Private View held by Richard Andrews
Images And Sacred Texts: Buddhism Across Asia explores the 'three jewels' of Buddhism through sacred texts, painted scrolls and sculptures. The exhibition focuses on the institutional and organisational core of Buddhism, the 'three jewels', consisting of the Buddha himself, his teachings, and the monastic community. These are found wherever Buddhism is practiced, and have been represented in a paintings, sculptures, texts and manuscripts that reflect and perpetuate their qualities. The objects on display include exquisite gold sculptures of the Buddha, beautiful texts on palm leaf and paper, and a selection of images of Buddhist monks. They originate from the whole Asian continent, including Mongolia, India, Tibet, China, Thailand, Cambodia, Korea and Japan and date from the 2nd century AD to the 20th century. The exhibition reveals the remarkable similarities between visual and written material throughout Asia, from Sri Lanka to Japan, over this period. It examines the Buddha's life and illustrates how Buddhism is based on his teachings, provides an introduction to Bodhisattvas (individual beings who have the potential to become Buddhas), looks at the way the Buddhist tradition perpetuated its sacred texts in different media, and examines the monastic community responsible for the preservation and transmission of the Buddha's teaching. Many of these objects have never been on display before, and due to the fragility of the paintings and texts, some items in the display will be changed halfway through the exhibition run. British Museum until 3rd April.
Gods And Monsters: John Deakin's Portraits Of British Artists pairs iconic portraits of British artists by the legendary Vogue photographer, with major paintings by each artist, providing a unique view of early post-war British art and London's artistic bohemia. John Deakin began his career as a photographer with Vogue but, despite achieving recognition for the photographs he took there, he never took it seriously and never expected it to make him a living - and his bad behaviour was legendary. Deakin yearned to be a painter like his friends Francis Bacon, Robert Colquhoun, Lucian Freud and Michael Andrews, all of whom he photographed. In turn, Andrews and Freud both painted his likeness. Deakin was a celebrated part of the artistic circle that convened in the pubs and clubs of Soho. Portraits in this exhibition are drawn largely from a portfolio commissioned by Vogue of 12 contemporary artists in 1951 and 1952, along with other portraits of painters and sculptors made by Deakin for the magazine at various times throughout his career. Deakin's photographs, typically tightly-cropped headshots often greater than life-size, make no concessions to vanity. After pushing the contrast in his prints to its maximum, every pore and blemish is exposed in intimate close-up. Artists and subjects featured include: Michael Andrews, Frank Auerbach, Francis Bacon, Robert Colquhoun, John Craxton, Lucian Freud, William Gear, Barbara Hepworth, Patrick Heron, Robert Macbryde, Robert Medley, John Minton, Eduardo Paolozzi, John Piper, Alan Reynolds, Ceri Richards, Leonard Rosoman, William Scott, Graham Sutherland, William Turnbull and Keith Vaughan. Pallant House Gallery, Chichester, until 10th January.
Winter Wonderland, set between Hyde Park Corner and the Serpentine, is the ultimate winter theme park experience. The 20 acre site features London's largest outdoor ice rink - created with 130,000 litres of frozen water, weighing 130 tonnes - able to accommodate up to 400 skaters at a time, with ice guides to help beginners; a toboggan slide; a haunted mansion; an ice palace mirror maze; a traditional Christmas Market, with over 50 separate wooden chalets, offering arts, crafts, presents and foods; numerous cafes and bars serving traditional food and mulled wine; a 50m observation wheel providing a panoramic view of London above the park; a big top presenting Zippo's Circus with a special 50 minute Christmas themed show and Winter Cirque featuring a Wheel of Death a final Battle of Fire; Carter's Steam Fair traditional rides and attractions; thrill rides including Power Tower, Rollercoaster, Black Hole and Ice Monster; a ski jump and snow ride; and a selection of gentler amusement rides for younger children; plus Father Christmas in his own Santa Land. To add to the atmosphere, the trees along Serpentine Road sparkle with thousands of Christmas lights highlighting the natural beauty of Hyde Park. Entrance to the Winter Wonderland site is free, with fees for individual attractions. Hyde Park, 10am-10pm daily (except Christmas Day) until 4th January.
Evolving English: One Language, Many Voices is the first ever exhibition exploring the English language from Anglo-Saxon runes to modern day rap. Driven by developments in religion, politics, technology, economics and culture, English today is spoken by a third of the world's population. This is a unique opportunity to see and hear its evolution from a language spoken on a small island to a global language spoken by 1.8bn people. From Chaucer's Canterbury Tales to Papua New Guinea Pidgin, the exhibition examines where the language is now, where it has come from and where it is heading. It is a 1,500 year history told through the literary canon, looking beneath the tip of the linguistic iceberg at comics, adverts, text messages, posters, newspapers, trading records and dialect recordings that make up the bulk of the English language. The new varieties of the language appearing in world literature and on the internet show that this story is by no means over. Among the 130 items on display are: the earliest surviving copy of the poem Beowulf; the 11th century Anglo-Saxon Chronicle; Recuyell of the Historyes of Troye, the first printed book in English, translated and printed by William Caxton; Captain John Smith's A True Relation, a contemporary description of the first permanent English colony in America; Thomas Hoccleve's The Regiment of Princes poem written for the future king Henry V; an original 17th century King James or 'Authorised Version' Bible; the Victorian Modern Flash Dictionary, which listed popular slang; the original Riot Act; BBC Broadcast English, codifying the correct pronunciation for use on radio in 1929; and Charles C Bombaugh's 1867 poem 'Essay to Miss Catharine Jay', which includes the phrase 'I wrote 2 U B 4'. British Library until 3rd April.
White And Silver: Whistler And The Thames examines the American artist's engagement with the river Thames, in paintings, lithographs, drawings and etchings. This exhibition explores James McNeill Whistler's depictions of the river, from the direct observations of working life in the early etchings, to the innovative paintings in which he drew out a previously unseen beauty from the city's smog-bound industrial landscape. In 1863 Whistler, moved to a house on the riverside at Chelsea, which became his main home for almost 30 years. The Thames was a constant part of his daily life and became a major subject for his art. Throughout his life Whistler was preoccupied by cities and their rivers and canals, notably Venice and Amsterdam, exploring the architecture of the waterside and the shipping and bridges of the waterways. But it was the Thames and its docks and industrial shores that stimulated some of his most important works, from the daringly modern depictions of the working river in the Thames Set of etchings, to the poetic night time views of the Nocturne paintings. The exhibition centrepiece is 'Blue and Silver: Screen with Old Battersea Bridge', which is shown alongside the closely related 'Nocturne: Blue and Gold - Old Battersea Bridge' for the first time in over 40 years. Other highlights include: 'London: A Pilgrimage', 'Thames Warehouses', 'Battersea Reach from Lindsey Houses', 'The Tall Bridge' and 'The Thames'. Whistler's depictions of the river occupy an ambivalent position, neither seeming to be overtly nostalgic for a way of life that was disappearing along the river, nor an advocate of progress and modernisation or social change. Huntarian Art Gallery, Glasgow, until 8th January.
High Society explores the role of mind-altering drugs in history and culture, challenging the perception that drugs are a disease of modern life. Mind-altering drugs have a rich history and have been used variously as medicines, sacraments, trade goods, and routes to the divine or creative muses. The exhibition examines the subject in 5 areas: A Universal Impulse records the common drive to incorporate psychoactive substances into everyday lives; From Apothecary To Laboratory traces the path from the earliest folk remedies through the laboratories of the early 19th century to the garden shed where MDMA (ecstasy) was synthesized; Self Experimentation follows both scientists' and artists' experience of drugs as they looked for different kinds of enlightenment; Collective Intoxication explores communal drug rites from tribal ritual to mass protests; The Drugs Trade focuses on the often violent global passage of drugs; and A Sin, A Crime, A Vice Or A Disease? surveys the temperance and prohibition movements that created the framework for the current drug laws. Over 200 exhibits on display include Samuel Taylor Coleridge's handwritten 'Kubla Khan' manuscript, allegedly written following an opium dream; NASA experiments with intoxicated spiders; a 17th century account by Captain Thomas Bowrey describing his crew's experiments with bhang, a cannabis drink; an 11th century manuscript with poppy remedies written by monks in Suffolk; and a hallucinogenic snuff set collected in the Amazon by the Victorian explorer Richard Spruce. The exhibition also features contemporary art pieces exploring drug use and culture, including Tracy Moffat's 'Laudanum' portrait series; a recreation of the 'Joshua Light Show' by Joshua White, who created psychedelic backdrops for Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin; and an installation work by Huang Yong Ping. Wellcome Collection, London, until 27th February.
Titanic: The Artefact Exhibition showcases more than 300 artefacts retrieved from wreck of the RMS Titanic over one and a half miles below the surface of the North Atlantic. The exhibition takes visitors on a journey through the life of the White Star Line ship. It touches on every important aspect of the Titanic's story, from construction, launching, and life on board, through the tragic sinking and dramatic rescue of over 700 people, to the discovery of the ship 73 years later, and the innovative recovery and conservation of some 5,500 objects made over the 25 years since then. The exhibition has been created with a focus on the Titanic's human stories, told through authentic artefacts and re-creations of the ship's decks, first and third class cabins, cargo hold and boiler room. Delicate bottles of perfume, china and crystal decanters bearing the logo of the White Star Line, the bell that hung over the crow's nest, the telegraph used to relay orders from the bridge to the engine room, a Gladstone bag and other items of luggage, and many other objects collected from the wreck site, offer poignant connections to lives abruptly ended or forever changed by one of the world's greatest maritime tragedies. 14 of the artefacts on view are on display for the first time, their conservation having only just been completed. There is also video footage of this summer's expedition when scientists were mapping the wreck site. A gallery is devoted to the stories of passengers and crew with a London connection, ranging from fashion designer Lady Duff Cooper to stewardess Violet Jessop. The O2 Bubble, Greenwich, until 1st May.
Shadow Catchers: Camera-less Photography features works by contemporary artists who use the principles of photography but work without a camera. The essence of photography lies in its seemingly magical ability to fix shadows on light-sensitive surfaces, but these artists create images on photographic paper by casting shadows and manipulating light, or by chemically treating the surface of the paper. They are always 'an original' because they are not made from a negative. Floris Neususs has dedicated his career to extending the practice of the photogram process, and his works deal in opposites: black and white, shadow and light, movement and stillness, presence and absence, and in the translation of three dimensions into two. Pierre Cordier uses the chemigram process, applying photographic developer to the paper to create dark areas and fixer for lighter tones, further changing the patterns and effects by adding products such as varnish, wax, glue, oil, egg and syrup. Garry Fabian Miller makes abstract images in the darkroom, using only glass vessels filled with liquids, or cut-paper forms to cast shadows and filter light, with many of his works exploring the cycle of time over a day, month or year, through experiments with varying durations of light exposure. Susan Derges makes photograms of water, using the landscape at night as her darkroom, submerging large sheets of photographic paper in rivers and using the moon and flashlight to create the exposure. Adam Fuss's work concerns the discovery of the unseen, dealing with time and energy rather than material form, and as well as mastering numerous historic and modern photographic techniques, he has developed an array of symbolic or emblematic motifs. Victoria & Albert Museum until 20th February.
The Glasgow Boys: Drawings And Watercolours is a selection of works by the informal grouping of artists who were inspired by progressive French painting, and produced some of the most decorative and adventurous painting in Scotland at the end of the 19th century. The group of around 20 artists became known as the 'Glasgow Boys', whose leading figures, James Guthrie, George Henry, E A Hornel, John Lavery, Arthur Melville, James Paterson and E A Walton, treated watercolour and pastel as mediums just as noble as paint. The 80 works on display feature drawings and watercolours that mainly belong to the second half of the artists' careers, when their early interest in rustic realism had been replaced by a commitment to decorative and aesthetic effect, and a wider range of subject matter. Highlights include James Guthrie's 'To Pastures New' and 'The Hind's Daughter', George Henry's 'Noon' and Edward Arthur Walton's 'A Berwickshire Fieldworker', among the studies of individual figures; James Paterson's 'Moniaive' and James Guthrie's 'Winter', both of which show a desire to experiment in an almost abstract manner with the forms and shapes found in landscape; Arthur Melville's 'A Byway in Granada', in which he achieved its strong contrast between light and dark by dropping pure pigment onto untouched areas of the wet paper; George Henry's 'A Japanese Pottery Seller' and 'Japanese Beauty', which mark a high point in his career; and John Lavery's 'The Tennis Party' and William Kennedy's 'Stirling Station', which record modern urban life. Royal Academy of Arts until 23rd January.
Chinese Ceramics And The Early Modern World traces the remarkable journey of Chinese ceramics throughout the globe. Between 1300 and 1800, ceramic objects manufactured at southern Chinese kilns were some of the most universally desired products in the world. From humble Cambodian traders to the shahs of Iran and the princesses of Europe, the wide dissemination of Chinese ceramics testifies to cross-cultural encounters on a truly global scale. Both functional and collectable, ceramic objects were also the bearers of culture that could be interpreted or absorbed in different ways, and Chinese imports influenced many of the indigenous ceramic traditions they encountered. In particular, the exhibition focuses on a European aspect of this dissemination of Chinese ceramics, known as 'China Mania'. It investigates the rise and resilience of porcelain collecting, comparing European notions of material beauty and desire with those of China. The ceramics of all kinds on display show the rich diversity, beauty and quality of the porcelain produced in this period, easily illustrating why it was so sought after. There is much beyond the willow-pattern plate. Museum of East Asian Art, Bath, until 12th December.
Victoria & Albert: Art & Love examines the unique partnership of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert and their shared enthusiasm for art. The exhibition focuses on the period of Victoria's marriage to Prince Albert, from the time of their engagement in 1839 to the Prince's death in 1861, and challenges the popular image of Queen Victoria - the melancholy widow of 40 years. Through 402 works, including paintings, drawings, photographs, musical scores, jewellery and sculpture, Victoria emerges as a romantic and open minded young woman. For Victoria and Albert, art was an important part of everyday life, and a way they expressed their love for each other. Around a third of the objects in the exhibition were exchanged as gifts between the couple to mark special occasions. They range from the simple and sentimental, such as a set of jewellery in the form of orange blossom, to examples of early Italian painting, including Bernardo Daddi's 'The Marriage of the Virgin', and Perugino's 'Saint Jerome in Penitence', both given by the Queen to the Prince for his birthday. Personal items include never before seen drawings from Victoria's sketchbook, including a self portrait and sketches of her children, and the manuscript of a song, annotated by Victoria: 'Composed by dear Albert at Windsor Castle & sent to me by him Jan. 5. 1840. Among the highlights are a 'secret' portrait of the Queen and an 8sqm painting of the couple and their first 5 children by Franz Xaver Winterhalter; Victoria's elaborate silk costume for the Stuart ball in 1851, designed by Eugene Lami; a throne and footstool, carved from ivory, a gift from the Maharaja of Travancore; a gilt table fountain inspired by the Moorish architecture of the Alhambra palace, with horses modeled on Arabs from the royal stable; and an Erard grand piano, with a gilded case painted with monkeys playing trumpets, tambourines and violins. The Queen's Gallery, Buckingham Palace, until 5th December.
The Pre-Raphaelites And Italy challenges what is known about the influence of Italy - its culture, landscape, and history - on one of Britain's most significant and enduringly popular art movements. In re-examining their early years, the exhibition aims to shed new light on the artists who emerged as the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood in the 1850s. From the influence of the movement's champion, John Ruskin, one of Italy's most dedicated tourists, to their illustrations of early Italian art and literature, the exhibition explores the idea of Italy itself, a place which captured the imagination of a whole generation of British men and women, and which was the source of such varied artistic responses. The exhibition brings together over 140 pictures, including works by John Ruskin, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, John Millais, William Holman Hunt, John Brett and Edward Burne-Jones. Highlights include Rosetti's 'Monna Vanna', 'Dante Drawing an Angel on the Anniversary of Beatrice's Death' and 'Borgia Family'; Ruskin's Venetian architectural drawings; Burne-Jones's 'The Fall of Lucifer' and drawings for the mosaics of the American Church in Rome, united for the first time in Britain; and Brett's 'Florence from Bellosguardo' and 'Capri in the Evening', which has not been seen in public since 1865. Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, until 5th December.