Private View held by Richard Andrews
The First Actresses: Nell Gwyn To Sarah Siddons explores art and theatre in 18th century England through portraits of women. Starting with the emergence of the actress's profession in the late 17th century, the exhibition shows how women performers, in drama, as well as music and dance, were key figures within a spectacular celebrity culture. Fuelled by gossipy theatre and art reviews, satirical prints and the growing taste for biography, 18th century society engaged in heated debate about the moral and sexual decorum of women on stage, and revelled in the traditional association between actress and prostitute, or 'whores and divines'. The exhibition comprises 53 large paintings of actresses in their celebrated stage roles, intimate off stage portraits, and mass produced caricatures and prints, and explores how they contributed to the growing reputation and professional status of leading female performers. Actresses featured include Nell Gwyn, Kitty Clive, Hester Booth, Lavinia Fenton, Susannah Cibber, Peg Woffington, Sarah Siddons, Mary Robinson, Dorothy Jordan and Elizabeth Farren. They are seen in works by artists such as Joshua Reynolds, Thomas Gainsborough, John Hoppner, Thomas Lawrence, Johann Zoffany and James Gillray. Highlights include a little known version of Reynolds's famous portrait of Sarah Siddons as the Tragic Muse, Hogarth's 'The Beggar's Opera', Gainsborough's portraits of Giovanna Bacelli and Elizabeth Linley, and the 'Three Witches from Macbeth' (in the forms of Elizabeth Lamb, Viscountess Melbourne; Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire; Anne Seymour Damer) by Daniel Gardner. National Portrait Gallery until 8th January.
Alice In Wonderland is first exhibition to provide a comprehensive historical exploration of how Lewis Carroll's stories have influenced the visual arts. The exhibition provides an insight into the creation of the Alice novels, the adoption of the text as an inspiration for artists, and the revision of its key themes by artists up to the present day. The starting point is Carroll's original manuscript, with his own illustrations, and the famous illustrations by Sir John Tenniel in the first published edition. These indicate that images were an integral part of the story, creating a visual world which took on a life of its own. Works by Dante Gabriel Rossetti and John Everett Millais feature, alongside paintings by William Holman Hunt and Arthur Hughes, referenced in Carroll's diaries. The exhibition also includes Carroll's own photographs and photographic equipment, alongside Victorian Alice memorabilia, and documents from early stage adaptations. Surrealist artists from the 1930s onwards who were drawn towards Carroll's fantastical world are represented by Salvador Dalí's series of twelve Alice in Wonderland illustrations, and work by Max Ernst, Rene Magritte and Dorothea Tanning. British Surrealists, dubbed 'the children of Alice', such as Paul Nash, Roland Penrose, Conroy Maddox and F E McWilliam. Work by Mel Bochner, Jan Dibbets, Dan Graham, Yayoi Kusama, Adrian Piper, and Marcel Broodthaers, highlight responses to the novel as it reached its centenary. Contemporary artists taking inspiration from the books, include the photography of Anna Gaskell, alongside pieces by A A Bronson, Joseph Grigely, Torsten Lauschmann, Jimmy Robert and Annelies Strba. Tate Liverpool until 29th January.
William Morris: Story, Memory, Myth looks at how the Victorian designer and writer told stories through pattern and poetry. William Morris, a leading member of one of Britain's first socialist parties, made textiles truly radical. It was the holistic experience of medieval crafts he strove for, railing against the grim production lines of his own era. The exhibition examines the tales that were most important to him, such as the works of Geoffrey Chaucer, Norse saga, Arthurian legend and Greek myth. Morris returned to the same stories throughout his artistic career, and his continued fascination is revealed by arranging the works according to the tale they tell rather than their medium. Thus, 5 rarely seen panels of the embroidered frieze 'The Romaunt of the Rose' can be seen together with editions of 'The Works of Geoffrey Chaucer', elaborately illustrated by Morris and Edward Burne-Jones and printed by Morris's private press. Both the frieze and Chaucer drew inspiration from the French medieval text the 'Roman de la Rose'. This is the first time that these panels have been seen since their recent conservation by The Royal School of Needlework. Among the other highlights are illustrations of Arthurian legends. These combine the work of both Burne-Jones and Morris, where romanticised women, with their long unravelled red hair and draped white robes stand in front of wistful backdrops, composed of Morris's iconic and infinite patterns of nature, including 'King Arthur and Sir Launcelot', from 'The Story of Tristram and Isoude' series of stained glass windows. This is the first public exhibition at Two Temple Place, one of London's hidden architectural gems, built by William Waldorf Astor on the Embankment. It is an extraordinary late neo-Gothic Victorian mansion, designed to 'personify literature in addition to being representative of art, craft and architecture'. Two Temple Place, London WC2, until 29th January.
Leonardo da Vinci: Painter At The Court Of Milan examines the extraordinary observation, imagination and technique of possibly the world's greatest artist. The exhibition concentrates on Leonardo da Vinci's career as a court painter in Milan during the 1480s and 1490s, and is the first to be dedicated to his aims and ambitions as a painter. It comprises some 60 paintings and drawings by Leonardo, as well as pictures by some of his closest collaborators, some never seen in Britain before. Nearly every surviving picture that Leonardo painted in Milan is in the display, including 'Portrait of a Musician', 'Saint Jerome', 'Madonna Litta', 'Belle Ferronniere', the two versions of 'Virgin of the Rocks' and 'The Lady with an Ermine'. These pictures show how Leonardo, benefiting from his salaried position, used his artistic freedom to find new ways of perceiving and recording the natural world, focusing especially on the human anatomy, soul and emotions. Leonardo's time in Milan was the making of him, both as an artist and as a public figure. It was where executed his two profoundly different versions of the mysterious 'Virgin of the Rocks'; as well as the wall-painting of 'The Last Supper', represented in the exhibition by a near contemporary, full scale copy by his pupil Giampietrino; and 'The Lady with an Ermine', acclaimed as the first truly modern portrait, as the sitter's nuanced expression conveys her inner life, mind, soul - and what we would now call psychology. More than 50 drawings relating to the paintings are exhibited for the first time, including all the surviving drawings that are connected to the 'Last Supper' and the 'Madonna Litta'. National Gallery until 15th February.
And Thereby Hangs A Tale looks into the mystery that surrounds the marriage of William Shakespeare and Anne Hathaway. Reasons why the event has an air of mystery include the fact that it was a man below the age of consent (18) marrying the older woman (24) who was already pregnant with his child, that there are crucial missing pages from church registers, and there were rumours of a jilted spinster said to be Shakespeare's true love. For the first time all the surviving evidence of Shakespeare's wedding have been brought together in one place. Arguments for and against the 5 churches laying claim to where the wedding took place (St Martin's Church, Worcester; Temple Grafton Church; All Saints' Chapel, Luddington; Holy Trinity, Stratford and All Saints' Church, Billesley) are presented, comprising historical records, church registers, documents, artefacts and stories from the time. These include the 'marriage bond', granting permission for 'William Shagspere and Anne Hathwey of Stratford in the Dioces of Worcester maiden' to marry, and the registration of the marriage licence, which has several mistakes in it, including the names: 'inter Willelmum Shaxpere et Annam Whateley De Temple Grafton'. An intriguing exhibition in the most picturesque of the surviving Shakespeare properties. Anne Hathaway's Cottage, Shottery, Warwickshire, until 29th January.
Private Eye: The First 50 Years celebrates the half century of the legendary eccentric magazine. Private Eye has always distinguished itself from other titles by its unique combination of humorous cartoons and satire with hard-hitting journalism. This exhibition explores the wealth of artistic talent that the magazine has fostered, showing the original artwork for over 120 of Private Eye's finest and funniest cartoons. Since its beginning, 'The Eye' has published and promoted the work of more than 90 artists, many of whom started their careers at the magazine, including Gerald Scarfe, Ralph Steadman, William Rushton, Barry Fantoni, Michael Heath, John Kent, Ed McLachlan, Nick Newman and Grizelda. One group of drawings highlights the grotesque art of caricature, while another shows the artists' keen observation of social trends and lifestyles over the years. The popular cartoon strip series are also well represented, from Bill Tidy's rural 'Cloggies' and Tony Husband's 'Yobs' to Mike Barfield's eccentric 'Apparently'. There are Private Eye's trademark front covers, with one from every year the magazine has been published, constituting an idiosyncratic timeline for 5 decades of modern British history. Visually, Private Eye is renowned for its low-fi aesthetic. The display reveals how little its cut-and-paste production techniques have changed in over 50 years, despite the switch from cowgum to computers and letraset to the internet. The exhibition evokes the atmosphere of the magazine's Soho headquarters, with a recreation of the editor's office, the creative hub where every fortnight the jokewriting team convenes. Victoria & Albert Museum until 8th January.
OMA / Progress is the first British examination of the work of one of the most influential international architecture practices working today. OMA (the Office for Metropolitan Architecture) comprises 7 partners and a staff of around 280 architects, designers and researchers working in offices in Rotterdam, New York, Beijing and Hong Kong. Known for their daring ideas, extraordinary buildings and obsession with the rapid pulse of modern life, OMA play an active role in the architectural, engineering and cultural ideas that are shaping the world. The exhibition, comprising a wide range of materials, relics, documentation, imagery and models, includes a browsable index of all OMA's projects, videos of lectures given by OMA partners from the 1970s to now, and an OMA shop including seminal books and an exclusive collection of prints. One gallery introduces OMA and their current preoccupations, including a raw sequence of every single image from OMA's server - almost 3.5m - that runs on a 48 hour loop. Another is dedicated to a collection of around 450 items that illustrate the history and current practice of OMA, ranging from the iconic - such as models of the Maison a Bordeaux and the CCTV headquarters in Beijng - and previously unseen artefacts including unpublished manuscripts of a never completed book on Lagos, Nigeria. Another is a 'secret room', a space completely covered in the waste paper collected from the OMA offices over a month long period. Further highlights include samples of the skin of the Prada Transformer Pavilion in Seoul in 2009; paintings reproduced in fabric for a wall covering from Rothschild Bank HQ; insights into recent projects such as Cornell University's Milstein Hall; recent competition entries like the Broad Art Museum in Los Angeles; and also those that are on-hold indefinitely, like the Dubai Renaissance tower. Barbican Art Gallery until 19th February.
Claude Lorrain: The Enchanted Landscape provides an opportunity to rediscover the 17th century father of European landscape painting. The exhibition brings together 140 works by Claude Lorrain (traditionally just Claude in England), created at different points in his career. By uniting 'pairs' of paintings and making a comprehensive survey of his work in different media, the exhibition brings new research to bear on Claude's working methods, to reveal an unconventional side that has previously been little known. Although he was born in France, Claude lived most of his working life in Rome. The scenery in his compositions was based on his studies of the ancient ruins and the rolling country of the Tiber Valley and the Roman Campagna. Claude's ability to translate his vision of the countryside and the majesty of natural light with the aid of his brush won him the admiration of his contemporaries as a 'natural painter'. It has been his signature treatment of classical landscape and literature which has impressed itself on generations of artists. Claude was the first artist to specialise in painting 'pairs'. Approximately half his compositions were made as companion pieces, including in this display, the earliest, 'Landscape with the Judgement of Paris' and 'Coast View', and his very last painting, 'Ascanius and the Stag of Sylvia' and 'Aeneas's Farewell to Dido in Carthage'. Alongside the paintings are a series of related drawings and etchings that reveal an innovative style, and painterly brush and ink technique, which were perfect for replicating the natural effects of landscapes. The spectacular 'Fireworks' series of 10 etchings, made during a week of firework displays in Rome, illustrate his experimental style. Ashmolean Museum, Cambridge, until 8th January.
Word And Image: Early Modern Treasures explores intercultural exchange in the Early Modern period from 1450 to 1800. The exhibition focuses on the interaction between word and image, looking at themes including travel, translation, and the traffic of goods and ideas, principally through books and art. It offers the chance to see an eclectic and unusual combination of items, including a 17th century volume on the history of Lapland complete with pictures of skis and shamen; a 1589 map of the world; a beautifully illustrated early work of Egyptology; prints of Jesuit missionaries in China wearing local dress; icons of the Grand Tour, such as the Apollo Belvedere and Laocoon; plus early dictionaries, travel narratives and translations. The highlight of the exhibition is Albrecht Durer's 15 woodcuts from 'The Apocalypse', based on various scenes from the late 15th century Book of Revelation, the most famous of which is 'the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse', alongside its precursor 'The Nuremberg Chronicle'. University College of London Art Museum, Gower Street, London, until 16th December.
Only Connect is an unconventional display presenting a web of portraits connecting sitters across three centuries. Comprising paintings, sculpture, photographs, engravings, drawings, miniatures and works in other media, the display uses musical connections to explore new ways of looking at images of people from the past. It proposes a network of threads connecting singers, composers, artists, doctors, sculptors, poets, engineers, ambassadors and many others. As a result, everyone in the display is linked in one way or another. The connections range from the profound and the personal to the accidental and the incidental. Some were friends and some were lovers, several wrote about each other or had similar ideas, others were enemies or simply met on the street. For example, composer Benjamin Britten and violinist and conductor, Yehudi Menuhin performed at Bergen-Belsen concentration camp after liberation in 1945. Yehudi Menuhin gave ground-breaking performances of composer Michael Tippett's Corelli Fantasia. The sets and costumes for Tippett's opera Midsummer Marriage were designed by sculptor Barbara Hepworth. An alternative route is formed by writer George Bernard Shaw who corresponded with the pianist Harriet Cohen. She premiered Elgar's Piano Quintet and Elgar made his most famous recording of his Violin Concerto with the teenaged Yehudi Menuhin. Such links evoke an invisible layer of human interconnectedness - 'six degrees of separation'. National Portrait Gallery until 27th November.
Signs Of A Struggle: Photography In The Wake Of Postmodernism explores photographs that make reference to themselves, other media and texts, and demonstrates how such Postmodernist approaches to photography have persisted for over 30 years. Spanning the mid-1970s to the present day, the display of some 40 photographs shows work by some of the most influential artists associated with Postmodernism, such as Cindy Sherman, Richard Prince, Helen Chadwick, John Pfahl, James Casebere, John Kippin and Peter Kennard, alongside more recent work by David Hockney, Anne Hardy, David Shrigley, Tess Hurrell, Ann Hardy, Sarah Pickering, Clare Strand (from whose work the exhibition takes its title) and others. Victoria & Albert Museum until 27th November.
Richard Woods: Handmade Modern is an installation of new paintings and sculpture aimed at skewering design culture mores. Richard Wood's works seem to paradoxically both celebrate and gently mock British nostalgia for the designs of bygone eras, and undercut the somewhat self-congratulatory nature of Modernism through a collision of both aspirations. Presented overlaid on Woods's signature floorboard pattern-clad walls, his new Mock Tudor Mono Prints are based on hard-edged renditions of Mock Tudor suburban decoration, refiguring monochrome timbering as geometric abstractions in union flag patterns, where suburban Cheshire meets Neo Geo - the past made future. These are accompanied by a new sculpture series Hand Painted Table Leg Sculptures. These works are Victorian and Georgian style turned table legs that sit on barrel type structures and have been painted with band of concentric colour, aping Modern abstract painting. The clash of form and decoration gives the sculptures a peculiarly carnivalesque nature that stands in brilliant contrast to the austere monochrome minimalism of the Mock Tudor paintings. These two elements are interspersed with strikingly bright woodblock prints depicting Boy's Own-types hard at carpentry. Works|Projects, Sydney Row, Bristol, until 19th November.