Private View held by Richard Andrews
The Future Is Here examines the sweeping changes in manufacturing that are transforming the world. New manufacturing techniques involve the users of products as never before, revolutionising the role of the consumer. How we manufacture, fund, distribute, and buy everything from cars to shoes is progressing fast. The boundaries between designer, maker and consumer are disappearing, with a growing movement of 'hacktivists', who share and download digital designs online in order to customise them for new uses. The exhibition looks at what exactly drives innovation, and how it can lead to increased productivity and economic growth. It reveals how the new industrial revolution has the potential to affect everyone, radically altering our attitudes to the pace of change driven by new technology. Emerging technologies and platforms such as crowd funding, social networking digital looms, online marketplaces, 3D printing, nanotechnology, biotech, networked manufacturing, CNC [computer numerical controlled] routing and open-source micro computing, are all removing the barriers of access to manufacturing. It is the role of designers and the design process to participate in exciting new technologies, so that more people than ever before can take part in the production of our physical world. Mass customisation is a central story: from trainer manufacturers offering personalised shoes on a global scale, to 3D printed dolls with features that consumers can design and order online. A carbon loom invented by Lexus to weave car parts such as steering wheels and dashboards from strong carbon fibre is represented, and other exhibits include an open-source approach to architecture, the WikiHouse. The exhibition includes the first 'Factory' of its kind, where visitors can discover how 3D printing works and witness live production. Design Museum, 28 Shad Thames, London SE1, until 3rd November.
Turner & Constable Sketching From Nature explores how the art of oil sketching in the landscape, rather than in the studio, became fashionable in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. The exhibition comprises some 60 works by JMW Turner, John Constable and their contemporaries, George Stubbs, John Linnell, William Henry Hunt, John Sell Cotman, John Crome, Francis Danby, Thomas Jones, George Robert Lewis and Augustus Wall Callcott. The display gives an insight into the different approach each artist used for oil sketching, illustrating a variety of approaches similar subjects, at a time when oil sketching en plein air was still comparatively unusual. It introduces visitors to the practice and techniques of sketching, and the often surprising connections that can be drawn between the artists involved. These comparisons prompt questions about the importance of oil sketching in this period and how finished works were planned, evolved and executed. The oil paintings represent six principal landscape themes: sketching from nature; the closer view; water, shapes and silhouettes; the shapes of landscape; rural nature and looking heavenwards. Highlights include Turner's 'The Thames near Walton Bridges', 'Godalming from the South' and 'Barge on the Tiver, Sunset'; and Constable's 'The Grove, Hampstead', 'Hampstead Heath, with the House Called The Salt Box' and 'The Sea near Brighton'. Compton Verney, Warwickshire, until 22nd September.
War Games looks at the role of warfare in children's play from 1800 to the present day. The exhibition investigates how toys recreate and represent war, and asks why children play war games. War has always been replicated in children's play with toys and games often reflecting contemporary conflict and technology. They have also been used as tools of propaganda, as well as to instil a sense of militarism and nationalism in children. Over 100 objects examine the effect of war and conflict on toys and games through four thematic sections: Playing At War, with historic dressing up clothes, a range of toy weapons and strategy games, illustrating that children create pretend guns despite disapproving parents and teachers; On The Battlefield, providing a chronological overview of combat, exploring how toys have imitated the changing technology of weaponry, new geographies of war zones and the creation of new armies; Reality To Fantasy, looking at the change that came in the aftermath of the World Wars, when exposure to the brutality of war led to public distaste for war toys and manufacturers looked to the space race of the 1950s and 1960s, and its absorption into popular culture, leading to space rangers and ray guns; and Secret Weapons, revealing the use of toys in warfare - to train and influence, to comfort and heal, and to aid escape, questioning the role of war toys as tools of propaganda or patriotism. Museum of Childhood, Cambridge Heath Road, Bethnal Green, London E2, until 9th March.
Richard Rogers RA: Inside Out explores the ideas and ethos of the internationally renowned architect and urbanist at his 80th birthday. The exhibition examines the social, political and cultural influences on Richard Rogers, and their connection to his architecture. Previously unseen original material, drawings and personal items, present a unique insight into the thinking behind one of the world's most celebrated architects. The exhibition draws on key stages in Rogers' life, from the influence of his Italian family, his experience of wartime and post-war Britain, his education at the Architectural Association and Yale, and the impact of seeing new American architecture and technology. For over half a century, Rogers has advocated the social objectives of architecture, the importance of public space, urban regeneration and better planning, through innovative design, believing that architecture is the most powerful agent for social change. The high profile projects showcased include the Centre Pompidou, designed with Renzo Piano and still considered one of the most radical modern buildings, the headquarters for Lloyd's of London, and the Bordeaux Law Courts.
Sir Hugh Casson PRA: Making Friends explores the multifaceted artistic personality of one of Britain's most popular architects of the 20th century, revealing a spirited and significant contribution to British architectural life from a man of great wit and charm. Sir Hugh Casson bridged the often acrimonious gap in art and architecture between traditionalists and modernists, drawing Britain into the modern age, most notably as Director of Architecture of the 1951 Festival of Britain. The display brings to life Casson's charismatic personality, featuring watercolours, sketches, architectural drawings, publications, children's' books, images of his buildings, illustrated letters, photographs and memorabilia. Highlights include the transformation of aircraft hangars into rural buildings for the Air Ministry's Camouflage Service during the Second World War; stage designs for theatre and opera, many for Glyndebourne; and illustrative work, such as Midwinter Pottery, stamps and wine labels. In a short film, Brief City, Casson offers a personal tour of the Festival of Britain.
Royal Academy of Arts, Richard Rogers until 13th October ~ Hugh Casson until 22nd September.
Exultant Strangeness: Graham Sutherland Landscapes examines one of the great British landscape painters and, during the 1940s and 1950s, one of its most famous artists. Initially inspired by the visionary landscapes of 18th and 19th century artists such as William Blake and Samuel Palmer, Graham Sutherland transcended his influences to create a vocabulary that was uniquely his own. This exhibition reveals the power of Sutherland's imagination and demonstrates the diverse ways in which he transformed his experience of his environment. Central to Sutherland's conception of the landscape was the 'accidental encounter' - the small-scale natural forms, such as tree roots, stones or foliage, that he would stumble upon by chance and work up into new creations. At the same time, he might also take a wide, open landscape and make it feel enclosed and self-contained as if it were an object. The exhibition features striking, otherworldly landscapes from throughout Sutherland's career: early, meticulous etchings which owe a debt to masters such as Rembrandt, Whistler and Palmer, the fluid drawings and iconic paintings from the 1930s and 1940s with their haunting forms, sinuous lines and daring compositions, and the mysterious late landscapes, rich in colour and often monumental in scale. Among the highlights are 'Entrance to a Lane', 'Green Tree Form', 'Western Hills', 'Narrow Road between Hedges', 'Welsh Landscape with Roads', 'Bamboo Forest' and 'Rocky Landscape with Sullen Sky'. Abbot Hall Art Gallery, Kendal, until 15th September.
Laura Knight Portraits features the work of an artist whose portraits show a distinctive picture of 20th century Britain. The exhibition includes commissioned portraits by Laura Knight alongside those made with members from specific social groups such as circus performers, Gypsies, the ballet and war portraits. Knight began work as a resident in the artists' community at Newlyn, Cornwall, en plein air in an Impressionist style. Sitters there include the artist Lamorna Birch and poet W H Davies, and she also produced her idiosyncratic 'Self Portrait', in which she has her back to the viewer, painting her friend, the ceramicist and enamellist Ella Naper, posing as a nude model. In the 1920s Knight became famous for her backstage depictions of actors and dancers at the Ballets Russes and London theatres, including ballerina Lydia Lopokova and actress Gwen Ffrangcon-Davies. In Baltimore, USA, she worked in the racially segregated hospital wards, making drawings of the patients, including highly sensitive drawings of the children she met there. In the following decade Knight travelled for several months with Bertram Mills and Great Carmo's touring circus painting the performers in and out of the ring. She then spent a number of years painting Gypsies at the Epsom Races and was invited to a Gypsy settlement in Iver, Buckinghamshire. During the Second World War Knight produced portraits of female members of the auxiliary air force and munitions workers, aimed to attract further female recruits, featuring women who had achieved particular distinction in their field or decoration for great acts of courage. Knight's painting of the Nuremberg Trials is one of her most remarkable achievements, the multi-figure scene representing the view from the press box in the courtroom. National Portrait Gallery until 13th October.
Mexico: A Revolution in Art 1910 - 1940 examines an intense period of artistic creativity that took place in Mexico following the turmoil of the revolution between 1910 and 1920, which led to a period of profound political change in which the arts were placed centre stage. Under state-sponsored schemes, artists were employed by the Ministry of Education to further the political aims of the revolution. Art was embraced as symbolic of the inherent creativity and industry of the nation and was, therefore, seen as representative of the principles of the revolution. Mexico attracted large numbers of significant international artists and intellectuals who engaged with the political changes taking place, and responded to the rich and varied country they found on arrival there. For many, Mexico was an unspoilt land rich with history, stunning scenery and a diverse population that heralded a sense of discovery and a promise of adventure. The exhibition of over 120 paintings and photographs, places work by significant Mexican artists alongside that of individuals who were affected by their experiences in Mexico. These include David Alfaro Siqueiros, Josef Albers, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Philip Guston, Marsden Hartley, Henrietta Shore, Paul Strand, Leon Underwood and Edward Weston. Highlights include Roberto Montenegro's 'Mayan Woman', Diego Rivera's 'Dance in Tehuantepec', Tina Modotti's 'Workers Reading El Machete', Clemente Orozco's 'Barricade', Edward Burra's 'El Paseo', Jose Chavez Morado's 'Carnival in Huejotzingo', Robert Capa's 'Women in truck with banners supporting presidential candidacy of General Manuel Avila Camacho, Mexico City', and a self-portrait by Frida Kahlo. Royal Academy of Arts until 29th September.
Magical Books: From The Middle Ages To Middle-earth features the work of five celebrated authors of children's fantasy literature: C S Lewis, J R R Tolkien, Susan Cooper, Alan Garner and Philip Pullman. The exhibition offers an access to authors' private papers, and original manuscripts, many of which have not been seen in public before. Highlights include a selection of Tolkien's original artwork for The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings; the manuscript of 'The Fall of Arthur', a previously unknown (and uncompleted) epic poem by Tolkien on the Arthurian legend; C S Lewis's 'Lefay notebook' and his map of Narnia; plus some of the books and manuscripts that contain the myths, legends and magical practices that these authors used for research and from which they freely drew inspiration, including a First Folio of Shakespeare's Macbeth, the 'Ripley Rolls', which illustrate the quest for the life-prolonging philosophers' stone; mediaeval demonic spellbooks; Grimoires and richly illuminated mediaeval bestiaries; Philip Pullman's alethiometer or truth telling sphere; one of Alan Garner's original 'owl service' plates; and a variety of magical objects, such as a 17th century marble copy of the 'Holy Table', which John Dee used to converse with angels. Bodleian Library, Oxford, until 27th October.
Collecting Gauguin: Samuel Courtauld In The '20s provides an opportunity to see the entire collection of Post-impressionist works assembled by the pioneering collector. Samuel Courtauld was one of the very few early collectors to assemble a major group of works by Paul Gauguin in Britain. This exhibition features major paintings and works on paper as well as one of only two marble sculptures ever created by Gaughan, plus two important works formerly in Courtauld's collection that now reside elsewhere. Among the highlights are 'The Haystacks', an outstanding example of Gaughan's work in Brittany; the exceptionally rare marble portrait of his Danish wife Mette; the Noa Noa series of prints, in which Gauguin hoped to explain his works to a Western audience; 'Martinique Landscape', a large work dating from the months that Gauguin spent on the French colonial possession in the Caribbean, its rich colours and exotic subject matter foreshadowing his journeys to Tahiti; 'Nevermore', exemplifying Gauguin's search for a mythic Polynesian paradise; 'Bathers at Tahiti', two nude bathers in an exotic landscape of fiery hues, painted on Gauguin's second trip to Tahiti; 'and 'Te Rerioa' the family group hailed as Gaughan's masterpiece. The Courtauld Initute Of Art, London, until 8th 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.
Silver Service provides an opportunity to experience the unique culture of fine dining in Roman Britain in an intimate recreation of a late Roman dining room. The Mildenhall hoard is one of the most important collections of late-Roman silver tableware from the Roman Empire. This display features the iconic Great Dish, and reveals its central role at the very heart of the Roman meal. Made in AD 350, this glorious silver platter is exquisitely decorated with classical imagery that features a drinking contest between Bacchus, the god of wine, and the hero Hercules. A slice of late Roman life is recreated through video projections, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in an era where music, poetry, acrobats and dancing girls entertained the richest in society. It was an age where each Roman's status was reflected in their position at dinner, from the standing slaves to the elite reclining on stibadium (curved couches). The Great Dish is accompanied by two silver platters; with Bacchic scenes related in style and subject to the dish; decorated silver spoons; silver ladles decorated with dolphin handles; a silver dish with niello decoration; and 3 silver bowls, with chased leaf and geometric patterns, and animals in hunting and pastoral scenes. The curious drama of the discovery 70 years ago of the Mildenhall treasure in a Suffolk field inspired Roald Dahl to write his celebrated story and adds to its rich mythology. British Museum until 4th August.
Geoffrey Farmer: The Surgeon And The Photographer is the first showing of this installation in its completed form. Constructing 365 hand-puppets from book images clipped and glued to fabric forms, Geoffrey Farmer has populated the gallery with this recently completed puppet calendar 'The Surgeon and the Photographer'. In 2009, on a rumour that a well known second-hand book store in Vancouver would soon be closing, Farmer acquired several hundred books, which he used to create the collaged forms. The figures are arranged in small and large groups, suggesting crowds or processions, portraits of days and months through the 90m long space. Each puppet is an individual character, with its own story, created in its own way - one a sketch come alive, another, an animated statue - and viewed from different angles they reveal different moods. At the end of the gallery, Farmer projects a newly commissioned, computer-controlled montage, 'Look in my Face; my name is Might-have-been; I am also called No-more, Too-late, Farewell….'. The montage is comprised of selected whole images, before being cut to construct the figures. The images are matched to a sound library and organised by both chance and predetermined categories. Farmer's process-orientated approach, which is both intuitive and research-based, draws on storytelling, dreams, popular culture, literature and theatre, influenced by the sculptural, collage and assemblage traditions of Hannah Hoch and Robert Rauschenberg. The Curve, Barbican, London until 28th July.