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Music in the mountains and modern art in Munster

Music in the mountains and modern art in Munster

Cultural events worth travelling for

Cultural events worth travelling for

August/September 2017

LONDON Eternal flame
Jean-Michel Basquiat, an American painter, died in 1988 of a drug overdose. He was 27. At his memorial, a friend said: “Jean-Michel lived like a flame. He burned really bright. Then the fire went out. But the embers are still hot.” They’re being stoked this autumn in an exhibition at the Barbican Centre. Bringing together more than 100 works, “Boom for Real” will tell the story of how this young artist from Brooklyn, who got his start painting graffiti on the D train, ignited the interest of the art world. It helped that he had striking looks (with great big tufts of dreadlocked hair), an incandescent temper and a close friendship with Andy Warhol. But his paintings speak for themselves: Basquiat scrawled cryptic phrases over crude figures on canvases shot through with colours that almost seem to flicker. He painted like he lived. September 21st-January 28th 2018

MUNSTER In with the sculpture crowd
Once a decade, the art world is caught in a shiver of excitement when the three major European art festivals coincide. This is such a year. Having gorged themselves on contemporary art at the Venice Biennale and Documenta (which moves from Athens to Kassel), sculpture lovers head to north-west Germany for the fifth iteration of Skulptur Projekte Münster. There they will find the work of artists stretching the limits of the form: Michael Smith, a Texan artist, has set up a tattoo parlour catering for the over-65s, while Peles Empire, a Berlin-based co-operative, draws inspiration from buildings destroyed in Münster in the second world war and rebuilt in medieval style. This year the festival has spilled over into the ultra-modernist city of Marl. Until October 1st

HERMANUS Right whale of a time
An official “whale crier” sounds a horn to herald the arrival of southern right whales in the waters off Hermanus, a coastal town 120km (75 miles) from Cape Town. About 100 of these mighty whales return each year from Antarctica to breed and nurse their young. They don’t appear to mind the hoo-ha on the nearby land, where human visitors flock to the Hermanus Whale Festival for live music, a parade, talks by marine experts, good food and drink – and to watch the whales. The whales put on a show, breaching the water, thwacking their tails on the surface and “sailing” – flipping their tails into the air to catch a breeze. Whale season is from June until late November, but the best viewing is around the time of the festival. September 29th-October 1st

ODENSE Once upon a time
This summer the streets of Odense, a city on Denmark’s garden island of Funen, will come alive with characters from the fairy tales of Hans Christian Andersen, who was born there. Street performers, ballet dancers and musicians are bringing “The Princess and the Pea”, “The Ugly Duckling” and “The Emperor’s New Clothes” to the stage in a series of magical shows. There will be 500 mostly free events – concerts, parades, exhibitions and lightshows – spread across Odense’s public squares, parks and theatres. If you need a break from the festivities, take a seat on a bench next to Andersen himself, brought to life by Jens Galschiøt, a Danish sculptor. The spell will be lifted after one week – but the magic will continue at Odense Film Festival. August 20th-27th

WYOMING Classic country
At the foot of the Grand Teton mountain range, you’ll hear the wind whispering through the pine trees, trumpeter swans tooting their horns, moose shuffling through the forest – and, for seven weeks this summer, the strains of Beethoven, Brahms, Mozart and Rachmaninov. This enchanting spot is where some of the world’s best musicians congregate and perform together. This year, Yo Yo Ma is on the bill, along with Garrick Ohlsson, a pianist, and conductor Fabien Gabel. The dress code is informal: bring hiking boots and a cowboy hat. That’s the headwear of choice of the season’s musical director, Donald Runnicles. Grand Teton Music Festival, until August 20th

 

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