Private View held by Richard Andrews
Medals Of Dishonour is the first ever exhibition to examine the intriguing but relatively unappreciated tradition of the medal as an indicator of dishonour. It features examples from the past 400 years that denounce their subjects, and reveals the long and rich tradition of this largely unexplored type of medal. The historic medals are hugely revealing about the political and cultural opinions that were prevalent in the times in which they were made, as are accompanying modern works, which are the creations of current artists such as Steve Bell, Jake and Dinos Chapman, Ellen Gallagher, Richard Hamilton, William Kentridge, Michael Landy, Langlands and Bell, Cornelia Parker, Grayson Perry and Felicity Powell. The first part of the exhibition focuses on satirical and political historical medals, ranging from the sombre and the bizarre to the scatological and the humorous, which are placed in context through the use of contemporary prints and drawings. These include a medal by a Dutch artist attacking France and its king, created in response to the financial scandals that occurred in Europe in the 1720s, featuring a humiliating image of Louis XIV ejecting the contents of his stomach and bowels; and a German anti-war medal from 1915, showing a figure of Death seated on a cannon, happily smoking, while a city is in flames in the background. The second part of the exhibition features medals specially commissioned for the exhibition from contemporary artists, dealing with a wide range of current issues, from the war in Iraq and consumerism, to ASBOs and the credit crunch. British Museum until 27th September.
Robert Adam's Landscape Fantasies: Watercolours And Drawings reveals an undiscovered side to the work of one of the leading figures of the Scottish Enlightenment, who was also one of the most innovative architects and interior designers in Britain in the 18th century. This exhibition is dedicated to Robert Adam's picturesque landscapes, which were made towards the end of his life, purely for his own relaxation and enjoyment. These assured sketches and watercolours depict majestic landscapes - some real, some imagined - but all flawlessly composed. They feature magnificent castles perched perilously on towering mountain tops, and steep cliff faces surrounded by gushing waterfalls, rivers and gorges. Adam's atmospheric landscapes are spectacularly lit, with dark heavy skies and long brooding shadows. Though mostly imaginary, these Romantic views often take as their reference points the sublime landscape and alluring architecture of Adam's native Scotland. This selection of over 30 watercolours includes among its real views, Adam's spectacular rendition of Cullen Castle. A number of early drawings by his sketching partners Paul Sandby and John Clerk of Eldin are also on display. National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh, until 2nd August.
Images From The Past: Rome In The Photography Of Peter Paul Mackey 1890 - 1901 offers a unique opportunity to see what the eternal city actually looked like at the turn of the 20th century. These photographs of Rome, on public display for the first time, offer a fascinating portrait of the city in transition. On the one hand, it appears still immersed in the countryside, more rural than urban, with vineyards and market gardens, and even artichoke cultivation on the Aventine. On the other, it is shown to be a city unexpectedly industrial, with smoking chimneys on the skyline, and factories filling the Circus Maximus - subsequently demolished. Little is known of the English Dominican Father, Peter Paul Mackey, who arrived in Rome in 1881 to work on the Leonine edition of the works of St Thomas Aquinas, and remained in the city until his death in 1935. Elected an Associate of the British School at Rome in 1906, he presented the School with a set of over 2,000 prints and negatives of his photographs, accompanied by a detailed hand written catalogue. Although most of these are sadly now lost, those remaining, on display here, provide a remarkable record of a turning point in Rome's history. Sir John Soane's Museum, London, until 12th September.
J W Waterhouse: The Modern Pre-Raphaelite is the first major British retrospective exhibition of the Pre-Raphaelite artist in a generation, and features over 40 paintings. John William Waterhouse was born in the year that the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood delivered their manifesto for a new reformed art. He inherited their taste for Tennyson, Keats and Shakespeare, but also drew inspiration from classical mythology interpreted by Homer and Ovid. Although his pictures are perceived as serene, they belie a Romantic fascination with intense human passions. Waterhouse's painterly manner and adherence to three dimensional space distinguish him from his Pre-Raphaelite forerunners. The exhibition considers how Waterhouse's paintings reflect his engagement with contemporary issues, ranging from antiquarianism and the classical heritage, to occultism and the New Woman. It includes almost all the paintings that made him one of the most successful and critically acclaimed artists of the day. Highlights are 'The Lady of Shalott', 'A Naiad', 'Hylas and the Nymphs', 'St Eulalia', 'Circe Invidiosa: Circe Poisoning the Sea', 'A Mermaid' and 'St Cecilia' These works are accompanied by studies in oil, chalk and pencil; period photographs; sketchbooks; and the volumes of Tennyson and Shelley in which Waterhouse drew sketches. Royal Academy of Arts, until 13th September.
Diane Arbus celebrates the work of the legendary New York photographer, who transformed the art of photography, capturing a unique view of 1950s and 1960s America. Diane Arbus's singular vision, and her ability to engage in an uncompromising way with her subjects, made her one of the most important and influential photographers of the 20th century. Arbus was born in New York City and was a photographer primarily of people she discovered in the metropolis and its environs. In her photographs, the self-conscious encounter between photographer and subject becomes a central drama of the picture. Her "contemporary anthropology" - portraits of couples, children, carnival performers, nudists, middle class families, transvestites, people on the street, zealots, eccentrics, and celebrities - stands as an allegory of post war America and an exploration of the relationship between appearance and identity, illusion and belief, theatre and reality. (Alternatively, she created a 20th century version of a Victorian Freak Show). The exhibition comprises 69 black and white photographs, including the rare and important portfolio of 10 vintage prints: Box of Ten, one of the best collections of Arbus's work in existence. National Museum of Wales, Cardiff, until 31st August.
Mariscal - Drawing Life is the first British exhibition of work by the Spanish designer and artist Javier Mariscal. Regarded as one of the world's most innovative and original designers, Mariscal's diverse body of work spans cartoon characters to interiors, furniture to graphic design, and corporate identities. Mariscal's intense relationship with drawing and illustration is central to his career, and is the basis for his designs over the last 30 years. He gave Barcelona its graphic identity as it emerged from the Franco era, and introduced Cobi, the official Olympic mascot of the Barcelona games. Sketches, designs, films and photographs are on display alongside furniture and textiles.
Remembering Jan Kaplicky - Architect Of The Future celebrates the work of the innovative Czech architect, who came to Britain following the Soviet invasion in 1967. After working with Denys Lasun, Richard Rogers and Norman Foster, Jan Kaplicky set up Future Systems with David Nixon, as a think tank to explore new ideas. These included robot built structures in space, houses in the guise of space age survival pods, and malleable interiors. Among Kaplicky's best known designs featured in the exhibition are the award winning Media Centre at Lord's Cricket Ground, and the Selfridges store in Birmingham, together with the Hauer-King House in Wales, the Floating Bridge in Docklands, and Comme des garcons in Tokyo.
Design Museum until 1st November.
Garden and Cosmos: The Royal Paintings Of Jodhpur is an opportunity to view a unique type of Indian royal court painting from the 17th to 19th centuries. The exhibition features 56 paintings from the royal collection at the Mehrangarh Museum in Jodhpur, none of which has ever previously been seen in Europe. It explores the two distinct styles of painting that flourished over the period, 'Garden', the ornate style depicting the temporal pleasures of courtly life and the verdant forests where scenes from the great Indian epics took place, and 'Cosmos', the metaphysical paintings concerned with philosophical speculation and the origin of the universe. The paintings were created for the personal pleasure of the maharajas who ruled over north western India, and as such, they represent the varying aesthetic tastes and differing political and spiritual views of three generations at the Jodhpur court. During this period, the region produced a distinctive and inventive painting style, which brought together traditional Rajasthani styles and combined them with styles developed in the imperial court of the Mughals. Thus, the paintings range from glorious gardens in desert palaces to opulent images of cosmic origins, depicting the political, cultural and spiritual vitality of Jodhpur and indicating the sophisticated way in which artists conveyed profound spiritual conceptions. The paintings included in the exhibition range from a handful of miniatures to monumental artworks depicting the palaces, wives and families of the Jodhpur rulers. British Museum until 23rd August.
Colour Chart: Reinventing Colour 1950 To Today looks at the shifting moment in 20th century art, when a group of artists began to perceive colour as 'readymade' rather than as scientific or expressive. Taking the commercial colour chart as its point of departure, the exhibition emphasises a radical transformation in the post Second World War Western art, which is characterised by the departure from such notions as originality, uniqueness and authenticity. The exhibition celebrates a paradox: the beauty that occurs when contemporary artists assign colour decisions to chance, readymade source, or arbitrary system. Midway through the 20th century, long held convictions regarding the spiritual truth or scientific validity of particular colours gave way to an excitement about colour as a mass-produced and standardised commercial product. The romantic quest for personal expression instead became Andy Warhol's "I want to be a machine"; the artistry of mixing pigments was eclipsed by Frank Stella's "straight out of the can; it can't get better than that." It is the first major exhibition devoted to this pivotal transformation, and offers an alternative survey of mid to late 20th century art, emphasising the significance of colour as an indicator of shifting conceptions around art, commodity and creativity. There is also a presentation of the University of Liverpool's research project on the visual perception of colour and digital colour calibration. Colours look different on different digital display devices - projectors, monitors and so on. This project demonstrates that humans have a remarkable ability to calibrate colour in the brain, as we all perceive certain colours in approximately the same way. Tate Liverpool until 13th September.
Future Gardens is a 27 acre conservation project, designed by Ivan Hicks in the shape of a giant butterfly, with an ongoing commitment to bio-diversity. The project comprises innovative designer gardens, wildflower meadows, a tropical butterfly house, and a British butterfly garden featuring nectar rich planting. It is intended to be an annual event, covering 4 months, offering visitors the chance to see and appreciate how gardens mature and evolve throughout the seasons and the years. At the heart of the project are 12 gardens, selected to present thought-provoking ideas, showing that sustainability and innovative design can be perfect bedfellows. These were designed by Jane Hudson and Erik De Maeijer, Paul Dracott, Fiona Heron, Michelle Wake and Chloe Leaper, Hugo Bugg and Maren Hallenga, Roger Phillips, Tony Heywood, Peter Thomas, Andy Sturgeon, Marcus Green, Rosita Castro Dominguez, Isabelle Fordin, and Bruno Marmiroli. This is the beginning of what will become Butterfly World, which will include the world's largest butterfly dome, with 10,000 butterflies and birds, due to open in 2012. Future Gardens, Miriam Lane, off Noke Lane, Chiswell Green, St Albans, Hertfordshire, until 4th October.
Victorians At The Seaside: Photographs By Paul Martin captures the first flush of the British seaside experience. In 1892, the photographer Paul Martin made a trip to Yarmouth, the popular seaside resort in Norfolk. Disguising his camera as a leather box, he was able to record his fellow holidaymakers unnoticed, providing a fascinating insight into life in Victorian England. Wealthy families began to visit the seaside in the 18th century, but it wasn't until the 19th century that the seaside holiday developed. This was made possible by the expansion of the railways in the 1840s and 1850s, which made long distance travel affordable for most people. The wealthy stayed in expensive hotels, whilst boarding houses developed for the less wealthy. Children enjoyed paddling, donkey rides, and building sand castles. Few people learnt to swim, but those who could afford costumes bathed in the sea. People believed that a dip in the sea was beneficial to their health. Punch and Judy moved from the city streets to the seaside, and piers began to house a range of attractions including theatres, merry-go-rounds, shooting galleries and model railways. Museum of Childhood, Bethnal Green, London until 24th July.
Baroque 1620 - 1800: Style In The Age Of Magnificence features the splendour of one of the most opulent styles of the 17th and 18th centuries. The exhibition reflects the complexity and grandeur of the Baroque style, from the Rome of Borromini and Bernini, to the magnificence of Louis XIV's Versailles, and the lavishness of Baroque theatre and performance. On display are some 200 objects, including silver furniture, portraits, sculpture, a regal bed and court tapestries, which conjure up the rooms of a Baroque palace. Further, the exhibition shows how, as European power and influence spread, Baroque style reached other parts of the world. Highlights include: depictions of the Palace of Versailles, including the Hall of Mirrors and designs for the gardens; rare historic furniture made for Louis XIV; religious paintings by Rubens and Tiepolo; sculpture and architectural designs for St Peter's Basilica and the Cornaro Chapel in Rome; stage sets from theatres such as Cesky Krumlov in the Czech Republic, Italian costumes and musical instruments; the original model for James Gibbs's church St Mary-Le-Strand in London; pearls from the vaults of Augustus the Strong in Dresden; costumes from the Swedish Royal court, and candelabrum from the Swedish Royal chapel; and a gilded altarpiece, sculpture, paintings and furniture from Mexico, Brazil, Peru, Indonesia, the Philippines and India. Victoria & Albert Museum until 19th July.
Giuseppe Penone is one of the most important artists of his generation, emerging through the late 1960s and 1970s as an exponent of Arte Povera, the avant garde Italian art movement. This exhibition ranges from early seminal sculptures, drawings and photographs, through to recent and new pieces. Giuseppe Penone's works spring from observations on natural phenomena, with a bearing particularly on our interaction with our environment. The nature of sensory perception is crucial to his work, especially through touch and sight, and he has thus been consistently preoccupied with the eyes and skin, locations of interface between the human body and all that surrounds it. Highlights include 'Rovesciare i propri occhi (Reverse Your Eyes)', a sequence of photographic slide projections showing Penone on a tree-lined road, each one zooming in on him until we can clearly see that his eyes are covered with mirrored contact lenses; 'Soffio di Foglie (Breath of Leaves)', a bed of dried leaves that bears an impression of his prostrate body, near the head of which is a concavity as a result of his exhalation; and 'Essere fiume (Being a River)' which uses a mechanical masonry device to sculpt a quarry stone into an exact replica of a river stone, meticulously reproducing the smooth contours made from thousands of years of water erosion. Ikon, Birmingham, until 18th July.