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 700 buildings of all kinds, both historic and new, include the Almeida, Hackney Empire and Richmond theatres; Royal Albert, Royal Festival and Wigmore concert halls; Admiralty Buildings Whitehall, Horse Guards and Marlborough House; Brockwell and Tooting Bec Lidos and Greenwich Yacht Club; Foster and Partners and Hopkins Architects' offices; Bank of England, Apothecaries and Painters Livery Halls; BBC Bush House, 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; Dorchester, St Pancras and Andaz (Great Eastern) hotels; Brompton, West Norwood and Nunhead cemeteries; City Hall and Guildhall; Dulwich College and Old Royal Naval College; Banqueting House and Reform Club; Beefeater Distillery, King George V Pumping Station and Markfiel Beam Engine House; Roof Gardens Kensington (Derry & Toms) and the 2012 Olympic Park construction site. 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 17th and 18th September.
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 Bling, sparkling jewellery made up of 20,000 lamps and in excess of a million LEDs, all in cool, bright white; Famous Heads, featuring likenesses of Alan Carr, Tony Blackburn, Lee Evans, Joanna Lumley, Ken Dodd, Matt Lucas and Jo Brand; and Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen's Theatre D'Amour, a mechanical theatre featuring dancing ballerinas, video projection, footlights, a rotating moon, two pairs of swans, a series of backdrops and nine dancing fountains, plus old favourites Pirates, Noddy and Hickory Dickory Dock 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 6th November.
Power Of Making is a cabinet of curiosities, showing works by both amateurs and leading makers from around the world, to present a snapshot of making in our time. The exhibition celebrates the importance of traditional and time-honoured ways of making, but also highlights the extraordinary innovation taking place around the world. It aims to show how the act of making in its various forms, from human expression to practical problem solving, unites us globally. The display comprises an eclectic selection of over 100 exquisitely crafted objects, ranging from a life-size crochet bear to a ceramic eye patch, a fine metal flute to dry stone walling. It showcases works made using a diverse range of skills, and explores how materials can be used in imaginative and spectacular ways, whether for medical advances, entertainment, social networking or artistic endeavour. Works on show include moulded shoes by Marloes ten Bhomer, new Saville Row tailoring by Social Suicide, furniture such as a spun metal rotating chair by Thomas Heatherwick, a prosthetic suit for Stephen Hawking, individual handcrafted puppets from the 2009 film Fantastic Mr Fox, a six-necked guitar, bio-implant embroidering to aid surgical implants, a lion-shaped Ghanaian coffin, extreme cake decorations and new technologies such as 3D printing. In addition to the objects themselves, there is documentary footage filmed at individual maker's studios and factories, providing an insight into how the knowledge of making is preserved. These include Watson Bros. Gunmakers, CPP car makers in Coventry, John Lobb shoemakers and Moorfield Hospital's prosthetic eye maker. There is also a dedicated 'Tinker Space' for demonstrations and a wide programme of activities for visitors. Victoria & Albert Museum until 2nd January.
Memory Remains: 9/11 Artifacts At Hangar 17 - Francesc Torres marks the 10th anniversary of the world's worst terrorist attack. Following the devastation of the attack on the World Trade Center in New York on September 11th 2001, the recovery effort began, and the 16 acre site underwent the careful and lengthy process of being cleared. A small group of architects and curators began to fill the empty shell of the 80,000 sq ft Hangar 17 at John F Kennedy International Airport with debris and material cleared from the site, transforming it into a storehouse of memories. Spanish-American artist Francesc Torres, commissioned by the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, was granted access to explore inside the hangar, and over a period of 5 weeks, produced an extensive series of photographs reflecting on the emotional power of what remained after 9/11. This exhibition features over 150 projected images, which explore inside the hangar and reflect on the emotional power of what remained, from personal belongings to steel girders distorted by the force of the attacks. In photographs of exceptional sensitivity and insight, Torres has captured both the monumental scale of loss in the wake of the terror attacks, and the excruciating intimacy of personal effects that remain as testaments to those unwittingly caught in the maelstrom of destruction. Alongside the photographs is a section of raw rusted steel over 2m in length from the ruins of the World Trade Center, thought to be the box section of one of the windows. Imperial War Museum, London, until 26th February.
Prince Philip: Celebrating Ninety Years marks the 90th birthday of His Royal Highness Prince Philip. The exhibition brings together photographs, memorabilia, paintings and gifts that illustrate key moments in Prince Phillip's life. It also reflects his many interests, from carriage driving to painting and design, as well as his extensive work as patron or president of 800 organisations, including the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme. The photographs document both private occasions and public appearances, from his birth as the son of a Prince and Princess in pre republican Greece, through subsequent exile in Germany, France and Britain, his navy career, and marriage to the Queen, up to the present day. In addition, there is a wide selection of unusual gifts that Prince Philip has received during his travels all over the world, including a Native American headdress, a silver model of the Royal Yacht Britannia, a chess set representing the Zulu and Ndebele tribes of South Africa, a model of the X-ray Multi Mirror satellite, a French grass hopper wine bottle cooler, a pair of silver spurs from Chilie, a silver cigar box engraved with a map of the Galapagos Islands, a Royal Windsor Horse Show International Driving Grand Prix Trophy and a scale model of his driving carriage, a silver gilt cigarette lighter in the form a an oil refinery storage tank, a model of a Chinese armillary sphere, and many medals and awards. The Drawings Gallery, Windsor Castle, until 22nd January.
The Cost Of Living In Roman And Modern Britain looks at the similarities and differences between the cost of everyday living in Britain about 2,000 years ago and today. The changes are shown through comparing things like wages, property, food, clothing, gambling, entertainment and travel, revealing how much of the average wage was spent on these items both in the past and today. When Britannia was a Roman province around 2,000 years ago, forts and towns were connected by paved roads for the first time, and wider contact with the Roman world brought new produce, goods and ideas to the British household. The Romans may have found it easier than us to own property or see major sporting events and festivals, but food and clothing, which are relatively cheap today, consumed a much higher proportion of the daily wage. The display brings together some of the fascinating finds from Roman Britain, including bronze and bone figurines, gaming counters and dice, evidence of the use of salt and pepper, and coins, with their modern counterparts. Surprisingly, there are many similarities, including a copper-nickel penny of Elizabeth II that looks remarkably like a copper-alloy coin of Roman emperor Hadrian, showing Britannia on the reverse, minted in Rome. British Museum until 15th April.
Recording The New: The Architectural Photography Of Bedford Lemere & Co 1870 - 1930 showcases the photography of one of the pioneers of architectural photography in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Employed by a wide range of industrialists, retailers, hoteliers and government departments to capture new buildings in pristine condition, Bedford Lemere & Co's photographs show the work of leading contemporary architects, interior decorators, designers and artists. The display explores Bedford Lemere & Co's extraordinary client list, the evolving role of commercial photography and the lasting social significance of the images. The high quality photographs offer a rare glimpse at late Victorian interiors such as Heal & Son showrooms in 1897, the bar at the North Eastern Station Hotel in 1893 and a host of other 'new' interiors and exteriors. Bedford Lemere & Co photographed a wide variety of buildings including country houses, hospitals, shops, banks, railway stations, cruise liners and, during the First World War, armaments manufacture. The firm's work centred on London, but it received commissions throughout Great Britain and occasionally from abroad. The reputation of the company rested above all on the quality of its work. Its photographers were outstanding technicians with a highly developed visual sense, able to capture the monumentality of a building as well as the minute detail of its decorative scheme. Using large format negatives, they produced images of exceptional quality, depth and sharpness. The size and clarity of the photographs render them as fresh and legible today as when they were first composed. Victoria & Albert Museum until 30th October.
Ben Nicholson: The Intimate Surface Of Modernism provides an opportunity to glimpse the private side of one of the major figures in British modernism. In the 1920s, while Ben Nicholson was married to his first wife, fellow artist Winifred, he spent much of his time living between London and Cumberland. It is largely this early period of Nicholson's life and work that is represented in this exhibition. These are mostly landscape drawings, which belong in the heritage of pastoral art, rather than with his later more abstract paintings and sculpture. This work is grounded with a sense of family and place, includes gifts made to family and friends, which help to connect with Nicholson as a person, rather than just the well known art historical figure. As well as works by Nicholson the display includes paintings by Winifred Nicholson and their maverick friend Alfred Wallis, together with postcards from family holidays. In addition, works such as 'Venice' and 'St Ives' honour Nicholson's more recognised and alternative approach to drawing, which explores new ideas, and refuses to define the term in the traditional way. Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art until 6th November.
Land Girls And Lumber Jills tells the story of the Women's Land Army and Women's Timber Corps, and the vital role they played in feeding the nation and providing timber during both World wars. Both organisations were formed in 1917 to help meet growing demands for home production during the long struggle of the First World War. Women of the Land Army, or 'Land Girls' as they became known, took on all types of agricultural work, from sowing to harvesting, calving to shearing, the hard physical work that until the war had largely been undertaken by men. The Women's Timber Corps or 'Lumber Jills' supplied the wood used for manufacturing, energy production and more. During the Second World War some volunteered while others were conscripted, as by 1941 all women under the age of 60, without children under 14, could be called up for essential war work. This exhibition provides an opportunity to step into their shoes and find out where and how they lived and worked. Objects on display range from recruitment posters and uniforms to working clothes and tools of their various trades. These are brought to life by personal testimonies, audio recordings and period photographs and film footage. In addition, there is material featuring the work of women's land armies amongst the allied countries. National Museum of Costume, Edinburgh, until 31st October.
Stanley Spencer And The English Garden focuses on the garden views and rustic landscapes of the 1920s, 30s and 40s by the eccentric, quintessentially English artist. Stanley Spencer's garden pictures, which have often been overlooked by critics in favour of his more visionary subjects, are not just beautiful oils, but reflect the same passion as his nudes and biblical paintings. Spencer's virtuoso treatment of this highly accessible and enormously attractive subject demonstrates his immense feeling for, and understanding of, the way the English landscape and the traditional English garden were changing during the first half of the 20th century. They register and reflect his concern that contemporary building development was redefining or even eradicating familiar environments, as towns encroached on the countryside. The paintings also chart Spencer's personal vision of the garden as a 'private heaven'. Among the highlights are 'Ferry Hotel Lawn, Cookham', 'Wisteria at Englefield', 'Landscape, Cookham Dene', 'Cottages at Burghclere', 'Cookham Rise: Cottages', 'Greenhouse and Garden' and 'Wisteria, Cookham'. The paintings are accompanied by a number of photographs from the Spencer archive showing the working and home life of artist. Compron Verney, Warwickshire, until 25th September.
Out Of This World: Science Fiction But Not As You Know It explores science fiction through literature, film, illustration and sound. The exhibition traces the development of the genre from True History by Lucian of Samosata written in the 2nd century AD to the recent writings of Cory Doctorow and China Mieville, and shows and how visions of the future have evolved. It also examines how science fiction is distinct from other related genres such as fantasy and horror. Highlights include Thomas More's Utopia, which coined the word that became the name of the ideal, imaginary island nation whose political system he described in his book; Lucian's True History, depicting a group of adventurers setting out on a sea voyage, visiting a number of fantastical lands, who, lifted up by a giant waterspout, are deposited on the Moon; Edward Bulwer-Lytton's The Coming Race, about a subterranean world occupied by advanced beings, the Vril-ya, who use a substance Vril as an energy source that makes them powerful and potentially dangerous to the Earth - together with an original advertisement for Bovril (which derived its name from 'Vril'); Luigi Serafini's Codex Seraphinius, an encyclopedia of an imaginary world, in an imaginary language, which is as yet undeciphered, describing both the natural world, dealing with flora, fauna and physics, and the various aspects of human life: clothing, history, cuisine, and architecture; and H G Wells's The War of the Worlds, one of the earliest stories that details a conflict between mankind and an alien race, which is also variously interpreted as a critique of evolutionary theory, British imperialism, and Victorian fears and prejudices. British Library until 25th September.
Jaume Plensa provides a rare opportunity to experience new and recent monumental works by the Spanish sculpture. Jaume Plensa encourages a tactile and sensory exploration of his work and this exhibition, with pieces displayed both inside in galleries and outdoors, includes large illuminated heads, human shapes formed of letters, angels suspended from walls and inscribed gongs waiting to be struck. In the Underground Gallery installations include 'Hear No Evil, See No Evil, Speak No Evil', three large fibreglass resin 'angels' that are fixed and constrained by their human bodies yet radiate white light to suggest the possibility of human spirit; 'In The Midst Of Dreams', a group of 3-metre tall illuminated heads with closed eyes, as though in deep contemplation, rising from a bed of white marble pebbles; and 'Jerusalem', a circle of 11 gongs engraved with text from Song of Songs, from the Biblical text Songs of Solomon, an exploration of love, eroticism, the human condition, our dreams and desires. Outdoor pieces include a 50-metre curtain of poetry made of suspended steel letters; and the 8-metre tall 'House of Knowledge', part of a group of works in which the physical form of the body becomes architecture, with text forming a large human shape, through which visitors can walk and see the landscape through the spaces between steel letters. Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Wakefield, until 25th September.