Private View held by Richard Andrews
Alighiero Boetti: Game Plan is a retrospective of the work of one of the most influential Italian artists of the 20th century. The exhibition highlights Alighiero Boetti's exploration of numeric, linguistic and classificatory systems, as well as his engagement with people and politics. Boetti has most commonly been associated with the Italian Arte Povera artists of the late 1960s, and while this exhibition begins with his objects made from everyday materials, including 'Stack' and 'Little Coloured Sticks', it also reveals his early scepticism about art movements through such works as his mock 'Manifesto'. In the late 1960s Boetti began to explore the figure of the artist, showing how it embodied the dual roles of divine shaman and public showman. He went on to represent himself as a pair of twins and changed his name to Alighiero E Boetti (Alighiero and Boetti). Alongside his early self portraits, the exhibition includes the late 'Self-Portrait', and a life size bronze cast of the artist spraying his heated head with a hose. Boetti's engagement with geopolitics and his travels to Ethiopia, Guatemala and Afghanistan is reflected the 'Mappa', world maps, in which each country is coloured with its national flag, recording political change across the globe from 1971 to 1994, charting the independence of African states, and the break-up of the USSR. Boetti's lifelong fascination with games, numbers, words, dates and sequences is also featured, in works such as 'Dama', which uses a chequerboard pattern to evoke an absurd domino-like game; 'Ordine e disordine', which comprises 100 multicoloured word squares dispersed on the wall; several biro drawings in which Boetti's favourite phrases are encoded; the embroideries 'The Thousand Longest Rivers in the World, and 'The Hour Tree'; and a set of rugs whose patterns are based on numeric systems. Tate Modern until 27th May.
Cotton: Global Threads offers a social rather than historical account of the production, consumption and global trade in cotton through history. Cotton, which is the best selling and most widely used fibre in the world, was the first global commodity. Its manufacture has exposed both the promise and the perils of global capitalism, and no other industry is so closely associated with the exploitation of human labour - from the slave plantations of the American South and Marx and Engels' 'satanic mills' of Lancashire to the garment factories of South China today. With exhibits ranging in date from the late Middle Ages to the present day, the exhibition takes in Lancashire and South Asia, the Americas and Africa. At the heart of the exhibition are displays of fashion and textiles that examine India's extensive global trade networks in cotton centuries before production shifted to Northern Europe; the effect that cotton had on Western fashion, providing the catalyst for the Industrial Revolution; and the impact of spinning and weaving technology on the development of the cotton industry in Lancashire. The displays also examine cotton's human and environmental impact, and at the pivotal political and economic role it has played in establishing national independence from colonial rule. New works by contemporary artists Yinka Shonibare, Lubaina Himid, Anne Wilson, Abdoulaye Konate, Aboubakar Fofana, Grace Ndiritu and Liz Rideal, working in a range of disciplines, address one or more of the exhibition themes. The Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester, until 13th May.
A Place To Call Home: Where We Live And Why charts the story of the design and appeal of everyday homes in Britain. Through archival and original material, the exhibition, curated by Sarah Beeny, explores the characteristics of a British obsession, and the drivers that have shaped how and where we live, from the advent of mass speculative building in the late 18th century to the present day, via inter-war suburban expansion and post-war tower blocks.
High Society explores in detail the intense period of architectural experimentation in the post-war years, examining the massive building types that now puncture the skylines of Britain's towns and cities. The exhibition looks in detail at 5 classic post-war, high-rise housing schemes from across the country: The Alton Estate, Roehampton, London; Churchill Gardens, Pimlico, London; Park Hill, Sheffield; Hutchesontown, Glasgow; and Thamesmead, London.
The Home I Grew Up In features a range of personal insights and revelations on houses and housing from media, art and design figures. These include: Alain de Botton, philosopher and author; Chris Smith, National Planning Director, English Heritage; Deyan Sudjic, Director, Design Museum; Dan Pearson, garden and landscape designer; Grayson Perry, artist; Hans Ulrich Obrist, Co-Director, Serpentine Gallery; Janet Street Porter, journalist and broadcaster; Jonathan Dimbleby, writer and broadcaster; Kirsty Wark, journalist and broadcaster; Paul Smith, fashion designer; and Zandra Rhodes, fashion designer.
Royal Institute of British Architecture, 66 Portland Place, London W1, until 28th April.
Yayoi Kusama features pioneering work by the contemporary Japanese artist spanning 6 decades. From Yayoi Kusama's earliest explorations of painting in provincial Japan, to new unseen works, this exhibition reveals a history of successive developments and daring advances, demonstrating why she remains one of the most engaging practitioners today. Conceived as a series of immersive environments, the exhibition unfolds in a sequence of rooms, each devoted to the emergence of a new artistic stance. Much of Kusama's art has an almost hallucinatory intensity that reflects her unique vision of the world, whether through a teeming accumulation of detail or the dense patterns of nets and polka dots that have become her signature. Kusama is renowned for her large-scale installations that immerse the viewer, and the exhibition features a new specially conceived work 'Infinity Mirrored Room - Filled with the Brilliance of Life', her largest mirrored room to date. Other highlights include 'Aggregation: One Thousand Boats Show ', her first room installation; a significant selection of the 'Sex Obsession' and 'Food Obsession' Accumulation Sculptures; the installations 'The Clouds', comprising 100 unique black and white sprayed sewed stuffed cushions, 'Heaven and Earth', which features snake-like forms emerging from forty boxes, and 'I'm Here, but Nothing', a darkened domestic space covered with fluorescent polka dots; and the film 'Kusama's Self-Obliteration'. Tate Modern until 5th June.
Shakespeare In Art explores how the plays of William Shakespeare have inspired artists over the centuries. The exhibition celebrates the 175th birthday of Newcastle's Theatre Royal with a display of oil paintings, prints, engravings, watercolours, decorative art and objects featuring characters from Shakespeare's best known plays, including Hamlet, Romeo And Juliet, The Merchant Of Venice and many more. Among the highlights are Walter Howell Deverell's 'Scene from As You Like It', Henry Woods's 'Portia', Thomas Francis Dicksee's 'Juliet', alongside William James Grant's vision of the same character, T Vernon's engraving 'Othello Relating his Adventures' after the painting by C W Cope, Charles Coulson's engraving of 'Ophelia' after the painting by Arthur Hughes, two carved oak panels showing scenes from Hamlet and The Tempest, and a selection of watercolours from William George Simmonds's 'Hamlet' series, used to illustrate a 1912 edition of the play. Laing Art Gallery, Newcastle, until 29th April.
Measuring The Universe: From The Transit Of Venus To The Edge Of The Cosmos tells the story of mankind's continuing quest to understand just how vast space really is. On 5th June 2012 the planet Venus will begin to pass in front of the Sun, appearing as a tiny black dot in front of the solar disk. This is known as a transit of Venus, an event which will not occur again for another 105 years. In previous centuries these rare transits were used by astronomers to measure the distance to the Sun, giving humanity a first inkling of the incredible scale of the cosmos, and with each new breakthrough making the Earth seem ever smaller. This exhibition attempts to assess just how big the Universe is, tells the stories of the scientists and explorers who have attempted to measure it, and shows how the scale of the Universe continues to awe and inspire us. From Astronomer Royal, Edmond Halley, to Captain Cook, Edwin Hubble and the Cosmic Microwave Background Explorer, the exhibition traces the people and technology that have allowed mankind to see further and further into the cosmos, from the solar system to the stars and galaxies, and even out to the afterglow of the Big Bang itself. Royal Observatory, Greenwich, until 2nd September.
Mondrian || Nicholson: In Parallel tells the story of the creative relationship between two 20th century artists. The exhibition unites a group of major paintings and reliefs by Piet Mondrian and Ben Nicholson to explore the parallel artistic paths charted by them during the 1930s, when they were leading forces of abstract art in Europe. Their friendship culminated with Mondrian moving from Paris to London in 1938, at Nicholson's invitation, and the two working in neighbouring studios in Hampstead, when for a short period London was an international centre of modernist art. The works in the exhibition each have a particular historical significance. Paintings and reliefs that were shown together in exhibitions or included in avant-garde publications during the 1930s are reunited, and other works were originally bought by influential members of their circle in London, or were produced whilst the artists occupied nearby studios. The avant-garde publication, Circle, which Nicholson co-edited, aiming to unite an international modernist movement of artists, designers and architects with an ambitious agenda to revitalise modern civilisation, opened in 1937 with a sequence of Mondrian's paintings paired with a group of Nicholson's white reliefs. This exhibition reveals how each artist was driven by a profound belief in the potential of abstract art to create new forms of beauty and visual power. In addition to the paintings and reliefs, a selection of archival material, including photographs and a group of Mondrian's and Nicholson's letters, offer further insights into their relationship. Courtauld Gallery, London, until 20th May.
Beyond Macbeth reveals how Scotland helped to cement and then enrich the reputation of William Shakespeare, and explores what he meant to different people at different times. The exhibition provides a rare opportunity to see some of the earliest surviving examples of Shakespeare's works, including a copy of the First Folio, the collection of 36 of his plays published by actor friends in 1623, 7 years after his death. Early versions of Shakespeare's texts were published as small cheap playbooks in a format called 'quarto'. These quartos are at the heart of the exhibition, and include a 1599 edition of Romeo And Juliet; a 1600 edition of Love's Labour's Lost; an exceptionally rare copy of the 1600 second quarto edition of Titus Andronicus; the first Jacobean edition of Richard II from 1608, complete with the abdication scene, which could not be published during the reign of Elizabeth I; and the mysterious collection of Pavier quartos printed in 1619. While quartos are treasured now, they were little regarded in their day, and were often used as working texts that people wrote on, altered and even cut up. The exhibition looks at Shakespeare through the eyes of three individuals and one family, from his own time, when he was just one of many playwrights writing for the London stage, through to his iconic status in the 19th and 20th centuries: William Drummond, a Scottish poet and contemporary of Shakespeare who was one of his earliest admirers; the Bute family, who were aristocratic patrons of the arts and collectors of Shakespeare's works in the 18th century; James Halliwell-Phillipps, a Victorian collector with an obsessive interest in Shakespeare; and John Dover Wilson, a 20th century scholar who brought Shakespeare to a wide audience. National Library of Scotland, Edinburgh, until 29th April.
Van Dyck In Sicily: Painting And The Plague 1624 - 1625 is the first British exhibition devoted a particular body of work by the 17th century Flemish artist. Van Dyck is known as the great painter of English aristocrats, but in 1624 he spent a year in Palermo, Sicily, when no one was allowed to enter or leave the city because of the plague. This exhibition features the 16 paintings that came about as a result, in particular a portrait of St Rosalia, a medieval hermit whose bones were discovered at that time and were said to have cured the city of the plague. Van Dyck depicts this symbol of hope as a transcendent figure in pauper's robes, interceding on behalf of the sick townsfolk. It is united with Van Dyck's four other paintings of St Rosalia for the first time in Britain. The exhibition also features a portrait of 'Emmanuel Philibert of Savoy, Prince of Oneglia' (who fell victim to the plague) shown in a superbly incised and richly gilded Milanese suit of parade armour. The portrait of the Spanish Viceroy of Sicily is seen next to the actual suit of armour that inspired the painting, from the Royal Armouries of Madrid. Among the other highlights are 'Saint John the Baptist in the Wilderness', 'The Stoning of St Stephen', portraits of the 90 year old Italian baroque painter Sofonisba Auguissola, and an elderly 'witch' on trial for her life by the Spanish Inquisition, a self portrait, and a rarely seen sketchbook. Dulwich Picture Gallery, London SE21, until 27th May.
From Garden City To Green City explores the many visions, designs and projects that have inspired the 'green city' movement over the last 150 years. From the Victorian pioneers determined to improve living conditions in newly industrialised Britain, to today's landscape architects transforming urban centres, the exhibition considers whether the current enthusiasm for eco-living and seasonality can make a lasting change. The exhibition brings together books, works of art, photographs, design drawings, maps, diagrams and films to tell the story of the green city movement since the mid 19th century. It re-visits a time when areas like Brixton and Waterloo could be depicted as rural idylls. This green signature underlying London inspired the designer William Morris and the novelist Richard Jefferies to imagine a future in which nature takes over. The display tells the story of the very first of the 'garden cities' in Letchworth, and looks at their legacy in the town planning of the 20th century. It traces the impact of the Second World War and the wild flower meadows that sprang up naturally in former bomb sites. Following on from these, it opens the door on the many green spaces that have been created by individuals and community groups, such as a London house with a wildflower meadow and insect hotel on its roof; and 'guerilla gardening' and 'meanwhile gardens', like the Dalston Eastern Curve in Hackney, and the Edible Bus Stop garden, on a strip of land beside the 322 stop on Landor Road SW9. The Garden Museum, Lambeth Palace Road, London SE1, until 1st April.
Tom Hunter: A Midsummer Night's Dream features a series of photographs inspired by Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream and the paintings of the Romantic artist Henry Fuseli. Taking key moments from the play, Tom Hunter has distilled Shakespeare's work into images that weave together contemporary city life with that of the timeless tale of love and illusion. Hunter is best known for his photographic reworkings of old master paintings, and his take on the play focuses on real lives and communities in Hackney where he lives and works. By using different groups in his neighbourhood, new meanings are given to the everyday. In the photographs, commonplace environments and situations are transformed and put under the limelight to create a magical spectacle, encouraging the viewer to think of the ordinary as extraordinary. Hunter's Titania is an exotic samba dancer stretched out on a table at a local snooker hall, Helena is a pole dancer at a strip club, and the 'Rude Mechanicals' a female thrash metal band rehearsing in a back room Just as the characters in A Midsummer Night's Dream perform plays within a play, the models in Hunter's tableaux are players in their neighbourhoods. At first glance the images look contemporary and the subjects ordinary, but as the series unfolds so does the magic of Shakespeare's tale with its themes of love, lust, jealousy and illusion. Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford upon Avon until 1st April.
Meetings In Marrakech: The Paintings Of Hassan El Glaoui And Winston Churchill tells the story of the unlikely friendship of two very different characters. The exhibition brings together for the first time a unique collection of work by Winston Churchill and Hassan El Glaoui. Churchill, an accomplished amateur painter, first visited the Moroccan city of Marrakech in 1935. He developed a lasting affection for the city, considering it 'one of the loveliest spots in the whole world', and was inspired to produce many paintings of its buildings and people. During these trips he befriended Hadj Thami El-Glaoui, the Pasha of Marrakech - also known as the 'Black Panther'. Through Churchill's intervention, the Pasha's son, Hassan El Glaoui, was permitted to pursue his passion for painting, something that had not met with the Pasha's approval. Churchill's influence had significant results. El Glaoui was the first Moroccan artist to establish an international reputation, and today his work is among the most sought after contemporary North African art in the world. This exhibition demonstrates that for Churchill, Morocco provided an inspiration that was profound, and, despite such different starting points, a common sensibility and appreciation for the country is communicated in the work of both artists. In two different views of the same subject by two very different men, there are striking similarities in composition, subject matter and palate, if not in execution. Highlights include Churchill's 'River near Marrakech' and 'The Mosque in Marrakech' and El Glaoui's 'Les trois caleches' and 'Residence Styina a Marrakech'. Leighton House Museum, London W14, until 31st March.