Brilliant Things to Do This October

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1_Helmut Newton, Stern, Los Angeles 1980, copyrigh
Helmut Newton, Stern, Los Angeles 1980© Helmut Newton Estate

From exhibitions to restaurants, the best things to fill your diary with this autumn


America 1970s/80s at the Helmut Newton Foundation, Berlin: October 9, 2020 – May 16, 2021
Photography by Evelyn Hofer, Sheila Metzner, Joel Meyerowitz and Helmut Newton from the 1970s and 80s feature in new exhibition America 1970s/80s, opening this month at the Helmut Newton Foundation in Berlin. The exhibition draws on some of the photographers’ most celebrated works: from Newton’s photography for American Vogue and Meyerowitz’s series Provincetown to Hofer’s images of New York City in the late 1960s and 70s and Metzner’s intimate photographs of Helmut and June Newton in France.

While Night Comes on Gently at The Gallery @, Los Angeles: until November 7, 2020
The title of LA-based photographer Clifford Prince King’s new exhibition, While Night Comes on Gently, is taken from Dream Variations, a poem by Langston Hughes. “The poem is about his dreams to live carefree without the burden of racial discrimination and inequality,” Prince King recently told Dazed. “The joy, pain, and understanding within this two stanza poem is absolutely timeless. Hughes’ language has always been my escape: warm and nostalgic.” Prince King captures shared moments of intimacy and vulnerability between himself and a community of Black, queer men, his photographic signature a dusky warm light.

From Here to Eternity: Sunil Gupta. A Retrospective at The Photographers’ Gallery, London: October 9, 2020 – January 24, 2021
A forthcoming retrospective will look at the extraordinary career of photographer Sunil Gupta, marking his first major UK retrospective. “I photograph what’s around me, what’s happening to me, and this central question of, ‘What does it mean to be a gay man of Indian origin?’ That’s what stuck with me most of my life and it’s never really gone away,” Gupta told fellow photographer Nick Sethi in a recent conversation for AnOther. The Photographers’ Gallery’s retrospective From Here to Eternity features work from throughout Gupta’s career, spanning documentary series, street photography and portraits.

About Time: Fashion and Duration at the Met, New York: October 29, 2020 – February 2, 2021
The Met Costume Institute’s spring exhibition, About Time: Fashion and Duration, was due to open in May, following the Met Gala – both events were of course postponed as New York entered lockdown. This month, as museums in the city reopen, the anticipated exhibition opens at the end of this month. Looking back to 1870 and tracing fashion until the present day, About Time will look at fashion’s relationship to the idea of ‘duration’ and temporality, all “ghost narrated” by Virginia Woolf.

Paul Mpagi Sepuya at Peter Kilchmann, Zurich: until October 17, 2020
In collaboration with the Los Angeles gallery Vielmetter, a new exhibition in Switzerland spotlights the unique and compelling photography of Paul Mpagi Sepuya. Sepuya’s intimate, studio-shot photographs examine queerness and Blackness through various layers – his subjects are often partially obscured by mirrors, black curtains and photographic equipment – through looking at “how the body carries history and performs and negotiates itself,” Sepuya explained to AnOther earlier this year, in conversation with the fashion designer Grace Wales Bonner. Sepuya has also launched a second round of his fundraising initiative Solidarity Print: people are invited to email donation receipts to Sepuya in exchange for a print, this time until the day of the US election on November 3 and raising money for voting rights and Black community organisations.

Photo London Digital: October 7 – 18, 2020
Usually held as a days-long event in Somerset House, with shows happening in galleries across the city alongside, Photo London will this year be an entirely digital show. The fair’s usual programme of talks and exhibitions will still be present, as well as Photo London’s celebrated ‘Discovery’ section, where emerging galleries and image-makers are celebrated. Iranian artist Shirin Neshat is the recipient of this year’s Photo London Master of Photography Award, and her striking work will be showcased in a special exhibition.

Diedrick Brackens: darling divined at Blanton Museum of Art, Texas: October 17, 2020 – May 16, 2021
A new exhibition in Texas sees work by Diedrick Brackens exhibited in the artist’s home state. Brackens’ textile pieces – which explore themes of home, the Southern states of America, childhood memories, Black history and queer identity – incorporate a variety of techniques and genres from West Africa, Europe and the United States. “It just felt like a good time to think about the Apocalypse, so I was taking that as my initial jumping-off point, as well as I was thinking about black cowboys, thinking about the American South,” the artist has said of the works featured in darling divined.

Gabrielle Chanel: Fashion Manifesto at Palais Galliera, Paris: until March 14, 2021
Paris’ fashion museum the Palais Galliera has recently reopened after extensive renovations, and launches with an exhibition about an icon of French fashion: Coco Chanel. Gabrielle Chanel: Fashion Manifesto unpacks the inimitable designer’s work, legacy and designs via archive photography, ephemera and of course clothes. The show examines some of the codes that Chanel pioneered throughout her career, and have since become integral elements of fashion history: from the little black dress and tweed suits to two-tone pumps and quilted bags.

2020 Art Quadriennale: Fuori at Palazzo delle Esposizioni, Rome: October 29, 2020 – January 17, 2021
At the end of October, a major exhibition in Rome opens which survey Italian art from the 1960s to the present day via 300 artworks. Fuori – which will be free to visit thanks to support from Italian fashion house Gucci – will spotlight 43 artists, both established and unknown, historical and contemporary, and forms part of the city’s 2020 Art Quadriennale festival. “With female, feminist, and queer explorations and representations of inexplicable and immeasurable reality, Fuori spotlights the artist’s obsession and the creative act,” accompanying notes explain of the anticipated exhibition.

Face to Face at King’s Cross Tunnel, London: October 7 – November 1, 2020
A new public exhibition in London is curated by Ekow Eshun – author of the recently published Africa State of Mind: Contemporary Photography Reimagines a Continent – and features social and documentary photography by eight different image-makers: Alejandro Cartagena, Margaret Courtney-Clarke, Medina Dugger, Mahtab Hussain, Dhruv Malhotra, Sabelo Mlangeni, George Osodi, and Kyle Weeks. Exhibited in the King’s Cross Tunnel, Face to Face has been organised in partnership with the Fund for Global Human Rights and features photography created in areas that benefit from its work around the world, from Africa and South Asia to Southeast Asia and Latin America. According to Eshun, “the exhibition conjures compelling images that, as the philosopher Gilles Deleuze put it, create ‘impressions which force us to look, encounters which force us to interpret, expressions which force us to think’.”

Dustin Thierry: Opulence at Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven: until April 4, 2021
Opulence is an ongoing series by Amsterdam-based photographer Dustin Thierry, in which he photographs the burgeoning LGBTQ+ ballroom scenes of Europe (work from this series also features in the recently opened exhibition The Time We Call Our Own, looking at nightlife and its importance). Thierry’s black and white portraits capture vivacious and energising scenes, reflective of the celebratory communities he encounters. The series, though, came about after the suicide of the photographer’s brother: as such, Thierry has dedicated Opulence “to all those who are not yet able to be true to their sexual identity”.

Circa, London: until October 30, 2020
Every evening in October at 8.20pm, a new film by pioneering artist Ai Weiwei will be screened on the towering billboards of London’s Piccadilly Circus. The films, each two minutes long, mark the first public commission from new platform Circa, for which different artists will take over the Piccadilly Circus screens for two minutes each evening for the rest of the year. “The project begins from the year I was born through to the current, unceasing pandemic threatening the human condition globally,” explains Weiwei of the films he’ll be screening throughout October. “All visual material is produced by my studio. There will be a selection of quotes taken from my own writing, as well as from other writers and poets. We will provide a visual feast with a strong message for the public.”

Sarabande’s The House of Bandits, Burberry, 5 Vigo Street, London: 7 October – 19 December 2020
The Sarabande foundation is staging an immersive multimedia exhibition and workshop space in Mayfair. Entitled The House of Bandits, the project will coincide with Frieze week and will see the space on Vigo Street – which adjoins Burberry – filled with a vibrant mix of fashion, art, photography, ceramics, craft, jewellery and more, to “represent the full breadth of creativity that Sarabande supports,” say the Lee Alexander McQueen-established foundation. Highlights include pieces from Craig Green’s archive; installations by artist Joshua Beaty, plates by Jake Chapman and Sir Ridley Scott, a Q&A with master engraver Castro Smith, a roster of workshops, and a shopping space featuring a selection of specially created products by the likes of Camilla Hanney, John Alexander Skelton, Stefan Cooke, Sam Rock and Saelia Aparacio.


BFI London Film Festival 2020, The Institute of Contemporary Arts: October 7–17
Having closed due to Covid-19, the ICA’s cinema is reopening for a limited time to host the BFI London Film Festival 2020. Marking the 64th iteration of the festival, the ten-day event – running from October 7–17 – will see screenings of a special selection of 11 films from across the festival programme, including Steve McQueen’s rousing tale of Black solidarity and resistance Mangrove, Bassam Tariq’s visceral directorial debut Mogul Mowgli, and Francis Lee’s follow up to God’s Own Country, Ammonite starring Kate Winslet and Saoirse Ronan. With physical restrictions caused by the pandemic in mind, BFI are also inviting film lovers to experience the festival from home, with UK premieres available online via BFI Player for 12 days.

Food and Drink

Flor, London: open now
Borough Market bakery, restaurant and wine bar Flor has reopened, and following the success of chef Pamela Yung’s ‘ASAP pizza pies’, served over the past few months, the eaterie will play host to ‘pizza parties’ in the coming weeks, pairing pies with favourite wines and regions. What’s more, Flor has just launched a brunch menu, available from 12pm on Fridays and Saturdays – think smoked eel, sourdough waffle and black figs, or turmeric rice with smoked trout and a soft egg.

Bubala’s one year anniversary, London: October 4, 11, and 18, 2020
To celebrate one year of its east London outpost, vegetarian Middle Eastern restaurant Bubala – which began as a series of pop-up supper clubs in the city – has invited chefs from neighbouring restaurants St John, Som Saa and Gunpowder to cook special menus on Sundays throughout October. Farokh Talati of St John, Andy Oliver and Mark Dobbie of Som Saa and Nirmal Save of Gunpowder will each put their own spin on Bubala classics with their one-off weekend feasting menus.