Must-see art shows in October

After what feels rather like a slow year for art with many exhibitions and fairs having been put on hold, this month there are so many new shows opening, it’s hard to choose which ones to visit first.  Below are our top picks.

Rashid Johnson at Hauser & Wirth

US Superstar artist Johnson tackles racism, gender discrimination, environmental concerns and anxiety at his new show at Hauser & Wirth.  As he says himself, ‘If you can name an ‘ism’, I’m probably concerned about that’. A show for our times, the room of anxiety paintings with huge red scrawled paintings is definitely one to see.  Until 23 December 2020

Untitled Anxious Red Drawing by Rashid Johnson

Botanical Minds at Camden Arts Centre

Bringing together over 60 works by contemporary artists such as Cerith Wyn Evans to Amazonian tribesmen and spanning 500 years, this show looks at the importance of plants to life on earth. Examining common symbols and aesthetics, it brings together a world view of how we view our relationship with nature. Until 23 December 2020

Adam Chodzko, O, you happy roots, branch and mediatrix, still, 2020. Two screen video, Hildegard von Bingen’s lingua ignotae and image recognition algorithm. Image courtesy the artist

Michael Clark: Cosmic Dancer at The Barbican

The first major exhibition of dancer and choreographer Michael Clark looks at his meteoric rise in the 1980s and his subsequent diverse influence across music, film, art and fashion with additional works by Sarah Lucas, Wolfgang Tillmans, Cerith Wyn Evans and Peter Doig. Until 3 January 2021.

© Richard Haughton

Refugees at The Imperial War Museum

Two major exhibitions look at the experiences of refugees throughout history and their present ongoing issues. Ai Weiwei has taken over the atrium to create a site-specific work exploring the human capacity for destruction and Forced to Flee explores a century of refugee experiences, from Nazi Germany’s persecution of Jews and the Kindertransport, to the Calais Jungle and the treacherous Mediterranean crossings. Until May 2021

© IWM, Ai Weiwei, History of Bombs 2020

German civilians, fleeing the Soviet advance, pick their way across the River Elbe on a partially destroyed railway bridge at Tangermünde, May 1945 © IWM (KY 12151F)

Cecily Brown at Blenheim Palace

The first in a series of exhibitions that invites contemporary artists to create new work in response to the Palace and it’s own library of works, Cecily Brown has referenced paintings by Sir Johua Reynolds and Sir Anthony Van Dyck as well as the tapestries and heraldry. Expect bold work that stands out amongst the Palace’s own treasures. Don’t miss also Brown’s Spotify Playlist which helped to inspired the titles of her paintings. Until 3 January 2021.

@Cecily Brown

Cornelia Parker: Through a Glass Darkly at Cristea Roberts Gallery

Continuing her fascinating with reconfiguration, Cornelia Parker explores the blurred lines between reality and illusion using the photogravure process: placing everyday glass objects to cast shadows onto a chemically coated plate.  Each finished print appears as a photographic positive resulting in a series of mesmerising, beautiful trompe l’oeils.  23 October – 21 November 2020

The Undersides (2020) by Cornelia Parker

Alfred Wallis Rediscovered at Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge

Kettle’s Yard has a particular connection with the artist Alfred Wallis as founder Jim Ede was one of his principal patrons. Wallis turned to painting when he was in his 70s in 1925, after a lifetime spent as a deep-sea fisherman in Cornwall, as a way of expressing his grief after the death of his wife. This wonderfully expressive and somehow joyful exhibition will include over 60 rarely shown drawings and paintings plus three sketchbooks dating from the last year of the artist’s life. 24th October 2020 – 3 January 2021

Alfred Wallis, Brigantine sailing past green fields, n.d., 418 x 488 mm, oil on card. Courtesy of Kettle’s Yard, University of Cambridge

Also, do pop along to Cork Street where you’ll find digital augmented reality at SaatchiYates new gallery and Studio Voltaire‘s pop-up studio.

Must-see art shows
October 2020
— Francesca
14th October 2020