Brilliant Things to Do This October

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Photography by Thy TranCourtesy of the artist and NOW Gallery

From inspiring one-woman retrospectives to uplifting dance performances, here’s our roundup of October’s most exciting new cultural and culinary offerings


Human Stories: The Satirists at NOW Gallery, London: October 13 – November 13, 2022

This month at London’s NOW Gallery, a new group exhibition will shine a light on the work of six ascendent image- and filmmakers employing satire to poke holes in “historical and culturally biassed tropes and stereotypes”. Including the vivid, theatrical work of Vietnamese-Australian artist Thy Tran, the show will zoom in, in particular, on how satire can be used as a powerful tool for developing and nurturing “interconnected, diverse identities, gender, race and class”.

Real Corporeal at Gladstone Gallery, New York: Until October 15, 2022

New Yorkers, dont miss your chance to catch Real Corporeal, the latest show from Drawing a Blank curator Ben Broome. Currently on display across all four floors of Gladstone Gallery, the show brings together an exquisite selection of work by artists including George Rouy, Arthur Jafa, Rhea Dillon and Pol Taburet, to examine “the notion of the physical body as an intrusion in the traditional gallery space – a setting typically conducive only to minds and eyes”. An accompanying programme of performances, from the likes of Chassol, Gabber Eleganza and Joan Jonas, cleverly expands upon the idea, with endlessly inspiring results.

Thomas Hoepker: My Way at Buchkunst Berlin, Berlin: Until November 20, 2022

The lauded German image-maker and Magnum Photos member Thomas Hoepker is the focus of a new exhibition at Buchkunst Berlin, which looks back at the captivating pictures he took in his adopted country, the United States. This extends from his work as a photojournalist in the 1960s, when he took a formative road trip across America, documenting a country rife with racial discrimination and mass consumerism, through to his dreamy snapshots of early 1980s New York (including a brilliant portrait of Andy Warhol in the Factory).

Soheila Sokhanvari: Rebel Rebel at The Curve, Barbican, London: October 7, 2022 – February 26, 2023

At the Barbicans gallery space The Curve, Iranian artist Soheila Sokhanvari will soon unveil Rebel Rebel, a timely series of paintings of feminist icons from pre-revolutionary Iran. Presented against the backdrop of hand-painted, floor-to-ceiling geometric patterns that draw on traditional Islamic design, and set to a soundtrack composed by Marios Aristopoulos, the exhibition will celebrate “the rarely told histories of these women, who pursued creative careers in a culture enamoured with western style but not its freedoms”.

Meret Oppenheim: My Exhibition at MoMA, New York: October 30, 2022 – March 4, 2023

At MoMA, meanwhile, Meret Oppenheim: My Exhibition will use the late Swiss surrealist’s own plans for an exhibition of her work as the basis for an extensive retrospective of Oppenheims ebullient six-decade career. Perhaps most commonly associated with her tongue-in-cheek fur teacup and spoon, the artist was, in fact, prolific in a wide array of media, from painting, photography and jewellery design to collage and assemblage. Experience all of this and more in what promises to be a wonderful ode to Oppenheim’s “lifelong innovation, remarkably open concept of art, and fierce originality and wit”.

The New Black Vanguard: Photography Between Art and Fashion at Saatchi Gallery, London: October 28 – January 22, 2023

The Saatchi Gallery’s next major show, The New Black Vanguard, is “an exploration of this generation's Black imagemakers who are bringing fresh perspective to photography,” in the words of its curator Antwaun Sargent. Expect to see works by Micaiah Carter, Tyler Mitchell, Dana Scruggs, Campbell Addy, Joshua Woods and others “whose vibrant portraits and conceptual images fuse the genres of art and fashion photography” in groundbreaking new ways, “[opening] up conversations around the representation of the Black body and Black lives as subject matter.”

Louise Bourgeois: Drawing Intimacy 1939 – 2010 at Hauser & Wirth, Somerset: October 1, 2022 – January 2, 2023

Louise Bourgeois devotees will be thrilled by the news that a selection of paintings, sculpture and works on paper from the French-American artist’s own private collection will now be on display publicly for the very first time, at Hauser & Wirth in Somerset. Reflective of what the gallery terms Bourgeois’ “multiplicity of mind and material”, the works are typically introspective and expressive, whether depicting a spinning sky or a textural sculpture evoking a tangle of limbs.

Barbara Chase-Riboud: Infinite Folds at Serpentine North Gallery, London: October 11, 2022 – January 29, 2023

If youre heading to this months Frieze London, be sure to swing by the Serpentine North Gallery to see the first UK solo exhibition of the artist, novelist and poet Barbara Chase-Riboud. An extraordinary innovator in sculpture, Chase-Riboud’s technique in this realm is defined by “the interplay between folds of cast bronze or aluminium and coils of wool and silk which are knotted, braided, looped, and woven”. Like Chase-Riboud’s works on paper, these (frequently monumental) pieces serve as profound explorations of memory, history and power.

Strange Clay: Ceramics in Contemporary Art at the Hayward Gallery, London:  October 26, 2022 –⁠ January 8, 2023

Another must-see sculpture show comes courtesy of the Hayward Gallery, where upcoming exhibition Strange Clay will serve as a joyous celebration of contemporary ceramic art. The show will feature 23 international artists, working across recent decades – from Lubna Chowdhary, Ron Nagle and Edmund de Waal to Woody De Othello, Grayson Perry and Betty Woodman – examining how each has contributed to expanding the possibilities of clay, and with it the possibilities of “thinking through making”.

The Horror Show! A Twisted Tale of Modern Britain at Somerset House, London: October 27, 2022 – February 19, 2023

Opening just in time for Halloween, The Horror Show! at Somerset House is a large-scale exhibition examining the impact of horror upon the UKs avant-garde creative scene of the last 50 years. “The show looks beyond horror as a genre, instead taking it as a reaction and provocation to our most troubling times,” the accompanying exhibition notes explain. Divided into three acts, Monster, Witch and Ghost, and featuring over 200 artworks and objects from contributors including Judy Blame, Leigh Bowery, Derek Ridgers, Ralph Steadman and Poly Styrene, the premise sounds frighteningly good.

Shoes: Anatomy, Identity, Magic at the Museum at FIT, New York: Until December 31, 2022

Footwear fanatics, rejoice! The Museum at FIT, New York, is currently holding an exhibition dedicated entirely to shoes from its vast collection. Boots, sandals, shoes and sneakers by Margiela, McQueen, Manolo Blahnik and many, many more fill the museum space, forming a three-part display that examines footwear’s role in how we present ourselves both physically (anatomy) and personally (identity), and our strange but enduring belief in the transformative power of “the right pair of shoes” (magic).

Modigliani: Up Close at the Barnes Foundation, Philadelphia: October 16, 2022 – January 29, 2023

The Italian painter Modigliani died in 1920 at the age of 35, so impoverished and undervalued that he is said to have regularly swapped artworks for food to sustain himself. Yet, today, he is one of the 20th centurys most beloved painters, revered for his elongated mode of portraiture, rendered in loose brush strokes. Now, a new show at Philadelphias Barnes Museum has determined to delve deeper into Modiglianis working methods, bringing together key works to offer a detailed investigation into his unique style and manipulation of materials. 

Performances & Events

If youre looking for great IRL entertainment this October, weve got you covered. For the sartorially inclined, theres SCCI x the Design Museum Fashion Hub, a weekend of talks at Londons Design Museum, foregrounding “Australian makers and designers working at the cutting edge of fashion and wearable applied arts”. Speakers will include Lucy McRae, Romance Was Born, Atong Atem and Michaela Stark

Halloweeners and horticulturalists, meanwhile, head down to The Crypt Gallery in Euston where Mab Sanders (formerly Robert George Sanders) of ROOT will deliver an evening of floristry, music and immersive performance on October 31. Titled ROOT: Halloween Edition and billed as “a modern ritual sanctifying the forces of transformation, trauma, loss and reflection”, the event is free, but donations for bouquets and show souvenirs are welcome.

At the Barbican, check out To What End, a compelling array of short performances, developed by various South African artists at William Kentridge’s leading centre for experimental, collaborative and cross-disciplinary arts. Taking place from October 6–9, the performances use text, sound, music, movement and visuals in innovative ways to “explore themes of social and political change in South Africa”. 

For further adventures in dance, theres this years edition of Dance Umbrella, London’s festival of international contemporary dance, returning October 7–23. Highlights include the UK premiere of Navy Blue, choreographer Oona Dohertys urgent appeal for societal change set to the sounds of Sergeï Rachmaninoff and Jamie xx, and artist Nora Chipaumire’s “audio-visual dub culture adventure”, ShebeenDUB.

A new Elton John musical at the Almeida? Thats right. The legendary songwriter has joined forces with Scissor Sisters’ Jake Shears and writer James Graham to conjure up Tammy Faye, a song-filled spin on the real-life story of televangelist fraudsters Tammy Faye and Jim Bakker.

Last but not least, theres the Tom of Finland Art & Culture Festival, London-bound for the very first time and taking place October 8–9 at Second Home, Spitalfields. Bringing together a plethora of artists, vendors, performers, musicians, and galleries (including The Community, Arcadia Missa, Taymour Grahne, and The Artist Room), don’t miss your chance to embrace the erotic at its most artful.


This month’s best new film releases cater to all tastes. First up, there’s Decision to Leave, Korean auteur Park Chan-wook’s masterful new offering, coming soon to MUBI and the big screen. In it, a detective investigating a man’s suspicious death finds himself distracted by his burgeoning feelings towards the victim’s widow. Next, The Woman King, Gina Prince-Bythewood’s rousing tale of the Agojie, a group of all-female warriors who fought to save the African Kingdom of Dahomey in the 1800s, while Emily sees newcomer Frances OConnor write and direct a stirring biopic of author Emily Brontë in the period before she wrote Wuthering Heights.

The Gravedigger’s Wife, from Finnish-Somali director Khadar Ahmed, is a breathtakingly lyrical drama about a Somali family in crisis and the lengths to which one man will go for the woman he loves. Nicholas Stollers Bros, meanwhile, is an uproariously funny, queer rom-com about a podcast host and a lawyer, both equally keen to avoid the trappings of a serious relationship, yet helplessly drawn together. Swedish filmmaker Ruben Östlund returns with Triangle Of Sadness, a typically dark, satirical tale about a group of uber-rich passengers aboard a luxury cruise ship, who find themselves in dire straits. 

Finally, Octobers most brilliant documentaries include Louis Armstrongs Black & Blues, Sacha Jenkins homage to the founding father of jazz, centred around Armstrong’s never-before-heard audio diaries. Nothing Compares sees director Kathryn Ferguson trace Irish singer-songwriter Sinéad O’Connor’s epic rise to fame, her tragic “exile from the pop mainstream” and her enduring influence. And Shaunak Sens All That Breathes follows two bird-loving brothers in their quest to care for the many injured black kites quite literally falling from the sky in New Delhi, India.

Food & Drink

Octobers opportunities for feasting will not disappoint. This month marks the relaunch of Piazza at the Royal Opera House, now opening its restaurant and panoramic terrace to the public for the first time. Headed up by chef Richard Robinson, Piazzas frequently changing menu will include such sustainably sourced delights as London burrata and heritage beetroots and lemon sole with English sparkling wine and mushroom and Pershore broccoli with citrus and pine nuts.

At Amethyst in Mayfair, meanwhile, Carlo Scotto has just launched a mouthwatering new menu for autumn, replete with seasonal dishes like celeriac leaf, gochujang, ssamjang and chestnuts, and French toast with vacche rosse cheese sauce and winter truffle. 

Another of this months most exciting new openings, Restaurant St. Barts in Smithfield, from the team behind NEST in Hackney and Fulham’s FENN, will offer a fabulous-sounding 15-course menu made from seasonal produce from “the best small-scale farmers and conservationists in the country”. Expect to sample cured red mullet kohlrabi terrine, Cornish lobster with preserved peppers, and a Hackney honey and lavender dessert.

For those heading to Frieze and in search of sumptuous sustenance, youll be pleased to hear that beloved London food and cocktail hotspot Ritas is returning to the art fair for the fourth year in a row. Whats on offer? “An array of creative, American-inspired dishes to pair with some of Rita’s refreshing margaritas or their selection of natural and low intervention wines.”

Also at Frieze, be sure to stop by the illy Caffè: the perfect cappuccino pit stop and a chance to enjoy the fêted Italian coffee brand’s new collaboration with Pascale Marthine Tayou. The acclaimed Cameroonian artist’s exquisite designs – depicting stylised masks and an egg-bearing tree symbolic “of birth and creation” – adorn both the stand and the freshly unveiled illy Art Collection, a covetable set of espresso and cappuccino cups, and limited-edition coffee tins. Rendered in a vibrant palette that “represents African landscapes”, the collection “reflects the major issues of our time: conflicts, ecological sustainability, globalization, immigration”, while elevating the coffee-drinking experience to artful new heights.

Ever wanted to feast on pancakes in a power station? No? Well, Where The Pancakes Are, a new crepe-centric restaurant in Londons newly restored Battersea Power Station, will likely have you changing your mind. Think: pulled-beef pastrami pancakes served with cheddar, sauerkraut, kale slaw and homemade pickles, or ’recovery’ pancakes, piled with banana, almond butter, almond-apricot granola and maple syrup, a guaranteed recipe for restoration – dished up in the most sublime setting.

Finally, there’s a new wine bar and restaurant coming to Margate this October. Brought to you by the pair behind Barletta at The Turner Contemporary gallery, Sète’s menu – made up of “mostly small, sharing snacks influenced by French cuisines and dining culture” – will include dishes such as pâté en croûte with pickled gherkin, potted smoked prawn with brown crab butter, and chickpeas with persillade, presented alongside “cuvées suitable for every occasion and palette”. Santé!