The Friday Arts Diary

Our cultural picks for the week ahead.


A Bigger Splash: Painting After Performance, Tate Modern, 14 Nov 2012 – 1 April 2013

Tate Modern’s major winter show has finally opened, and it embraces the "blockbuster exhibition" philosophy to the letter – famous names, iconic art works, and a whole-hearted welcome for the fact that nudity is never gratuitous in art.

A Bigger Splash is a survey of the relationship between performance and painting from 1950 onwards. It’s centred on the era-defining drip paintings of Jackson Pollock (laid out on the ground as they were when he painted them), and the 60 years or so of artists responding to his principle that painting is physical. As you’d expect, icons abound – Hockney’s sun-drenched swimming pools hang next to Yves Klein’s famous experiment of what happens when you use a naked woman as a paintbrush. There are so many defining names of 20th-century art that the show has the aura of a quick rush through Modern Art History; Yayoi Kusama, Bruce Nauman, the Vienna Actionists. This is art at its most visceral, pig guts, mass nudity and the occasional orgy are all included in the ticket price.


Constellations, Duke of York Theatre, until 5 Jan 2013

Melding quantum multi-universe theory with beekeeping may not be the most obvious preamble for theatre, but critics were universally delighted with Constellations when it debuted earlier this year. That critical consensus lead to Constellations being one of the biggest success in the Royal Court's history, and now its back for a second run. Written by the award-winning playwright Nick Payne and now directed by Michael Longhurst, Constellations is a romantic drama with a difference. Shunning the convention that play narrative lines must unfold along the temporal limits of the time and space – Constellations exists in a parallel world where every possible situation unfolds simultaneously on stage. The action unfolds in not one universe, but several, as we see a couple meet, greet and a relationship grow in a plot which twists in and out of every chance not taken.


Nouvelle Vaguem, Hammersmith Apollo, 16 November

Since their formation in 2004, Nouvelle Vague have repeatedly demonstrated that no one carries off effortless insouciance quite like Parisians. The French foursome are returning to London for another tour, and demonstrating, once again, their mastery of the cover version. Their synth and dubstep overhauling of classic Eighties pop may sound like a recipe for over-ironic disaster, but this band have repeatedly shown that style and soul are an inherent part of their repertoire. Head over to west London tonight, for versions of "Blue Monday", "Love will Tear us Apart" and "Dancing with Myself", as well as new covers and a changing line-up of singers.


Wayne Mcgregor Random Dance, Barbican Curve Gallery, 18 November

The Barbican has enjoyed tremendous success recently for bringing Londoners more of what they just cant get enough of – rain.  Just in case you're not feeling damp enough outside, you can head on indoor to this multi-sensory installation by Random International currently at the Curve Gallery, where motion sensors and digital technology bring rainclouds to you.

From this Sunday, the Rain Room, will play host to a cross-disciplinary collaboration with Wayne McGregor, who is choreographing an extensive and original new work which sees dancers performing experimental pieces as they dodge in and out of the indoor downpour. With an original score by Max Richter, this promises to be a truly unique melding of contemporary art and dance. Admission is free, but get there as early as possible to beat the queue.


Jewish Film Festival, various locations, until 18 November

The final week of the nationwide festival, which, for the first time hosts screenings in London, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool and Manchester.

This is a unique chance to see a broad range of international cinema, much of which it is difficult to get access to within the UK otherwise. Five UK premières are on over the weekend alone, and other highlights include the closing night gala of the French-Israeli-Canadian A Bottle in the Gaza Sea. Panel discussions will follow screenings of Joel Fendelman’s David, and the award-winning God’s Neighbour.

David Hockney, A Bigger Splash (1967), part of the A Bigger Splash: Painting after Performance exhibition, now on at the Tate Modern. Photo: David Hockney / Tate Modern
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The Back Half #19: Sting & Shaggy, Annihilation and the bumbag

The NS culture podcast with Tom Gatti and Kate Mossman.

Tom Gatti and Kate Mossman discuss the unlikely musical collaboration of Sting and Shaggy on the album 44/876 (out on 20 April), review the new Alex Garland film Annihilation (with special guest Helen Lewis), and celebrate the noniversary of the bumbag (or fanny pack, if you're American).

Listen on iTunes here, on Acast here or via the player below:

Get in touch with questions or noniversary suggestions on Twitter via @tom_gatti or @ns_podcasts.

Further reading:

Kate's interview in New York with Sting and Shaggy.

Helen's review of Annihilation.

Our theme music is "God Speed" by Pistol Jazz, licensed under Creative Commons.