Brilliant Things to Do in February: Films, Exhibitions, Food and More

Pin It
Madonna, Nothing Really Matters video, 1999. Photo
Madonna, Nothing Really Matters video, 1999Photo by Frank Micelotta © Getty Images

The very best things to add to your diary this month

Events and Exhibitions

Kimono: Kyoto to Catwalk at the V&A, London: from February 29, 2020
A forthcoming exhibition at the V&A charts the widespread influence of the traditional Japanese garment, the kimono, “a dynamic and constantly evolving icon of fashion”. Looking back to the 1660s and tracing how the kimono has evolved through to the present day, and become prolific in the worlds of fashion and pop culture, Kimono: Kyoto to Catwalk is a celebration of the historic and traditional Japanese gown.

Linderism at Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge: February 15 – April 26, 2020
A new exhibition at the Cambridge gallery Kettle’s Yard celebrates Linder Sterling, promising to highlight the punk artist’s varied and vibrant oeuvre: the exhibition is said to explore “Linder as performance artist, zine-maker, musician, documentary photographer, collaborator, muse, guru, medium and bodybuilder”. Linderism will feature new work situated throughout the storied Modernist house and grounds of Kettle’s Yard, plus a new performance piece by the artist on March 12 at Cambridge’s women-only college Murray Edwards.

Masculinities: Liberation Through Photography at the Barbican, London: February 20 – May 17, 2020 
Bringing together work by over 50 artists, the Barbican’s upcoming exhibition Masculinities: Liberation Through Photography is one of this year’s most anticipated shows. The focus is on how both contemporary and historic image-makers – Paul Mpagi Sepuya, Peter Hujar, Kenneth Anger, Sunil Gupta, and Collier Schorr are all included – have dealt with masculinity, in its various complex forms and interpretations, throughout their work.

Harry Gruyaert at Howard Greenberg Gallery, New York: until March 14, 2020
“What I love is to make is order out of chaos,” Magnum photographer Harry Gruyaert told AnOther earlier this year. “When things are complex, I am trying to make something which makes sense, which holds. I work for myself. I’m not thinking I am making art.” Gruyaert’s vibrant colour photography is on show in New York – the photographer’s first US solo exhibition – in a celebration of his pioneering colour photography, which he first began to practise after a trip to America from his native Belgium in the 1960s. 

The Real Thing at Fashion Space Gallery, London: February 7 – May 2, 2020
Bootlegging culture is at the centre of a new exhibition at Fashion Space Gallery, opening later this week. The Real Thing will showcase designs by the likes of Dr Noki and Dapper Dan – who has collaborated with Gucci in recent years – looking at the subversive nature of bootlegging, and how the concept of knock-offs became “a disruptive creative force within fashion”.

Senta Simond at Danziger Gallery, New York: until February 29, 2020
Photographs from image-maker and AnOther Magazine contributor Senta Simond’s series Rayon Vert are on show in New York this month. Simond’s portraiture is a document of womanhood, her subjects mainly friends and acquaintances, some of whom she has photographed regularly over the last decade. “Portraiture is the genre of photography that has always interested me,” Simond previously told AnOther. “I feel touched by looking at faces... I find [photography] is the best way for me to capture the emotion I’m looking for.”

Frieze Los Angeles: February 14 – 16, 2020
International art fair Frieze returns to Paramount Pictures Studio in Los Angeles for the second time this month, after its inaugural edition in the Californian city last year. Acclaimed artist Barbara Kruger will celebrate the fair with a city-wide project: a series of questions will appear outside Los Angeles landmarks in Kruger’s signature graphic font, positing questions like: ‘Whose values? Whose beliefs?’ This year also sees the introduction of a Focus section at the fair, spotlighting emerging galleries in LA that have been open for 15 years or less, as well as the Deutsche Bank Frieze Los Angeles Film Award, judged by the likes of Doug Aitken and Sam Taylor Johnson, which will celebrate the talents of young filmmakers working in the city.

James Turrell at Pace Gallery, London: February 11 – March 27, 2020
London’s Pace Gallery will celebrate the American artist James Turrell’s pioneering light works in an exhibition that coincides with the gallery’s 60th anniversary. Turrell has long experimented with light and painting, his hypnotic and kaleidoscopic works having captivated viewers since the 1960s. Pace’s immersive exhibition will feature new work by the acclaimed artist’s series Constellations.

365 Days of Pasenau at Soft Opening, London: until March 29, 2020
In the subterranean window-fronted gallery Soft Opening, work by the Norwegian artist Maria Pasenau is on view to passersby in Piccadilly tube station. 365 Days of Pasenau, curated by Dazed’s editor in chief Isabella Burley, debuts a series that Pasenau created over the course of a year, in which she took a self-portrait every day – the resulting images are shown on a screen in one of Soft Opening’s windows. Speaking to AnOther as the exhibition opened, Pasenau describes the series as some of her most intimate work yet, and something she embarked on out of curiosity: “The series is very framed, from the beginning – it’s more science-y, like a social project or an experiment. It’s also not about me, it’s about time.”

The Covering: Cathie Pilkington, Pierre Molinier and Morton Bartlett at Karsten Schubert, London: February 14 – March 20, 2020
Opening on Valentine’s Day, The Covering is an exhibition that brings together the work of erotic photo-collagist Pierre Molinier, contemporary artist Cathie Pilkington, and artist and photographer Morton Bartlett. Molinier’s experimental 20th-century work was ahead of its time in exploring sexuality and erotica, and the series Cent photographes érotiques depicted the artist himself surrounded by S&M and fetish accessories. Within Pilkington’s new installation, crafted in response to the Soho townhouse the exhibition is staged in, one of Bartlett’s intricately rendered dolls, his photographs of which were only discovered after his death in the 90s, will also be on show. 

The Best of Film

February is a month of film fever, thanks to the BAFTA/Oscars double whammy. Academy-favourite Parasite, from South Korean auteur Bong Joon-ho, finally lands in the UK this month – a searing examination of class division that seamlessly swerves from black comedy to thriller to horror and back. Another long-awaited release comes courtesy of Céline Sciamma’s beautifully realised lesbian love story, Portrait of a Lady on Fire, about an 18th-century artist hired to secretly paint the portrait of a young lady of similar age whose mother is trying to marry her off. Speaking of matchmaking, we can’t wait to see Autumn de Wilde’s take on Emma – Jane Austen’s beloved meddler in the realms of love. Starring Anya Taylor-Joy as the titular heroine, it marks the American photographer and filmmaker’s first feature and looks positively dreamy.

Todd Haynes returns with a tense new drama, Dark Waters, the true story of a dogged attorney (a brilliant Mark Ruffalo) on a mission to expose one of the world’s largest corporations, and its seeming connection to a burgeoning number of unexplained deaths. Don’t miss Japanese director Takashi Miike’s excellently entertaining crime flick, First Love, which sees a young boxer and a call girl fall passionately in love, while getting accidentally ensnared in a dangerous drug-smuggling plot over the course of one night in Tokyo. Then there’s End of the Century, the accomplished first feature from Argentine filmmaker Lucio Castro. It’s a poignant, time-hopping tale of two men who find themselves drawn to one another when they meet on holiday in Barcelona, only to realise they’ve crossed paths before. Documentary zealots, be sure to catch Midnight Family by Luke Lorentzen. Described on Rotten Tomatoes as “a disquieting glimpse of healthcare in modern Mexico”, it’s the story of a Mexican family’s quest to run a private ambulance service in a cutthroat industry.

The Best of Food and Drink

Peckham Cellars, London: open now
Situated on Peckham’s ever-changing Queens Road, Peckham Cellars is owned and run by three friends and long-time south London dwellers. Within its cosy and informal setting, the neighbourhood wine cellar and kitchen offers simple and delicious seasonal plates – which change day to day depending on local markets – and a carefully selected array of wines, many of which are organic or low-intervention. Marrying British heritage with modern sensibilities, Peckham Cellars’ menu reinterprets classic flavours with simple, contemporary finesse – highlights include their irresistible Marmite butter (lovers or haters are both sure to enjoy), airy potato dauphines, Red Mullet and capers, and the sensational brioche butter pudding.

Casa do Frango, Shoreditch: open now
Following the success of its London Bridge outpost, Casa do Frango has opened a second site in the heart of Shoreditch. The Portuguese favourites the restaurant is loved for are just as delectable in the new East London haunt: from traditional Portuguese cocktails (white port and tonic is a refreshing choice) to spiced-to-perfection piri piri chicken. The Shoreditch restaurant also has a wine bar and tapas menu on its ground floor, as well as its own bakery dedicated to churning out traditional – and highly moreish – custard tarts.

Le Café V at Louis Vuitton, Osaka: open now
Louis Vuitton has teamed up with the Japanese chef Yosuke Suga for the opening of its first restaurant and cafe, housed in the brand’s Osaka flagship store. With a cocktail bar and terrace on the top floor of the Japan store, Le Café V also leads on to a restaurant, Sugalabo V, accessed through ‘speakeasy-style’ doors and only open in the evenings.

Great Performances

There are lots of exciting productions to tempt you out of the house this month, from a revival of Endgame – Samuel Beckett’s compelling one-act follow up to Waiting for Godot – at the Old Vic, to Tom Stoppard’s new play Leopoldstadt at Wyndhams Theatre. Set in 1900s Vienna, it’s the first of the 82-year-old playwright’s works to explore his Jewish heritage. Battersea Arts Centre kicks off its new “Going Global” season with Autoreverse from actor Florencia Cordeu, whose family fled Argentina’s dictatorship for Chile in the 1970s. The play is an 80-minute audiovisual performance based on the recorded audio letters that her family sent to their loved ones during this time. Nora: A Doll’s House at the Young Vic offers a radical take on Ibsen’s classic A Doll’s House, courtesy of playwright Stef Smith, who has envisaged three incarnations of the independent-minded protagonist, in three different eras, to pertinent effect. Caryl Churchill fans will delight at the news of a new production of Far Away at the Donmar Warehouse. The explosive play about “a world sliding into chaos” first opened 20 years ago to rave reviews. 

Dance lovers, rejoice: Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch is back at Sadler’s Wells this month with the UK premiere of Bluebeard. This early Bausch masterpiece – which features “a man compulsively play[ing] and replay[ing] a tape recording of Béla Bartók’s short opera” – has been absent from the company’s repertoire for over 25 years. At the Barbican, meanwhile, catch a special evening paying homage to the American dancer and feminist icon Isadora Duncan by the Viviana Durante Company. Last but not least, for a hefty dose of heartfelt operatic delight, head to the Royal Opera House for Richard Jones’ production of La bohème, Puccini’s masterful tale of two young lovers in Paris.