Private View held by Richard Andrews
Women In Focus: Photographs By Dorothy Bohm is a rare opportunity to see work by the trailblazing mid 20th century British photographer. The exhibition features a selection of Dorothy Bohm's photographs dating from the 1990s to the present, which juxtapose the images of women that are ever present in advertising, artworks and shop windows, with actual women living and working in London. Bohm aims to capture the many roles of women in society, from professional to parent, and reflects on how women are seen in and see public spaces like the shops, cafes and streets of the capital. The works reveal some of the contrasts, similarities and discrepancies between the ideals and expectations of the feminine and real life women in everyday situations. While Bohm reflects on issues surrounding gender, her photographs are full of vibrancy and humour, with posed mannequins seeming to mimic some of those who pass by their shop windows, and women unconsciously repeating the same gesture as the image in an advertising poster. These kinds of motifs run through the work and link the images together, showing her enduring interest in people, especially women, of all ages and from all walks of life. On the surface these photographs can be enjoyed simply as a series on street life in London and on how people live, work and play in the city, but actually they go a little deeper, and consider how themes such as women's public presence - how they are looked at, and how they look. Museum of London until 17th February.
Secret Splendour: The Hidden World Of Baroque Cabinets casts new light on some of the most magnificent and expensive furniture ever produced. Made from a wide variety of rare and exotic materials, cabinets-on-stands were one of the great status symbols of the 17th century, designed to show off the wealth and importance of their owners. Their outer doors are splendid enough, often with painted or inlaid panels, but these open to reveal exquisite interiors, where collectors could show off their most prized and precious objects, revealed to only the most privileged of guests. Many cabinets incorporate ingenious secret drawers and compartments to hide important documents, some of which were fitted with central mirrored perspectives, like miniature theatres. For the first time, a dazzling array of these cabinets are being displayed fully open, to reveal their extraordinary interiors, an experience formerly reserved for a select few. The show includes astonishing pieces made from the widest variety of materials and techniques, including tortoiseshell, ivory, ebony, painted panels, verre eglomise, marble, pietra‐dura, silver, marquetry, intarsia, semi precious stones and japanning, created by the most highly skilled craftsmen in England, Flanders, Holland, France, Germany, Austria, Italy, Japan and China. Holburne Museum, Bath, until 6th January.
UCL Flaxman Gallery and Octagon Gallery have reopened after a 9 month comprehensive refurbishment of the historic spaces, overseen by Burwell Deakins Architects. In the upper Flaxman Gallery, the interior of the Wilkins Building's famous dome, John Flaxman's plaster study 'St Michael Overcoming Satan' now stands on a glass plinth above an oculus (a circular opening in the floor or ceiling). On the surrounding walls, below the dome's windows, plaster reliefs from Flaxman's studio are set into the wall. They are a rare surviving 19th century sculptural installation, considered by art historians as comparable to plaster cast galleries by Italian contemporaries such as Canova. Visitors in the new Octagon Gallery below can look up through the oculus, seeing the reliefs from new angles. The Octagon Gallery features four large bespoke showcases incorporating audio visual and touchscreen technology. Its first exhibition is of objects, some never displayed before, from the University's art, anthropology, archaeology, engineering, pathology and zoology collections, and record encounters and explorations between scholars and the natural and made environment. The exhibition is designed to offer inspiration, encapsulating imagination and creativity in material form. At the same time, the items materialise world views that are problematic and difficult to reconcile today. 5 of UCL's Mellon Fellows have chosen a selection of objects that speak to, and translate, different aspects of their own research. University College London, Gower Street, WC1, continuing.
Ansel Adams: Photography From The Mountains To The Sea features the work of one of the most popular and influential photographers in American history. Ansel Adams was a photographic pioneer, who brought the American wilderness into the homes of millions with his spectacular images of rugged and romantic landscapes. This is the first exhibition to focus on Adams's lifelong fascination with water in all its forms, combining some of the most famous photographs of the 20th century with lesser-known examples, providing a new context for enjoying this important artist and his legacy. It includes images of crashing waterfalls, dramatic rapids and geysers, placid ponds, raging rivers and beautiful icescapes. Fluid, ephemeral, and unpredictable, Adams returned to water throughout his career, and this selection traces his development from a young boy taking holiday snaps to one of the most accomplished image makers of modern times. It shows his progress from an early 'Pictorialist' style, towards a distinctly Modernist approach, demonstrated through his use of techniques such as sharp focus, seriality, and sequence. Highlights include the very first photograph Adams ever made at the age of 14, featuring a watery pool at the Panama Pacific Exhibition of the 1915 World's Fair; the three American Trust murals, produced in the 1950s on an unprecedented scale, and testament to his technical innovation; Adams's favourite work, 'Golden Gate before the Bridge'; and the iconic images 'Clearing Winter Storm, Yosemite' and 'Stream, Sea, Clouds, Rodeo Lagoon, Marin County, California'. National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, until 28th April.
Robin Ironside: Neo-Romantic Visionary is a retrospective of the work of one of the most individual British artists of the mid 20th century, who has now been almost forgotten. Robin Ironside was a painter, illustrator, designer, writer and curator. Exquisite and intricate, his remarkable paintings draw upon many sources of inspiration, from art and architecture to music and poetry, and his use of hallucinogenic drugs. Completely self-taught, Ironside saw his paintings as belonging to the imaginative tradition of British art. Elegant and learned, witty and melancholic, eccentric and obsessive, Ironside was as extraordinary as his art, whose emotional spectrum ranges from sensual delight to anxiety and death. The subjects of his pictures, which owed a lot to John Piper, John Martin and classical sculpture, were nearly all imaginary, usually with literary, scholarly or classical themes, and often executed with a magnifying glass. Many of his works contain a young male protagonist who is probably based in part on himself. In the 1940s and 50s Ironside worked as a designer for ballet and opera at the Royal Opera House, and his understanding of set design is evident in the architectural spaces of some of his other paintings, which could almost be a design for a stage set, due to the theatrical framing of the space. The exhibition is comprised of nearly 70 items, with paintings spanning his entire career, together with representative selections of his theatre designs, book illustrations, other designs and publications. Grosvenor Museum, Chester, until 6th January.
Winter Wonderland, set between Hyde Park Corner and the Serpentine, returns as the ultimate winter theme park experience. The 20 acre site features London's largest outdoor ice rink - created with 130,000 litres of frozen water, weighing 130 tonnes - able to accommodate up to 400 skaters at a time, with ice guides to help beginners; a toboggan slide; a haunted mansion; an ice and snow sculpture experience; a traditional Christmas Market, with over 50 separate wooden chalets, offering arts, crafts, presents and foods; numerous cafes and bars serving traditional food and mulled wine; a 50m observation wheel providing a panoramic view of London above the park; a big top presenting Zippo's Circus with a special 50 minute Christmas themed show and Cirque Berserk featuring a Globe of Death; a double decker carousel and other traditional rides and attractions; thrill rides including Star Flyer, Power Tower and Black Hole; a ski jump and snow ride; and a selection of gentler amusement rides for younger children; plus Father Christmas in his own Santa Land. To add to the atmosphere, the trees along Serpentine Road sparkle with thousands of Christmas lights highlighting the natural beauty of Hyde Park. Entrance to the Winter Wonderland site is free, with fees for individual attractions. Hyde Park, 10am-10pm daily (except Christmas Day) until 6th January.
Mughal India: Art, Culture And Empire explores one of the most powerful and splendid of all the world's great dynasties. The 'Great Mogul' seated on a jewel-encrusted throne is one of the most enduring images of India. The Mughal dynasty produced a great number of rulers of outstanding ability in statecraft and culture, whether in empire-building or as patrons of art and architecture. This exhibition is the first to document the entire historical period, from the foundation of the Mughal dynasty by Babur in the 16th century, through the heights of the empire and the 'Great' Mughal emperors of the 17th century, into the decline and eventual collapse in the 19th century, through more than 200 manuscripts, paintings and jeweled objects. Highlights include the paintings 'Akbar ordering the slaughter to cease in 1578' a folio from an imperial manuscript on the history of Emperor Akbar, one of the greatest rulers of the Indian subcontinent; 'Squirrels in a plane tree', an iconic masterpiece painted by Abu'l Hasan, a pre-eminent artist of the imperial court; 'Prince Aurangzeb reports to Emperor Shah Jahan in durbar', a historically important illustration featuring the Emperor famed for commissioning the Taj Mahal, enthroned inside his palace fortress at Lahore; and 'Portrait of Prince Dara Shikoh', featured in the only surviving album compiled by Dara Shikoh, a passionate connoisseur of the arts and scholar of religion; plus a gold crown, inset with diamonds, emeralds, turquoises, rubies, and pearls, lined with velvet, bought by Queen Victoria 1861; a jade flywhisk handle or morchhal, set with rubies and emeralds in gold collets to form flowers and leaves; and 17th century Mughal cavalryman and horse armour. British Library until 2nd April.
Illuminated looks at 'light', both as an influence, as it is incorporated through artists work, and in a metaphorical sense. The exhibition features artists who incorporate sculptural, photographic, and metaphorical light in their work, often using scientific methodologies and influences, as well as artists who produce work that is in some way transformative, or suggests a change in either an object or within the human spirit or psyche. It includes a preparatory drawing for 'The Alchymist' by Joseph Wright of Derby; David Batchelor's sculptural installations, made from objects found in the streets of London and given new life as empty but brightly coloured light works; Katie Paterson's film 'Ancient Darkness TV', a collaboration with astronomers from the Mauna Kea Volcano telescope, featuring an image of 'ancient darkness' from the furthest point of the observed universe, 13.2 billion years ago, shortly after the Big Bang and before Earth existed, when stars, galaxies and the first light began to form; David Ward's 'RINK', with imagery from scientific sources, such as astronomy and line generated by particle collisions in the study of particle physics; and 'Brilliant Noise' by Semiconductor, a film based on satellite files and imagery of the Sun from NASA. QUAD, Derby, until 3rd February.
Northern Renaissance: Durer To Holbein celebrates the Renaissance in northern Europe, the counterpart to the revolution in art and scholarship that took place in Italy during the 15th and 16th centuries. While monarchs vied for territorial power, reformers questioned the central tenets of Christian faith, and scholars sought greater understanding of their world. At the heart of this new thinking was the challenge to the teachings of the Catholic Church initiated by Martin Luther. Artists responded by turning from emotive devotional subject matter to portraiture and mythology, producing works of ingenuity, beauty and superb technical skill. The exhibition comprises over 130 paintings, drawings, prints, manuscripts, miniatures and sculptures. Among the highlights are Durer's 'The Apocalypse: The Four Horsemen', 'The Prodigal Son', 'Pupila Augusta', 'A Knight, Death and the Devil', 'St Jerome in his Study', 'Burkhard of Speyer' and 'Desiderius Erasmus'; Leonardo da Vinci's 'A masquerader as a Lansquenet'; Pieter Bruegel the Elder's 'Massacre of the Innocents'; Jan Gossaert's 'Adam and Eve'; Lucas Cranach the Elder's 'Apollo and Diana'; Hans Holbein the Younger's 'Noli me Tangere', the preparatory pencil drawing for and painting 'Sir Henry Guildford', 'Sir Richard Southwell' and 'Derich Born'; and Francois Clouet's 'Mary, Queen of Scots'. The Queen's Gallery, Buckingham Palace, until 14th April.
Curious Anatomys: An Extraordinary Story Of Dissection And Discovery charts the history of public dissections across Europe, through human remains, graphic models and detailed illustrations. The exhibition revisits centuries of academia held within a set of 6 anatomy tables, as rare as their usage was gristly. These visually spectacular anatomical tables are on full public display for the first time in their history. They show actual human veins, nerves and arteries, dissected at Padua's famous anatomy theatre in the 17th century, skillfully cut from bodies, and arranged on large varnished wooden panels. Academics believe the tables were created as teaching aids for anatomy students, from the bodies of executed criminals or supplied by the hospitals of Padua. They are one of only two sets of these panels known to have existed, and are amongst the oldest surviving human anatomy preparations in Europe. The panels are accompanied by rare early anatomy books, with beautifully detailed illustrations of the body, including Andreas Vesalius's groundbreaking 'On the fabric of the human body', from 1543, with flayed figures and 'muscle man' illustrations; and William Harvey's 1628 publication 'On the motion of the heart', detailing his landmark discovery of the circulation of blood. In addition, the exhibition includes dissection tools, preparations made by surgeon Sir Astley Paston Cooper, and exquisite wax models created by anatomical modeller Joseph Towne. There is also a film with expert commentary on the history of anatomy and the tables, and an intriguing investigation of the tables by Francis Wells, consultant surgeon at Papworth Hospital, Cambridge. Royal College of Physicians, 11 St. Andrews Place, Regent's Park, London NW1, until 31st December.
The Dandy: 75 Years Of Biffs, Bangs And Banana Skins pays tribute to Britain's longest running comic. Thes exhibition looks at The Dandy from its birth in 1937 up to its 75th birthday on 4th December 2012, and considers its future as it prepares to embark on a new digital adventure. On 4th December 1937 Dundee publishers D C Thomson launched a new 28 page title, The Dandy Comic. Priced at 2d it offered children a mixture of prose stories, jokes, competitions and comic strips with characters such as Korky the Cat, Keyhole Kate and Desperate Dan. So successful was the comic that in its first week it sold 481,895 copies. During the Second World War, The Dandy was seen as so vital to public morale that, though reduced to 12 pages, it continued to appear fortnightly and never ceased publication. In the 1950s and 1960s its readership grew enormously to a record breaking sale of 2,035,210 copies. In 1999 it became Britain's longest running comic and entered the Guinness book of records. The exhibition includes lots of favourite characters from the past, such as Desperate Dan, Korky the Cat, Corporal Clot, Winker Watson, Brassneck, Cuddles and Dimples and Bananaman in various incarnations, together with more recent strips such as Harry Hill and Pre-Skool Prime Minister. On 4th December 2012 The Dandy will celebrate its 75th birthday with a special final print issue. The exhibition includes some exclusive material from the new Dandy currently in development, which will combine some favourites from the comic's great heritage with new material specially created for today's younger generation. The Cartoon Museum, 35 Little Russell Street, London WC1, until 24th December.
Art Of Change: New Directions From China is the first major exhibition in Britain to focus solely on contemporary installation and performance art from China. It brings together works by some of the country's most innovative artists and artist groups from the 1980s to today: Chen Zhen, Yingmei Duan, Gu Dexin, MadeIn Company, Liang Shaoji, Sun Yuan & Peng Yu , Wang Jianwei and Xu Zhen. Comprising 40 works, the exhibition features significant early examples of the artists' work, alongside recent pieces and new commissions. Change, and the acceptance that everything is subject to change, is deeply rooted in Eastern philosophy. The exhibition features works that deal with transformation, instability and impermanence, looking at how these themes are conveyed through action or materials. Highlights include: Chen Zhen's 'Purification Room', where everyday items such as a bed, chair, refrigerator and TV are collected together and covered in a layer of mud, which dries, cracks and changes its colour in a sort of archaeology of the future; Liang Shaoji's 'Nature Series', choreographing the activities of silkworms and exploring all the phases of their lives from birth to death, causing them to weave their silk webs around sculptural objects such as hanging chains and tiny, individually-made beds; and Xu Zhen's 'In the Blink of an Eye', which presents a human floating freely in the gallery space (how he achieves this remains a mystery). Hayward Gallery until 9th December.