Private View held by Richard Andrews
Damien Hirst, a retrospective of the man with the formaldehyde is the exhibition which launches what will undoubtedly be the gallery of the year. Charles Saatchi has moved his collection from Boundary Road to the cultural heart of London on the South Bank. It comprises most of Brit Art's best known pieces, from Hirst's sheep, shark and giant anatomical model, to Tracey Emin's bed, not forgetting Marc Quinn's infamous head made of his own refrigerated blood (boasting the urban myth of a meltdown caused by a cleaner turning off the power) all of which Saatchi bought before various furores made them famous - not to say infamous. They are now displayed in what is euphemistically called the Riverside Building, but which most Londoners still call County Hall, home of the former London County and Greater London Councils. The gallery has hoovered up much of the remaining unused parts of the building, from wood panelled and memorial bedecked council chamber, entrance hall and grand staircase, to simple individual offices (and even the boiler house for new artists) and given a welcome simple restoration to the period features. The jury is out as to whether Brit Art sits comfortably in these surroundings, but the general public now has easy and continuing access to the works they have read a great deal about but never actually seen. So as well as all the tanked stuff, here are Hirst's A Thousand Years (see the maggots eat the cow, metamorphose into flies and head into the insect-o-cutor); Spot Mini, a mini car covered in spots (he does exactly what he says on the tin) driving down the stairs; and much more besides. The Emperor's new clothes? At least now everyone can decide for themselves. The Saatchi Gallery, Riverside Building - Damien Hirst until 31st August.
Serial Killers: The Chamber Of Horrors - Live! is a new live action 'extreme scream' attraction, which has given the legendary Chamber Of Horrors a lethal terror injection, returning to the roots of its original macabre morbidity. The Chamber has been scaring the living daylights out of people for over 200 years, as they came to recoil in horror at wax portraits of the killers of their day. But a simple waxwork of mild mannered Dr Crippen is no longer enough. Visitors can now pass through an arch bearing the inscription "Abandon hope all ye who enter here" and into a cage that descends to the depths of this hell of incarceration. Here they find themselves in a maximum-security prison with the most scurrilous and infamous real life serial killers, but where some of the inmates are on the loose - and then the lights go out. Cage Man, Hatchet Harry, The Man In The Mask and their accomplices create mayhem, with dead ends, hidden corners, and unexpected sights, sounds and touches, through which visitors must pass before they can escape to safety again. Naturally the experience is intensified by all the shock techniques that the latest audiovisual and special effects technology can muster. Be afraid. Be very afraid. Madame Tussauds continuing.
Teddy Bear Story - 100 years Of The Teddy Bear commemorates the centenary of both the creation of the first jointed bear by German toy manufacturers Steiff, and American President Theodore Roosevelt's nickname Teddy being associated with the toys - a smart marketing move by a New York store owner. Among over 400 bears, the exhibition features some of the oldest surviving historic teddy bears, as well as several celebrities, including Rupert, Paddington, Winnie the Pooh, Sooty and Aloysius from Brideshead Revisited. Guest bears will make special appearances, such as the original animatronics bear from the film AI, Andy Pandy's friend Teddy, and Alfonzo, a red mohair bear belonging to Princess Xenia of Russia who was marooned at Buckingham Palace when the Russian Revolution began. The exhibition looks at the whole world of teddy bears from the original E H Shepard drawings of Winnie the Pooh to 21st century bears such as the Philippe Starck teddy bear, and Bear from Bear In The Big Blue House, and relates how they have become popular children's characters. It also examines bears doing good works, with Paddington as the mascot for Action Research, and BBC Children In Need's Pudsey. A display showing how bears are made highlights the particular characteristics given to teddies by individual manufacturers, and how they differ in countries around the world. A series of accompanying special events will be held for arctophiles - teddy bear collectors. Museum Of Childhood, Bethnal Green until 31st December.
Marilyn Monroe - Life Of A Legend is the world premiere of the biggest ever exhibition devoted to the life of the ultimate screen icon. Showcasing more than 250 works from over 70 artists and photographers, alongside films and memorabilia, it charts every stage of Monroe's life and career, both public and private. Works on display include pieces by Andy Warhol, Allan Jones, Peter Blake, Richard Avedon and Henri Cartier-Bresson, as well as previously unseen works by Conny Holthusen, Antonio de Felipe, Jose de Guimares and Ernesto Tatafiore. Accompanying the art and photography is a selection of music and film clips, plus personal memorabilia provided by Cooper Owen, the world's leading celebrity memorabilia auctioneers. This ranges from Monroe's costume from the film Bus Stop and the diamonds that were a girl's best friend, to the dress and jewellery worn on her first date with Joe DiMaggio, and a drawing she did when she was still Norma Jeane. The County Hall Gallery until 14th September.
Boys At Sea brings together costumes, documents, instruments, paintings and prints to reveal the lives of the cabin boys - some as young as 12 - who formed part of the crew of a sailing ship in the time of Captain Cook. It is staged in the museum which is located in the 18th century ship owner's house in which James Cook lodged while apprenticed to Captain John Walker, where he learnt his seaman's skills. It looks out across the harbour to the shipyards where later, the ships in which Cook sailed on his famous voyages of discovery, Endeavour, Resolution, Adventure, and Discovery would be built. The ground floor rooms are furnished according to an inventory of items in the house in 1751, as Cook would have known them. The other rooms contain a collection of artefacts relating to Cook's life and career, including paintings and prints, ship plans and maps, manuscripts and letters, as well as objects such as Captain Walker's own copy of A Voyage Towards The South Pole - Cook's account of his second voyage - a travelling desk, and models of some of the ships. Recent acquisitions include William Hodges 'A View In The Island Of Madeira', and two pastel portraits of Captain William Bligh and his wife. Hodges was the official artist on Cook's second voyage, and Bligh sailed as master on Cook's third voyage. Captain Cook Memorial Museum, Whitby until 31st October.
Blinky Palermo is the first major solo exhibition in Britain for the man who was himself as much a creation as his work. Born Peter Schwarze in Germany in 1943, he assumed the name of the American boxing promoter and mafioso figure Blinky Palermo at the suggestion of Joseph Beuys whilst studying under him at the Dusseldorf school of art in 1964. Palermo produced an important body of work between then and his premature death in 1977. He experimented with non-traditional forms of painting, extending its format from two-dimensional canvases to three-dimensional architectural environments, and shifting from the medium of paint to found materials. This exhibition includes his speciality 'fabric paintings', which consist of coloured fabrics sewn together in horizontal bands mounted on stretchers; and 'objects' - irregularly-shaped materials or canvases and supports which are painted or covered in coloured plastic tape; as well as paintings on paper, steel and aluminium; plus sketches related to many of his wall drawings, produced for temporary exhibitions and private homes. A unique opportunity to view the work of a rare talent. Serpentine Gallery until 18th May.
Art Deco 1910-1939 is the first assessment in this country of the first truly global art movement, which was launched at the Paris International Exhibition of Decorative Arts in 1925, as the way of the future, combining streamlining and extravagance. It started in the gallery with paintings and sculpture, moved into the home with individually created jewellery, objets d'art, dresses and furniture for the rich, and then the style swept the world in mass-produced items, with everything from household chinaware and textiles, through cars and ocean liners, to architecture such as the Chrysler building and the Rockefeller Center. It was even reflected in entertainment, both through the designs of the extravagant Hollywood musical spectaculars, and the buildings in which they were shown, culminating in Radio City Music Hall in New York. This exhibition endeavours to encompass the breadth of this massive canvass. It is crammed with wonders including the Maharajah of Indore's silver canopy bed, an Auburn Speedster car, a Jacques-Emile Ruhlmann dressing table, Walter Teague's Bluebird radio, and even the foyer of the Strand Palace Hotel. Areas recreate the Paris Exhibition of 1925 and the New York World's Fair of 1939 that mark the movement's beginning and end. A rich and glamorous treat. Victoria & Albert Museum until 20th July.
Cristina Iglesias: New Corners Of The World is the first major presentation in Britain of the work of the Spanish artist, bringing together 40 sculptural and architectural pieces installed in a sequence of spaces. There are various 'flying ceiling' pieces, like the roof of a cave or a fossilised seabed, surrounded by screens of enormous copper sheets, containing silk-screened images of a mysterious metropolis, formed by creating ramshackle maquettes from cardboard boxes, and enlarging them to a human scale. Then there are Vegetation Rooms, larger-than-life organic mesh screens, like the ornamentation of Moorish architecture, joined together to form intimate chambers and environments, which reduce the viewer in scale like an episode from Alice In Wonderland. While Passages comprise overlapping canopies that recall sunscreens in Arab street markets. Inspired by the trompe l'oeil effects of Baroque architecture, Iglesias plays tricks with perspective, creating intricate bas-reliefs so that entire concrete walls peel apart to reveal 18th century tapestries, and elegant canopies of veined alabaster like the domes of ancient Persian mosques or Byzantine churches. An extraordinary experience. Whitechapel Art Gallery until 18th May.
Will Alsop And Bruce McLean: Two Chairs is the first exhibition to present the results of a unique ongoing collaboration between architect Will Alsop and artist Bruce McLean. Alsop is an architect with a painterly eye, who follows no single theoretical school, and believes that to build is to exercise the heart rather than the intellect. McLean is a sculptor who has moved into performance art, painting, prints, ceramics and furniture design. For over twenty years they have been enjoying annual creative encounters in Spain, aiming to discover forms and relations that feed their individual disciplines. These meetings in Malagarba on the island of Minorca have produced a series of dramatic large-scale highly colourful 3D abstract paintings, and architectural sized sculptural works. McLean's boldness of spirit and risk, combined with Alsop's organic and playful architectural resolutions, make an exhibition that is fluid, experimental and spontaneous. The Two Chairs of the title refers not only to the inclusion of two identical wooden chairs in photographs of their joint works, which they use to establish scale, but also to the fact that both these eminent anti-establishment figures hold professorial chairs in major academic institutions. Cube Manchester 0161 237 5525 until 8th May.
Garry Fabian Miller: Burning, Golden Storms & Thoughts Of A Night Sea features three recent series of images by this unique artist, who uses photographic techniques, but cuts out the middle men: the camera and the film. Miller goes straight to the photosensitive paper and literally paints on it with light. He returns to the first principles and techniques of 19th century pre-photography, working in the dark, passing light through objects such as leaves and flowers or filters of oil or coloured water directly on to the paper. Unable to see what is happening while he is doing it, each work is guided only by the knowledge and experience of what he has made before. The mesmerising results of Miller's conjuring - radiant stripes and haloes of abstract but highly evocative images - suggest a glowing world of horizons, sunsets and deserts. Ingleby Gallery, Edinburgh, 0131 556 4441 until 26th April.
Grow Up! Advice And The Teenage Girl displays the changing advice given to girls over the last 125 years. From Victorian maidens to the street cred teenagers of today, it looks at how words, diagrams, agony aunts, photo stories, films and web sites have tried to prepare girls physically and mentally for their first steps towards womanhood. The exhibition also captures the defiance and insecurities of girls, past and present, who reject popular advice and make their own way forward. Teenage fashions give a visual timeline of how advice on looks and styles are accepted or ignored. A sound installation by Sanchita Farruque captures the secret language and music of teenagers today, and a video reel presents Teen Talk - East End teenagers on school, careers and mates. To an adult audience, the contemporary material appears equally as quaint and unreal as the Victorian material at which the exhibition pokes fun. Accompanying talks and events explore the issues raised, from hero worship to fashions in hair and make up. Further information can be found on The Women's Library web site via the link from the Galeries section of ExhibitionsNet. The Women's Library, London until 26th April.
Text And Image: German Illustrated Broadsides Of Four Centuries is a collection of the equivalent of public information films from the 15th century - quite soon after the invention of printing with movable type - until the 18th century. Illustrated broadsides are single sheets of paper printed on one side with woodcuts or engravings and text, which were sold for use in a variety of contexts: for information, instruction, contemplation, and entertainment. Displayed in both public and domestic environments, the broadsides were often pinned or stuck to walls and furniture. Though many thousands of copies were printed in several European countries, especially Germany, their unusually large size and fragility have meant that very few have survived. Although some major artists and authors produced broadsides, many of the images and texts are anonymous. This selection, of which all the sheets are rare and many unique, illustrates a number of themes including Religion, Death, City Life, Peasants, Women, Jews, and Witchcraft. British Museum until 21st April.