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

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Ulysses Jenkins, Without Your Interpretation rehearsal documentation, 1984Courtesy of the artist

From Jean Cocteau-inspired cocktails to rousing artist retrospectives, here are the events to bookmark for a remarkable month ahead


Ulysses Jenkins: Without Your Interpretation at the Julia Stoschek Collection, Berlin: February 11 – July 30, 202

In Berlin, the Julia Stoschek Collection will soon unveil the first major retrospective of the groundbreaking US video and performance artist Ulysses Jenkins, coordinated in collaboration with ICA Philadelphia and the Hammer Museum, LA. Featuring mural paintings, photography, and performances that interrogate “questions of race and gender as they relate to ritual, history, and the power of the state”, the show’s almost 60 works will shed important light on Jenkins’ diverse and influential practice.

Walk of Fame at Camera Work, Berlin: February 11 – April 22, 2023

Coinciding with this year’s Berlin International Film Festival, an exhibition of 60 photographs at Camera Work gallery in the capital's Charlottenburg district is set to celebrate “the aesthetic grace and glamour of Hollywood”. The show will feature a century-spanning array of portraits of some of cinema’s most riveting stars – from Brigitte Bardot, Warren Beatty and Grace Kelly to Denzel Washington, Jeff Goldblum and Nicole Kidman – captured by the likes of Helmut Newton, Patrick Demarchelier, Terry O’Neill, Steve Schapiro and more.

Action, Gesture, Paint at Whitechapel Gallery, London: February 9 – May 7, 2023

In London, meanwhile, a forthcoming group show at Whitechapel Gallery will showcase 150 paintings by 81 international women artists, whose contribution to gestural abstraction has long been overshadowed by that of their white male counterparts. The work of well-known US artists like Lee Krasner and Helen Frankenthaler will sit alongside paintings by lesser-known figures such as Mozambican-Italian artist Bertina Lopes and South Korean artist Wook-Kyung Choi, demonstrating that artists from all over the globe “were exploring similar themes of materiality, freedom of expression, perception and gesture” in the aftermath of World War Two.

Christie’s Presents the Collection of André Leon Talley at Christie’s New York: Until February 17, 2023

A year after André Leon Talley’s passing, Christie’s in New York is preparing to auction some of the legendary fashion editor’s most treasured possessions, which are currently on view as part of a pre-sale exhibition. “The collection is both glamourous and intimate,” the auction house informs, “reflecting Talley’s decades-long relationships with fellow icons including Karl Lagerfeld, Diane von Furstenberg, Ralph Rucci, Tom Ford, Diana Vreeland and Anna Wintour”. Exquisite garments, jewels and accessories are up for sale, alongside items that reflect Talley’s lifelong love of fine art, literature and the decorative arts.

Jonathan Lyndon Chase: Now I'm Home Lips That Know my Name at Sadie Coles HQ, London: Until March 11, 2023

The last few years have seen American multidisciplinary artist Jonathan Lyndon Chase make waves with their exuberant, sex-positive work, spanning painting, sculpture, video, installation, poetry and sound. Now, they are enjoying their first UK solo show at London gallery Sadie Coles HQ, where an “explorative, domestic installation” shines a light on themes central to the artist’s practice – namely, “the Black Queer experience of love, sexuality, subjectivity and identity, and the profound depth of the capacity for intimacy and pleasure in both public and private spaces”.

Divided SelvesLegacies, Memories, Belonging at The Herbert Art Gallery & Museum, Coventry: February 18 – September 24, 2023

Meanwhile, a forthcoming group exhibition at the Herbert Art Gallery & Museum in Coventry will explore the timely notions of “belonging and living together” in an era of increasing social divide. Featuring offerings by Mona Hatoum, Lubaina Himid, Larry Achiampong and Richard Hamilton, among others, the show’s curation of powerful works considers “how we make peace with difficult histories and traumatic pasts without being paralysed by them; listen to and amplify voices that are often ignored or suppressed, and work as citizens of a state, and members of a community, to shape a common future”.

Zanele Muholi at Maison Européenne de la Photographie, Paris: February 1 – May 21, 2023

In Paris, the Maison Européenne de la Photographie is currently host to the first French retrospective of the fêted South African photographer and activist Zanele Muholi. Comprised of more than 200 photographs and videos made by the artist since the early 2000s, the show seeks to platform Muholi’s powerful brand of “visual activism”, exploring the ways in which they have employed their camera as a “tool to confront and repair” the injustices faced by the Black LGBTQ+ community in South Africa.

Cruel Youth Diary at the Hammer Museum, LA: February 15 – May 14, 2023

At the Hammer Museum in LA, a new display of works, recently gifted to the museum by the Haudenschild family, spotlights pioneering Chinese photography and video art from the 1990s and early 2000s. Made by artists who came of age during this period of extreme social, political, and economic change, the artworks offer up a razor-sharp reflection on, and critique of “a burgeoning new China on the cusp of the 21st century” in what the show’s curator Nick Barlow terms “a visual language that relied on irony, absurdity, and humour”.

Alice Neel: Hot Off The Griddle at the Barbican Art Gallery, London: February 16 – May 21, 2023

Fans of Alice Neel will delight in the forthcoming retrospective of her work at the Barbican: the largest UK exhibition of the late, great American portraitist’s work to date. Dubbed “the court painter of the underground”, the New York artist treated her subjects – who included “labour leaders, Black and Puerto Rican children, pregnant women, Greenwich Village eccentrics, civil rights activists and queer performers” – with all the reverence of a royal painter, with brilliantly intimate and compelling results. The show will feature 70 of Neel’s most arresting portraits, supplemented by archival photography and film.

Gordon Matta-Clark & Pope.L: Impossible Failures at 52 Walker, New York: February 3 – April 02, 2023

At New York gallery 52 Walker, select drawings and films by the late US artist Gordon Matta-Clark – best known for his socially engaged food art and so-called building cuts (sculptures made by cutting into existing architecture) – will be shown alongside those of Pope.L, whose multidisciplinary oeuvre tackles issues of identity, race and labour. The show will examine the duo's “shared fixation regarding the problematics of architecture, language, institutions, scale, and value”, and is set to include a new site-specific installation by Pope.L.

Chris Killip: Retrospective at The Photographers' Gallery, London: Until February 19, 2023

Londoners, don’t miss your chance to catch the Chris Killip retrospective at the Photographers’ Gallery, accompanied by a wonderful catalogue from Thames & Hudson. Offering a masterclass in sensitive and decidedly cinematic documentary photography, the show presents 140 works from across the late Manx image-maker’s career. Killip is best known for his candid yet tender documentation of “the lives of those affected by the economic shifts in the North of England during the 1970s and 80s”, which feature prominently throughout the show alongside fantastically vivid images of everything from punks and protesters to bikers and baked beans.

GaHee Park, Eveningness at Perrotin Tokyo, Tokyo: Until February 25, 2023

In Japan, South Korean artist GaHee Park is currently showing a new series of paintings and drawings at Perrotin Tokyo. Touching upon themes of domestic intimacy and desire, Park’s work delivers a sensuous and surreal take on everyday objects and gestures, drawn from memories of her childhood in Seoul and subsequent experiences of life in North America. Expect prawns languishing in cocktail glasses and solitary figures in fantastical set-ups.

Events & Performances

Looking for excellent live entertainment this month? Well, there are plenty of events to choose from. Top of our list is Cowpuncher My Ass, choreographer Holly Blakey’s acclaimed Wild West dance performance, arriving at the Southbank Centre on February 15. With a score by Mica Levi, which will be performed live by the London Contemporary Orchestra, the show also features spectacular costumes specially designed by Andreas Kronthaler for Vivienne Westwood for the occasion.

At the Royal Court, Graceland, a new play by rising playwright Ava Wong Davies, arrives on February 9, spinning a tale of unlikely love, where “everything is perfect, until it isn’t. Or maybe it never was”. While at the Donmar Warehouse from February 10, award-winning playwright Diana Nneka Atuona presents the world premiere of her latest work, Trouble in Butetown, following the owner of an illegal boarding house in Butetown, Cardiff, as she “toils tirelessly to keep [it] afloat”.

At the National Theatre, meanwhile, writer-director Simon Stone reimagines Seneca’s famous tragedy Phaedra in a searing new play that opens today, starring Janet McTeer (of Ozark fame) as the titular protagonist, alongside Call My Agent’s Assaad Bouab.

For those in need of a scintillating dance fix, don't miss Dada Masilo's The Sacrifice at Sadler’s Wells from February 24-25, which sees the celebrated South African choreographer “embrace the traditional dance of Botswana in a work inspired by Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring”. Last but not least, iconic filmmaker Spike Lee will appear in conversation at the BFI on February 13, in celebration of his newly awarded BFI Fellowship, which will be presented at the end of the talk.


For this month’s best film recommendations, look no further. There’s EO, Polish director Jerzy Skolimowski’s emotive, formally-challenging homage to Robert Bresson’s Au Hasard Balthazar, presenting “a vision of modern Europe” through the eyes of a donkey. Cinematic provocateur Darren Aronofsky returns with The Whale, starring an Oscar-nominated Brendan Fraser as a reclusive English teacher, desperate to reconnect with his estranged teenage daughter as he battles ill health. While French documentary maker Alice Diop makes her extraordinarily accomplished and poetic feature debut with Saint Omer, in which a novelist attending the trial of a woman charged with infanticide, as research for a forthcoming project, finds herself plunged into personal crisis.

Egyptian-American filmmaker Dina Amer makes a similarly impressive debut with You Resemble Me, based on the true story of Hasna Aït Boulahcen – a woman wrongly accused of being Europe’s first female suicide bomber. Then there’s Women Talking, the latest offering from Canadian director Sarah Polley. Also based on a true story, it follows a group of abused women, living in an isolated religious community, as they “grapple with reconciling their reality with their faith”. While Japanese auteur Hirokazu Kore-eda is back with Broker, the stirring tale of two brokers who sidestep the bureaucracy of legal adoption to sell orphaned children to wealthy couples.

For this month’s must-see documentaries, be sure to check out Nothing Lasts Forever, which sees filmmaker Jason Kohn take a thrilling dive into the depths of the diamond industry to expose its best-kept secrets. My Name is Happy by Nick Read and Ayse Toprak tells the moving story of activist Mutlu Kaya, who survived a near-fatal misogynistic attack, before taking to TikTok to raise awareness surrounding femicide in her native Turkey. Camilla Hall and Jennifer Tiexiera’s inspired new film Subject, meanwhile, turns the lens on documentary making itself, examining “the impact that well-known documentaries and their commercial success have had on the lives of their subjects”. Catch special nationwide Q&A previews of the film from February 17 ahead of its March 3 release.

Food & Drink

February brings with it plenty of new culinary offerings and experiences to tantalise the taste buds. From February 6, The Petersham in Covent Garden will offer a pre-theatre dining menu for the very first time, delivering a two- or three-course menu to show-goers every Monday to Saturday, between 5 and 6pm. Expect dramatically good starters made from the finest British and Italian seasonal produce, followed by smoked trout paired with mussels, creamy coco beans and a handful of briny samphire; pumpkin and walnut risotto; or slow-cooked beef in a rich Merlot sauce, accompanied by truffle mash and red cabbage.

Meanwhile, from February 7-10, Merlin Labron-Johnson of the Michelin-starred restaurant Osip in Bruton, Somerset will be taking over the kitchen at 180 Corner on the Strand, bringing his simple yet considered style of cooking, inspired by the flavours of southern France and northern Italy, to London. “The menu will very much be a reflection of the way I cook at Osip, shining a light on some of my favourite ingredients the team and I have grown on the farm [in Bruton],” the chef explains. “I always stay true to my passion for merging West Country produce with the flavours of my travels in Europe and beyond.”

In east London, a two-week collaboration has just begun between the female-led dessert bar Treats Club and neighbourhood rotisserie Cocotte. The innovative partnership has resulted “a limited-edition molten donut-croquette hybrid, the Do-quette, filled with gooey gruyère, truffle and chives”, which are currently being served with a pot of house relish and/or roast chicken gravy at Cocotte’s Shoreditch restaurant in Hoxton Square. Get them while they'’e hot – by which we mean before February 12. 

Citrus aficionados, rejoice: on February 9, London restaurant Toklas will host its inaugural Winter Citrus Dinner, with a very special menu from chef Yohei Furuhashi, highlighting rare citrus varieties grown at the Todolí Citrus Fundacio in Valencia. Dishes will include marsh pink grapefruit gimlet; artichoke, Borneo lemon and sage fritto misto; and grilled duck and Bartoli Tarocco orange with endive, rounded off by panna cotta and caramelised citrus.

Blast away the winter blues at Plaza Khao Gaeng, tucked away on the mezzanine level at the Arcade Food Hall on New Oxford Street. A Thai khao gaeng (curry over rice) restaurant, designed “to fill the space around [it] the more popular [it] becomes”, the Luke Farrell-helmed eatery offers up a refined but exquisitely tasty array of plates. Highlights range from Gaeng Massaman Neua (Beef shoulder massaman curry, potatoes, shallots) and Gaeng Som Tom Yam (sour seafood curry with tom yam herbs) to Pad Phet Pla (sea bream with chillies, makrut lime leaves and jungle herbs) and Mara Pad Khai (bitter gourd and egg).

Finally, for those seeking to seduce this Valentine’s Day, chic London restaurant and bar LPM has created a new cocktail menu inspired by the legendary life of Jean Cocteau – très romantique, non? The rose-petal adorned Beauty and the Beast combines Grey Goose vodka, Saint Germain, Yellow Chartreuse, and strawberry and fennel cordial, while Lettre à Coco is designed to symbolise the unique friendship between Cocteau and Coco Chanel. Made with Ketel One vodka, Champagne cordial, and jasmine, bergamot and rose, the drink comes replete with a personal note spritzed with Chanel No 5, to reflect the notes of the drink. Santé!