Private View held by Richard Andrews
Visions Of The Universe charts the development of telescopy, photography and our understanding of our place in the cosmos. The exhibition brings together over 100 images of space, revealing the role that astronomers played in pushing forward the technology of cameras and telescopes, so that we can now see the weather on distant planets, and look past the Milky Way into galaxies beyond. It offers a visual trip through our solar system encountering images of the Moon, Sun, the planets and deep space, before coming back to Earth to a selection of images that reflect our fascination with the night sky. The photographs include the latest cutting edge images captured by NASA, the Russian space programme and some of the greatest telescopes in the world. With views of the aurora on the surface of Saturn, the spectacular clouds of colourful dust in which new stars are forming thousands of light years away, and the dizzying sight of Earth as seen from the International Space Station, the display celebrates the aesthetic beauty of space photography, as well as the scientific discoveries that advances in technology have allowed. In photographs taken from the far side of Saturn, using UV light, infrared and radar, combining cameras and telescopes, astronomers can see vistas that are impossible to discern from earth. The centrepiece is the 'Mars Window' - a 13m by 4m curved wall onto which the latest images beamed back by NASA's Mars Curiosity Rover are projected, creating the impression of looking through a giant window out onto the rocky Martian landscape. Highlights from the past include: the first astronomical image ever taken; Edwin Hubble's 1923 photograph that confirmed the existence of galaxies beyond our own; the 1969 image of the first human to walk on the moon; and the astronomical photograph that helped to prove the General Theory of Relativity. National Maritime Museum until 15th September.
Stradivarius celebrates the life and work of the only maker of musical instruments whose name ranks alongside those of the great composers. This is the first major exhibition devoted to the work of Antonio Stradivari ever to be held in Britain. It puts on show 21 of his most important and well-preserved instruments, some of which have never before been displayed in public, to reveal the brilliance of his craft. These instruments are the finest and most beautiful of their kind, with 11 dating from Stradivari's 'Golden Period', between 1700 and 1720, when he was the height of his creative powers, and making instruments that became the classic models on which later violins and cellos were based. Among the star items are the 'Viotti' violin of 1709, which belonged to the violinist Giovanni Battista Viotti, who did more than anyone to establish the fame of Stradivari's violins in the early 19th century; the 'Batta-Piatigorsky' cello of 1714, played by the great Russian cellist Gregor Piatigorsky; and the 'Messiah' violin, Stradivari's best-preserved and most famous remaining instrument. There is also a recreation of Stradivari's workshop, displaying his original tools, wooden models and patterns, which allow visitors to follow the creation of a violin from a log of spruce wood through to the finished instrument, and to explore the techniques and artistry of violin making. Recordings and interviews with leading musicians provide an opportunity to hear some of Stradivari's instruments that are still being played. There is an accompanying display of paintings, etchings, drawings and photographs, providing background to Stradivari and his instruments. Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, until 11th August.
Patrick Caulfield surveys the work of the British painter known for his iconic and vibrant paintings of modern life, which reinvigorated traditional genres as still life. The exhibition traces the development of Patrick Caulfield's distinctive style. Early on in his career Caulfield rejected gestural brushstrokes for the more anonymous techniques of sign-writers, characterised by flat areas of colour defined by outlines. In the 1970s he began combining different styles of representation, such as trompe-l'oeil, to create highly complex paintings that play with definitions of reality and artifice. This shift coincided with a change in subject matter to topics that directly engaged with the contemporary social landscape and the representation of modern life, and remained his focus for the rest of his career. Over 30 works have been brought together to represent the key moments of Caulfield's career, including popular paintings such as 'Pottery', 'Dining Recess', 'After Lunch' and 'Interior with a Picture'; shown alongside lesser known works such as 'Bend in the Road' and 'Tandoori Restaurant'; as well as later paintings such as 'Bishops', and his final work 'Braque Curtain'.
Gary Hume, running in parallel, offers the chance to see a complementary British painter from a different generation. The exhibition highlights Gary Hume's innovative use of colour, line and surface over the last 20 years. Hume first received critical acclaim in the early 1990s with his large-scale paintings based on hospital doors boldly rendered in high gloss paint. This early focus evolved over subsequent decades to encompass a range of subjects: figures such as mothers and babies, friends and celebrities, as well as images drawn from nature or childhood including flowers, birds and snowmen. The display brings together 24 works in which recognisable forms are sometimes fragmented to near abstraction. The original source image may be left far behind as shapes emerge in the paintings through vibrant areas of colour, whilst lines are articulated as thin ridges of paint that disrupt the surface and the eye. Highlights include iconic early works such as 'Tony Blackburn' and 'Blackbird', as well as major recent paintings such as 'Red Barn Door'.
Tate Britain until 1st September.
The Royal Academy Summer Exhibition is with us again, as it has been every year since 1769 - the usual collection of the good, the bad and the ugly - from amateurs to RA's, proving that popular taste and critical approval find no meeting point. Around 1,250 works covering paintings, prints, drawings, photographs, sculpture, architectural designs and models have been selected from over 11,000 submissions, from 27 countries, for inclusion in the largest contemporary art exhibition in the world. The majority of works are for sale, offering visitors an opportunity to purchase original artwork by both high profile and up and coming artists. Over £70,000 is given out to artists included in the exhibition through 10 prizes. This year the show has been masterminded by Norman Ackroyd and Eva Jiricna. Among the highlights are Grayson Perry's series of 6 contemporary tapestries 'The Vanity of Small Differences', inspired by Hogarth's 'A Rake's Progress'; a room dedicated to portraiture, with new works by Frank Auerbach, Tom Phillips, Michael Craig-Martin and Alex Katz; a new large-scale sculpture by Anthony Caro; and works by Ron Arad, Sean Scully and Jock McFadyen. The Royal Academy of Arts until 18th August.
Blooming Marvellous reveals 400 years of botanical art that helped scientists learn about plants. Before the invention of microscopes, illustrations were an important tool for studying plants, and botanical artists were recruited on early scientific expeditions around the world, to record species never before seen in Europe in drawings, notebooks and paintings. This exhibition features important botanical art, including watercolours, pen sketches and drawings, much of which date back to the 16th and 17th centuries. Among the artists whose works are included are: Sydney Parkinson, a member of Captain Cook's voyage to the South Pacific, who produced 1,000 plant drawings, although he did not survive the return journey; Georg Dionysius Ehret, who developed a new style of illustration that showed the parts of the flower separately and in greater detail, making it easier for scientists to study them, which has been used by botanical illustrators ever since; Franz Bauer, the first paid botanical artist at the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, who is still regarded as one of the most technically sophisticated botanical artists of all time; and Arthur Harry Church, who developed a new style of illustration influenced by the decorative Art Nouveau movement to reveal the intricate internal structures of flowers. In addition, the exhibition includes examples of preserved plants. It also reveals how today, scanning electron microscope can magnifies specimens up to 250,000 times their size, allowing scientists to explore far beyond the reaches of the human eye to help appreciate the scientific value and beauty of plants in an entirely new way. Natural History Museum, Akeman Street, Tring, Hertfordshire, until 18th August.
Poetry In Sound: The Music Of Benjamin Britten (1913 - 1976) explores the literary, political and historical inspirations behind some of greatest works of Britain's foremost composer of the 20th century. Benjamin Britten's compositional output spans almost every musical genre, from opera to string quartets to solo songs. Instantly recognisable, his music is imbued with the spirit of his time and place, yet it transcends cultural and geographical boundaries. This exhibition explores the poetic and literary influences on his distinctive musical sound world, including his creative collaboration with W H Auden, and his settings of texts by such authors as William Blake, Wilfred Owen, Alfred Lord Tennyson, Henry James and William Shakespeare. The display includes Britten's handwritten manuscripts, as well as photographs, letters, first editions and unique sound recordings. On public display for the first time is the draft score of 'The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra', which reveals the fluency with which Britten was able to construct a large-scale work. The manuscript is displayed alongside Wilfred Owen's first draft of his poem 'Anthem for Doomed Youth', one of several Owen poems that Britten incorporated into his 'War Requiem'; a signed manuscript of Britten's adaptation of A Midsummer Night's Dream; and a programme for the first performance of 'Gloriana' at the Royal Opera House in 1953 as part of the official Coronation festivities. Rarely heard sound recordings in the exhibition include an unknown live recording from the first production of 'Paul Bunyan', accompanied by photographs of the little known 1941 production at Columbia University in New York. British Library until 15th September.
Blumenfeld Studio: New York 1941 - 1960 looks at the latter works of one of the most influential, yet one of the least least known, photographers of the 20th century. Having produced an extensive body of work throughout his 35 year career, it was in the USA that Erwin Blumenfeld's humorous, inventive and personal work flourished. This exhibition celebrates the output of his Central Park studio during the Second World War and post-war boom years, including fashion photography, advertising campaigns, personality portraits, 'war effort' propaganda posters and experimental work, which have since been recognised as significant technical achievements in the field. It features over 90 original modern prints, fully restored in colour, original publication clippings and rarely seen fashion films from the early 60s. After fleeing occupied France in 1941 to settle in New York, the German born photographer was immediately signed up by Harper's Bazaar, and after only 3 years of working in the USA, he had become one of the most famous and highly paid photographers in the business. Blumenfeld enjoyed a 15 year collaboration with Vogue, shooting over 50 covers, including portraits of famous models and high society women of the era. He also regularly worked with other fashion magazines such as Cosmopolitan and Life Magazine, as well as producing major advertising campaigns for fashion and beauty clients, including Dior, Elizabeth Arden, Max Factor, L'Oreal and Helena Rubenstein. Highly inventive and often opposing conventional codes, Blumenfeld developed his own idiosyncratic style, using photomontage, solarisation, colour slides and a host of hybrid techniques. From the start of his career, he was very much influenced by the idea of photography as art, wishing to be respected as an avant-garde artist rather than a fashion photographer. Somerset House, until 1st September.
Mary Rose Museum has opened in the same dockyard at which Henry VIII's most celebrated warship was built over 500 years ago, 30 years since the hull was raised from the bottom of the Solent, and 437 years after she sank on 19th July 1545. The Mary Rose is the only 16th century warship on display anywhere in the world, and the museum reunites the ship with many of the 19,000 artefacts raised from the wreck. Designed by Wilkinson Eyre, the building takes the form of a finely crafted wooden 'jewellery box', with the hull at its centre and galleries running the length of the ship, each at a level corresponding to a deck level on the ship. Artefacts are displayed in such a way as to provide an insight into what these decks would have looked like moments before the ship sank, and tell some of the personal stories of life on board. The lives of a carpenter, cook and an archer and other members of crew (including Hatch, the ship's dog) are revealed by unique objects found with them, as well as their own personal belongings. Life on board is shown from the pewter ware of the officers, musical instruments, books, accessories and clothing, through to simple leather sandals, nit combs and even rat bones, as hundreds of objects are laid out to be explored. In addition, through DNA research, precise reconstructions and the careful use of human remains, the harsh reality of Tudor life is brought home, including the skeleton of an archer with the repetitive strain of pulling huge longbows still etched on his bones. Conservation work on the hull is in its final phase in a 'hot box' with fabric ducts directing dried air at exact temperatures across all parts of the hull, which can currently be viewed through a series of windows giving different aspects over, and around, the ship. Once drying is complete, in 4 to 5 years time, the internal walls will be removed and the hull will be viewed through nothing but air. Mary Rose Museum, Portsmouth Dockyard, continuing.
STEADman@77: A Ralph Steadman Retrospective Exhibition celebrates the career (and 77th birthday) of one of the most important British graphic artists of the last 50 years. Ralph Steadman is probably best known for his long collaboration with the writer Hunter S Thompson, most notably providing the illustrations for Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas, and helping to create what has become known as 'Gonzo' journalism. The exhibition of over 100 original works explores the full range of Steadman's output, including his earliest published work from 1956, material from Rolling Stone, Private Eye, Punch, the New Statesman, The Times, the New York Times and the Observer, as well as his illustrated books, Sigmund Freud, Alice In Wonderland, Through The Looking Glass, I, Leonardo, The Bid I Am and Animal Farm. There are atmospheric wine drawings from Oddbins catalogues, savage political cartoons, humanitarian pictures, and some of his charming and funny illustrations for children's books. The show also includes examples of the extinct and imaginary 'boids' he created for his most recent book Extinct Boids, featuring exotic, but now sadly extinct, creatures. The Cartoon Museum, 35 Little Russell Street, London WC1, until 8th September.
In Cloud Country: Abstracting From Nature - From John Constable To Rachel Whiteread is a unique anthology from the 18th to the 21st century that examines what has inspired generations of artists to make observations from nature that lead them to formal or symbolic abstraction. Whether it is atmospheric phenomena, the linear or textural qualities of the botanical world or their political and metaphoric potential, artists' studies from nature offer a breathtaking range of abstractions. These artists have made studies of plants and of land, sea or skyscapes, and then translated what they have seen or felt, into a staggering array of different artistic strategies. The 18th century watercolourist John Sell Cotman uses pencil to capture the dynamism of light falling on trees by a riverbank; the fleeting volumes of cumulous clouds are trapped by John Constable in his intense oil studies; Henry Moore uses the branches of a tree to make vein like traceries of lines; Italian sculptor Giuseppe Penone uses drawing to resurrect the tree that has been subsumed in a domestic plank of wood; and Rachel Whiteread takes a symbol of the Arts & Crafts movement, the Tree of Life, and translates it into a contemporary icon. The exhibition brings together some 60 works on paper by some of the world's most acclaimed artists including Thomas Girtin, Henri Matisse, Edgar Degas, Joan Miro, William Morris, Julian Opie, Chris Ofili and JMW Turner. Harewood House, Harewood, Yorkshire, until 30th June.
Paul Nash showcases works and correspondences by one of the most original British artists of the first half of the 20th Century. Paul Nash captured an age old idea of England, steeped in mystery and magic, in the forward thinking language of modern art. His paintings of rural Britain's standing stones, lonely copses and grassed over forts are full of eerie surrealist expanses, jarring juxtapositions and semi-abstract forms. The exhibition includes Nash's important early wood engravings and etchings, photographs, prints, collage, correspondence and illustrated books. Highlights include 'Tree Group', 'Promenade', 'Dyke by the Road' and 'Garden Pond', wood engravings that demonstrate Nash's importance as one of the leading British landscape artists of the time; 'Tyger, Tyger', a collage depicting a colour engraving of a tiger set against a photograph of a ruin in the Forest of Dean; examples of Nash's most important illustrated books, such as 'Places', 'Genesis', Shakespeare's 'A Midsommer Nights Dreame', 'Mister Bosphorus and the Muses', and 'Urne Buriall and the Garden of Cyrus', many of which are personally inscribed; and personal letters that provides a fascinating and personal view into friendship and artistic patronage in the 1930s and 1940s. Pallant House Gallery, Chichester, until 30th June.
Souzou: Outsider Art From Japan brings together more than 300 works work made by artists who have received little or no tuition, but produce work for the sake of creation alone, without an audience in mind, and who are perceived to inhabit the margins of mainstream society. 'Souzou' has no direct translation in English but a dual meaning in Japanese: written one way, it means creation, and in another it means imagination. Both meanings allude to a force by which new ideas are born and take shape in the world. In this exhibition, Souzou refers to the practice of 46 self-taught artists living and working within social welfare facilities across Japan. The artists have been diagnosed with a variety of different cognitive, behavioural and developmental disorders or mental illnesses, and are residents or day attendees of specialist care institutions. Located within the complex intersections between health and creativity, work and wellbeing, mainstream and marginality, the exhibition is presented in 6 overlapping sections that explore the processes of making, meaning and the larger social and cultural context of Outsider Art in Japan. Language' and 'Making' offer an introduction to some of the characteristics commonly ascribed to Outsider Art; while 'Representation' and 'Relationships' delve deeper into the subject matter represented within the work; and 'Culture' and 'Possibility' question some of the preconceptions about Outsider Art and move towards a wider understanding of its diversity. Wellcome Collection, 183 Euston Road, London NW1, until 30th June.