10 brilliant exhibitions, books and tables to beat the February blues

SEE

Seth Becker at Venus Over Manhattan, New York

Caped Crusader, 2023, by Seth Becker
Caped Crusader, 2023, by Seth Becker © Courtesy the artist and Venus Over Manhattan, New York

In his 1963 poem “A Boy’s Head”, Czech poet Miroslav Holub sifts through the imaginary contents of a child’s mind, from spaceships and bumblebees to “a project for doing away with piano lessons”. The work has been endlessly inspiring for New York artist Seth Becker, whose solo exhibition of the same name recently opened at Venus Over Manhattan gallery.

A Dog’s Dream, 2023, by Seth Becker
A Dog’s Dream, 2023, by Seth Becker © Courtesy the artist and Venus Over Manhattan, New York

A librarian by day, Becker tries “to preserve boyhood and innocence” in his small oil paintings, which are often collaged with wallpaper. “I grew up in a home covered in wallpaper,” he says, “so it’s comforting”. Other motifs from his childhood include dogs — “I carried around a dictionary of dog breeds” — and the brooding figure of Batman, who in one painting leans against his living-room wall. Seth Becker: A Boy’s Head is at Venus Over Manhattan, New York until 9 March Marion Willingham


SHOP

Dizonord x Courrèges, Paris

Courrèges’s Marais address in Paris
Courrèges’s Marais address in Paris

Cult French record shop Dizonord will be setting the soundtrack in fashion house Courrèges’s Marais address throughout February. Alongside a selection of electronic and experimental records for sale, curated by the brand’s artistic director Nicolas Di Felice, there will be an abundance of books (including a reissue of Julia von Dorpp’s Ex-Tracts, cataloguing English rave flyers from the ’90s), zines and personal photographic prints by Courrèges collaborators Spyros Rennt and Cha Gonzalez. 119 rue Vieille du Temple 75003 Paris, until 25 February Inès Cross


SEE

Celebrating Silver at Hamiltons, London

Tied Up Torso, Ramatuelle, 1980, by Helmut Newton
Tied Up Torso, Ramatuelle, 1980, by Helmut Newton © Courtesy of Hamiltons Gallery

Gelatin silver prints, where the image is held in metal particles inside a layer of gelatin, were popular with fine-art photographers in the 20th century and are still revered today for their tonal range and clarity. Celebrating Silver, a new exhibition at Hamiltons in London, pays homage to the printmaking medium through the black and white photographs of Richard Avedon, Irving Penn, Yasuhiro Wakabayashi (otherwise known as Hiro), Helmut Newton and Don McCullin.

Early Morning, West Hartlepool, County Durham, 1963, by Don McCullin
Early Morning, West Hartlepool, County Durham, 1963, by Don McCullin © Don McCullin. Courtesy of Hamiltons Gallery

As McCullin said in one interview, “I think colour takes you on another journey”. Celebrating Silver at Hamiltons, London, until 9 March Inès Cross


EAT

St John at Fortnum & Mason, London 

St John co-founder Trevor Gulliver toasts the restaurant’s new temporary home
St John co-founder Trevor Gulliver toasts the restaurant’s new temporary home © Matthew Hague. Courtesy St John and Fourtnum & Mason

Like a travelling circus, the St John Smithfield team have moved into Fortnum & Mason’s ground floor Field restaurant for the month, complete with their own tables, chairs, coat pegs and buckets of whitewash paint. The pop-up will allow service to continue uninterrupted while their home base undergoes renovation. The menu is classic St John (devilled kidneys on toast, roast bone marrow and parsley salad, chicken and trotter pie) with a nod to the glitz of their temporary home (“A Tin of Caviar”). “This little jaunt feels rather frivolous, which is Fortnum’s forte,” says St John co-founder Trevor Gulliver.

St John founders Fergus Henderson (left) and Trevor Gulliver
St John founders Fergus Henderson (left) and Trevor Gulliver © Sam Harris, courtesy St John and Fortnum and Mason
St John Smithfield’s temporary home at Field, Fortnum & Mason
St John Smithfield’s temporary home at Field, Fortnum & Mason

“Painting it white is a bit cheeky — and a bit of cheekiness is always a good foundation for an extremely good time.” St John at Fortnum’s is open until 22 February, from Tuesday to Sunday for breakfast and lunch, and for dinner on Friday and Saturday Baya Simons


SHOP

Saint Laurent Rive Droite and Eames Office: The Plywood Sculpture Exhibition, Los Angeles

Plywood Sculpture, 1943, by Charles and Ray Eames
Plywood Sculpture, 1943, by Charles and Ray Eames © Charles Eames © Eames Office, LLC

To coincide with Palm Springs Modernism Week, Saint Laurent’s lower-key Rive Droite store in Los Angeles is collaborating with Eames Office, the design studio founded by Charles and Ray Eames in 1941. The Beverly Hills shop will be showing seven limited-edition plywood sculptures by the pair, which are available for sale upon request. The furniture will sit alongside a collection of the duo’s photos, drawings and a screening of Blacktop, their 1952 film documenting the “washing of a school play yard” with a musical score by Polish harpsichordist Wanda Landowska. 469 Rodeo Drive, Los Angeles, until 26 February Inès Cross


EAT

Seafood and sculpture, Margate

Each morning on Margate beach you can see Antony Gormley’s cast-iron figure standing in high tide, with the sea washing around its middle (in the afternoon, at low tide, its body is fully exposed). Just behind Gormley’s sculpture, inside the Turner Contemporary gallery, there’s a new exhibition of less defined forms. Beyond Form: Lines of Abstraction, 1950-1970 collects abstract art made by women artists in the 20 years following the second world war, featuring works by Ruth Asawa, Louise Bourgeois, Barbara Hepworth, Sheila Hicks, Agnes Martin, Bridget Riley and many others.

Avenza, 1968-9, by Louise Bourgeois
Avenza, 1968-9, by Louise Bourgeois

For lunch, you can walk up the hill to Colina, a seafood restaurant which opened last week in the 1820s boarding house-turned buzzy Fort Road Hotel. The menu mingles influences from Naples, Greece and Andalusia: crispy cod cheeks with lemon escabeche, squid burgers with green romesco, grilled John Dory and crema catalana with shortbread. Afterwards, you can have a drink in the adjoining bar under Margate resident Tracey Emin’s neon More Love sign. Beyond Form: Lines of Abstraction, 1950-1970 is showing at Turner Contemporary until 6 May, free. Colina is open all day, fortroadhotel.com Baya Simons


SEE

William Wegman at Corbett vs Dempsey, Chicago

In the early 1970s, American artist William Wegman started making conceptual photographic studies by placing everyday objects, and sometimes his Weimaraner dog Man Ray, in odd and surprising settings. He left the negatives unfinished in his Santa Monica studio when he moved to New York, only to find them returned to him two decades later. Prints of his original photographs are now going on show at Corbett vs Dempsey gallery in Chicago.

It’s a Perfect Day, This is a Perfect Night 1972/2013, by William Wegman
It’s a Perfect Day, This is a Perfect Night 1972/2013, by William Wegman

In the black and white photographs, we see staged scenarios of his props — from Man Ray to electronic equipment — captioned with typewritten text. The text often casts the photograph in a humorous light: in one, the words “Portable TV” sit underneath a portrait of a man staring intently at a suitcase. Learn to Dance with Modern Electronic Equipment, Early Conceptual Photography, 1971-74, is showing at Corbett vs Dempsey, Chicago, until 9 March Inès Cross


SHOP

Anna Weyant with Gagosian

Cloud Hill, 2020, by Anna Weyant
Cloud Hill, 2020, by Anna Weyant © Anna Weyant/Gagosian. Photograph by Rob McKeever

In May 2022, a portrait of a woman falling down a staircase sold for $1.62mn — more than eight times its high estimate — at Sotheby’s. The artist was Anna Weyant, then 27, who had sold her first painting for $400 only three years before. Today she is the youngest name on Gagosian’s roster of artists. Weyant’s portraits — which draw on the Dutch Masters and satirists such as John Currin — are both beautiful and unsettling. Her female subjects wear frothy linens and pearl necklaces and share furtive glances. Some are captured sleeping; some could be dead. More than 70 of these paintings now make up a new book, the first Gagosian has dedicated to the Canadian artist. “Weyant’s work is achingly honest,” writes critic Yvonne Owens in an accompanying essay. “Unsparing in terms of her own challenges and compromises, it is dark, accessible and packed with discomforting subliminal messaging.” Anna Weyant is published by Gagosian via Rizzoli at $120 Rosanna Dodds


Larry Fink

Madison’s Lively Stones at United House of Prayer, Washington, DC, 2002, by Larry Fink
Madison’s Lively Stones at United House of Prayer, Washington, DC, 2002, by Larry Fink

American photographer Larry Fink captured the full spectrum of 20th-century society, from political marches in Harlem and smoky downtown jazz clubs to the peacocking parties of Studio 54. Three months after Fink’s death at 82, a digital retrospective at online gallery Fellowship celebrates his near 70-year career. His talent flourished via chance encounters with musicians, dancers and beat poets.

Dance, American Legion, Bangor, Pennsylvania, March 1979, by Larry Fink
Dance, American Legion, Bangor, Pennsylvania, March 1979, by Larry Fink

“It’s almost as if we — the viewer — are being pulled onto the dancefloor,” says curator Holly Hay of the over-100-strong collection. An accompanying short film, Fink, by director Lisa Schiller, offers a behind-the-scenes glimpse at the photographer’s process. A Life of Looking can be viewed from 26 February at fellowship.xyz Inès Cross


SEE

Epoch at Permanent, Paris

Permanent is a 24/7 exhibition space in Paris’s 2nd arrondissement, opened earlier this year by Buly 1803’s Ramdane Touhami and Léonard Vernhet of arts journal Epoch Review. Described as “a place to peek in, discover, pause”, the pair will exhibit new-wave artists in the space, found just around the corner from the Palais-Royal Garden.

Works by (from left) Elaine Constantine and Harley Weir at Epoch, Permanent
Works by (from left) Elaine Constantine and Harley Weir at Epoch, Permanent
An artwork by Lewis Khan at the Epoch exhibition at Permanent
An artwork by Lewis Khan at the Epoch exhibition at Permanent

The current show, Epoch, includes work by Harley Weir, Tyler Mitchell, Elaine Constantine and Sam Youkilis, whose pictures can be viewed from both sides of the building’s windows, much to the delight of passers-by. Until 27 February Inès Cross

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