Brilliant Things to Do This November

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53_Greer modeling jewelry, NYC 1985
Greer modeling jewelry, NYC, 1985© Nan Goldin

The best exhibitions, films, TV shows, and plays to see as winter sets in

Nan Goldin: Sirens at Marian Goodman, London: November 14, 2019 – January 11, 2020
This November, Marian Goodman will present its first exhibition by Nan Goldin, marking the photographer’s first solo showing since the Whitechapel Gallery in 2002 (it is also her first since she joined the gallery last year). Titled Sirens, it will encompass both retrospective and new works, centring around a poignant digital slideshow, Memory Lost (2019) which recounts a life of drug addiction (Goldin has staged a number of protests against the Sackler family, accused of contributing to America’s opioid crisis). “Documenting a life at once familiar and reframed, new archival imagery is cast to portray memory as lived and witnessed experience, yet altered and lost through the effects of drugs,” Marian Goodman say of Memory Lost, which is accompanied by a score from musician Mica Levi.

Judy Chicago at BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Arts, Gateshead: November 16, 2019 – April 19, 2020
To mark the 80th birthday year of seminal feminist artist and educator Judy Chicago, the BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Arts will host a major exhibition, spanning a 50-year career – from her early land art, in which she captured coloured smoke and pyrotechnics amid the Californian desert, to her most recent work, The End: A Meditation on Death and Extinction (2013–16), which has previously only been shown in the United States. Chicago’s pioneering work – which time and again has exposed the matrix of patriarchal control – has shifted the course of feminist art forever. “Nobody seemed to be able to see what I could see at the time,” she recently told AnOther of her Atmospheres series. “Toxic masculinity is now a global phenomenon. It’s a function of patriarchal control, and it’s a way – you can call it mass terrorism – of keeping women in line.”

Yayoi Kusama: Every Day I Pray for Love at David Zwirner, New York: November 9 – December 14, 2019
A new exhibition at New York’s David Zwirner gallery promises a raft of new work from much-loved Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama, encompassing painting, sculpture and the latest iteration of her hallucinogenic mirrored “infinity rooms” in which the viewer finds themself amid endlessly reflected dots, lanterns, or pumpkins (such installations, and the opportunity for selfies they provide, have made Kusama’s work ubiquitous on Instagram). Taking place at the gallery’s West 20th Street location, Every Day I Pray for Love provides a rare opportunity to see work from Kasuma – whose career spans many decades – first hand.

Derek Jarman: PROTEST! at Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin: November 15, 2019 – February 23, 2020
This month, a landmark retrospective of the work of radical British filmmaker and artist Derek Jarman will go on display at Dublin’s Irish Museum of Modern Art. Marking 25 years since his death, it will for the first time collate the various strands of his practice – among them painting, set design, gardening and writing – in the same place and number several never-before-seen works. Spanning the 1960s, when Jarman studied at London’s Slade School of Art, to the late 1980s and 1990s, when he would address the HIV and Aids crisis in monumental painted works (Jarman himself would die of an Aids-related illness), PROTEST! is a powerful portrait of a crucial artist and the revolutionary work he produced.

Roger DaSilva at Also Known As Africa, Paris: November 9–11, 2019
At the art and design fair Also Known As Africa, staged next week in Paris, the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation will exhibit a selection of photographs by little-known image-maker Roger DaSilva that have not previously been shown outside of Senegal. DaSilva’s newly discovered archive of around 75,000 negatives comprises vibrant photographs taken in the 1950s and 60s in Senegal, and varies between studio shots of family portraits to photos taken on the streets of Dakar to self-portraits. The extraordinary selection of black and white images capture a nation in flux, during a post-war and pre-independence era, making DaSilva’s work a vital document of a unique time in Senegalese history.

Modern British Art at Holland & Holland, London: November 8 – 13, 2019
Holland & Holland was founded in 1835, and has been providing outdoor attire for Britain’s upper crust ever since – most recently, under the creative leadership of model Stella Tennant and Lady Isabella Cawdor, a former Vogue fashion editor. This month, Tennant and Cawdor collaborate with auction house Sotheby’s on an exhibition of contemporary British artworks, titled Modern British Art. “The exhibition celebrates the best of British creativity, by exploring the shared aesthetic of the traditional brand and many British artists of the 20th century, who combined tradition and heritage with a commitment to modernity,” said Sotheby’s in a statement. Held in the brand’s Bruton Street store, works include those by Paul Nash, Barbara Hepworth, Patrick Heron, and Peter Lanyon, among others.

Skate at Somerset House: November 13, 2019 – January 12, 2020
November sees the opening of Somerset House’s ice rink, ushering in the beginnings of the festive season (the rink itself will be flanked by a 40 foot-tall Christmas tree). An array of seasonal activities accompany the rink – now in its 20th year – from a Christmas shopping arcade to gourmet dining at Fortnum’s Lodge (the London institution have partnered with Somerset House on the event). This year will also mark the first opportunity for late-night skating – over December 6 and 7, Skate at Somerset House will host an ‘all-nighter’, open from 11pm to 7am the next morning, for night owls and early risers alike.

Partnership Editions: In the Studio With at Islington Square, London: until December 1, 2019
A series of interactive exhibitions, held in collaboration with Partnership Editions – who work with emerging and mid-career artists to produce limited-edition prints and affordable works of art – will take over the recently opened Islington Square this month. Artists Alexandria CoeRose Electra Harris and Isabella Cotier will consecutively take over a glass-fronted exhibition space, transforming it into satellite versions of their own studios over a number of days. Each day the artist will ‘live paint’ in the space, the spoils of which will be available for sale in a special exhibition at the end of each participant’s residence. In December, the space will then become a physical outpost for Partnership Editions, providing an opportunity to purchase framed and unframed artworks by all of Partnership Editions’ artists.

Polly Brown: Airportals at We Folk, Amsterdam: until November 15, 2019
A new series from contributor Polly Brown – known for her still lifes which re-present quotidien items in surreal manner – explores the politically-charged process of going through airport security. Consisting of photographs taken illicitly in airports across the globe, using film damaged by x-ray scanners, the haunting images “capture places that we are supposed to forget,” says writer Ben Eastham in an accompanying essay. “These photographs strike me as small acts of resistance.” The series will make up a new exhibition, part of We Folk Presents, in Amsterdam – Brown’s first solo show in the country.

Photo Vogue Festival, Milan: November 15 – 18, 2019
Italian Vogue’s annual Photo Vogue Festival takes place this month in Milan, encompassing exhibitions, talks and numerous other events which explore the “ethics and aesthetics” of contemporary photography. Now in its fourth edition, highlights of this year’s festivals include an immersive exhibition of works by Dutch duo Inez & Vinoodh, an exhibition of unseen photographs from image- and filmmaker Sølve Sundsbø and an appearance from British photographer and Dazed co-founder Rankin, who will create live portraits with the only original Polaroid Land camera still working outside the United States.

Streetstyle: From Teddy Boys to Grime Kids at Trinity Art Gallery, London City Island: November 15 – December 7, 2019
In 1994, the V&A staged a ground-breaking exhibition entitled Streetstyle: From Sidewalk to Catwalk, which traced style tribes from the 1940s to the 90s. 25 years later, the London College of Fashion presents Streetstyle: From Teddy Boys to Grime Kids, continuing to explore the importance of subcultures on fashion today. Featuring clothing from a 1977 collection by Dame Zandra Rhodes and some of the original Skinheads pieces seen in the V&A show in 1994, today’s exhibition spotlights the London grime scene. 

Synästhesie Festival, Berlin: November 16 - 17, 2019
Synästhesie, an intimate Berlin music festival with a psychedelic spin, has been gathering quiet momentum since its launch a few years ago. Curated by the owners of underground dive bar 8MM – somewhat of a musical institution in the German capital – former years have seen impeccably curated line-ups of artists new and old, including The Soft Moon, The Horrors and Tangerine Dream. This year marks what is perhaps Synästhesie’s most exciting edition yet, with headline sets from Deerhunter and Stereolab, alongside A Place To Bury Strangers, Michael Rother of Neu!, Priests, Holygram and more.

William Waterworth: What Am I Doing Here? at Burleigh Street Townhouse, London: until November 5, 2019
Inspired by the 1988 book by the travel writer Bruce Chatwin, photographer William Waterworth’s solo exhibition in Covent Garden, What Am I Doing Here?, brings together landscapes and portraits taken “on the road”. “Man’s real home is not a house, but the road, and that life itself is a journey to be walked on foot,” Chatwin wrote in 1988, and Waterworth shares this belief in exploring the lesser-seen corners of the earth, and the people he meets along the way become integral to the captivating work he creates. 

The Best of Film

A plethora of brilliant new films offer the perfect excuse to while away your November nights in the cinema. There’s the return of Ken Loach with his heartfelt new film Sorry We Missed You about a working-class family’s struggle for survival in Britain’s gig economy, starring an incredible cast of first-time actors. Julius Onahabout’s searing drama, Luce, centres on a liberal-minded couple (Naomi Watts and Tim Roth) and their adopted son (Kelvin Harrison Jr.), a popular, all-star high school student, whose morals are called into question when he pens a disturbing essay on political violence. A detective and a trooper investigate the death of a family patriarch at his 85th birthday party in Rian Johnson’s Knives Out, a riotous riff on the classic whodunnit, featuring a stellar cast including Toni Collette, Michael Shannon and Jamie Lee Curtis. Then there’s Australian director Jennifer Kent’s period thriller, The Nightingale, a gruelling study of revenge and the impact of colonisation in 19th-century Tasmania. It follows a young Irish convict as she seeks to avenge the violence inflicted upon her family by a British officer, with the help of an Aboriginal tracker.

Meanwhile, Netflix is dropping a whole host of excellent offerings this month, from Martin Scorsese’s anticipated new film The Irishman  “an epic saga of organized crime in postwar America, as told by a hit man”, starring Robert Deniro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci – to Noah Baumbach’s much-acclaimed Marriage Story, following a stage director (Adam Driver) and his actor wife (Scarlett Johannson) as they go through the motions of a harrowing divorce. The Two Popes sees veteran actors Anthony Hopkins and Jonathan Pryce don papal attire and engage in a humorous “Pope-off” as Benedict XVI and Francis I, respectively, while the Cannes Grand Prix-winning Atlantics, from writer/director Mati Diop, is the unmissable tale of a young Senegalese woman’s awakening. Last but not least, this month’s best documentaries include Making Waves: The Art of Cinematic Sound, a mesmeric exploration of how sound design can transform the filmic experience; Seamus Murphy’s A Dog Called Money, following visionary musician PJ Harvey as she writes and records her 2016 album, The Hope Six Demolition Project; and Meeting Gorbachev, which sees inimitable filmmaker Werner Herzog interview Mikhail Gorbachev, the former (and final) leader of the Soviet Union, 30 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall.

The Best of Food and Drink

Stoney Street, London: opening November 22, 2019
Alex Hely-Hutchinson opens her second site this month, Stoney Street in Borough. Bringing the same approach to seasonal, provenance-led cooking as she has found success with at 26 Grains in Neal’s Yard, Stoney Street will be a bigger space with a longer menu, open from breakfast to dinner. Cosy indoor counter seating for the winter will extend outside during summer with a back terrace seating area. With a focus on simple and delectable ingredients, Stoney Street is an exciting addition to the Borough Market food scene. 

Vardo, London: open now
In an intriguing, light-filled pavilion on Duke of York Square – within walking distance of the Saatchi Gallery – Vardo, a newly opened restaurant from the team behind Caravan. Vardo takes inspiration from around the world in its menu (the name ‘vardo’, after all, refers to the homely horse-drawn travelling wagons often used by British Romani families), while also focusing on seasonal British ingredients. Open all day, and with starters and small plates designed for sharing, Vardo’s offering is eclectic and exciting. Highlights include crispy chilli-salt tofu with black beans and sesame, and pulled lamb shoulder with pomegranate mint pesto and tahini.

Kolamba, London: open now
New opening Kolamba brings traditional flavours of Sri Lanka to the streets of Soho, with recipes inspired by owners Aushi and Eroshan Meewella’s childhood memories of eating delicious Sri Lankan food in Colombo. The intimate space on Kingly Street houses greenery and charming terrazzo-topped tables, but the emphasis is placed on flavour: fresh sambols and pickles accompany spicy curries – from monkfish to beetroot – or black pepper fried prawns. Arrack, the strong, sweet Asian spirit made from the sap of coconut flowers, takes centre stage on the cocktail list. 

Great Performances

November’s best theatre openings include Fairview by American playwright Jackie Sibblies Drury, which arrives at the Young Vic on November 28, after a sell-out run in New York. Set during a family birthday party, the Pulitzer Prize-winning play is a “radical examination of power” that tackles issues of race and representation in bold new ways. There’s David Greig’s nail-biting adaptation of Joe Simpson's celebrated memoir, Touching the Void, which transfers to the Duke of York’s Theatre this month, following two young climbers as they struggle to reach the summit of the perilous Siula Grande mountain in Peru. Be sure to catch James MacAvoy in the titular role of Edmond Rostand’s fêted 1897 play Cyrano de Bergerac, adapted by Martin Crimp, and directed by Jamie Lloyd for the Playhouse Theatre. “A soldier, a lovestruck poet and a musician”, our 17th-century hero is in love, but fears the object of his affections will be deterred by his “larger-than-average” nose.

Don’t miss the forthcoming production of Phillip Glass’s 1993 opera, Orphée, at the English National Opera from November 15. Based on Jean Cocteau’s beloved 1950 film, this parable about the pitfalls of self-infatuation is guaranteed to cast a captivating spell. Meanwhile, Benjamin Britten’s haunting opera Death in Venice, “about a burnt-out, middle-aged writer obsessed with youth”, opens at The Royal Opera House on November 21 as part of its ongoing Britten season. Dance fans, book your tickets to Fernanda Muñoz-Newsome’s specially curated evenings at Sadler’s Wells this month, as part of the company’s Wild Card series. Using dance, electronics and soft sculpture, the English-Chilean choreographer will craft “queer spaces [that promote] exploration and agency” for a truly memorable immersive experience.

Healthy & Beauty

Promising to “unlocks the world’s finest hotels, without a room key”, A Fine Hour is a clever new website which allows you to access luxury hotels’ facilities without actually staying there. Available all around the world, you can use their gyms and spas; get a facial, massage or other beauty treatment – all at a good price and a convenient location. A super easy way to treat yourself.