Private View held by Richard Andrews
Earth and Fire: Italian Terracotta Sculpture From Donatello To Canova demonstrates how Italian sculptors have explored the versatility of terracotta - literally baked earth - to create some of the most expressive sculptures in the history of art. The exhibition provides a unique opportunity to assess the wide variety of roles played by terracotta sculpture between 1400 and 1800, showing the importance of models in the development of Italian sculpture as a form. Clay is a very responsive material, recording every touch of the artist's hand or tool, and was employed in sculpture and relief panels, both plain and coloured. For the first time, this exhibition brings together a unique collection of pieces from around the world, including drawings, terracotta models and finished works, illustrating the changes between a sculptor's initial concept and the final result. There are works by some of the greatest sculptors ever, including Ghiberti, Donatello, Bologna, Bernini, Algardi and Canova. Victoria & Albert Museum until 7th July.
Nausea: Encounters With Ugliness examines the nature of what we consider to be ugly. A number of contemporary artists have created works that, by provoking a strong visceral response, engender a dynamic of unease and uncertainty in the spectator. Curiously, although the works may appear ugly or horrifying, at the same time they hold a strange fascination, a sense of reluctant enjoyment, where the conscious mind is strongly repelled but the unconscious mind is equally strongly attracted. Among the artists included are: Mat Collishaw - Infected Flowers, a series of photographs of exotic blooms, which are blighted with sores and cancerous melanomas digitally grafted from medical text books; David Newman - Sanctum II, sinister museum like cabinets containing meticulously filed images of the body in extremis; Margarita Gluzberg - Spiders, overwhelming the viewer with their gigantic predatory scale; and Lindsay Seers - Canibal Candy, a menacing mannequin which snaps images of the innocent viewers. Djanogly Art Gallery, Lakeside Arts Centre, University of Nottingham, 0115 951 3138 until 28th April.
Making Waves - How The Oceans Work is a new display exploring the power and workings of the oceans, showing how tides, currents and waves are formed. It the first of three Planet Ocean projects, which showcase the past, present and future of the oceans, through the themes of ships, time and the stars. An 11m by 4m transparent tank and wave generating machine gives a demonstration of how the oceans affect all life on the planet. Suspended above the wave tank is a modern, lightweight, 49-er racing dinghy, alongside Dodo, an 1890s sailing boat, demonstrating how and why boats move through water and the principles of sailing. Accompanying the wave tank is a mechanical wave flume, which will enable visitors to generate their own waves and watch them develop, as well as create twisting currents, vortexes and whirlpools. Oceans cover two thirds of the earth's surface and have an average depth of two miles. Other Planet Ocean projects opening this year will tell the history of scientific discovery above and beneath the waves, and examine modern day piracy, pollution and climate change. National Maritime Museum continuing.
American Sublime is a collection of over one hundred 19th century epic landscapes on heroic scales - Niagara Falls 10ft tall by 8ft wide - most of which have never been seen in Europe before. These Great Pictures toured American cites in eagerly awaited single painting exhibitions as soon as they were completed, theatrically lit and swagged with velvet drapes, with audiences offered opera glasses. They were the equivalent of the Cinerama travelogues of 100 years later. Through them, the American people became acquainted with landmarks of their country of which they could only dream. These paintings reflect the awe and wonder with which artists of the European tradition responded to the vast and magnificent wilderness of a virtually unexplored and uninhabited continent. Turner and Constable inspired many of the artists, which is (presumably) how they find their place here. The painters include Albert Bierstadt, Frederic Edwin Church, Thomas Cole, Sanford Robinson Gifford and Thomas Moran, who were the artistic equivalents of wagon train pioneers. Locations range across the Grand Canyon, the Catskill and Rocky Mountains, Yosemite Valley and icebergs off Newfoundland. A revelation. Tate Britain until 19th May.
Second Skin explores the use of life casting - taking plaster casts of the human figure to create sculptures - contrasting examples by 19th century and contemporary sculptors. In previous centuries life casting was mostly used for research, presenting the results as art objects in themselves would have been considered 'cheating'. Now that contemporary art consists of little but cheating, the technique has come into its own. In the 1970s and 1980s American artist Duane Hanson popularised meticulously hand painted life casts as works of art in their own right, examples of which are included here. There are accompanying works by John De Andrea, Paul Thek and Robert Gober, and more recent examples by Jordan Baseman, Don Brown, Siobhan Hapaska, Abigail Lane, Sarah Lucas and Gavin Turk. Together they illustrate the diversity of the casting techniques, and disparate uses to which end results are put. A star feature in this up market Madame Tussauds display is Marc Quinn's ice sculpture of the ubiquitous Kate Moss (can there be a serious exhibition in the UK now without her effigy?) which will melt away through the course of the exhibition. Henry Moore Institute, Leeds until 12th May.
Planespotting: Italian Aviation Posters 1910-1943 chronicles the golden age of Italian aviation, when flying captured the imagination of writers, artists and designers. It coincided with the rise in importance of the poster, one of the earliest and most effective means of mass communication, which used futurist images in promoting the rise of Fascism. Many posters juxtapose Renaissance monuments and Roman ruins with design feats of contemporary engineers. Following Mussolini's rise to power, the inter-war years witnessed a huge expansion of both military and civil aviation, as well as a number of spectacular aeronautical feats. These included Italo Balbo's legendary transatlantic flights of the 1930s, when he led squadrons of seaplanes, flying in formation, to Brazil and the United States. The Second World War shattered the dream of Italian aeroplanes dominating the skies, decimated the aeronautics industry, and resulted in the deaths of many of the great aviators. This exhibition presents works by artists and illustrators such as Mario Sironi, Umberto Di Lazzaro, Adolfo Wildt, Alberto Mastroianni and Luigi Martinati. Estorick Collection, London until 28th April.
Seeing Things: Photographing Objects 1850-2001 is a whistle stop tour of some of the best known and most unusual images in the history of photography. It surveys the range of ways photographers have interpreted objects and people to compose a memorable image, including as museum specimens, direct facsimiles, Surrealist surprises, natural history, found objects, impossible objects, domestic details, personal accessories and advertising. Sometimes a single frame can immortalise a whole era, such as Lewis Morley's nude portrait of Christine Keeler astride that '60s chair, displayed here along with the original contact sheet - and the chair. With everything from early Daguerreotypes to contemporary digital images, this exhibition takes in the full spectrum of documentary, fine art, advertising and portraiture. Among the photographers whose works are featured are Eugene Atget, Julia Margaret Cameron, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Helen Chadwick, William Eggleston, Walker Evans, Lee Friedlander, Andre Kertesz, Richard Prince and Man Ray. Victoria & Albert Museum until 18th August.
George Romney 1734 - 1802: British Art's Forgotten Genius marks the bicentenary of the death of this key figure of 18th century portraiture with the first comprehensive assessment of his work. Over sixty paintings and seventy works on paper reflect his development as an artist, from early notebook pencil sketches in his Cumbrian birthplace, to grand full length canvasses of London society, including Emma Hart - later Lady Hamilton. At the height of his career he was more fashionable than Joshua Reynolds and Thomas Gainsborough, but his real interest was in painting historical and literary subjects. This exhibition launches new special exhibition galleries at the Walker, as it reopens after a £4.3m refurbishment programme. Also included are a new prints and drawings gallery specially designed to display light sensitive works; more space to display 20th century and contemporary works; restoration of the 17th century European galleries; and an extensive re-hang of the permanent collection. A new craft and design gallery will be completed next year. Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool until 21st April.
Barbican: This Was Tomorrow examines one of the icons of the post Second World War town planning dream, which in reality is generally regarded as a nightmare - where the 'Streets In The Sky' meets mixed work/leisure use. So long was the planning and construction, that by the time it was completed, its ideas had been discredited. Although the Barbican is the upmarket version of the Glasgow or East End tower block - here at least the lifts do work - its brutalist style remains unloved, and its recent Grade 2 listing by English Heritage has been greeted with disbelief. Celebrating the twentieth anniversary of the opening of the Barbican Centre, this exhibition examines its evolution from the origins in the 1950s as a new vision of urban living created from the devastation of the blitz. This is recreated through a combination of original plans and sketches, specially commissioned photographs, video interviews and a reconstruction of a fantasy Barbican flat, showing in all its naivety what yesterday's future looked like. Barbican Centre until 14th April.
Warte Mal! (Hey Wait!): Prostitution After The Velvet Revolution is an extensive installation by Swedish artist Ann-Sofi Siden, combining architectural, sculptural, cinematic and documentary elements. It recreates the experience of life in Dubi, a small town on the Czech-German border, once a spa, which since the collapse of the eastern block, now exists almost solely for the purpose of prostitution. Siden spent some time staying at the notorious Motel Hubert, and recording interviews with the girls, their pimps, their clientele, bar owners and the police. Together with her written diary, and a photographic and video record of daily life in the town, she has assembled a unique picture of a society where corruption, abuse and human exploitation is routine, but which the human spirit challenges with solidarity, compassion and dignity. Siden's arrangement of video monitors in glass booths and large scale projections give the viewer a sense of walking through a community, of witnessing peep shows and panoramas, and sharing intimate confidences. Hayward Gallery until 1st April.
Nan Goldin: Devil's Playground is the first British retrospective of one of the world's most individual photographers, and also includes new specially produced work. Goldin is best known for her 'Trash Glamour' photographs that have been described as "one long grunge fashion shoot" and have an Andy Warhol influence. These contemporary Hogarthian images feature people living marginal lifestyles, taken in cosmopolitan centres such as New York, London, Berlin, Tokyo and Paris. Working directly from personal experience, she captures moments that tell stories of friendship, desire, betrayal, loss and self-revelation. Emotionally charged, and shot in intensely saturated hues, these images, edited into narrative sequences, and are often accompanied by a soundtrack. They provide a slice of contemporary history, recounted through the lives of those close to her, and characterised by an unposed and private take on her subjects. Goldin's recent work includes interiors, skies, cityscapes and landscapes, empty of people and possessing an abstract quality, and by contrast, churches and grottoes almost Baroque in feel. Whitechapel Art Gallery until 31st March.
Agatha Christie And Archeology: Mystery In Mesopotamia reveals the hitherto unknown interests and talents of the crime writer, told through archaeological finds from the sites on which she worked with her husband Max Mallowan at Ur, Nineveh and Nimrud. Important objects from these digs are combined with archives, personal memorabilia, souvenirs, cameras, photographs and films made by Christie. Together with first editions of her novels, they show how these discoveries and her extensive travels in the Near East influenced her detective writing. In the forecourt of the museum until 2nd December, visitors will also have an opportunity to explore an original 1920s Venice Simplon-Orient-Express sleeping carriage of the kind used by Christie on her honeymoon, and which featured in one of her most popular stories. British Museum until 24th March.