Private View held by Richard Andrews
London Open House is the annual scheme that allows public access to architecturally interesting but usually private buildings across the capital. Over 750 buildings of all kinds, both historic and new, include the Almeida, Hackney Empire and Richmond theatres; Cadogan, Royal Albert and Wigmore concert halls; Foreign Office, Horse Guards and Marlborough House; Brockwell and Tooting Bec Lidos and Greenwich Yacht Club; Foster and Partners and Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners architects' offices; Bank of England, Apothecaries' and Waterman's Livery Halls; BBC Television Centre and White City Media Village, Alexandra Palace TV studio and Sands Film Studios; Gray's Inn, Middle Temple Hall and the Royal Courts of Justice; Park Lane, St Pancras and Andaz (Great Eastern) hotels; Brompton, West Norwood and Nunhead cemeteries; City Hall, Guildhall and Mansion House; White Lodge Royal Ballet School, the Senate House and Old Royal Naval College; Banqueting House, Chiswick House and Reform Club; Beefeater Distillery, King George V Pumping Station and Markfiel Beam Engine House; Roof Gardens Kensington (Derry & Toms) and the regeneration projects surrounding the Olympic Park. There are also talks, conducted walks and other accompanying special events taking place at various locations over the course of the weekend. Entrance is free, but because of limited access, a few of the buildings require prebooking. Further details and how to obtain a directory of participating buildings can be found on the London Open House web site via the link from Festivals in the Others section of ExhibitionsNet. Across London on 22nd and 23rd September.
Alan Turing And Life's Enigma looks at the code breaker and computer pioneer's later work in the field of biology. From 1948 until his death in 1954, at a time when people knew very little about genetics or DNA, Alan Turing used an early Ferranti Mark 1 computer to study a subject known as morphogenesis. He was trying to crack how a soup of cells and chemicals could transform itself and grow into complex natural shape. In an article published in 1952, 'The chemical basis of morphogenesis', where he proposed a reaction-diffusion model of spatial pattern formation, Turing suggested that everything from the spots and stripes on animals to the arrangement of pine cones and flowers could be explained by the interactions between two chemicals. He was one of the first people to propose a formal model that could explain the self-organisation phenomena present in a wide variety of biological systems, and he did so with an impressive clarity of thought. This exhibition includes Turing's own notes together with slides, drawings, diagrams and other objects and materials involved in his research. The Manchester Museum until 18th November.
Cecil Beaton: Theatre Of War is the first exhibition of the little known war work by the society, fashion and portrait photographer. Commissioned by the Ministry of Information, Cecil Beaton took some 7,000 photographs between 1940 and the end of the Second World War. These rarely seen images show Beaton adopting new methods to create a body of work that he later considered to be his most important. From powerful, humanised portraits to abstract ruins, Beaton captured the war in a manner unlike any other photographer. He travelled extensively throughout Britain, the Middle East, India, Burma and China, photographing leaders and ordinary people, military and civilian life, industry and agriculture, artists and architecture. Beaton's photographs from the Far East, depicting deeply traditional communities on the brink of lasting change, are ranked among the best of his career. As well as photographs, the exhibition presents a selection of objects, memorabilia and film works, showing how war formed a turning point in Beaton's life and career. Highlights include clips from wartime films for which Beaton designed costumes, including Dangerous Moonlight, Kipps, The Young Mr Pitt and Major Barbara; a costume designed for a Royal Opera House production of Turandot; costume accessories worn by Margot Fonteyn; a scarf signed by John Gielgud and the cast of Lady Windermere's Fan; his Academy awards; vintage magazines, documents and cameras; and his original wartime diaries. Imperial War Museum, London until 1st January.
Mind The Map: Inspiring Art, Design And Cartography explores the themes of journeys, identity and publicity. The Underground, London Transport and Transport for London, have produced outstanding maps and posters for over 100 years. These have not only shaped the city, but have inspired the world. The exhibition charts the tube map's evolution alongside art inspired by tube maps, older decorative maps, and vintage advertisements, and presents some interesting examples of the interaction between technical design and art. It includes previously unseen historic material by artists such as Harold McCready, Frederick Charles Herrick, MacDonald Gill, Reginald Percy Gossop, Ernest Michael Dinkel and Lewitt-Him, together with new artworks by artists including Simon Patterson, Stephen Walter, Susan Stockwell, Jeremy Wood, Claire Brewster, and Agnes Poitevin-Navarre. The display explores geographical, diagrammatic, decorative and digital transport maps, as well as the enduring influence of Harry Beck's iconic 1931 London Tube map on cartography, posters, design, art and the public imagination. One of the most interesting pieces on display is a 1928 tube map by Richard Park, which overlays a section of the tube network on top of a 1745 map of London by John Rocque, tracing modern London over much older streets. Looking in particular at the relationship between identity and place, the exhibition examines the impact maps have had on our understanding of London, and how they influence the way we navigate and engage with our surroundings. London Transport Museum, Covent Garden, until 28th October.
Blackpool Illuminations have extended the holiday season and entertained visitors to the seaside town since 1879, when 8 plain electric arc lamps bathed the Promenade in what was described as 'artificial sunshine'. While the basic idea remains the same, the style and scale of Blackpool's end of season electrical extravaganza have little in common with that first experiment in lighting. Traditional lamps are still used, but now alongside the newest technology such as lasers, fibre-optics, low-voltage neon and even real fire and water. The show now costs £2.4m to stage, and stretches for 6 miles of spectacular colour, light and movement. New features this year include Strobostorm, a kaleidoscope of stroboscopic lights created using over 1000 individual strobe lights; Nickelodeon, featuring 12 huge fibreglass characters from the television channel; Colourama Galaxy, with over 2000 multi-coloured lights in the sky, randomly twinkling in ever-changing patterns; and Snowflake In A Snowstorm, a series of 10 gigantic led snowflakes; plus old favourites Haunted House, Teddy Bears Picnic, Theatre D'Amour, Rangoli Peacock and Sanuk renewed and improved. Visitors can become part of the display, as they travel along the Promenade aboard a tram dressed up by lights as a wild west train, ocean liner or space rocket, from dusk to 11.30pm most nights. Blackpool Promenade, until 4th November.
Crowns And Ducats: Shakespeare's Money And Medals looks at the role of coins and medals in Shakespeare's works and his world. Shakespeare's plays have many references to money. He expected his audience to recognise the numerous different coins that he mentioned and pick up messages about value, wealth and character. As well as the coins themselves, Shakespeare also drew on the language of reckoning and accounting, and of weighing and measuring the quality of money, often using this metaphorically to talk about people's characters. In addition to looking at the plays, the display features real objects that bring to life the world as it was around 400 years ago. Coins, medals and prints show that Shakespeare lived in a time of mass produced images. From the 18th century onwards, Shakespeare's portrait and his plays have become widely familiar both nationally and internationally. The display also explores this phenomenon through its depiction on medals, coins, banknotes and credit cards. From ducats, dollars and doits to angels, crowns and groats, the display shows how and why Shakespeare used coins to make the wider world seem familiar and the past and remote accessible to an English audience at some of the first purpose made English theatres. British Museum until 25th November.
Animal Crackers: A Cartoon And Comic Bestiary examines how animals have inspired cartoon and comic artists, from the British Lion to Bunny Suicides, and Korky the Cat to Simon's Cat. With over 140 cartoons, caricatures, comics and graphic novels by over 60 artists, this cartoon bestiary features the iconic American Eagle, the Russian Bear and the financial Fat Cat, as well as favourite characters such as Mickey Mouse, Wallace and Gromit, Flook, Fred Basset, Gnasher, Pip, Squeak and Wilfred and Rupert Bear. Also included are individual joke cartoons from Punch, Private Eye, The Oldie, The Spectator and many national papers. Giants of the natural and unnatural world such as Moby‐Dick and the Lambton Worm also feature, as well as beings which only exist in the minds of cartoon and comic artists, such as dragons of yore and the Loch Ness monster. Many of the cartoons suggest how much animals are 'just like us'. From Disney characters such as Mickey Mouse, Jiminy Cricket and King Louie of The Jungle Book to Nick Park's Wallace and Gromit, these animals are human in every way that counts. Others, such as Simon's Cat and Thelwell's ponies, highlight our pets' irritating or endearing habits. Also represented are political animals, both individual and national. When political caricature developed in the 18th century it drew on the tradition of heraldic beasts - the English Lion, the Scottish Unicorn and the Hapsburg double‐headed Eagle. Certain creatures are purely figments of the cartoonist's imagination such as David Low's 'Coalition Ass' and 'TUC Carthorse'. The world of animal cartoons is often a surreal place, allowing creatures to stray into the realms of art, business, politics and personal relationships. It reminds us just how much we share with our fellow animals. Cartoon Museum, 35 Little Russell Street, London WC1, until 21st October.
A Lowry Summer celebrates the 125th anniversary of the Salford artist's birth. The largest and most comprehensive exhibition of L S Lowry's work in many years brings together some 240 paintings and drawings, some of which have never been on public display before. The summer in the title reflects the fact that the majority of the works are of people at on holiday or at play, in the streets, at the seaside, the fair and in boats, and bathed in summer sunshine, rather than the usual subjects of workers shrouded in winter northern industrial smoke. Among the highlights are 'Punch and Judy', 'Street Musicians', 'Piccadilly Circus', 'Coming Out of School', 'The Pond', 'Lancashire Fair, Good Friday' and 'Daisy Nook'. The exhibition also includes rarely seen portraits. Alongside the comprehensive collection of Lowry's works, there are paintings by Shirley Baker and Humphrey Spende. These similarly documentary images, originating from Northern England, offer an unexpected depth to the exhibition. Also on display are Lowry's palette and brushes. In addition, various television documentaries on Lowry are being screened. The Lowry, Pier 8, Salford Quays, Manchester, until 28th October.
The Plant Seekers brings to life tales of the Indiana Jones's of the horticultural world over the last 200 years. The exhibition of material from the Royal Horticultural Society's Lindley Library, tells the story of many of history's most important plant collectors, who travelled the globe and overcame life-threatening situations to transform our landscapes and grow our knowledge about plants and horticulture. Through original journals, botanical illustrations, notebooks, lantern slides, catalogues, photographs, tools and other scientific materials, most of which have never been seen before by the general public, the display reveals how plant seekers gained initial patronage, journeyed to their destinations, set up camp and explored the regions to which they had travelled. Some of the collectors' journals, often in exquisite copperplate hands, provide graphic accounts of triumphs and hardships in the field, including leeches, illness and kidnapping. Many plant seekers were accomplished artists and produced meticulous on the spot drawings of specimens. There is also a recreated lecture by Reginald Farrer, from his 1915 slides of the people, plants and landscape of China, and a short film in which contemporary plant seekers talk of the thrill - and perils - of the chase. This unique exhibition not only demonstrates how international plant hunting has influenced our modern British gardens, but also shows the wider impact of plant collecting on our world, from its influence in medicine and science, to the role it has played in biodiversity and other environmental issues. Garden Museum, Lambeth Palace Road, London SE1, until 21st October.
Stadia: Sport And Vision In Architecture examines the origin and history of some of the largest and most technically accomplished buildings ever created. From the Hippodrome of Constantinople to ancient Greek amphitheatres, the exhibition looks at these colossal venues and how architects continue to use some of these design elements as the foundation for contemporary stadia, such as the Olympic Stadium in Stratford. The display includes original blueprints, highly-detailed models and intriguing stadium relics like terra cotta lamps featuring gladiator fights. One of the most notable items on view is Michaelangelo's Codex Coner, a pared down architectural sketchbook and the earliest archeologically correct record of the Colosseum. The exhibition also looks at temporary stadia, a concept that evolved around the Middle Ages when sporting events began playing out in town squares, such as Florence's Calcio Storico competition still held annually in Piazza Santa Croce. These structures reflect the communal aspect of athletic games, and ways in which a venue's architecture allows for social activity. The aspect of how stadium design can affect the population can be seen in the proposal for Sports City in Saudi Arabia, comprised of a 100,000 seater stadium, an arena, aquatic center, multi-sport complex, golf complex and a women's sport facility. The complex is connected to housing, schools, a mosque and a hospital, serving as a way of improving the residents' health. Sir John Soane's Museum, 13 Lincoln's Inn Fields, London WC2, until 22nd September.
From Paris: A Taste For Impressionism showcases treasures from the Clark Art Institute of Williamstown, Massachusetts's holdings of French 19th century art. The exhibition comprises 70 major works, many of which have never been on public display in Britain before. These include Impressionist masterpieces by Manet, Monet, Pissarro, Degas, Sisley and Morisot, as well as an exceptional group of more than 20 paintings by Renoir. The show also embraces important works by pre-Impressionist artists such as Corot, Theodore Rousseau and Millet, as well as examples of highly polished 'academic' paintings by Jean-Leon Gerome and Bouguereau. The paintings are presented by genre, in order to reveal the range of subject matter and diversity of stylistic approach in French 19th century art: landscapes and cityscapes; marine views; genre paintings depicting scenes of life; nudes; still lifes; portraits - including self portraits of artists central to the exhibition such as Renoir and Degas - and paintings reflecting the contemporary interest in Orientalism. Highlights include Monet's 'The Cliffs at Etretat' and 'Portrait of Madame Monet (Madame Claude Monet Reading)', Alfred Sisley's 'Banks of the Seine at By', Manet's 'Moss Roses in a Vase', Berthe Morisot's 'The Bath' Jean-Leon Gerome's 'The Snake Charmer', James Tissot's 'Chrysanthemums, and Renoir's 'At the Concert' and 'Girl With a Fan'. Royal Academy of Arts until 23rd September.
Edvard Munch: Graphic Works From The Gundersen Collection features masterpieces from an outstanding private collection of prints by the Norwegian artist, never shown before in Britain. The extraordinary collection of lithographs and woodcuts show Munch's pioneering working processes and highlights the integral part that printmaking played within his artistic career. The exhibition comprises some 50 works, primarily dating from the period 1895 to 1902, which feature many of the motifs that Edvard Munch grouped together as a series entitled 'The Frieze of Life' that focused on universal concerns of love, anxiety and death, including a hand coloured version of his best known work 'The Scream'. One of Munch's most significant paintings, 'The Sick Child', based on his sister's death, is one of many works which deal with personal tragedy. Munch later developed the image into a lithograph that he considered to be his most important print, and three different versions are on show side by side in the exhibition. In addition, three examples of the lithograph 'Madonna' show how Munch used colour, both added by hand and in the printing process, to emphasise the drama of his images. An accompanying display draws out the wider European context and signals the depth of influence that Munch had upon artists working across Europe, including paintings and major prints by artists such as Max Beckmann, Otto Dix, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner and Wassily Kandinsky. National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh, until 23rd September.