Private View held by Richard Andrews
Only Connect is an unconventional display presenting a web of portraits connecting sitters across three centuries. Comprising paintings, sculpture, photographs, engravings, drawings, miniatures and works in other media, the display uses musical connections to explore new ways of looking at images of people from the past. It proposes a network of threads connecting singers, composers, artists, doctors, sculptors, poets, engineers, ambassadors and many others. As a result, everyone in the display is linked in one way or another. The connections range from the profound and the personal to the accidental and the incidental. Some were friends and some were lovers, several wrote about each other or had similar ideas, others were enemies or simply met on the street. For example, composer Benjamin Britten and violinist and conductor, Yehudi Menuhin performed at Bergen-Belsen concentration camp after liberation in 1945. Yehudi Menuhin gave ground-breaking performances of composer Michael Tippett's Corelli Fantasia. The sets and costumes for Tippett's opera Midsummer Marriage were designed by sculptor Barbara Hepworth. An alternative route is formed by writer George Bernard Shaw who corresponded with the pianist Harriet Cohen. She premiered Elgar's Piano Quintet and Elgar made his most famous recording of his Violin Concerto with the teenaged Yehudi Menuhin. Such links evoke an invisible layer of human interconnectedness - 'six degrees of separation'. National Portrait Gallery until 27th November.
The Lives Of Great Photographers focuses on the pioneers behind the camera, exploring the extraordinary stories surrounding some of photography's most important innovators and artists. Without rivals Louis Jacques Mande Daguerre and William Henry Fox Talbot, photography as it is known today would not exist. Julia Margaret Cameron, although primarily considered an artist, copyrighted her work and attempted to make a living by selling copies. Eadweard Muybridge pioneered chronophotography, whereby movement is captured by a sequence of photographic exposures. Olive Edis employed photography as the first serving war artist during the First World War. Edward Steichen's career was remarkable for its variety as he moved effortlessly from art, to fashion, to advertising. Lewis Hine and Dorothea Lange were both driven by their social consciences to record the Great Depression in America. Henri Cartier-Bresson and Robert Capa pioneered photojournalism as founding members of the world's first photographic agency, Magnum. The exhibition also includes the less well know photographers Roger Fenton, Lady Clementina Hawarden, Alfred Stieglitz, Andre Kertesz, Weegee, Tony Ray-Jones, Fay Godwin and Larry Burrows. Each photographer is represented by their photographic portrait and a selection of their images. Alongside are the kinds of cameras they would have had to carry and use in the course of their work, and rarely seen material, such as pages from notebooks detailing what was going through their minds when they were thinking about how to get the pictures they wanted. National Media Museum, Bradford, until 4th September.
Bali: Dancing For The Gods explores the culture of Bali, and in particular the way moral values and a respect for the environment are passed from one generation to the next through the stories and dance of Balinese Hinduism. The exhibition reveals the inextricable links between the arts and Balinese social structure, with explanations of the life cycle, the ubiquity of temples and offerings and priests' place in society. It includes items from the archive of dance critic Beryl de Zoete, who was co-author, with choreographer Walter Spies, of the classic work Dance & Drama in Bali. Their visual exploration of the performing arts of Bali offers a unique insight into the life and religion of the Balinese people in the 1930s. Historic films and photographs provide the backdrop for a journey through the cultural heart of Bali, showing both change and continuity in the life of this jewel in the Indonesian ocean. Highlight objects include a full gamelan orchestra, lavishly decorated with gilded carvings of flora and fauna; temple paintings and wall hangings depicting legends of Balinese Hinduism, including epics such as the Ramayana and Mahabharata and other mythological scenes; and a spectacular life-sized funeral bull. Accompanying dance costumes, masks, puppets, sculptures and textiles show the religious context of performance in Bali. Horniman Museum, Forest Hill, London SE23, until 8th January.
Age Of The Dinosaur is a new immersive experience taking visitors on a journey back 65 million years to a time when dinosaurs ruled the earth. Visitors walk through a swamp-like Jurassic lagoon and Cretaceous desert, catching sight of weird, wonderful and now extinct animals and plants among the smells and sounds of this prehistoric land. Life-size, animatronic dinosaurs, including a Gallimimus, Protoceratops, Camarasaurus, Oviraptor, Velociraptor, and Tarbosaurus emerge from the rocks, water and trees, accompanied by jaw-dropping images and film footage. Along the way, visitors can investigate precious fossils, handle specimen replicas and examine evidence to find out what the world looked like when dinosaurs walked on earth. Highlights include a replica of a Tyrannosaurus rex footprint found in New Mexico that measures 81cm by 74cm and dates back 67 to 65 million years; an animatronic Archaeopteryx lithographica, the creature that proves the theory that birds evolved from dinosaurs, with its bird-like features, but also sharp meat eating teeth; CGI video projection of a Liopleurodon, a large predatory marine pliosaur, which was as long as a double-decker bus, snatching and devouring its prey; and a giant animatronic Tarbasaurus bataar, a relation of Tyrannosaurus rex that inhabited Asia about 70 million years ago, which ate other dinosaurs. Natural History Museum until 4th September.
Heracles To Alexander The Great: Treasures From The Royal Capital Of Macedon, A Hellenic Kingdom In The Age Of Democracy provides an opportunity to see objects found recently in the royal burial tombs and the palace of Aegae, on display for the first time outside Greece. The exhibition is comprised of over 500 treasures made of gold, silver and bronze, which re-write the history of early Greece, and tell the story of the kings and queens who governed Macedon, from the descendents of Heracles to the ruling dynasty of Alexander the Great. The city of Aegae remained relatively unknown until 30 years ago when excavations uncovered the unlooted tombs of Philip II and his grandson Alexander IV. Recent work has unearthed a startling wealth of objects, from beautifully intricate gold jewellery, silverware and pottery, to arms and armour, sculpture, mosaic floors and architectural remains, as well as sacred objects, such as clay heads of divine and demonic figures. The artistry, skill and foresight with which these objects were made reveal a truly sophisticated dynasty. The centrepiece of this show is the reconstruction of the burial assemblage of 5 women: 4 dating from the Early Iron Age, and the 'Lady of Aegae', from around 500 BC, a queen and high-priestess, who was found in an undisturbed tomb, bedecked with funerary goods and dressed, head-to-toe, in spectacular gold jewellery which had been sewn into her clothes; plus items from the tomb of Philip II, including a golden head of Medusa, armour, golden wreaths, marble sculpture and silver banqueting vessels. Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, until 29th August.
Dutch Landscapes brings together remarkable works from the 'golden age' of Dutch painting in the second half of the 17th century, largely collected by King George IV. The exhibition includes paintings by Jacob van Ruisdael, Aelbert Cuyp and Meyndert Hobbema. The fine detail and meticulous finish of Dutch landscapes appealed to British taste. The ability of Netherlandish artists to depict mood and emotion through the landscape of their homeland or the Italian countryside influenced the great British painters John Constable and JMW Turner. However, a major pleasure of the exhibition is the people in the landscapes. There are scenes of merrymaking, replete with people boozing, smoking, swaggering and dancing, country fairs abuzz with activity, busy vistas of agricultural labour, hunting parties and well-to-do landowners and burghers, plus a ragged rabble of floozies and farmhands, blacksmiths and street-vendors, barefooted scamps and beggars with peg legs. Highlights include Isaac van Ostade's 'Travellers Outside an Inn', Salomon van Ruysdael's 'River Landscape with Sailing Boats', Jacob van Ruisdael's 'Evening Landscape: a Windmill by a Stream', Meyndert Hobbema's 'A Watermill Beside a Woody Lane' and Aelbert Cuyp's 'The Passage Boat'. The Queen's Gallery, Buckingham Palace, until 9th October.
An American Experiment: George Bellows And The Ashcan Painters introduces an important moment in the history of American painting to Britain. The paintings in this exhibition by George Bellows and his artist friends William Glackens, George Luks, John Sloan and their teacher Robert Henri have not been seen in the UK before. The Ashcan School was formed at the beginning of the 20th century as painters, principally in New York City and Philadelphia, began to develop a uniquely American point of view on the beauty, violence and velocity of the modern world, and a find new way to represent them. The most familiar reading of the Ashcan painters is as urban realists who embraced the brutal but vivid life of the city as their subject, and found stark visual language through which to communicate their realities to a contemporary audience. The most prominent member of the group was George Bellows, the 'American master of snow', who seems to offer engagement with the natural world as the main subject of his paintings. Highlights of the exhibition include 'Cliff Dwellers', an almost Hargothian street scene of immigrants on the Lower East Side of Manhattan; 'Excavation at Night', one of a series of images of the building work at the site of Pennsylvania Station; 'Blue Snow, The Battery', depicting the 25 acre public park at the tip of Lower Manhattan; and 'The Big Dory', a view of fishermen on Monhegan Island off the coast of Maine, which anticipates the stylisations of Art Deco a generation later. The Ashcan Painters were part of a widespread interest in the quality of life in the modern cities of the early 20th century. Along with British artists like Walter Sickert, they are representative of a strong analysis of urban experience while owing much to Old Masters such as Velazquez and Manet. National Gallery until 30th May.
Facade examines the key design feature in architecture - the identity, or face, of a building. The exhibition explores through artists' and architects' work, how facades can be used to both reveal and conceal, and often what, upon closer scrutiny, lies beneath the surface: the tension between appearance and reality. One of the most striking architectural developments over the last 50 years has been the increasing presence of glass facades, which have become all but ubiquitous, at least in larger towns and cities, affecting both the environment and people's lives. Firstly shops, then offices, and more recently apartment blocks have been clad increasingly in ever greater expanses of glazing. The exhibition explores some of the origins of this in the radical writings and architecture from around 1910 onwards, the subsequent development of glass technologies, and the range of its manifestations and effects since. It also throws this seeming 'triumph of transparency' into relief, by contrasting it with its inverse, the blank, dark or broken/blind facade in architecture. Reflecting contemporary developments, it looks at how new glazed-facade technology seems to metamorphose between the transparent and the opaque, hinting at a more ambiguous play between material surface and its depth - what lies beneath. Artists and architects whose work is featured include: Alexander Apostol, Foster + Partners, Gelitin, Gregor Schneider, Ian Kiaer, Jeffrey Sarmiento, Michael Raedecker, Mossessian and Partners, Ola Kohlemainen, Phil Coy, Sauerbruch Hutton, Heike Klussmann and Thorsten Klooster. National Glass Centre, Sunderland, until 10th July.
Nothing Is Ever As It Seems marks the centenary of the birth of the playwright Terence Rattigan. The author of 25 full length stage plays, and the most successful playwright in Britain in the mid 20th century, Terence Rattigan saw two of his works, 'French Without Tears' in 1936 and 'Separate Tables' in 1956, achieve West End runs of more than 1,000 performances, a record not yet equalled. Characters in Rattigan's plays are notable for their emotional restraint, which he summed up thus: "It is the implicit rather than the explicit that gives life to a scene". However, the arrival of 'kitchen sink' drama and the Theatre of the Absurd in 1956 made Rattigan's 'well made' plays seem old fashioned, and they were more or less neglected until recent years. The exhibition includes scripts, letters, photographs and other memorabilia from the Rattigan archive. Highlights include the typescript with autograph amendments of 'First Episode', his first staged play, set in an undergraduate lodging house; the typescript with annotations of the satirical farce 'Follow My Leader', which was refused a licence by the Lord Chamberlain so as not to offend foreign powers; the original script of 'Flare Path', under its first title of 'Next Of Kin', together with Rattigan's RAF notebooks and flying log; the script of the original radio version of 'Cause Celebre', and a letter to Robin Midgley, director of its stage adaptation, discussing changes to the script for the theatre. The British Library until July.
Census & Society: Why Everyone Counts explores how the census has influenced views of society, and how it has in turn been shaped by the values and priorities surrounding its implementation. From the first modern attempt to introduce a census to England in 1753, the idea has generated interest and strong emotion. The census has always been an occasion for satire, subversion and resistance. The exhibition looks at some of these controversies, and some of the ways in which the census has been used as an opportunity in wider political campaigns. It describes the people and works surrounding early calls for a more detailed population count, including the first edition of Thomas Malthus's Essay on the Principle of Population in 1798, and John Graunt's Natural and Political Observations, written some hundred years earlier. The reporting of census results provided new challenges in statistical representation, and encouraged new ways of thinking about the public presentation of data, resulting in examples of 19th century innovation such as Augustus Petermann's population density map, one of the earliest of its kind. The exhibition includes examples of data from censuses alongside materials which illustrate how life in Britain is changing, and the issues of most concern in the fields of families and households, health, employment and migration. It features photographs, maps, charts, public information broadcasts and cartoons, alongside insights from the census data itself. British Library until 29th May.
Laurie Anderson, Trisha Brown, Gordon Matta-Clark: Pioneers Of The Downtown Scene, New York 1970s examines the experimental and often daring approaches taken by three leading figures in the rough-and-ready arts scene that developed in downtown Manhattan during the 1970s. Performance artist and musician Laurie Anderson, choreographer Trisha Brown and artist Gordon Matta-Clark were friends and active participants in the New York art community, working fluidly between visual art and performance, and the city provided a powerful context for their work. On the verge of bankruptcy in the 1970s, the disappearance of manufacturing and other major industries and the withdrawal of public services were turning the New York into a centre of widespread unemployment and lawlessness. Artists responded by taking over derelict spaces to make and exhibit their work, by using the city itself as the medium or setting for their work, by creating opportunities to engage directly with the public out of doors, and by building a vibrant arts community. The exhibition brings together around 160 works by Anderson, Brown and Matta-Clark, many rarely seen before, with some presented for the first time outside New York. Featuring sculptures, drawings, photographs, films, documentation of live performances and mixed media works, posters and other ephemera, the exhibition focuses on the intersections between their practices and explores their mutual concerns - performance, the body, the urban environment and found spaces, and an emphasis on process and experimentation. Barbican Art Gallery, London, until 22nd May.
Bridget Riley: Paintings And Related Work offers an opportunity to see how recent paintings by one of Britain's most significant abstract painters of the second half of the 20th century relates to the works of Old Masters. Although Bridget Riley first came to prominence as one of the founders of the Op Art movement in the early 1960s, working initially in black, white and grey, introducing colour only in 1967, she has always had a deep interest in the Old Masters, looking at and learning their uses of colour, line and composition. The exhibition includes one of Riley's first endeavors as an emerging artist, a copy of Jan van Eyck's 'Portrait of a Man'. Two of Riley's works have been made directly onto the walls of the gallery: 'Composition with Circles 7', specially created for this exhibition, and a version of her wall-painting, 'Arcadia'. Among the paintings by Old Masters are Mantegna's 'Introduction of the Cult of Cybele to Rome', Raphael's 'Saint Catherine of Alexandria', and three studies by Georges Seurat. Recent paintings on canvas, which have introduced new curvilinear rhythms and movements into Riley's work, are seen alongside some of her earlier paintings, and a selection of works on paper that help to explain her development and working process. In an accompanying film, Bridget Riley discusses her lifelong artistic relationship with the works of Old Masters. National Gallery until 22nd May.