This week: five top art shows to see

14 – 20 October

Published 14 October 2016

From a road trip chasing presidents’ hometowns in the USA, to galleries filled with pebbles, trees and dancers, we explore the best art for the week ahead.

  • Marisa J. Futernick: '13 Presidents'

    Arnolfini, Bristol, 18 October – 13 November
    “I think all agree this has been a rough week in an already rough election”, began Michelle Obama’s New Hampshire speech on Thursday. Amidst the tempest of this “rough election”, Marisa J. Futernick’s project is a timely and contemplative exploration of presidents’ histories in the United States. The RA Schools alumni drove 10,000 miles across North America, writing short stories about the country’s leaders and photographing their hometowns and resting places. A selection of images from the resulting book of the same name are displayed in an installation at Arnolfini. Futernick is also giving a series of talks about the project in the coming weeks, including a date on election night itself.

  • Marisa J Futernick, Image from 13 Presidents

    Marisa J Futernick, Image from 13 Presidents, 2014-2016.

    Courtesy of the artist.

  • 'I Am For You Can Enjoy'

    FACT, Liverpool, 19 – 30 October
    As curator of the city’s Homotopia festival film programme at FACT last year, Khalil West remarked: “I think that there’s a huge focus on making gay identity and gay lifestyles sanitised and clean and easily commodified. In that, we lose a lot of representation of other identities which don’t fit that homo–normative archetype.” For this year’s festival the cultural activist, writer and sex worker returns to FACT to present his new project with photographer Ajamu. I Am For You To Enjoy is a “living archive” of portraits and interviews exploring the diverse lives, work and perspectives of queer black men involved in the sex trade.

  • Khalil West and Ajamu, I Am For You Can Enjoy

    Khalil West and Ajamu, I Am For You Can Enjoy

    Image by Ian Brooke

  • Njideka Akunyili Crosby: 'Portals'

    Victoria Miro, London, until 5 November
    Akunyili Crosby’s large–scale figurative compositions entice the eye to move closer, to squint at the snippets of contemporary culture that constitute her work. The LA–based, Nigerian–born artist gathers images from magazines, advertisements and the internet, as well her own photo archive, and applies them to paper surfaces using an acetone transfer technique that makes the surface seem luminous. Quotidian, subtle, domestic scenes are filled with dense, complex patterns made up of Nollywood stars, white-wigged lawyers and military dictators. As Catherine Murphy, the artist’s teacher at Yale University School of Art, said recently: “The layering of information draws the viewer into worlds within worlds within worlds … [Her] paintings are a unique response to a situation that is both personal and global.”

  • Njideka Akunyili Crosby, Ike Ya

    Njideka Akunyili Crosby, Ike Ya, 2016.

    Acrylic, transfers, colored pencils, and charcoal on paper. 213.4 x 233.7 cm. Courtesy the artist and Victoria Miro, London. © Njideka Akunyili Crosby.

  • Idris Khan

    Whitworth, Manchester, until 19 March 2017
    Repetition of action and process forms the guiding tenet of Birmingham–born Idris Khan’s practice. In this solo show of several recent pivotal works, there is the same music score by Stravinksky, the same words written in thick oil into a Malevich–inspired square, the same texts scrawled and photographed on a chalkboard. His work grapples with central texts and images of art history, music, philosophy, religion and theology. Of the latter two interests, the artist acknowledges how his father’s Islamic religion further informs his practice: “I can’t ignore the influences, the repetition – there has to be a connection to my early life. The way you read the Qur’an is a page a week. The same word, the same page.”

  • Idris Khan, installation view at Whitworth, Manchester, 2016.

    Idris Khan, installation view at Whitworth, Manchester, 2016.

  • Otobong Nkanga

    Nottingham Contemporary, Nottingham, 15 October – 15 January 2017
    “They have invaded our land/and displaced the stones of demarcation. We broke their wall and are ready/to take back what is ours.” So reads one of the poems written by visual and performance artist Otobong Nkanga for her sensory installation, Taste of a Stone (2010–2016), presented in a new version for this solo show. Addressing the value of natural resources, Nkanga creates a haptic environment of pebbles, boulders and trees, populated by local storytellers and musicians. Two other site–specific works engulf whole rooms with drawing, tapestry and sculpture, evoking not just the stories of people, but also landscape, place and nature.

  • Otobang Nkanga, Taste of a Stone: Itiat Esa Ufok

    Otobang Nkanga, Taste of a Stone: Itiat Esa Ufok, 2013.

    Installation view at Sharjah Biennial 11.

  • Alice Primrose is an editorial intern at RA Magazine.