Culture Diary w/c 18-11-2019

Alex Leigh, Untitled

Our pick of this week’s arts, design, film and music events from around the North of England and the rest of the UK – and loads of it’s free!

Monday – Hostile Environment: Maya Goodfellow in conversation 6.30pm @ the Bluecoat, Liverpool – £8/£5

That our government brazenly advocates for the creation of a “hostile environment” as part of its immigration policy beggars belief. That large swathes of society blithely accept this state of affairs is worse still. How did we get here? Must things remain as they are? Catch author Maya Goodfellow tonight at the Bluecoat, as she discusses her book Hostile Environment: How Immigrants Became Scapegoats. Crafted out of interviews with policy-makers, asylum seekers, and immigration lawyers, Goodfellow looks at the cost of deeply racist and dehumanising policies.

Tuesday – The Amazing Johnathan Documentary + Q&A with director Benjamin Berman, in conversation with Louis Theroux (by satellite) 6.15pm @ FACT Liverpool – £14.20

Five years ago, John Edward Szeles (AKA magician/comedian, The Amazing Johnathan) was diagnosed with a serious heart condition and given a bleak prognosis of just one year left to live. Three years on from what seemed a certain death sentence, Johnathan is back and on tour, with documentarian Benjamin Berman in tow to capture the incredible – miraculous? – comeback. Led a merry dance, we follow Berman as he ponders whether he’s going to capture Jonathan’s death mid-act, or catch him in the tangled web of a hoax, as he attempts to separate illusion and ‘magic’ from reality.


Wednesday – Exhibition Opening: Dora Maar @ Tate Modern, London – £13

Surrealism – understandably, deservedly – gets a bad rap for its representation of women as muse and/or subject matter alone. Dora Maar, for example, is perhaps best-known today for playing both in the creation of Picasso’s 1937 painting, Weeping Woman. She was a painter and photographer in her in own right, however, and this new Tate Modern exhibition sets about revealing the breadth of Maar’s career. Declaring it “The most comprehensive retrospective of Dora Maar ever held”, the exhibition includes commercial commissions, social documentary photographs, and paintings – “key aspects of her practice”, goes the press release copy, “which have, until now, remained little known”.

Thursday – Exhibition Opening: Here and How? – an exhibition curated by STOCK Gallery @ the Motion Sickness Project Space, Cambridge –FREE

Curated by Manchester-based Stock Gallery, Here and How? sees a group of artists from the North West of England rock up in Cambridge, a city not necessarily known for its contemporary art scene. It was this very factor that gave rise to Cambridge School of Art graduates Denise Kehoe, Eleanor Breeze and Arabella Hilfiker establishing Motion Sickness, who are hosting the exhibition. With artists exhibiting sculpture (Alex Leigh), painting and new media works (Kieron Healy), the  group show purports to explore “the ‘what is hot’ and ‘what is not’ in psychologically- testing and emotionally-draining perks of our current realities”. Check it out.


Big Joanie 7pm @ EBGB’s, Liverpool – £8.50

What’s not to love about London garage/punk trio Big Joanie? Not least their influences. In their own words, “We’re like The Ronettes filtered through 80s DIY and riot grrrl with a sprinkling of dashikis”, and they’re not kidding. Alongside The Ronettes, they site Nirvana, Breeders and Jesus and Mary Chain as inspirations, but they’re nothing if not their own band – formed in 2013, they did so to be “completely ourselves as black women and discover what was possible”.

Friday – Exhibition Closing: They Live: A Visual and Cultural Awakening @ Dorothy, Liverpool – FREE

A small team with a nice line in pop culture driven products, Liverpool design studio Dorothy also regularly present exhibitions in their ground floor space, open to visitors during the week. Currently on display is They Live: A Visual and Cultural Awakening, which marks the launch of a book of the same name. Celebrating the legacy of the 1988 John Carpenter film, the exhibition includes movie stills, Carpenter and the cast, assorted printed matter, ephemera and, of course, the film itself. Catch it while you can. Read our feature on They Live here.


Design Manchester: SMART – The DM19 Conference 10am @ The Bridgewater Hall, Manchester – £ Various

Subtitled ‘Smart thinking, thinking Smart’, this conference considers “the resourceful, the nimble, the canny, the people who can lift or shapeshift an idea and inspire us to move forward”. Including talks, workshops, seminars, and Q&As, hear from the likes of D&AD’s Patrick Burgoyne (in host mode), Cosey Fanni Tutti (in conversation with writer Jon Savage), Clive Russell and Charlie Waterhouse of Extinction Rebellion. Also look out for our friends from Rare Mags, purveyors of specialist printed matter. From the archive: Introducing Rare Mags.

The Critical Fish Issue 2 Launch 6pm @ 16 Humber Street, Hull – FREE

A critical and research-led Arts Journal based in Hull, this week sees The Critical Fish launch issue number two. A platform not simply for writing of a critical nature, inside the journal’s pages you will find art works, articles, poems and interviews. The launch coincides with this week’s City of Culture Conference hosted by the University of Hull. Titled Cultural Transformations – What’s Next? Issues and Challenges for Future Cities of Culture from the evaluation of Hull UK City of Culture 2017, it is essential that publications such as The Critical Fish are on hand to bear witness and respond. (Plus, look out for us in this issue!)

Saturday – Art Assembly 12pm, sites across Walthamstow

This one-day arts festival sees some of the brightest and best congregate on Walthamstow, to celebrate and explore pioneering projects working to enhance their locales. They include London’s Arts Catalyst, Grizedale Arts, Heart of Glass/the vacuum cleaner (based in St. Helens) and Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art (MIMA). Situated in venues and spaces within walking distance of the William Morris Gallery, check out current exhibition Pioneers: William Morris and the Bauhaus.

Sunday – Russian Film Week Opening Night and Party 6pm @ ODEON, Leicester Square, London – £ Various

Battleship Potemkin, Stalker, Solaris; The Return, Russian Ark, Leviathan – all remarkable films, each of them Russian. Taking place in venues across London, Russian Film Week returns to showcase the latest in Russian cinema, offering audiences an opportunity to get in on the ground floor of the next international breakthrough. Alongside the dozens of long- and short-form films, expect talks and masterclasses, an exhibition and, of course, parties.

Mike Pinnington

Images and media from top: Alex Leigh, Untitled 2019 (detail); Dora Maar, Untitled (Hand-Shell) 1934 © Estate of Dora Maar / DACS 2019, All Rights Reserved; They Live exhibition, © Dorothy; The Critical Fish; Russian Film Week trailer

Posted on 18/11/2019 by thedoublenegative