Private View held by Richard Andrews
The Chinese New Year falls on different dates each year, as it works to the lunar calendar, so 24th January sees the start of 4699, which puts the fuss over whether or not this is the real start to the third millennium into perspective. It will be a year of the Snake Sleeping In Winter, which is good, indicating a sufficient build up of resources to last the winter in comfort. However it is dependent on sufficient preparatory work being done to amass those resources, which is not quite so good. Chinese communities across the country will be celebrating with Good Luck decorations, Lion dancing, firecrackers and food much in evidence for anything up to two weeks. Events across Britain from 24th January.
I Am A Camera has a simple premise, presenting the work of nine artists whose medium is photography or painting which has a photographic quality. What it delivers in the contrasting works of two contributors in particular, is an extraordinarily vivid portrait of the extremes of American society. Jessica Craig-Martin inhabits the uptown world of ladies who lunch - for charity - showing in close up (usually cutting off heads) the style details which are so important in the milieu of fundraisers and benefits. These are the pictures Craig-Martin takes for herself, while pursuing her day job as recorder of social functions for American Vogue. Nan Goldin moves in the downtown world of the Lower East Side streets, among junkies, poets and transvestites. She specialises in series of pictures, which tell the story of particular characters. Between these two stand Duane Hanson's hyper real sculptures of the working urban poor who service Manhattan, specifically cleaners, and other blue collar workers. Saatchi Gallery, London NW3, 020 7624 8299 until 25th March.
Portraits In Profile: The Deighton Family is an exhibition of hand coloured etchings from the 1790s, offering fine examples of how caricatures became an established satirical form. One of the most notable artistic families of the Regency period, the Deightons (Robert Snr, Robert Jnr, Denis, Richard and Joshua) were renowned for their colourful etched profile portraits of personalities of the time. While not as savage as James Gillray or George Cruickshank, their humorous character studies still offered a sharp comment on members of the Royal household, members of parliament, the military, bastions of polite society and pillars of the stage. National Portrait Gallery until 8th July.
Human And Divine presents two millennia of Indian sculpture, highlighting the variety and achievements of a dynamic artistic tradition. The human form has been used in Indian art to portray the gods and goddesses of Hinduism, and the saviours and saints of Buddhism and Jainism. These include the four armed Vishnu, preserver of the universe, Shiva - Lord Of The Dance, god of destruction, and Sarasvati, goddess of learning and the arts. The symbolism of each figure's pose and gesture has great significance to their followers. This exhibition explains why Indian sculpture looks as it does, and what this symbolism means. Over seventy works illustrate a wide range of skills in stone, bronze, terracotta, marble, ivory and wood, from miniatures to large scale sculpture. City Art Gallery, Southampton until 25th March.
Libeskind At The Soane: Drawing A New Architecture juxtaposes the work of controversial contemporary architect Daniel Libeskind and Victorian giant Sir John Soane. The man who designed the unfolding cardboard box like extension to the Victoria and Albert Museum up against the man who designed the Bank Of England. It provides an opportunity to see drawings and models of Libeskind projects from six different countries, together with a series of rarely glimpsed conceptual drawings - the Micromegas. The result is an installation of nine specially commissioned miniature models scattered like architectural fragments from a future age beneath the canopy dome of Soane's Breakfast Parlour. The Gallery houses an explosion of geometrical forms in ten meticulously constructed abstract compositions made in the late 1970s before Libeskind became a practitioner. The exhibition is completed by drawings showing current projects including the Jewish Museum in Berlin; Studio Weil in Spain; the V&A Spiral; and his latest scheme, the Denver Art Museum. Often cited as the favourite "undiscovered" Victorian collection in London, Sir John Soane's Museum has so much crammed in already, it's hard to imagine how it is possible to add further exhibits. Sir John Soane's Museum until 10th March.
The 1940s House Exhibition recreates 17 Braemar Gardens - the pre-war suburban "semi" featured in a Channel 4 television series The 1940s House, to be shown in January. The series explores how a present-day family would adapt to life on the home front during the Second World War by observing a real family living under wartime conditions for two months. The house is furnished and equipped as it would have been in the 1940s. Visitors can tour both floors and part of the garden with a "Dig for Victory" vegetable patch and an Anderson Shelter. The exhibition includes an introductory section on the making of the television series, a reconstruction of part of a wartime grocer's shop and displays about life on the home front ranging from the Blitz to the blackout. Special events to accompany the exhibition will focus on rationing, popular music, cookery and entertainment, and films about life on the home front are also scheduled. Imperial War Museum until 3rd June.
Slipstitch+ - New Concepts In Knitting offers needles and wool on steroids, giving them an Arnold Schwarzenegger edge. It features sculptural structures, furniture and other creations made from materials which include electro-plated polypropylene thread and industrialised closed cell polythene foamrod (whatever they are). These works by British and Dutch designers have more to do with the high tech, industrial, architectural and textural than homely jumpers by the fireside. Structural form and technical know-how shape the work of the modern knitter, whose concerns are 21st century materials and fantastical finishing processes. James Hockey Gallery, Farnham, Surrey, 01252 892668 until 10th February.
Turner: The Great Watercolours marks the 150th anniversary of the death of Britain's greatest painter with the first exhibition devoted to J.M.W. Turner's exploration of the scope and potential of watercolour (rather than his better known work in oils). The exhibition includes many of his architectural and country-house drawings, and works from the "Picturesque Views in England and Wales" series, generally considered to be the finest views of the British landscape ever made. It culminates in a group of Swiss watercolours from the 1840's in which Turner captured the beauty, luminosity and space of the Alps. This is an unparalleled survey of 100 of the artist's finished watercolours (as opposed to sketches for future oils), dazzling in their breadth of scale, depth of tone, richness of colour and wealth of detail. Royal Academy of Arts until 11th February.
The Great Court at the British Museum creates a two acre square enclosed by a spectacular glass roof designed by Foster and Partners. It transforms the museum's inner courtyard, with the Reading Room at its centre, into the largest covered public square in Europe. The £100m project has been supported by £45.75m Lottery funding. Despite controversy over the stone used and height of the roof, once again Norman Foster has demonstrated his expertise in transforming existing structures with glass and steel. The Great Court will increase public space in the museum by fifty per cent, allowing visitors to move freely around the main floor for the first time in 150 years. Inside the courtyard two monumental staircases encircle the drum of the Reading Room and lead to the new Great Court Gallery and restaurant, from where a bridge link takes visitors into the upper galleries of the museum.
Human Image, the new gallery's inaugural exhibition illustrates how the depiction and definition of the body have been of fundamental concern in the communication of ideas and information across all world cultures. It explores the representation of the human form beginning with early artefacts from pre-historic Europe and ending with examples from contemporary China and Nigeria. British Museum - Human Images until 11th February.
Alphonse Mucha was one of the major figures in the Art Nouveau movement, which made such a strong mark on its period that it is easy to forget that 100 years ago it was considered dangerously avant-garde. Mucha moved in theatrical circles in Paris and was noted for his posters for the actress Sara Bernhardt and others. Such posters and decorative panels featured shapely half clothed women intertwined with florid motifs. They revolutionised poster design and led to work for many commercial clients, including Moet & Chandon. In the psychedelic 60's, Mucha found a whole new public when reproductions of his work decorated a million bedroom walls. They also provided an inspiration for the style of the legendary Biba. This is the most comprehensive exhibition of Mucha's work ever mounted in Britain, and includes pastels, drawings, oil paintings and photographs. Ferens Art Gallery, Hull, 01482 613902 until 28th January.
Lee Miller: A Life Less Ordinary is a collection of 38 images from Miller's extraordinary personal and commercial portfolio. Few other photographers have had a career than spans fashion shoots for Vogue and the documentation of concentration camps as an official American army war correspondent. Originally a Vogue cover model in New York herself, she fell in love with Surrealist artist Man Ray in the 1920s and moved to Paris. There, influenced by Ray, she developed her own unique style - bold, surreal and hard edged, experimenting with floating heads and negative images. Miller carried this approach over into her war pictures, creating images which give the reality of combat a further striking twist of horror. The Photographer's Gallery, London until 27th January.
ART2001, the 13th London Contemporary Art Fair, aims to bring modern art out of the gallery and into the world of ordinary people, at realistic prices. It's the biggest event ever, with stands from over one hundred galleries, offering the more approachable work from new artists (no dead animals), and covering art of every kind, with prices starting at £100. You may spot a star of tomorrow and make your fortune by reselling, but you probably have to be Charles Saatchi to do that. Alternatively you may find something you like at a price you can just about afford. Business Design Centre, Islington 17th to 21st January.