Private View held by Richard Andrews
The Silk Road: Trade, Travel, War And Faith celebrates the network of trade routes from the shores of the Mediterranean to the heartland of China, that passed through the territories of some of the great empires in world history. It brings together over 200 seldom seen Central Asian manuscripts, paintings, coins, statues, artefacts and textiles, offering a glimpse into the everyday life of people on the Silk Road. Central Asia was the centre of the world, the progenitor of many of civilisation's most important inventions, and the crux of a world economy. The evidence left by these multi-cultural civilisations lay buried for up to 2,000 years in tombs, tips and temples beneath the desert sands. The exhibition includes treasures excavated by the archaeologist Aurel Stein, whose journeys covered some 25,000 miles in the early 20th century. Among his finds was the earliest dated printed book in the world, the Diamond Sutra of 868AD, on public display in its original form for the first time in a century, following conservation work. Other treasures include 9th and 10th century silk paintings from Dunhuang; a Chinese manuscript bearing the earliest star chart in the world; 3rd and 4th century letters in ingenious wooden envelopes in Indian languages, with Chinese and Greek seals, from the ancient kingdom of Kroraina; and a selection of the idiosyncratic tomb models and monsters from the 7th and 8th century cemetery at Astana near Turfan. The British Library until 12th September.
Samauri has transferred from Chessington, strengthening Thorpe Park's position as the top white knuckle venue in the south of England. Samauri is a ride in pods, situated at the end of a mechanical arm that lifts and rotates them, creating G forces of plus 5 and minus 3, as well as a centrifugal force that sets them spinning 360°. It joins the existing Colossus, a 10 loop roller coaster with speeds of up to 70mph, and a force of 4Gs; Nemesis Inferno, one of the world's most disorientating, leg dangling suspended experiences; Tidal Wave, Europe's tallest water drop ride; stomach-churning Vortex, which makes 15 high speed rotations per minute while swinging back and forth 65 feet in the air; gravity-defying 100 foot drop Detonator; and X: No Way Out, the world's first dark backwards coaster, to provide the most unpleasant experience you can have outside an Islamic fundamentalist regime. Worse is promised for next year. Further information and a virtual ride can be found on the Thorpe Park web site via the link from the Attractions section of ExhibitionsNet. Thorpe Park, Chertsey until 6th November.
Tamara de Lempicka: Art Deco Icon is the first major exhibition in this country of the artist who captured the essence of modernism and the spirit of Art Deco in her work. It focuses on her most prolific period, from 1922 to the early 1940s. Bringing together some 55 paintings, many never before seen in public, the exhibition confirms de Lempicka's reputation as one of the most iconic painters of her generation. Although brought up in Moscow, she moved to Paris in 1917, as it was about to become the capital of the art world. De Lempicka's images combine the forms of traditional portraiture with geometric architectural features that capture the sense of modernity and the machine age. Her subjects are often dramatically lit, with closely cropped compositions, so that they fill the canvas with their monumental and powerful presence. It is for the development of this contemporary and unique style that de Lempicka is recognised. These paintings reflect the combination of wealth and decadence that was synonymous with the French capital in the 1920s and 1930s. As well as focusing on her many commissioned portraits, the exhibition also includes some of de Lempicka's sensual nudes and beautiful still-lifes. The Royal Academy until 30th August.
Town House Treasures: Sir William Holburne Of Bath is a selection from the remarkable collection of fine and decorative art of Sir William Holburne. Born into a distinguished naval family, he saw action at the Battle of Trafalgar when he was only twelve years old, and later became a notable traveller. Over three decades, both at home and abroad, he collected works of art on a huge scale, acquiring over 5,000 objects, including Italian maiolica, Renaissance bronzes, 17th century Dutch paintings, European porcelain, English silver and Wedgwood ware. The entire collection can now be found at the Holburne Museum of Art, situated in a town house in Bath. This exhibition displays some of the best pieces, with fine paintings (including Jagger's portrait of the man himself), spectacular silver, porcelain, miniatures and other objet d'art, giving visitors a chance to compare and contrast Holburne's treasures with the Sir Richard Wallace's resident collection. The Wallace Collection until 6th June.
Fantasy Architecture 1500 - 2036 brings together imaginative, fantastic and visionary schemes for a better world - some practical, some wholly fanciful. These visions of the future remained on paper due to lack of funds, political change, or because technically they were ahead of their time. The exhibition features over 120 projects by world famous architects, displayed with plans, drawings, paintings, maquettes, collage, film and computer animation. Among the buildings that might have been are Asymptote's New York Virtual Stock Exchange, with streams of financial data as a dynamic virtual environment; Joseph Paxton's monumental ten mile Great Victorian Way, combining shops, hotels and restaurants with an elevated railway; MVDR's tower block for pigs; and Martin Riuz de Azua's Basic House, an inflatable portable dwelling that packs away in its owner's pocket. There are also projects by such legends as Robert Adam, Archigram, Charles Barry, Etienne Louis Boullee, Santiago Calatrava, Hugh Maxwell Casson, William Chambers, Serge Chermayeff, Charles Cockerell, Peter Cook, Foreign Office Architects, Galli Bibiena Family, Foster and Partners, Buckminster Fuller, Future Systems, Erno Goldfinger, Zaha Hadid, Inigo Jones, Edwin Lutyens, Erich Mendelsohn, John Nash, Claes Oldenburg, Alison and Peter Smithson, John Soane, Softroom, Vladimir Tatlin, Tecton and Clough Williams Ellis. Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art, Sunderland until 3rd July.
Pleasurelands - 200 Years Of Fun At The Fair brings the world of the funfair alive, showing both the magical illusion of the fair, and the reality of life behind the scenes. There are actual carousel horses, dodgem cars, and sideshows - including slot machines from the 1940s and 1950s - on which visitors can play. These join posters, models, photographs, films, lighting and sound effects to recreate the spectacle, illusion, experience and reality of the fairground. The exhibition examines the changing use of technology in sideshows - mirrors, optics, projections and lights - in creating the illusions of magic and mystery. The dynasties of show men and women of fairground families are celebrated, such as the knife throwing Shufflebottoms and the circus owning Smarts, through memories, photographs and mementos. The reality of life on the road is also examined, revealing the reality of this highly organised community, and the drawbacks of their transitory lifestyle. The materials in the exhibition are drawn from the National Fairground Archive at the University of Sheffield. Croydon Clocktower, Croydon, 020 8253 1030 until 5th September.
Barbican Art Gallery celebrates its re-opening after a £1m makeover designed by architects Allford Hall Monaghan, which has provided an additional 140 sq metres of display space and new reception area, thanks to the bridging of the central void and removal of a staircase, with two exhibitions that demonstrate the new adaptability of the space. Tina Modotti and Edward Weston: The Mexico Years, in the upper level, is the first major exhibition in the UK of photographs by two key figures of Modernist photography. It features over 150 vintage images, including some never before exhibited, and focuses on their work during the 1920s in post-Revolutionary Mexico, when the two photographers worked together, and considers their role in Mexican Modernism, and how the period impacted on their careers. Helen Chadwick: A Retrospective, on the lower floor, is a comprehensive display of large installations by one of the most important British artists of the late 1980s and early 1990s, who specialised in creating art from waste products. The scale on which she worked meant that they would have been difficult to accommodate before the refurbishment. Among the 70 pieces present are the self portrait based 'Ego Geometria Sum', 'The Oval Court', 'Cacao' - a fountain of hot bubbling chocolate, and 'Piss Flowers'. Barbican Art Gallery until 1st August.
Newnham Paddox Art Park, the 30 acre open air lakeside art gallery, opens its second season with 60 new works in contemporary and classical styles for viewing and purchase, in a unique wooded setting. The park is part of a 1,000 acre Grade 1 listed 18th century romantic landscape designed by Capability Brown on the 3,000 acre estate of the Earl and Countess of Denbigh. Among the new artists whose work is featured are Michael Rizzello, John Baldwin and James Butler. Returning artists include David Begbie, Dawn Benson, Mick Chambers, Peter Clarke, Sukey Erland, Nic Fiddian-Green, Alan Gibbs, Amy Goodman, Bruce Hardwick, Christa Hunter, William Lazard, Nick Lloyd, Lyell, Michael Lyons, Sylvia Macrae Brown, Rob Maingay, Justin Neal, Walenty Pytel, Jane Rickards, Elizabeth Studdert, Brian Taylor, Thomas Tatnell, Gail van Heerden, Diane Whelan and Althea Wynne. Ceramicist Mark Isley is using the summerhouse as his studio throughout the season, and visitors can watch him throw and turn pots, and Raku fire them in a purpose built kiln. Wooded walks afford five views of the lakes and park, which contains many rare specimen trees that have been collected by previous generations of Denbighs on their journeys abroad since 1433. Newnham Paddox Art Park, Monks Kirby, Warwickshire, Thursdays to Sundays until 17th October.
Prisoners Of The Tower, explores the incarceration of many of the most interesting and intriguing prisoners of the Royal fortress on the Thames, including Anne Boleyn, Guy Fawkes, Thomas More, Princess Elizabeth, Lady Jane Grey, Walter Raleigh and Rudolf Hess. The exhibition also tells the stories of lesser known prisoners, from the very first in 1100 (who also became the first prisoner to escape), to the 20th century Germans accused of espionage. It reveals the conditions in which they were kept - many prisoners of state in relative luxury, exploding the Victorian myth of dripping dungeons, the punishments that some endured, the variety of reasons for being 'sent to the Tower', and the numerous attempts to escape, as well as the ultimate fate that awaited many prisoners. The exhibition includes unique personal possessions, rare documents and artefacts, furniture, clothing, models, film footage, works of art, and manuscripts written by prisoners themselves, including: the personal Prayer Books of Lady Jane Grey and Anne Boleyn; papers containing the signature of Rudolf Hess; the Episcopal Staff and Ring of Bishop Flambard, the first Tower prisoner; and the actual chair in which Josef Jakobs, the last prisoner to be executed at the Tower, was shot. The Tower of London until 5th September.
El Greco is the first major exhibition in Britain of the work of Domenikos Theotokopoulos, the 16th century painter better known as El Greco. One of the most original painters of his time, his work is modern in appearance, and greatly influenced 20th century painters, including Cezanne, Picasso and Jackson Pollock. The exhibition traces El Greco's career through a selection of his greatest paintings, together with some rarely exhibited drawings and sculptures. El Greco stood apart from his contemporaries in the depiction of his compositions, and the use of bright colours, elongated forms and spiritual intensity, painted in a style combining aspects of the Byzantine and Western traditions. Born in Crete, he trained as an icon painter, before moving to Venice, where his style was transformed through his encounters with the work of Titian and Tintoretto, and then Rome, where he was exposed to Michelangelo's influence, mixing with an elite circle of intellectuals connected with the Farnese Palace. El Greco made his home in Spain, settling in Toledo, where he created the famous series of altarpieces in which his highly individual treatment of religious imagery attained its fullest expression. The exhibition includes a rare example of El Greco's early work, the recently discovered icon of 'The Dormition of the Virgin', the 'Laocoon', 'The Opening of the Fifth Seal (The Vision of Saint John)', 'View of Toledo', and the 'Adoration of the Shepherds', which he painted to hang above his own tomb. The exhibition also brings together a large group of portraits of his contemporaries, such as 'Fray Hortensio Paravicino' and 'Jeronimo de Ceballos'. National Gallery until 23rd May.
The Art Of Influence: Highlights From The Walter Crane Archive is a selection from the recently acquired archive of material from the studio of a leading figure in the British Arts and Crafts Movement. The display offers a unique perspective on the art, design and politics of Walter Crane. The Arts and Crafts Movement reacted against the unconstrained industrialisation of the late 19th century, embracing a 'back to nature' philosophy, and offering great respect to craftsmen and their work, as opposed to the mass produced and machine made. The exhibition brings to life Crane's values and vision through drawings, sketches, original designs for book illustrations, diaries, notebooks, photographs and press cuttings, spanning his entire career. The drawings and illustrations demonstrate his mastery of design and skilful absorption of varied historical influences. These traits are also clear in Crane's work as an interior decorator and commercial designer, employed by the major manufacturers of his day in ceramics, glass, textiles and wallpaper. He developed a style dependent on a strong use of line and an interest in symbolism that was instantly recognisable. The archive material is complemented by a selection of Crane's paintings, wallpapers and textile designs, together providing an insight into the artistic, commercial and political fabric of his life. Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester until 23rd May.
The Humour Of Embarrassment: H.M. Bateman's 'The Man Who' Cartoons celebrates the acquisition of 61 prints of 'The Man Who' cartoons by Bateman, one of the foremost British cartoonists of the early 20th century. These drawings originally appeared as colour double page spreads in The Tatler in the 1920s and 1930s, during one of the most glamorous periods of its history. A Bateman drawing is frequently characterised by an immensely expressive and rhythmical line, with characters convulsed by the intensity of their emotions. In 'The Man Who' cartoons, individuals, through ignorance, impudence or folly, do 'The Thing That Isn't Done', and draw the wrath or derision of society down upon their heads, as with 'The Guardsman Who Dropped It' or 'The Shop Assistant Who Lost His Temper'. Bateman's originality is based on the way he drew people: not as they looked, but as they felt. If they are embarrassed, people say they feel very small, and Bateman took the phrase literally. As well as the original Bateman drawings, the exhibition also features a number of more recent pastiches by contemporary cartoonists, such as Ralph Steadman, John Jensen, Dave Brown and Steve Bell. There are accompanying illustrated talks about Bateman's work by his biographer Anthony Anderson, and cartoonist Les Coleman. The Cartoon Art Trust Museum, London until 22nd May.