Private View held by Richard Andrews
Journey Through Japan, is an exhibition of 33 hand painted Victorian lantern slides collected by museum founder Frederick Horniman. These were produced by Japanese photographers for western tourists to take home as a memento of their trip. The images depicted, and the colour palette used by the artists, helped to establish both cultural and visual stereotypes of Japan still prevalent in the west today. The exhibition also includes other lantern slides that depict an alternative and more authentic view, illustrating typical street scenes. The images are accompanied by excerpts from the recently discovered diary of 11 year old Marjorie Bell, who travelled to Japan with her mother and aunt in 1903, visiting many of the places represented in the lantern slides, and recording keen observations of the people she met and the landscapes she saw.
Wrapping Japan explores the culture of wrapping within Japanese society, from fukusa and furoshiki (cloths used in the presentation of gifts) through to examples of traditional wedding and other costumes. The wedding section includes a headdress worn by the bride, tsunokakushi, which translates as 'horn-hider', interpreted as being intended to hide the wife's faults from her husband to be during the wedding ceremony. The costume worn by women at weddings in Japan is based on that of ladies of the court during the Heian period, and the scarlet colour of the bride's under kimono, nagajuban, is said to represent her passion, concealed from view except for the slightest glimpse at the edges. The exhibition also explores kimonos and obi - the sashes worn over a kimono - and the symbolic meaning expressed in the way that they are tied.
Horniman Museum Forest Hill, London SE23, Journey Through Japan until 11th November - Wrapping Japan until 10th February.
Out Of This World: The Art Of Josh Kirby is the first major retrospective of the artist whose speciality was other-worldly characters, creatures, fantasy cities and landscapes. It spans Kirby's career from his early days as a freelance artist, to his cover illustrations for Terry Pratchett and Eric/Faust fantasy books. The exhibition displays his best known work, such as film posters for Star Wars: Return Of The Jedi and Monty Python's Life Of Brian, and the Discworld series of books, alongside the less familiar, including illustrations for Corgi and Panther publishers in the 1950s and 1960s. It provides a unique opportunity to view Kirby's often highly complex paintings un-cropped and in their original format. His heroes and heroines are archetypal fantasy figures, but his scenes are infused with ribald humour. Fantasy art is often associated with airbrushing, but Kirby's works were meticulously hand painted, usually in gouaches or oils, over a period of four to eight weeks.
Unnatural Selection: Jewellery, Objects And Sculpture By Peter Chang is the first time Chang's early and contemporary drawings, prints and sculptures have been presented alongside his jewellery, objects and current sculpture, providing a comprehensive overview of his work. Peter Chang exploits the intrinsic qualities of plastic - its malleability and colour - to make shapes in all sizes, from jewellery to outdoor sculpture. Inspired by many things, from the natural world to the urban environment, Chang uses self devised techniques to combine throw-away everyday acrylic, polyester resin and PVC, with precious metals and other materials, into objects that have a sci-fi feel.
Walker Gallery Liverpool, both exhibitions until 30th September.
Work, Rest & Play explores how artists have responded to changing patterns of work and leisure over the last 400 years. The exhibition features paintings, sculpture and photographs by 25 artists, including Canaletto, Gainsborough, Gauguin, Monet, Maggi Hambling and Renee Green. Giovanni Battista Moroni's 'The Tailor', one of the earliest portraits to show an individual at work, contrasts with L S Lowry's 'Coming from the Mill' where the individual seems lost in the mass labour force of a 20th century industrial city. The development of technology and the changing roles of women are reflected by Joseph Wright of Derby's 'An Iron Forge', painted at the start of the Industrial Revolution, showing the impact of rapid progress, and Laura Knight's 'Ruby Loftus screwing a Breech Ring' recording the contribution of women who took on traditionally male roles during the Second World War, while Ford Madox Brown's 'Work', centred around navvies laying a water pipe in Heath Street, Hampstead, fully captures the vigour of Victorian city life. Contemporary global office culture is depicted in photographs by Lars Tunbjork, which include a Tokyo stockbroker asleep at his desk, and a New York lawyer's office with staff kneeling under the desk - the only spare space in the paper-strewn room. The exhibition suggests that even leisure can be hard work, with Duane Hanson's 'Traveller', an extraordinarily lifelike sculpture of a sunburnt holidaymaker slumped over his luggage as he waits for a flight home, and Manet's 'Corner of a Cafe Concert', which demonstrates how one person's entertainment can depend upon another's work: a man relaxes with his pipe at the bar, where a dancer entertains him and a waitress serves him beer. National Gallery until 14th October.
Warhol: A Celebration Of Life… And Death presents a broad sweep of Andy Warhol's work from the early 1950s to 1986 in a wide range of media - painting, sculpture, drawing, collage, film, photography and installation. It is the most comprehensive retrospective of Warhol's work being staged in Britain to commorate the 20th anniversary of his death. The show includes examples of all of his most iconic works, such as 'Campbell's Soup Can', 'Brillo Box', 'Heinz Box', 'Marilyn', 'Elvis', 'Baseball', 'Coca-Cola', 'Do-It-Yourself' and 'Dance Diagram', but it also spotlights aspects of Warhol's art that are not so well known. Special displays are dedicated to 'Marilyn, Liz, Jackie and Elvis', 'Portraits of the 1970s and 1980s', 'Consumer Products', 'Death and Disaster', 'Skulls', 'Stitched Photographs', and 'War, Death and Religion'. Among the highlights are 'Silver Clouds', a room of floating silver-coloured helium balloons; the 'Skull' series of screenprints made in the same way as his earlier celebrity portraits; a number of Time Capsules; the slowed down 'Screen Tests', in which visitors to the Facory simply had a camera turned on them; and 'White Burning Car III' from the 'Death and Disaster' series, one of which set a new record for Warhol at auction when it was sold for $71.7m at Christies in New York earlier this year. National Gallery Complex, Edinburgh until 7th October.
Picasso On Paper focuses on Picasso's work as a graphic artist, with over 120 drawings, etchings, lithographs, linocuts and woodcuts made over a period of more than seventy years, some well known, but also some never before seen in Britain. The works chart Picasso's constant experimentation and reinvention as an artist, ranging from etchings done in the early 1900s, during Picasso's so-called 'Rose Period', to the Cubist works of the pre-war years, the Surrealist works of the 1920s and 1930s, the colour linocuts of the 1950s and the sexually charged work of his late years. Among the highlights are 'The Frugal Meal', 'Nude', 'Group of Female Nudes', 'Minotauromachie', 'Weeping Woman I', 'Portrait of Dora Maar', 'The Bull', 'Woman in an Armchair No 1 (from the red)', 'Portrait of a Young Girl, after Cranach the Younger II' and 'Still life with a Glass under Lamplight'. A unique opportunity to trace the development of Picasso's extraordinary career in its entirety. Dean Gallery, Edinburgh until 24th September.
Picasso: Fired With Passion concentrates on Picasso's work in ceramics, metalwork, jewellery and photography. It draws upon Picasso's output from 1947 to 1955, during a significant period of his life when he was working at Vallauris in southern France. Over 100 objects reveal the diversity of his work across different media. In addition, personal photographs and mementos, give a sense of both work and life, and his friendships with contemporaries, such as the artists Jean Cocteau and Georges Braque photographer Lee Miller and surrealist painter, poet, and historian Roland Penrose. Highlights include brightly coloured plates decorated with fish and birds, a jug with a stylised female figure, a vase entitled 'Aux Danseuses', a ceramic vase 'Chouette' and a silver platter. National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh until 28th October.
Richard Long: Walking And Marking is a retrospective of the man who has made walking into a form of art, expessing man's relationship with the landscape. For 40 years Long has recorded his perambulations around the world in photographs, maps, drawings and sculptures. Mud, a material that he has used in a number of ways for much of his career, is a major theme of the exhibition. Long has remade three of his large scale mud wall drawings in situ, and the display also features mud dipped works on paper and mud splash drawings. Much of Long's work consists of laying rocks or sticks in lines, circles and spirals in remote locations, such as the Himalayas, the Sahara, Patagonia and Alaska, photographs of which are included in the exhibition, along with maps and texts to convey the idea of his walks. Long has also made work using his own finger and hand prints on tree sections, driftwood, and other materials that he has collected, a number of which are on display for the first time. Long has also made a new large cross-shaped sculpture in Cornish slate in the gardens at the rear of the Gallery. Scottish National Gallery until 21st October.
Temptation In Eden: Lucas Cranach's 'Adam And Eve' is the first exhibition in England devoted to the work of Lucas Cranach the Elder, Germany's greatest Renaissance artist. Eve's temptation of Adam was a subject which was ideally suited to Cranach's gifts as a portrayer of landscape, animals and the female nude, and to which neither Protestant nor Catholic theologians could object, combining devotional meaning with pictorial elegance and invention. Over 50 depictions of this subject survive by Cranach and his workshop, and this is arguably the most beautiful, beguiling and inventive. The painting is particularly admired for its treatment of the human figure and for the profusion of finely painted details, including rich menagerie of birds and animals, and profusion of vegetation. It is shown together with Cranach's associated paintings, possibly painted to be viewed as a group, 'Adam and Eve', 'Apollo and Diana', 'Cupid Complaining to Venus', and 'A Faun and his Family', for the first time in several hundred years. A number of animal studies are also displayed, to show the complex processes that went into transforming these real beasts into their idealised representation. These drawings, together with engravings and woodcuts, offer a unique opportunity to consider Cranach's powers of observation and story telling, as well as his skills as a graphic artist, qualities that also characterise his paintings. A further section of the exhibition examines how the painting was made, revealing changes and refinements introduced during its execution. The Courtauld Institute of Art Gallery at Somerset House, until 23rd September.
Cult Fiction explores the reciprocal relationship between comics and art. Featuring the work of 16 contemporary artists, including Raymond Pettibon and Marcel Dzama, and 12 leading comics artists and graphic novelists, including Killoffer and Posy Simmonds, the exhibition explores links between the two genres. The visual language of comics and graphic novels has influenced many contemporary artists who have used its conventions of pictorial narrative and fusion of word and image. Fine artists Adam Dant, Kerry James Marshall and Olivia Plender have published their own comics, while Glen Baxter and David Shrigley employ a combination of word and image in forms that are reminiscent of popular cartoons. The recurring themes and characters typical of comics iconography can be seen in Laylah Ali's cast of bowling-ball headed characters, while Kerstin Kartscher and Paul McDevitt employ graphic elements from comic book imagery to create works that suggest narrative without using words. The comics artists are mainly from the generation of independent author-draughtsmen whose subject matter tends to be autobiographical, offbeat and sometimes transgressive. In her 'New York Diary', Canadian Julie Doucet portrays herself in vulnerable and compromising situations, exemplifying the comic medium's ability to communicate difficult emotional themes, the realities of life within a war zone are charted in Joe Sacco's 'Palestine', while everyday characters such as R Crumb and Harvey Pekar's file clerk in 'American Splendor' and Daniel Clowes' misfit 'David Boring .../…' become unlikely heroes of everyday tales. Nottingham Castle until 16th September.
Crafting Beauty In Modern Japan celebrates 50 years of the annual Japan Traditional Art Crafts Exhibition, and features some of the most beautiful Japanese art crafts produced in the last half century, ranging from traditional to ultra-modern. Each of the 112 works on display has been created by a different leading artist, many of whom have been designated by the Japanese government as 'Living National Treasures'. The exhibition is divided into six sections, each featuring a different medium: ceramic, textile, lacquer, metal, wood and bamboo, and other crafts, such as cut gold leaf, glass and dolls. Among the highlights are 'Genesis', a highly refined porcelain bowl with vivid, glass-like coloured glazes by Tokuda Yasokichi III, and a rugged stoneware rectangular plate in black Bizen style made by Isezaki Jun; a woven silk kimono 'Path Leading into the Woods' by Murakami Ryoko, and 'Melody' by Matsubara Yoshichi, a design of fans scattered all over the wearer's body, a very modern adaptation of the traditional technique of indigo stencil dyeing; Kuroda Tatsuaki's ornamental red lacquer box with flowing design; Osumi Yukie's vase 'Sea Breeze' in hammered silver, and Nakagawa Mamoru's vase with inlaid stripe design in copper and silver alloy; Katsushiro Soho's basket 'Shallow Stream' in split bamboo, and Nakagawa Kiyotsugu's box decorated with a complex mosaic inlay in ancient sacred cedar wood; and Ishida Wataru's covered glass container with pate de verre, 'White Age (Age 99)'. British Museum until 21st October.
How We Are: Photographing Britain is the first major exhibition to present a photographic portrait of Britain from the invention of the medium to the present day. It includes over 500 images by 100 photographers, with works by celebrated figures such as Julia Margaret Cameron, Roger Fenton, Madame Yevonde, Cecil Beaton, Bill Brandt, David Bailey, Norman Parkinson, Jane Bown, Martin Parr, Elaine Constantine and Tom Hunter, alongside images by less familiar photographers, who have observed and documented the country's street life and landscape, as well as their own lives and obsessions. Portraiture and images of social documentary reveal both the public and private side of British life. Key themes include celebrity portraiture and national heroes, heritage and a longing for the past, Britain's relationship with the land and wildlife, customs and traditions, and the idea of the home. Highlights include portraits by Julia Margaret Cameron of illustrious Britons such as Alfred Lord Tennyson; photographs of Nelson's column under construction by Henry Fox Talbot; Homer Sykes's images of traditional English festivals and eccentric customs; Alfred George Buckham's aerial view of Edinburgh in 1920; the Sassoon family's private album; Percy Hennell's pioneering colour photographs 'British Women Go to War'; Stephen Dalton's dramatic images of suburban garden wildlife; Zed Nelson's portraits of contemporary beauty contests; studio portraits taken by Grace Lau; and Paul Graham's photographs of life on the A1, including service cafes, people, architecture and landscape. Tate Britain until 2nd September.
Art For The Nation traces Britain's long and defining relationship with the sea, reflecting British Maritime heritage, in commerce exploration and empire, as interpreted by the nation's greatest artists. As well as marine painting, subjects cover portraiture, history painting and landscape, treating the themes of encounter, colonialism and global exploration, shipwreck, battle and spectacle, as well as personality and the cult of the hero. Among some 200 paintings are portraits by Joshua Reynolds, whose full length portrait of Augustus Keppel established his career, Thomas Gainsborough's 4th Earl of Sandwich, John Francis Rigaud's Horatio Nelson, George Romney's Emma Hamilton, and Wiliam Hogarth's cabin scene with Lord George Graham; landscapes from William Hodges's '(Cascade Cove) Dusky Bay' and 'A View of Point Venus and Matavai Bay, looking east' from his record of Cook's second voyage in the Pacific, to Canaletto's 'Greenwich Hospital from the North Bank of the Thames'; and marine paintings including Charles Brooking's 'An English Vice-Admiral of the Red and his Squadron at Sea', 'An East Indiaman in a Fresh Breeze' and 'Greenland Fishery: English Whalers in the Ice', Eugene Boudin's 'Trouville, Awaiting the Tide', and William van de Velde the Younger's 'A Dutch Ship Scudding Before a Storm', 'A Royal Visit to the Fleet in the Thames Estuary' and 'An English Ship in Action with Barbary Corsairs'. Queen's House, National Maritime Museum, Greenwich until 2nd September.
Spirit & Life: Masterpieces Of Islamic Art features over 165 rare Islamic painted miniatures, glass, metalwork, jewels, plates, vases and manuscripts (many of which took a lifetime to complete) from the collection of the Aga Khan, never before displayed in Britain. Highlights include: probably the earliest extant manuscript of the Canon of Medicine of Ibn Sina, used in Europe and the Middle East as the standard medical textbook for over 500 years; a folio from the 'Houghton' Shahnama, decorated with 258 miniatures, attributable to almost all of the major Persian artists of the first half of the 16th century, one of the finest illustrated manuscripts of any period; a page from the Blue Qur'an, a wonder of Islamic calligraphy created in the early 10th century; a dervish's begging bowl, from the end of the 16th century, made in the form of a boat, with a wide band of elegant inscriptions in Persian and several bands of floral interlace decoration; an 11th century bird incense burner, a masterpiece of medieval bronze casting, with pierce work decoration; a late 10th century Egyptian lustre jar, decorated with knotting or braiding cables and foliated kufic calligraphy; three folios from the Akhlaq-i Nasiri, a philosophical treatise dealing with ethics, social justice and politics from medieval Iran, uniquely illustrated with 17 full page miniatures; and one of the most sumptuous and rarest examples of a complete robe from the Mongol period, originating in Central Asia in the late 13th or early 14th century. The Ismaili Centre, South Kensington, London until 31st August.