Private View held by Richard Andrews
The Tower Of London is staging a series of events during half term week designed to bring episodes from its history to life. There will be a recreation of the only (nearly successful) attempt to steal the Crown Jewels which took place in 1671. Colonel Thomas Blood, disguised as a clergyman, managed to escape from the Tower with crown, orb and sceptre, but was apprehended just outside the walls. Surprisingly he was not required to return through Traitor's Gate to have his head removed on Tower Hill. Members of the English Civil War Society will be re-enacting pike drills outside the White Tower, and marching through the Tower to stage displays of musket fire in the Moat. Between times they will explain what life was like for soldiers and civilians during the Civil War. Visitors will be able to try on armour and get the feel of period weapons. Tower Of London 21st to 29th October.
Until Now: Mariele Neudecker features the work of one of Europe's most prominent artists, best known for her sculptural landscapes, creating model dioramas installed in tanks, which are so realistic you feel that you could step into them. This exhibition includes a dense woodland glade with sunlight streaming through the mist and snow-capped mountains on the scale you would view them from an aircraft. Neudecker is now venturing into new territory with video installations. "It Was Always Like This" mixes views of a mountain range with falling snow so that the peaks appear and disappear. "Another Day" is a record of the simultaneous events of the rising and setting of the sun over the sea in opposite locations on the globe at Southpoint in Australia and the most westerly island of the Azores. Also on display are a stretched skull sculpture, and an installation simulating a shaft of light from two gothic windows. Ikon Gallery, Birmingham until 12th November.
Rock Style: Music+Fashion+Attitude is the first major exhibition in Britain to chart the influence of rock and pop musicians on style over the last fifty years, ranging from Gene Vincent, through David Bowie and Punk, to the Spice Girls and Puff Daddy. It features iconic outfits such as Elvis Presley's white jump suit, the Beatles Sergeant Pepper uniforms, Madonna's gold bustier and Elton John's platform shoes. Complementing these are classic images by fashion and rock photographers including David Bailey, Art Kane, Mick Rock and Bob Gruen, plus original album covers, vintage style magazines and concert footage and video. There is also a dressing up area where visitors can transform themselves with suits, dresses, wigs, hats and shoes inspired by the exhibition.
The Wilde Years: Oscar Wilde And The Art Of His Time looks at Oscar Wilde's lesser known incarnation of art critic and journalist, and charts his growing prominence as an icon of the Asthetic Movement. It comprises paintings, sculpture, photographs and drawings by contemporaries who interested him, reflected his influence, recorded his presence, knew him as a friend (or enemy), or reflected artistic and social events of the time. The range of work includes a Beebohm cartoon of Wilde, Sargent's portrait of Ellen Terry as Lady Macbeth, Frith's "A Private View At The Royal Academy 1881", Beardsley's Salome, and Epstein's sculpture for Wilde's tomb, which was originally banned as indecent by the French authorities. Barbican Centre Galleries, Rock Style & The Wilde Years until 14th January.
The Wapping Project is a new arts centre created within the former Grade 2* listed Wapping Hydraulic Power Station, opposite the Prospect of Whitby, east of Tower Bridge. Built in 1890 for the London Hydraulic Power Company, its turbines provided the force to lift the safety curtains of West End theatres, power the elevators in Claridges and the National Gallery, and raise and lower Tower Bridge, by pumping millions of gallons of water under high pressure through a system of pipes across London. A £4m project undertaken by the Women's Playhouse Trust (without Lottery funding) has saved the almost derelict building, preserved its industrial heritage, and created a multi use arts space. It opens with Conductor, an installation by Jane Prophet, created by flooding the Boiler Room and hanging 120 electro luminescent cables from a grid on the ceiling, thus linking the building's historic past to a creative future. Amid the preserved machinery in the Turbine House, alongside a performance space, there is a bar and restaurant, the furniture of which forms an exhibition in itself. Installed is a continually changing selection of contemporary furniture which can be tried out, and purchased at exhibition prices. Future plans include a bookshop and further performance spaces. Not quite on the scale of Tate Modern but nevertheless a gem. The Wapping Project, Wapping Wall E1, 020 7680 2080 until 21st December.
Imperfect Beauty: The Making Of Contemporary Fashion Photographs could be considered another milestone on the "Culture Lite" road. An ephemeral industry, which is already treated more seriously than it deserves, receives less scrutiny than it demands. With the phenomenal growth of magazine titles fashion imagery has never been so widely available. In the last decade, the distinctions between editorial and advertising photography as well as fine art and commercial styles have blurred, resulting in unprecedented opportunities for fashion image-makers. This exhibition displays examples of the world of fashion magazines, design of contemporary beauty products and fashion styling and asks "how they did it". First hand interviews with internationally renowned photographers, art directors and stylists feature alongside examples of their work. Contributors include Juergen Teller, David Sims, Melanie Ward, Fabien Baron and Nick Knight reflecting on their inspirations, working practices and perceptions of their industry. Victoria & Albert Museum until 18th March.
South: The Race To The Pole is about the heroic age of Antarctic exploration, from the beginning of the 20th century to the end of the First World War. The exhibition focuses on the five key expeditions of Britons Captain Robert Falcon Scott (Discovery 1901-04 and Terra Nova 1910-13), Sir Ernest Shackleton (Nimrod 1907-09 and Endurance 1914-17), and Norwegian Captain Roald Amundsen (Fram 1910-12). It endeavours to capture the personalities of the explorers, the international rivalry, the extreme hardships they encountered and their elemental struggle against nature in the incredible landscape of Antarctica. There are relics and artefacts, some of which have never been displayed in public before, including Shackleton's Royal Standard, Scott's sledging flag, and a copper tube containing the hand written tribute by Shackleton to the three men who died on his Imperial Transantarctic Expedition. A memorial wall records the British reaction to the death of Captain Scott. National Maritime Museum until 30th September.
Hubble's Universe is a collection of photographs taken by the Hubble Space Telescope, which is in continuous orbit around the earth, about 380 miles, up facing outwards into the depths of space. They give visitors the opportunity to see a cluster of newly formed stars about 1,500 light years away in the Orion Nebula, and a colour-coded image showing Saturn's reflected infra-red light, providing detailed information on its clouds and hazes.
Space And Ocean consists of four islands, where visitors can discover the sea from the bridge of a ship and see the role played by satellites in navigation, as well as learning about aquatic life. They show how observation satellites reveal facts about the oceans, examine the earth's climate, and help to plan the protection of the environment. Other interactive exhibits explain the way in which the sun and the moon affect the behaviour of the sea, and how clouds are created. The Museum Of Science And Industry In Manchester, Hubble's Universe & Space And Ocean until 7th January
Eltham Palace, one of the country's most fabulous and extraordinary homes has been restored to its original 1930's glory of Art Deco with echoes of Cunard ocean liner style. The vision of Stephen and Virginia Courtauld was to link a modern, fashionable and luxurious residence to the Great Hall of a medieval royal palace. Completed in 1936, it contains the latest design ideas of its time, with concealed electric lighting, centralised vacuum cleaning, main rooms linked with internal telephones and a loud speaker system to broadcast music throughout the ground floor. Access to the dining room is through spectacular black and silver doors featuring animals and birds drawn from life at London Zoo. Even more exotic is Virginia Courtauld's vaulted bathroom lined with onyx and gold mosaic, complete with gold-plated bath taps and a statue of the goddess Psyche. The original decorative scheme and custom-built furniture, carpets and soft furnishings have been meticulously restored or recreated. Best seen at this time of year when the main tourist hordes have departed. Eltham Palace, London SE9 continuing.
Star Trek: Federation Science is an exhibition originally created by The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry in conjunction with Paramount Pictures, whose appearance at the venerable Victorian institution that used to be the Science Museum takes its "Science Lite" visitor attraction role to a new level. Using costumes, props and videos made by cast members of various incarnations of the Star Trek franchise, it relates science fiction to science fact. The exhibition is divided into various themed areas, including: The Bridge - where visitors can sit at one of four interactive computer stations solving problems relating to orbits, velocity, navigation and remote sensing, just like Captains Kirk and Picard. Engineering - which examines questions of propulsion, gravity, magnetism and radiation in relation to antimatter, warp drives, cosmic rays, rockets and gyroscopes. The Sick Bay - which looks at the human immune system and the way antibodies react to fight off "invaders", and how the equivalents of a tricorder measure pulse rate, heartbeat and blood oxygen levels. The Transporter Room - where visitors can beam themselves to another world, gain a sense of walking on the Moon, or transform themselves into a Klingon. Members of the Enterprise "crew" will be on hand to guide visitors. This is the method by which the Science Museum hopes to Live Long And Prosper. Science Museum until 22nd April.
The Gadget King: The Drawings Of Heath Robinson is an exhibition of 74 original works by William Heath Robinson, the master of the ramshackle "make do and mend" invention. The focus of the exhibition is machines, both imagined and real, and it is complimented by a specially commissioned 15ft high mechanical musical sculpture by Jonathan Woolfenden. There are black and white drawings and watercolours from all stages of Heath Robinson's career, embracing fairytales, scenes of everyday life, wartime magazine illustrations and ingenious inventions, including the Channel Tunnel as imagined in 1917. A quintessentially British eccentric and national treasure, Heath Robinson's name has entered the language defining "an over-ingenious, ridiculously complicated or elaborate contrivance". Heaton Hall, Manchester City Art Galleries until 29th October.
FaceOn brings together recent work from international photographic artists who explore the relationship between themselves and their subjects in video and installation works, colour photographic tableaux, performance documentation film and family portraiture style. Philip Lorca DiCorcia has photographed the male prostitutes on Santa Monica Boulevard and produced a catalogue of wares. Jennifer Bornstein befriends strangers and takes group snapshots with them. Adam Chodzko offers a video of interviews with now ageing orgy extras from Ken Russell's film The Devils, reflecting on their 15 minutes of fame (and shaving their heads). A symposium with the curators and some of the artists on 25th October will explore issues raised in the exhibition. Site Gallery, Sheffield until 28th October.
Autumn Countryside Celebration will offer an experience of how the countryside used to be. The Weald & Downland Open Air Museum's crop of thatching straw, grown each year to supply local thatchers and to repair the museum's own buildings, will be threshed with steam driven machinery in the traditional way. Twenty pairs of heavy horses, including the museum's own pair of Shires, and fifteen vintage tractors will plough the stubble left by the harvest. There will also be demonstrations of countryside skills and crafts. Set in fifty acres of Sussex countryside the museum comprises a collection of over forty historic buildings dating from the 15th century, many with period gardens, together with farm animals, including rare breeds. There is a working water mill where stone ground flour is produced daily, 16th century market hall, Victorian school, medieval shop and carpenters, plumbers and brickmakers workshops. All the buildings were rescued from destruction, carefully dismantled, conserved and rebuilt to their original form. Weald & Downland Open Air Museum 21st and 22nd October. Children's activities continue through half term week until 27th October.