Private View held by Richard Andrews
Irving Penn Portraits is the largest British exhibition ever devoted to portraiture by one of the greatest photographers of his generation. It includes over 120 prints from Irving Penn's seven decade career, ranging from his early portraits for Vogue in 1944 to some of his last work, including previously unexhibited portraits of Lee Krasner, Edith Piaf, Harold Pinter and Cecil Beaton. The exhibition is a survey of Penn's portraits of major cultural figures, including Truman Capote, Salvador Dalì, Marlene Dietrich, Christian Dior, T S Eliot, Duke Ellington, Alfred Hitchcock, Nicole Kidman, Willem de Kooning, Jessye Norman, Rudolf Nureyev, Pablo Picasso, Igor Stravinsky, Tennessee Williams, Ingmar Bergman, Arthur Miller, Louise Bourgeois and Woody Allen (in disguise as Charlie Chaplin). Penn began his career as a photographer in the 1940s, making portraits that were a groundbreaking stylistic shift from existing conventions of portrait photography. In contrast to his contemporaries, who often used complex or dramatic sets, or showed sitters in their working environments, Penn worked in a studio that was almost empty, using simulated daylight and only the simplest props. From the 1950s Penn began to photograph many of his subjects close up, gradually eliminating the visible framework of the studio, resulting in a greater emphasis on gesture and expression. As time when on, Penn moved into even more intense head and shoulder studies. In addition to individual portraits, the show features some of Penn's celebrated group portraits, including the 1967 photograph Rock Groups, which captures Janis Joplin and her band, Big Brother and the Holding Company, alongside the Grateful Dead, and his photograph of Ellsworth Kelly, Chuck Close, Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg and Kenneth Noland. National Portrait Gallery until 6th June.
Goya's Prison: The Year Of Despair, examines work from the period in the artist's life which became a significant turning point for him. Following a severe illness in 1792, Goya convalesced in Andalusia, living with wine exporter and private collector, Sebastian Martinez, an enthusiast of English painters, such as Reynolds, whose work Goya was able to study. During this period of recuperation, Goya produced a set of small cabinet paintings on tin plate that were to define the rest of his career. In painting this series of pictures, Goya allowed himself to produce images that were of personal interest, rather than those dictated by the restrictions imposed by his patrons. The subjects were diverse: six bullfighting scenes, a shipwreck, a raging inferno, a murderous stagecoach holdup, a travelling theatre, a lunatic asylum, and the inside of a prison, which probably best conveyed his state of mind. This series of small works became the tinplate templates for much of his subsequent work. In these works Goya discovered his niche, whether his former patrons liked it or not. This shift away from the huge official tapestry commissions to smaller and more intimate works was instrumental in restoring his reputation. The exhibition explores the story behind the painting 'The Interior of a Prison', with reference to other pictures in the cabinet series. Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle, until 11th April.
Ron Arad: Restless is a retrospective of the work of the internationally acclaimed London based maverick, variously described as a designer, architect and artist. Spanning three decades, the exhibition traces the development of Ron Arad's designs from his early post-punk approach, assembling works from readymade parts, to his technologically advanced sculptural objects made of highly polished metals. Bringing together over 120 works, the exhibition features some of Arad's most celebrated pieces, including 'Rover Chair', a car seat salvaged from a scrap yard mounted on a steel frame, that famously caught the eye of Jean Paul Gaultier; 'Well-Tempered Chair', a reinterpretation of the overstuffed club chair using four thin sheets of tempered steel bent and held together by wing nuts; 'Reinventing the Wheel', a bookcase inspired by a children's toy, featuring a globe floating inside a sphere, with a wheel-within-a-wheel construction, keeping the shelves level as it is rolled around; and 'Lolita', a chandelier made up of 1050 LED lights embedded within 2,100 crystals, which has its own mobile phone number, so text messages can appear at the top of the chandelier and wind down the ribbon curves, creating the impression that it is slightly spinning. Architectural projects featured include the rotating mountain top restaurant and gallery Les Diablarets in Gstaad, Swizerland; the recently opened Mediacite shopping complex in Liege, Belgium; and the Design Museum in Holon, Israel. Barbican Gallery until 16th May.
The Ministry Of Food marks the 70th anniversary of food rationing introduced by the government during the Second World War. The exhibition shows how the British public adapted to a world of food shortages by 'Lending a Hand on the Land', 'Digging for Victory', taking up the 'War on Waste', and being both frugal and inventive on the 'Kitchen Front'. It also underlines that growing your own food, eating seasonal fruit and vegetables, reducing imports, recycling and healthy nutrition were as topical in 1940 as they are today. The exhibition explores the story of food from farms, gardens and docks, to shops, kitchens, and canteens. As imports were drastically cut, British agriculture had to dramatically increase production to feed the nation, with help from the Women's Land Army, prisoners of war and those who volunteered at Farming Holiday Camps. The Women's Institute staffed 6,000 Preservation Centres to make jams and pickles, and the Women's Voluntary Service's mobile canteens provided emergency sustenance to rescuers and the homeless after air raids. Among the exhibition's special features are reconstructions of a wartime greenhouse, a 1940s grocer's shop, and a typical kitchen of the period - complete with larder, gas cooker, and an ample stock of economy recipes, including the original Savoy Hotel recipe for Woolton Pie (a grisly concoction of vegetables named after the Minister of Food). Visitors can listen to original radio recordings of advice on gardening from Mr Middleton, on nutrition from the 'Radio Doctor', Charles Hill, and on cooking from Marguerite Patten. Further tips are provided in a selection of the Ministry of Food's Food Flashes films, and on posters that reminded the public that a 'Clear Plate Means a Clear Conscience', exhorted people to save kitchen scraps for the communal pig bin, and to 'Eat More Greens'. Imperial War Museum, London, until January.
Walls Are Talking is the first major British exhibition of artists' wallpaper designs. It features works by over 30 artists, including Andy Warhol, Sarah Lucas, Damien Hirst, Michael Craig-Martin and Angus Fairhurst. Kitsch ideas of home decoration are turned upside down as artists subvert the stereotypes of wallpaper to hit home messages about warfare, racism, cultural conflicts and gender. The exhibition is grouped around themes: subversion, commodification, imprisonment and sexuality. Highlights include: Sonia Boyce's 'Clapping', with a feeling of claustrophobia and menace, strengthened by a repeated design of the black and white hand print; Zineb Sedira illustrating social inequalities and gender difference from her French-Algerian Islamic perspective; Thomas Demand's Ivy, with intricate pieces of paper cut out and photographed make up a lifelike work of imprisoning beauty; Abigail Lane's CSI style blood spatter pattern, and from the opposite end of the spectrum, popular commercial papers that reinforce cultural and gender stereotypes, from Barbie and the Spice Girls for her, to beer cans, football teams and idealised female bodies for him. With many prominent designers and artists using the medium of wallpaper as their primary method of expression, this exhibition provides a timely exploration of the possibilities and power of print. Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester, until 3rd May.
Paul Nash: The Elements features works by the British artist who painted beautiful landscapes of the Downs, strange flooded rooms, and classic images of two World Wars. The exhibition brings together around 60 of Paul Nash's paintings and watercolours, from throughout his career. The paintings include Nash's work as a war artist, together with a selection of his own photographs, which are shown with his photographic collages. The exhibition includes interiors, abstracts and still lifes, as well as the landscapes for which he is best known. The works shows elements in conflict, in paintings and drawings from different periods of Nash's life. These include his early drawings of night time dangers, a group of his troubled political paintings of the 1930s, and the war paintings, including the iconic 'Totes Meer (dead sea)' in which an undulating sea of German aircraft wreckage covers an English landscape. Many of Nash's landscapes show a path through or between elements with figures entering a wood, or cross a threshold into a different region. He painted nests and refuges within elements of wood, stone or earth, and his photographs reveal his search for such places in the countryside and in his own arrangements of objects. Nash looked for what he called 'equivalents' between differing elements of nature, in search for harmony between them. The balance of design and colour that he found within the natural world of sea, stone, earth and sky lead to some of his most emotionally moving paintings. Dulwich Picture Gallery until 9th May.
Mrs Delany And Her Circle is the first exhibition to survey the entire life and the full range of a significant figure in natural history in Georgian England. Mary Delaney was a pattern of accomplishment and curiosity for her contemporaries, and became a model to subsequent generations. The exhibition brings together art, fashion and science: fields that are now generally conceived as separate realms of cultural practice, but that were intimately connected in the varied circles in which Mrs Delany thrived. The centre pieces of the show of collages, drawings, letters and embroideries, include sections of Delany's court mantua, the court dress magnificently embroidered with naturalistic flowers dramatically displayed against a black satin background, the first time that these surviving sections of fabric have been brought together; and her 'paper mosaic' botanical studies of flowers, collages of coloured papers with watercolour and body colour on black ink background, part of her magnum opus the 'Flora Delanica'.
Promiscuous Assemblage, Friendship & The Order Of Things is an accompanying site-specific installation by artist Jane Wildgoose, which is a celebration of the friendship between Mrs Delany and Margaret Cavendish, second Duchess of Portland. The extravagant cabinet of curiosities evokes the 'Promiscuous Assemblage' described in the catalogue that accompanied the sale of the Duchess's 'Portland Museum', a collection of natural history specimens, fine and decorative arts, and curiosities, at a 38 day auction comprising over 4,000 lots. Wildgoose offers a perspective on the ways in which the natural history collections of the 18th century reflect the interlacing of the manners, taste, friendships and material culture of the people who assembled them.
Sir John Soane Museum, Lincoln's Inn Fields, London, until 1st May.
Durer And Italy focuses on the engravings of the German artist who was the first to achieve fame through his prints. The exhibition presents engraved masterpieces by Albrecht Durer alongside contemporary Italian works, and illustrates the cultural exchange that took place in the years between 1500 and 1528. Durer made two journeys to Italy, during which he promoted himself as an artist, studied art, and met engravers and exponents of the art of perspective, which was still unknown in Germany. Durer's prints were of two kinds: for the popular market he designed woodcuts, which were cheap and often sold as bound sets, the most popular being two series of the 'Passion of Christ' and the 'Life of the Virgin'. His astonishingly detailed engravings were relatively expensive, and appealed more to artists and collectors, presenting figures and landscapes of unparalleled beauty that rapidly became highly fashionable, especially in Italy. Durer's work was soon known to Raphael in Rome, who did not make prints himself, but provided sketches to be engraved by artists such as Marcantonio. The exhibition includes two of Marcantonio's best known works, 'Judgement of Paris' and 'Massacre of the Innocents', which provide a contrasting classical vision to Durer's, tinged by his roots in Gothic illustration. Hunterian Art Gallery, Glasgow, until 22nd March.
Shaped By War: Photographs By Don McCullin is the largest ever British exhibition about the life and work of one of the world's most acclaimed photographers. For more than 50 years, Don McCullin's images have shaped the awareness of modern conflict and its consequences. His courage and integrity, as well as the exceptional quality of his work, are a continuing inspiration and influence worldwide. This exhibition contains over 200 photographs, objects, magazines and personal memorabilia, and shows the effect war has had on McCullin's life. It examines McCullin's uncompromising drive to be on the frontline and document events as they unfold, the influences on his work, and his impact on others. The display reveals the moral dilemmas of bearing witness to and photographing conflict. Set in the context of world events and major changes in photography and journalism which have occurred in his lifetime, items on display for the first time include his US Issue Army Helmet worn in Vietnam, and a camera fractured by a sniper's bullet in Cambodia, as he was taking a photograph. Most black and white images have been handprinted by McCullin himself, and are stunning examples of his darkroom skills. Key images are also displayed via lightboxes, banners and projections - methods that have never before been used to show his work. The exhibition explores how, indirectly, conflict continues to shape Don McCullin and his work today, including cultural change in Britain, landscapes of England, still life photography, and his most recent work, documenting the former Roman Empire. Imperial War Museum North, Manchester, until 13th June.
Living With The Wall: Berlin 1961 - 1989 marks the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, built by the Communist East German authorities to stop its population fleeing to freedom in the West. The Wall stretched 155 kilometres, slicing through private homes, shops, farms and the city's transport systems. The exhibition of photographs, many of which are on display for the first time, chart the evolution of the Wall from primitive barbed wire barricade to modern fortification - and artist's inspiration. It includes images captured by German photojournalists illustrating the impact on the people of Berlin, as families were separated, or sought to escape the restrictions imposed on them; together with photographs taken by British Army photographers, documenting the confrontation between the East and the West, together with the day when they were reunited, crystallised by the image of a solitary child chipping away at the Wall with a chisel. In addition to the photographs, there are a number of accompanying items, including a checkpoint sign signalling the end of the British zone; an Eastern block Trabant car; what is believed to be the only survivor of 302 searchlights mounted on watchtowers along the Wall; an East German riot shield and visor; and a piece of the Wall itself. Imperial War Museum North, Manchester, until 21st March.
Tris Vonna-Michell: 'No more racing in circles - just pacing within lines of a rectangle' is a mixed media installation that combines photography, film, sound, performance and concrete poetry. The exhibition is the result of a 3 month residency period in Southend-on-Sea by performance artist Tris Vonna-Michell, who was born and brought up in the area. It scrambles his childhood memories of local landmark sites with contemporary images. During a recent journey in the Vonna-Michell family's old black 1983 Mercedes 230E, he took photographic images and sound recordings of various localities. The semi-derelict modern classic car (which had previously been lying dormant in a garden for 5 years) re-emerges as the vehicle for the artist's research trip around his early days, recalling childhood haunts and family journeys. Vonna-Michell's project seeks to 'question the nature of periphery, margin and centre, and map important events in world history onto ideas of the personal within a local framework'. It is a rumination on the recent history of a town that is currently undergoing a radical transformation through dramatic regeneration plans. Focal Point Gallery, Southend-on-Sea, until 20th March.
The Rise of Women Artists charts the progress made by female artists from the 16th century to the present day, in both fine and decorative arts. The exhibition shows that women have been creative in a wide variety of media over that time, from 16th century European paintings, to the industrial pottery of the early 20th century, and contemporary abstracts and sculpture. The show is displayed chronologically in nine sections, featuring paintings, works on paper, textiles, ceramics and sculpture. The exhibition traces the historical changes affecting women, looking at their status and careers as they moved to assert themselves as artists in their own right. Celebrating some of the key pioneers of women's art, the exhibition features early works from 16th and 17th century Italian painters Lavinia Fontana and Elisabetta Sirani; renowned 18th century French painter Elisabeth Vigee-Lebrun, and Angelica Kauffmann, a founding member of the Royal Academy; from the 19th century, Louisa Starr's 'Sintram', Henrietta Ward's 'George III and his family at Windsor' and 'Elaine' by Sophie Anderson, together with works by Pre-Raphaelite Emma Sandys, and Marianne Stokes; and early 20th century Art Nouveau paintings of Frances Macdonald McNair, alongside pottery by Clarice Cliffe and Susie Cooper. Contemporary artists and designers such as Louise Bourgeois, Helen Chadwick, Alison Britton and Paula Rego complete the exhibition. Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool, until 14th March.