Private View held by Richard Andrews
Hogarth's Election Entertainment: Artists At The Hustings illustrates that little has changed in politics in the last 250 years. The methods of bribing the electorate may be more sophisticated but the intentions (and results) are the same. This exhibition centres on the four paintings that comprise Hogarth's An Election, based on the notorious contest for the Oxfordshire seats in the General Election of 1754, which paint a darkly comic view of the greed and corruptibility of mankind. They are joined by the best works of his successors in satirical and political engravings, paintings and cartoons to the present day, gathered from collections all over Britain. These include Thomas Rowlandson's The Poll (1784); Robert Dighton's Westminster Election series (1784-96); Benjamin Haydon's monumental comic reworking of Chairing The Member (1828); George Cruikshank's A Radical Reformer (1818); George Caleb Bingham's The County Election (1854); Ronald Searle's The Candidate (1954), and Steve Bell's Pant Burning (1997). If there is any fun to be had from the General Election (whatever its date) then this is it. Sir John Soane Museum until 25th August.
Ben Tewson: The Good, The Good And The Ugly is the culmination of one man's 20 year obsession with the visual environment we create for ourselves. The architect Ben Tewson has spent most of his life studying and thinking about British architecture and design. In this show, employing photographs, design objects, press clippings and collected items, he celebrates the best (from Bakelite televisions to the Dome), condemns the worst (from urban graffiti to country fly-tipping), and champions the neglected. Tewson's mission is nothing less than to shake the British nation out of its apathy to architectural heritage and the environment. This exhibition presents a very strong case. Dean Clough Galleries, Halifax until 12th May.
Inventing New Britain: The Victorian Vision celebrates the extraordinary creativity of the Victorian age when Britain literally ruled the world. The results of the explosion of innovation in arts, design, science and technology thus spread to the ends of it. The Victorian imagination provided the foundations upon which the modern world was built. It is after all thanks to Charles Babbage's Difference Engine that you are reading this now. Marking the centenary of Queen Victoria's death, this exhibition endeavours to embody the creativity, spectacle and sense of adventure that powered her age. In addition to charting the known landmarks, such as underground trains, steam driven ships, bicycles and motor cars, it acknowledges the unknown, such as a Hiram Maxim's steam driven aeroplane of 1894 - which almost worked. It also balances technological advances including electric light, photography, the telephone and X-rays, with social advances such as public libraries, art galleries, free schooling and social housing. Victoria & Albert Museum until 29th July.
Horst Portraits: 60 Years Of Style is the first exhibition solely devoted to one of the great master photographers of the 20th century. It brings together 150 portraits taken largely during his career at Vogue where his name became synonymous with glamour. Captured over six decades Horst's evocative portraits of leading figures from the worlds of art, literature, fashion and celebrity left a lasting influence on a generation of photographers from Herb Ritts to Robert Mapplethorpe. Among those immortalised by his classic style were stars of the silver screen from Marlene Dietrich to Steve McQueen, artists and writers including Salvador Dali and Jean Cocteau and fashion icons from Coco Chanel to Calvin Klein. The gallery is taking part in the Late Opening initiative and is open until 9pm on Thursdays and Fridays. National Portrait Gallery until 3rd June.
Centenary Exhibition features an eclectic selection of around 100 paintings, drawings and sculptures chosen from some of the 725 shows in the gallery's first hundred years. It is not a chronological overview, but a celebration of the diversity and unpredictability of its programming. The works have been selected by artists Anish Kapoor and Rosemarie Trockel, current director Catherine Lampert, and past directors Nicholas Serota and Bryan Robertson. They include pieces by some of the great names who had their first major British exhibition in the gallery, such as Emil Nolde, David Hockney, Bill Viola, Anthony Caro, Eva Hesse, Frida Kahlo and Philip Guston; major living and historic figures from Lucian Freud to Rembrandt, and George Stubbs to Andy Warhol; and key pieces from themed exhibitions such as Richard Hamilton's collaged poster for 'This Is Tomorrow'. There is also a Documentary Space with projections of landmark art works that no longer exist or are too fragile to show, installations, and live events. Whitechapel Gallery until 20th May.
Swallows And Amazons features a collection of boats associated with Arthur Ransome's classic children's novel. They include the sailing dinghies Mavis, which was Ransome's model for Amazon, and Coch-y-Bonddhu in which he learned to sail, and the twin screw steam yacht Esperance which inspired Captain Flint's houseboat. Outdoors the unique permanent collection of 15 craft, mostly still in working order, illustrates key stages in the development of steam launches. Dolly shows the primitive application of steam power and is unique, having been salvaged after 67 years on a lake bed, while Branksome exemplifies the development and ultimate refinement of steamboats. Indoors displays range from high speed craft to Beatrix Potter's rowing boat. There are working examples of authentic model steam boats and sailing yachts in various stages of construction, with weekend demonstrations. The launches Swallow, Osprey or Water Viper run trips on the lake every day throughout the season. Windermere Steamboat Centre until 28th October.
Luis Barragan: The Quiet Revolution is a major retrospective of the work of the Mexican architect who is an outstanding figure in the field of modern architecture, having had a significant influence in domestic, commercial and garden design. Barragan is best known for his dramatic emphasis on colour and geometric simplicity, and the use of water, light and scale in his work. despite the fact that he died over a decade ago, Barragan is a designer whose time has come, as his work bears a striking resemblance to the end products of the Home Front and Home Front In The Garden television series. Many of today's design preoccupations of 'bringing the outside in' (and inside out) result from his unique approach to domestic space. This exhibition looks at Barragan's most admired buildings, as well as some projects which were never executed. It charts the evolution of his vision of modern spaces for living and working through plans, sketches, photographs and models. Design Museum until 8th July.
RRS Discovery, Captain Scott's polar exploration ship was launched in Dundee on 21st March 1901, and has now returned to celebrate her centenary and become part of a permanent exhibition about the National Antarctic Expedition. Discovery was one of the last wooden three-masted ships built in Britain and the first to be constructed specifically for scientific research. The exhibition takes visitors through her building, launch and preparation for departure, to a recreation of the conditions that Scott and his crew experienced in Antarctica. It houses a number of original artefacts including the ship's organ and a sea chest. On the ship itself the bridge is now open after painstaking restoration, and below decks visitors can explore the engine and boiler rooms, and the galley and mess deck, and Scott's cabin. Discovery Point, Dundee continuing.
Turner's Gallery, House and Library goes back to basics to mark the 150th anniversary of the death of J M W Turner, Britain's greatest painter. It has recreated Turner's own showcase with the collection of paintings which hung in a purpose-built gallery in his house in London. These are the works by which he wished to be remembered. It presents an impression of what contemporary visitors to Queen Anne Street would have seen, including a simulation of the 'Indian red, neither pale nor dark' that a friend recalled on the walls of the original gallery. Another section of the exhibition presents Turner's house, through which visitors passed on their way to the gallery. This contains his personal collection of pictures, drawings and prints which reflect his friendships and interests, and provided inspiration for his work. Books from Turner's fine library are also displayed many with dedications from their authors. Tate Britain until 15th July.
Works Of Artifice charts the history of make up, revealing that most cultures have treated the human face and body as a canvas for self definition. The one thing that societies have never been is indifferent. Fashion has been extravagantly in favour - as in the eighteenth century - or disapprovingly against - as in the nineteenth. Make up can mask identity or underline it, in an act of conformity or defiance. Through paintings, photographs, sculptures, and audio-visual installations this exhibition illustrates the story from woad to punk, and from Goth to Geisha. It offers myriad examples of how the theatrical has entered the everyday. Williamson Art Gallery and Museum, The Birkenhead Packet, Birkenhead, 0151 652 4177, until 17th April.
The Genius Of Rome: 1592-1623 examines a period when Rome became the leading artistic centre, with young and ambitious artists flocking there from throughout Italy and the rest of Europe. It focuses on the ways in which Caravaggio, Carracci, Elsheimer, Rubens and their contemporaries responded to similar artistic themes, influenced one another, and jointly laid the foundations for what was to become the Baroque style. They created paintings which were far more direct, natural and immediate than those of their predecessors. Caravaggio is undoubtedly the star in involving his audience with his subjects. 'The Taking Of Christ' (in which he appears carrying a lantern) embodies the spirit of the movement in its observation of light, capture of motion, and violence of subject - almost creating a press photograph of the incident. The realism of his 'St John The Baptist', bringing a graphic humanity to a religious figure, illustrates why works of these painters were not always acceptable to the church. The exhibition features some 150 paintings, several of which have never previously been seen in this country, from over 40 artists. The climax of the exhibition is an installation of 16 altarpieces that recreate the atmosphere of a Roman Baroque church. There have been few occasions when such a large collection of history making work has been seen in Britain. Royal Academy of Arts until 16th April.
Design Into Architecture explores the relationship between Renaissance architecture and the other arts of design - painting, sculpture and decorative arts - through drawings from the 15th to 17th centuries. The aim is to demonstrate the role of 'disengo' as the conceptual basis of visual invention at a period when architecture did not yet exist as a separate profession. It includes studies for altars, tombs, ceilings, liturgical furnishings and stage sets, as well as drawings after classical antiquity and architectural views. The centrepiece is a group of works by Michelangelo, Raphael and Leonardo. Christ Church Picture Gallery, Oxford until 12th April.