Private View held by Richard Andrews
The London Bridge Experience is a new £2m attraction located in tunnels and vaults of the famous 1831 bridge, that remain under the current London Bridge, where its history is brought to life through special effects, CGI, live actors and animation. From the building of the first bridge across the Thames in Roman times, it offers a whistle stop tour through the gorier side of London's past, with the sacking of London by Boudicca, the Viking invasion, the times when the heads of the vanquished were exhibited on poles, and the Great Fire, with the opportunity to cross a burning replica of the 17th century bridge. In addition, there are characters such as William Wallace, Sir John Rennie (designer of the 1831 bridge), Charles Dickens, and Robert McCulloch (who purchased the 1831 bridge and shipped it stone by stone to Arizona). There is also a small museum, with exhibits provided by the estate of London historian Peter Jackson. After viewing this, the bravest visitors can go below to London Tombs, down in the vaults and catacombs, where the Black Death plague pits of 14th century London were located, which are peopled by crazed zombies, animatronic torture victims and severed heads - not for the squeemish. The London Bridge Experience, 2-4 Tooley Street SE1, continuing.
Art In The Age Of Steam captures the excitement of the steam train in art from the earliest days, through the boom years of Victorian railways to the end of the line in the 1960s. The exhibition looks at how artists responded to the extraordinary impact that steam trains had on landscape and society, as aboard these great machines, passengers travelled at faster speeds than ever before, and notions of time and space were forever changed. It comprises around 100 paintings, photographs, prints, drawings and posters, from some of the world's greatest artists and photographers, covering the years 1830 to 1960. Highlights include: Manet's 'The Railway', Van Gogh's 'La Crau from Montmajour, with train', Pissarro's 'Lordship Lane Station', four paintings by Monet, including 'Gare Saint-Lazare', Honore Daumier's 'The Third-class Carriage', Gustav Caillebotte's 'Pont de l'Europe', Edward Hopper's 'Railroad Train' and 'Railroad Sunset', Giorgio de Chirico's 'The Anxious Journey', and photographs by Bill Brandt, Alfred Stieglitz and O Winston Link. British artists are represented by Turner's iconic 'Rain, Steam and Speed', 'The Travelling Companions' by Augustus Egg, showing two crinoline-clad girls in a luxurious railway compartment, while 'The Railway Station' by William Powell Frith, vividly captures the hustle and bustle of Paddington station, and James Tissot's 'Gentleman in a Railway Carriage' consults his watch and a timetable. Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool, until 10th August.
Seasons Through The Looking Glass is an underground garden inspired by Alice's Adventures In Wonderland, which began when Lewis Carroll's heroine fell into a tunnel, and met gardeners painting roses. This notion of mythical underground spaces is the subject of C J Lim and Studio 8 Architects's installation in the museum's tunnel entrance, a multi-sensory and tactile intervention which explores the spatial possibilities of a subterranean garden. It is a cartouche-shaped topiary, covered with rose blossoms that taper to a crown before sprouting an array of forked branches, whose shadows fence around the grand vaulted ceiling. However, instead of soil and living vegetation, it consists of trunks and twigs constructed from honeycomb paper sandwich panels, with roses made from rolled recycled garments. During the installation's one year lifecycle, these fabric samples will be subtly altered to reflect the changing seasons. To further emphasise the seasonal nature, it is accompanied by Vivaldi's The Four Seasons. The references to Alice's wonderland extend beyond the garden theme, to a large mirror, or looking glass, which lies at the end of the installation, infinitely extending it in virtual space. Victoria & Albert Museum, until 29th March.
Your Eyes Only: Ian Fleming And James Bond is an exhibition celebrating the life and work of the man who created the world's most famous secret agent, James Bond, on the centenary of Ian Fleming's birth. It looks at the author and his fictional character in their historical context, and examines how much of the Bond novels were imaginary, and how far they were based on real people and events. The exhibition explores the early life of Fleming, his wartime career and work as a journalist and travel writer, and how as an author, he drew upon these experiences to create the iconic character of James Bond. Among the rare materials on display are Fleming's desk and chair from his Jamaican home Goldeneye, where he wrote all of the Bond novels; a map of the Mercury News Network established by Fleming in the 1950s, showing where all Sunday Times foreign correspondents were based; the jacket worn by Fleming on the Dieppe Raid of 1942; a selection of annotated Bond manuscripts; the Colt Python .357 Magnum revolver presented to Fleming by the Colt company in 1964; a working model of an Aston Martin DB5 complete with gadgets from the films Thunderball and Goldfinger; prototypes of Rosa Klebb's flick knife shoes from From Russia With Love; and Daniel Craig's blood-splattered shirt from Casino Royale. The exhibition examines to what extent the books and films reflect the reality of the Cold War and life in post war Britain, and how far they were a product of Fleming's imagination. Imperial War Museum until 1st March.
From Sickert To Gertler: Modern British Artists From Boxted House celebrates the lives of Bobby and Natalie Bevan, and the works that hung on the walls of their home, which became a gathering place for a wide range of creative people after the Second World War. Bobby was the son of the artists Robert Bevan and Stanislawa de Karlowska, and the painter and ceramicist Natalie Denny modelled for many artists, most famously Mark Gertler. As patrons of the visual arts, they played an important role in the post war cultural renaissance, and Boxted House became the heart of a social milieu not just of artists, but also of writers, politicians, gardeners and other creative individuals. Paintings by Bobby's parents and their friends, including Walter Sickert, Harold Gilman and Charles Ginner, hung beside works by Bobby and Natalie's friends, such as Christopher Nevinson, John Armstrong and Frederick Gore. Virtually every work in the exhibition has a personal link to Bobby and Natalie, with highlights including Robert Bevan's 'Showing at Tattersall's'; Charles Ginner's 'La Vieille Balayeuse, Dieppe', which he exchanged for a work by Robert Bevan; Harold Gilman's portrait of Bobby's mother; John Armstrong's 'Still Life with Leeks' painted whilst staying at Boxted House; Mark Gertler's 'Supper', a portrait of Natalie aged 19; John Nash's 'Ice and Snow', a snowscape of his garden not far from Boxted House; Cedric Morris's 'Paysage du Jardin No 2'; and works on paper by artists Francisco de Goya, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and Paul Cezanne. Scottish National Gallery Of Modern Art, Edinburgh, until 22nd June.
Richard Rogers + Architects - From The House To The City reviews the work of one of the most influential architects of our time, from his first family house in Cornwall, to the recently opened Heathrow Terminal 5. Covering a period of 45 years, it is a detailed survey of Rogers's collaborations, from early work with Norman and Wendy Foster, and Su Brumwell at Team 4; through the Pompidou Centre with Renzo Piano, which changed the shape of contemporary architecture; and the establishment of the Richard Rogers Partnership, which produced the Lloyd's of London building and the Millennium Dome; to the present as Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, and the National Assembly for Wales. It also features a number of less well known buildings in Britain and around the world, together with proposals and competition entries for projects that were never built, and a number of current works in progress. The projects are explored in depth, through new and archive architectural models, photographs, initial sketches, renderings, plans, drawings, films and computer animations. They are arranged in colour coded sections, with each block examining an architectural theme: Transparent, Legible, Green, Lightweight, Public, Urban and Systems. Design Museum, London until 25th August.
Blood On Paper: The Art Of The Book reveals the inventiveness with which the book has been treated by some of the most influential and respected artists of our time. Many notable artists of the 20th and 21st centuries have produced books, or works that refer to books. The exhibition displays 60 works by 38 artists, from Braque, Matisse, Miro and Picasso to Louise Bourgeois, David Hockney, Richard Long and Robert Rauschenberg. Some are iconic works that established the genre of the livre d'artiste after the Second World War, while others are surprises from artists who are best known for their work with other sorts of material. The pieces range from beautifully bound volumes, to sculptural works and installations, and include a major new work by Anselm Kiefer, 'The Secret Life of Plants', created in lead and cardboard, standing almost 2m tall; Anish Kapoor's 'Wound', which includes a book with a wound laser cut through hundreds of sheets of paper; and 2 cabinets from Damien Hirst's 'New Religion', holding sculptures and bound volumes of prints. In addition there are commercially produced publications, including Edward Ruscha's 'Twenty six gasoline stations', originally sold for $1 in supermarkets; Jeff Koons's 'The Jeff Koons Handbook', billed as "an indispensible paper-back guide to his art and ideas"; and Anthony Caro's 'Open Secret', which used advanced technology in metal fabrication to create books in stainless steel and bronze. Victoria & Albert Museum until 29th June.
Ansel Adams: Photographs is the first public display in Britain of the 'museum set' of quintessential images by one of the most celebrated and influential landscape photographers of 20th century. Spanning a period of 50 years, from the 1920s to the 1970s, it comprises 75 photographs, hand printed and selected by the American photographer and environmentalist Ansel Adams, as those that best represented his achievement as a photographer. Each image is a masterclass in scale and light, and they reveal the place of Adams's work in a tradition of American photographers of the sublime natural landscape They include the images for which he is most celebrated, such as the soaring monoliths of Yosemite National Park; Snake river meandering through Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming; a grove of thin aspens glowing ghostly pale in the Colorado dawn; the moon rising silently over Hernandez, an eerie hamlet in New Mexico; and the lakes and mountains of Alaska. Exquisite in their formal and tonal beauty, Adams's awe-inspiring images express the grandeur of untouched nature, as few others have been able to capture. Modern Art Gallery, Oxford, until 1st June.
Beguiling Time is an exhibition of innovative handmade lace, inspired by music and poetry, celebrating the 10th anniversary of the 98 Lace Group. This is a fellowship of lacemakers with varied textile backgrounds, united by a common goal of giving modern lace a livelier public profile. The exhibition contains over 40 pieces of lace, showing the amazing versatility that can be produced using the medium. Far from being plain white cloth, the pieces embrace bright colours, and a variety different forms, ranging from wall hangings to bags and vessels, using plastic, paper and raffia, metal, linen thread and wire. They marry the traditional skills of handmade lace with new ideas and materials to give a contemporary twist to the form, so the design and ideas demonstrate that this 15th century craft has a relevance to the art and design of the 21st century. Items range widely, from funky sculptural pieces such as 'Apple Blossom' by Lily Wills, inspired by the hymn 'All things bright and beautiful', and 'Limbo Rainbow' by Ann Bramnmer, to refined and beautiful works such as 'Images Unwound' by Ann Allison, 'Haiku Streamer' by Sue Mclaggan and 'Polka' by Jane Atkinson. However, each piece has in common the quality of craftmanship and skill that each lace weaver provides. The De Morgan Centre, 38 West Hill, London SW18, until 31st May.
Artful Practice: Architectural Drawings By Richard Norman Shaw RA reveals how Norman Shaw changed the face of English architecture in the last third of the 19th century. Working in the spirit of local vernacular building traditions, rather than to the letter of textbook historicism, he paved the way for the free style of the Arts and Crafts movement in the 1890s. Shaw's domestic work in particular touched with unerring instinct the Victorian imagination, creating homes and offices that were not only well planned for their owners to live and work in, but were also buildings to which the man in the street could feel an emotional tie. Although he was born in Edinburgh to an Irish father and Scottish mother, probably no other architect since Wren can claim to have defined more clearly for his time the Englishness of English architecture. A particular feature is the nautical flavour of some of Shaw's buildings. Half-timbered walls and gables, mullioned windows, sweeping roofs and high chimneystacks all symbolise a promise of shelter, but they also echo the wooden hulls, poop decks and towering masts and sails of the great ships upon which England's commercial prosperity had always depended. Developers of suburban housing have endlessly recycled Shaw's redefinition of English architecture well into the present time. A sense of the impact that Shaw wanted his work to have on posterity can be gained from the series of pen and ink perspectives that he put into the Royal Academy's annual exhibition in the 1870s and 1880s, now on view there again. Royal Academy of Arts, until 25th May.
Masterpieces From The Louvre: The Collection Of Louis La Caze is an opportunity for London to view 16 of the great 17th and 18th century paintings left to the Louvre in Paris by the philanthropist Louis La Caze. The exhibition also provides an insight into the history of taste and collecting, since La Caz was an almost exact contemporary of the 4th Marquess of Hertford, who acquired the great majority of the paintings in the Wallace Collection. It reveals that the choices they made when building their collections could not have been more different. This show juxtaposes their selections, offering a unique chance to compare and contrast, and also to view paintings by Chardin, who is not represented in the resident collection at all. Highlights include one of the masterpieces of 17th century Spanish painting, Ribera's 'Le Pied-Bot (The Boy with the Club Foot)', and Velazquez's 'Infanta Maria Teresa', both making their first visit to Britain, which can be seen alongside other works by Velazquez, Murillo and Alonso Cano; and 18th century French paintings such as Watteau's 'Jupiter and Antiope', Chardin's 'Le Benedicitie, and two of Fragonard's figures de fantasie, 'L'inspiration' and 'l'Etude', together with works by Pater, Lancret, Rigaud, Nattier and Boucher. Wallace Collection, Manchester Square, London, until 18th May.
Pompeo Batoni 1708 - 1787 provides an opportunity to rediscover the work of the artist who, in his day, was the most celebrated painter in Rome. For nearly half a century, Batoni recorded international travellers' visits to Italy on the Grand Tour, in portraits that remain among the most memorable artistic accomplishments of the period. Equally gifted as a history painter, his religious and mythological works were acquired by patrons and collectors in Britain and Europe. This exhibition, which marks the tercentenary of Batoni's birth, is the first comprehensive presentation of his paintings in forty years. It provides an appreciation of the artistic achievement of 'Italy's Last Old Master,' through 62 of the finest examples available in the public and private collections. Batoni's status as Rome's most sought after painter of both portraits and history paintings, is demonstrated by works never previously publicly exhibited, as well as newly discovered and recently restored works. Highlights include portraits of 'Colonel the Hon William Gordon', 'Sir Gregory Page-Turner, 3rd Bt', 'Sir Humphry Morice', 'Sarah, Lady Fetherstonhaugh', 'Sir Matthew Fetherstonhaugh', 'Sir Watkin Williams-Wynn, 4th Bt, Thomas Apperley, and Captain Edward Hamilton'; the religious paintings 'The Ecstasy of St Catherine' and 'Bernardo Tolomei Attending a Victim of the Black Death'; and the mythological works 'The Death of Meleager' and 'Truth and Mercy'. National Gallery until 18th May.