September Is Here: The Best Things to Do This Month

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Akeem Smith, Untitled, 2020 (still)Multi-channel video installation with sound

A round-up of the best exhibitions to see and events to catch this month – from Akeem Smith’s debut solo show to an exploration of Grace Jones’ extraordinary life and impact


Akeem Smith: No Gyal Can Test at Red Bull Arts, New York: September 24 – December 13, 2020
Originally planned to open in April, Akeem Smith’s No Gyal Can Test was postponed due to lockdowns in New York and will now open this month. The show marks the artist, creative director, and stylist’s first solo exhibition, and will feature sculptures made of demolition scraps from his childhood neighbourhood in Kingston, Jamaica – Smith grew up between New York and Jamaica – video installations created from archival footage, and photographs of Kingston’s 90s dancehall scene. “Smith asks viewers to encounter this archive not as a catalogue of something past, but as part of a larger, still-living exploration of a community rooted in celebration,” according to Red Bull Arts.

Alec Soth: I Know How Furiously Your Heart is Beating at Foam, Amsterdam: September 11 – December 6, 2020
Originally published as a photo book last year, Alec Soth’s series I Know How Furiously Your Heart is Beating is being exhibited at Foam in Amsterdam this month. The series saw the American photographer focus on people and capture them in their own spaces, making for a series of quietly beautiful and contemplative portraits. “There is this experience with the camera I used in this project,” Soth told AnOther as the book was published. “You’re tucked under the dark cloth, you’re hidden, and you’re looking at this picture – albeit upside down – but you’re looking at the subjects and you use this little magnifying glass and can look right in to their eyes. It’s just such an incredible, sensual feeling; it’s such a delight. And the photograph is a representation of that strange intimacy-slash-distance.”

Grace Before Jones: Camera, Disco, Studio at Nottingham Contemporary, Nottingham: September 26, 2020 – January 3, 2021
Nottingham Contemporary describes its upcoming exhibition on Grace Jones as “a cross between fan-fiction, study and biography”. Grace Before Jones: Camera, Disco, Studio will focus not only on Jones’ iconic career, but also on how her work has influenced other artists and cultural luminaries with her consistently genre-defying and binary-breaking work. The show will feature work by a number of both historical and contemporary artists: from Jean-Michel Basquiat and Peter Hujar to Kayode Ojo and Paul Mpagi Sepuya.

Gregory Halpern: Let the Sun Beheaded Be at Fondation d’Entreprise Hermès, Paris: September 8 – October 18, 2020
Let the Sun Beheaded Be is a new photo series from American photographer Gregory Halpern, organised through a collaboration between Paris’ Fondation d’Entreprise Hermès and New York’s Aperture. Both published and exhibited this month, the series focuses on the Caribbean islands of Guadeloupe, where Halpern spent time photographing the people and the land, and exploring its colonial history. “Drawn to contradiction and the incongruous, Halpern places the natural beauty and the troubling history of the archipelago side by side, forcing the viewer to resolve for themselves this dark, cryptic, and beautiful mix of images,” says Aperture.

Thao Nguyen Phan: Becoming Alluvium at Chisenhale Gallery, London: September 26 – December 6, 2020
Chisenhale Gallery’s upcoming exhibition Becoming Alluvium marks the first UK solo show for Vietnamese artist Thao Nguyen Phan. The exhibition’s titular video work is a new commission, and tells “stories of destruction, reincarnation and renewal, centred around the ebb and flow of the Mekong River”, alongside a series of paintings which also explore the river and its inhabitants. In Phan’s work, reality and folklore intertwine as she explores the complex history and geography of a river that flows through Tibet, China, Burma, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam.

Sarah Moon: Past Present at Musée d’Art Moderne, Paris: September 18, 2020 – January 10, 2021
Paris’ Musée d’Art Moderne is spotlighting the enduring work of fashion photographer Sarah Moon this month, in an exhibition entitled Past Present. A mainstay in the world of fashion imagery since the late 1960s, the French photographer started out as a model before stepping behind the camera and developing her distinctive style of photographing. “I start from nothing ... I imagine a situation that doesn’t exist. I wipe out a space to invent another. I shift the light. I render everything unreal,” she told AnOther in 2016. The show will also feature work by Moon’s late partner Robert Delpire, with photographs, posters, books and films by the influential publisher and art director.

Estelle Hanania: It’s Alive! at Maison Européene de la Photographie, Paris: September 4, 2020
Following the publication of a photo book of the same name in December last year, a new Paris exhibition spotlights Estelle Hanania’s series It’s Alive!, the result of a collaboration with the choreographer and scenographer Gisèle Vienne. Hanania – whose work has featured in the pages of AnOther Magazine – plays with the distinction between fiction and reality in It’s Alive!, with a particular focus on the body and how it moves. Complete with complex staging and elements of surrealism, the series is a fascinating exploration of both movement, dance and photography.

Just Pictures at projects+gallery, St. Louis: September 10 – November 21, 2020
Forthcoming at St. Louis’ projects+gallery, Antwaun Sargent – curator and author of celebrated book The New Black Vanguard: Photography Between Art and Fashion – curates new group exhibition Just Pictures. “The resulting work has an aesthetic all its own and a power that is drawn from the way that the images operate in many different contexts, photographically and culturally,” says Sargent ahead of the exhibition’s opening; the “genre-bending” photographers featured in the show include Arielle Bobb-Willis, Joshua Kissi, Renell Medrano, Ruth Ossai, Justin Solomon, and Joshua Woods.

Stall at Sarabande Foundation, London: until September 13, 2020
Stall is the Sarabande Foundation’s 2020 group show, in which the Haggerston foundation’s artists come together to exhibit their various work – this year the line-up features watercolour artist Stephen Doherty, painter Shannon Bono, stop motion animator Isabel Garrett, multi-media installation artist Joshua Beaty, conceptual shoe designer Jimmy Sugiura, ceramicist Camilla Hanney, photographer Paloma Tendero and digital illustrator Berke Yazicioglu. Alongside a virtual tour for those not able to see the show in person, Stall sees work by each artist installed in Sarabande’s main space for three weeks, marking an exciting opportunity to see new work by some of London’s emerging creative talents.

Mikiko Hara: The Wind Cannot Be Named at IBASHO, Amsterdam: September 10 – October 18, 2020
“There is no set theme; I’m not trying to communicate a particular message. Instead I gamble on serendipity,” explains Japanese photographer Mikiko Hara, whose work is exhibited in Amsterdam this month. “I hope each snapshot will stir some fragment of memory within every viewer, arousing complex feelings and emotions that can’t be easily put into words.” Haro’s work prioritises the unexpected everyday moments encountered throughout her life, and the photographs on show offer a detailed look at her own contemporary brand of street photography.

How Did You Get This? The Spaces We Inhabit at Welancora, New York: until September 13, 2020
Work by Zalika Azim, Elliott Jerome Brown, Jr., Colette Veasey-Cullors, Melvin Harper, Daonne Huff, Anders Jones and Deborah Willis feature in Welancora’s latest exhibition How Did You Get This? The Spaces We Inhabit. Housed in the Brooklyn gallery’s townhouse, the group exhibition – organised by Ivy N. Jones and Damien Davis – explores how artists approach and unpack the “spaces inhabited and controlled by the Black body”: “How Did You Get This?: The Spaces We Inhabit relates to access to architectural space, the body as space, landscape as space and movement and performance as a means of experiencing and navigating through space.”

Food and Drink

Crispin Guest Chef Takeover with Suhyung Lee: September 10, 2020
For one night only, Crispin head chef Naz Hassan is teaming up with Suhyung Lee, senior sous chef at Bao & Xu, for an evening guest chef takeover, featuring a six-course dinner. Lee has drawn on his native South Korea to create the special menu – curated with Crispin’s Hassan – which will present twists on classic European dishes while showcasing some of South Korea’s most exciting ingredients.

Maison Francois, London: opening September 14, 2020
Opening in St James this month, brasserie and wine bar Maison Francois draws on French dining traditions for its menus and interiors. With all day dining – from patisserie in the morning to classic French offerings for dinner – upstairs, downstairs guests will find Frank’s, the restaurant’s “rebellious sibling wine bar”, with an extensive wine list and selection of bar snacks on the menu.

Voices in British Art at Kerridge’s Bar & Grill, London: until December, 2020
In Kerridge’s Bar & Grill at the Corinthia in London, Chris Ofili, Harland Miller and Marc Quinn are among the artists currently exhibiting work in collaboration with West Contemporary and Manifold Editions. Guests can view the exhibition on the West Contemporary gallery wall at Kerridge’s Bar & Grill, and purchase artworks online.