34 of Best Things to Do This October

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Gottfried Young Man In Bed late 70s
Arlene Gottfried, Young Man in Bed, late 1970sCourtesy Daniel Cooney Fine Art

From Simon Porte Jacquemus’ new Paris restaurant to the Hayward Gallery’s mammoth Bridget Riley retrospective, things to fill your diary with this month

Exhibitions and Events

Arlene Gottfried: After Dark at Daniel Cooney Fine Art, New York: until October 26, 2019
In the 1980s, New York photographer Arlene Gottfried took to the city’s underground nightclubs and drug dens with her camera, documenting the people she encountered after dark. An exhibition of that name, After Dark, continues this month, showcasing the unflinching photographs Gottfried created during these years. Gottfried spent her career capturing the lifeblood of New York – she described her practice as “a life of wandering” – and the photographs featured in After Dark offer an alternative look at her varied and vibrant oeuvre (which, when she died in 2017, numbered around 15,000 photographs).

Tim Walker: Wonderful People at Michael Hoppen Gallery, London: October 25, 2019 – January 25, 2020
A month after the exciting opening of Wonderful Things at the V&AMichael Hoppen Gallery opens its own exhibition dedicated to the transporting photography of Tim Walker. Wonderful People focuses on Walker’s portraits, with extraordinary subjects including the likes of Tilda Swinton, Claire Foy, Timothée Chalamet, Marion Cotillard and Madonna. Playful set design, surreal elements and striking clothing abound in Walker’s photography, and the portraits on show in Wonderful People are typically arresting.

Honey-Suckle Company: Omnibus at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London: October 2, 2019 – January 12, 2020
A collective founded in Berlin in 1994, Honey-Suckle Company’s 25 years of creating is being celebrated this month in London. Honey-Suckle Company’s work spans art, fashion and music, and Omnibus at the ICA marks the first exhibition dedicated to the group. Having created new installations to house some of the collective’s past “fluctuating and ephemeral interventions” – from clothing collections produced in the 90s and made using materials like cling film, duct tape and plastic toys to Super 8 videos, animations and performances – Omnibus looks at how Honey-Suckle Company has responded to Berlin’s changing cultural landscape of the past quarter of a century. 

Carsten Höller: Reproduction at Copenhagen Contemporary and Behaviour at Kunsten Museum of Modern Art, Aalborg: until April 13, 2020
Known for his large-scale, playfully immersive installations, German artist Carsten Höller’s work fills two museums simultaneously in exhibitions designed to run in parallel in Denmark – one in Copenhagen and the other in Aalborg. From early works – you can’t miss the giant, illuminated, slow-moving carousels that the artist has become famed for installing – to site-specific installations in the two gallery spaces, the exhibitions offer a unique perspective of Höller’s idiosyncratic public art.

Dalí and Magritte: Two Surrealist Icons in Dialogue at the Royal Museum of Fine Arts, Belgium: October 11, 2019 – February 9, 2020
Two of the most important pioneers of Surrealism are brought together in a forthcoming exhibition in Belgium as the works of Salvador Dalí and René Magritte go on show. Having met multiple times over the summer of 1929, the two artists established a dialogue and exchange of ideas that would impact both their artistic practices, which is showcased in over 100 paintings, sculptures, photographs, films and archival objects in Dalí and Magritte: Two Surrealist Icons in Dialogue. An unmissable exhibition for fans of Surrealism the world over.

Tiffany & Co x Outset Studiomakers Prize, London: until October 31st, 2019
In an initiative returning for its third year, Tiffany & Co has once again teamed up with Outset contemporary art fund on a prize that offers rent-free studios to seven art graduates based in London. Head to the storied jewellery brand’s London concept store to see work by the seven prize-winners – Nicolas Evans, Madelynn Green, Andrew Hart, Anthony Hensman, Joshua Kerley, Céline Manz and Lydia Wong – on show now, the pieces spanning painting, sculpture, textiles, ceramics and glass. With each artist fresh from studying, the Studiomakers Prize is an exciting opportunity to see work by up-and-coming names in the art world. 

Thoughts Become Words, Words Become Images at HVW8 Gallery, Los Angeles: until October 13, 2019
A new exhibition in Los Angeles, entitled Thoughts Become Words, Words Become Images and curated by Anaïs Ngbanzo, explores the myriad ways in which literature can inspire image-making. In the show, artists Gia Coppola, Dev Hynes, Kelsey Lu, Amanda CharchianLily Gavin and Cassi Namoda each present work which has roots in a specific piece of literature: Hynes’ self-directed video Hope ruminates on Ceremonies: Prose and Poetry by Essex Hemphill; a portrait of Maya Hawke by Coppola is likened to the strong female protagonist in Joseph Conrad’s Victory; and Gavin presents photographs of paintings-in-progress that she finds draw parallels with John Berger’s Ways of Seeing.

Lorenzo Vitturi: Materia Impura at Foam, Amsterdam: October 18, 2019 – January 19, 2020
Colourful found materials combine to create sculptural forms in the photography of Lorenzo Vitturi, who responds directly to certain urban environments in his work. The Italy-born, London-based artist has a solo exhibition at Foam, Amsterdam, opening this month, which will showcase both his acclaimed early series – including Dalston Anatomy and Money Must be Made – and new work entitled Caminantes, the culmination of personal journeys Vitturi has made between Peru and Italy (echoing those made by his father in his youth) and incorporating various materials from each country he has gathered along the way.

Transformer: A Rebirth of Wonder at The Store X Vinyl Factory, 180 the Strand: October 2 – December 8, 2019
Opening in the labyrinthine space at 180 the Strand occupied by The Store X Vinyl Factory, Transformer: A Rebirth of Wonder, curated by Dazed Media co-founder Jefferson Hack, is a mammoth group show celebrating some of contemporary art’s most exciting emerging practitioners. Harley Weir and George Rouy, Doug Aitken, Jenn NkiruDozie Kanu and more will present new work, the majority of which has been commissioned for the exhibition. The artists featured in the exhibition present unique takes on modern life, musing on contemporary visions and new futures. “They are world-makers, inviting us to access altered states of consciousness as we step beyond reality into a series of highly authored, staged environments,” says Hack. 

Mary Sibande: I Came Apart at the Seams at Somerset House, London: October 3, 2019 – January 5, 2020
Coinciding with the opening of 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair, Somerset House is hosting an exhibition of South African artist Mary Sibande’s arresting work. Through sculpture and photography, Sibande traces the journey of the fictional character Sophie – portrayed by the artist – and the various guises she takes on throughout her life. Intended as an homage to generations of women in Sibande’s own family, I Came Apart at the Seams addresses racial stereotypes that have permeated the artist’s home country over the years. 

John Richmond Store, Milan: open now
Previously unseen photographs of Amy Winehouse are going on show in John Richmond’s new Milan store this month. Billed as a concept store that will feature regularly changing exhibitions for the public to view as they shop, the impressive new John Richmond space features marble surfaces, striking LED light fixtures and brass and concrete accents throughout. Hanging among the clothes are portraits of Winehouse, taken by photographer Phil Knott when the singer was on the cusp of stardom.

John and Sylvia Reid: Pioneers of Modern Design at Margaret Howell, Wigmore Street: October 12 – November 3, 2019
Highlighting John and Sylvia Reid’s pioneering 1950s and 60s Modernist furniture designs, an exhibition opens this month at Margaret Howell’s flagship London store. Rotaflex lighting, S-range furniture and archival catalogues are the focus of the exhibit, which showcases the elegant practicality of the Reids’ designs. Widely known for their lighting designs, Howell herself comments that “one feels that the Reids could successfully design almost anything if they set their minds to it”.

Marguerite Presents Let’s Talk About Sustainability and Circularity in Fashion, London: October 19, 2019
It’s known that the fashion industry is one of the biggest polluters in the world, and with strikes and conversations about the climate crisis gaining momentum, a chance to discuss the impact of fashion and what individuals can do to help is welcome. Marguerite, the network for women working in the arts, has organised an afternoon of conversations and workshops on sustainability and circulation in fashion today, with input from environmental activist Venetia Falconer and author of How to Break Up With Fast Fashion Lauren Bravo. As well as delving into what consumers can do, the discussions will look at what brands are doing in the face of climate change too.

Bridget Riley at the Hayward Gallery, London: October 23, 2019 – January 26, 2020
Op-Art pioneer Bridget Riley is being celebrated in London this month with an exhibition at the Hayward Gallery. Riley – who has had two previous solo exhibitions in the London space, in 1971 and 1992 – has enjoyed a seven-decade long career, and will present work made between 1960 and 2012. The largest retrospective of Riley’s work to date, the eponymous retrospective will feature a number of her captivating black-and-white works from the 1960s, which appear three-dimensional, rippling and shifting before the viewer’s eyes thanks to Riley’s precise and clever rendering.

The Best of Film

October is awash with great new films to while away our rainy days with. There are unmissable, Oscar-tipped performances from Joaquin Phoenix in Joker – Todd Phillip’s devastating exploration of failed comedian Arthur Fleck’s journey to becoming the eponymous Gotham City villain – and Renée Zellweger in Judy, Rupert Goold’s powerful portrayal of Judy Garland’s fated trip to London for a series of sold-out shows, 30 years after her turn in The Wizard of Oz. Two of France’s favourite auteurs return with new offerings: Olivier Assayas with Non-Fiction, a witty and thoroughly enjoyable examination of publishing in the digital age, starring Juliette Binoche and Guillame Canet; and François Ozon with By the Grace of God, a hard-hitting and timely drama tackling the theme of child abuse within the Catholic Church in Lyon.

Don’t miss Good Posture from first-time director Dolly Wells, the story of a beautiful and lazy film school graduate (Grace Van Patten) who is forced to learn some important lessons when her boyfriend dumps her and she moves in with a reclusive writer (Emily Mortimer) determined to put her through her paces. Jake Scott’s American Woman sees Sienna Miller shine as a mother whose teenage daughter Bridget (Sky Ferreira) goes missing in smalltown Pennsylvania. Left in charge of her infant grandson, she embarks on an 11-year journey to solve the mystery of Bridget’s disappearance. Last but not least there’s Monos from Colombian-Ecuadorian director Alejandro Landes – about a group of teenage guerillas holding an American hostage on a remote mountain top. Their rituals and games soon give way to disaster when their captive escapes, resulting in a “vivid, cautionary fever dream” you won’t soon forget.

This month’s must-see documentaries, meanwhile, are Liam Firmager’s Suzi Q, tracing the rise to fame and lasting legacy of American singer-songwriter Suzi Quatro, a trailblazer for women in rock music; Jonathan Agassi Saved My Life, Tomer Heymann’s thoughtful portrait of Israeli porn star Jonathan Agassi and “his search for inner peace” in life and work; and What You Gonna Do When the World’s on Fire?, Roberto Minervini poetic look at African-American life in the Deep South, following a string of violent murders of black men in 2017.

The Best in Food and Drink

Oursin, Paris: open now
Following the opening of Citron last year (complete with satisfying trompe l’oeil desserts), Simon Porte Jacquemus has once again teamed up with Galeries Lafayette Champs Elysées – this time on a restaurant named Oursin, a joint new venture with Caviar Kaspia. On the second floor of the Parisian department store, find a Mediterranean haven, compete with white stone walls housing ceramics in various nooks, a canopy of greenery, raffia chairs and crisp white tablecloths. As autumn sets in, head to Oursin for a slice of summer all year round.

Saint Laurent Café, Paris: open now
At Saint Laurent’s Parisian concept store Rive Droite – where things like vintage record players and Saint Laurent-customised skateboards are stocked, alongside the brand’s clothing and accessories – you can now stop for a coffee mid-shop. Sit in for an espresso served in a chic Limoges porcelain cup and saucer, or scan the barcode on your take-away cup to listen to Saint Laurent’s weekly playlist. 

Silo, Hackney: opening October, 2019
Opening at the end of the month, Silo in Hackney Wick will be the world’s first zero-waste restaurant. From composting any excess food to creating interiors with the help of a sustainability-focused design team, Silo proposes an innovative and environmentally friendly way of dining. By dealing directly with producers and ensuring that nothing goes unused (think juices made from ‘wonky’ fruit and vegetables to accompany weekend brunch), Silo’s pioneering approach to food waste makes for an exciting addition to the London restaurant scene.

Kombucha Masterclass with JARR Kombucha, London: October 30, 2019
The Hackney Wick brewery JARR is offering a ‘masterclass in Kombucha’ via a series of workshops hosted on a canal boat, where you’ll learn to make your own Kombucha. Following a tour of the brewery and a Kombucha cocktail, decide on a flavour for your own fermented drink and learn how to brew a batch perfectly.

Great Performances

Theatre highlights this month include the European premiere of Jordan Tannahill’s Botticelli in the Fire at Hampstead Theatre, directed by Blanche McIntyre. The celebrated painter Sandro Botticelli finds his decadent lifestyle upended by political turbulence while painting The Birth of Venus – a plot that raises timely questions about “how much of ourselves we are willing to sacrifice when society comes off the rails.” Be sure to catch the daring new play [BLANK] by Alice Birch at the Donmar Warehouse, a stirring examination of how the criminal justice system affects women and their families through 100 unnamed scenes, directed by Maria Aberg. At the Royal Court, On Bear Ridge by Ed Thomas centres on “a lost village, blurred by redrawn borders” where, after 100 years of business, the local grocery and butchers shop has fallen silent. In spite of this, its owners John Daniel (Rhys Ifans) and Noni (Rakie Ayola) remain stubbornly in situ, reminiscing its glory days.

Opera fans, be sure to book your tickets for Don Pasquale at the Royal Opera House. Gaetano Donizetti’s beloved comic opera, about an aged curmudgeon who marries with the sole purpose of spiting his nephew, will be performed by a star-studded cast led by Bryn Terfel. While dance lovers mustn’t miss Russell Maliphant’s latest work at Sadler’s Wells, a mesmerising expansion upon Maliphant’s ongoing investigation into anatomy and biomechanics in collaboration with video and light artist Panagiotis Tomaras. Lastly, for those wishing to see Anton Chekhov’s Ivanov in its original form (with subtitles), head to the Barbican where a stellar Russian ensemble, including Evgeny Mironov in the titular role, will enact the celebrated psychological drama about an office worker at the end of his rope.