Private View held by Richard Andrews
The Millennium Galleries, a £15m centre for the visual arts, craft and design in Sheffield has opened, combining four individual galleries under one roof. Its brief is to house a display of local domestic and decorative metalwork, a collection of paintings, drawings and prints by John Ruskin, visiting exhibitions from national collections, and new work by contemporary artists and crafts workers. Designed by Pringle, Richards and Sharratt it is predominantly constructed of white concrete and glass, rising in a succession of beams, vaults and columns. Built on two levels, the Galleries have an internal Avenue (not unlike the Turbine Hall at Tate Modern) whose vaulted roof is made of translucent glass blocks, which flood the space with natural light. In contrast the exhibition spaces have been designed to control the level of daylight with an automated system of blinds which can redirect natural light reflected from the roof. Precious, the opening visiting exhibition comprises over 250 items from the Victoria and Albert museum collection, ranging from historic pieces from the ancient Chinese Hang Dynasty to recent acquisitions of contemporary design. It explores what people have regarded as precious in different ways and at different times throughout history. The Millennium Galleries, Sheffield - Precious until 24th June.
Annie Leibovitz: Nudes is an exhibition of the great American photographer's recent non-commissioned works. Leibovitz is probably best known for an annual Hall Of Fame series of portraits of movers and shakers in their milieu, published in Vanity Fair each year at Thanksgiving. These have been criticised as "book jacket portraits" which reinforce the sitter's desired image. Over the last decade Leibovitz has been creating much freer and more interesting work at her studio in upstate New York shooting female nudes with dancers and unknown models. These images allude to historical art, from classical Greek statuary to 20th century surrealists, but all show a personal point of view and voice an opinion lacking in the formal commissioned work. Shine Gallery, London SW3, 020 7352 4499 1st May to 3rd June.
A470 celebrates Wales's Route 66, the only road to traverse the country from north to south (Llandudno to Cardiff), featuring the kicks to be found along the way. Nine contemporary Welsh artists respond to the sites of historical and cultural significance on or near its path, and the variety of wild locations it passes through. Works range from John Davies photographs of the decommissioned Trawsfynydd nuclear power station, to Richard Page's models, dioramas and tableaux of museums and visitor centres. An interactive work by Stefhan Caddick can be found on the Oriel Mostyn Gallery web site. Oriel Mostyn Gallery, Llandudno until 12th May.
Creative Quarters: The Art World In London traces how artists have been drawn to particular districts of London at different times over the last 300 years. It also examines the nature of these creative quarters and the interaction of artists with other trades and industries. Starting with William Hogarth in Covent Garden in 1685, the eight locations include Willam Blake and Barbara Hepworth at different times in Hampstead, J M W Turner in Chelsea, and Francis Bacon in Soho, and arrive in the East End today. The exhibition locates a total of 132 artists in their time and place, and includes works by Lucien Freud, Henry Moore, William Morris, Dante Gabriel Rossetti and James McNeill Whistler. These depict the artists themselves, and the studios and streets in which they worked, and are shown alongside rare contemporary objects. The Museum Of London website has an accompanying online exhibition. Museum Of London until 15th July.
Magna, the UK's first Science Adventure Centre, which has been created on a massive scale in a former steelworks in Rotherham, has just opened. It houses four pavilions exploring the elements of Earth, Air, Fire and Water, plus two shows and an outdoor adventure park. Visitors can operate a real JCB and walk through a virtual coal mine; see an airship and experience a tornado; watch a blacksmith at work and feel the heat of a firestorm; make waves in a giant water tank and get up close to a spurting geyser. The drama and danger of the steel making process is vividly recreated in multimedia presentations, The Face Of Steel and The Big Melt, which run at regular intervals. Magna Rotherham continuing.
Cleopatra Of Egypt: From History To Myth juxtaposes what can be gleaned from history about the real Queen of the Nile with the myths that have grown up around her. Huge sculptures, bronzes, ceramics, coins, gems and caricatures chart Cleopatra VII's life and liaisons with the two great Roman leaders of the day, Julius Caesar and Mark Antony. Newly identified images of Cleopatra feature alongside contemporary Hellenistic and Roman representations. The myth of Cleopatra is traced to the present day through paintings, ceramics, jewellery, plays, opera and cinema, revealing how she has been reconceived generation by generation, as ideas about what constitutes the essence of the ideal woman have changed. British Museum until 26th August.
Wellington Arch, one of London's most famous landmarks at Hyde Park Corner has been returned to its full glory after a £1.5m restoration by English Heritage. The arch, which was designed by Decimus Burton in 1825 as an entrance to Buckingham Palace, is now open to the public for the first time. The platforms beneath the sculpture Quadriga, The Angel Of Peace Descending On The Chariot Of War, offer not only a close up of the largest bronze in England, but also views across Hyde Park, Green Park and the grounds of Buckingham Palace. Inside there is a permanent display about the history of the arch. This includes the first designs, why it was moved from its original position, and how a statue of the Duke of Wellington came to be erected on top and then replaced. Another exhibition looks at London's statues and memorials, executed by some of Britain's greatest sculptors, which celebrate great figures of the past. Future 2 - Zoom In On London is a temporary display of photographs by ordinary Londoners and visitors, capturing life and events in the capital over the last 100 years. Wellington Arch continuing.
Dan Dare Got There First celebrates Britain's first and best known spaceman, whose exploits were regaled on the front page of the Eagle comic in the 1950s. It examines how remarkably accurate some of its predictions for the future were (and glosses over the absence of large green creatures with domed foreheads from contemporary life). Creator Frank Hampson's visions of satellite television, space shuttles, the channel tunnel and swing-wing aircraft are just some of the stuff of science fiction which have become science fact. The Ministry of Defence reputedly subscribed to the Eagle to see what he would come up with next. Displayed here are examples of original artwork, models of space ships used by Hampson as reference, and a recreation of the studio in which he worked. There is also collection of merchandise, with ray guns, walkie talkies, jigsaws, games and pop up books. Croydon Clocktower until 3rd June.
The Musical Years traces the history of popular musical entertainment from commedia dell'arte to the present day, through original designs, sketches and costume drawings. It highlights important landmarks such as the operettas of Gilbert and Sullivan, revue, and modern stage and screen musicals. Designers whose work is featured include Cecil Beaton, Erté, Tim Goodchild, Oliver Messel and Berkeley Sutcliffe.
My Fair Lady: Beyond The Stage offers an insight into the design and production process which brought the National's smash hit production to the stage. It focuses on the contribution made by the National's production workshops in the realisation of the show. Examples of costumes, accessories and props are displayed, together with some of the original designs created by Anthony Ward. Royal National Theatre, Lyttleton Circle Foyer: The Musical Years - Olivier Foyer: My Fair Lady until 30th June.
Goya: Drawings From His Private Albums offers evidence supporting the claim that Francisco Goya was the first modern artist. Over a period of thirty-five years he distilled his more intimate thoughts and perceptions of Spanish society in a series of albums of drawings. This exhibition is the first to concentrate exclusively on these, bringing together over 100 of the finest drawings from all eight albums, including some which have only recently come to light. The albums were broken up and dispersed after his death and are now scattered widely throughout the world. These drawings demonstrate Goya's powers of observation and invention. They include bizarre flights of fantasy, nightmare and biting satire, and show his imagination at work on a vast range of subjects: the spectacle of carnival, the traumas of war and religious persecution, images of childhood and old age, eroticism, madness and witchcraft.
Brassai: The Soul Of Paris reveals through his iconic black and white images, a bygone era of café society, shady dance halls and the ordinary lives of Parisians at the dawn of the Modern Age. Brassaï started life as a journalist, but his desire to illustrate his articles with his own images, led him to start photographing his surroundings, capturing the mood of Paris by night and the beauty of the city streets in the rain. This major retrospective, organised by the Pompidou Centre, presents over 200 vintage silver salt prints from Brassaï's own archive, alongside his drawings and small sculptures. It includes shots of Paris by day and night, nude studies, classic portraits of Picasso, collaborations with Salvador Dalí for the Surrealist publication Minotaure, and photographs of graffiti and found objects from the Parisian streets. Brassaï shows us Paris as he saw it: twilight at the Eiffel Tower, the market at Les Halles, the Place de la Concorde and backstage at the Moulin Rouge. His images capture the private moment in the public place, and always find the extraordinary in the ordinary. Goya/Brassi at the Hayward Gallery until 13th May.
Ben Tewson: The Good, The Good And The Ugly is the culmination of one man's 20 year obsession with the visual environment we create for ourselves. The architect Ben Tewson has spent most of his life studying and thinking about British architecture and design. In this show, employing photographs, design objects, press clippings and collected items, he celebrates the best (from Bakelite televisions to the Dome), condemns the worst (from urban graffiti to country fly-tipping), and champions the neglected. Tewson's mission is nothing less than to shake the British nation out of its apathy to architectural heritage and the environment. This exhibition presents a very strong case. Dean Clough Galleries, Halifax until 12th May.
Century City: Art And Culture In The Modern Metropolis is the first special exhibition to be staged at what is generally held to have been the star Millennium cultural project. It explores the relationship between cultural creativity and the metropolis, focusing on nine cities from around the world at specific times in the last century. The cities and periods are: Paris 1910s, Vienna 1910s, Moscow 1920s, Rio de Janeiro 1950s, Lagos 1955-1970, New York 1970s, Tokyo 1970s, Bombay/Mumbai 1990s, and London 1987-2001. The aim is to provide a global perspective on defining moments of modern art and culture, examining cultural explosions in which art, architecture, cinema, dance, fashion, music and theatre flourished in a dynamic and radical interchange. The eclectic range of artists, designers, writers, composers and film makers includes King Sunny Ade, Sergei Eisenstein, Sonia Boyce and Philip Glass. This must be the ultimate Millennial exhibition. Tate Modern until 29th April.