Head down to one of the thousands of things to do in London today taking place all across the capital. We've picked our favourite things to get you started and, if you're making plans for things to do this weekend too, check out our guides to what's on in London this Friday, this Saturday and this Sunday.
RECOMMENDED: read the full Time Out London hot list here
Frying pans at the ready. Pancake Dayis here meaning some of London's best restaurants will be going flipping mad. Others will be perfecting their toss at a pancake race, whether sprinting towards the finish line or just spectating. Here's our guide to Pancake Day and our pick of the best races, celebrations and other events across the capital.
Monochrome painting still manages to have a power. It can shock, it can disappoint and sometimes, when you’re lucky, it can open up the possibilities of painting all over again. Brazilian artist Fernanda Gomes goes for the third option. Emptiness that is somehow full. Totally, monochromatically, lovely.
Calling all cheese lovers! Sample organic cheese for free and ‘pay what you can’ to take a slice home at this five-day pop-up cheese café and open house. But, this is a cheese with a twist. While snacking on the smelly stuff you’ll be able to enter the world of the mysterious cheesemaker Mr Armstrong. Here cheese meets art as visitors explore Mr Armstrong's deserted home to discover clues about his life. No booking required.
Pancake Day's most high-profile tossers are back for 2017 for this fundraiser which pits teams comprised of MPs, Lords and members of the press against each other. Now in its twentieth year, the race is organised by the charity Rehab, which helps people with mental and physical disabilities and the vulnerable to rebuild independent lives. This being parliament, oversight is of course necessary in the form of some strict rules: participants must flip pancakes continuously around the course as part of a relay team; 'gentlemanly and gentlewomanly behaviour will be strictly observed at all times'; 'frying pans must not be used as weapons or as a means of making unseemly gestures, whatever the depth of provocation or the nature of the party at the root of the provocation'; and 'any surplus eggs, flour or batter must not be propelled in the direction of other participants or spectators.' It's free to spectate and usually thronged with photographers eager to capture the honourable members getting competitive while wearing silly hats. Those representing the honour of the Houses of Parliament in 2017 will be announced in time.
The City Livery Company of Poulters bringing together teams drawn from livery companies linked in some way to pancakes (the Poulters take the eggs, the Fruiterers the lemons and the Cutlers the plastic forks), as well as the Mansion House, Guildhall and Old Bailey for its annual Shrove Tuesday race. The event creates, then skewers a traditional atmosphere of pomp and ceremony, as competitors dress in their ostentatious regalia as well as fancy dress. The winning team of four gets a commemorative frying pan. Money raised from the event is donated to the Lord Mayor’s Charity.
Participants in this annual charity race through the cobbled streets of Spitalfields are in for a flipping good time on Shrove Tuesday. This very silly fundraiser for the London Air Ambulance will see teams of four in fancy dress grab their crepes and run in pursuit of taking home the winner's frying pan, which is specially engraved. Entrants should register in advance by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org (or enter on the day if they bring a donation) and will be rewarded with hot pancakes. Arrive at 12.15pm for a 12.30pm start.
The Queen of Hoxton's party-friendly rooftop is open for Pancake Day celebrations. A six-hour batter fest on the roof will serve up a delectable Shrove Tuesday menu including whisky maple syrup pulled pork pancakes and buttermilk pancakes with caramelised banana, strawberry, chocolate & caramel sauce for those with a sweet tooth.
Local businesses from the Bankside area had better get their best pan-wielders ready for the 2017 edition of this annual race. The winner is the first team past the post with more than a third of the pancake still in their pan. Live music will accompany the action and Borough Market's regular traders will be serving up piles of pancakes. Teams of four are encouraged to raise sponsorship, and spectators to give donations; all money collected will go to local charity Paintings in Hospitals.
Are your tossing skills hot enough to enter the legendary Leadenhall Market pancake race? Competitors must flip their way around the historic 14th century market. Those who tackle the 20m course successfully could be in with the chance of winning a meal worth £75 at The Lamb Tavern as well as the coveted frying pan trophy. The races start outside The Lamb Tavern. Entry is free. Teams must register in advance or on the day at The Lamb Tavern or by email to email@example.com.
Get involved in some Flippin’ Good Pancake races at Greenwich Market. Practice at the Flippin' Big Warm Up (Sat Feb 25) and see if you can toss your way to the grand final on Shrove Tuesday. Pancakes are served on both days, and there's medals to be won. Entry as a team or on your own is free, but donations to Greenwich and Bexley Community Hospice are gratefully received. Teams should register by email firstname.lastname@example.org. Pancakes and pans are provided.
Join Canalside's pancake party at Here East in Hackney Wick. At the day-long batter-bash you'll be able to sample unique pancake dishes from the likes of Breakfast Club, Mother and Gotto Trattoria; join pancake races; and test out your tossing skills in flipping and tasting competitions. Entertainment and games will also be included in the action from noon to 7pm.
Amazing curator Carey Newsom persuaded 26 teenagers to let a photographer document their bedrooms: now you're invited in to see the results at this exhibition on the museum's concourse. Like homes inside of homes, each room reflects the person who created it, as well as commenting on how how teenagers handle the new privacy created by social media, smartphone tech - and the surprising resurgence of letters and vinyl.
The Saatchi Gallery's recent show of all-female artists, Champagne Life, was sold on gender. Painters’ Painters offers a line-up of nine male artists, yet it is presented as a showcase of cutting-edge contemporary painting. What kind of message does that send? In many ways, Painters’ Painters feels like a bit of a lost opportunity. Artists who use the medium are often dismissed as too traditional, rarely catching the curator’s interest, and so an exhibition of living painters who are pushing boundaries is exactly what we need right now. The set up is ambitious, with each artist getting a room dedicated to his work. It starts out hopeful with the large scale-figuration of LA painter Raffi Kalenderian. With wonky use of perspective and marbled tree-ring patterns, his canvases appear to pulsate. The drawing feels off-key at times, but his hypnotic style and garish use of green draws you in. Less appealing are the crude scenes of Martin Maloney: women rambunctiously painted in supermarkets and garden centres with McDonald’s-yellow hair and blue noses, as though drawn by a child who has run out of flesh pink crayon. The room might attack the senses, but the ‘intentionally bad’ bad-art trope has been seen too many times to now feel transgressive. Dexter Dalwood, however, pulls it out of the bag; by blending photographic elements, cartoon-strip graphics and classic techniques, Dalwood reimagines the abandoned homes of celebrities. His painting ‘Kurt Cobain’s Greenhouse’ reads lik
Somehow, more than 100 years after someone first painted a canvas a single colour and thought ‘yeah, that’ll do’, monochrome painting still manages to have a power. It can shock, it can disappoint and sometimes, when you’re lucky, it can open up the possibilities of painting all over again. Brazilian artist Fernanda Gomes goes for the third option. The main room in this show of pure white works is filled with white squares and rectangles painted on cheap wooden slabs. Some are flat to the wall, others at angles. One is just stretched white mesh over a frame, another has canvas peeling away from the wood beneath. The best work isn’t even a painting, it’s a freakin’ optical illusion! It’s just an empty bloody frame! What this all does is imply painting. She sees how far she can pull materials away while still retaining the idea of a work on canvas. She forces you to ask if this is a painting, or a metaphor for painting? Or, maybe, is it just nothing? These two rooms are contemplative spaces of modernist minimal calm. Emptiness that is somehow full. Totally, monochromatically, lovely. @eddyfrankel
The only chance you'll get in the UK to see the work of French-born artist Henri Barande, who sought total anonymity for fifty years. Two decades ago American curator and critic David Galloway persuaded Barande to share his output but the artist will still only show his work once in a single country. The show's open for less than a month, so get your skates on.
The first major photography show in the Engine Rooms at Tower Bridge will feature new work by the celebrated chronicler of British weirdness. What to expect? The exhibition's title is probably a giveaway.
The Guerrilla Girls are some of the art world’s most creative complainers, and for over 30 years now, they have been handing America’s galleries their arses on a platter. For their show at the Whitechapel Gallery, they’ve turned their attentions to Europe. This entire exhibition is based on a survey they sent out to 400 art institutions across 29 countries on the continent. In it, they demand stats for their representation of female artists, those who are gender non-conforming and artists of colour. Spoiler: it doesn’t go well. As the Guerrilla Girls announce on a banner on the front of the Whitechapel building, ‘only one quarter’ of those contacted responded (disappointingly, the Serpentine and the Saatchi Gallery were among the no-shows). The completed questionnaires are pasted onto the gallery wall, filled with the urgently scrawled handwriting of gallery directors. Put your contacts in, because there’s a whole lot of reading required for this show. Colourful posters pull out some of the best responses; when asked if it was the first time they’d collected such stats, Manchester Art Gallery replied: ‘No, we talk about these issues a lot’ – but the Guerrillas point out that their collection is still ‘80 percent male and 85 percent white’. The average representation of women artists was a pathetic 22 percent. One of the few glimmers of hope was Poland, where that figure was 28 percent and all but one of the responding galleries had a female director. Informative as all
Look out the window. How is it out there? Grey? Miserable? Is there a low-hanging, neverending blanket of suffocating cloud pressing down on the whole city? Of course there is. This is London. But in one chichi corner of Mayfair, the sun’s out. Modernist master and Bauhaus pioneer Josef Albers painted a lot of geometric abstract square stuff, and this show is dedicated to his particular obsession with yellow, orange and gold. It’s a warm hug of an exhibition, bottled (or framed) sunshine. Each canvas here features diminishing soft-toned squares, overlapping and vanishing, all in the same configuration: big square, medium square, little square. There are sketches on paper alongside them, and a brilliant little sheet of notes and paint-tests where he’s scribbled his thoughts on the various shades, including a big ‘NO!’ over some beige. Amen, Josef. It all shows how singular, driven, ordered and monomaniacal he was in his quest for pure geometry, pure colour, pure art. That’s what elevates this above what’s on the canvas – the passion and drive, the obsession at its heart. There are imperfections here, lines that wobble, paint that’s smeared. I used to hate this in Albers’s work, wishing that he’d just been more precise, more computer-like. But it’s human, and that reminds you that beauty doesn’t have to be perfect, it’s a process. It’s such a simple, calm, reductive and warming show, you’ll feel like you’re getting a tan. Don’t be fooled, it’s not real, this is London. I
His story probably isn’t that different to yours. Do Ho Suh was born in South Korea, left to study in America, settled in New York, moved to Berlin for a bit then chose London as his home. Maybe your journey hasn’t taken you as far, but Macclesfield to Balham is still an uprooting. The point is, we’ve all moved, we’ve all had to leave ‘home’ to make new lives for ourselves at some point. Those moments of upheaval are Do Ho Suh’s total obsession and he uses his art to memorialise the places he’s lived in. In the opening room of his show at Victoria Miro, he has stitched coloured mesh fabric together, recreating the doors and staircases of his past studios and homes. They are like pressed flowers, steamrollered on to paper. They’re 3D sculptures that have been flattened on to 2D planes, as if these doors and staircases have been crushed flat by some temporal anomaly, a catastrophic accident in space, a dimensional apocalypse. Upstairs, he’s turned doorknobs and fuse boxes into fabric sculptures on eerily gleaming lightboxes. A film in the back room captures a walk around his north London neighbourhood from his kid’s-eye level. The works are pretty, but they’re the weakest part of the show. It’s on the top floor that his ideas really start to envelop you. Suddenly, all those 2D visions of lost architectural spaces erupt into 3D rooms. These are perfect life-size recreations of corridors from his life, arranged end to end in gently undulating, pastel-coloured mesh fabrics. Yo
Sigmar Polke was a vital, angry, powerful voice in twentieth-century art. The German artist was a dissenting presence, a real middle finger bobbing along in art’s sea of yes men. He always followed his own path, and this show brings together a whole bunch of pour-paintings that are immediately and recognisably Polke. The works were made by pouring paint onto prepared black paper. They’re simple, obvious things, abstract and direct. You’re forced to concentrate on the paint itself. It glitters and reflects, but also washes into the black. It’s like Polke was making images that were almost designed to not exist, as if they’re on the verge of melting away. They’re twisting, undulating, globby stains – primal, male stuff, you know? They’re ectoplasmic, ghostly splooges of milky abstraction. They’re pretty and everything, but they lack teeth. It’s a little like Polke de-clawed, pawing gently at some paper. It’s a pleasure to be in the presence of Polke’s work, as ever, but these are stains that maybe never needed to be spilled.
Sometimes it’s hard to see beyond the shtick. Gavin Turk’s shtick especially. He’s the guy whose degree show was just a blue plaque with his name on it (he failed), the guy who thinks rubbish bags are art, the guy who reckons his signature is a masterpiece in itself, the guy who put himself on the cover of ‘Hello!’ magazine. But all those headlines obscure the truth that beyond the shtick, schlock and schmaltz, Turk is a quiet, clever, passionate and maybe even – whisper it – important artist. Fellow YBA and shtick master Damien Hirst has been collecting Turk’s work for years, and this mini-retrospective is pulled entirely from his own collection and shown in his natty Vauxhall gallery space. The show opens with Turk’s signature. It’s carved into thick card, laid out as a blueprint for a country garden, and scrawled across the wall. It’s even splattered across a whole room of canvasses as he does a little turn as Jackson Pollock. Then he’s plonked himself on the cover of ‘Hello!’. Never mind that it’s handmade, out of focus and that he’d done naff all to warrant a magazine cover at this point in his career – Turk was myth-building. The massive central space in the gallery is given to ‘Cave’, the notorious blue plaque. It’s a bold, obscene, ridiculous, funny waste of space that totally undermines what a gallery’s meant to be used for. Upstairs, Turk casts himself as Sid Vicious in Warhol-esque paintings, or as statues of sailors, tramps and horseguards. There’s a huge
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This Stoney Street deli-cum-café is the first UK venture from a popular Italian mini-chain - they've got branches in Venice, Turin and Florence, too. All offer an insight into the produce and food of Puglia, a famous culinary region in the south of Italy. And this place certainly looks the part. Its sleek, contemporary design is softened by bunches of rosemary, wicker baskets and some cool little tables made from wooden palettes, covered in glass. Think Milan doing Country Living and you won't go far wrong. There's plenty of produce available to buy, ranging from sweet pastries and tarts to various focaccia breads, pizzas and pastas from Puglia and plenty of cheese - including burrata, one of the region's most famous exports. There's plenty of olive oil too, as well as a good selection of Puglian wine - available to drink in or buy by the bottle to take away.
Venue says: “Join us for an authentic southern-Italian experience in the heart of London!”