Private View held by Richard Andrews
China Design Now explores the recent explosion of new design in China, together with the impact of rapid economic development on architecture and design in its major cities. The exhibition captures the dynamic phase as China opens up to global influences, and responds to the hopes and dreams of its new urban middle class. It displays the work of Chinese and international designers, focussing on architecture, fashion and graphic design as well as film, photography, product and furniture design, youth culture and digital media. Around 100 designers are featured, more than 95% of whom are Chinese. The display focuses on three rapidly expanding cities, and their particular design specialities. Shenzhen, a new city born in the 1980s, which is now the nation's centre for graphic design - an industry unknown in China before the 1990s - is shown through experiments with the latest technologies in poster and book design, and the recent wave of new consumer and lifestyle magazines. Shanghai, where consumerism and urban culture have combined to produce a fashion and 'lifestyle' centre, features fashion by Han Feng, Lu Kun, Ma Ke, Wang Wiyang and Zhang Dah, and products aimed at design conscious youth: album covers, skateboards, designer toys, mobile phones, T-shirts and trainers. Beijing, where monumental architecture for the Olympic Games is transforming the skyline, is represented by Herzog & de Meuron's 'birds nest' stadium, Zhu Pei's Digital Beijing information centre, Rem Koolhaas and Ole Scheeren's China Central Television headquarters, and projects by Ma Yansong, Wang Hui, Atelier Deshaus and standardarchitecture. Victoria & Albert Museum until 13th July.
Laura Ford: New Work features the latest pieces by the artist who creates installations that are both magical and macabre, working with a variety of materials, from fabric and other found objects, to more traditional materials such as plaster and bronze. This time, like figures from The Lord Of The Rings, three fairy tale espaliered trees stand in the interior space overlooking the ancient trees of the park and landscape beyond. Cast in bronze, each has human feet and legs, as do two black birds perched nearby. These surreal elements are typical of Ford's work, which always depicts a figure or animal, represented in an unusual and twisted way.
Georgie Hopton: The Three Cornered Hat is a series of works that have drawn inspiration from flowers, which Hopton has grown herself. She photographs, paints and sculpts each image forming groups within the exhibition. Her photographs of flowers are presented in retro style vases, and employ soft lines that detach the objects from reality. Hopton's oval canvases present flowers in a more lavish manner, using decorative, candy coloured shades. Her sculpture, made in clay and then cast in jesmonite, has a cubist feel to it, and is decoratively painted, giving them a feeling of hyper-reality. Each flower is represented through the medium of photography, painting and sculpture. NewArtCentre, Roche Court, Salisbury Sculpture Park until 5th May.
Cranach is the first major exhibition in Britain devoted to Lucas Cranach the Elder, a painter, printmaker and book illustrator with a distinctly individual manner. He was one of the most versatile artists of the German Renaissance, court artist to the Saxon electors, a staunch supporter of the Reformation, and a close friend of Martin Luther. During the course of his long career, Cranach created striking portraits and expressive devotional works, and propaganda for the Protestant cause, as well as his own brand of erotic female nude and inventive treatments of biblical, mythological and classical subjects. He was among the first artists to paint full length portraits, and posessed a nortable skill in psychological characterisation, and thus his likenesses of the personalities of the day have shaped history's conception of them. This exhibition brings together some 70 works, chosen to represent the quality and range of this formerly neglected master. Highlights include portraits of Martin Luther, Cardinal Albrecht of Brandenberg as St Jerome, and the portrait dyptych of John the Steadfast and his Son John Frederick, and the narrative paintings 'The Judgemant of Paris', 'The Beheading of St John the Baptist', 'Adam and Eve', 'The Martyrdom of St Catherine', 'St Helen with the Cross', 'The Golden Age', 'Pieta Beneath the Cross' and the triptych alterpiece 'The Holy Kinship'. Royal Academy of Arts until 8th June.
Science Museum Library and Archives has reopened after a £2.5m reorganisation, which has seen the construction of a new state of the art facility near Swindon, which holds the Library's original works by great scientists and engineers from the 15th century to the present day. The Library's collection on the history and biography of science and technology is held at a revamped space within Imperial College Library at South Kensington. The reopening on two sites secures the long term future for the collection, which was founded in 1883 and currently contains over 600,000 items. Among the priceless treasures that can now be viewed by both scholars and the general public are: a signed copy of the first edition of Albert Einstein's 'General Theory of Relativity'; Sir Isaac Newton's 'Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica', which laid down his theory of gravity; the first Latin translation of 'Ptolemy's Amalgest', which reintroduced theories of astronomy and planetary motion in a geocentric system; the only known copy in the world of Andrew Snape's 'Snape's Purging Pill for Horses: with his Cordial Pouder, and Ointments'; Nasa's final flight plan for Apollo 11 and the first moon landing, signed by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin; the archive of James Watt, spanning subjects from chemistry to Christianity; original drawings by Charles Babbage, whose 'calculating engine' laid the foundation of modern computing; and the papers of Barnes Wallis, including material relating to the Dam Busters 'bouncing bomb'. Science Museum Swindon, Wroughton, Swindon and Imperial College Library, South Kensington, continuing.
Hugh Stoneman Master Printer is a retrospective of a career of over 30 years, during which Stoneman was renowned for his unique collaborations with other artists. Working in dialogue with painters, photographers and sculptors, Stoneman ensured that, through the intrinsic artistic qualities of print media, their work found new relationships between image and material. What made Stoneman unique was the breadth of his experience. An expert in etching, photogravure, woodcut, linocut, letterpress, and lithography, he put the complex knowledge and arcane equipment of the old time master printer - the copper plates, ink, scrim, wool blankets, dampened paper, presses - at the disposal of the most experimental contemporary artists. These ranged from Terry Frost, Patrick Heron, Sandra Blow and Ian McKeever to Eve Arnold, Gary Hume, George Shaw and Grayson Perry, as well as some significant European and Middle-Eastern figures such as Arturo Di Stefano, Cesar Galicia and the Estate of Iraqi politician, Kamil Chadirji. The exhibition revisits some of Stoneman's key collaborations, and showcases his ability to work in an extraordinary range of expressive styles. Stoneman was mainly concerned with portfolios of prints containing sequences of linked images that gather their own inner momentum, likened to 'small but complete, portable exhibitions'. Tate St Ives until 11th May.
The Agony And The Ecstasy: Guido Reni's Saint Sebastians provides a once in a lifetime opportunity to see all together six of the seven St Sebastians painted by Guido Reni in the 17th century. The paintings from Madrid, Genoa, Rome, Ponce in Puerto Rico and Auckland in New Zealand can be seen in one room, alongside one of the best known works in the permanent collection (the seventh is in the Louvre and is too fragile to travel). Reni's paintings of the saint are remarkable as they respond to a religious subject by means of a sexually charged image. He painted several versions of St Sebastian following two main prototypes (or poses), and scholars have long debated the exact relationships between these canvasses. As well as providing the chance to compare and contrast the different versions, the exhibition sets out to establish the provenance of the works, and reveals the results of recent technical analysis, dispelling myths about copies, and also describes significant advances in what is known of early 17th century Italian patronage, painting, and cultural reputations. Dulwich Picture Gallery until 7th May.
Alexander Rodchenko: Revolution In Photography is the first major retrospective of one of the great figures of early 20th century avant-garde art, and one of its most versatile practitioners. After gaining an international reputation as a painter, sculptor and graphic artist, Rodchenko turned to photography in the early 1920s, convinced that it would become the artistic medium of his era. Featuring over 120 original prints and photomontages, together with posters and magazine designs, this exhibition traces the development of Rodchenko's photography over a period of two decades, during which he created many classic works of Russian and world photography. Pioneering a new vocabulary of bold and unusual camera positions, severe foreshortenings of perspective, and close up views of surprising details, Rodchenko's photography balanced formal concerns with an interest in the social and political life of the Soviet Union. Whether making individual portraits, studies of modern architecture and industry, or pictures of mass demonstrations and entertainments, Rodchenko infused his images with a startlingly dynamic point of view that influenced the growth of an experimental aesthetic in European photography of the late 1920s and 1930s. Applying the principles of Constructivism to photography, Rodchenko employed oblique angles, and used bird's eye and worm's eye points of view, to make buildings, people and machines look like abstract compositions. The exhibition explores life on the streets of Moscow, sports parades and the Soviet obsession with healthy body culture, the spectacle of the circus, and portraits of fellow artists. Hayward Gallery until 27th April.
Mona Marzouk: The Bride Stripped Bare By Her Energy's Evil is the first solo exhibition in Britain of the work of the contemporary Egyptian painter, sculptor and installation artist Mona Marzouk. In her work Marzouk tackles universal themes by reassembling varied influences, including architectural histories, mythology, past civilisations and technology. Revealing an ability to easily combine such diverse sources as Egyptian hieroglyphs and Manga comics, she imagines an alternative to cultural difference - a 'hybridised future'. For this exhibition Marzouk has created a new specific installation 'The Bride Stripped Bare By Her Energy's Evil', a dramatic parody of an ailing mother nature. Tackling issues pertaining to energy as the currency of power and life, it comprises two large scale wall paintings, audio elements, and an animated short film. The piece presents a humorously fantastical, but somewhat sinister zone, where fuels, production facilities, animals and architectural landmarks have become metaphorical fusions. An animated quasi-mammal hybrid, with whale like characteristics, lies washed up on an alien shore, its call spreading an ambience of disillusionment, while elsewhere, an unusual crawler with a multitude of limbs seems to have developed a hump that resembles a certain bridge. Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead, until 27th April.
Pompeo Batoni 1708 - 1787 provides an opportunity to rediscover the work of the artist who, in his day, was the most celebrated painter in Rome. For nearly half a century, Batoni recorded international travellers' visits to Italy on the Grand Tour, in portraits that remain among the most memorable artistic accomplishments of the period. Equally gifted as a history painter, his religious and mythological works were acquired by patrons and collectors in Britain and Europe. This exhibition, which marks the tercentenary of Batoni's birth, is the first comprehensive presentation of his paintings in forty years. It provides an appreciation of the artistic achievement of 'Italy's Last Old Master,' through 62 of the finest examples available in the public and private collections. Batoni's status as Rome's most sought after painter of both portraits and history paintings, is demonstrated by works never previously publicly exhibited, as well as newly discovered and recently restored works. Highlights include portraits of 'Colonel the Hon William Gordon', 'Sir Gregory Page-Turner, 3rd Bt', 'Sir Humphry Morice', 'Sarah, Lady Fetherstonhaugh', 'Sir Matthew Fetherstonhaugh', 'Sir Watkin Williams-Wynn, 4th Bt, Thomas Apperley, and Captain Edward Hamilton'; the religious paintings 'The Ecstasy of St Catherine' and 'Bernardo Tolomei Attending a Victim of the Black Death'; and the mythological works 'The Death of Meleager' and 'Truth and Mercy'. National Gallery until 18th May.
Breaking the Rules - The Printed Face Of The European Avant Garde 1900 - 1937 explores the creative transformation that took place in Europe during the first four decades of the 20th century - a revolution that encompassed visual art, design, photography, literature, theatre, music and architecture. Between 1900 and 1937 the avant garde consisted of a series of overlapping movements, such as Cubism, Expressionism, Futurism, Dadaism, Constructivism and Surrealism. Because of its very nature, the avant garde was denied traditional modes of communication and exhibition, so participants became adept at finding alternative outlets, publishing their own manifestos, poetry, magazines and books, and creating new genres, such as the artist's book and the photo-book. These frequently employed innovative design and typography, still influential today. Such groups were often synonymous with specific magazines and this period was the last one in which the printed format was the primary mode for communicating information; film and broadcasting were ready to take over. This exhibition focuses on the printed work of avant-garde participants, demonstrating its importance to the various groups, and the way in which printed works helped to disseminate information and ideas internationally. The British Library, until 30th March.
Marcel Broodthaers is the most comprehensive exhibition of work by the renowned Belgian artist to be seen in Britain for nearly 30 years. Marcel Broodthaers was a poet, photographer, film maker and artist, and throughout his career challenged the role of the artwork, the artist and the art institution. Considered to be one of the most important artists of the last century, Broodthaers' work and thinking is highly influential on many artists working today. His art lay in the evocative cross associations set up by combining disparate objects, texts and drawings, in ways that made the mundane mysterious. This exhibition explores the diversity of Broodthaers' practice including books, editions, objects, 'assemblage sculptures', projections and paintings. It features several works never seen in the UK before, including his first artwork, 'Pense Bete', which addresses his enduring concerns about form and language and the construction of meaning. The highlight of the show is 'Miroir d'Epoque Regency', comprised of twelve different 'sections', founded with the 19th century section in his Brussels house. The mirror reflects the gallery and viewer back on themselves, questioning the role of the institution and the visitor within it. The exhibition also includes examples of his renowned shell works - mussels and eggs - as in 'Grande Casserole de Moules', and '289 Coquilles d'Oeufs'. The egg and mussel shell became a recurrent symbol in Broodthaers's work as a means of questioning the social function of the artwork - as Broodthaers announced "Everything is eggs. The world is eggs". (Funny, I thought that was Patricia Hayes in the 1950s Tony Hancock egg commercials.) Milton Keynes Gallery until 30th March.
Weapons Of Mass Communication: War Posters explores the relationship between advertising, publicity and government propaganda and policy, from the First World War onwards. The exhibition examines how the greatest designers and advertisers of the day tried to influence the wills of soldier and civilian alike. In the early part of the 20th century, the best posters were always striking, memorable, direct and often beautiful, but they served to carry the most potent of government messages. By the latter part of the 20th century, the poster had become a significant tool of protest and counter-culture, with shocking and sometimes satirical protest posters used by Peace, anti-Nuclear and anti-Vietnam campaigners. The exhibition includes some 300 works, from the iconic images of Alfred Leete's Lord Kitchener recruitment poster, and Savile Lumley's 'Daddy, what did YOU do in the Great War?', and previously unseen works by pioneering German graphic artists such as Julius Gipkens, Ludwig Hohlwein and Abel Faivre, through Spanish Civil War posters by artists Pedrero and Josep Renau, and the different approaches and themes adopted by each of the allies and Germany during the Second World War, to landmark protest works, such as 'Stop Nuclear Suicide' by FHK Henrion and Peter Kennard's 'No Cruise Missiles Here', and the influential, contemporary graphics of Leon Kuhn and David Gentleman. Imperial War Museum until 30th March.