From Hokusai to Himid: the unmissable art and architecture of autumn 2021

Hokusai explodes into Britain, Sebastião Salgado paddles up the Amazon, Lubaina Himid gets a retrospective – and an eccentric postmodern bath finally opens to the public


Mixing It Up: Painting Today

Thirty-one British-based cross-generational painters feels too many for getting much of a handle on anyone’s work in this survey of both better and lesser-known artists. All play with the medium, and with what figurative painting can be, how it slides into abstraction and fantasy and back again, and what it can describe. AS
Hayward Gallery, London, 9 September-12 December

Photo London

Having been postponed from early summer, the sixth edition of Photo London finally goes ahead with exhibitions, events (in-person and online), and works on display from 91 galleries from 17 countries. Highlights include the UK premiere of Lands of Dreams by Shirin Neshat, this year’s recipient of the Master of Photography award, and Close Enough, a Robert Capa retrospective. SO’H
Somerset House, London, 9-28 September

Turner prize

In Coventry for the first time, as part of the city’s UK year of culture, the post-pandemic shortlist consists entirely of artist collectives from London, Belfast, Hastings and Cardiff, all using different kinds of social engagement – agitprop, music, film, food – in collaborative, funny, serious and absurd ways. Too much to unpack here, and I would not be surprised if they all win. AS
Herbert Art Gallery and Museum, Coventry, 29 September-12 January.

Theaster Gates: A Clay Sermon

Theaster Gates in his studio.
Ceramic concerns … Theaster Gates shows at the Whitechapel, London. Photograph: Theaster Gates

Considering clay from its transformation of mute silicates into artistic and utilitarian objects, and working with and making interventions in the V&A’s ceramic collections, Gates looks at eastern and western craft and artistic practices. As well as his own work – including film, installation and large stoneware vessels, Gates examines global trade, colonialism, slavery and abolitionism. A parallel show at White Cube and his conception of next year’s Serpentine Pavilion are all in the pot. AS
Whitechapel Gallery and other venues, London, 29 September to 9 January.

Hokusai: The Great Picture Book of Everything

A Bolt of Lightning Strikes Virūdhaka Dead by Hokusai
Energy … A Bolt of Lightning Strikes Virūdhaka Dead, by Hokusai. Photograph: The Trustees of the British Museum

The energy and flow of Hokusai’s waves, winds and volcanoes make him one of the first modern artists. Mixing Chinese landscape tradition, European perspectives and his own restlessness in early 19th-century Japan, he brought the woodblock print into a new age. Here, a rare find of original drawings gives an intimate encounter with genius. JJ
British Museum, London, 30 September-30 January.

Kikuji Kawada: Chizu (The Map)

Kikuji Kawada’s original version of Chizu (The Map), an elegiac visual meditation on the trauma of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, is the most acclaimed, ornately designed and coveted Japanese photobook – a first edition from 1965 currently changes hands for £18,500. This new edition by Mack is a facsimile of the two-volume maquette handmade by Kawada and acquired by the New York Public Library in 2001. Not as elaborate as the first edition, but a thing of dark beauty in itself. SO’H
Mack Books, published September 2021.

Alvaro Barrington

Figuration and abstraction, the legacies of minimalism and the Harlem renaissance, Robert Rauschenberg’s Combine paintings, the experiences of growing up in Grenada and New York, the digital and the handmade are all in the mix of Barrington’s steadily evolving art. As soon as you point to a reference, it has slid somewhere else. Sometimes Barrington is a poet, endlessly figuring things out. AS
South London Gallery, from 1 October.

Anish Kapoor

The celebrated sculptor shows his paintings – and they reveal him as a fan of Francis Bacon. Like the Soho master, Kapoor paints flesh turned inside out. Gory sensual streaks and smears of bloody reds and organic purples will make this an imposing, even claustrophobic and shocking journey to the butcher’s shop of the heart. JJ
Modern Art Oxford, 2 October-13 February.

Anicka Yi

Anicka Yi’s Biologizing The Machine (tentacular trouble), 2019
Investigating anxieties … Anicka Yi’s Biologizing The Machine (tentacular trouble), 2019 Photograph: Renato Ghiazza/Courtesy the artist

Korean American Anicka Yi has worked with bacteria, DNA swabs and scents. She uses anxieties about smell and infection as metaphor as much as material. In Yi’s disturbing and timely art, she considers bio-politics and the relationship between the living and non-living, microbiological processes, pathogenic spread and contagion. The interconnectedness of inside and outside, the macro and the micro might be considered sculptural and cultural as much as they are scientific. AS
Turbine Hall, Tate Modern, London, 12 October-16 January.

Sebastião Salgado: Amazônia

As the climate crisis intensifies this may be the most urgent exhibition of the year. Salgado has journeyed through the Brazilian Amazon to reveal its hidden worlds, showing how much there is still to save, and how tragic it would be to let rapacity and ignorance destroy such resources. His photographs are as rich and authoritative as great paintings. JJ
Science Museum, London, 13 October-March.

Coming Up for Air: Stephen Gill

From Talking to Ants 2009-2013 by Stephen Gill.
Experimental … from Talking to Ants 2009-2013 by Stephen Gill. Photograph: Stephen Gill

This retrospective of Bristol-born photographer Stephen Gill takes us from inner-city life in London to rural Sweden, where he now lives. Gill’s photographic experiments including burying his images in the ground, introducing pieces of detritus and live ants into the camera’s body and adulterating his photochemicals with fizzy drinks. Recent work uses remote cameras to record the teeming night-life of the forest. Gill has a magical eye. AS
Arnolfini, Bristol, 16 October-16 January.

Lucy McKenzie

Lucy McKenzie,’s Workcoats, 2010 .
Rich and surprising … Lucy McKenzie,’s Workcoats, 2010 . Photograph: Thomas Möbus/Lucy McKenzie, courtesy of the artist

Glasgow-born and Brussels-based, McKenzie might be taken for an old-fashioned exponent of trompe l’oeil and painted architectural illusions. There’s much more to her though, including her open-ended collaborative fashion design as Atelier EB with Scottish designer Beca Lipscombe. This promises a rich and surprising show. AS
Tate Liverpool, 20 October-27 March.

Late Constable

Taking us from 1825 to the artist’s death in 1837, from the clouds over Hampstead and south coast storms at sea, Stonehenge undisturbed and falling down and an impossible rainbow, Constable’s late work, skirmishing with light and intemperate weather and reveals as much about the artist’s state of mind as his subjects. From the closely observed to the hugely dramatic, there’s nothing bucolic here. AS
Royal Academy, London, 30 October-13 February.

Known and Strange: Photographs from the Collection

A deep dive into the V&A’s collection of contemporary art photography that aims to show how the medium can subvert and transform the familiar into something more resonant and even unsettling. Expect a wide range of approaches, from Mitch Epstein’s portraits of New York’s oldest trees to Tereza Zelenkova’s darkly enigmatic monochrome tableaux that reference Victorian spirit photography, superstition and folklore. SO’H
Victoria and Albert Museum, London, from 6 November.

Our Silver City, 2094

The future has happened and it’s bleak. The river has risen and there are seasons of fire. Imagine the blackened stumps of Sherwood, the evacuations, the shortages and the new religions. The result of conversations and speculations by school students, geographers, climate scientists, artists and a novelist, Our Silver City, 2094 takes place in what was once an art gallery, now a home to a new culture, filled with repurposed artefacts, ghostly radio transmissions and – God forbid – a new spirituality. AS
Nottingham Contemporary, 20 November-18 April.

Dürer’s Journeys

Albrecht Dürer was the most curious artist of the Renaissance, drawing a rhinoceros, risking his life to see a beached whale, awestruck by Aztec art and, visiting Venice, feasting his eyes on good-looking soldiers. This is an eye-opening encounter with the truly open mind of Nuremberg’s answer to Leonardo da Vinci. JJ
National Gallery, London, 20 November-27 February.

Lubaina Himid

Lubaina Himid’s Freedom and Change, 1984.
Restless and radical … Lubaina Himid’s Freedom and Change, 1984. Photograph: Matt Greenwood/Tate/Lubaina Himid

The most convincing recent winner of the Turner Prize is also the oldest, receiving it in 2017 in her 60s. Now she has a retrospective of her radical and restless art that shows why she so stands out, moving easily – yet never comfortably – from painting to installation to conceptual analysis with a raw Hogarthian edge. JJ
Tate Modern, London, 25 November-3 July.

Derek Jarman

In his film Caravaggio, this inimitable British visionary portrayed the great baroque artist as queer outlaw. His own artworks have a visceral intensity that has much in common with Caravaggio: brutal, slashing paint congested with emotive, poetic found stuff. His films, cross-cutting punk and Christopher Marlowe, popularised the moving image as art. JJ
Manchester Art Gallery and Home, 1 December-10 April.

Kehinde Wiley

a still from Kehinde Wiley’s In Search of the Miraculous, 2021.
Provocative remake … a still from Kehinde Wiley’s In Search of the Miraculous, 2021. Photograph: Kehinde Wiley/Stephen Friedman Gallery and Galerie Templon.

The artist who painted Barack Obama’s official portrait takes on the European canon in one of its holiest temples. Wiley dives into the National Gallery’s collection of sublime landscapes to provocatively remake the Romanticism of Turner and Friedrich. This should be an explosive encounter that brings a venerable gallery kicking and screaming into now. JJ
National Gallery, London, 10 December-18 April.


The Cosmic House, London

From its oval entrance lobby lined with a disorienting array of mirrored doors, to the whirlpool bath shaped like an upside-down baroque dome, the house of the late architectural theorist Charles Jencks is a beguiling postmodern fantasy. This autumn, it is opening to the public for the first time. Don’t miss the library, designed as a “city of books”, with shelves reflecting the different styles of the architects whose books they house. OW
19 Lansdowne Walk, London, from 24 September.

Munch Museum, Oslo, by Estudio Herreros

The new Munch museum.
Forbidding … the new Munch museum. Photograph: Adrià Goula

“Sickness, madness, and death were the black angels that guarded my crib,” wrote Edvard Munch. The tormented Norwegian painter has a suitably forbidding new home, looming above Oslo’s waterfront in the form of a crooked grey watchtower. Clad in a ghostly shroud of perforated aluminium, bent at the top as if peering down over the harbour, the Munch Museum provides 13 floors to show the collection of almost 27,000 works. OW
Bjørvika, Oslo, opens 22 October.

Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam, by MVRDV

Salad days … Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen.
Salad days … Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen. Photograph: Ossip van Duivenbode

A surreal thicket of trees pokes above the top of the new Boijmans Depot in Rotterdam, like lettuce leaves sticking out of a gigantic salad bowl. This huge mirror-polished vessel is a new open-storage facility for the city’s illustrious Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, where the public will be able to see its entire 150,000-item collection, alongside restorers and archivists in action. OW
Museumpark, Rotterdam, from 6 November.

F51, Folkestone, by Hollaway Studio

Concrete bowls and half-pipes bulge from the cafe ceiling of F51 in Folkestone, signalling the presence of the world’s first vertical skatepark overhead. Billed as an “adrenaline building”, this dramatic new youth hub will house facilities for skateboarding, BMX, climbing, bouldering, boxing and more – in a building that was originally planned to be a multistorey car park. OW
Opens November.

House of Hungarian Music, Budapest, by Sou Fujimoto

Looking like a great big floppy crumpet resting on top of the trees, the new House of Hungarian Music is a curious new arrival to Budapest’s City Park. Its circular rooftop is perforated with a constellation of different-shaped holes, creating a network of courtyards and light wells to illuminate the spaces for concerts and exhibitions on musical history, along with a library and offices. OW
City Park, Budapest, opens December.


Adrian Searle, Jonathan Jones , Oliver Wainwright and Sean O’Hagan

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