As you know, the end of summer approaching, and so is the end of our autumn alphabet – but we still have plenty to keep you occupied over the next few months. Here’s a little more of what’s in store…
Paris, and the Nuit Blanche festival
Demonstrate your cultural savoir-faire with a hop, skip and a Eurostar to Paris to take in Nuit Blanche, a free annual arts festival that sees cafés, bars and cultural centres stay open from dusk till dawn. Big names and emerging talents in the art world breathe new life into the streets and buildings of the city with one-off performances and installations. The festival is now a decade old but avoids getting stale by selecting a new curator every year. This year Laurent Le Bon, director of the Metz division of Paris’s iconic Centre Pompidou, has visualised a fluid line of events following the length of the river Seine. You can expect achingly hip and modern works from the likes of Michel Blazy and Tania Mouraud, and new visions from up-andcoming artists Camille Henrot and Emma Dusong. Banks of the Seine, Paris.
Polari First Book Prize
Now in its second year, the Polari First Book Prize is for a debut book of poetry or prose, fiction or non-fiction, that explores the LGBT experience. Entertainment comes from authors and poets Susie Boyt, Neil Alexander, Jeff Kristian, Cherry Smyth and Robert Hudson.
Photography. Lots of it
Despite looking through a camera lens, photographers see the world much as the Old Masters did – or at least, that’s the justification behind The National Gallery’s first major foray into photography. ‘Seduced by Art: Photography Past and Present’ (October 31-January 20 2013) promises to shake up the institution’s Constables and Gainsboroughs by juxtaposing them with work by photographers such as Martin Parr and Craigie Horsfield. The idea is to highlight the influence of fine art on photography and to illustrate the idea that camera-clickers have both subconsciously and intentionally been following in the footsteps of classical artists since the form first emerged.
But while The National Gallery is taking intriguing baby steps toward a new kind of show, fellow London galleries are competitively wheeling out photography’s big guns. At Tate Modern, William Klein/Daido Moriyama (October 10-January 20 2013) pairs the urban photography of American Klein with that of his Japanese contemporary to explore their pioneering approach to the photobook. It also examines the avantgarde style they developed to record street life, protest and social change on the streets of New York and Tokyo during the mid-twentieth century.
That same era is examined in the Barbican’s ‘Everything Was Moving: Photography from the ’60s and ’70s’ (September 13-January 13 2013). It serves as a document of those politically tumultuous years, featuring prints by David Goldblatt, who spent five decades visually recording life in South Africa pre- and post-apartheid; and images by Li Zhensheng, who was compelled to work in secret during China’s Cultural Revolution. As well as documentary, the show’s 350 works cover the changing perception of photography as a representational medium to one that helps us understand our environment and ourselves.
Crowd-pleasing names such as William Eggleston and Bruce Davidson are among those helping to reflect the idea of photography as an art form, leaving visitors looking for lesserknown talent to head to the V&A where socially charged images by 30 emerging photographers will be shown in ‘Light from the Middle East: New Photography’ (November 13-April 7 2013). Among the 90 works on display, expect to see Newsha Tavakolian’s series of others holding pictures of their sons killed in the Iran-Iraq war, as well as digitally manipulated images by Nermine Hammam who transports Egyptian soldiers to unlikely settings.
Slightly less weighty themes are in play at Somerset House as it presents ‘Cartier-Bresson: A Question of Colour’ (November 8-January 27 2013). Celebrating Henri Cartier-Bresson’s notion of the ‘decisive moment’, the exhibition brings together 15 photographs by the master with 75 works by 14 European and North American practitioners, to illustrate how Cartier-Bresson’s ethos of intuitively capturing a moment on film has influenced the practice of generations of photographers. There’s also a welcome retrospective for Dorothy Bohm at the Museum of London.
Bored of the West End? Head to Bermondsey and prepare to lose yourself in ‘The Architects’, a modern-day theatrical maze created by the envelope-pushing Shunt collective. The follow-up to the smash hit ‘Money’, this new immersive piece is inspired by the myth of the Minotaur, and tales of both modern and ancient Greece. We’re promised a ‘wildly disorientating’ experience from one of London’s most consistently inventive theatre companies.
Returning TV classics
This autumn sees the strongest selection of returning TV series for years: in search of its mojo after getting a twinge in the leg is ‘Downton Abbey’ (ITV1); ‘Peep Show’ and ‘Fresh Meat’ (both C4) join ‘The Thick of It’ (Saturdays, BBC2) in a triple threat of arch sophistication and glorious meanspiritedness; Sarah Lund solves her final case in ‘The Killing’ (BBC4); Brodie is embedded in Congress as ‘Homeland’ (C4) returns; and, after the deaths and betrayals of previous series, the cast of ‘Top Boy’ (C4), ‘The Hour’ (BBC2) and ‘Boardwalk Empire’ (Sky Atlantic) are picking up the pieces. Phew…
Reuniting the ‘Jerusalem’ dream team of writer Jez Butterworth, director Ian Rickson and designer Ultz, this world premiere in the Royal Court’s tiny upstairs theatre is expected to generate such demand that scoring a ticket for it is practically going to be a piece of theatre in its own right. No tickets will be on sale in advance: you can buy online on the day of each performance from 9am, or in person at the Royal Court box office from 10am. In the meantime, ‘a remote cabin on the cliffs, a man and a woman, and a moonless night’ are the only details we’ve been given of the plot, but since ‘Jerusalem’ is now more or less accepted as the key British theatre work of the last decade, expectations for ‘The River’ are some way beyond feverish.
San Francisco Ballet
The company is a force to be reckoned with in American ballet, and will be paying a visit to the UK for the first time in eight years. The three contemporary programmes San Francisco Ballet are presenting here should suit Londoners’ sensibilities to a tee, with unseen works from Brit choreographer Christopher Wheeldon and a new piece by American master Mark Morris in the mix. It’s also a chance to see diminutive star ballerina Maria Kotchetkova, who danced in London with both the Royal Ballet and English National Ballet before decamping to San Francisco (traitor!).
Stephen Fry in ‘Twelfth Night’
Fry is set to play uptight steward Malvolio in this revival of Mark Rylance’s 2002 epochal ‘Twelfth Night’. Rylance – aka Britain’s Greatest Stage Actor – will reprise his acclaimed role as Olivia in the all-male Original Practices production. Tickets for the sold-out Globe run are now going for stupid money on eBay, but there is still decent availability for the West End transfer. Shakespeare’s Globe, Sept 22-Oct 14. Apollo Shaftesbury, Nov 2-Feb 3 2013.
See yesterday’s guide to autumn’s M’s, N’s and O’s.
Join us throughout the week for the rest of autumn’s alphabet… or have a look at our major events calendar.