Art exhibitions this September
It may be the end of summer, but September sees London’s art world go into full bloom. It’s the sheer volume of exhibitions on offer that really captures the imagination; and from cartoonish political slogans to horrifyingly conceptual modernity, you’ll never be able to see them all. Nor should you: some galleries are certainly worth visiting more than others, so we’ve found your must-see visual art from around the city.
Paintings by Jean
First head to a retrospective of Jean-Michel Basquiat in the Barbican, featuring over 100 of his works from across his pitifully short career. He was among the first artists to transfer from graffiti and street art to the mainstream gallery circuit, using powerful colours and visual tokens to produce paintings both apparently simple yet delicately intricate, with a focus on African imagery. Then head over to Pace Gallery for Jean Dubuffet’s Théâtres de mémoire, a glimpse at a series of enormous paintings made late in the artist’s career during the 1970s. Each image is made up of smaller paintings laid over each other using a variety of media, including cement and asphalt, to depict fun, imaginary scenes and landscapes delightfully conjured up by Dubuffet.
Basquiat, Barbican, Sep 21st 2017-Jan 28th 2018.
Dubuffet, Pace, Sep 13th-Oct 21st.
Something more colourful
Drugs, the police, migration: Daniel Richter’s work is unashamedly political, covering the most pressing current affairs and newsworthy topics of our times. Richter has long been based in Germany as part of several anti-establishment and punk movements in Berlin and Hamburg. and while he has settled down in the art world, his attention certainly hasn’t altered. The paintings are blunt and brutal, both in their message and colour, which lends them a direct and unsubtle power. Passionate attention to detail and care are also central to the new works of Gary Hume in his exhibition Mum at the Sprueth Magers London gallery. The West End venue is reopening its doors at the end of the month for the artist’s first retrospective since his blockbuster show at the Tate in 2013. The colourful paintings evoke his associations with childhood and relationship with his mother, with absorbing blocks and striped patterns.
Richter, Camden Arts Centre, until Sep 17th
Hume, Sprueth Magers, Sep 29th – Dec 23rd
Rural Massachusetts and its strangely intimate nature are brought to life in Gregory Crewdson’s beguiling collection Cathedral of the Pines. The works delicately explore the connection between people and their local, natural environment, with a supposedly seamless connection between the two reminiscent of the paintings of the Dutch masters or, more recently, Edward Hopper. This seems not to concern the haunted and ghost-like figures in the images, who are resigned to the intrusion of nature into their home (or the other way around, of course). The exhibition alludes to Crewdson’s childhood, and is the first time that the Photographers’ Gallery has dedicated all three of its main rooms to one artist.
The Photographers’ Gallery, until Oct 8th
It’s rare that more mainstream exhibitions are challenging and prescient, but contemporary events both in the UK and abroad have made The Place is Here at the South London Gallery particularly relevant. It features a range of black artists from across the world in a comprehensive and gripping range of styles, periods and designs, but all with a powerful message. It’s one of the most well-received exhibitions this year amongst independent galleries, so check it out – seriously.
South London Gallery, until Sep 10th