Private View held by Richard Andrews
Doctor Who Exhibition is the largest staged so far, featuring over 100 models, props, costumes and monsters that have appeared in the programme since its regeneration three years ago. Sadly, rather than a history of the series from its beginnings in 1963, with classic monsters from each of the four decades, it is rather more a marketing exercise for the new series. Nevertheless, nasties such as the Weeping Angels, Cybermen, Slitheen, the Face of Boe, an Ood and K9 (not to mention Kylie Minogue's frock), plus of course Daleks, including the latest version actually flying, together with a close up view of the creature inside, make it worth a visit. In addition there are video clips and design drawings, as well as a life-size replica of the TARDIS itself (both inside and out). The high tech surroundings in which they are displayed include walls that light up and a video floor. There will also be some new creatures added from the new series as it unfolds and they make their appearance - although few will I suspect be as scary as Catherine Tate's acting ability. Museum Hall, Earls Court, London until 19th September.
Body Space explores the use and representation of clothing in contemporary art, and investigates the relationship between dress and personal identity, including ideas around gender, sexuality, normalcy, culture, status, and revelation versus concealment, as well as dress used as an extension of the body or psyche. Whereas the use of clothing in art became popular in the late 1960s and early 1970s, with the rise of feminism and the Women's Movement, today, its representation explores broader notions around personal identity. Susie MacMurray and Rhian Solomon explore the weight of guilt and external pressure put upon women to conform to an ideal body shape and weight; Susan Stockwell looks at British identity through dresses made from stained paper dress making patterns, coffee filters, maps and tissue; Stephen Craighill examines clothing as a means of conformity; and Suzanne Langston-Jones shows how clothing, on and off the body, can be used to create illusions and narratives, with her garments conjuring up childhood fairy stories and fantasies. A highlight of the exhibition is Yinka Shonibare's video of Un Ballo in Maschera (A Masked Ball) telling of the assassination of King Gustav III of Sweden in 1792 through dance, in which costume is used to highlight the ambiguity of identity and gender. Tullie House Museum And Art Gallery, Carlisle, until 4th May.
Artful Practice: Architectural Drawings By Richard Norman Shaw RA reveals how Norman Shaw changed the face of English architecture in the last third of the 19th century. Working in the spirit of local vernacular building traditions, rather than to the letter of textbook historicism, he paved the way for the free style of the Arts and Crafts movement in the 1890s. Shaw's domestic work in particular touched with unerring instinct the Victorian imagination, creating homes and offices that were not only well planned for their owners to live and work in, but were also buildings to which the man in the street could feel an emotional tie. Although he was born in Edinburgh to an Irish father and Scottish mother, probably no other architect since Wren can claim to have defined more clearly for his time the Englishness of English architecture. A particular feature is the nautical flavour of some of Shaw's buildings. Half-timbered walls and gables, mullioned windows, sweeping roofs and high chimneystacks all symbolise a promise of shelter, but they also echo the wooden hulls, poop decks and towering masts and sails of the great ships upon which England's commercial prosperity had always depended. Developers of suburban housing have endlessly recycled Shaw's redefinition of English architecture well into the present time. A sense of the impact that Shaw wanted his work to have on posterity can be gained from the series of pen and ink perspectives that he put into the Royal Academy's annual exhibition in the 1870s and 1880s, now on view there again. Royal Academy of Arts, until 25th May.
Amazing Rare Things: The Art Of Natural History In The Age Of Discovery brings together the works of four artists and a collector who have shaped our knowledge of the natural world around us. Leonardo da Vinci, who used drawing to understand all natural forms; Cassiano dal Pozzo, who commissioned artists to record plants, birds and animals for his museo cartaceo; Alexander Marshal, whose flower book documents the contents of English gardens over the course of a year; Maria Sibylla Merian, who had lifelong fascination with flies, spiders and caterpillars; and Mark Catesby, who produced a comprehensive survey of the flora and fauna of the east coast of America; are diverse figures, who shared a passion for enquiry, and a fascination with the beautiful and bizarre in nature. All lived at times when new species were being discovered around the world in ever increasing numbers. Many of the plants and animals represented in the exhibition were then barely known in Europe. Today some are commonplace, while others are extinct.
Treasures From The Royal Collection is a further selection from the works of art acquired by kings and queens over 500 years, which have been brought together from royal residences across the UK. Highlights include paintings by Rembrandt, Canaletto, Winterhalter, and Gainsborough's only surviving mythological painting 'Diana and Actaeon', spectacular jewels, dazzling works by Faberge, and highly decorated suits of armour made for Prince Henry, son of James VI and I, as well as furniture, sculpture and ceramics, silver and gold ware arms, and historic pieces of porcelain that are still used for ceremonial occasions today.
The Queen's Gallery, Buckingham Palace, until 28th September.
Alberto Giacometti is an exhibition that focuses on a crucial decade in the development of a sculptural language that marks a major achievement in 20th century art. In 1945, at the end of the Second World War, when Alberto Giacometti returned to Paris from Geneva, he was working towards a new perception of reality governed by the figure in space. Sculptures, paintings and drawings created at this time show Giacometti moving away from the representation of a physical, bodily experience to explore a more optical sensation. Whilst this work is a departure from his earlier exploration of Surrealism, he retained the sense of an extraordinary encounter, as if seeing something familiar for the first time. Key sculptures in the exhibition, such as 'The Forest', 'Four Figurines on a Stand' and 'Standing Nude on a Cubic Base', present a distillation of Giacometti's ideas at this time, together with paintings including 'Jean Genet' and 'Annette', drawings such as 'Homage to Balzac' and 'Portrait of the Artist's Brother', and a series of lithographs created for the book 'Paris sans fin'. Giacometti continuously reworked specific themes, often using models he knew intimately, such as his wife Annette, his mother, and his brother Diego. In paintings the figure frequently emerges from a force field of lines, and Giacometti often used brushstrokes to gain an effect similar to the roughly pitted surfaces of his sculptures. Compton Verney House, Warwickshire, until 1st June.
Snapshots In Time: 150 Years Of Excellence celebrates the 150th anniversary of the opening of the present Royal Opera House in Covent Garden - the 3rd theatre on the site. A series of showcases and wall displays, located throughout the building, recall some of the great artists associated with the theatre, though costumes, paintings, caricatures and photographs. These include singers Enrico Caruso, Nellie Melba, Adelina Patti, Rosa Ponselle and Eva Turner, and dancers Margot Fonteyn, Vaslav Nijinsky and Rudolph Nureyev. However, the main focus of the exhibition is the theatre itself, reflecting the changes in the building, both front of house and back stage, during its life. It includes items of architectural salvage, such as pillars removed from the grand tier during the major redevelopment in 1997, together with architectural models of the redevelopment proposals, photographs of the Victorian stage machinery removed at that time, and pictures of members of the Royal College of Needlework embroidering the royal crest on the new red and gold stage curtains, together with the actual royal insignia from previous drapes. The exhibition also includes items not normally on public view, such as the chairs made for the Great Exhibition in 1851, donated by Queen Victoria for use in the Royal box. In addition, there is a documentary film charting the theatre's history, directed by Lynne Wake. Royal Opera House, Covent Garden until 4th August.
China Design Now explores the recent explosion of new design in China, together with the impact of rapid economic development on architecture and design in its major cities. The exhibition captures the dynamic phase as China opens up to global influences, and responds to the hopes and dreams of its new urban middle class. It displays the work of Chinese and international designers, focussing on architecture, fashion and graphic design as well as film, photography, product and furniture design, youth culture and digital media. Around 100 designers are featured, more than 95% of whom are Chinese. The display focuses on three rapidly expanding cities, and their particular design specialities. Shenzhen, a new city born in the 1980s, which is now the nation's centre for graphic design - an industry unknown in China before the 1990s - is shown through experiments with the latest technologies in poster and book design, and the recent wave of new consumer and lifestyle magazines. Shanghai, where consumerism and urban culture have combined to produce a fashion and 'lifestyle' centre, features fashion by Han Feng, Lu Kun, Ma Ke, Wang Wiyang and Zhang Dah, and products aimed at design conscious youth: album covers, skateboards, designer toys, mobile phones, T-shirts and trainers. Beijing, where monumental architecture for the Olympic Games is transforming the skyline, is represented by Herzog & de Meuron's 'birds nest' stadium, Zhu Pei's Digital Beijing information centre, Rem Koolhaas and Ole Scheeren's China Central Television headquarters, and projects by Ma Yansong, Wang Hui, Atelier Deshaus and standardarchitecture. Victoria & Albert Museum until 13th July.
Laura Ford: New Work features the latest pieces by the artist who creates installations that are both magical and macabre, working with a variety of materials, from fabric and other found objects, to more traditional materials such as plaster and bronze. This time, like figures from The Lord Of The Rings, three fairy tale espaliered trees stand in the interior space overlooking the ancient trees of the park and landscape beyond. Cast in bronze, each has human feet and legs, as do two black birds perched nearby. These surreal elements are typical of Ford's work, which always depicts a figure or animal, represented in an unusual and twisted way.
Georgie Hopton: The Three Cornered Hat is a series of works that have drawn inspiration from flowers, which Hopton has grown herself. She photographs, paints and sculpts each image forming groups within the exhibition. Her photographs of flowers are presented in retro style vases, and employ soft lines that detach the objects from reality. Hopton's oval canvases present flowers in a more lavish manner, using decorative, candy coloured shades. Her sculpture, made in clay and then cast in jesmonite, has a cubist feel to it, and is decoratively painted, giving them a feeling of hyper-reality. Each flower is represented through the medium of photography, painting and sculpture. NewArtCentre, Roche Court, Salisbury Sculpture Park until 5th May.
Cranach is the first major exhibition in Britain devoted to Lucas Cranach the Elder, a painter, printmaker and book illustrator with a distinctly individual manner. He was one of the most versatile artists of the German Renaissance, court artist to the Saxon electors, a staunch supporter of the Reformation, and a close friend of Martin Luther. During the course of his long career, Cranach created striking portraits and expressive devotional works, and propaganda for the Protestant cause, as well as his own brand of erotic female nude and inventive treatments of biblical, mythological and classical subjects. He was among the first artists to paint full length portraits, and possessed a notable skill in psychological characterisation, and thus his likenesses of the personalities of the day have shaped history's conception of them. This exhibition brings together some 70 works, chosen to represent the quality and range of this formerly neglected master. Highlights include portraits of Martin Luther, Cardinal Albrecht of Brandenberg as St Jerome, and the portrait dyptych of John the Steadfast and his Son John Frederick, and the narrative paintings 'The Judgemant of Paris', 'The Beheading of St John the Baptist', 'Adam and Eve', 'The Martyrdom of St Catherine', 'St Helen with the Cross', 'The Golden Age', 'Pieta Beneath the Cross' and the triptych alterpiece 'The Holy Kinship'. Royal Academy of Arts until 8th June.
Robert Dighton: Georgian Caricaturist, Actor And Thief offers an insight into life and times of this colourful Georgian character, and is a reminder of the work of one of the most talented social caricaturists of the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Dighton was quite a character himself, for a time conducting a career as an actor at the Theatre Royal Haymarket and Sadler's Wells, whilst at the same time training and exhibiting at the Royal Academy. He eventually settled to being an artist, drawing master and printseller, producing caricatures of the 'types' of the day, and humorous prints or 'drolls', which he sold in his shop in Charing Cross. In 1806 he achieved notoriety when it was discovered he had been quietly stealing prints from the British Museum and selling them over a period of several years. The exhibition features 80 original caricatures of both celebrities and nonentities, the rich and the poor, capturing the spirit of Georgian London. Among Dighton's subjects are Bill Richmond, the black American boxer, innkeeper and promoter; James Christie, founder of the famous auction house; James Bellingham, who assassinated the Prime Minister Spencer Percival; and Martha Gunn, who supplied bathing machines and prostitutes to the upper classes on their visits to fashionable Brighton. Dighton also drew tailors, actors, academics and the down-at-heel types who thronged the street corners of Georgian London. The exhibition includes some examples of work by his sons and grandsons who carried on the tradition of caricature. Cartoon Museum, London, until 20th April.
From Russia: French And Russian Master Paintings 1870 - 1925
provides a unique opportunity to explore the exchange that existed between French and Russian art during a crucial period that was witness to upheaval and revolution. The exhibition is grouped by four themes. The first features works by French and Russian realists, focusing on Russian landscape, contemporary social issues, and scenes from traditional peasant life, by Ilya Repin, Ivan Kramskoy, Isaak Levitan, Valentin Serov and Mikhail Nesterov, together with paintings by French artists Theodore Rousseau, Charles Daubigny, Jean-Francois Millet, Jules Bastien-Lepage and Albert Besnard. The second displays masterpieces from the Impressionist and Post-Impressionist collections of Ivan Morosov and Sergei Shchukin, including Monet, Renoir, Cezanne, van Gogh, Gauguin and Picasso, and features one of the highlights of the show, Matisse's 'The Dance', which was commissioned by Shchukin. The third is devoted to the theatrical impresario and exhibition maker Sergei Diaghilev, with works by Alexander Benois, Leon Bakst, Boris Kustodiev, Nochiolas Roerich, Alexander Golovin and Valentin Serov. The fourth features Modernism and the cross-currents between Russian and French art: Wasily Kandinsky who combined the imagery of Russian fairy tales and Fauvist colour; Marc Chagall who adapted elements of French Cubism to a distillation of Russian-Jewish folklore; Cubo-Futurist works by artists such as Natalia Goncharova; and Suprematism, the radical, purely abstract style pioneered by Kazimir Malevich. Royal Academy of Arts, until 18th April.
Laughing In A Foreign Language explores the role of laughter and humour in contemporary art (something you might consider to be either inadvertent or conspicuous by its absence). In a time of increasing globalisation, this international exhibition questions if humour can only be appreciated by people with similar cultural, political or historical backgrounds and memories, or whether laughter can act as a catalyst for understanding what you are not familiar with. The exhibition encompasses the whole spectrum of humour, from jokes, gags and slapstick to irony, wit and satire, by bringing together more than 70 videos, photographs and interactive installation works by contemporary artists from around the world, some well known, some less so. The questions are: is the art funny? and are the jokes art? Judge for yourself if humour is universal - and if these artists have a sense of it. The works featured are by Makoto Aida, Kutlug Ataman, Azorro, Guy Ben-Ner, John Bock, Candice Breitz, Olaf Breuning, Cao Fei, Jake and Dinos Chapman, Marcus Coates, Harry Dodge and Stanya Khan, Doug Fishbone, Ghazel, Gimhongsok, Matthew Griffin, Nina Jan Beier and Marie Jan Lund, Taiyo Kimura, Peter Land, Janne Lehtinen, Kalup Linzy, Yoshua Okon, Ugo Rondinone, Julian Rosefeldt, Shimabuku, David Shrigley, Nedko Solakov, Barthelemy Toguo, Roi Vaara, Martin Walde, Jun Yang. Hayward Gallery until 13th April.