Brilliant Things To Do in January

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The Telepath, 2014, Hand embroidery on found photograph
The Telepath, 2014, Hand embroidery on found photograph© Julie Cockburn, Courtesy of Flowers, London

The AnOther team compile their top things to see and do this January

FOUND – January 30 - May 3
New Art Gallery's upcoming exhibition brings together key works from a number of contemporary artists – including John Stezaker, Julie Cockburn and Paul Chiappe – which centre on found images, from old photographs to magazine cuttings. Each image has been transformed and re-interpreted by the artist to explore a number of themes including gender, loss mass culture and memory, to brilliant effect.

The Best of Film
January is the ultimate month for film overindulgence – cinemas are the perfect places to stay cosy and dispel the January blues. And luckily there is a plethora of great, award-tipped films hitting the screen this month. First up, Birdman, which is released today. An all-engrossing piece of meta cinema, the film stars Michael Keaton as an ageing actor best known for his role as 90s superhero Birdman, who, determined to prove his artistic worth, has taken on the task of adapting, directing and starring in a broadway play.

Meanwhile, throughout January the BFI is offering a reassessment of one of film’s most important artists, Eric Rohmer, who died five years ago. Associated with the Nouvelle Vague colleagues, Rohmer is celebrated for his shrewd insight into the lives of ‘ordinary’ people and the inner world of consciousness. Returning for its 12th year is the London Short Film Festival, the biggest showcase of UK short film that is quickly becoming a significant event on the global cultural calendar. Taking place from the 9th to the 18th of January, at various venues, the festival presents the public with an eclectic selection of cutting edge films from emerging directors and actors. Also out on the 9th is brilliant biopic Foxcatcher, the disturbing story of Olympic Wrestling champion Mark Schultz (Channing Tatum) and paranoid-schizophrenic millionaire John du Pont (a mesmerising Steve Carell), who murdered Schultz's brother, fellow Olympic champion Dave Schultz, in 1996.

On January 16, Whiplash – an utterly gripping drama set in a New York jazz conservatory – hits the big screen. A must-see for music and cinema fanatics alike, it tells the tale of a talented your drumming student who finds himself at he mercy of his mighty but merciless music teacher (played to perfection by J.K. Simmons). Finally, January 30 sees the release of Inherent Vice, the hotly-tipped crime comedy-drama from Paul Thomas Anderson, based on Thomas Pynchon's novel of the same name. With a stellar cast including Joaquin Phoenix, Owen Wilson, Reese Witherspoon and Benicio del Toro, the film follows private investigator Larry "Doc" Sportello (Phoenix) as he investigates the disappearance of his ex-girlfriend's new boyfriend.

First Happenings: Adrien Henri in the 60s and 70s – January 27 - March 15
The focus of a new show at the ICA, Adrien Henri was a painter, poet and musician, who is perhaps best remembered for his poetry-rock group, The Liverpool Scene. An exploration of Henri’s role in the Happenings Movement, the show also considers his development as an interdisciplinary artist involved in a variety of media as well as his collaborations with other artists such as Yoko Ono.

Grayson Perry on Who Are You? – January 22
Accompanying eccentric artist Grayson Perry’s new portraits series Who Are You?, Perry and guests will meet for a panel discussion investigating themes of identity on 22nd January at The National Portrait Gallery. Observing individuals, families and groups trying to define who they are in modern Britain. His current display captures and reveals identity and draws on the people he met during this project.

Counter Culture at Wright Brothers – Book now for February
Learn everything there is to know about prepping fish and shellfish at Counter Culture, a series of seafood master classes from the Wright Brothers. Sampling natural, cooked and dressed oysters from the British Isles and beyond, it’s tea towels at the ready for a schooling in shucking. Pop by the Spitalfields counter for a glass of Billecart-Salmon Champagne, or call down to their Soho branch where sashimi sampling adds an Asian twist. Classes begin February 24, so get booking now to ensure your spot.

Mapping the City at Somerset House – January 22 - February 15
Contemporary cartographic art by international street and graffiti artists will be on display in the New Wing of Somerset House later this month. Mapping the City is a subjective survey of metropolis landscape, featuring works by Shepard Fairey (Barack Obama's Hope poster), Swoon, Russell Maurice and Aryz. With the city as their canvas, each map holds an individual response to the way these artists experience and interpret familiar places.

Adventures of the Black Square: Abstract Art and Society 1915–2015 – January 15 - April 6
The Whitechapel Gallery is presenting a major exhibition that echoes the epic Malevich retrospective shown at the Tate Modern this year, and is a must-see for those who missed it. Although the Whitechapel’s exhibition takes Malevich’s emblematic black square as its starting point, it is a much more expansive show. It has an international scope, bringing together works from over 100 artists: a range of modern masters from the twentieth century such as Piet Mondrian and Dan Flavin, mixed in with contemporary artists. It has been curated chronologically, helping the viewer to trace the development of abstract art over the past century, and focuses on the relationship between art, society and politics.

Great Theatre Productions
For your live performance fix, there are some exciting productions opening in January. At Trafalgar Transformed, Peter Barnes' The Ruling Class returns in its first ever revival on January 16. Starring James McAvoy as the central character, possible paranoid schizophrenic Jack (the 14th Earl of Gurney), the play is full of feverish energy and acerbic wit, mingling comedy and horror as it satirizes the English upper classes. Meanwhile in what will mark lauded playwright Tom Stoppard’s return to The National Theatre after more than a decade, The Hard Problem arrives on January 22. Centering around Hilary, a young psychology researcher at odds with her colleagues at a brain-science institute, the play squares in on where psychology and biology meet, and explores the disintegration of our beliefs.

Alvin Langdon Coburn – Until February 8
Madrid's Fundación Mapfre exhibition is offering a retrospective look at the artistic practice of the American photographer Alvin Langdon Coburn, bringing to the fore this incredibly important yet relatively unknown artist. Working in the early twentieth century and fascinated by the concept of urban modernity, Coburn pioneered the development of modern and abstract photography, merging qualities from Pictorialism and the Avant-Garde to captivating effect.

Helmut Lang's Scupture – January 8 - February 21
For those in New York, Helmut Lang’s contemporary sculptural works will be exhibited at Sperone Westwater in what is the designer-cum-artist’s first solo show in the city. Expect works composed of resin, pigment, shredded fragments and other common manufactured materials, exploring "a certain history, elements with irreplaceable presence and scars and memories of a former purpose.”

Compiled by Gillian Hopper, Arabella Noortman and Daisy Woodward