Private View held by Richard Andrews
Sensational Butterflies charts the life cycle of some of the world's most beautiful creatures in an explorer's trail through a tropical butterfly house, and reveals how butterflies around the world have adapted to their habitats. The trail takes visitors on a journey from egg to caterpillar, and chrysalis to butterfly. In the butterfly house there is a hatchery, where butterflies constantly emerge from their pupa, and join the hundreds of butterflies and moths in the 4 habitat zones of North America, South America, Africa and Southeast Asia, fluttering freely among the exotic plants. Over 20 species with wildly different colourings and markings are on view, including the Blue Morpho, the underside of whose wings are dappled brown for camouflage, and the Asian Tree Nymph, which has the same 5 senses and human beings. Outside the butterfly house is a garden devoted to some of the 58 butterfly species that live in Britain, and offering useful tips for attracting these butterflies to visitors' own gardens. Meanwhile, inside the museum itself, there over 8 million preserved butterflies and moths, including representatives from about 90,000 species, with specimens dating back as far as 1680. Natural History Museum until 15th September.
The Lyons Teashops Lithographs: Art In A Time of Austerity 1946 - 1955 features lithographs commissioned by catering giant J Lyons & Co to combat a wartime decline in the interior decor of their famous teashops, and a post-war austerity lack of decorating material. War artists, Royal College of Art alumni, and well-known and emerging practitioners were chosen to produce tasteful works of art that would appeal to the typical Lyons Teashop customer. Through the company's imaginative approach to interior decoration, the cream of modern British art reached a wider public audience in the 200 Teashops nationwide. Three series of lithographs were commissioned, including works by artists such as Edward Bawden, John Piper, David Gentleman, John Minton, Ruskin Spear, William Scott, Duncan Grant, John Nash and L S Lowry. The exhibition comprises 40 lithographs, together with a selection of the original paintings and working drawings. Whilst some of the artists were able to produce their own lithographs, others created watercolour, oil, gouache, pen and ink, or collaged works that were then turned into the final lithograph. Presenting a very particular British idyll, the lithographs depict urban, industrial, rural and coastal landscapes, domestic interiors, street scenes and still-lifes. Pictures of leisure pursuits such as billiards, cricket, fishing, punting, boxing and piano-playing vie with scenes of a railway station, a hotel lobby and fishmonger's shop, while apple pickers in a Kent orchard contrast with yeoman warders at the Tower of London and afternoon tea in Henley. Towner Gallery, Eastbourne, until 22nd October.
Witches And Wicked Bodies explores the highly exaggerated ways in which witches have been represented in art, from hideous hags to beautiful seductresses who 'bewitch' unwary men. The exhibition delves into the dark and cruel origins of the classic image of the witch, and reveals a rich and very diverse visual tradition. It highlights the inventive approaches to the depiction of witches and witchcraft employed by a broad range of artists over the past 500 years, with striking examples by famous names such as Albrecht Durer, Lucas Cranach, Francisco de Goya, Henry Fuseli and William Blake, together with works by contemporary artists. There are six key themes: Witches' Sabbaths And Devilish Rituals, including one of the most famous images of witches of all time, Salvator Rosa's 'Witches at their Incantations'; Unnatural Acts Of Flying, looking at the origins of the image of the witch as an old woman riding a broomstick against a night sky and more sinister images of flying witches attending black masses; Magic Circles, Incantations And Raising The Dead, with glamorous witches cooking up spells in Frans Francken's 'Witches' Sabbath' and John William Waterhouse's 'The Magic Circle'; Hideous Hags And Beautiful Witches, featuring John Hamilton Mortimer's 'Envy and Distraction'; Unholy Trinities And The Weird Sisters From Macbeth, ranging from John Runciman's 'Three Witches' conspiring over Macbeth's fate to John Raphael Smith's 'The Weird Sisters from Shakespeare's 'Macbeth'; and The Persistence Of Witches, with contemporary works such as Kiki Smith's 'Out of the Woods' and Paula Rego's 'Straw Burning', relating to the Pendle Witch trials. Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh, until 3rd November.
Cover Story: Radio Times At 90 celebrates the history of the august broadcasting journal, showcases some of its iconic covers, and reflects the history of radio and television in Britain. The exhibition ranges from the BBC's first radio transmission in London to today's multi-channel world, through landmark broadcasts, archive clips, broadcast artefacts and original Radio Times photography and artwork, including pieces by CRW Nevinson, John Gilroy, Eric Fraser, Edward Ardizzone, Peter Blake and influential graphic designer Abram Games. To flick through the covers of Radio Times over the past nine decades is to watch a popular history of Britain unfold: Royal weddings; Coronations; the outbreak of war and peace; moon landings; a victorious World Cup; household names created and stars born - all have graced the cover of Radio Times. The covers featured comprise a veritable who's who of British broadcasting, including Tony Hancock, The Goon Show, Only Fools and Horses, EastEnders, Coronation Street, Call The Midwife, and inevitably Doctor Who. Visitors will be able to become a cover star for themselves, alongside a genuine life-size Dalek against a backdrop of Westminster Bridge, recreating the famous 2005 "Vote Dalek" Radio Times cover, voted most iconic cover of all time in the Periodical Publishers Association's Great Cover Debate. A particular curiosity is an original 1941 Luftwaffe Stadtplan von London map, which plots Radio Times' Waterlows printing plant in Park Royal, London, a Nazi air-raid target as part of the war on propaganda, alongside transport hubs, factories and landmarks. Museum of London until 3rd November.
Eduardo Paolozzi: Collaging Culture is a retrospective of the work of one of the most inventive and prolific of the British artists to come to prominence after the Second World War. Eduardo Paolozzi's legacy ranges from Pop Art to monumental public works, and the exhibition features around 150 works in a variety of media, including drawings, collage, textiles, sculpture and prints, and rare early pieces. The display explores the relationship between Paolozzi's sculpture and his graphic work, and his key preoccupations, such as popular culture, science-fiction and the machine. Central to the exhibition is the importance of collage as a working process within Paolozzi's career, not only in the traditional sense of paper collage, but also in terms of sculptural assemblage, printmaking and film making. The show also explores the relationship between Paolozzi's work and the existential anxieties of the post-war age through exhibits such as his unrealised competition maquette for the 'Monument for the Unknown Political Prisoner', marking him out as an important commentator on British and American culture of the period. Paolozzi described the relationship between his sculptures and his graphic work as 'the constant tension', and the exhibition presents related works side-by-side, such as the collage 'Frog' and the bronze 'Large Frog' and his remarkable screenprints of robotic heads, alongside their sculptural equivalents. It also includes a screening of his experimental film A History Of Nothing, shown alongside the collaged stills such as 'James Joyce and Dancer'. Pallant House Gallery, Chichester, until 13th October.
Fashion Rules takes a nostalgic look back at recent decades of dress through the wardrobes of three royal women in their fashion heydays: Queen Elizabeth II in the 1950s, Princess Margaret in the 1960s and 70s and Diana, Princess of Wales in the 1980s. The display explores how these women reflected the style and trends of the day, negotiating the rules of dressing fashionably within the 'rules' of a royal wardrobe. It features 21 couture dresses, complemented by film and photography to set the scene and provide a feeling of the times in which the gowns were worn. When Queen Elizabeth II came to the throne in 1952 she required a fashionable wardrobe that reflected her youth and celebrated British fashion. Five evening dresses by her favourite 1950s designers Hardy Amies and Norman Hartnell show the important role The Queen played in showcasing British design. The young Princess Margaret followed fashion closely and her style was widely imitated. The majority of her wardrobe from the 1960s and 70s reflect the rule-breaking of a more liberal era and the greater freedoms of her role. She wore short Quant-inspired dresses and experimented with the vogue for ethnic clothing such as the full-length kaftan and matching turban of fine ivory sari silk. The style of Diana, Princess of Wales, showcases the adventurous look of the 1980s, including a ballerina-length blue dance dress by Jacques Azagury, with its dropped waist, oversize bow, padded shoulders and sparkling embroidery, and a midnight blue strapless evening gown, designed by London born Murray Arbeid, with its dramatic layers of tulle netting and theatrical fish-tail skirt. Kensington Palace continuing.
Mass Observation: This Is Your Photo offers an examination of the role of photography in the Mass Observation Archive. Mass Observation began as a radical experiment in social science and is considered to be one of the most intriguing surveys of its kind in the 20th century. It was formed by anthropologist Tom Harrisson, journalist and poet Charles Madge and Surrealist painter and filmmaker Humphrey Jennings. The organisation aspired to gain insight into the lives, opinions and daily thoughts and habits of the British people. The objective was to counter what the group perceived to be the inaccurate representation of the nation as set out by the media and politicians. The first part of the exhibition features material from 1937to 1948, including Humphrey Spender's photographs in Bolton as well as his pictures of the Blackpool illuminations; Michael Wickham's photographs of crowds queuing for the V&A's industrial and product design exhibition Britain Can Make It; experiments in art appreciation involving local miners in County Durham known as the Ashington Group; the pioneer of colour photography John Hinde's photographs from Exmoor Village and of Circus Life; and a collage work and photographs by Julian Trevelyan, alongside his Collage Suitcase, a self-contained, portable studio which always accompanied his travels. The second part of the exhibition mainly comprises of snapshots taken from questionnaires, known as Directives, from 1981 onwards, often accompanied by written accounts, and focused on the observer's domestic life, plus photographs from One Day For Life, a national competition, based on pictures taken during a single day. The exhibition is an archive of everyday life - but seemingly of another world. The Photographer's Gallery, 16-18 Ramillies Street, London W1, 2nd August to 29th September.
Aquatopia: The Imaginary Of The Ocean Deep explores how the ocean deep has been imagined in art across cultures and through time. Ninety percent of the earth's oceans remain unexplored, and in the absence of knowledge the deep is a site where imagination has full rein. The exhibition reveals how human societies have projected their desires, their will to power, and their fear of difference and mortality onto the often mysterious and weird life-forms the ocean sustains. The art shown here has strong links with powerful literary archetypes, including The Odyssey, The Tempest, The Ancient Mariner, Moby Dick and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. Aquatopia's briny depths are populated with ancient sea monsters and futuristic dolphin embassies, sirens and paramilitary gill-men, sperm whales and water babies, shipwrecks and submersibles, giant squids and lecherous octopi. The ocean's fantastical species are envisioned in paintings, drawings and sculptures by JMW Turner, Marcel Broodthaers, Oskar Kokoshka, Barbara Hepworth, Odilon Redon, Lucian Freud and Hokusai, amongst others. Alongside these are video, performance, sculpture and paintings by significant figures in contemporary art, such as Mark Dion, Spartacus Chetwynd, Sean Landers, The Otolith Group, Simon Starling, Wangechi Mutu, Steve Claydon, Juergen Teller, Alex Bag, Christian Holstad and Mikhail Karikis.Nottingham Contemporary Art Gallery until 22nd September.
Horrible Histories: Spies explores the world of spies and spying during the Second World War. It is a family friendly exhibition based on Terry Deary's book of the same name from his Horrible Histories series, and shares their irreverent humour and imagination. The show features artefacts from Second World War, hands-on activities, digital and interactive elements and a 'stamper trail' that sets visitors on their own mission. Divided into themes such as Ruthless Resistance, Cracking Codes, Great Gadgets, Savage Sabotage and Clever Camouflage, it shows techniques used by the most cunning spies, including how to make invisible ink, crack codes and use fake feet. From exploding camel poo to irritating itching powder, this exhibition reveals the terrible tricks, traps and techniques used by spies to make secret war on the enemy - all the gore and more!
Omer Fast: 5000 Feet Is The Best is a new film offering a challenging exploration of the nature of contemporary conflict. It takes its name from the optimum operational flight altitude of a US Air Force Predator drone, and is based on a series of interviews Omer Fast conducted with a former drone operator. Speaking mostly off-camera, the drone operator details the psychological impact of engaging an enemy from thousands of miles away. Switching between documentary interview footage and fictionalised re-enactments, Fast creates a multifaceted and unstable sense of reality. The film offers a subtle exploration of how the use of drones is rapidly changing the politics, principles and personal experience of contemporary conflict.
Imperial War Museum, London, until 29th September.
Blumenfeld Studio: New York 1941 - 1960 looks at the latter works of one of the most influential, yet one of the least least known, photographers of the 20th century. Having produced an extensive body of work throughout his 35 year career, it was in the USA that Erwin Blumenfeld's humorous, inventive and personal work flourished. This exhibition celebrates the output of his Central Park studio during the Second World War and post-war boom years, including fashion photography, advertising campaigns, personality portraits, 'war effort' propaganda posters and experimental work, which have since been recognised as significant technical achievements in the field. It features over 90 original modern prints, fully restored in colour, original publication clippings and rarely seen fashion films from the early 60s. After fleeing occupied France in 1941 to settle in New York, the German born photographer was immediately signed up by Harper's Bazaar, and after only 3 years of working in the USA, he had become one of the most famous and highly paid photographers in the business. Blumenfeld enjoyed a 15 year collaboration with Vogue, shooting over 50 covers, including portraits of famous models and high society women of the era. He also regularly worked with other fashion magazines such as Cosmopolitan and Life Magazine, as well as producing major advertising campaigns for fashion and beauty clients, including Dior, Elizabeth Arden, Max Factor, L'Oreal and Helena Rubenstein. Highly inventive and often opposing conventional codes, Blumenfeld developed his own idiosyncratic style, using photomontage, solarisation, colour slides and a host of hybrid techniques. From the start of his career, he was very much influenced by the idea of photography as art, wishing to be respected as an avant-garde artist rather than a fashion photographer. Somerset House, until 1st September.
The Art Of Influence: Asian Propaganda explores both state-sponsored, or 'top-down' propaganda, and bottom-up propaganda in a number of Asian countries, including China, India, Japan, Korea and Vietnam, in the 20th century. From the first breaths of revolution against imperial forces to Mao's death and the conclusion of the Vietnam War, the exhibition places political art in multiple contexts across the continent. It examines the different sides and the many complexities associated with propaganda, which is fundamentally a tool to create involvement and is an essential part of nation-building, political culture and participation, particularly in times of war and revolution. Propaganda is bold and direct, employing revolutionary motifs or traditional symbolism to communicate political messages everyday items. The propaganda in the exhibition is highly visual as in some Asian societies, literacy rates were low and imagery had far more impact than text. Posters, prints and drawings, money and medals, teapots, textiles and other objects show how propaganda art reflects - and is shaped by - the political, social and economic circumstances of its production. Through these objects, the exhibition sheds new light on propaganda's collaborative and coercive aspects. Its distinctive ability to build nations, defy enemies, construct identities, change minds and educate populations paints a complex picture made from more than just lies and manipulation. From a 1904 humorous Japanese print portraying the Russian navy as a limping fish to anti-American and anti-Churchill posters, the highly diverse and frequently arresting images reveal art as an agent of political culture. British Museum until 1st September.
Blooming Marvellous reveals 400 years of botanical art that helped scientists learn about plants. Before the invention of microscopes, illustrations were an important tool for studying plants, and botanical artists were recruited on early scientific expeditions around the world, to record species never before seen in Europe in drawings, notebooks and paintings. This exhibition features important botanical art, including watercolours, pen sketches and drawings, much of which date back to the 16th and 17th centuries. Among the artists whose works are included are: Sydney Parkinson, a member of Captain Cook's voyage to the South Pacific, who produced 1,000 plant drawings, although he did not survive the return journey; Georg Dionysius Ehret, who developed a new style of illustration that showed the parts of the flower separately and in greater detail, making it easier for scientists to study them, which has been used by botanical illustrators ever since; Franz Bauer, the first paid botanical artist at the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, who is still regarded as one of the most technically sophisticated botanical artists of all time; and Arthur Harry Church, who developed a new style of illustration influenced by the decorative Art Nouveau movement to reveal the intricate internal structures of flowers. In addition, the exhibition includes examples of preserved plants. It also reveals how today, scanning electron microscope can magnifies specimens up to 250,000 times their size, allowing scientists to explore far beyond the reaches of the human eye to help appreciate the scientific value and beauty of plants in an entirely new way. Natural History Museum, Akeman Street, Tring, Hertfordshire, until 18th August.