Private View held by Richard Andrews
Pearls explores the history of pearls from the early Roman Empire to the present day. The exhibition examines how pearls have been employed over centuries as a symbol of status and wealth, and how tastes vary in different cultures. Over 200 pieces of jewellery and works of art are on display, showcasing the extraordinary variety of colour and shape of natural and cultured pearls. The introductory section reveals the working methods of pearl divers and the trading practices of pearl merchants, together with examples of early experiments in producing cultured pearls attempted in the 18th century by Carl Linnaeus, and scientific instruments used in the first half of the 20th century to distinguish between the natural and the cultured pearl. Among the highlights of the jewels on show are a Roman gold hair ornament, set with pearls, emeralds and sapphires; a pearl-drop earring worn by Charles I at his execution; the 17th century Queen Mary II pearls; a set of buttons finely enamelled and framed with pearls worn by George III; the Dagmar necklace given to Princess Alexandra on her marriage to the future King Edward VII; a pendant locket with black pearl commemorating Prince Albert; an Icon with Virgin and Child decorated with Russian freshwater pearls; the Rosebery pearl and diamond tiara; an Imperial robe from China studded with pearls; an Art Deco brooch designed by Jean Fouquet; a necklace of pearls given to Marilyn Monroe by Joe DiMaggio; and Elizabeth Taylor's Bulgari pearl-drop pendant earrings. The diversity of contemporary jewellery with pearls is illustrated by the designs of the Munich jeweller Stefan Hemmerle using rare melo pearls; unusual figurative creations by Geoffrey Rowlandson; and the complex use of pearls in a necklace by Sam Tho Duong. Victoria & Albert Museum until 19th January.
Thomas Scheibitz: One-Time Pad features new and recent work by one of the leading figures in the current generation of German artists. Thomas Scheibitz began developing a new form of conceptual painting during his studies at the School of Art in Dresden in the early 1990s. The exhibition brings together over 200 works, including painting, sculpture, drawing and works on paper, tracing the conceptual and painterly development of his career, with a particular focus on the human figure and the determination of form between figuration and abstraction. Scheibitz draws upon motifs and themes from the everyday and popular culture and architecture, but he also takes inspiration from art historical imagery such as Renaissance paintings or Medieval engravings, which he places in new perceptual contexts. He feeds his visual memory with a collection of found material, including photos, drawings, newspaper clippings, memos, book pages and objects, filters these through his thought processes, and retrieves them as a basis for the forms and structures of his paintings and sculptures. The exhibition includes an archive of Scheibitz's source material and models together with a new specially commissioned sculptural piece. The title of the exhibition (also the title of a painting), takes its name from a method of encryption that is used to transmit secret messages and is considered to be impossible to crack if used correctly. It alludes to the coding process Scheibitz employs in his work that audiences are invited to unlock. Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead, until 3rd November.
After Life features poignant and surprising photographic portraits of extinct and endangered animals. Fascinated by taxidermy since childhood, photographer Sean Dooley brings to life the stories of the earth's lost and fading species through his pictures of specimens preserved in musems and private collections across the country. Each portrait captures a species that is losing, or has lost, the fight for survival. Exploring the consequences of man's actions, and inactions, in taking species for granted, this series of striking images includes portraits of a baby polar bear, the extinct passenger pigeon, the critically endangered ruffed lemur, and the Lord Howe swamphen, now extinct, of which there are only two (stuffed) examples in the world. Because of the rarity of these specimens, sometimes the last remnants of a particular species, they are important, either as sources of knowledge that can help conservation, or as reminders of creatures that no one will ever see again. Though often beautiful, the images underline that these examples are an extremely poor substitute for having the animals live in the wild. The exhibition also includes Dooley's photographs from BioBlitz, the museum's review of its Natural History collections. These images capture and record the process of reviewing some 250,000 specimens, from chimpanzee skeletons to a cupboard full of stuffed owls, over a 12 month period, giving an insight into the diverse collection and how better to understand and use it in future. Hornuman Museum, 100 London Road, Forest Hill, London SE23, until 2nd March.
Australia is the most significant survey of Australian art ever mounted in Britain. Focusing on the influence of the landscape, the exhibition spans from 1800 to the present day, and features 146 artists with over 200 works, including paintings, drawings, photography, watercolours and multimedia. The story of Australian art is inextricably linked to its landscape: an ancient land of dramatic beauty, a source of production, enjoyment, relaxation and inspiration, yet seemingly loaded with mystery and danger. For Australian artists, this deep connection with the landscape has provided a rich seam of inspiration for centuries. The exhibition maps the period of rapid and intense change, from the impact of the first settlers and colonisation on the indigenous people to the pioneering nation-building of the 19th century, through to the enterprising urbanisation of the last century. Reflecting the vastness of the land and the diversity of its people, early, as well as contemporary Aboriginal art sits alongside the work of the first colonial settlers, immigrant artists of the 20th century and the work of some of today's most established Australian artists. Highlights include Frederick McCubbin's 'The Pioneer'; four paintings from Sidney Nolan's 'Ned Kelly' series; Eugene von Guerard's 'Bush Fire'; Rover Thomas's 'Cyclone Tracy'; Emily Kame Kngwarreye's 'Big Yam Dreaming'; Grace Cossington Smith's 'The Bridge in Building'; Charles Meere's 'Australian Beach Pattern'; and Shaun Gladwell's video 'Approach to Mundi Mundi'; plus 'Fire and Water', a newly commissioned work by Judy Watson that aims to evoke a sense of the distinctiveness of the Australian landscape whilst considering the art historical developments and contributions of Australian art across the last two centuries. Royal Academy of Arts until 8th December.
Leonardo da Vinci: Mechanics Of Man features the little known anatomical studies of the human body by 'the' Renaissance man, which were never published in his lifetime. The exhibition comprises 87 anatomical drawings by Leonardo da Vinci, including a detailed portrayal in red chalk of a child in the breech position; pencil drawings of the human skull; a series of cross sections of the human shoulder in motion; a set of views of the inner workings of the human hand; and a detailed drawing of the cardiovascular system, compiled in several stages, sketched first in red and then black chalk, with his fingerprints still visible on the paper. This body of work, driven by Leonardo's desire to be 'true to nature' saw him dissect some 30 corpses, from which he compiled hundreds of sheets of drawings of the human body, inventing biological drawing as he did so. However, his research stayed among his private papers until 1900, when the drawings were finally published and understood by the scientific world. Leonardo's work as an anatomist was deeply serious, incredibly detailed and hugely important, showing that as well as being a consummate painter and inventor, he was also a great scientist. Had they been published in his time, he would have been the most important figure ever to publish on human anatomy, and would be regarded now on par with Galileo or Newton. These drawings have been in the possession of the English monarch's Royal Collection since 1690, and are the largest surviving group of these works. The Queen's Gallery, Palace of Holyroodhouse, Edinburgh, until 10th November.
Only In England: Photographs By Tony Ray-Jones And Martin Parr is the inaugural exhibition in the Media Space, which will explore relationships between, and lesser-known histories of, photography, science, art and technology. The display features over 100 works by the British photographer Tony Ray-Jones alongside 50 rarely seen early black and white photographs, The Non-Conformists, by Martin Parr. Fascinated by the eccentricities of English social customs, Tony Ray-Jones spent the latter half of the 1960s travelling across the country, photographing what he saw as a disappearing way of life, in seaside towns, on the streets, at tea dances, and at Glyndebourne, Eton, Wimbledon and Crufts, creating a body of photographic work documenting English identity - eccentric and still divided by class and tradition. Humorous yet melancholy, these photographs were a departure from anything else being produced at the time, and have had a lasting influence on the development of British photography. In 1970, inspired by Ray-Jones, Martin Parr produced The Non-Conformists, shot in black and white in Hebden Bridge and the surrounding Calder Valley, documenting the variety of non-conformist chapels and the communities he encountered. This project started within two years of Ray-Jones's early death and demonstrates his legacy and influence. Around 50 of Ray-Jones vintage prints are on display, alongside an equal number of photographs that have never previously been printed. Martin Parr was invited to select these new works from the 2,700 contact sheets and negatives in Ray-Jones's archive. Science Museum until 16th March.
Jonathan Yeo Portraits features works by one of the most highly regarded portrait painters active in Britain today. The exhibition includes innovative portraits - all produced from life - of some of today's leading cultural, media and political figures, many of whom sat for portraits for the first time with Jonathan Yeo. It presents an overview of the Yeo's work to date, beginning with the drawings he made of the party leaders on the 2001 general election campaign trail, private studies of his family, and portraits of well known figures such as Rupert Murdoch, Erin O'Connor, Grayson Perry, David Walliams, Dennis Hopper, Nicole Kidman, Michael Parkinson and Sienna Miller. It also features several new and previously unseen artworks, including a 6ft high oil on canvas portrait of Damien Hirst, showing the artist sitting in a chair, dressed in a chemical dry suit and holding a mask: an outfit chosen to reflect the tools of his trade; Kevin Spacey as Richard III, which he played in the recent Old Vic production; and Malala Yousafzai, the schoolgirl shot by the Taliban in Pakistan following her campaign for girls to have the right to attend school. Yeo employs a range of media to create a diverse portfolio of portraiture, capturing his sitters through photographs, etchings and hand finished inkjet prints, as well as traditional oil on canvas. National Portrait Gallery until 5th January.
Blackpool Illuminations have extended the holiday season and entertained visitors to the seaside town since 1879, when 8 plain electric arc lamps bathed the Promenade in what was described as 'artificial sunshine'. While the basic idea remains the same, the style and scale of Blackpool's end of season electrical extravaganza have little in common with that first experiment in lighting. Traditional lamps are still used, but now alongside the newest technology such as lasers, fibre-optics, low-voltage neon and even real fire and water. The show now costs £2.4m to stage, and stretches for 6 miles of spectacular colour, light and movement. New features this year include the World's Biggest 3D Holographic Experience, with 40 3D holographic characters ranging from tigers and elephants to pirates, zombies and mermaids; Art For Walls, the biggest gallery of original illuminated urban art in the world, comprising 48 panels by 12 artists; It's Sooty!, a tableaux depicting Sooty, Sweep and pals in action; and Sky Galaxy, with over 2000 multi-coloured lights in the sky, randomly twinkling in ever-changing patterns; plus old favourites Haunted House, Teddy Bears Picnic, Theatre D'Amour, Rangoli Peacock, Sanuk, Venus Reborn, Bling and Brilliance renewed and improved. Visitors can become part of the display, as they travel along the Promenade aboard a tram dressed up by lights as a wild west train, ocean liner or space rocket, from dusk to 11.30pm most nights. Blackpool Promenade, until 10th November.
Francis Bacon Henry Moore: Flesh And Bone places the works of the two greatest British artists of the 20th century in close relation, 50 years after their first joint showing. The exhibition brings together 20 paintings by Francis Bacon alongside 20 sculptures and 20 drawings by Henry Moore to explore themes such as the treatment of the human figure and the artists' responses to the violence of the 20th century. It shows surprising parallels in the work of two artists whose careers have rarely been linked until now. In their different mediums, Moore and Bacon created unforgettable images of the human figure. The distinctive visual languages that each artist developed over more than half a century were marked by a growing simplicity and monumentality of form. Their perspectives differed: Moore clung to a belief in humanism, while Bacon espoused a post-humanist, nihilistic view of the world. In expressing their visions of humanity, the two artists had very different approaches: Bacon working from the outside in, disintegrating and dissolving form; Moore from the inside out, pushing anatomical structure to the surface. Among the highlights are Bacon's 'Study from Portrait of Pope Innocent X', 'Second Version of Triptych', 'Lying Figure in a Mirror', 'Head II' and 'Portrait of Man with Glasses III'; and Moore's 'King and Queen', 'Three Upright Motives: No.1: Glenkiln Cross', 'Four Figures in a Setting', 'Animal Head' and 'Reclining Figure: Festival'. Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, until 19th January.
Laura Knight Portraits features the work of an artist whose portraits show a distinctive picture of 20th century Britain. The exhibition includes commissioned portraits by Laura Knight alongside those made with members from specific social groups such as circus performers, Gypsies, the ballet and war portraits. Knight began work as a resident in the artists' community at Newlyn, Cornwall, en plein air in an Impressionist style. Sitters there include the artist Lamorna Birch and poet W H Davies, and she also produced her idiosyncratic 'Self Portrait', in which she has her back to the viewer, painting her friend, the ceramicist and enamellist Ella Naper, posing as a nude model. In the 1920s Knight became famous for her backstage depictions of actors and dancers at the Ballets Russes and London theatres, including ballerina Lydia Lopokova and actress Gwen Ffrangcon-Davies. In Baltimore, USA, she worked in the racially segregated hospital wards, making drawings of the patients, including highly sensitive drawings of the children she met there. In the following decade Knight travelled for several months with Bertram Mills and Great Carmo's touring circus painting the performers in and out of the ring. She then spent a number of years painting Gypsies at the Epsom Races and was invited to a Gypsy settlement in Iver, Buckinghamshire. During the Second World War Knight produced portraits of female members of the auxiliary air force and munitions workers, aimed to attract further female recruits, featuring women who had achieved particular distinction in their field or decoration for great acts of courage. Knight's painting of the Nuremberg Trials is one of her most remarkable achievements, the multi-figure scene representing the view from the press box in the courtroom. National Portrait Gallery until 13th October.
Richard Rogers RA: Inside Out explores the ideas and ethos of the internationally renowned architect and urbanist at his 80th birthday. The exhibition examines the social, political and cultural influences on Richard Rogers, and their connection to his architecture. Previously unseen original material, drawings and personal items, present a unique insight into the thinking behind one of the world's most celebrated architects. The exhibition draws on key stages in Rogers' life, from the influence of his Italian family, his experience of wartime and post-war Britain, his education at the Architectural Association and Yale, and the impact of seeing new American architecture and technology. For over half a century, Rogers has advocated the social objectives of architecture, the importance of public space, urban regeneration and better planning, through innovative design, believing that architecture is the most powerful agent for social change. The high profile projects showcased include the Centre Pompidou, designed with Renzo Piano and still considered one of the most radical modern buildings, the headquarters for Lloyd's of London, and the Bordeaux Law Courts. Royal Academy of Arts until 13th October.
Eduardo Paolozzi: Collaging Culture is a retrospective of the work of one of the most inventive and prolific of the British artists to come to prominence after the Second World War. Eduardo Paolozzi's legacy ranges from Pop Art to monumental public works, and the exhibition features around 150 works in a variety of media, including drawings, collage, textiles, sculpture and prints, and rare early pieces. The display explores the relationship between Paolozzi's sculpture and his graphic work, and his key preoccupations, such as popular culture, science-fiction and the machine. Central to the exhibition is the importance of collage as a working process within Paolozzi's career, not only in the traditional sense of paper collage, but also in terms of sculptural assemblage, printmaking and film making. The show also explores the relationship between Paolozzi's work and the existential anxieties of the post-war age through exhibits such as his unrealised competition maquette for the 'Monument for the Unknown Political Prisoner', marking him out as an important commentator on British and American culture of the period. Paolozzi described the relationship between his sculptures and his graphic work as 'the constant tension', and the exhibition presents related works side-by-side, such as the collage 'Frog' and the bronze 'Large Frog' and his remarkable screenprints of robotic heads, alongside their sculptural equivalents. It also includes a screening of his experimental film A History Of Nothing, shown alongside the collaged stills such as 'James Joyce and Dancer'. Pallant House Gallery, Chichester, until 13th October.