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 800 buildings of all kinds, both historic and new, include the Hackney Empire, Richmond and Sadler's Wells theatres; Royal Albert and Royal Festival concert halls; Foreign Office, Horse Guards and Marlborough House; Brockwell Lido, Castle Climbing Centre and Greenwich Yacht Club; Foster and Partners and Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners architects' offices; Bank of England, Apothecaries' and Drapers' Livery Halls; BBC Television Centre, Channel 4 Television and Sands Film Studios; Gray's Inn, Middle Temple Hall and the Royal Courts of Justice; Mitcham Granada, Odeon Muswell Hill and Phoenix cinemas; Brompton, Nunhead and Tower Hamlets cemeteries; City Hall, Guildhall and UK Suprem Court; White Lodge Royal Ballet School, Old Royal Naval College and Royal Academy of Music; Banqueting House, Ham House and Reform Club; House Mill, King George V Pumping Station and Markfiel Beam Engine House; and the Canary Wharf Crossrail Station 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 20th and 21st September.
Maps To Memorials - Exploring The Work Of MacDonald Gill examines the career of a man who produced a captivating and innovative range of graphic design in many forms, across the first half of the 20th century. The exhibition features rarely seen original artwork, maps and posters by MacDonald (Max) Gill, a master of graphic art and design, including pen-and-ink drawings, designs and papers recently unearthed at Gill's family home. The younger brother of the sculptor and typographer Eric Gill, Max was best known for his decorative maps, but he was also an architect, a graphic designer and a decorator of interiors. Having studied under the calligrapher Edward Johnston, he became a master of hand lettering, with designs included book jackets, heraldic emblems, memorial inscriptions and architectural drawings. They ranged in size from a postage stamp to a 200ft long mural. His work as a commercial artist spans the years between the start of the First World War and the end of the Second World War, a period when advertising became accepted as an art form in its own right. Gill is best known for creating the first diagrammatic tube map, and his London Wonderground poster series, offering early tube travelers detailed depictions of street life in a style reminiscent of medieval maps. However, his more permanent memorial is his creation of the font for the headstones on the white British war graves that have memorialised the fallen since the First World War. The Roman typeface was drawn with longevity in mind, cut at a deeper 60-degree angle and with much tighter serifs, so the letters would still be legible after years of being battered by the elements The Lettering Arts Centre, Snape Maltings, Snape, Suffolk, until 12th November.
Frank Auerbach: Paintings And Drawings From The Lucian Freud Estate offers the first public view of the most significant private collection of paintings and drawings by one of Britain's greatest living artists. The works by Frank Auerbach were collected by the painter Lucian Freud throughout his life and hung in his house in London until his death in 2011. The works on display span Auerbach's career from his student days in the late 1940s up to 2007. Auerbach repeatedly returned to the same subjects over decades, constantly finding new and different ways to explore the indefinable qualities and raw sensations stimulated by the forms and structures he sees. The collection encompasses two subjects to which he has constantly returned: landscapes of London and portraits of friends and relatives of the artist who have sat for Auerbach for long periods of time. It also includes a group of five sketches, including birthday cards which show the friendship and respect that Auerbach and Freud had for each other. The portraits comprise works on paper of an intimate group of sitters, mainly of Estella (Stella) Olive West, his principal model between the early 1950s and 1973, and his wife Julia. The landscapes feature subjects such as 'Rebuilding the Empire Cinema, Leicester Square', showing Auerbach's interest in the rebuilding of London in the post war years; and 'Mornington Crescent - Winter Morning', charged with the zigzagging energy of the moving clouds and bare trees. Tate Britain until 9th November.
Late Turner - Painting Set Free reassess the extraordinary body of work during the final period of Britain's greatest painter, when some of his most celebrated paintings were created. The exhibition begins in 1835, the year that Joseph Mallord William Turner reached 60, and closes with his last exhibits at the Royal Academy in 1850. It demonstrates how his closing years were a time of exceptional energy and vigour, initiated by one of his most extensive tours of Europe. The show includes iconic works such as 'Ancient Rome; Agrippina Landing with the Ashes of Germanicus', 'The Wreck Buoy', 'Heidelberg: Sunset' and 'Peace - Burial at Sea'. Rather than focusing on any assumptions about the pessimism of old age, Turner maintained his commitment to the observation of nature. He brought renewed energy to the exploration of the social, technological and scientific developments of modern life, in works such as 'Rain, Steam, and Speed - The Great Western Railway'. He also continued to engage with the religious and historical themes that linked him to the cultural traditions of his era, such as 'The Angel Standing in the Sun'. Turner consciously developed his style and technique with each subsequent painting he produced. These works were often poised equivocally between finished and unfinished, for example in a series of reworkings in oil of subjects originally published as prints in his 'Liber Studiorum'. From pictures of the whaling industry in the 1840s to 'sample studies' and finished watercolours such as 'The Blue Rigi, Sunrise', Turner constantly sought to demonstrate his appeal to new admirers. Featuring many large-scale oil paintings alongside drawings, prints and watercolour, the exhibition addresses the sheer range of materials and techniques Turner embraced, and demonstrates his radicalism. Tate Britain until 11th January.
Lee Bul is the first solo show in Britain of works by the contemporary South Korean artist. This survey of early drawings, studies, sculptural pieces and installations showcases the visually compelling and intellectually sharp works that have established Lee Bul as one of the most important artists of her generation. Early street performance-based pieces saw Lee Bul wearing full-body soft sculptures that were both alluring and grotesque. Her later female 'Cyborg' sculptures of the 1990s drew upon art history, critical theory, science fiction and popular imagination to explore anxieties arising out of dysfunctional technological advances, whilst simultaneously harking back to icons of classical sculpture. Lee Bul's recent works include sculptures suspended like chandeliers, elaborate assemblages that glimmer with crystal beads, chains and mirrors, poignantly evoke castles in the air. The sculptures reflect utopian architectural schemes of the early 20th century as well as images of totalitarianism from Lee Bul's early experiences. 'Mon grand recit: Weep into stones …' with its mountainous topography is reminiscent of skyscrapers. Scaffolding supports several scale model structures: a looping highway made of bent plywood, a tiny Tatlin's Monument, a modernist staircase that features in Fellini's La Dolce Vita, and an upturned cross-section of the Hagia Sophia. A new work 'After Bruno Taut (Devotion to Drift)' is a suspended sculpture, dripping with an excess of crystalline shapes and glass beads, referencing the exponential growth and unsustainability of the modern world. Ikon Gallery, Brindleyplace, Birmingham, until 9th November.
Horst: Photographer Of Style is a retrospective of the work of one of the leading photographers of the 20th century. In an illustrious 60 year career, German-born Horst P Horst worked predominantly in Paris and New York, creatively traversing the worlds of photography, art, fashion, design, theatre and high society. The exhibition comprises 250 photographs, alongside haute couture garments, magazines, film footage and ephemera, including previously unpublished vintage black and white prints and 94 Vogue covers. The display explores Horst's collaborations and friendships with leading couturiers such as Coco Chanel and Elsa Schiaparelli in Paris; stars including Marlene Dietrich and Noel Coward; and artists and designers such as Salvador Dalí and Jean-Michel Frank. It also reveals lesser-known aspects of Horst's work: nude studies, travel photographs from the Middle East and patterns created from natural forms. Detailed studies of natural forms such as flowers, minerals, shells and butterfly wings from the project 'Patterns From Nature', are shown alongside kaleidoscopic collages made by arranging photographs in simple repeat, used as designs for textiles, wallpaper, carpets, plastics and glass. A selection of 25 large colour photographs, newly printed from the original transparencies demonstrating Horst's exceptional skill as a colourist are shown together with preparatory sketches that have never previously been exhibited. The creative process behind some of his most famous photographs, such as the 'Mainbocher Corset', are revealed through the inclusion of original contact sheets, sketches and cameras, and the many sources that influenced Horst - from ancient Classical art to Bauhaus ideals of modern design and Surrealism in 1930s Paris - are explored. Victoria & Albert Museum until 4th January..
Virginia Woolf: Art, Life And Vision explores the life and achievements of one of Britain's most important and celebrated writers of the 20th century. Virginia Woolf was a very significant thinker, who played a pivotal role at the heart of modernism. The exhibition, featuring over 140 items, comprising painted portraits, sculpture, photographs, drawings, personal objects and rare archival material, explores her achievements as a novelist, intellectual, campaigner and public figure. The display looks at Woolf's early life, literary interests, her fascination with London, awareness of modernity, and her developing feminist and political views. These are brought into focus through letters to and from her friends and acquaintances, extracts from her personal diaries, and original books that were first printed through the Hogarth Press, which she founded with Leonard Woolf in 1917. Highlights of the display include portraits of Woolf by her Bloomsbury Group contemporaries, Vanessa Bell, Duncan Grant and Roger Fry; a collection of photographs by Beresford, Man Ray, and Beck and McGregor who photographed her for Vogue; one of Picasso's 'Weeping Woman' drawings created specifically for a Spanish Civil War fundraising event in which Woolf took part; and the letters that she wrote to her sister and to her husband shortly before she died. The exhibition also features portraits of those she was closest to, including a selection of intimate photographs recording her time spent with friends, family and literary peers. National Portrait Gallery until 26th October.
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 Illuminasia, combining the craft of traditional Chinese lanterns with modern lighting, in the historic Winter Gardens, featuring ´The Mysteries Of China´, ´The Blackpool Experience´, ´The Planetarium´, ´Land Of The Giants´, ´Under The Sea´ and ´The Wonders Of The World´, complete with a 13 metre high model of Blackpool Tower; Alice's Garden, drawing on the story of Alice In Wonderland with the Mad Hatter's Tea Party and a magical water garden; Dynamo, with multiple and ever changing spinning colours in a whirlwind of light; and Brain Box, a giant interactive walk through light box showing how the brain functions; plus old favourites 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 9th November.
Enduring War: Grief, Grit And Humour examines how people both at home and on the front line coped with life during the First World War: from moments of patriotic fervour to periods of anxious inactivity, shock and despair. With personal objects, such as letters, a handkerchief bearing lyrics for 'It's a Long, Long Way to Tipperary', and schoolboy essays reacting to airship raids over London, as well as recruitment posters, magazines and even a knitting pattern for balaclavas, the exhibition considers themes such as humour, faith, comradeship and family, and looks at the contribution so many made to the war effort. Key items in the exhibition include a letter from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle to his mother describing his worries about his son serving at the Front, written in the light of his belief in Spiritualism; a letter written from the Trenches by the poet Isaac Rosenberg; and the original manuscripts of other well known war poets, such as Rupert Brooke's 'The Soldier'. Exploring the importance of humour during the war as a way to express or mask anxieties, the exhibition includes a selection of caricatures, cartoons, humorous Christmas cards, a romance novel set in a munition factory and trench journals, magazines full of in-jokes and dark humour created at the Front to lift the troops' spirits. In a poignant conclusion the exhibition explores the grief expressed over the millions of lives lost during the First World War: a soldier's last letter home as he goes into battle, alongside manuscripts of Wilfred Owen's 'Anthem for Doomed Youth', Vaughan Williams' 'A Pastoral Symphony' and Laurence Binyon's 'For the Fallen'. The British Library until 12th October.
Radical Geometry: Modern Art Of South America spans a dynamic period in South American art, charting the emergence of several distinct artistic movements from the 1930s to the 1970s. From radical innovations in the use of colour and form to new materials like neon and interactive, kinetic sculpture, this exhibition of 80 works reveals some of the most original art of the last 100 years. The display explores the art produced in distinct areas of South America. In Montevideo, Uruguay, Joaquín Torres-Garcia founded the School of the South in the 1930s, through which he planned a new Pan-American art that drew on indigenous American influences. Across the Rio de la Plata, in Buenos Aires, Argentina, a group of artists including Gyula Kosice created Arte Madí that challenged the conventions of traditional painting in the 1940s, such as Juan Mele's 'Irregular Frame'. Further north, from the 1950s artists in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, such as Helio Oiticica and Lygia Clark likewise challenged the notions of art by removing it from the walls of galleries and placing it in the hands of the viewer. Finally in Caracas, Venezuela from the 1970s artists worked with optical illusion to create sculpture and paintings that interacted with the viewer and responded to the light of the tropics, such as Jesus Soto's 'Nylon Cube' and Carlos Cruz Diez's 'Physichromie No 500'. All three regions created new and challenging geometric abstractions that captured the optimism that swept across these countries. Royal Academy of Arts until 28th September.
Barbara Hepworth: Within The Landscape focuses on one of the greatest British artists of the 20th century, for whom landscape provided unending inspiration. From the rough and rugged West Riding landscape experienced in her childhood to the idyllic views of St Ives in Cornwall, for Barbara Hepworth landscape was formative, multifaceted and constantly stimulating. Her commentary on the subject is extensive, and the exhibition draws on her words and her photographs alongside her sculptures, to give a unique insight into what she was both inspired by, and how she contributed to a perception of landscape. The exhibition contains some of Hepworth's most iconic sculptures including 'Stringed Figure (Curlew)', 'Torso III (Galatea)', 'Oval Form (Trezion)', 'Configuration Phira', 'Summer Dance', 'Sea Form (Porthmeor)', 'Curved Form - Trevalgan', 'Moon Form' and maquette for 'Winged Figure', alongside prints, photographs and ephemera detailing her life long relationship with the landscape. Abbot Hall Art Gallery, Kendal, until 28th September.
Seduced! Fans & The Art Of Advertising offers a fascinating overview of the history of advertising fans. In the days before glossy magazine campaigns and slick TV commercials, brands relied on more humble ways of advertising their wares. From restaurants and perfumeries to haute couture fashion houses, the fan became the promotional tool of choice in the early 20th century. By 1930, even luxury champagne producer Moet & Chandon was producing designs. The exhibition reveals how commercial art - a dynamic, seductive art form - emerged to play a pivotal role in generating and sustaining a culture of consumption among the growing middle classes. Focusing on the interwar period and the aesthetics of Art Deco, the exhibition includes a colourful array of fans made to promote leisure activities such as travel, dining and shopping. Luxury brands are equally well represented with fans advertising champagne, perfume and haute-couture. Many of the fans exhibited feature designs by masters of commercial art including Georges Barbier, Leonetto Cappiello and René Gruau, whose striking pochoir and chromolithographic prints evoke a remarkable age of decadence, glamour and exoticism, revealing how these seemingly innocuous items actually sparked the beginnings of modern consumerist culture. The Fan Museum, 12 Crooms Hill, Greenwich, London SE10, until 28th September.