December diary: this month’s must-see events and exhibitions

1 December 2017
Reading Time
5 minute read

And suddenly, it’s December! The holidays are within reach, and if – like us – you’re hoping to find some time amid merry lunches to sneak away for some culture, there are plenty of events to take in. We’ve rounded up ten of our must-see exhibitions and shows, five in the UK and five around the world, that are sure to provide some creative inspiration.

Tove Jansson (1914-2001)
25 October — 28 January 2018 
Dulwich Picture Gallery, London

If you haven’t paid a visit to the Dulwich Picture Gallery’s exhibition on Moomin creator and fascinating artist, Tove Jansson, fear not! December is the perfect time for Moomin fans, as on 16 and 17 December the gallery is hosting A Moomin Winter’s Day full of drop-in activities such as Meet a Moomin and hosting Scandinavian Stories, that Tove would have grown up with as a child. 

London International Animation Festival
1 – 10 December
The Barbican, The Horse Hospital and Close-up Film Centre

The 10-day festival returns for its 14th year, screening over 200 of the best recent, historical and retrospective animated shorts and features from around the world. Aiming to challenge the notion that animation is all CGI and kids shows, the range of films displays myriad techniques from hand-drawn, puppets, collage and sculpture to painted glass, and even sand and salt. Irish filmmaker David O’Reilly, who has worked with Spike Jonze and MIA, and guest-directed an episode of Adventure Time, is opening the festival. See the full schedule here.

Making Himself Claire: Grayson Perry’s Dresses
4 November 2017 – 4 February 2018
Walker Museum, Liverpool

Drool your way through Grayson Perry’s extremely fabulous wardrobe of dresses.

Rose Wylie: Quack Quack
30 November 2017 – 11 Feb 2018
Serpentine Sackler Gallery, London

Quack Quack includes paintings dating from the late 1990s to the present day – some never previously exhibited. Rose Wylie often paints from memory, incorporating text to enhance facts. Having been born in the 1930s, the British artist’s paintings are a documentation of her daily encounters and "a variety of sources, from art history, cinema, comic books and the natural world to news, verbal anecdotes, celebrity stories and sport.” 

From Life
11 December 2017 – 11 March 2018
Royal Academy, London

From Life will take a look at the history and significance of life drawing throughout history and its ongoing relationship with artists today. Alongside a room devoted to Jeremy Deller’s Iggy Pop Life Class, which took place at the Brooklyn Museum in 2016, it will show contemporary work in diverse media by various artists including Lucian Freud and his studio assistant David Dawson, Jonathan Yeo, and numerous Royal Academicians who continue to interrogate the practice of working from life, among them Jenny Saville, Chantal Joffe, Antony Gormley and Gillian Wearing.

Jimmie Durham: At the Centre of the World
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, USA
3 Nov – 29 January, 2018

Jimmie Durham is a multi-faceted creative in its purest sense. An artist and activist, Jimmie has worked as a performer, essayist and poet for 45 years, culminating in a practice which includes sculpture, drawing, collage, photography video and performance. Jimmie Durham: At the Centre of the World at New York’s Whitney includes 120 objects from 1970 to now made by the artist to dive into. As a creative who is often “critical in his analysis of society,” now feels like an apt time to view his works, full of “distinctive wit that is simultaneously generous and humorous,” says the gallery. 

Ideas from Traditional Clothing to Manage Cold Seasons
19 December 2017 – 15 February 2018
Bunka Gakuen Costume Museum , Yoyogi, Tokyo, Japan

Winter has come, and much like the North in Game of Thrones, it’s bloody freezing. Over in Tokyo this nattily named exhibition tracks the evolution of clothing design from some of the most inhospitable regions in the world. Forget Hygge, think animal skins, layers and necessity – this exhibition will bring all the togs you need. 

Cheung Chau Wave Art Festival
1 December – 3 December 2017
All over the island of Cheung Chau, Hong Kong

Cheung Chau Wave is a non-profit community project run by a group of volunteers who believe the island (located 10km off the coast of Hong Kong) would benefit from a platform that promotes local art and culture and the people behind it. Over the coming weekend, they are hosting a range of events and installations across different mediums including photography, painting and street performance, within the theme of life by water. The included work delves into issues from island and water ecology, to fishing culture, plastic contaminated oceans and human births.

Afrotopia – Rencontres de Bamako, African Biennale of Photography
2 December 2017 – 31 January 2018
Bamako, Mali

This is the 11th edition of the biennale, which the organisers say gives a remarkable platform of visibility for the photographers of the continent and the diaspora. Marie-Ann Yemsi has curated this year, and invited artists to think about “the future of the future” and the contribution of the continent in a globalised world. African artists, she says, “contribute their artistic gestures to shaping the new imaginations of a continent undergoing profound change”.

Design Miami
6 – 10 December
Miami Beach, USA

Amid the art festival taking over Miami Beach every December, its counterpart Design Miami has grown in gravitas in its 14 years. Highlights this year include Cos and Studio Swine’s latest immersive, multisensory installation, New Spring; A Wild Thing by Airbnb and Muller Van Severen, wherein the designer duo will create a complete replica of their living room in Belgium; and new pieces added to Louis Vuitton’s Objets Nomades collection, which is unfailingly beautiful to look at.

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