Private View held by Richard Andrews
In Memoriam: Remembering The Great War examines the personal stories of those who lived, fought and died during the First World War, in commemoration of the 90th anniversary of the Armistice. Featuring previously unseen material, the exhibition uses the experiences of over 90 individual men and women, servicemen and civilians, to illustrate the different aspects and key events of the Great War and its aftermath. Among the personal items on display are: the watch and 'King's Shilling' given to Edward Packe, who enlisted in the Army in August 1914; the Victoria Cross awarded to Jack Cornwell, who was mortally wounded at the Battle of Jutland; the smashed aircraft windscreen of British flying ace James McCudden, who had shot down 57 aircraft by the time of his death in action in 1918; the Military Cross awarded to Wilfred Owen, which was worn by his mother every day until her death; the paint box and brushes used by Official War Artist John Nash, who served on the Western Front; the torn tunic worn by Harold Cope, who was seriously wounded at the Battle of the Somme; the cross that marked the grave of Prime Minister's son Raymond Asquith; the diary kept by Florence Farmborough, who was a nurse on the Russian Front; an extract of Geoffrey Malins's film The Battle of the Somme, which was viewed by at least half the population when it was screened in 1916; the camisole worn by Margaret Gwyer, who survived the sinking of Lusitania; and a wreath tossed into the car carrying Prime Minister Lloyd George after the signing of the Treaty of Versailles; together with the paintings 'Gassed' by John Singer Sargent, 'A Battery Shelled' by Percy Wyndham Lewis and 'The Menin Road' by Paul Nash. Imperial War Museum, London until 6th September 2009.
Super Kingdom comprises a series of 'tree houses', made for the use as an over-wintering and nesting home for native and visiting birds and animals, in the ancient woodland environment of Kings Wood, Challock. They have been created by London Fieldworks (AKA artists Bruce Gilchrist and Jo Joelson), who specialise in projects where art, science, technology and nature meet. What makes the animal habitats unique, is that they are built in the imperious architectural style of fascist dictators. Although made of wood, the houses echo Stalin's Palace of Science and Culture, Mussolini's Quadrato Collosseo and Ceauscescu's People's Palace. As well as providing winter shelter, the tree houses will also function as a film set for a video and animation work examining hibernation patterns, to be shot over the next few months, for exhibition in the spring. In addition to the tree houses, the wood also contains sculptures by other artists, all made from natural materials. Kings Wood, Challock, Kent, 01233 740040, until spring.
Rothko focuses on the late works of Mark Rothko, one of America's most important post war painters, made between 1958 and 1970. Rothko's iconic paintings, composed of luminous, soft-edged rectangles saturated with colour, are among the most enduring and mysterious created by an artist in modern times, glowing deep dark reds, oranges, maroons, browns, blacks and greys. The exhibition comprises around 50 works, comprising paintings and works on paper, the most important of which are 16 Seagram murals. These were commissioned in 1958 for the Four Seasons restaurant in the new Seagram building in New York, but having made the paintings, Rothko decided that it was not a suitable place for them to be seen. The bright and intense colours of his earlier paintings had made way to maroon, dark red and black, and Rothko realised that their brooding character required a very different environment. Though the original commission was for only 7 paintings, Rothko eventually painted 30 canvases in the series. This is the first time in their history that such a large group of these paintings (belonging to a number of galleries around the world) have been seen together. The Seagram murals are shown alongside other landmark series of Rothko's paintings, including major 'Black-Form' paintings, large scale 'Brown on Grey' works on paper, and works from his last series 'Black on Grey'. Tate Modern until 1st February.
Cold War Modern: Design 1945 - 1970 is the first exhibition to examine contemporary design, architecture, film and popular culture on both sides of the Iron Curtain during the Cold War era. The decades after the Second World War saw an intense rivalry between the world's two superpowers: the Soviet Union and America. They engaged in aggressive contests to build their own spheres of influence, and vying to outdo one another, each deployed displays of modern living, signs of progress and images of future utopias. Art, architecture and design were drawn into this Cold War competition to demonstrate a superior vision of modernity. The exhibition brings together over 300 exhibits from around the world, with highlights including: a Sputnik and an Apollo Mission space suit; vehicles such as a P70 Coupe car (predecessor of the plastic Trabant), a Messerschmidt KR200 micro-car and Vespa motor scooter; films that shaped popular imagination such as 2001: A Space Odyssey, Dr Strangelove and Goldfinger, with designs by Ken Adam; furniture made from new materials such as Eero Aarnio's Globe Chair, and the Garden Egg Chair by Peter Ghyczy; futuristic fashion by Paco Rabanne and Pierre Cardin; imagined architecture schemes for cities and dwellings by Le Corbusier, Richard Buckminster Fuller and Archigram, including a reconstruction of 'Oasis No 7', an inflatable environment by Haus-Rucker-Co; and works by Pablo Picasso, Richard Hamilton, Robert Rauschenberg, Lucio Fontana and Gerhard Richter, illustrating how artists responded to the dominant political and social ideas of the time. Victoria & Albert Museum until 11th January.
David Shrigley consists of previously unseen animations and sculptures by the man who is best known for his intuitive drawings, typically dead-pan in their humour, most recently seen weekly in The Guardian. David Shrigley's cartoon like sketches are deliberately dysfunctional and deal with everyday doubts and fears of the human condition. Throughout his works a nonsensical and anarchic voice is ever present. With handwritten, unedited texts or assigned titles altering the perspective, the results range from poignant to absurd. Shrigley's work often asks questions about the nature of contemporary art and its audience. He satirises a mass consumption of art that lacks real meaning, while demonstrating the ease in which such trends can be exploited. With a dreamlike 'Alice in Wonderland' quality, Shrigley's sculpture plays with form, transforming and distorting everyday objects or playing with scale. Among the highlights are 'Cheers', a pair of grey fishing waders and Wellington boots filled with expanding foam; tents and sleeping bags with a life of their own, growing uncontrollably; 'Gravestone', a giant stone engraving, that looks at fears and attitudes towards mortality; and the black and white films 'Lightswitch' and 'Sleep'. Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, until 9th November.
The Golden Generation: British Theatre 1945 - 1968 demonstrates the variety, dynamism, and vision of actors, directors and writers that flourished in British theatre between the end of the Second World War and the abolition of theatre censorship. It reflects the time of social transformation, during which writers began addressing contemporary life, by examining some of its key theatrical institutions. The exhibition is a treasure trove of theatrical manuscripts, letters, photographs and oral history recordings. Highlights include the only surviving scripts of the first two plays by John Osborne, The Devil Inside Him and Personal Enemy, and a handwritten draft of The Entertainer sent to Laurence Olivier, alongside 'disgusted' fan letters, complaining that Olivier should play such a role; an exchange of letters between Olivier and his wig maker, revealing his obsession with the accuracy of his stage make up; photographs of Michel St Denis's revolutionary drama training methods at the Old Vic theatre school; Harold Pinter's scrapbook in which he pasted reviews of his first play, noting that 'Mr Pinter may well make some impact as a dramatist'; a handwritten draft of Pinter's The Homecoming, accompanied by letters of encouragement from playwrights Noel Coward and Samuel Beckett; photographs showing how many playwrights developed their talent while acting in regional repertory theatres, including Peter Nichols, John Osborne, Harold Pinter, and Charles Wood; letters from the Lord Chamberlain reflecting a questioning of the rigid rules on how 'deviant' sexuality could be portrayed on stage; and the assumed lost script of Alan Ayckbourn's first play, Love After All, rediscovered last year. The British Library until 30th November.
Design Cities tells the story of contemporary design over the last 150 years through seven key cities at their creative height: London - The Great Exhibition 1851, Vienna - fin de siecle 1908, Dessau - Bauhaus 1928, Paris - Le Corbusier 1936, Los Angeles - Post War Confidence 1949, Milan - Pop Art And Innovation 1957, Tokyo - The Creative Explosion 1987 and London - Looking Forward To The Olympics 2008. The exhibition provides an opportunity to look at the masters of modern and contemporary design through their sketches, drawings, models and objects that they have designed and created. The exhibition features a full range of objects from textiles and fashion to industrial pieces, furniture and prints, and includes design classics, as well as work by a spectrum of designers that together evoke an impacting impression of their era. Key exhibits include work by William Morris, Christopher Dresser, Owen Jones, Josef Hoffman, Otto Wagner, Adolf Loos, Marcel Breuer, Mies van der Rohe, Herbert Bayer, Marianne Brandt, William Wagenfeld, Le Corbusier, Jean Prouve, Charlotte Perriand, Eileen Gray, Cassandre, Charles and Ray Eames, Eero Saarinen, Eliot Noyes, Saul Bass, Harry Beroia, Achille Castiglioni, Bob Noorda, Gio Ponti, Joe Columbo, Vico Magistretti, Ettore Sottsass, Mario Bellini, Sony Research, Yamaha research, Issey Miyake, Shiro Kuramata, Ron Arad, Jasper Morrison, Ross Lovegrove, Zaha Hadid, Jonathan Barnbrook, Sam Hecht, David Chipperfield and Peter Savile. Design Museum, London until 4th January.
Ladybird Make And Do celebrates the art work of Ladybird children's books, centring on the Make And Do series, launched in the 1960s, which encouraged the creation of toys out of household detritus, predating the 'Blue Peter sticky backed plastic' experiences. Although Ladybird books were actually launched in 1915, it was after the Second World War that they found their iconic form. Thanks to a standardised 56 page format made from just one sheet of paper, Ladybird books were not expensive to produce, and for this reason, they kept the same price of half a crown, or two shillings and sixpence, for the next 29 years. The exhibition draws on material from the Ladybird archive, including 24 pieces of original artwork from Things To Make, Tricks And Magic, More Things To Make and Easy To Make Puppets, copies of first editions of the books, and finished examples of the toys for which they contained instructions. As well as providing a picture of childhood in the simpler times of the 1950s and 1960s, the clarity and strength of their material is reflected in their use in unexpected places. How It Works: The Motor Car was used as a reference book by the driving school division of Thames Valley Police; How It Works: The Computer was a recommended text of both universities and the Ministry of Defence; and Understanding Maps was used to train army recruits for the Falklands War. Havant Museum, East Street, Havant, Hampshire, until 1st November.
Soho Archives 1950s & 1960s documents the bohemian area of London's West End, a haven for creativity and criminality, scandal and sexuality, and a source of inspiration for photographers. The exhibition features images from three archives, capturing the vibrancy and exoticism of Soho in what many believe to have been its greatest days, as Britain emerged from the era of post Second World War austerity. Jean Straker founded the Visual Arts Club in Soho in 1951 'for artistes and photographers, amateur and professional, studying the female nude', and his works are remarkable for their lack of artifice, their sexuality and curiosity, and for reflecting the sexual predilections of the era. Magnum photographer David Hurn documented Soho's strippers, in the many peep shows and strip clubs, and with a sympathetic and insightful gaze, depicts these working women in their public and private spaces, both performing and at rest. The Daily Herald Archive shows how press photographers were drawn to Soho, as both a hub of criminality, and the backdrop for an explosion of youth culture. With images from scarred gangsters to the wedding of pop star and teen idol Tommy Steele, these photographs and the scandal they caused are icons of the 1950s and 1960s. The Photographer's Gallery, 5 & 8 Great Newport Street, London WC2 until 16th November.
The Last Debutants transports visitors back to the sumptuous, sophisticated and glamorous debutante season of 1958, in an exhibition marking the 50th anniversary of the last presentations of debutantes to the Queen. For a select group of aristocratic and upper class families 'coming out' had long been a rite of passage, marking the entry of their teenage daughters into fashionable society and the marriage market. The London season began with the girls', or debutantes', formal presentation at court, when, dressed in all their finery, they would file into Buckingham Palace and curtsey to the Queen. This exhibition provides a glimpse into this world, the detailed preparations required for 'coming out', and events that constituted The Season. It reveals the bewildering rules of etiquette, and dizzying schedule of presentations, cocktail parties and dances, with a backdrop of original items lent by former debutantes, complemented by atmospheric audiovisual material. The display features accessories and examples of couture dresses by Christian Dior, Pierre Balmain, Jacques Heim and Worth worn by the debutantes for evening engagements and their official court presentations at Buckingham Palace. There is even a former debutante from the famous Vacani School of Dancing on hand to teach the art of the perfect curtsey. The exhibition captures the spirit of a world in transition, in which the status of the upper classes became a subject of fierce debate, and sets the scene for change that would see social unrest, political activism and teenage culture. Kensington Palace until 16th October.
Impressionism & Scotland explores the Scottish taste for Impressionism in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and assesses the impact of modern European art on Scottish art and artists. The exhibition comprises over 100 paintings, pastels and watercolours, with highlights including Renoir's 'The Bay of Naples', the first Impressionist painting to be bought by a Scot; Degas's 'L'Absinthe', which was 'hissed' when it came up for auction in the early 1890s, due to its 'depraved' subject matter; and John Lavery's 'The Tennis Party', a rare example of Scottish modern life painting. It also includes Monet's 'Poplars', Van Gough's 'Orchard', Gauguin's 'Martinique', Matisse's 'The Pink Tablecloth', Cezanne's 'Mont St Victoire', and works by Degas, Manet, Pissarro, Renoir, Sisley, and Toulouse-Lautrec, as well as the Glasgow Boys and the Scottish Colourists. The exhibition points up parallels between the work of Dutch, French and Scottish artists, whose paintings are hung side by side: Corot and Walton; Bastien-Lepage and Guthrie; Degas and Crawhall; Manet and Fergusson; Matisse and Hunter. It demonstrates that, having absorbed these powerful influences, Scottish artists developed their own instinctive brand of Impressionism, quite unlike the more analytical approach of the French Impressionists. National Galleries of Scotland, Edinburgh, until 12th October.
The Courtauld Cezannes features the Gallery's entire collection of works by Paul Cezanne, hailed as the finest in Britain, on show together the first time, revealing the development of his ideas. The seminal paintings, watercolours, drawings and prints from the major periods of Cezanne's long career include 'Montagne Sainte-Victoire', 'Card Players', 'Still Life with Plaster Cast', 'Lac d'Annecy', 'Man With a Pipe', 'L'Etang des Souers, Osny', 'The Turning Road', 'Apples, Bottle and Chairback', and 'Madame Cezanne Sewing'. In addition, there is a group of nine handwritten letters, previously unseen in public, sent to his protege Emile Bernard, in which Cezanne reflects upon the fundamental principles of his art, and offers the famous advice to "treat nature in terms of the cylinder, the sphere and the cone". The exhibition also presents the findings of a research project on Cezanne's work, using the latest imaging technologies, which has provided fresh insights into his working methods and techniques, in particular his experimental use of colour and line.
French Prints From Manet To Picasso, is a complementary display of 15 French prints form the second half of the 19th and early 20th centuries, including works by Manet, Gaughan, Toulouse-Lautrec, Matisse and Picasso.
Courtauld Institute of Art, Somerset House, Strand, London, until 5th October.