We look ahead to London art and exhibitions, museum and gallery openings for October 2018 and select our must-see exhibitions to keep you cultured as we head into traditionally the busiest month in the art calendar.
The last two years have seen a major free art exhibition land in the concrete hulk that is 180 Strand. This year, major installations include a stunning three screen film about man's relationship with the sea. The film is called Vertigo Sea, it's by John Akomfrah and it's breathtaking. When we saw is previously, it had us entranced for its full 43 minute run time. We're also promised waves of colours rolling over us as we lie in a bed in a work by Pipilotti Rist — another artist we love.
Strange days: memories of the future by The Store X Vinyl Factory and New York's New Museum at 180 Strand. 2 October-9 December 2018, free.
To infinity, and beyond
Yayoi Kusama has gained worldwide fame for her Infinity Rooms — rooms filled with lights or dots that have mirrored walls thus making a tiny room look like it goes on forever. These are amazing experiences to get lost in, and we love them. However, the dawn of Instagram means everyone is desperate to get a selfie, so much so, that her previous exhibition had queues for hours just to have 30 seconds in the room. This time round it's ticketed to stop such madness, but hurry as they will sell out soon. The show is not just the Infinity Room but if you want to see the rest of the show just turn up whenever, everyone else will be too busy getting the perfect selfie.
Yayoi Kusama at Victoria Miro. 3 October-21 December 2018, free.
Wilde in Clapham
We love witty poet and playwright Oscar Wilde, but our love doesn't stretch to building a temple to him. Artist duo McDermott and McGough feel differently and will recreate a secular church to Oscar Wilde right down to stained glass windows and 19th century furnishings. The space will also honour other contemporary members of the LGTBQ+ community and those lost to the AIDS crisis. Clapham's about to get Wilde-r.
The Oscar Wilde Temple: McDermott & McGough at Studio Voltaire. 3 October 2018- 31 March 2019, free.
Staring at the sun
The sun is 93 millions miles away, light takes eight minutes to get from it to us and yet it still has the intensity to burn us. This fact just blows our mind every time we think about it. The Science Museum is putting together an exhibition all about our brilliant star, from how we've observed it in the past right through to imagery from the latest space missions. Without it life wouldn't be possible — at the very least it deserves a cracking exhibition just to let it know how much we appreciate it.
The Sun: Living With Our Star at Science Museum. 6 October 2018-6 May 2019, £15.
Show me some skin
Dr. Gunther von Hagens shocked the world with his plastination technique that preserves bodies without their skin. Posing them in positions such as sitting around a table playing poker or riding a horse makes them all the more lifelike. The exhibition has travelled the world but it's now getting a permanent home here in London, on the site where Ripley's Believer It or Not! used to be. We've always been a fan of his work, though recognise those of a sensitive disposition may find it difficult to stomach. Given the location we have no doubt this will be a popular draw for both Londoners and tourists.
Body Worlds London at London Pavilion, 1 Piccadily Circus. Opens 6 October 2018, £24.50.
V&A has a collection of over 800,000 photographs and related objects, so it's right that the museum should have a major new gallery to show them off. V&A will be doubling the space it has for displaying photography and curating a look back through history from the earliest daguerrotypes (an early form of image capture) to contemporary artists in the collection. Even better, this new centre will be part of V&A's permanent collection so will be free to visit.
Photography centre at V&A. Opens 12 October 2018, free.
Bright lights of the city
God's Own Junkyard is a display of neon signs that is pure visual candy. However, it's located at the end of the Victoria line and while we think it's definitely worth the trip, we get why some people would prefer it in a more central location. Well, those electric dreams have been fulfilled as a pop-up will be heading from Walthamstow to Selfridges in October to blind us with neon brilliance.
Gods Own Junkyard at Selfridges. Mid October-December 2018, free.
Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2018
Our readers are probably sick of hearing how much we love the Wildlife Photographer of the Year. It deserves all our praise as every year we stand agape in front of majestic scenes from the wild world around us, and some of the terrible toll of humanity's destructive influence on our planet. We've already previewed the show with a small sample of images to whet your appetite, now it's time for the main course.
Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2018 at Natural History Museum. 19 October 2018-30 June 2019, £13.50.
Strawberry Hill House is one striking building. It's as if a Gothic Disney castle has been plonked in south-west London. It was the creation of Horace Walpole, the writer who invented the Gothic genre, and his treasures are now returning to the house he wanted them to be homed in. Paintings, sculpture, furniture and curiosities from Walpole's collection will be coming home from around the world to go on display in this 'castle'.
Lost Treasures of Strawberry Hill at Strawberry Hill House. 20 October 2018-24 February 2019, £16.
Burne baby Burne
An obsession with beautiful things is what makes the Pre-Raphaelites so popular. These romantic dreamers brought us paintings of beautiful people in beautiful clothing. Edward Burne-Jones was one of the last of his movement and worked on paintings, jewellery, stained glass and embroidery. Expect fantastical scenes of the Arthurian knights, Biblical angels, myths and legends.
Edward Burne-Jones at Tate Britain. 24 October 2018- 24 February 2019, £18.
Space: the final frontier
Nebulae, aurorae, the planets and galaxies far far away. Every year this exhibition reminds us of how insignificant our pale blue dot is in the cosmic scheme of things. It's a humbling, awe-inspiring collection of stunning photographs and it's back for what's certain to be another stellar year. (Star)gaze at this year's superb shortlist.
Insight Investment Astronomy Photographer of the Year at National Maritime Museum. 24 October 2018 onwards, £10.
Get your Peanuts
Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Woodstock and the gang are coming to Somerset House. The history of the publication will take us from rare first editions to contemporary artists who have been inspired by the Peanuts cartoons. NASA used Snoopy as a safety mascot, Matt Groening has planted many Peanuts references into The Simpsons and French magazine Charlie Hebdo was named after Charlie Brown. The influence of this one comic has been massive. Good grief, time to grab our security blanket and head down there — here's to hoping there's a doghouse we can sleep on top of.
Good Grief, Charlie Brown! at Somerset House. 25 October 2018 - 3 March 2019, £14.
Art fairs & events
It's not just all major exhibitions at big museums. There are plenty of art fairs in October 2018:
The art fair madness is all down to Frieze London (4-7 October 2018, £36) which brings all the world's major collectors to Regent's Park. Its sister fair at the other end of the park, Frieze Masters (4-7 October 2018, £36), specialises in older artwork going back all the way to ancient art. They are both absolutely vast and impossible to take in on one day, with over 280 galleries showing work. A combined ticket will set you back a whopping £60, so for anyone who feels that's too steep there is the free sculpture park outside and affordable editions will be sold in Mayfair by women artists to support women's charities.
During the same week as Frieze, there is an art fair to suit everyone: design fans should head to PAD in Berkeley Square (1-7 October 2018, £25), African art will be taking over Somerset House at 1:54 (4-7 October, £20), Street art is the game for Moniker Art Fair at Old Truman Brewery (4-7 October, £10) and visitors can buy direct from the artists at The Other Art Fair in Victoria House (4-7 October, £10).
For those who can't make that weekm the Affordable Art Fair will be back in Battersea Park (18-21 October, £10) later in the month.
We can hear a lot of readers questioning whether there are any free art fairs. Luckily there will be some Frieze alternatives that shan't be charging including the cheekily named Auntie Freeeze in Pimlico (4-7 October, free), Protocol down in a central London car park (6-7 October, free), and the one day only Cultural Traffic in Spitalfields (7 October, free).
If that's not enough, there are some open studios to visit as well, where visitors can see where the magic happens and meet the artists in their studios. If a piece of work catches your eye then works are often up for sale. South-west Londoners should head to Delta studios (6, 7, 13 & 14 October, free) in Wimbledon while north-west Londoners can catch the ArtWest open studios (6-7 October, free).