sense of mystery enshrouding Carrington’s work, Chloe soon finds herself descending into an obsessive pyschosexual nightmare. Carlos López Estrada’s accomplished debut, Blindspotting, is also a feat of genre merging, blending buddy comedy with piercing social commentary on issues surrounding race and gentrification in Oakland, California. It is the timely story of Collin, a parolee with just three days left of his sentence, and his volatile best friend Miles, whose relationship is dramatically put to the test when Collin witnesses a police shooting.

Another unmissable first feature comes courtesy of Columbus from South Korean writer-director Kogonada. Jin, a Korean-American man, finds himself grounded indefinitely in Columbus, Indiana, where his architectural theorist father has fallen into a coma. There he forges an unlikely friendship with young architecture enthusiast, Casey, and the two set out to explore the city’s many structural masterpieces, discovering much about themselves in the process. Fans of animation will be entranced by Tehran Taboo, Ali Soozandeh’s remarkably realised drama centred on three strong-willed women and a male musician, each struggling to navigate the hypocritical landscape of modern Iran where sex, drugs, and corruption coexist with strict religious law. And then of course there are the month’s most anticipated returns: Damien Chazelle, with his stirring Neil Armstrong biopic First Man, and Gus van Sant, with his Joaquin Phoenix-starring dramedy Don’t Worry, He Won’t Go Far On Foot – also a biopic – about a self-made artist who discovers his drawing talents in rehab.

Documentary lovers, don’t miss Kusama - Infinity, Heather Lenz’s fascinating portrait of the inimitable Yayoi Kusama and the many hurdles she’s overcome in her amazing journey to world-renowned artist. A Thousand Girls Like Me is the awe-inspiring story of a 23-year-old Afghan woman who decides, with unflinching bravery, to take a stand against her abusive father while blazing a trail for women’s rights in her country. While A Woman Captured is the extraordinary tale of a European woman who, after ten years being held as a domestic slave, makes a bid for freedom, emboldened by the presence of filmmaker Bernadett Tuza-Ritter.

Food and Drink

Levan, Peckham: opening October 2018
After the formidable success of Brixton haunt Salon, the team behind the restaurant is opening Levan in Peckham this month. Biodynamic, sustainable and natural ingredients and wine will take centre stage in the warehouse conversion, where a day-long menu includes pastries and coffee at breakfast and dinners like smoked pollack or aged rump cap, washed down with classic cocktails reconsidered (like a rosemary pisco sour).

Cattivo, Brixton: open now
The latest in a growing empire of Italian-inspired eateries, Albion & East add to Canova Hall in Brixton and Martello Hall in Hackney with Cattivo, a late-night café and bar on Brixton’s Ferndale Road. Relaxed in feel, the intimate café-cum-bar provides the choice of southern Italian-style small plates upstairs – think rustic ragu, meatballs and tortellini – or gin-heavy cocktails in the underground bar, where regular cabaret performances promise entertainment long into the evening.

Berenjak, London: opening October 23, 2018
Drawing inspiration from the street vendors of Tehran, Berenjak – named after the coloured toasted rice eaten at funfairs in Iran – promises to bring the spirit of an Iranian “hole-in-the-wall kabab house” to Soho’s Romilly Street. As such, diners can expect dishes drawn from the childhood of chef Kian Samyani – from mazeh sharing plates, korescht and charcoal-grilled kababs, sure to be their speciality. While simple, ingredients spanning pheasant, sea-spiced partridge and quail, and flavours of bergamot, lavash and fermented mint ensure dishes that are anything but ordinary.

Great Performances 

There are many enticing productions to leave the house for this month. Esteemed playwright Debbie Tucker Green returns to the Royal Court with her new offering Ear For Eye, promising an urgent exploration of black British identity (the teaser reads: “Patience is running out, times have changed. And progress isn’t enough. Black British. African American. Here. There. Now.”) Don’t miss the West End transfer of acclaimed two-part play The Inheritance (based on E.M. Forster’s beloved novel Howards End) from the Youg Vic to the Noël Coward theatre, directed by Stephen Daldry and exploring what it is to be a young gay man in New York, a generation after the peak of the AIDS crisis. Director Robert Icke returns to the Almeida with a visionary reworking of Ibsen’s tragicomic masterpiece The Wild Duck, while director Katie Mitchell and playwright Alice Birch bring their unique take on Marguerite Duras’ novella The Malady of Death (La Maladie de la mort) to the Barbican, employing a potent hybrid of live filmed footage and performance to investigate “the impact of pornography on the psyche”.

Dance devotees will be kept entertained by this year’s Dance Umbrella festival, a showcase of pioneering international choreography across London. Wen Hui’s RED sees the Chinese contemporary dance star present a mixed-media performance stemming from the ballet Red Detachment of Women, one of the few sanctioned productions of the Chinese Cultural Revolution. While Greek choreographer Dimitris Papaioannou makes his Sadler’s Wells debut with The Great Tamer, a visual feast that draws on the Greek classics and the work of the old masters, from El Greco to Rembrandt, to probe at the mysteries of life and death. Also at Sadler’s Wells is Reckonings, a special commission by the lauded venue of three singular British dance talents – Julie Cunningham, Alesandra Seutin and Botis Seva – which offers “a springboard for distinctive voices who help us see the world in a different light” in honour of the 20th anniversary of its current theatre.