A List of Things To Do During the Shortest Month of the Year

Pin It
'La Espera' (The Waiting) by Lucia Cuba, 2013 (cou
Lucia Cuba, La Espera (The Waiting), 2013Courtesy of the artist

From Dior in London to Gilbert & George in Stockholm, the most exciting things to fill your diary with this February

Mundo Latinx at Fashion Space Gallery, London: February 8 – May 4, 2019
By debunking stereotypes and showcasing the work of emerging creatives from the region, Mundo Latinx, a group exhibition at Fashion Space Gallery, is a celebration of Latin American art, identity, and culture. Work on show will explore the well-trodden tropes that see Latin Americans cast as “exotic, criminal and powerless”, and challenge such ideas with new pieces of art, film, fashion, textile and photography by both renowned figures and up and coming talents.

Colored People Time: Mundane Futures at the ICA Philadelphia: February 1 – March 31, 2019
Martine Syms, Aria Dean, and Dave McKenzie are among the artists whose work makes up Colored People Time: Mundane Futures, the first part of a monumental trio of exhibitions at Philadelphia’s Institute of Contemporary Arts happening this year. The everyday is central to the ongoing exhibition, which examines the varying ways that white supremacy and racial injustices are still enmeshed in American society, and in this first section imagination comes into play too: a 2015 film by Syms, The Mundane Afrofuturist Manifesto, is a starting point for how these artists picture the future.

Gilbert and George: The Great Exhibition at Moderna Museet, Stockholm: February 9 – May 12, 2019
Head to Stockholm this month to see iconic artistic duo Gilbert and George’s very own Great Exhibition, in a show curated by Hans Ulrich Obrist and Daniel Birnbaum. Over 50 pictures created over the pair’s five working decades – images described variously as “thrilling and frightening, grotesque and austere, surreal and symbolic” – make up the exhibition, which features creations often depicting the artists themselves in the form of photography, illustrations and paintings.

Frieze Los Angeles: February 15 – 17, 2019
From London to New York and on to Los Angeles, the inaugural Frieze fair arrives in the California city this month at Paramount Pictures Studios. The eclectic and exciting mix of contemporary and historical art by both established and emerging artists that we’ve come to expect from Frieze will be present and correct, plus a range of site-specific pieces created specially for the event – among these, a short film commissioned by Frieze and Gucci and created by Peckham-based artist Jenn Nkiru entitled Black to Techno, which traces the roots of Techno in Detroit in the 1980s. (All that, as well as the requisite Frieze people watching.)

Erwin Blumenfeld in Colour at Foam, Amsterdam: February 14 – April 15, 2019
Created over the course of almost two decades in New York, from 1941 to 1960, Erwin Blumenfeld’s extraordinary colour photography is going on show in Amsterdam later this month. Blumenfeld’s fashion photography is some of the most celebrated of the 20th century, and appeared in publications like Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar and Life. There is subtle surrealism – note the extra pair of hands in the above shot – to the German photographer’s shots, which became experimental when he arrived in New York and became an early pioneer of colour photography.

Swinging London: A Lifestyle Revolution at the Fashion and Textile Museum, London: February 8 – June 2, 2019
The Chelsea Set was a prolific and influential group of artists, designers, photographers and architects whose work from the 50s to the 70s shaped London’s creative scene. It was, as the title of a forthcoming London exhibition states, a revolution. Swinging London: A Lifestyle Revolution centres on two seminal figures of the period, whose designs modernised their respective fields: fashion designer Mary Quant and designer Terence Conran. Featuring some of their most iconic designs spanning homewares, fashion, furniture and ceramics – for Quant, the miniskirt, and for Conran, the designs he began selling in Habitat during this period – alongside the work of contemporaries and friends like Eduardo Paolozzi and Laura Ashley. An unmissable look at one of the most exciting periods of change in the creative hub of London.

The Dior Collection at Proud Central, London: February 7 – April 7, 2019
Though the V&A’s latest blockbuster exhibition, Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams, is guaranteed to draw crowds, at Proud Central, a more intimate view of the seminal designer’s oeuvre. Tracing his inimitable legacy through the lens of five photographers – from glossy Life magazine editorials to behind-the-scenes snapshots of the Dior atelier – the resulting exhibition is a wide-ranging portrait of the designer, and the house which bore his name.

Surrogate. A Love Ideal at Fondazione Prada, Milan: February 21 – July 22, 2019
Photography by Jamie Diamond and Elena Dorfman comes together in the Fondazione Prada’s upcoming exhibition Surrogate. A Love Ideal. The two photographers use their medium to explore human love in various unconventional guises, and their arresting outputs make for compelling viewing. While Diamond explores tropes of motherhood and how hyperreal dolls are created and interacted with by some women, Dorfman looks to the presence of sex dolls in relationships; each artist studies these differing types of surrogate, and how they are inserted into real relationships.

Phyllida Barlow: cul-de-sac at the Royal Academy, London: February 23 – June 23, 2019
A cul-de-sac according to Phyllida Barlow arrives in the Royal Academy’s new galleries, in a vivacious new series of sculpture and immersive installations. The prolific sculptor will invite visitors to step inside her brightly coloured structures – which are rendered in materials like cement, plaster and plywood – and impart their own interpretations on them. Described as “space-changing installations”, expect a new and unrecognisable take on the Royal Academy’s hallowed halls.

Geta Brătescu: The Power of the Line at Hauser & Wirth, London: February 27 – April 27, 2019
Late nonagenarian artist Geta Brătescu will be celebrated at Hauser & Wirth this month in an exhibition entitled The Power of the Line. The Romanian artist was a pioneer of conceptual art, and her genre-spanning practice resulted in work of astounding range, from film and collage to drawing and textiles. This London exhibition will focus on work created over the last decade (Brătescu died in September of 2018 and was still prolific), in which the artist explored the multifarious possibilities of lines. What’s more, diary extracts shown alongside the pieces will provide an unprecedented look at her practice and life.

Charles White: A Retrospective at Los Angeles County Museum of Art: February 17 – June 9, 2019
Working across Chicago, Los Angeles and New York in the 20th century, artist Charles White was prolific in his depictions of African Americans in his paintings and illustrations, at a time when racial tensions in the US were soaring. White addressed social injustices in his practice, and was an avid civil rights activist in the later years of his life and career. Head to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art to see its retrospective on White; featuring over 100 works, many of which have rarely been exhibited, the exhibition charts the impact and importance of artist’s work in representing his contemporaries.

The Best of Film

Dry January might be over but wet February’s here to take its place. So without further ado, here’s our round-up of the best cinematic remedies for any rainy day. First up: Burning, South Korean director Lee Chang-dong’s wonderfully esoteric adaptation of Haruki Murakami’s short story about three young souls whose lives intersect in modern-day Seoul. Can You Ever Forgive Me? sees Melissa McCarthy and Richard E. Grant as the perfect odd couple in the true story of Lee Israel, celebrity biographer to Estée Lauder, Tallulah Bankhead and more, who in the 1990s turned to forging literary correspondence – with a little help from her friend Jack – as her writing career began to flounder. More riveting true stories come courtesy of Boy Erased, Joel Edgerton’s adaptation of Garrard Conley’s 2016 memoir of the same name, and A Private War, Matthew Heineman’s exploration of the life of late war correspondent Marie Colvin. The first sees a brilliant Lucas Hedges take on the role of Conley, the son of a soon-to-be preacher (Russell Crowe), who is forced to enlist in a gay conversion therapy programme after being outed in college. While Rosamund Pike embodies the esteemed journalist who so fearlessly dedicated herself to shining a light on the world’s most dangerous war zones.

Don’t miss If Beale Street Could Talk, Barry Jenkins’ amazingly poetic take on James Baldwin’s acclaimed novel about a young, pregnant wife-to-be in 70s Harlem, and her search for justice for her wrongly condemned artist fiancé. Then there’s Capernaum from Lebanese filmmaker Nadine Labaki, the hard-hitting story of Zain, a resourceful 12-year-old, who – after years of neglect – decides to sue his parents for the ill-fated life they’ve afforded him. Elsewhere Charlotte Rampling gives a typically exquisite performance in Hannah, Andrea Pallaoro’s compelling portrait of a woman ensnared in a marital hell. And American writer/director Elizabeth Chomko makes a powerful debut with What They Had, the tender story of a family in crisis as Alzheimer’s tightens its grasp on the matriarch at its centre. For this month’s must-see documentaries, meanwhile, be sure to catch América, from filmmakers Erick Stoll and Chase Whiteside, following three doting grandsons reunited to care for their lively 93-year-old grandmother; and Of Love & Law, centred on the first openly gay couple to run a law firm in Japan.

The Best in Food and Drink

Din Tai Fung, Covent Garden: open now
The cult favourite xiao long bao dumplings of Taiwanese restaurant Din Tai Fung have finally arrived in the UK. The spacious Covent Garden haunt is serving the soupy steamed dumplings – which have people queuing for a table – alongside other signatures like steamed buns and wanton noodles.

‘Pie and Pint’ at Rochelle Canteen at the ICA: from February 17, 2019
In the depths of winter, Rochelle Canteen at the ICA’s new Sunday evening menu is providing some much needed comfort from the cold. The ‘pie and pint’ menu is exactly that – enjoy one of the Canteen’s signature flaky pies plus either a pint or a glass of wine. After a visit to one of the ICA’s exhibitions on a Sunday afternoon, what more could you want?

Yeni, London: opening February 4, 2019
A taste of Turkey arrives in Soho this month with the opening of Yeni on Beak Street. The first iteration of Yeni has been a favourite in Istanbul since 2013, and its classic dishes and ingredients are coming to London: think kofte, beef ribs, tamarind lamb and feta with samphire and spiced honey.

Great Performances

February boasts a whole host of new productions to draw you out of the house. Don’t miss the world premiere of The Remains of the Day – the first theatrical interpretation of Kazuo Ishiguro’s masterful novel, reimagined for the stage by British writer Barney Norris in collaboration with Ishiguro himself. The searing story of a proud butler and his memories of life downstairs in an English stately home, the play opens at Royal & Derngate before embarking on a nationwide tour. For those who missed Cyprus Avenue during its original sold-out run at the Royal Court, David Ireland’s celebrated black comedy – about a Belfast loyalist who believes his five-week old granddaughter is a reincarnation of Gerry Adams – returns to the London theatre for a limited five-week run. Meanwhile, a fresh and forbidding new work, Shipwreck, from American playwright Anne Washburn arrives at the Almeida, formally inviting audiences “to dinner with the 45th President of the United States”.

Dance lovers, rejoice! Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch is back at Sadler’s Wells with the company’s first full-length work by a guest choreographer since the death of its eponymous founder. Since She by Greek dance maestro Dimitris Papaioannou, known for his surreal conjurings and contortions, looks set to be an extraordinary meeting of creative forces. The Royal Opera House also presents an array of fresh dance offerings this month in the form of New Work New Music from the Royal Ballet in collaboration the with London Sinfonietta: a programme comprising six enticing world premieres, each set to contemporary music never before used for dance. Last but not least there’s Tesseract, a hypnotic two-act collaboration between video artist Charles Atlas and choreographic duo Rashaun Mitchell and Silas Riener, opening at the Barbican this month and promising “an inventive exploration of the relationship between the human form and technology... inspired by science fiction and time travel.” Time to get booking!