Private View held by Richard Andrews
Designs Of The Year is an exhibition that launches a new annual award to celebrate the most innovative, interesting and forward looking new work in design of all kinds. It gives an overview of the most significant achievements in design and architecture in the last year, whether they are projects by a practice, a team or an individual. Selected from around the world, the finalists featured in the show comprise 100 projects nominated by a group of internationally respected design experts, curators, critics, practitioners and enthusiasts, including Nick Knight, Philipp Rode and Wayne Hemmingway. These projects fall within seven categories to cover all design disciplines: architecture, fashion, furniture, graphics, interactive, product and transport. Designs range from Thomas Heatherwick's East Beach Cafe in Littlehampton to Micael Rojkind's Chocolate Museum in Mexico City; Peter Marigiold's Movisi Make/Shift Shelving to Barber Osgerby's Saturn Coat Stand; United Visual Artists' Volume; One Point Six 3D light installation at the V&A to Paul Cocksedge's Private View, which uses material that allows only infrared light to pass through; Yohei Kuwano's Muji Wind Up Radio to Jasper Morrison's Refrigerator; and the Fiat 500 to JCDecaux's Velib Communal Bicycles in Paris. A winner in each category will go forward for consideration as the overall prize winner, to be announced on 18th March. Design Museum, London, until 27th April.
Blake's Shadow: William Blake And His Artistic Legacy explores the continuing influence on the world of creativity and ideas of a unique figure in British visual culture. William Blake has inspired people with such wide ranging interests as literature, painting, book design, politics, philosophy, mythology, music and film making. Alongside works by Blake himself, the exhibition spans two centuries of his influence, featuring around 60 watercolours, engravings, prints and paintings, in addition to numerous illustrated books and a range of audio visual material. His contemporaries in the late 18th and early 19th century are represented with works from John Flaxman, Edward Calvert, Samuel Palmer, J H Fuseli and Thomas Stothard. Blake's influence on artists in the Victorian period is explored through works by Ford Madox Brown, Walter Crane, Frederic Shields, John Everett Millais, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Simeon Soloman and G F Watts. British artists working in the 20th and 21st centuries who have been inspired by Blake include Cecil Collins, Douglas Gordon, Paul Nash, Anish Kapoor, David Jones, Ceri Richards, Patrick Proctor, Austin Osman Spare and Keith Vaughan. Blake's more recent influence is evidenced in work by the filmmakers Jim Jarmusch and Gus Van Sant, and various musicians, notably Patti Smith and Jah Wobble. Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester, until 20th April.
Peter Doig is the most comprehensive exhibition to date of the work of Doig, spanning two decades, and comprising over 50 paintings and a group of works on paper. It includes a substantial body of work developed in the 5 years since his move to Trinidad in 2002, many of them not previously shown in Britain. Using everyday photographic images from newspapers or snapshots as a compositional starting point, Peter Doig's haunting paintings have a strong sense of atmosphere - his figures often seem out of time, and his landscapes possessed of a strange, unnamable presence. The narrative lure of the image is always countered by the visceral impact of the painted surface. This exhibition not only provides the widest overview of Doig's work to date, but also allows his themes and approach to be considered together, and reveals the shifts in his approach to making paintings over this period. Not only does Doig often return to the same subject, he sometimes returns to his previous paintings, making alterations and additions years later. Among the highlights are 'Hitch Hiker', 'Swamped', 'Concrete Cabin', 'Ski Jacket', 'Grand Riviere', '100 Years Ago (Carrera)' and 'Lapeyrouse Wall'. At the heart of the show is a room of Doig's works on paper, which relate to and extend the themes of the paintings. They also illuminate Doig's conceptual approach to his subject, as he repeats and reframes motifs in different paintings over an extended period of time. Tate Britain until 27th April.
Juan Munoz: A Retrospective is an assessment of the work of the Spanish artist who came to international prominence in the mid 1980s with dramatic sculptural installations that placed the human figure in specific architectural environments, and who is now widely regarded as of one of the foremost contemporary sculpture and installation artists. The exhibition comprises over 90 works, including several previously unseen pieces, alongside Munoz's signature sculptures and installations, series of drawings, and collaborative sound and performance pieces. Munoz's reputation was built on his ability to create tension between the illusory and real, the contrasting acts of looking and receiving, and the poignant isolation of the individual among a group or crowd. His installations are both dramatic and theatrical, using scale and perspective to inflect the viewer's encounter with the work. Among the highlights are 'If Only She Knew', an iron house-like structure raised on skinny supports and containing a carved stone female figure surrounded by several wooden male figures seemingly trapped under a peaked roof; 'The Persian carpet of Minaret for Otto Kurz', a welded iron structure placed on a carpet looking like a map of a city; 'Many Times' comprising 100 figures, identically dressed and with similar Asian features, forming a dense crowd; 'Seated Figures with Five Drums', a group wholly engaged with each other and with their drums; 'Shadow and Mouth' two figures creating a sinister atmosphere, reminiscent of a film noir scenario; some of the 'Raincoat Drawings' series, made with chalk and ink on blackened gabardine-raincoat fabric, portraying sparsely furnished rooms, often including glimpses of doorways leading to similarly desolate spaces; and a number of sound-based works made in collaboration with composer Gavin Bryars, novelist and art historian John Berger and musician Alberto Iglesias. Tate Modern until 27th April.
Small Worlds - The Art Of The Invisible combines the worlds of art and science, displaying a selection from the contents of a cabinet of over 10,000 late 19th and early 20th century microscopic specimens slides. However, seeing the slides does not involve peering down a microscope, as the exhibition is a representation of the collection in art and poetry. Artist Heather Barnett, who specialises in exploring the intersection between contemporary art, science and technology, has worked in collaboration with performance poet Will Holloway, to create a site specific body of work in image, film, animation and poetry, in a strikingly designed immersive exhibition environment, including microbe-patterned wallpaper and curtains, drawings and photographs, and dynamic audio poems and animations. The slides were collected between 1860 and 1930, at a time when microscopy was a fashionable hobby. The specimens include not only classic material such as fungi, plant parts, human and animal tissue samples, minerals, and insects, but also less usual samples, such as a miniaturised photo of a hunting expedition. Many are displayed in gilt and wooden frames, evoking the spirit of microscopy in Victorian and Edwardian times. Museum of the History of Science, Oxford, until 6th April.
Robert Dighton: Georgian Caricaturist, Actor And Thief offers an insight into life and times of this colourful Georgian character, and is a reminder of the work of one of the most talented social caricaturists of the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Dighton was quite a character himself, for a time conducting a career as an actor at the Theatre Royal Haymarket and Sadler's Wells, whilst at the same time training and exhibiting at the Royal Academy. He eventually settled to being an artist, drawing master and printseller, producing caricatures of the 'types' of the day, and humorous prints or 'drolls', which he sold in his shop in Charing Cross. In 1806 he achieved notoriety when it was discovered he had been quietly stealing prints from the British Museum and selling them over a period of several years. The exhibition features 80 original caricatures of both celebrities and nonentities, the rich and the poor, capturing the spirit of Georgian London. Among Dighton's subjects are Bill Richmond, the black American boxer, innkeeper and promoter; James Christie, founder of the famous auction house; James Bellingham, who assassinated the Prime Minister Spencer Percival; and Martha Gunn, who supplied bathing machines and prostitutes to the upper classes on their visits to fashionable Brighton. Dighton also drew tailors, actors, academics and the down-at-heel types who thronged the street corners of Georgian London. The exhibition includes some examples of work by his sons and grandsons who carried on the tradition of caricature. Cartoon Museum, London, until 20th April.
The Return Of The Gods: Neoclassical Sculpture is the first exhibition in Britain to focus the full range of British neoclassical sculpture. It brings together around 30 major figurative works created by British artists or for British patrons from around 1760 to 1860. These extraordinary marble pieces were designed to astonish and captivate, as artists exploited previously unexplored subjects, taken from classical mythology, literature, and ancient and modern history, in order to depict the nude with unprecedented freedom, vitality and sensuality. Artists created emotional figure groups and scenes, and portrayed contemporary people in new ways - their faces and hairstyles, poses and expressions reflecting the idealism and purity of the style. From the grace of Canova's 'The Three Graces' to the dramatic vigour of Thomas Banks's 'The Falling Titan', the human figure, transformed and idealised in white marble, was the essence of this sculpture. Observation of the body, realisation of soft flesh in permanent and beautiful stone, inspired by and transcending classical models from Ancient Rome and Greece, led to the creation of these outstanding masterpieces of figurative sculpture. Other works on display include Thomas Banks's 'Thetis Dipping Achilles into the Styx', John Gibson's 'Hylas Surprised by the Naiades', Nollekens's 'Venus Chiding Cupid and Mercury' and Thorvaldsen's 'Three Graces'. The exhibition also includes an example of antique sculpture, restored in the 18th century, which contrasts with the neoclassical pieces, while highlighting the origins of the style. Tate Britain until 8th June.
Marcel Broodthaers is the most comprehensive exhibition of work by the renowned Belgian artist to be seen in Britain for nearly 30 years. Marcel Broodthaers was a poet, photographer, film maker and artist, and throughout his career challenged the role of the artwork, the artist and the art institution. Considered to be one of the most important artists of the last century, Broodthaers' work and thinking is highly influential on many artists working today. His art lay in the evocative cross associations set up by combining disparate objects, texts and drawings, in ways that made the mundane mysterious. This exhibition explores the diversity of Broodthaers' practice including books, editions, objects, 'assemblage sculptures', projections and paintings. It features several works never seen in the UK before, including his first artwork, 'Pense Bete', which addresses his enduring concerns about form and language and the construction of meaning. The highlight of the show is 'Miroir d'Epoque Regency', comprised of twelve different 'sections', founded with the 19th century section in his Brussels house. The mirror reflects the gallery and viewer back on themselves, questioning the role of the institution and the visitor within it. The exhibition also includes examples of his renowned shell works - mussels and eggs - as in 'Grande Casserole de Moules', and '289 Coquilles d'Oeufs'. The egg and mussel shell became a recurrent symbol in Broodthaers's work as a means of questioning the social function of the artwork - as Broodthaers announced "Everything is eggs. The world is eggs". (Funny, I thought that was Patricia Hayes in the 1950s Tony Hancock egg commercials.) Milton Keynes Gallery until 30th March.
Laughing In A Foreign Language explores the role of laughter and humour in contemporary art (something you might consider to be either inadvertent or conspicuous by its absence). In a time of increasing globalisation, this international exhibition questions if humour can only be appreciated by people with similar cultural, political or historical backgrounds and memories, or whether laughter can act as a catalyst for understanding what you are not familiar with. The exhibition encompasses the whole spectrum of humour, from jokes, gags and slapstick to irony, wit and satire, by bringing together more than 70 videos, photographs and interactive installation works by contemporary artists from around the world, some well known, some less so. The questions are: is the art funny? and are the jokes art? Judge for yourself if humour is universal - and if these artists have a sense of it. The works featured are by Makoto Aida, Kutlug Ataman, Azorro, Guy Ben-Ner, John Bock, Candice Breitz, Olaf Breuning, Cao Fei, Jake and Dinos Chapman, Marcus Coates, Harry Dodge and Stanya Khan, Doug Fishbone, Ghazel, Gimhongsok, Matthew Griffin, Nina Jan Beier and Marie Jan Lund, Taiyo Kimura, Peter Land, Janne Lehtinen, Kalup Linzy, Yoshua Okon, Ugo Rondinone, Julian Rosefeldt, Shimabuku, David Shrigley, Nedko Solakov, Barthelemy Toguo, Roi Vaara, Martin Walde, Jun Yang. Hayward Gallery until 13th April.
Sleeping Beauties: Walter Crane And The Illustrated Book presents highlights from the recently acquired Walter Crane Archive, spanning the career of the artist and designer in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The broad selection includes Crane's early commissions, as well as original drawings for his famous Toy Book illustrations, flower books and political cartoons. Exploring the rich and varied subject matter within Crane's book designs, the exhibition brings to life the fantastic imagery in his work, as well as revealing the stories behind their inspiration and production. Crane's work is referenced by personal correspondence, photographs and hand written journals, as his own story is placed alongside fairy tale imagery, traditional stories and the private picture books created for his own children. The exhibition highlights various themes evident within Crane's practice, including his aspirations for political and social reform, as reflected in his vision of a picture book utopia. Crane's position as a leading figure of the aesthetic movement is explored through his imagery, as is his belief in the redemptive power of good design. Themes such as industrialisation, vegetarianism and man's relationship to the environment are explored in Crane's picture books, giving an insight into how these contemporary issues were regarded a century ago. The Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester, until 1st March.
The Suburban Landscape: Two Hundred Years Of Gardens And Gardening explores the history of the suburban landscape over the last two centuries, and considers the significance of gardens and gardening in the making of what became the most 'English' of landscape environments. Over 86% of England's population lives in so-called 'suburban' areas, the 'typical' suburban home having a garden front and back - the opportunity to have a garden being one of the main attractions of suburban living. Suburban gardens are private areas, but because they are connected together and visible to each other, they also form part of the larger, collectively owned public landscape. This wider suburban landscape is also defined by public green spaces such as parks, playing fields and grass verges. Residents of suburbia have always been encouraged to be gardeners. This exhibition examines how people learned to garden, how the practice of being a gardener changed over time, what sorts of expert advice was available to novice and experienced gardeners at different times, and how people use their gardens: a children's play area, a relaxation space or a functional area for the washing line and the vegetable patch. It also reflects how the suburban garden is now influenced by environmental concerns, with many introducing wild flowers, and a growing demand for species that survive the hotter summers. This exhibition looks at the evolution of the suburban landscape as a whole, including the development of parks and open spaces. It also considers the evolution of the smaller, 'private' sphere of gardens and gardening. Over the last two hundred years, the nation's passion for the private suburban garden has contributed to the development of the wider, public suburban landscape with which we are familiar today. Museum of Domestic Design & Architecture, Middlesex University, Cat Hill, Barnet, Hertfordshire until 24th February
Joseph Wright Of Derby In Liverpool offers an insight into a previously little known period of three years in the career of Joseph Wright, as he responded to the growing market for portrait painting among the town's burgeoning merchant class. During his time in Liverpool, between 1768 and 1771, Wright was remarkably busy, painting not only portraits, but also his trademark candlelight works. His account book, on display at the exhibition, reveals that in 1769 he was completing a portrait on average every 9 or 10 days. The exhibition features more than 80 of Wright's works, including the portrait of Richard Gildart, painted when the former mayor was 95 years old, probably the first Wright did in Liverpool as it is the only one dated 1768, together with portraits of Sarah Clayton, John Tarleton, Fleetwood and Frances Hesketh and Susannah Leigh. During this period Wright was also painting more typical groups of people by candlelight, such as 'The Philosopher' (known as 'The Hermit'), 'An Academy by Lamplight, 'Two Boys Blowing a Bladder', 'Two Girls Decorating a Cat', 'A Blacksmith's Shop' and 'The Alchymist, in Search of the Philosopher's Stone, Discovers Phosphorus'. Also featured are Wright's first candlelight painting 'Three Persons Viewing the Gladiator', and a portrait of Peter Perez Burdett and his wife Hannah, painted before he came to Liverpool. Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool, until 24th February.