Private View held by Richard Andrews
Anarchy & Beauty: William Morris And His Legacy 1860-1960 examines a radical and far-reaching vision that spanned politics, thought and design. The exhibition explores the 'art for the people' movement initiated by William Morris and the artists of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood through portraits, furniture, books, banners, textiles and jewellery. It displays the work of Arts and Crafts practitioners inspired by Morris and 'simple life' philosophers such as Edward Carpenter and Eric Gill, and shows how Morris's radical ideals developed with Patrick Geddes, Raymond Unwin and the Garden City movement, and the way in which 'good design' became available to a wider market through such pioneering home furnishing shops as Ambrose Heal's. The exhibition also explores the ruralist revival of the 1920s and 1930s when leading craft practitioners, the potters Bernard Leach and Michael Cardew, the weaver Ethel Mairet, the hand-blocked textile printers Phyllis Barron and Dorothy Larcher, evolved their own alternative ways of life and work in an increasingly materialistic age. Finally, from the Festival of Britain onwards, it looks at young post-war designers such as Terence Conran who took up Morris's original campaign for making good design available to everyone. Exhibits include William Morris's own handwritten Socialist Diary, his gold-tooled handbound copy of Karl Marx's Le Capital, and the leather satchel he used to carry books and lecture notes; Burne-Jones's spectacular hand painted Prioresses Tale wardrobe; C R Ashbee's Peacock brooch; Eric Gill's erotic Adam and Eve garden roller; and Edward Carpenter's sandals - which began the sandal-wearing craze amongst the English left-wing intelligentsia. National Portrait Gallery until 11th January.
The Sensory War 1914 - 2014 explores the impact of military conflict on the body, mind, environment and human senses over the last century. The show examines how artists depicted the devastating effects of new military technologies utilised in conflict beginning with the First World War. It brings together work from a range of leading artists including Henry Lamb, CRW Nevinson, Paul Nash, Otto Dix, Nancy Spero, Richard Mosse and Omer Fast, and also features works by the 'hibakusha' - survivors of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima - created in the 1970s. The First World War involved a profound re-configuration of sensory experience and perception through the invention of devastating military technologies, which destroyed human lives and altered the environment beyond recognition. Its legacy has continued and evolved through even more radical forms of destruction since then, and artists have struggled to understand the true effect of modern technological warfare. While military and press photography have brought a new capacity to coldly document such lethal displays, artists found a different way of seeing. Highlights include Henry Lamb's 'Advance Dressing Station on the Struma', Henry Tonk's 'An Advanced Dressing Station in France', all 12 plates of Heinrich Hoerle's 'Die Kruppelmappe' alongside his oil painting 'Three Invalids', and Sophie Jodoin's 'Helmets and Gasmasks', drawings of faces wearing gas masks depicting a distorted human physiognomy. Manchester Art Gallery until 22nd February.
Jasper Johns: Regrets is a series of new works by the internationally renowned American artist, inspired by a chance encounter with a 1964 photograph of Lucian Freud posing in Francis Bacon's London studio. The drawings and paintings convey Jasper Johns's creative process and his ability to transform and recast an image in numerous different ways. The photograph, taken by John Deakin, shows Freud seated on a brass bedstead, his hands covering his face in an ambiguous gesture of introspection. It was commissioned and used by Francis Bacon as the source material for one of his own paintings, eventually becoming the basis of 'Study for Self-Portrait'. Johns incorporates not only the subject of the photograph itself, but the physically distressed qualities of the original print, which Bacon had torn, creased and smudged in the course of his work. The missing sections, tears and folds of the original play a prominent role in Johns' composition throughout the series. Johns explored and transformed the image in numerous experiments in oil, watercolour, pencil and ink. In the process he mirrored and doubled the original image, and in doing so, the form of a skull emerged unexpectedly in the centre of his new composition. This 'apparition' creates a reminder of death or memento mori at the heart of the works. Two large paintings and a group of works in ink on plastic are particular highlights of the series and are testament to Johns' profound engagement with his subject, conveying themes of creativity, memory, reflection and mortality. Most of the works are signed and titled 'Regrets - Jasper Johns', seemingly a reference to their profound and contemplative mood, but this signature and title actually derives from a rubber stamp Johns had made some years previously to swiftly decline the stream of requests and invitations that he regularly receives. Courtauld Gallery, Somerset House, London, until 14th December.
Constructing Worlds: Photography And Architecture In The Modern Age looks beyond simply documenting the built world to explore the power of photography to reveal wider truths about society. The exhibition brings together over 250 works, some rarely ever seen and many shown in Britain for the first time, by 18 leading photographers from the 1930s to now, who have changed the way we view architecture and think about the world in which we live. It offers a global journey around 20th and 21st century architecture, with highlights such as Berenice Abbott's ground-breaking photographs charting the birth of the skyscraper and the transformation of New York into a modernist metropolis in the 1930s; Walker Evans's images of the vernacular architecture of the Deep South, which bore witness to the adverse consequences of modernity in the Great Depression; Lucien Herve's subtle evocations of modernity as found in Chandigarh by Le Corbusier, a modernist symbol of a newly independent India; Julius Shulman's images of the experimental architecture and ideal luxury lifestyle encapsulated in California in the 1950s; the moving nature of Daniel Libeskind's Jewish Museum under construction as seen by London based photographer Helene Binet; the recent dramatic growth of Chinese urbanisation in huge structures recorded by Nadav Kander; Luisa Lambri's exploration into the reality of inhabiting and living a modernist lifestyle in domestic architecture by Frank Lloyd Wright; the response to the impersonality of individual works of architecture in Andreas Gursky's monumental photographs; and the devastating effects of war in Afghanistan as expressed in the poignant images of Simon Norfolk. Barbican Art Gallery, London, until 11th January.
Fair Faces, Dark Places: Prints And Drawings By William Strang offers a diverse selection of works by the 19th century Scottish artist. The prints and drawings in the exhibition reflect William Strang's versatility as an artist, as well as his technical skill. Strang's subjects ranged from those based in reality, highlighting the stark poverty and social injustice of Victorian Britain, with images such as 'Despair', to the truly fantastical, including strange and macabre allegories such as 'Grotesque', which was inspired by a dream and reflects the influence of Goya, European Symbolist painting and the illustrator Aubrey Beardsley. Strang was an advocate for the revival of the hand-printed book and made many narrative illustrations for books, periodicals and his own Scots dialect ballads. Those on show include 'Toomai of the Elephants', an illustration for Rudyard Kipling's short stories, as well as examples of his etchings of subjects from Miguel de Cervantes's 'Don Quixote'. Strang was also a prolific portraitist who produced memorable images of leading artistic and literary figures, as well as his family and friends. Two portraits of Strang's most famous sitter, the poet and novelist Thomas Hardy, offer a comparison between a preparatory pencil study made directly from life, and the finished, more famous (and more flattering) etched version. Strang made many self-portraits, including one example featured here in which he typically depicts himself surrounded by a printing press, prints in various states, bottles of ink and other tools of his trade. Scottish National Gallery, Edinburgh, until 15th February.
Russian Avant Garde Theatre - War, Revolution And Design 1913 - 1933 comprises radical set and costume designs by celebrated figures of the Russian avant-garde working in the theatre. Created over the course of two decades marked by the Russian revolutions and First World War, the works represent an extraordinary point in Russian culture, during which artistic, literary and musical traditions underwent profound transformations. New types of theatrical productions demanded innovative design solutions and benefitted from the unprecedented symbiosis of artists, musicians, directors and performers that characterized the period. Artists who worked in a variety of mediums including painting, architecture, textiles, photography and graphics worked collaboratively on theatrical productions to create a rich variety of design. The majority of the items in the exhibition come from Moscow's Bakhrushin State Central Theatre Museum collection, for productions ranging from classics, such as Shakespeare's Romeo And Juliet and Hamlet, to unfamiliar propagandist plays. Among the 150 works featured are Kazimir Malevich's sketches and lithographs for Victory Over The Sun, a Futurist opera which premiered in 1913 in St Petersburg; and Liubov Popova's set model for The Magnanimous Cuckold, a 1922 farce by Fernand Crommelynck, performed at the radical Meyerhold Theatre, which was comprised of a mechanical mill, with wheels and conveyer belts. Other artists in the exhibition include Alexander Rodchenko, Vladimir Tatlin, Alexandra Exter, El Lissitsky and Varvara Stepanova. Victoria & Albert Museum until 25th January.
Rembrandt: The Late Works provides a unique opportunity to experience the passion, emotion and innovation of the greatest master of the Dutch Golden Age. Far from diminishing as he aged, Rembrandt's creativity gathered new energy in the closing years of his life. It is the art of these late years - soulful, honest and deeply moving - that indelibly defines the enduring image of Rembrandt the man and the artist. The exhibition of around 40 paintings, 20 drawings and 30 prints gives an insight into some of Rembrandt's most iconic works such as 'The Sampling Officials of the Amsterdam Drapers' Guild', better known as 'The Syndics', revealing his brilliance in combining light and shadow and colour and texture, to give a radical visual impact to a traditional portrait. Numerous examples of Rembrandt's finest etchings demonstrate his skilful development of printing techniques to achieve unique effects. A highlight of the exhibition is the juxtaposition of a number self portraits including 'Self Portrait as the Apostle Paul', 'Self Portrait with Two Circles', 'Self Portrait Wearing a Turban' and 'Self Portrait at the Age of 63', the latter two, painted in the final years of his life, showing Rembrandt's exceptional honesty in recording his own features as he aged. Other key works on view include: 'The 'Jewish Bride', 'An Old Woman Reading', 'A Man in Armour', 'A Young Woman Sleeping', 'Juno', 'Portrait of a Blond Man', 'The Suicide of Lucretia', 'Bathsheba with King David's Letter', 'Titus at his Desk', 'A Portrait of a Lady with a Lap Dog', 'Lucretia', 'A Woman Bathing in a Stream' and 'Portrait of Frederik Rihel on Horseback'. National Gallery until 18th January.
Silent Partners: Artist & Mannequin From Function To Fetish uncovers a playful, uncanny - and sometimes disturbing - history from the Renaissance to the present day. For centuries, the mannequin, or lay figure, was little more than a studio tool, a piece of equipment as necessary as easel, pigments and brushes. This exhibition reveals the multiple purposes it serves, from fixing perspective and painting reflections, to being a support for drapery and costume, and shows how it gradually moved centre stage to become the subject of the painting, photograph or film, eventually becoming a work of art in its own right. The exhibition features over 180 paintings, drawings, books and photographs, as well as fashion dolls, trade catalogues, extraordinary patent documents and videos. These include paintings and drawings by Cezanne, Poussin, Gainsborough, Millais, Ford Madox Brown and Degas, as well as photographs by and of Surrealist artists such as Man Ray, Hans Bellmer and Salvador Dali, and works by Jake and Dinos Chapman showing that today artists continue to be drawn to the creative potential unleashed by artificial Others. Nevertheless, among the most striking and fascinating exhibits are the mannequins themselves: from beautifully carved 16th century small-scale figurines to haunting wooden effigies, painted dolls of full human height and top-of-the range 'stuffed Parisian' lay figures that were sought after by artists throughout Europe. Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, until 25th January.
Sherlock Holmes: The Man Who Never Lived And Will Never Die delves into the mind of the world's most famous fictional detective. Asking who is Sherlock Holmes, and why does he still conjure up such enduring fascination, the exhibition explores how Arthur Conan Doyle's creation has transcended literature onto stage and screen, and continues to attract huge audiences. It places the character under the microscope to dissect the traits that define him and illuminate his world, including his intimate association with London. Going beyond film and fiction the display looks at the real Victorian London, the backdrop for many of Conan Doyle's stories. Through early film, photography, paintings and original artefacts, the exhibition recreates the atmosphere of Sherlock's London and the places that the detective visited. The evolution of Holmes and his portrayal in popular culture on stage and screen is considered, including the performances of William Gillette, Basil Rathbone and Jeremy Brett, with each actor offering clues to why Holmes has endured, reinvented for generation after generation. Highlights include a portrait of Arthur Conan Doyle painted by Sidney Paget in 1897, which has never been on public display in Britain before; original hand written pages from Edgar Allan Poe's manuscript of The Murders In The Rue Morgue, part of Conan Doyle's influences for Holmes; the first copies of The Strand magazine in which the stories appeared, together with original illustrations by Sidney Paget; the original manuscript of The Adventure Of The Empty House; and the iconic Belstaff coat and the Derek Rose camel dressing gown worn by Benedict Cumberbatch in the current Sherlock television series. Museum of London until 12th April.
The Glorious Georges celebrates the 300th anniversary of the Hanoverian accession to the British throne. The Georges presided over a remarkable era of British history which saw the emergence of many institutions and habits that we regard as quintessentially British today. The Hanoverians surrounded themselves with courtiers - elegant, but decadent and riven with intrigue and scandal - who captured society's imagination and turned the Georgian monarchs and their courtiers into celebrities. A re-presentation of the Queen's State Apartments explores who the Hanoverians were, how they came to rule Britain and how their extraordinary bitter family rows played out in public. Among the exceptional royal ephemera on display are a 1727 book of drawings titled 'The Exact Head Dress of ye British Court Ladyes and Quality', by George I's miniaturist, Bernard Lens III, revealing what the court looked like; and George II's broadsword, with its appropriately hybrid mixture of manufacturers: the hilt was made in Glasgow, the blade in Germany, a reminder that George II was the last British monarch to fight in battle, at Dettingen, near Frankfurt, in 1743. Other highlights include ghostly white paper gowns in the rooms leading up to the State Bedchamber, with a special light effect that projects the shimmering fabrics of actual 18th century gowns on to them; and the richly painted walls and ceiling in the Drawing Room. Hampton Court Palace until 30th November.
Maps To Memorials - Exploring The Work Of MacDonald Gill examines the career of a man who produced a captivating and innovative range of graphic design in many forms, across the first half of the 20th century. The exhibition features rarely seen original artwork, maps and posters by MacDonald (Max) Gill, a master of graphic art and design, including pen-and-ink drawings, designs and papers recently unearthed at Gill's family home. The younger brother of the sculptor and typographer Eric Gill, Max was best known for his decorative maps, but he was also an architect, a graphic designer and a decorator of interiors. Having studied under the calligrapher Edward Johnston, he became a master of hand lettering, with designs included book jackets, heraldic emblems, memorial inscriptions and architectural drawings. They ranged in size from a postage stamp to a 200ft long mural. His work as a commercial artist spans the years between the start of the First World War and the end of the Second World War, a period when advertising became accepted as an art form in its own right. Gill is best known for creating the first diagrammatic tube map, and his London Wonderground poster series, offering early tube travelers detailed depictions of street life in a style reminiscent of medieval maps. However, his more permanent memorial is his creation of the font for the headstones on the white British war graves that have memorialised the fallen since the First World War. The Roman typeface was drawn with longevity in mind, cut at a deeper 60-degree angle and with much tighter serifs, so the letters would still be legible after years of being battered by the elements The Lettering Arts Centre, Snape Maltings, Snape, Suffolk, until 12th November.
Joan Fontcuberta: Stranger Than Fiction is the first major exhibition in Britain of work by the contemporary Catalan artist. It is an eye-opening collection of photographs and artefacts in which Joan Fontcuberta subtly questions the use of the photographic image as evidence, by combining visually compelling and mischievous narratives with an acute, deadpan humour. Using the visual languages of journalism, advertising, museum displays and scientific journals, these convincing yet subversive works are an investigation into photography's authority and our inclination to believe what we see. The exhibition features some of Fontcuberta's best known works, including photographs, film, dioramas, scientific reports and related ephemera. A youth under the Franco dictatorship and an early career in advertising piqued Fontcuberta's interest in the use of the photographic image as a storytelling tool, which developed into a life-long creative interrogation of photography's veracity. In constantly shifting his methods to encompass new developments in photographic practice, Fontcuberta remains one of the most innovative practitioners in his field. With highlights including astonishing photographs of mermaid fossils and incredible reports on mysterious fauna, the display presents six conceptually independent narratives from Fontcuberta's body of work, a visual universe in which the real and the imagined combine to startling effect. Science Museum, London, until 9th November.