This year marks the 80th birthday of abstract German painterGerhard Richter, and London’s Tate Modern is paying homage with “GerhardRichter: Panorama,” an expansive retrospective of the artist’s career acrossthe past five decades. Richter’s work can’t easily be pegged to one aesthetic,and the exhibit (opening October 6) — featuring photograph-based portraits,landscapes, glass constructions, works on paper and color charts—displays thefull range of his often politically-charged collection.

Standouts include October18, 1977, a series of 15 black-and-white paintings dealing with Richter’sintrigue with the German terrorist organization, the Baader Meinhof (Red ArmyFaction). There’s also a 65-foot color square, Stroke of 1980, part ofhis abstract color chart sequence, being shown for the first time outsideGermany. The exhibit is also a fitting platform for the Tate Modern’s newdirector, Chris Dercon, freshly arrived from Munich’s Haus der Kunst. Derconhopes to “create a new kind of art institution, fit for the 21st century.” LikeRichter, Dercon will attempt to make people view the world differently using aunique visual language.

New in London

After taking in the conceptual banquet of Gerhard Richter atthe Tate Modern, sample some of London’s newest offerings:

Shop: The new concept boutique LN-CC carries avant-garde men’s and women’s designers like Martin Margiela, JunyaWatanabe and Ann Demeulemeester in its 7-room basement-level space. Also onoffer are vintage vinyl records from the ‘60’s and ‘70’s and an excellent,hard-to-find collection of art, fashion and photography books. 18Shacklewell Lane; 44-20-374-0741.

Eat: Heston Blumenthal’s buzzyrestaurant, Dinner, opened in February at the Mandarin Oriental HydePark and has become one of the hottest tables to snag in the city.Bizarrely-named menu items (Meat Fruit, Powdered Duck) add to the hip factor. 66Knightsbridge; 44-20-7201-3833.

Stay: The Dorchester Collection’snewest property is the month-old 45 Park Lane. Designed by ThierryDespont (Claridge’s, The Carlyle) and housed in the former London Playboy Club,the hotel features views of Hyde Park and Cut restaurant—Wolfgang Puck’s firstforay into Europe.

Guestblogger John Wogan is a regular contributor to