Every October, London’s art scene explodes, with hundreds of exhibitions vying for our attention. Eddy Frankel picks the best shows to see
Science fiction, Chinese politics and contemporary art get mashed together in this heady exhibition. ‘Zhongguo 2185’ includes a giant inflatable head and a supermarket filled with brand new consumer goods packaging, which is totally empty. A way too relatable insight into another society. ‘Zhongguo 2185’ at Sadie Coles HQ. Tube: Oxford Circus. Until Nov 4. Free.
Icy portraits of plain but glamorously beautiful figures have made Alex Katz one of the most celebrated figurative painters alive today. This show promises sneak peeks, not just at some newer sculptures but some rare early drawings. Cool for Katz, cool for us. Alex Katz at Timothy Taylor. Tube: Bond St. Tue Oct 3-Nov 18. Free.
Back in 1993, Rachel Whiteread was the first woman to win the Turner Prize. She’s gone on to become a unique voice in contemporary art, creating ghostly and imposing works based on casting the ‘negative spaces’ of objects. This show proves she’s one of the best British sculptors around. Rachel Whiteread at Tate Britain. Tube: Pimlico. Until Jan 21 2018. £15, £13.10 concs.
Ann Veronica Janssens uses light, fog and projections to create mesmerisingly immersive installations. She sees her work as a form of hypnosis, but it’s basically the best mood lighting ever. Ann Veronica Janssens at White Cube Bermondsey. Tube: London Bridge. Until Nov 12. Free.
Peter Liversidge is organising a day of stand-up comedy (with Phill Jupitus), a day of live music and a big choral performance – all in a bid to explore the way performance can be sculptural and vice versa. Sounds waffly but will actually be a lot of (that great art rarity) fun. Peter Liversidge at CGP London. Tube: Canada Water. Until Oct 29. Free.
6. Loads of immersive art
The Vinyl Factory is putting together some seriously impressive-looking things in this big former office building. There’s a screening of Arthur Jafa’s heart-wrenching paean to black America, ‘Love Is the Message, the Message Is Death’, an immersive installation by the brilliant Ryoji Ikeda and a show of video and installation art called ‘Everything at Once’ organised with the Lisson Gallery. Various shows at The Store at 180 Strand. Tube: Temple. Thu Oct 5-Dec 10. Free.
He hung out with Warhol and Blondie, he was one half of graffiti duo SAMO, he made hip hop records, he starred in films, but most of all, Jean-Michel Basquiat painted. This is the first major UK show of the pioneering American artist, who died aged just 27 in 1988, and it shows that we lost a massive talent way too soon. ‘Basquiat: Boom for Real’ at the Barbican. Tube: Barbican. Until Jan 28 2018. £16, £12 concs.
Jasper Johns is a living bridge between po-faced modernism and conceptual art. By breaking with one and helping to inaugurate the other, he has influenced thousands of artists. And he helped invent pop art too. ‘Jasper Johns: Something Resembling Truth’ at the Royal Academy of Arts. Tube: Piccadilly Circus. Until Dec 10. £17, £12 concs.
Katharina Grosse’s first institutional show will see her covering the walls and floors of the gorgeous South London Gallery in her signature swathes of paint for a site-specific and mega-colourful installation. It’ll look great, but, boy, will it be a headache to clean up. ‘Katharina Grosse: This Drove My Mother up the Wall’ at the South London Gallery. Peckham Rye Overground. Until Dec 3. Free.
Polish artist Marcin Dudek was a teenage football hooligan, involved in all the most violent aspects of the game. His work deals with that history of brutality, and it’s a real punch in the gut. ‘Marcin Dudek: Steps and Marches’ at Edel Assanti. Tube: Tottenham Court Rd. Until Nov 4. Free.
Young art star Ed Fornieles designs computer programs that are built to push the limits of humanity’s digital experience. There’s a VR porn installation where the person you’re shagging constantly changes gender, shape and race, for example. Yeah, that kind of thing. ‘Ed Fornieles: Seed’ at Carlos/Ishikawa. Tube: Stepney Green. Until Oct 28. Free.
Willem de Kooning was one of the big stars of the Royal Academy’s Abstract Expressionism show last year. But you don’t need a major institution and £18 tickets to see his work: come see these later paintings in a way more intimate setting. ‘De Kooning: Late Paintings’ at Skarstedt Gallery. Tube: Green Park. Until Nov 25. Free.
Get ready for deceptively simple, but perfectly gorgeous, semi-abstract art. The Milan-based Du Pasquier plays on her past in both art and design to create clever still lifes and abstract canvases that are a total riot of colours and shapes. And they’re freakin’ lovely. ‘Nathalie Du Pasquier: Other Rooms’ at Camden Arts Centre. Tube: Finchley Rd. Until Jan 14 2018. Free.
Ever had your printer jam? American artist Wade Guyton has, and he’s managed to turn it into a career. His works push printers to their limits to create layered technological abstractions. ‘Wade Guyton: Das New Yorker Atelier, Abridged’ at the Serpentine Gallery. Tube: Holland Park. Until Feb 4 2018. Free.
Find more great art right here.