Five exhibitions to see this November

As the light dims and autumn’s colours come into focus, it’s the perfect time of year to discover JMW Turner’s magic-hour landscapes in Surrey or John Piper’s abstract takes on nature at Tate Liverpool. Both exhibitions are among our recommendations this month – all either open now or opening in November.

John Piper, Construction 1934, 1967

John Piper

Addressing painter and printmaker John Piper as something of an overlooked figure, this exhibition repositions him as one of the most significant artists of the 20th century. By considering him alongside the likes of Alexander Calder and Pablo Picasso, and illuminating his transition from representation to abstraction, the exhibition looks at Piper’s pivotal role in the development of modern art in Britain – and also shows how his work connected to early art forms including stained glass and stone carving.

Chinese boy holding a mask for a lion dance, Mikawachi kilns (Saga prefecture), Japan, 1800s

Dressed to Impress: Netsuke and Japanese Men's Fashion

The British Museum houses more than 2,300 examples of netsuke – intricate accessories worn by Japanese men during the Edo period (1615-1868) which prevented their sash belts from slipping but which quickly became an art form themselves. This exhibition features a selection drawn from the museum’s holdings accompanied by more pieces from the Museum of East Asian Art’s own collection, demonstrating the range, creativity and individuality of these often intricately carved and detailed objects.

Valentin Shcherbakov, A Spectre is Haunting Europe, the Spectre of Communism, c1924

Red Star over Russia: A Revolution in Visual Culture 1905-55

Selected from photographer and graphic designer David King’s extraordinary collection of items relating to Russian and Soviet history, the posters, prints and images in this exhibition offer a dramatic view of the period 1905-1953. They also demonstrate how art itself was revolutionised during these years, as the 1917 revolutions and the dawn of the Soviet Union ushered in new art forms and approaches – with graphic art becoming a particularly powerful tool of communication.

Tove Jansson, Lynx Boa (Self-Portrait), 1942

Tove Jansson (1914-2001)

The name Tove Jansson may now be synonymous with her most famous creation, but the Finnish artist pursued a prolific career of painting and graphic illustration beyond the Moomins. This exhibition aims to reintroduce her as an artist of great breadth and talent, featuring work relatively unseen outside of Finland and even sketches she produced for a satirical magazine aged just 15 (in which a rather familiar character makes a first appearance…).

JMW Turner, Thomson's Aeolian Harp, 1809

Turner in Surrey

JMW Turner’s travels took him to many places, but he had certain favourites – and this exhibition focuses on work he produced during various wanderings, stops and residencies along the Thames, the Wey Navigation and in Surrey prior to the London boundary changes of 1889. As well as open-air sketches and finished works, visitors can see some of the artist’s possessions – including his fishing rod, travelling watercolour box and watercolour palette – on loan from the Royal Academy.

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