Brilliant Things To Do in October

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Erwin Blumenfeld, Nude, Paris,1938, Silver Gelatin
Erwin Blumenfeld, Nude, Paris,1938© Erwin Blumenfeld, Courtesy Osborne Samuel

As ever, we've a stimulating shortlist to offset the arrival of the cold autumn weather: look no further for the latest in art, film, theatre and restaurant openings

Erwin Blumenfeld at Osborne Samuel Gallery, London: October 5–29, 2016
Erwin Blumenfeld's long and lucrative career in fashion photography has produced some of the most iconic images in the industry's history. Less well known, however, is the fact that the practitioner was very much adept at cutting and pasting images both from his own large collection and from elsewhere, to create hilarious and caustic collages. This October, the two parallel sides of his work go on display at London's Osborne Samuel Gallery, showing how the one informed the other to create his experimental approach. Curated by Lou Proud with help of Yorick Blumenfeld, one of the photographer's three children, the result is a fascinating insight into his creative career. Don't miss the catalogue. 

Gregory Halpern: ZZYZX, Webber Gallery Space, London: From September 29, 2016
In spite of its endless appearances in films, and photographs, and bright, shiny ad campaigns, we’ve never seen California quite the way that Gregory Halpern distils it. The most recent body of work from the New York-based photographer is a series of photographs made in and around Los Angeles, entitled ZZYZX, which begins in the eastern desert of LA and moves west through the city to end at the sea, condensing a selection of the state’s many terrains and characters in the process. This month, the series shows at London’s Webber Gallery Space, where visitors will also be able to get their hands on a copy of the beautiful corresponding book, published by MACK. A dose of pure joy coupled with a strange sense of wonderment.

Icons of Modern Art: The Shchukin Collection, Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris: October 22, 2016 – February 20, 2017
A visionary Russian collector of French modern art, Sergei Shchukin began to integrate himself into the Parisian arts scene in the late 19th century, forging relationships with art dealers Paul Duran-Ruel, Berthe Weill, Ambrose Vollard, Georges Bernheim and Daniel Henry Kahnweiler, as well as artists Monet and Matisse. As a result, he was able to create one of the most significant collections of his time, featuring major works of ompressionism, post-impressionism and modern art. 130 of these will be showcased as part of Icons of Modern Art at the Fondation Louis Vuitton this season, alongside a cultural programme of dance and music contemplating the artistic relationship between France and Russia at the beginning of the 20th century.

The Best in Food and Drink
There has never been a better time to thrown onesself head-first into the emerging restaurant scene: October boasts a slew of culinary happenings. First and formost, the debut restaurant from chef Ravinder Bhogal, Jikoni, has just opened its doors in Marylebone. Jikoni, which means "kitchen" in Swahili, is a homage to “the maternal figures who made my world safe with food”, and draws on Bhogal's rich mixed heritage and travels; featured flavours and culinary traditions from Britain, East Africa, the Middle East, and Asia collide in its buzzed-about menu, serving up luxurious comfort food inspired by a range of cultures.

Meanwhile, in East India Dock's Republic complex, the Genovese-Argentinian Quilombero, launching mid-October will take the form of a daytime café, coffee and juice bar which transforms into an outdoor grill and wood-fired oven by night. Translating roughly as "messy" or "rowdy", the term comes from a dialect spoken by Italian settlers in Argentina in the 1800s and, suitably, the canteen-meets-restaurant will offer a fusion of those cultures, featuring Mexican and other Latin American elements, as well as inspiration from Italy with a range of grilled meats, fish and pastas and home-made breads, focaccia and pastries for breakfast.

If it is rather an alcohol-inspired afternoon tea that you're looking for Dandelyan, the award-winning bar at Mondrian London, has just launched Wyld Tea – a 70s-inspired menu served on Portmeirion china which offers up four courses, each paired with cocktails. Dishes include the intriguing sounding 'Elderflower Compressed Cucumber Sandwiches' and 'Blackcurrant Verbena Battenberg Cake'. Expect a delicious afternoon tea experience with a boozy, botanical twist.

Yinka Shonibare: … And the wall fell away at Stephen Friedman Gallery, London: September 28 – November 5, 2016
If you're not yet familiar with the work of British-Nigerian artist Yinka Shonibare, you'd be well-advised to check in at his new exhibition at Stephen Friedman Gallery this autumn – the artist's sixth solo show at the institution – for a lesson in rationality in classic art, and rleigious hybridity. In it, Shonibare further explores and manipulates the Dutch wax batik textiles for which his work is so well known, to create a personal insight into identity, nationality and colonial history. A crucial and pivotal moment in the artist’s practice.

La Nuit Blanche, Paris: October 1, 2016
2016 marks the 15th anniversary of La Nuit Blanche, Paris’ annual all-night public art festival which, this year, will take over over the banks of the Seine. For the part of the Palais de Tokyo, Brazilian artist Rodrigo Braga stages his first solo exhibition in France, entitled Inland Sea. “His monumental installation reveals tangible traces of the prehistoric sea that covered the French capital some 45 million years ago,” says the museum. Keep your eyes peeled, too, for Stéphane Thidet's mysterious forest on the Place de l’Hôtel de Ville – built out of wood, and floating on a frozen lake, it will take the form of a "living sculpture in perpetual motion".

Guerrilla Girls: Is It Still Even Worse in Europe? At the Whitechapel Gallery, London: October 1, 2016 – March 5, 2017
This October the Whitechapel Gallery will host the first ever dedicated UK show on the work of the Guerrilla Girls, the anonymous collective of feminist artists who have been tackling issues of racism and sexism within the art world since they first formed in 1985, carrying out exacting research in their 31 years of activist art to expose unsettling realities that exist in abundance in the art industry. The Whitechapel Gallery’s exhibition will publicise the group’s recent attempt to answer the question: “Are museums today presenting a diverse history of contemporary art or the history or money and power?” With the hope of revealing some positive movements over recent years. Either way, it promises an eye-opening look into the development of the art world as a stage for equality.

London Film Festival, London: October 5-16, 2016
October might be a comparatively miserable month were it not for the wealth of cultural activity – exhibition openings, film screenings, art fairs and the like – which arrive to offset the new winter chill. Of paramount importance in this list is the London Film Festival, which brings with a long-awaited glimspe of the future of cinema – and if this year's 60th anniversary selection is anything to go by, we're in for a treat. One highlight is set to be the European premiere of Before the Flood, a documentary directed by Fisher Stevens, which follows Leonardo DiCaprio around the globe to examine the devastating effects of climate change in an urgent take on an issue which has never been so relevant.

Then, of course, there’s David Lynch: The Art Life, which offers a glimpse into the life of the famous filmmaker via a feature-length interview style film looking back to his childhood and early influences to create a picture of what has shaped him as an artist. Finally, the Damien Chazelle-directed musical La La Land, tipped for the Oscars, and starring Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone as a struggling musician and actress who fall in love in LA. Dreamy.

Drawing a Blank, at 137 Copeland Road, London: October 5–9, 2016
Keen to make a start on delineating the next generation of artists to add to your burgeoning collection? Look no further than Drawing a Blank, a gratifiyingly small, independently run exhibition taking place in Peckham early this October. Among the emerging artists showing, Frank Lebon, Fred Woodward and J.G. Marshall promise a diverse array of new talent, not to mention an unusually satisying opportunity to chart the new 'next big thing' before anybody else lays eyes upon it. 

London Literature Festival at the Southbank Centre, London: October 5–16, 2016
Writers, futurologists and transhumanists alike come together for this year’s London Literature Festival to ask: how can science fiction be used to explore other worlds which cast light back at our own? And what is the writer’s role, then, in showing us better worlds to come? With appearances from Margaret Atwood, Michel Faber, Naomi Alderman and China’s most celebrated sci-fi author Cixin Liu, as well as Iraqi author and filmmaker Hassan Blasim and a performed reading of H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine, this festival will celebrate the power of the imagination to dream up a variety of fast-approaching futures. A metaphorical starter pack for the future of space in literature. 

The Vulgar: Fashion Redefined, The Barbican, London: October 13 – February 5, 2017
What images, ideas or feelings does the word ‘vulgar’ conjure up in your mind? In the first exhibition of its kind, aiming to answer just that, The Vulgar: Fashion Redefined explores the challenging yet compelling idea of ‘taste’ in fashion. The exhibition will showcase over 120 stunning objects, ranging from historical costumes to contemporary ready-to-wear, with contributions from designers such as Chloé, Christian Dior, Pam Hogg, Lanvin, Moschino, Prada and more. Prepare to be amazed – and with a little luck, shocked, too.

Great Performances
West London has long been considered a hotbed of creativity in the British capital – a reputation confounded by its starring role in This Place We Know, a series of specially commissioned short plays arranged by the Bush Theatre, which will be performed in borrowed venues in the area from churches and pubs to karaoke bars. Meanwhile, at Almeida Theatre, October 7 kicks off a six-week run of the carrie Cracknell-directed OIL, a resonant tale about an “epic, hurting crash of empire, history and family”.

This year has been a rollercoaster one for fans of Muhammad Ali, the acclaimed boxer and activist who sadly passed away on June 3. One Night in Miami at the Donmar Warehouse proves a veritable celebration of his life through the frame of February 25, 1964 – an evening he spent in his hotel room with his close friends Malcolm X, Sam Cooke, and American football player Jim Brown. Meanwhile, in dance, Sadlers Wells hosts Soft Machine, a self-described “multimedia project investigating the contemporary status of dance across Asia”

The Extraordinary Process at Gallery Maison Mais Non, London: Until November 16, 2016
As the show season never fails to demonstrate, fashion is anything but complacent – a fact that Maison Mais Non’s inaugural exhibition proves with impressive sleight of hand through its exploration of innovative present-day technologies, and the way these will evolve and shape the future. Zaha Hadid Design, together with an array of eminent designers including Phoebe English, Iris Van Herpen and Krystyna Kozhoma, will showcase how the human condition could be enhanced through a synthesis of architecture and fashion. Featuring an array of models, garments, videos and sketches, this is set to be one fascinating multimedia imagining of the future.

Frieze London and Frieze Masters Art Fair, Regent’s Park: October 6–9, 2016
If, like us, you've been eagerly waiting for the British art event of the year to recentre your cultural compass, you need wait no longer. This autumn, as every year, Frieze London and Frieze Masters will bring together the very best of the contemporary and historical for a weekend of art talks, tours and exhibitions. Frieze London showcases both well-established and newly discovered contemporary artists from galleries across the world, while at Frieze Masters you’ll be able to see and buy art from the medieval to the modern, including Asian and ethnographic art, antiquities, manuscripts, photography and sculpture. Keep your eyes peeled, too, for the tastemakers of fashion, art, tech and otherwise; the people-watching is simply second-to-none.