10 art exhibitions to see in November

Published 1 November 2017

Remember, remember the month of November – gunpowder, treason and… art? If you’re not too busy with bonfires, toffee apples or toppling the government, here are a few art shows we recommend catching this month.

  • Beazley Designs of the Year

    Design Museum, London
    In the running for the design award this year are Kanye West’s pop-up shop, a self-driving 3D printed electric bus, Wolfgang Tillmans’s anti-Brexit poster campaign, a flag for the first ever refugee team in last year’s Olympics, Google technology in a Levi’s jacket sleeve, an earpiece that can translate 15 languages instantaneously, ink made from air pollution, emojis representing professional women, Pokémon Go and so many more. They’re all on show at the Design Museum, so you can adventure through cutting edge architecture, transport, fashion, digital, graphic and product ideas, and then vote online for your favourite.

  • Professional Women Emoji by Agustin Fonts, Rachel Been, Mark Davis, Nicole Bleuel and Chang Yang

    Professional Women Emoji by Agustin Fonts, Rachel Been, Mark Davis, Nicole Bleuel and Chang Yang

  • Surrealism in Egypt: Art et Liberté

    Tate Liverpool
    In 1938, with the world teetering on the brink of World War II, the manifesto of the radical Egyptian collective Art et Liberté proclaimed that the “religious, racist, and nationalist prejudices” of art were “absurd, and deserving of total disdain”. During their decade of art and activism following their manifesto, the Cairo group explored the possibilities of the unconscious mind like their European surrealist counterparts, but with decidedly different imagery and agendas. The dreams of Art et Liberté were often concerned with social inequality, economic exploitation and struggling bodies – dreams troubled by the reality of Egypt under British colonial rule and a fascist fervour sweeping Europe,

  • Fouad Kamel, Nude

    Fouad Kamel, Nude, 1950.

    Courtesy of Tate Liverpool.

  • Hassan Hajjaj: La Caravane

    Somerset House, London
    Did you see Hassan Hajjaj’s work in this year’s Summer Exhibition? His photograph – Henna Bikers – captured the stylish female motorcycle riders of Marrakesh who weave through the city’s tightly packed streets in brightly coloured Morroccan garb, conversing with tourists in several languages to tout their henna tattoo art in the market square. This riotous solo exhibition features more photographic portraits from Morocco and beyond, as well as video installations, sculpture, music, design and handcrafted objects. Each work, as the artist says, is “always about the story and the people”.

  • Hassan Hajjaj, Kesh Angels

    Hassan Hajjaj, Kesh Angels, 2010.

    Metallic lambda print on 3mm white dibond. © Hassan Hajjaj, courtesy of the artist and Vigo Gallery.

  • Nasty Women Architecture

    Anise Gallery, London
    It’s nearly a year to the day since Donald Trump declared that Hillary Clinton was “such a nasty woman”, cutting her off mid-sentence in the final presidential debate. Since then, nasty women the world over have come together in an art movement raising funds to combat threats to women’s rights. This group exhibition explores how women interact with space and the built environment – from augmented reality wallpaper to distorted furniture. On Thursday 2 November, catch a free film screening of the inimitable late architect Zaha Hadid RA, with a Q&A from the filmmakers who aimed to debunk Hadid’s reputation as a “diva”. As they say: “no doubt she was driven and single minded, powerful and determined, but so are most of the world’s great architects. The only difference seems to be that Zaha was a woman, and therefore was branded as ‘difficult’”. Sounds like Hadid was a nasty woman too.

  • Carla Gannis, Selfie Wallpaper

    Carla Gannis, Selfie Wallpaper.

  • Alfredo Jaar: The Garden of Good and Evil

    Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Wakefield
    Last month, the Guardian published a harrowing report of their investigation into the CIA’s secret “torture dungeons” and the experiences of prisoners kept there. A fortnight later, the prescient Chilean artist Alfredo Jaar unveiled his new site-specific installation, The Garden of Good and Evil, in the Yorkshire Dales: a grid of 101 trees, sheltering nine steel cells no larger than two cubic metres. The work alludes to the USA state department’s “black sites” around the world – a subject the artist has been carefully following for years. Wandering among the trees, visitors can enter the unlocked cells and remember, the artist hopes, “the privilege of freedom”. Elsewhere in the exhibition are many works from throughout Jaar’s career, inviting new ways to look at familiar images. As he says: “In the curriculum, we learn to read, but not how to look at images. I want us to see.”

  • Alfredo Jaar, The Garden of Good and Evil

    Alfredo Jaar, The Garden of Good and Evil, 2017.

    Courtesy the artist, New York, a_political and YSP. Photo © Jonty Wilde.

  • Age of Terror: Art since 9/11

    Imperial War Museum, London
    Alfredo Jaar’s work is also featured among 49 others in this group exhibition, which explores how artists have responded to the “age of terror” after New York’s World Trade Center was crashed into 16 years ago. After strolling past the Imperial War Museum’s pair of 100 tonne World War II battleship guns and towering 14 metre V2 rocket on the way to this exhibition, it’s clear that today’s “war on terror” looks very different. In the show, there’s Ai Weiwei’s CCTV camera sculpted in marble, James Bridle’s outline of a drone shadow on the museum floor, Iván Navarro’s inverted neon twin towers – spectres of surveillance and anxiety from a continual state of emergency.

  • Jamal Penjweny, Saddam is Here

    Jamal Penjweny, Saddam is Here, 2009-10.

    Photograph. Courtesy The Artist and Ruya Foundation.

  • Private Collection: Unperformed Objects

    Delfina Foundation, London
    You can buy some strange things on the internet nowadays. Artist and choreographer Geumhyung Jeong has been trawling the dark corners of the web for objects to be used in her performances: car crash dummies, model genitalia, a brain wrapped in cling film, a bearded rubber head frozen mid-scream. Instead of leaving her hoard languishing in store cupboards, she’s laid it all out for inspection (and titillation) at Delfina Foundation. Next to the displays there are videos of Jeong’s previous performances, where various objects have become homemade contraptions to be danced and wrestled with – mechanical, robotic, human, menacing and fragile all at once.

  • Private Collection: Unperformed Objects, an installation by Geumhyung Jeong

    Private Collection: Unperformed Objects, an installation by Geumhyung Jeong

    Photo: Dan Weill. Courtesy of Delfina Foundation

  • Alina Szapocznikow: Human Landscapes

    The Hepworth Wakefield, Wakefield
    “Of all the manifestations of the ephemeral the human body is the most vulnerable, the only source of all joy, all suffering and all truth”, wrote artist Alina Szapocznikow in 1972. Her body knew its own share of suffering – she was sent to Auschwitz, Bergen-Belsen and Theresienstadt concentration camps as a teenager, and was diagnosed with breast cancer aged 43, a disease that killed her just four years later. In between these events though, she had a remarkable career making searingly witty and equally disconcerting sculptures of body parts: hands, bellies, lips, tumours. As the scholar Yevgeniya Traps has written, Szapocznikow created work with “the vision of one who has witnessed the dismantling of the world and improbably lived to tell of it”.

  • Alina Szapocznikow, Cendrier de Célibataire I (The Bachelor’s Ashtray I)

    Alina Szapocznikow, Cendrier de Célibataire I (The Bachelor’s Ashtray I), 1972.

    Coloured polyester resin and cigarette butts. Private collection. © ADAGP, Paris 2017. Courtesy The Estate of Alina Szapocznikow / Piotr Stanislawski / Galerie Loevenbruck, Paris. Photo Fabrice Gousset.

  • John Akomfrah: Purple

    Barbican Curve Gallery, London
    “The challenges ahead of us, of how we treat the planet and relate to matter and beings are daunting and hyperreal”. Filmmaker John Akomfrah’s latest work investigates the incremental effects of climate change around the world – from Alaska to the South Pacific. The artist combed weeks’ worth of archive footage, and interspersed his findings with spoken word, music and his own newly shot footage. The result is an overwhelming six-channel video installation, spanning from colonialism to the industrial revolution to the digital age and asking, in the artist’s words: “what is philosophically, ethically and morally at stake here if we continue on this course?”

  • John Akomfrah, still from 'Purple'

    John Akomfrah, still from 'Purple', 2017.

    © Smoking Dogs Films. Lisson Gallery.

  • Lubaina Himid: Meticulous Observations and Naming the Money

    Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool
    Ten herbalists, ten dog trainers, ten toy makers, ten viol de gamba players, ten dancers, ten drummers, ten shoemakers, ten ceramicists, ten map makers and ten painters comprise the 100 freestanding, life-size figures in Lubaina Himid’s installation work, Naming the Money. The work draws attention to the stories of black servants who supported wealthy Europeans in the 18th and 19th centuries. Now, Himid’s painted figures are filling Walker Art Gallery, mingling with the permanent collection and in the words of the artist, “combining their story with the painting they’re standing next to”.

  • Lubaina Himid: Meticulous Observations and Naming the Money at Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool.

    Lubaina Himid: Meticulous Observations and Naming the Money at Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool.

    Photo: © Gareth Jones

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