Private View held by Richard Andrews
France In Russia: Empress Josephine's Malmaison Collection brings together some of the paintings, sculpture and furnishings that Napoleon's consort Josephine acquired for her chateau of Malmaison, which were purchased by Tsar Alexander I in 1815. In addition to 16th and 17th century paintings by Claude, Potter and Teniers, sculpture by Canova and decorative arts, the exhibition also includes luxury items borrowed from Josephine's fashionable country retreat, such as textiles, personal effects and letters. Among the highlights are: Antonio Canova's contemporary life size marble sculpture 'Dancer', commissioned by Josephine; Claude Lorrain's 'Landscape with Tobias and the Angel' from the four part Times of Day series; Francois Gerard's iconic portrait of Josephine, originally on display at Malmaison; 22 pieces from a 213 piece porcelain dessert service, including the a series of 'picture plates' reproducing paintings from Josephine's collection, such as Metsu's 'Breakfast' and Francois Fleury Richard's 'Valentina of Milan'; Paulus Potter's almost life size definitive dog painting 'A Wolfhound'; a clock base in the form of a triumphal arch by the Florentine mosaicist Giacomo Raffaelli; a console table with sphinx legs and sea-bed mosaic top by Jacob Desmalter; Francois Flameng's informal painting 'Reception at Malmaison', showing Napoleon in game of tag with his stepdaughter in the grounds, watched by members of the families; 'The Gonzaga Cameo', showing a double portrait of an emperor and his wife; and personal effects belonging to Josephine, including a silver embroidered court dress and an ecritoire designed by the goldsmith Martin-Guillaume Biennais, together with letters on widely diverse subjects. Hermitage Rooms, Somerset House until 4th November.
Memories, Moments And Other Curiosities is a collection of sculpture and 'cabinets of curiosities' by Nicola Dale, Claire Douglass, Liz Frolich, Simon Le Ruez and Kelly McCallum, based on personal experience, disintegration and domestic spaces, expressed in different ways, reflecting their individual approaches. Nicola Dale illustrates the proposition that 'our view of history changes depending on our position' by cutting long leafed flowers from the pages of the populist history book 'The People's Century' to create a memorial wreath. Claire Douglass's mixed media works refer to comparisons between her memories of growing up in Britain with friends from different ethnic backgrounds. Liz Frolich's works echo that of an archaeologist and collector of curios, juxtaposing objects and materials that come together to tell a story. Simon Le Ruez makes delicately disquieting sculptures that use materials subversively, to create physical and psychological tensions. Kelly McCallum is interested in how things age, and how they decay or are preserved, creating works that combine Victorian taxidermy with insects and precious metals. Saltburn Galllery, Saltburn-by-the-Sea, until 7th October.
London Open House is the annual scheme that allows public access to architecturally interesting but usually private buildings across the capital. Over 600 buildings of all kinds, both historic and new, include Dulwich Picture and Royal Academy galleries, Imperial War and Horniman museums, Hackney Empire and Royal Court theatres, St John's Smith Square and the LSO St Luke's concert halls, Home Office and Foreign and India Office, BBC Broadcasting House, Bush House and Television Centre, and Channel 4 building, Westminster Hall and Portcullis House, Tooting Bec and Brockwell Lidos, Foster and Partners and Hopkins Architects offices, Roof Gardens Kensington, 30 St Mary Axe (the Gherkin), British Library, Old Turkish Baths Bishopsgate, Bank of England, Old Royal Naval College Greenwich, Reform Club, Lincoln's Inn, City Hall, Guildhall, Royal Courts of Justice, Stratford International station and the 2012 Olympic Park construction site. There are also talks, conducted walks and other accompanying special events taking place at various locations over the course of the weekend. Last year, over 360,000 visits were made during the two days. Entrance is free, but because of limited access, a few of the buildings require prebooking. Further details and how to obtain a directory of participating buildings can be found on the London Open House web site via the link from Festivals in the Others section of ExhibitionsNet. Across London on 15th and 16th September.
The Changing Face Of Childhood: British Children's Portraits And Their Influence In Europe looks at how the representation of children in British art changed over the centuries, and how these changes were taken up by European artists.
In the 1630s Van Dyck painted Charles I's children as innocent creatures subjected to the established style of courtly representation. 100 years later Gainsborough set new standards, with keenly observed renditions of child like behaviour, and subjects who were placed in their own environment. As painted by Joshua Reynolds, and his successor Thomas Lawrence, they were no longer stiffly posed miniature reflections of their aristocratic parents, but genuinely child like, running wild in landscapes that reflect their personalities. This new way of seeing children as independent characters became popular throughout Europe, and as a result, European artists like Angelika Kauffman travelled to England to see the works, and contributed to the wide dissemination of this 'modern' portrait type. All over Europe in the second half of the 18th century interest in children's portraits spread, not just among the nobility, but among the newly emerging bourgeoisie. Highlights include Gainsborough's 'The Painter's Daughters', Peter Lely's 'Young Man as a Shepherd', Joshua Reynolds's 'Georgina, Duchess of Devonshire and Her Daughter Lady Georgina Cavendish', Thomas Lawrence's 'The Children of Lord George Cavendish', Henry Raeburn's 'The Allen Brothers', William Beechy's 'Sir Francis Ford's Children Giving a Coin to a Beggar Boy' and Francis Cotes's 'The Young Cricketer: Portrait of Lewis Cage'. Dulwich Picture Gallery until 4th November.
The Memory Of Place is a site specific installation by Scottish glass artist Keiko Mukaide, which draws on religious ceremony from her native Japan, to create a site of ritual contemplation, using fire, water, glass, stone and light. It is Keiko's response to her sense of the sadness and emptiness of the space, the visual remains of the former church's medieval interior, with the stained glass, gravestones and carvings remaining from its past as a sacred site, and the discovery by geomancer Graham Gardner of energy ley, underground streams and blind springs beneath the building. Keiko has constructed a pool of water, which fills the nave of the church, flowing towards the transept, where a suspended column of glass rods is dramatically top lit, suggesting a spiritual path to a higher place. It was inspired in part by the Japanese religious ceremony, Shoro nagashi, in which people release lanterns on to a river in mid summer, symbolising their ancestors' spirits ascending to heaven, and reflecting the timeless bond between them and those who went before. Visitors are invited to become involved with the installation by lighting a votive candle and floating it on the pool. St Mary's Church, Castlegate, York until 28th October.
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 six miles of spectacular colour, light and movement. Among featured tableaux in this year's free show are 'Decodance' designed by Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen, and monsters from Dr Who. 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 8pm to midnight most nights.
The Festival Of Light is an accompanying programme of events and contemporary light installations. These include 'Artificial Sunshine - The Story Of The Illuminations' exhibition, where visitors can get up close to working illuminations, and see original drawings and diagrams dating back to the 1930's; Andy McKeown's 'Kaleidoscopia', in which images provided by visitors are kaleidoscoped and projected on to buildings across the town; Blachere Illumination's 'Wonderland', a sparkling canopy curtain of LED lights floating as if suspended in mid air, mysteriously supporting 6 giant chandeliers; Michael Trainor's giant mirror ball installation 'They Shoot Horses Don't They?' spectacularly illuminated by Greg McLenahan; and Kate Walker's 'Rain', consisting of multiples of lamp-worked glass with water inside, suspended on fibre optic lighting, like a cloud suspended in space made up of hundreds of glass raindrops. Blackpool Promenade 31st August to 4th November.
Journey Through Japan, is an exhibition of 33 hand painted Victorian lantern slides collected by museum founder Frederick Horniman. These were produced by Japanese photographers for western tourists to take home as a memento of their trip. The images depicted, and the colour palette used by the artists, helped to establish both cultural and visual stereotypes of Japan still prevalent in the west today. The exhibition also includes other lantern slides that depict an alternative and more authentic view, illustrating typical street scenes. The images are accompanied by excerpts from the recently discovered diary of 11 year old Marjorie Bell, who travelled to Japan with her mother and aunt in 1903, visiting many of the places represented in the lantern slides, and recording keen observations of the people she met and the landscapes she saw.
Wrapping Japan explores the culture of wrapping within Japanese society, from fukusa and furoshiki (cloths used in the presentation of gifts) through to examples of traditional wedding and other costumes. The wedding section includes a headdress worn by the bride, tsunokakushi, which translates as 'horn-hider', interpreted as being intended to hide the wife's faults from her husband to be during the wedding ceremony. The costume worn by women at weddings in Japan is based on that of ladies of the court during the Heian period, and the scarlet colour of the bride's under kimono, nagajuban, is said to represent her passion, concealed from view except for the slightest glimpse at the edges. The exhibition also explores kimonos and obi - the sashes worn over a kimono - and the symbolic meaning expressed in the way that they are tied.
Horniman Museum Forest Hill, London SE23, Journey Through Japan until 11th November - Wrapping Japan until 10th February.
Out Of This World: The Art Of Josh Kirby is the first major retrospective of the artist whose speciality was other-worldly characters, creatures, fantasy cities and landscapes. It spans Kirby's career from his early days as a freelance artist, to his cover illustrations for Terry Pratchett and Eric/Faust fantasy books. The exhibition displays his best known work, such as film posters for Star Wars: Return Of The Jedi and Monty Python's Life Of Brian, and the Discworld series of books, alongside the less familiar, including illustrations for Corgi and Panther publishers in the 1950s and 1960s. It provides a unique opportunity to view Kirby's often highly complex paintings un-cropped and in their original format. His heroes and heroines are archetypal fantasy figures, but his scenes are infused with ribald humour. Fantasy art is often associated with airbrushing, but Kirby's works were meticulously hand painted, usually in gouaches or oils, over a period of four to eight weeks.
Unnatural Selection: Jewellery, Objects And Sculpture By Peter Chang is the first time Chang's early and contemporary drawings, prints and sculptures have been presented alongside his jewellery, objects and current sculpture, providing a comprehensive overview of his work. Peter Chang exploits the intrinsic qualities of plastic - its malleability and colour - to make shapes in all sizes, from jewellery to outdoor sculpture. Inspired by many things, from the natural world to the urban environment, Chang uses self devised techniques to combine throw-away everyday acrylic, polyester resin and PVC, with precious metals and other materials, into objects that have a sci-fi feel.
Walker Gallery Liverpool, both exhibitions until 30th September.
Work, Rest & Play explores how artists have responded to changing patterns of work and leisure over the last 400 years. The exhibition features paintings, sculpture and photographs by 25 artists, including Canaletto, Gainsborough, Gauguin, Monet, Maggi Hambling and Renee Green. Giovanni Battista Moroni's 'The Tailor', one of the earliest portraits to show an individual at work, contrasts with L S Lowry's 'Coming from the Mill' where the individual seems lost in the mass labour force of a 20th century industrial city. The development of technology and the changing roles of women are reflected by Joseph Wright of Derby's 'An Iron Forge', painted at the start of the Industrial Revolution, showing the impact of rapid progress, and Laura Knight's 'Ruby Loftus screwing a Breech Ring' recording the contribution of women who took on traditionally male roles during the Second World War, while Ford Madox Brown's 'Work', centred around navvies laying a water pipe in Heath Street, Hampstead, fully captures the vigour of Victorian city life. Contemporary global office culture is depicted in photographs by Lars Tunbjork, which include a Tokyo stockbroker asleep at his desk, and a New York lawyer's office with staff kneeling under the desk - the only spare space in the paper-strewn room. The exhibition suggests that even leisure can be hard work, with Duane Hanson's 'Traveller', an extraordinarily lifelike sculpture of a sunburnt holidaymaker slumped over his luggage as he waits for a flight home, and Manet's 'Corner of a Cafe Concert', which demonstrates how one person's entertainment can depend upon another's work: a man relaxes with his pipe at the bar, where a dancer entertains him and a waitress serves him beer. National Gallery until 14th October.
Behind The Scenes: The Hidden Life Of Georgian Theatre 1737-1784 offers an insight into the theatrical world of the 18th century, which played a crucial role in the society of Georgian London. It aims to illuminate the theatre's most intimate, notorious and hidden spaces, taking visitors behind the scenes, into areas such as the Green Room and performers dressing rooms. More specifically it explores the lives of Samuel Johnson (of dictionary fame) and the actor manager David Garrick, two of the London theatre world's most influential characters. It covers the period from their arrival in London to Johnson's death, shortly after his meeting with Sarah Siddons, the most famous performer of her age, as commemorated in Frith's painting. Among the items on display are Garrick's powder puff and dressing room mirror, and Johnson's contract for the preparation of his 1765 edition of Shakespeare's plays, along with tickets, playbills and other memorabilia. The exhibition is accompanied by a comprehensive series of Georgian theatre related events, including tours, lectures, performances and workshops. The house itself, where Johnson lived and worked as he compiled the dictionary, has been restored to its original condition, and houses an extensive permanent collection of Johnsonia, which includes furniture, miniatures, prints and paintings. Dr Johnson's House, Gough Square, London, until 18th September.
Cult Fiction explores the reciprocal relationship between comics and art. Featuring the work of 16 contemporary artists, including Raymond Pettibon and Marcel Dzama, and 12 leading comics artists and graphic novelists, including Killoffer and Posy Simmonds, the exhibition explores links between the two genres. The visual language of comics and graphic novels has influenced many contemporary artists who have used its conventions of pictorial narrative and fusion of word and image. Fine artists Adam Dant, Kerry James Marshall and Olivia Plender have published their own comics, while Glen Baxter and David Shrigley employ a combination of word and image in forms that are reminiscent of popular cartoons. The recurring themes and characters typical of comics iconography can be seen in Laylah Ali's cast of bowling-ball headed characters, while Kerstin Kartscher and Paul McDevitt employ graphic elements from comic book imagery to create works that suggest narrative without using words. The comics artists are mainly from the generation of independent author-draughtsmen whose subject matter tends to be autobiographical, offbeat and sometimes transgressive. In her 'New York Diary', Canadian Julie Doucet portrays herself in vulnerable and compromising situations, exemplifying the comic medium's ability to communicate difficult emotional themes, the realities of life within a war zone are charted in Joe Sacco's 'Palestine', while everyday characters such as R Crumb and Harvey Pekar's file clerk in 'American Splendor' and Daniel Clowes' misfit 'David Boring .../…' become unlikely heroes of everyday tales. Nottingham Castle until 16th September.
Eye-Music: Kandinsky, Klee And All That Jazz is an examination of the particular correspondence between visual art and music at the beginning of the 20th century. Paul Klee took the fugues of Bach as the model for his multi-layered paintings, as did the less well known Czech artist Frantisek Kupka, one of the pioneers of abstract art, while Wassily Kandinsky's friendship with the avant-garde composer Schonberg encouraged the development of his free, expressive style. Later in the century jazz became a model for artistic improvisation in the work of Piet Mondrian, Alan Davie and others, and in the 1970s, Eduardo Paolozzi dedicated a series of screenprints to the composer Charles Ives, whose 'collage' technique incorporated popular tunes, folk music and marching songs within the symphonic tradition. This exhibition and the accompanying programme of concerts and events examines these relationships and other ideas, including the phenomenon of synaesthesia and the ability to 'hear' colours, the spectacle of sound and light performances, and early prototypes of abstract film by pioneers such as Viking Eggeling and Len Lye.
Sighting Music is an accompanying display of musical notation featuring influential scores from the history of 20th century music, where the visual experience of reading the music becomes an important part of its interpretation, including compositions by Arthur Bliss, John Cage, Cornelius Cardew and Tom Phillips.
A-tonal Time Twister: Thor McIntyre-Burnie is an installation that turns the gallery's lift into a space to play and control a specially recorded quartet. Inspired by Schonberg's a-tonal compositions and Kandinsky's colour-tone theory, it creates a unique experience during each journey, as the number of people and their movements control both the music heard and colours seen.
Pallant House Gallery, Chichester until 16th September.