Private View held by Richard Andrews
Propaganda: Power And Persuasion explores how different states have used propaganda during the 20th and 21st centuries, in peace-time and in war. From safe sex to dictatorships, from the iconic to the everyday, the exhibition looks at the rationale, methods and effectiveness of state propaganda. With over 200 exhibits on display, including posters, films, flags, postage stamps, cartoons, leaflets, sounds and textbooks, ranging from chilling Nazi propaganda to everyday objects such as bank notes and badges that permeate our everyday lives, it reveals the many ways by which states have attempted to influence their citizens. There is emotional manipulation, be it the image of Liberty made up like a 1940s movie star, demanding money for the war effort on a second world war bond stamp, or the Russian cold war poster where the same American symbol of freedom is reduced to a surveillance tower for cops who peer at the populace through her eyes; the creation of personality cults around figures such as Hitler, Mao and Stalin; campaigns opting for a lighter touch, which include the potato man on the cover of a Dig For Victory-era cookbook; and 'soft propaganda' to promote healthy eating, motherhood and road safety. The exhibition also questions how propaganda is changing in a digital age and where it will go next. British Library, from 17th May to 17th September.
Gertrude Jekyll: Landscape Gardener And Craftswoman explores the long and extraordinary life of one of the most influential garden designers of all time. The exhibition delves into Gertrude Jekyll's passions, and explores her multi-talents as a musician, composer, political activist and Suffragette, interior designer, visual artist, applied arts designer, embroiderer, silversmith, botanist, herbalist and garden designer. In all, Jekyll designed over 400 gardens, many in partnership with the eminent architect Edwin Lutyens, and moved garden design away from the highly formal Victorian garden towards a greater freedom of planting. In this she considered JMW Turner a major influence. From the scientific study of perfumes and the remedial qualities of plants, to the design of arts and crafts buildings, drawing-room furniture and textile hangings, Jekyll enjoyed the company of some of the greatest creative minds of late 19th and early 20th century Europe. These included, in addition to Lutyens, Robert Louis Stevenson, Lord Leighton, Frederic Watts, Hercules Brabazon and Edward Poynter. Through letters, notebooks and photographs the exhibition documents these encounters and provides a rich contextual background to Jekyll's vision and achievements. The Lightbox, Chobham Road, Woking, Surrey, until 8th September.
Leon Kossoff: London Landscapes provides a unique opportunity to see drawings and related paintings offering a distinctive view of the capital over the last 60 years. London is the city where Leon Kossoff was born and grew up, and which he has mined with extraordinary invention throughout his working life. The exhibition includes over 90 drawings and 10 paintings, spanning Kossoff's career, from City bomb sites of the early 1950's to recent drawings of Arnold Circus, a community of redbrick buildings off Shoreditch High Street, which were London's most radical experiment in social housing when they were unveiled in 1900. Kossoff's London opens up between these two poles to reveal his feel for quickness and change: buildings on the point of demolition; the railway network as the process of electrification begins; swimming pools swarming with children; streets; schools; grand London churches that serve successive waves of immigrants (Huguenot, Jewish, Bengali); stations; back gardens; and trains - overground and underground - carrying millions of Londoners in and out of the city, day after day, as the city transforms itself around them. These dark and dour landscapes chart an arc across north London from Willesden to Bethnal Green - not the most attractive parts of the city - in a historic sweep, and reveal an area that Kossoff has made peculiarly his own. Annely Juda Fine Art, 23 Dering Street, off New Bond Street, London W1, until 6th July.
In Fine Style: The Art Of Tudor And Stuart Fashion explores the sumptuous costume of British monarchs and their court during the 16th and 17th centuries. For the Tudor and Stuart elite, luxurious clothing was an essential component of court life. Garments and accessories, and the way in which they were worn, conveyed important messages about wealth, gender, age, social position, marital status and religion. Royalty and the elite were the tastemakers of the day, often directly influencing the styles of fashionable clothing. High-maintenance and impractical clothing conveyed a clear message to the viewer that the subject of a portrait enjoyed a privileged lifestyle, and had plenty of spare time to devote to the pursuit of fashion and the lengthy process of dressing. Through the evidence of portraiture, the exhibition traces changing tastes in fashionable attire and the spread of fashion through the royal courts of Europe in the 16th and 17th centuries. Costume and paintings were frequently commissioned to mark important events, such as elevation to a knightly order, marriage or a little boy's transition from skirts to breeches at the onset of adulthood. Most elite clothing was custom-made and far more expensive than the equivalent today. The exhibition brings together over 60 paintings, by artists such as Hans Holbein the Younger, Nicholas Hilliard, Van Dyck, Rembrandt and Peter Lely, as well as drawings, sculpture, garments, jewellery, accessories and armour. The Queen's Gallery, Buckingham Palace, 10th May to 6th October.
Fiona Rae: Maybe You Can Live On The Moon In The Next Century features the work of the contemporary British artist described as "a Jackson Pollock for the digital age". Over the last 25 years Fiona Rae has established herself as one of the leading painters of her generation with a distinctive body of work, full of restless energy, humour and complexity, which has set out to challenge and expand the modern conventions of painting. This exhibition of 16 works starts when Rae's paintings had begun to reference a world keyed to the computer screen, echoing in painterly analogues many of the new visual conventions familiar to a post-Photoshop generation. Fonts, signs and symbols drawn from contemporary design and typography appeared, whilst more familiar abstract marks and spontaneous gestures worried the autonomy, legibility and function of these graphic shapes, debating a new synthesis of painterly languages. Her lexicon further broadened to include small figures or cartoons whose status is left intriguingly ambiguous, but serve to point up the metaphysical and artificial dimensions of abstract painting, whilst also providing an empathetic point of identification for the viewer that invokes a more personal reading. Her recent titles often purport to be exclamations or statements, but like her paintings, they elude definitive explanation and can appear simultaneously dark and charming, anxious and insouciant. Towner Gallery, Eastbourne, until 23rd June.
Scandal '63: The Fiftieth Anniversary Of The Profumo Affair features images of the leading figures from the major political scandal of the 1960s. The events that came to a head in 1963 involved John Profumo, the then Secretary of State for War, who lied to parliament when he denied having a brief affair with the nightclub hostess and model Christine Keeler, while she was also romantically involved with the senior Russian naval attache Yevgeny Ivanov. These events took place against the backdrop of the Cold War and heightened political paranoia. Highlights of the display are a rare vintage print of one of Lewis Morley's iconic seated nude portraits of Christine Keeler; and two of Michael Ward's colour photographs of Pauline Boty with her now lost painting 'Scandal '63', which incorporated Morley's photograph of Keeler and four of the key players: John Profumo; Stephen Ward, Keeler's friend, artist and osteopath to the establishment; Johnny Edgecombe, her former lover the jazz promoter; and his rival the jazz musician Aloysius 'Lucky' Gordon. Also featured are a number of contemporary press photographs of those involved, including Christine Keeler's friends Mandy Rice-Davies and Paula Hamilton-Marshall, which describe the unraveling of the story in the media; Tom Blau's on-set photographs of Keeler which were taken to publicise The Keeler Affair, a film banned in Britain; Gerald Scarfe's cartoon of Harold Macmillan as Keeler, which appeared in Private Eye; and an LP cover for That Affair featuring an illustration by Barry Fantoni. National Portrait Gallery until 15th September.
Saloua Raouda Choucair is the world's first major retrospective exhibition of work by the Lebanese artist, and celebrates her contribution to international modernism. Comprising over 120 works, many of which have never been seen before, this exhibition brings together paintings, sculptures and other objects made by Saloua Raouda Choucair over six decades, reflecting her interests in science, mathematics and Islamic art and poetry. Choucair is a pioneer of abstract art in the Middle East and is becoming recognised as an important figure in the history of global modernism. A rare female voice in the Beirut art scene from the 1940s onwards, her work combines elements of western abstraction with Islamic aesthetics. It is characterised by an experimental approach to materials alongside an elegant use of modular forms, lines and curves drawn from the traditions of Islamic design. The exhibition focuses on Choucair's sculptures from the 1950s to the 1980s, created in wood, metal, stone and fibreglass, as well as key examples of her early paintings such as 'Self-Portrait' and 'Paris-Beirut'. Choucair often created works in discrete series, reflected here in her 'interforms', such as 'Sculpture with One Thousand Pieces', which comprise seemingly simple cubes or blocks that house intricately carved and highly complex internal forms; 'duals,' consisting of two carefully interlocking parts; and a modular 'poems', made from individual pieces that stack together in a flexible way, much like the stanzas of Arabic poetry. Constantly challenging the form, Chouair thought of many of her works as being in constant flux: structures to be altered by the viewer, the elements or her own additions and subtractions over time. Tate Modern until 20th October.
Paul Nash showcases works and correspondences by one of the most original British artists of the first half of the 20th Century. Paul Nash captured an age old idea of England, steeped in mystery and magic, in the forward thinking language of modern art. His paintings of rural Britain's standing stones, lonely copses and grassed over forts are full of eerie surrealist expanses, jarring juxtapositions and semi-abstract forms. The exhibition includes Nash's important early wood engravings and etchings, photographs, prints, collage, correspondence and illustrated books. Highlights include 'Tree Group', 'Promenade', 'Dyke by the Road' and 'Garden Pond', wood engravings that demonstrate Nash's importance as one of the leading British landscape artists of the time; 'Tyger, Tyger', a collage depicting a colour engraving of a tiger set against a photograph of a ruin in the Forest of Dean; examples of Nash's most important illustrated books, such as 'Places', 'Genesis', Shakespeare's 'A Midsommer Nights Dreame', 'Mister Bosphorus and the Muses', and 'Urne Buriall and the Garden of Cyrus', many of which are personally inscribed; and personal letters that provides a fascinating and personal view into friendship and artistic patronage in the 1930s and 1940s. Pallant House Gallery, Chichester, until 30th June.
Souzou: Outsider Art From Japan brings together more than 300 works work made by artists who have received little or no tuition, but produce work for the sake of creation alone, without an audience in mind, and who are perceived to inhabit the margins of mainstream society. 'Souzou' has no direct translation in English but a dual meaning in Japanese: written one way, it means creation, and in another it means imagination. Both meanings allude to a force by which new ideas are born and take shape in the world. In this exhibition, Souzou refers to the practice of 46 self-taught artists living and working within social welfare facilities across Japan. The artists have been diagnosed with a variety of different cognitive, behavioural and developmental disorders or mental illnesses, and are residents or day attendees of specialist care institutions. Located within the complex intersections between health and creativity, work and wellbeing, mainstream and marginality, the exhibition is presented in 6 overlapping sections that explore the processes of making, meaning and the larger social and cultural context of Outsider Art in Japan. Language' and 'Making' offer an introduction to some of the characteristics commonly ascribed to Outsider Art; while 'Representation' and 'Relationships' delve deeper into the subject matter represented within the work; and 'Culture' and 'Possibility' question some of the preconceptions about Outsider Art and move towards a wider understanding of its diversity. Wellcome Collection, 183 Euston Road, London NW1, until 30th June.
Man Ray Portraits focuses on the photographic portraiture of one of the most innovative and influential artists of his generation. Man Ray's versatility and experimentation as an artist is illustrated throughout his photography although this was never his chosen principal artistic medium. The exhibition comprises over 150 vintage prints from Man Ray's career taken between 1916 and 1968, with portraits of his celebrated contemporaries shown alongside often intimate portraits of friends and his social circle. These include Marcel Duchamp, Berenice Abbott, Andre Breton, Jean Cocteau, Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, James Joyce, Erik Satie, Henri Matisse, Barbette, Igor Stravinsky, Yves Tanguy, Salvador Dali, Le Corbusier, Virginia Woolf, Aldous Huxley, Coco Chanel and Wallis Simpson. Also on show are portraits of his lovers Kiki de Montparnasse (Alice Prin) and Lee Miller, who was also his assistant and collaborator, Ady Fidelin, and his last muse and wife Juliet Browner. Although born in America, Man Ray moved to Paris in 1921, where, as a contributor to the Dada and Surrealist movements, he was perfectly placed to make defining images of his contemporaries from the avant-garde. In this period he was instrumental in developing and producing a type of photogram which he called 'Rayographs', and is credited in rediscovering and developing, alongside Lee Miller, the process of solarisation. This can be seen in the portraits of Elsa Schiaparelli, Irene Zurkinden, Lee Miller, Suzy Solidor and his own 'Self-Portrait with Camera'. Following the outbreak of the Second World War, Man Ray moved to Hollywood, where subjects included Ruth Ford, Paulette Goddard, Ava Gardner, Tilly Losch and Dolores del Rio. Returning to Paris in 1951 he experimented with colour photography in portraits of Juliette Greco, Yves Montand and Catherine Deneuve. National Portrait Gallery until 27th May.
Lichtenstein: A Retrospective claims to be the most comprehensive exhibition ever devoted to the foremost Pop artist of the 1960s. Roy Lichtenstein is one of the central figures of American Pop Art, who pioneered a new style of painting, executed by hand but inspired by industrial printing processes. He became renowned for works based on comic strips and advertising imagery, coloured with his signature hand-painted Benday dots, as an ongoing examination of representation and originality in mass media culture. This exhibition of over 125 works showcases such key paintings as 'Look Mickey', 'Oh, Jeff', 'Masterpiece!', 'Hopeless', 'Drowning Girl', 'Whaam!' and 'Bratatat!'. Lichtenstein's rich and expansive output is represented by a wide range of materials, including paintings using Rowlux and steel, as well as sculptures in ceramic and brass, and a selection of previously unseen drawings, collages and works on paper. Alongside the classic paintings of romantic heroines and scenes of war for which Lichtenstein is best known, this exhibition shows other early Pop works, such as images of everyday objects in black and white. Also on display are Lichtenstein's artistic explorations depicting landscapes, mirrors and so-called 'perfect' and 'imperfect' paintings, as well as works that highlight his engagement with art history, revealing his lesser-known responses to Futurism, Surrealism and German Expressionism. In the final years of his life, Lichtenstein went on to create a series of huge female nudes and Chinese landscapes, neither of which have previously been shown within the wider context of his work. Tate Modern until 27th May.
Ice Age Art: Arrival Of The Modern Mind comprises over 100 masterpieces of Ice Age sculpture, ceramics, drawing and personal ornaments. These include the oldest known ceramic figures in the world, as well as the oldest known portrait and figurative pieces, all of which were created over 20,000 years ago. Rather than archaeological finds, these striking objects are presented as art made long ago by people with developed brains like our own. Archaeological evidence reveals that the modern brain emerged just over 100,000 years ago with the appearance of art and complex behavior patterns. This exhibition demonstrates how the creators of these works had brains that had the capacity to express themselves symbolically through art and music. One example is a 23,000 year old mammoth ivory sculpture of an 'abstract' figure from Lespugue, France. Picasso was so fascinated with this 'cubist' piece that he kept two copies of it. This figure demonstrates a visual brain capable of abstraction, the essential quality needed to acquire and manipulate knowledge which underpins our ability to analyse what we see. Works by major modern artists including Picasso, Henry Moore and Matisse are included to establish connections across time, highlighting the fundamental human desire to create works of great beauty. This can be appreciated in a striking drawing of two deer engraved on a piece of bone found in the cave of Le Chaffaud, Vienne, France. The deer are well composed within the space and positioned with considered perspective so that they appear to be standing side by side with one slightly behind the other. The works display a variety of ways of encapsulating movement which are the precursors of modern animation and cinema. This theme is further explored in an installation recreating the extraordinary artistry of the great painted caves such as Chauvet, Lascaux and Altamira, to provide the surreal experience of viewing paintings deep underground in the flickering light of burning torches and fat lamps. British Museum until 26th May.